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What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?

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John Knowles
What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 8, 2008 at 7:51:39 am

I was going to try and solve this in an older thread, but my issues got steadily worse by the end of the day and now I'm not sure what's going on. I've listed the issues below; since I've limited experience with analog decks and the IoHD I'm hoping someone has seen this before and can help me narrow down the cause -- is it the deck, the Io, the cables, FCP, or something I've done?

Project specs: upconverting Beta material(SP and Digi-) to Apple ProRes HQ 1080 29.97, pillarbox. Approx. 24 tapes, 1-4 mins. per tape. AJA control panel shows: 525i29.97 in, 1080i29.97 out, TC set to SDI 1 (I set it to FreeRun but it won't stick). Deck is rented Sony J3 attached via 422 deck control and SDI.

Issues so far:
1. Most audio is 7 frames out of sync. I saw this post further down (http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/150/858540#858540), so clearly I'm not alone with this issue. I'm contacting AJA tech support tomorrow, but it looks like this issue is still a mystery, no? I'm thinking it's a separate issue than what follows though...

2. Intermittent deck control. When I initiate log and capture, there is 'jittery' behavior: the play and stop button lights pin pong back and forth and the TC display at the top right is constantly changing even though the deck is paused. Sporadic loss of deck control, dialogue box that states "Tape Trouble. Check VTR..." This happens while it;s idle and even in the middle of capturing.

3. Lots of timecode breaks. This afternoon when I started capturing I had only an occasional TC break, but by the end of the day (at about tape #18) I was unable to go more than a few seconds without a break. I was unable to capture via In and Out points, it kept telling me it couldn't find timecode while it was rolling to the In point (and the TC was there, with plenty of pre-roll). Capture Now worked for a while but at the end of the day I couldn't capture much by any means.

These issues all got steadily worse over the course of the day. I shutdown everything once to let it cool off and restarted it in sequence (RAID, deck, IoHD, Mac) but the problems remained. Oldest tape is dated 2003 but I think they're mostly new dubs, and I can't imagine I would get 5 bad ones in a row like I did at the end of the day...

TIA,
JK

Machine specs: MacPro 2.66, OSX 10.5.3. 6GB RAM, 3TB eSpeed RAID, twin 23" ACD, FCS2 with .03 upgrades, QT 7.4.5, IoHD drivers 5.1.2 and latest firmware.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 8, 2008 at 1:27:16 pm

Thanks for making a new thread about this.

1) Make sure in the Kona control Panel your primary format is 525i29.97 and your secondary format is 1080i29.97, then in FCP, choose the appropriate 1080i29.97 easy setup.

2) This is a known problem with some Sony decks but totally fixable, check this out for details:
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1942 You don't have to worry about the PCIe slot config, but the rest of the info is pertinent (make sure to read the whole thing and note the RAM config).

3) See number two.

Now, you don't have anyother fw devices on your bus, correct? Your drives are running fast enough?


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gary adcock
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 8, 2008 at 4:46:27 pm

[John Knowles] "TC set to SDI 1 (I set it to FreeRun but it won't stick). Deck is rented Sony J3 attached via 422 deck control and SDI. "

FCP cannot read TC over SDI only over 9 pin serial.

"Sporadic loss of deck control, dialogue box that states "Tape Trouble. Check VTR..." This happens while it;s idle and even in the middle of capturing. "

This usually means there is

1) an issue with the deck or
2) your tape does not have continuous TC laid down ( unless you create the tape it's never sure)
3) try to shorten the pre-and post roll settings in FCP to be less than 2 seconds, since I am going to guess that there may not be enough timecode on the tape before or after the area you are trying to capture,

"I was unable to capture via In and Out points, it kept telling me it couldn't find timecode while it was rolling to the In point (and the TC was there, with plenty of pre-roll). "

see #3 above - you may have done this to yourself with too much pre-roll


"Capture Now worked for a while but at the end of the day I couldn't capture much by any means. "

OK this means that there is something wrong with your computer and its setup-

shut all other apps
DO NOT let your computer sleep EVER-
Trash the FCP prefs (all of them)
reboot the computer.

"Oldest tape is dated 2003 but I think they're mostly new dubs, and I can't imagine I would get 5 bad ones in a row like I did at the end of the day... "

Don't be so sure- are you looking the TC window. one frame missing is enough to create this issues when trying to do something related to capture - especially with some JH3 players ( technically not a deck - it can only playback)

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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John Knowles
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 9, 2008 at 7:46:18 am

THE UPDATE:

First thing this morning I tried Jeremy's suggestions from the Apple article about the .txt file to cut down on the frequency of FCP 'polling' the player over the serial cable (all the other items I had already done or tried). BTW, I'm capturing to a SATA RAID and have no other FW devices attached. Anyway, no dice -- just a bad as the night before. Also, the text that Apple supplies in the article is wrong -- the file it created caused an error message when FCP started up. (I got a replacement version of the same plugin with one additional line of text from AJA; works fine)

I decided to return the J3 and pick up a JH3 for my pile of HDCams, see if that went any better. I got the deck configured to remove the pulldown so I could capture 1080i29.97 instead of 23.98psf. So far so good -- but no timecode or deck control! I swapped out the SDI cable and serial cable with new ones, still nothing.

So I called AJA tech Support (who are just great, very patient) and Rudy led me through a series of tests where we trashed every preference under the sun, zapped the PRAM, and even tried the VTR exchange app. What we determined was that A) it's not FCP, B) the serial port appears to be working, and C) there's no apparent conflicts on my system setup or user account. We were stumped. In desperation I called a friend who uses a lot of AJA products and he had in fact seen an IoHd freak out once before.

From excessive heat.

I realized that the IoHD was situated close to the deck, a monitor and other warm gear, and it had been on all day yesterday (plus some of the gear was on overnight). So it was pretty hot. My friend said that his original solution had been to stick it in the fridge for 5 mins.; not wanting to mess with condensation I stuck it in front of the A/C vent until the case was nice and cold. Then I plugged it all back in and rebooted. And it worked! I had deck control back and TC. I was able to batch capture about 5 tapes this evening, although there's still some lingering deck control weirdness. Right after a new tape is inserted I still get the "new tape" prompt a few times, and then an occasional hiccup during batch capture on some tapes where I would just lose deck control for no reason until I re-opened log and capture. Those I might chalk up to a bad tape or two, and maybe the deck is a bit twitchy still; I'm getting another one tomorrow hopefully to test it out.

I still have the glitch with the audio out of sync by 7 frames, will have to keep talking to AJA on that one. I'm also worried that something in the unit may have gotten fried a bit, so a replacement may still be in my future...

JK



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 9, 2008 at 3:12:12 pm

Thanks for the follow up, John. Good to now that text is wrong. iw on't send that out anymore. I too have the plug-in from AJA, but it's not always available. I had hoped that the Apple article would at least be the step in the right direction.

Putting the ioHD in the fridge. Now that's a new one.

Jeremy


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John Knowles
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 9, 2008 at 7:00:05 pm

The Apple article definitely helped, and I think anyone who is unfamiliar with things like RAM placement in the Mac Pros (lots of confusion out there) would benefit from it. And I had never heard of a solution like that text plugin before, so that was a nice "magic bullet."

BTW, here's the text from AJA's version of the plugin for anyone who's interested. The first line is the only one that's different from the Apple version:

// Enabler to disable alternate ETT polling mechanism

startuponly
FileVersion(60243, 41391, 68)
code

dictput(0,"kgDeviceControl","useAltETTPolling", "value");


Save this as a plain text file, name it "DisableAltETTPolling.txt"

JK



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John Knowles
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 12, 2008 at 5:32:44 pm

Just when I thought it was safe to go back into the water...

I plugged the IoHD into a 46" LCD yesterday for a client to watch the 1080i footage I've been capturing and BAM -- I got the bad kernel panic of death screen. Restart the Mac, try again. Same thing. Repair permissions, trash prefs, no joy. Unplug the Io and everything (FCP, project, footage, RAID) works normally.

It DOES support this kind of video previewing, no? I'm convinced I have a lemon at this point. I can't get a hold of tech support this weekend but I will first thing Monday and try to get a new unit.

Oy ve.






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Jeremy Garchow
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 14, 2008 at 2:25:27 pm

Kernel Panic? That's usually a system error.

Are you sure you have 5.1.2 installed and have you uninsalled and reinstalled them lately?

When's the last time you reinstalled your system?


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John Knowles
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 14, 2008 at 4:30:14 pm

My system is a fresh install on a new hard drive, same with the Pro Apps. I installed everything a month ago and there are no previous installs of anything on the drive. I've had the IoHD since July 2nd and I installed the latest software immediately.

The kernel panic was reproduceable and happened 7 times from doing the same thing: playing back DVCProHD material via the HDMI port. Without the IoHD attached, the system, the drives, the clips, FCP all function normally.



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gary adcock
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 14, 2008 at 5:19:15 pm

[John Knowles] "The kernel panic was reproduceable and happened 7 times from doing the same thing: playing back DVCProHD material via the HDMI port. Without the IoHD attached, the system, the drives, the clips, FCP all function normally. "

In FCP or out via one of the other ports on IoHD?
the question does the IoHD's other VidOuts work???



If it is a reproducible issue - please contact support with detailed information.

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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John Knowles
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 14, 2008 at 6:05:39 pm

the question does the IoHD's other VidOuts work???

I'm able to view HD material down-converted to 525i via the S-video port. I was unable to test the component out with the LCD because I didn't have the right cables and the client was waiting on me. What I wound up doing was routing the 2nd DVI signal from my graphics card to the HDMI port on the LCD (DVI>HDMI cable) and use Digital Cinema Desktop Preview.

If it is a reproducible issue - please contact support with detailed information.

Doing that right now; I hadn't heard back from them on Friday so that's why I posted here over the weekend...



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John Knowles
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 14, 2008 at 10:19:16 pm

And the plot thickens...

AJA has recommended that I set Secondary to 720p 59.94 when there is 720p material in my timeline; problem is I cannot monitor that with my current setup until I get another HD monitor in here; I have to downconvert to 525i for now.

But if that setup turns out to be correct, then doesn't that render the open timeline feature of FCP useless with this device? Aren't I supposed to be able to drop another format into my ProResHQ sequence and get playback if my drives and machine can handle it? I get the green render bar over my 720p footage and I'm getting at least 141 MB/s off my RAID for 720p, and yet previewing via 525i or 1080i gives me static and a potential kernel panic.

If anyone else here has the right footage and equipment, would you mind testing this for me? Would really like to compare performance to another IOHD unit.

1. Primary to 1080i 29.97, secondary to either 1080i or 525i downconvert.
2. Easy Setup > Apple ProRes HQ 1080i 29.97
3. In a new sequence, drag in a ProRes HQ clip, then drop some 720p60 clips after it and check your playback on an external monitor.

What do you see during 720p playback? Static? Green fuzzy screen? Also, are you able to set your SafeRT Video Quality (in the timeline dropdown) to 'High', or is it greyed out?

If someone could test for me, would really appreciate it!!



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 14, 2008 at 10:37:12 pm

Alright, now you have me a bit confused. Your footage is 720p and not 1080i? I thought all footage was Beta upconverts?

Is it ProRes or DVCPro HD (you have said both)?


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John Knowles
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 14, 2008 at 11:15:14 pm

I have both kinds of footage in my project; I pulled in the 720p footage from P@ files, it was not upconverted off tape. I also have AVCHD footage from a camera as well; that's the deal with this project, pulling together all the sources and outputting all finals to ProRes HQ



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 15, 2008 at 12:15:55 am

OK. With the ioHD this makes a huge difference though. Your AVCHD footage will be ProResHQ, your unconverted captured footage will be ProResHQ. Your P2 footage will be DVCPro HD. So not only is the footage being transcoded to ProRes on the fly, it is also being cross converted and interlaced and this is all in software that this is happening before anything hits the ioHD box, unless your render your footage in the timeline before play out. Have you tried rendering? Perhaps it'd be best to use COmpressor to transcode all of your footage to ProRes before the edit (even @ 720p60). That might help with some of your issues.

I didn't get a chance to test today, but hopefully tomorrow I might be able to get a minute and go through your proposed workflow and see what I find. A kernel panic is a pretty unique error. The times I have seen them is usually due to a system foul. I don't have an HDMI monitor to test out either, so all my tests will be via standard connections such as analog component or HD SDI.

If I can get to it, I'll let you know what I find out tomorrow.

Your P2 footage is 720p60 or is it another frame rate?

Jeremy


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John Knowles
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 15, 2008 at 2:37:32 am

Perhaps it'd be best to use COmpressor to transcode all of your footage to ProRes before the edit (even @ 720p60). That might help with some of your issues.

I'll definitely do that, it will help greatly if I don't have to render a bunch of material in my final sequences. I had no idea all that was happening before it hit the box, the green render bar had me fooled into thinking that it didn't need to work so hard :)

I didn't get a chance to test today, but hopefully tomorrow I might be able to get a minute and go through your proposed workflow and see what I find.

Thank you so much for trying, I appreciate it (and if you can't get to it I'll see what AJA can do as a test). And yes, my clips were all 720p60.

The main issue seems to be a mixed timeline; 720p material in a 1080i 29.97 timeline and outputting at 1080 or 525 to a monitor makes it very unhappy. I just tried a pure 720p60 project with 720p60 clips with 720p 59.94 as Primary, and it all plays fine downconverted to 525i. I could swear I tried doing a straight 720p > 720p output when I had the LCD hooked up to HDMI, will try that again when I get the new one.

Also, and you can do this without any media or gear, just try setting up a new ProRes HQ 1080i 29.97 project and timeline, and see if you can select 'High' Playback Quality in the RT menu (not in the prefs). Is it greyed out?

JK





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Jeremy Garchow
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 15, 2008 at 3:05:23 am

[John Knowles] "Also, and you can do this without any media or gear, just try setting up a new ProRes HQ 1080i 29.97 project and timeline, and see if you can select 'High' Playback Quality in the RT menu (not in the prefs). Is it greyed out?"

Hmm. I have heard about that one. You know what it was? A Ram issue. tell me about the RAM in your machine and how it's set up.

Jeremy


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John Knowles
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 15, 2008 at 5:22:35 am

Tell me about the RAM in your machine and how it's set up.

I have 6GB of RAM: 4x 512MB modules (from Apple), 4x 1GB modules (from OWC)

They are installed as follows: A1&2 are 1GB, A3&4 are 512, B1&2 are 1Gb and B3&4 are 512. I installed the RAM according to this chart: Mac Pro layout





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Jeremy Garchow
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 15, 2008 at 2:07:36 pm

[John Knowles] "I have 6GB of RAM: 4x 512MB modules (from Apple), 4x 1GB modules (from OWC) "

Where'd you get that layout?

I'd start by pulling the 512's and stick with 4GB and position it like number 4C in that diagram.

See what that does for you first.

Jeremy


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gary adcock
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 15, 2008 at 2:59:30 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I'd start by pulling the 512's and stick with 4GB and position it like number 4C in that diagram. "

I would go the other way and keep the 2 G of Apple ram - it stands a better chance of working than the 3rd party stuff.

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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Jeremy Garchow
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 15, 2008 at 4:29:05 pm

[gary adcock] "I would go the other way and keep the 2 G of Apple ram"

Well, now we can try both! ;)


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gary adcock
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 15, 2008 at 12:31:50 pm

[John Knowles] "And the plot thickens.."

NO lie

John, you have 3 different formats( DVCPRO, AVC, and ProRes) in 2 different sizes (720 & 1080) and trying to make it all up and downconvert at once.

First off- the AVC Intra loaded via log and transfer-is not a true ProRes file- it is a wrapper on the file that looks like prores but is NOT, much like Redcode or XDcam footage is.

[John Knowles] " potential kernel panic. "

You are ABSOLUTELY sure the IoHD Firmware has been updated?

if not uninstall and reinstall the driver over again. you are pushing the processing of your machine to the limit,since all of the content needs to be converted to ProRes just to shoot down the pipe to the IoHD, so I am going to say that 90% of the issue is in your CPU

- KP's from the IoHD are pretty rare- since it is external to the CPU - making it harder to actually force the hardware to crash.

Also - Pull all of the 3rd party RAM - it is a known issue with non standardized 3rd party ram- use a reputable RAM dealer like Crucial- cheap out on the RAM, and it usually haunts the highend user-




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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John Knowles
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 16, 2008 at 2:45:18 am

[Jeremy Garchow] Where'd you get that layout?

I've seen it several places on the net and it was referenced on LAFCPUG as well.

[Gary Adcock] Also - Pull all of the 3rd party RAM - it is a known issue with non standardized 3rd party ram- use a reputable RAM dealer like Crucial- cheap out on the RAM, and it usually haunts the highend user-

I bought both sets of 1GB chips from OWC; their memory has always worked well for me and it's not cheapo generic stuff. But I have noticed that Leopard is a lot more sensitive about certain issues (memory, graphics card) than Tiger was, so that may be a factor. Regarding both of your advice on pulling the RAM, I will give it a try when I have downtime.

Regarding format mixing:
I realize that I've thrown a lot of different formats into the mix; I was hoping that the open timeline would help with that but I see now there are definite limits. The AVCHD material plays back choppy and out of sync in a true ProRes sequence, and the DVCProHD material can cause major issues if not in a 720p project. I'm going to upconvert everything overnight this week so that it's all the same.

So it's not the IoHD at all probably, it's the Mac not being able to handle all the RT duties and output/up- or down-convert at the same time. Where do you think the problem actually occurs though -- when FCP calls for the AJA driver, or sends it down Firewire, etc? Because it can play back without problems when Video Out is set to None or Cinema Desktop, but the act of engaging external video equipment (with mismatched clip/Primary settings) causes the panic. I get WHY it's bad when the settings are mismatched, but I just didn't expect such a big error to occur; I thought at worst I would just get a green screen or static.

UPDATE: I have an HD monitor now, hooked it up via component outputs this time and was able to reproduce the panic as before (meaning the HDMI is not the problem). The settings were: Primary and sequence set to 1080i29.97, 720p60 clips on the timeline, SafeRT Video Quality set to MEDIUM.

The Video Quality setting is the real culprit here. It cannot be set to HIGH because it's greyed out, MEDIUM causes the panic when the clips don't match the sequence (possibly LOW too, haven't tried it but what's the point) and DYNAMIC allows playback without a panic. So obviously I have to upconvert all my non-ProRes HQ material but I still need to figure out this greyed out HIGH setting. Guess I'll try the RAM and see what happens...

JK









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Jeremy Garchow
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 16, 2008 at 2:51:45 am

Start with the RAM. YOu don't need downtime for this. Simply shut down, pull the RAM and reboot.

Jeremy


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gary adcock
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 16, 2008 at 12:02:48 pm

[John Knowles] "PDATE: I have an HD monitor now, hooked it up via component outputs this time and was able to reproduce the panic as before (meaning the HDMI is not the problem). The settings were: Primary and sequence set to 1080i29.97, 720p60 clips on the timeline, SafeRT Video Quality set to MEDIUM. "

Before you do anything else- you need to reflash the Firmware in the IoHD-

Something is not right- I would start there BEFORE you yank the RAM

[John Knowles] " bought both sets of 1GB chips from XXX ; their memory has always worked well for me and it's not cheapo generic stuff. But I have noticed that Leopard is a lot more sensitive about certain issues (memory, graphics card) than Tiger was, so that may be a factor. "

Yes the newer machine are more sensitive to RAM issues- thats why 3rd party RAM is always been suspect. Just because it has "always" worked for you does not mean that it was Ok, just that your systems needs were not enough to cause errors. Doing HD is harder on your computer than dragging it behind your car- it is time for the hardware to be fussy if it is not getting what it needs from the system.

Since you are KP'ing - what does the crash log say ? { the apple crash log will have a line that says
"thread X crashed" and it will point to a likely cause- have you looked at what the log says?}

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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John Knowles
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 17, 2008 at 12:16:27 am

I pulled the 512 modules (Apple supplied) and the HIGH setting under RT returned.

I cannot play back non-ProRes clips in a ProRes timleline without dropping frames; both the 720p and AVCHD material won't play without rendering first (despite their bright green bar). But I guess that's to be expected.

Setting the RT quality to MEDIUM still results in a panic. I don't know why that's still happening; although I would rarely set the RT quality to anything other than HIGH or DYNAMIC, I'm still wondering if that's a fault with my machine or if it's reproducible on another computer...



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 17, 2008 at 12:25:39 am

Did you flash the firmware again as Gary suggested?

Use the AJAioHDUpdater that is provided in the AJA Utilities folder in Applications.

Jeremy


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gary adcock
Re: What's wrong here: deck, tape, IoHD or the operator?
on Jul 17, 2008 at 10:32:31 am

[John Knowles] " pulled the 512 modules (Apple supplied) and the HIGH setting under RT returned. "

NOW try it the other way....

Keep the 2G of apple ram and remove all the other....

Told you it had something to do with the RAM......



gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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