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Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage

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Andrew Brose
Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Sep 29, 2009 at 6:41:50 pm

Hello all,

I've been troubleshooting our FCP suite for my editor because in the last couples of weeks FCP has been crashing more and more frequently. What seems to be causing the crashes is jumping between sequences or scrubbing quickly through our uncut XDCAM EX material. The problem definitely seems limited to the XDCAM footage, any of our DV sequences or clips don't seem to affect the system. Often our crashes are preceded by green flashes in the canvas, and then all of a sudden FCP is gone.

When I reboot FCP I'll sometimes get a dialogue box with a list of clips saying the "Media is not optimized for FCP... re-capture the media or use Media Manager to create new copies..." Usually a message like this sets of warning bells but I've gone through the exact same process of using the Log and Transfer tool on this project as I have on many other XDCAM EX projects but without this problem. In fact, I can still make the system crash with XDCAM material that isn't included on the list of "un-optimized" material.

With that being said I know some is going to suggest we transcode our material to something like ProRes, but with over a hundred hours of footage transcoding or re-importing our media is going to take more time than we can afford. Besides, I've done XDCAM projects like this before without problems, and they've been on less powerful systems.

At this point I've read a lot of forums and tried a a lot of things but can't seem to figure the problem out. Among a few other things I've trashed the preferences, repaired permissions, rebuilt directories, created new user folders, updated any software and firmware, and tonight I'm going to run a hardware test. Not sure what else I can do to troubleshoot this problem.

Any ideas would be very appreciated.

2.66GHZ Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6GB RAM
Mac OS X 10.5.8
FCP 6.0.6
Blackmagic Intensity Pro Card
XDCAM footage is divided between two internal 1TB HD


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Alex Elkins
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Sep 29, 2009 at 7:27:15 pm

Hi Andrews,

It seems like everyone using XDCAM EX material faces this problem, myself included.

The standard answers are:
- Turn off clip thumbnails (both in timeline and browser)
- Turn off audio waveform
- Keep projects under around 100mb. If the project is over that sort of size, it can be split by cut/pasting certain clips or sequences into new projects.

Transcoding to ProRes would probably solve the problem, but I'd guess it'd take much longer to do that than to just carry on editing and deal with it crashing quite often. Just keep saving!

All the best,
Alex Elkins


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Rafael Amador
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Sep 30, 2009 at 1:31:46 am

[Alex Elkins] "It seems like everyone using XDCAM EX material faces this problem myself included. "
I think that most of the people working with XDCAM have no problem at all, like my self.
Rafael



http://www.nagavideo.com


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Alex Elkins
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Sep 30, 2009 at 9:56:21 am

[Rafael Amador] "I think that most of the people working with XDCAM have no problem at all, like my self."

Hi Rafael,

I'm sure you're right, not all people have the problem. We just hear about the people who do, but it does seem that A LOT of people have this exact problem though. The question crops up every week, and there still isn't a solid reason or, more importantly, a solution for it other than work-arounds.

All the best,
Alex Elkins


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Rafael Amador
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Sep 30, 2009 at 10:15:41 am

You are right Alex, and IMHO there is a kind of hardware/system related issue.
It seems that the more CPUs and RAM the more problems may arise.
Projects that works flawlessly in a MBP makes the octocores crashing.
I wish I'd had a clue.
Rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Sep 29, 2009 at 7:31:46 pm

Andrew,

I can confirm the "green flash" preceding crash behavior.

We use lots and lots of XDCAM material on many different systems, and
we have observed that issue.

Some things that help: No thumbnails in the timeline. Restarting of the system at convenient intervals (like lunch), seems to 'refresh" the memory and extend your "MTBC: Mean time between crashes".

We work in native XDCAM timelines, but render to prores...

Mark




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Andrew Brose
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Sep 29, 2009 at 7:50:22 pm

Thanks guys,

We've been very diligent at keeping thumbnails and waveforms turned off, being quite aware of the lag it cause with the system. Our project is about 200MB big which we could try to make smaller, but with the nature of the crash my gut just doesn't seem to point to that as the problem. I could be wrong though.

What I don't understand is why I've never run into this problem on my personal edit suite? Or why the other editors I've talked to who are also doing large XDCAM EX projects on machines with almost the same specs as ours aren't having this problem? Is it one of those situations/formats where sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't and nobody really knows why?

Cheers,

Andrew


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Dan Monro
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Sep 30, 2009 at 3:45:42 am

Hey Andrew,

We've been trouble shooting the same problem with RS422HQ media; there are some issues with our X-San bandwidth, and perhaps 10 bit isn't necessary, but for a practical solution, it boils down to this (and I'd love to get some Cow feedback on this...) FCP uses about 3 gigs of real memory - that's it. Once you get up to about 1.6 (gigs of real memory being used) you start to see the crashes (preceeded by green flashes in the canvas). I have eliminated a lot of bin information (from a 4 month movie launch project) especially unused sequences, superceded graphics, used slates, old version of the movie, etc. etc. Got my project down to a size that only takes 1.3 gigs or so to open. Its not the size of your project that is the problem, its how much Ram you ask it to use while you're working - hence the waveforms, thumbnails, etc. I've found that closing all but the sequence you're working on, and any unneeded bins really helps. I've had to dramatically alter my workflow (I save EVERYTHING) but its better than crashing every time I try to make an edit.

I hear that Shane has recommended running at 75-80% on your cache settings in System settings (Shane, my friend forwarded me a post by you). I'm still getting the crashes, but at a reduced level. And following the Activity monitor may seem silly, but its kept me up and running. And remember in Avid when you saved every 3rd keystroke because you knew it was going to crash - get back in that habit. Again, better than crashing.

I was going to post a general question about this, but this'll do: Anybody else have any suggestions or experience with FCP's RAM limitations? Can I force it to use more of my 16 gigs? Big projects are a fact of life, but if they don't work, they don't. I can change...I know I can...

D

Dan Monro
FCP, Avid, AfterFX, Atlanta
MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2 GB ram
Mac OS X 10.5.7
GeForce 8600M GT Final Cut Pro 6.0.5 Quicktime 7.6



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Andrew Brose
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Sep 30, 2009 at 5:00:52 am

Hi Dan,

I'm very inclined to agree with you're saying and have often wondered from the beginning if this has been a RAM issue. Hopefully when I finish my hardware test I can confirm or deny that, but regardless it seems like the problem has to do with the RAM being pushed to it's capacity.

In fact on a handful of occasions I was stress testing the suite trying to recreate the circumstances of a crash, but instead I wound up getting the green flashes in my canvas and timeline without FCP actually crashing. As long as I stayed in FCP the frequency and the length of the flashes would increase, but if I momentarily switched applications (i.e. browsing Safari for troubleshooting tips) the green flashes in FCP would disappear. Ultimately FCP would crash but it was like the temporary switch in the applications gave the memory a chance to refresh itself. I don't know if that's right but it seems like it could be a logical conclusion to me.

If this problem is RAM related and it's a question of FCP not being able to properly harness the system's resources then I think we'll be making some changes to our workflow (i.e. stripping down the size of our project file and performing lots of Command + S).

Anyone else have any thoughts or suggestions? Are we looking at a major RAM issue?

Cheers,

Andrew


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Atticus Culver-Rease
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Sep 30, 2009 at 6:18:52 pm

Are you usually able to run 200MB project files without running into regular crashes? I've had stability problems with large projects in various codecs, including XDCAM EX and ProRes. My experience has been that having a project file over 100MB is asking for trouble, but I'd be curious to hear if other people have been able to do it without issues. If you've got old versions of sequences and other things that you probably don't need but don't want to delete, just create a copy of your project file and leave them in there for safe keeping, but delete them from the project file you're actually working in. It sounds like you probably have some other issues as well, but it might be worth a try.


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Dan Monro
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Oct 2, 2009 at 7:37:40 pm

The project its crashing in is 123mb. I have paired that down and restarted, but as I got up towards 100mb again, it started flaking out again. So I'm pairing down again. We're actually trying to pin it on a corrupt sequence.

On the other note; 10 bit media. We reverted our Kona firmware to 32 bit, down from 64 bit. That helped, but not much. But now, I switch my playback mode to 8 bit and it plays back fine, with the exception of dropping frames on output. But at least its not crashing. We could Not change to 8 bit playback when the Kona firmware was at 64bit. Food for thought.

I'll update any more interesting findings.
D

Dan Monro
FCP, Avid, AfterFX, Atlanta
MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2 GB ram
Mac OS X 10.5.7
GeForce 8600M GT Final Cut Pro 6.0.5 Quicktime 7.6



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Sebastian Howard
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Nov 4, 2009 at 5:08:30 pm

Hello there,

I was wondering if there had been any progress regarding this matter. Has anybody found a solution?

Has anybody tested this with FCP 7 on Snow Leopard, which is what we are about to set-up?

Looking forward to getting some news.

Sebastian

Sebastian W. Howard
Batchfilms
Sculpting Life Into Moving Pictures


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Robert Salsbury
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Nov 18, 2009 at 2:55:18 pm

Hi

No solution to offer, sadly, only a me too.

What I can add is that I've noticed that BEFORE you'll get green frames, FCP dumps a lot of messages like this in the console:

11/18/09 9:37:34 AM [0x0-0x3a03a].com.apple.FinalCutPro[425] Final Cut Pro(425,0xa00ad720) malloc: *** mmap(size=268439552) failed (error code=12)
11/18/09 9:37:34 AM [0x0-0x3a03a].com.apple.FinalCutPro[425] *** error: can't allocate region
11/18/09 9:37:34 AM [0x0-0x3a03a].com.apple.FinalCutPro[425] *** set a breakpoint in malloc_error_break to debug

and by a lot I mean it's repeated a few thousand times.

If you can an eye on messages in the Console application ("Console Messages" section) you can see when you need to reboot. On some systems with large projects, that may be more often than you like, but I'm managing ok, keeping project file sizes as low as possible.

I also zeroed out my stills cache - set it to ZERO, so that FCP would have as much of the RAM available to it as possible before getting wacky. No real time stills animation, but that's not a problem for me on this show. And render to ProRes rather than XDCAM for sure.

-Robert



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Duncan Thomsen
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Nov 23, 2009 at 1:11:29 pm

Hi

I'me new in but have been reading on CC for about 5 years now. Thought it was about time as this problem has finally got me.

I use FCP for all forms of programmes and films, I offline, online, grade and colour using it, as well as often prepare fully finished for broadcast. I engineer and have beta tested through london facilities, backed by Apple to roll out kit.

I have had the same prob with XDcam. I broke 3 GDrives in 2 projects and crashed 2 suites with the next. We implemented a Prores transcoding buffer, which allows us to ingest and prepare for edit as well as provide a backup of the material just in case. We also moved to G Raids 4Tbs.

Until the prores route was introduced, any xdcam, timeline scrolling caused crashes, and complicated procedure did. This caused multiple issues with the systems (all best spec).

We have now gone up to FCP7 and snow leopard, this has got worse. So much so that anything with xdcam slows up the system and blam - crashes. As soon as prores was introduced to those suites, no issues apart from the normal crashes one gets and can deal with.

The main prob we have is in the finishing suite. 12gb ram, dual 3ghz xeon, lovely machine, Kona LH output. Edit away in prores, grading, correcting and mixing. then blam - crashes.

I can only assume the HDs aren't up to it. Or the limited RAM usage is causing it to fall off just when it needs the extra memory. We eSata'd, and found that this was ok, but not as stable as FX800.

Anyone got any ideas? Is it the drives being too slow, the ram not being able to deal with four monitor outputs of HD Prores? (thats 2 computer monitors, a sony grading monitor and and interlaced crt). Would 64bit s/w like SL, cause a 32bit programme to open the RAM too much?

We checked spikes, and electricity sources but no joy. The prores offline works fine, but online? Maybe just too much. And project is kept to about 130mb for efficiency. Got autosave on 10 mins and a nervous twitch in my left hand for saving.

Please help!

Duncan


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Georg Peter Müller
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Dec 9, 2009 at 2:35:14 am

Here is another "Count me in" message... I have done all kinds of experiments to figure it out, including complete system reinstall, replacing the apple.vadriver, swapping cards to different spots.

I just realized yesterday that my system gets stable if I take out the decklink card altogether. I am using a multibridge pro to connect my JVC display. Now the question is: If I sell the decklink and get a mxo, will this thing start crashing again?

Cheers

Georg

If we don't have it we don't need it


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ron darby
Re: Green Flashes and Crashes with XDCAM EX Footage
on Dec 9, 2009 at 5:50:45 am

I been having a similar problem too. I use just about all Xdcam footage shot on an EX3.
On Leopard I would get the occasional crash, but after I up graded to SL I get drop frames every 2 seconds I play video, then it crashes. After rebooting it seems to play OK for about 20 minutes, then the drop frames start. They kinda ramp up, as in , first drop frame, I can hit the "OK" button on the warning window and play video for a while, but soon it's less and less time between drop frame warnings. Then it gets so bad I can not even play video (in timeline, and viewer) for more than 2 seconds. I have tried new projects with only one clip in it, changing my electrical source, different media drives, turning off the Kona LHe,(AV play back set to none) and no joy. Next Ill try different codecs.

My System:
Mac 2 x 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
14 GB 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM

Caldigit 3TB

FCP Studio 3

Aloha Ron




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