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Playback problems with ProRes 4444

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David Burch
Playback problems with ProRes 4444
on Sep 17, 2009 at 5:57:49 pm

I am having a strange issue with the new ProRes 4444 codec. I have been editing a project on an older, 4-core Mac Pro (2.66 GHz, 12 GB RAM) and use quite a few motion graphics I have rendered out to the new codec, which I then overlay in the timeline as lower 3rds. On this older machine, the codec has had no problem playing back in real time after being dropped into the timeline. No rendering is required.

However, I recently transferred my project to a brand new 8-core Mac Pro (2.26 GHz, 12 GB RAM). All of the sudden the ProRes 4444 clips will not play back. They immediately stop and give me a "dropped frame" message. This is true in the preview window as well as on the timeline. Is it possible my new machine is actually much slower than my old one, and that this is causing the issue?

Both computers are using an internal Raid-0 configuration with 2 One Terabyte drives, plus a single 1TB render drive. Both have the latest version of Final Cut Studio 3, and both are running Snow Leopard 10.6.1. The only other difference I can think of between the two machines is that the newer 8-core is a clean install of FCS 3 while the other had FCS 2 on it, which I upgraded.

Does anybody have any idea what might be causing this?


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Steve Eisen
Re: Playback problems with ProRes 4444
on Sep 17, 2009 at 6:11:21 pm

Faster RAID.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Board of Directors
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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David Burch
Re: Playback problems with ProRes 4444
on Sep 17, 2009 at 7:38:04 pm

I seriously doubt that's the issue, as both computers have the exact same raid setup.

Also, I did a little more troubleshooting since my first post. The problem only seems to show up when the scopes window is open. Again, this is odd as I always have scopes up with my older computer. Also, standard ProRes 422 multiclip tracks (not the 4444 codec and not HQ) are dropping occasionally when the scopes are up, though not as often. Once again, these play flawlessly on my older system. I find if very hard to believe that my new 8-core simply isn't up to the task, when a nearly 3-year-old 4 core handles it perfectly well.


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Kevin Hamm
Re: Playback problems with ProRes 4444
on Sep 17, 2009 at 7:34:20 pm

Ok, while this may seem like a dumb question, it's happened to a person I know and who shall remain nameless (*ahem* me) but did you move the captures and renders to the new machine to or did you just move the FCP project and you're actually trying to pull HD footage over your network?

If it's not that, you might check your system profile and make sure that your drives are connected and showing the correct information there, and, then, if that's fine, do the great old standby, repair preferences.

If that doesn't clear it up, and you still run into the issue, since the computer is new, and you have the new FCS3, call AppleCare and get them involved. The ProApps team is very good, and they might have run into this already, too.

Kevin Hamm
Video, Web, Print and coloring books.


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David Burch
Re: Playback problems with ProRes 4444
on Sep 17, 2009 at 7:41:42 pm

Thanks Kevin. I haven't tried repairing permissions yet, but I did transfer all my source files to the internal raid on the new machine. The program file I keep on a separate bus-powered Firewire 800 drive, so I can work on my project both at home and at work. Neither machine is set up on a network (other than a standard internet connection). I may call Apple and see if they have any suggestions; I was just hoping somebody on here had run into this in the past and could shed some light first :)


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Kevin Hamm
Re: Playback problems with ProRes 4444
on Sep 17, 2009 at 7:48:11 pm

I'm curious as to how that works. If you don't have your source files with you at home, are you just editing non-connected media, or do you have smaller versions also on that FW800 drive? I get dropped frames when playing back full 1080i60 from the Drobopro if I have anything else touching it, but so long as I don't, it's clean and pretty. Well, unless I was running the camera, but that's neither here nor there.

If you have a smaller clip, remove the smoothcam filter, save, then reapply it, and see if you get different results. It might be worth it to just remove and reapply and let the computer fuss it out over the weekend and come back to it being fine on monday.

Kevin Hamm
Video, Web, Print and coloring books.


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David Burch
Re: Playback problems with ProRes 4444
on Sep 17, 2009 at 8:06:01 pm

I transferred my source files using an eSata drive to both Raids, so essentially I now have 3 copies of the same files. I don't like having all my source footage on a single Raid-0, as that is asking for data loss.


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David Burch
Re: Playback problems with ProRes 4444
on Sep 17, 2009 at 8:09:08 pm

Oh yeah, I wasn't using smoothcam either. I'm working with footage shot on a Sony EX-1 in the 720p60 HQ format, converted to ProRes 422 (standard). I have three camera sources I am editing together using multiclip, and my lower 3rd graphics are created in motion and rendered to ProRes 4444. As I said in my first post, all this works flawlessly on my older machine. It is only the newer 8-core that is having issues. I tried to keep the settings and workflow as consistent as possible on both machines.


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Kevin Hamm
Re: Playback problems with ProRes 4444
on Sep 17, 2009 at 9:27:37 pm

Ok, let me see if I get your workflow for this sequence. You import your EX1'a footage and transcode that to ProRes422, and then drop that multiclip into Video1 of your timeline. Then are you laying the motion project over the 422 in Video track 2, or do you have a fully rendered-with-alpha export from Motion that you're laying down in Video track 2?

The ProRes 422 and 4444 should stack fine, really.

Have you checked/changed your RT settings (the little button to the left of the playhead timecode counter). Are they consistent between the machines?

Kevin Hamm
Video, Web, Print, coloring books, jam and socks.


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gary adcock
Re: Playback problems with ProRes 4444
on Sep 18, 2009 at 4:02:31 pm

[David Burch] "The program file I keep on a separate bus-powered Firewire 800 drive, so I can work on my project both at home and at work. Neither machine is set up on a network"

OK

you have hit one of the undocumented additions to FCP.

In the Prior versions of FCP, the only way to assure that your output would conform to SMPTE specs was to install a hardware output card in the computer. When you add professional level video output it forced FCP to properly report any anomalies such as slow drives or limited bandwidth issues.

With the release of FCS 3 and the emergence of fully tapeless workflows, this error correcting has now been included in the base install of the software, so that is why you along with many other people are now reporting an increase in " dropped frame" warnings.

the only suggestion beyond going to a faster drive (FW 800 Multidisk array is the first) would be to try and see if giving AC power to the drive rather than using buss power to see if that help. Otherwise you are going to be limited.



gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Jason Boucher
Re: Playback problems with ProRes 4444
on Sep 18, 2009 at 2:28:36 am

I have a similar set up, 8-core, 2TB RAID 0, plenty fast... When I upgraded to FCS3 and SL I got dropped frame warnings constantly when playing back HD sequences that played fine before the upgrade. Frustration set in and thoughts of a complete re-install entered my mind... but then I just unchecked the check box in the drop frame window....

And guess what... everything is playing back fine! Weird... I've watched sequences through wondering if it was just skipping frames and there is nothing.... It's fine.

I don't know why, and I hope someone can figure it out, but it's working for me.

Good luck...
JB

greydogcreative.com


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