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Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.

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Steve Godun
Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Aug 13, 2010 at 7:51:51 pm

Hi all. I'm experiencing a very unusual problem with a Kona 3 card and was hoping someone may have some insight. The system in question is a Mac Pro (MacPro4,1) with dual quad-core 2.66GHz processors, 3GB RAM, and a 640GB hard drive. It's running OS X 10.6.4 with all updates as of this writing, and the Kona3 v7.5.1 drivers. The computer has the current (and fully updated) version of Final Cut Studio, as well as CommandSoft FibreJet, and there is (obviously) an OEM Apple fibre channel card in place.

Any attempt at importing video results in a huge amount of green and magenta static. You can see a sample of it from this QuickTime movie. In this sample I should be seeing nothing more than the color bars, like this:



If you step the video frame by frame you'll see a pattern emerge. Starting with frame 4 it goes:

1. Green static with small amount of color bars at the top.
2. Magenta static.
3. Green static.
4. Magenta static.
5. Green static.
6. Magenta static.

And it repeats forever. If I feed a video into the card (the source doesn't matter; could be from digi, could be from beta, could be from anything, or could be from NOTHING) the color bars disappear and the badly distorted video appears, but always with the same color/static pattern as described above.

Now, here's the interesting part. If I clone the Mac's hard drive and use it to run ANY OTHER similarly configured machine I have here, it works perfectly. There are several machines which are 100% identically configured to this machine, even down to having a serial number that's just a couple of digits away. So since this system build successfully and perfectly works on every other machine, including the ones that are a little different than this one - the problem very clearly has to do with hardware - this specific Mac Pro - right?

That's what I thought. But I've tried all of the following, to no effect.

* Swapped all memory modules with a known-good Mac.
* Removed the fibre channel card (so the only remaining cards are the Kona3 and video cards).
* Swapped the Kona3 card with a known-good Mac.
* REPLACED the Kona3 card (AJA replaced it as a warranty exchange).
* Moved the Kona3 card to different slots.
* Zapped PRAM 3x.
* Unplugged all devices (except monitor and mouse).
* Tried multiple video sources.
* Tried NO video source, just leaving the card unplugged from the back.
* Swapped hard drives with a known-good Mac.

I am pretty much at wit's end here. Anyone have any ideas what to do next?


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gary adcock
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Aug 13, 2010 at 9:43:18 pm

First off.
What app are you recording too? Why are you using FCP or aja's VTR exchange app.on the mac or Machina on windows?
Secondly you do not say what you are trying to record over which type of connection. the Kona 3 is a digital only card, is your source hdsdi? Are you sure?

gary adcock
Studio37

Post and Production Workflow Consultant
Production and Post Stereographer
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640



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gary adcock
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Aug 13, 2010 at 9:45:17 pm

Sorry, I meant to say what are your not using FCP or Aja's VTR exchange app to capture.
What does the control panel say? Is it matched to your inputs?

gary adcock
Studio37

Post and Production Workflow Consultant
Production and Post Stereographer
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640



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Steve Godun
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Aug 13, 2010 at 9:53:37 pm

In production we're using FCP. For purposes of testing this issue I'm using QuickTime Player (since it's about 50x faster to launch than FCP) which shows me the same results as FCP.

I am positive that all of the connections to/from the deck are compatible and in the correct order. (Remember, I have several systems which are virtually identical to one another, and all of the video editing systems use the same decks/hardware.) I can take any one of the existing systems and connect it to the devices that this problematic system uses, and the other system works fine. Likewise, I can take this problematic system and connect it to the devices that any other system uses, and the problem follows the problematic system.

It should also be noted that this issue arises even if there's NOTHING connected to the Kona3 card. Therefore, the connection type is somewhat pointless. If I have two identical systems with nothing connected to the Kona3 card on either system, and one of them gives me color bars and the other gives me static, then the problem is very obviously not one of connection type.

I don't mean to sound ungrateful. This is just bothering the heck out of me. :-) I'm going to tackle it again on Monday. I plan on swapping the hard drive and Kona3 card into another box and see if the problem follows the card and drive.


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gary adcock
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Aug 13, 2010 at 11:00:28 pm

[Steve Godun] "It should also be noted that this issue arises even if there's NOTHING connected to the Kona3 card"

that makes no sense whatsoever- and if it is happening within the mac and has nothing to do with input/output.

What decks and connections are you using?
Are all the machines on the same versions of QT/ OS/ FCP.

Does content still appear affected with no card in the machine?
Does a clean install of the systems and apps still show an issue.

Have you tried running the AJA conflict catcher app? its in the aja utilities folder


"I don't mean to sound ungrateful. This is just bothering the heck out of me"

you are also not giving us any kind of specifics to go on- I personally do not believe all of the machines are exactly the same- something is different and you need to stop and re-evaluate.

If there is no problem after a CLEAN INSTALL of the just the OS and the Kona Hardware- then you have some thing to go back to as a baseline.

gary adcock
Studio37

Post and Production Workflow Consultant
Production and Post Stereographer
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640



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Steve Godun
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Aug 16, 2010 at 1:20:46 pm

"What decks and connections are you using?"

The engineering staff isn't in yet but I will get this info when they're in.

"Are all the machines on the same versions of QT/ OS/ FCP."

Yes. Software-wise they are virtually identical. The only differences are minor things that should not affect this (e.g., one machine has Yahoo Messenger on it, the others don't). But again, even if I move the OS/system from one machine to another, the problem stays on the machine.

"Does content still appear affected with no card in the machine?"

With no card in the machine there's nothing to capture from, so there's nothing there. (E.g., if I remove the card, launch QuickTime Pro and try to capture, it correctly tells me that there's no video source.)

"Does a clean install of the systems and apps still show an issue."

Did that. The issue remains. Also tried cloning a known-good system to this problematic system and the issue remains.

"Have you tried running the AJA conflict catcher app? its in the aja utilities folder"

Did try that. It reports no problems.

"I personally do not believe all of the machines are exactly the same- something is different and you need to stop and re-evaluate."

We have five edit suites and another half dozen graphics/rendering workstations. The five edit suites are 100% identical; all of the hardware was purchased and installed at the same time, all of the upgrades (over the years) were purchased and installed at the same time, and all of the hardware and software configurations are identical. Ditto for the graphics/rendering workstations. Each of the machines were cloned from a common source. The only differences between the machines are, as I said, minor things which shouldn't have an effect on the video, and also as I said if I clone one system to another the problem stays with this particular hardware.

I'm bringing this Mac Pro into Apple today to see if they can discover anything. Thanks for the help.


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gary adcock
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Aug 16, 2010 at 1:42:16 pm

[Steve Godun] ""Does a clean install of the systems and apps still show an issue."

Did that. The issue remains. Also tried cloning a known-good system to this problematic system and the issue remains."



Yeah, sounds like a definite hardware issue, but I doubt that the Apple store will understand your issue or be able to help at all, why are you not calling the people that built your suites? They would be a better call than dragging your system into an apple store-

if its not a phone or an ipad- I can guess you are going to waste alot of time there.

gary adcock
Studio37

Post and Production Workflow Consultant
Production and Post Stereographer
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640



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Fred Jodry
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Aug 19, 2010 at 8:28:27 pm

It sounds to me like the main power suppply going to your Mac Pro going directly through your motherboard (or through sub power supplies on your motherboard) then into your Kona card which has it`s own sub power supply in it somewhere is out of tolerance causing an oscillator or flipflop on the Kona card to go hairy. Swap in another power supply first and try measuring a few DC voltage pick off points without blowing things up! Of course the motherboard might be what`s out of tolerance.


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Steve Godun
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Aug 19, 2010 at 8:33:31 pm

The machine is currently on the bench at Tekserve in Manhattan. I'll post the results when they come.


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gary adcock
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Aug 19, 2010 at 9:11:10 pm

>> The machine is currently on the bench at Tekserve in Manhattan <<

Could not have taken it to a better place. They do my repair work also.

gary adcock
Studio37

Post and Production Workflow Consultant
Production and Post Stereographer
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640



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Steve Godun
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Sep 3, 2010 at 2:02:41 pm

The good news is that Tekserve still has the machine, and they're replacing the motherboard.

The bad news is that I just unboxed another brand new Mac Pro, another brand new Kona3 card, set them up, and I'm getting EXACTLY the same problem with this one.

Crap.


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Fred Jodry
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro./ another blind guess
on Sep 13, 2010 at 5:34:23 pm

Is it possible that when you plug the Kona 3 into the same "crossfire" bus as the video card (which is normal) it readjusts the (Memory-) timing to the video card or Kona 3 card and there`s some adjustment of it`s timing with a name like "video 2T" or "video UM" that should be adjusted in the bios or motherboard jumpers? Had you tried my power supply fade guess?


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Aidan Wood
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Oct 9, 2011 at 9:49:28 pm

I'm experiencing the same problem unfortunately. Did you find a cause or solution?

Really confused here guys, any insight would be appreciated.


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Fred Jodry
Re: Green and magenta static on ONE Mac Pro.
on Oct 12, 2011 at 2:22:09 pm

Aidan, to repeat my answer,
if the voltages coming out of your power supply feeding the insides of your computer are sagging, the oscillators inside the Kona card could get forced to go out of frequency tolerance whereupon you see exactly what`s described. Grab a fresh power supply and a voltmeter and do a little testing. I had no luck going to TekServe in N.Y.C. The cause was a Manager who had an ever- changing story.


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