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cam khoury
Error: unknown file
on Sep 22, 2010 at 12:51:04 am

I know this message has been covered in the past but I've never seen an answer that addresses strategic considerations. After a full day of editing on FC7 we seem to randomly get the "unknown file" error which prevents you from saving your project to your drive. This error has appeared on systems that use either firewire drives or a SAN and appears to be a very well known feature (bug?). Previous postings indicate that the error occurs because the project file should reside only on the system drive and that an attempt to save to ANY external source will risk producing that error. Some have said that it's a drive speed issue (not sure of that explanation since this happens with locally attached drives and you really can't edit or access media while you're saving your project anyway) while others really don't give a reason and chalk it up to apple's rigid protocols. Either way, it begs the following questions.

How do large facilities collaborate on projects with many shared resources if the main organizational tools, the project files, are restricted to many scattered local drives? Imagine a situation with running footage or a stock library that is shared among 4 or 10 or 20 editors. Perhaps pieces of the individual projects are constantly being shared. How can this be achieved with this limitation on project storage. The beauty of other unnamed systems is that someone can be doing ingest while other editors access the project in read-only mode. Perhaps another station can do output while I continue to edit. Perhaps I want to grab your project (in read-mode of course) at various times of the day and use it in my project. It also seems like an organizational nightmare to coordinate between large numbers of projects scattered across local drives in a facility. Is a shared project scenario or other collaborative situations just not attainable with FC?

If this limitation is apple's way of saving us from bogging down the media shares then why not allow saving to a separate file server where all my fonts and graphic elements are stored? It seems that to prevent me from storing anywhere other than the system drive prevents me from implementing that scenario as well. They even prevent you from working from an attached firewire or esata drive.

Now some will say that you can make copies of projects and use them locally, saving them back to your SAN or file server upon completion. My concern with that strategy in a high volume (or low volume for that matter)situation is that the risk of improperly syncing projects back and forth is extremely high.

So rather that answering this post with the usual "save to your system drive" or "what hardware/software are you using (this is a very well documented problem going back for years)", I was hoping to get some practical advice. I wonder how Turner or Discovery or Fox et al accomplish the monumental task of true project collaboration with this FC limitation. I don't even want to think of the nightmare a facility might have with the use of a pool of freelance editors in these situations. What strategies are people using? Sorry for the long setup but I hope this susses out some useful answers.


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Shane Ross
Re: Error: unknown file
on Sep 22, 2010 at 8:58:40 am

[cam khoury] "How do large facilities collaborate on projects with many shared resources if the main organizational tools, the project files, are restricted to many scattered local drives"

By setting up very rigid protocols and practices that all editors must adhere too. Failing to do so will result in corrupt projects, or lost projects...or scattered project. It's true, the Shared Project Workflow is superior on Avid...but it can work in FCP as long as you set up a project workflow and make sure EVERYONE sticks to it.

[cam khoury] "Imagine a situation with running footage or a stock library that is shared among 4 or 10 or 20 editors."

Yup...done that. Everyone has a copy locally. And if footage is added, it is added by ONE editor, or an assistant. They then update that project file to the SAN, inform the editors of the new footage and an updated project, and all the editors then grab the latest project for that media.

[cam khoury] "Is a shared project scenario or other collaborative situations just not attainable with FC?"

Oh no, it is TOTALLY attainable. Bunim/Murray, a company that uses FCP, has anywhere from 4-8 shows running at one time, and that has over 100 FCP stations, with many MANY editors working on one show at at time. How they do this is with a rigid set of ways of handling an managing projects. And I have been in more than one production facility where we had between 4 and 8 editors accessing the same media and using project files on local systems. It has been a challenge when some editors don't adhere to the system, but every time something weird has happened, it is traced to editors not following the rules. User error.

You just need to figure out how to do things, and then post a sheet of the rules. Yes, it is more difficult than Avid...Avid works beautifully this way because the project file contains MANY MANY items. Each bin is a separate file in the project folder, that's how someone can access it, then they OWN it...it locks to changes from anyone else...and other people can access it. This is how you can share ONE project among many editors. FCP is ONE project file, so multiple editors cannot access it at the same time. So you have to do things like make footage projects, sound effects projects, and SEQUENCE projects. And only allow the Assistants to update the footage projects. A lot is involved.

[cam khoury] "Now some will say that you can make copies of projects and use them locally, saving them back to your SAN or file server upon completion. My concern with that strategy in a high volume (or low volume for that matter)situation is that the risk of improperly syncing projects back and forth is extremely high."

The main person who says that, Mark Raudonis, is the pioneer at Bunim/Murray who figured this out. And if you want an example of a successful, high pressure, multiple...and I mean DOZENS...edit stations on one project, that is the place. Reality shows galore. PROJECT RUNWAY, ROAD RULES. Reality programming with TONS of footage and tight deadlines. They have a process, and it works. I took the basics of that workflow (the only thing Mark would part with) and created separate workflows for two production companies. I put the basics on my GETTING ORGANIZED DVD. You just need someone who knows FCP inside and out, and who is HIGHLY organized, to develop the strategy...and you need editors who aren't their sloppy-ass selves and get lazy and don't do things right. Every time we had issues, and an editor was swearing at FCP and complaining up and down and missing files and sequences, we tracked it to them not sticking to the rules. Their excuse? "I can't be thinking of all this technical stuff. I just need to be creative and edit!" Sorry, editing is TECHNICAL too.

And you need to hire VERY COMPETENT help...Assistant editors who are VERY skilled, and stay on top of things. Not bright young faces off the street. Experienced people.

[cam khoury] " I was hoping to get some practical advice. I wonder how Turner or Discovery or Fox et al accomplish the monumental task of true project collaboration with this FC limitation."

They hire bright people, or consultants (such as myself) to walk through strategies for multi-station workflows. And EVERY SINGLE case I talk about "work locally, back up to the SAN." Or I point out EDIT SHARE, that has a proprietary way of organizing things that makes it very Avid-like. Unfortunately it is a tad more expensive than simple shared storage...so companies pass on it..thus making it so that we need to employ the rigid rules.

[cam khoury] "What strategies are people using? Sorry for the long setup but I hope this susses out some useful answers."

I would go into more detail, but this is part of my business...part of how I remain marketable. I know what to do, how to set this up. If I, or Mark, just posted it for everyone to see, then we are now slightly less marketable, because EVERYONE knows that information. But, the basics.

- Multiple projects...somethng Avid can't do. Footage projects, audio projects (music and SFX), and sequence projects...one main one to store them all that is maintained by an assistant, and one on each edit station. Share cuts by asking someone for their cut, and they send a project file with ONLY their cut in it. Or send an XML of the cut.

- Projects stay stored on the local system, with the masters on the SAN. Every night, the editor back up their projects to the SAN.

- Have a gate keeper. Any changes made to projects will be done by ONLY authorized personnel. One person, or couple of people (assistants, lead editor), that maintains the master project files. Captures the footage and adds it to the existing projects, tells editors to grab the latest one and replace what they have. EDITORS ARE NEVER EVER EVER TO CAPTURE FOOTAGE THEMSELVES, or import footage of any kind! Those who do will be repremanded, disciplined, shot...and fired. Any time we see FOOTAGE OFFLINE, and when we go to reconnect it is on the DESKTOP of an editor? BIG TROUBLE. Editors don't do any capturing...they tell assistants, or the LEAD editor (who might be the gate keeper) and they do the capturing.

- ADHERE TO THE RULES at all costs. Stray and you hurt everyone.

- Again, if you want Avid-like project structure, look at EditShare.

- Hire a consultant who specialized in these workflows, and adhere to their workflows. Don't hire them, listen, then just go about doing things the same old way, then complain that they messed up. Sorry, we come back and see that people don't adhere and mess things up. It's pretty obvious.

And, if in the end you just can't do it... you can always go back to Avid. The software version is cheap, works on the same macs you have now, and you don't even need UNITY to share media and projects. Wouldn't hurt though.

Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Ben Holmes
Re: Error: unknown file
on Sep 22, 2010 at 5:03:26 pm

I can only echo the Editshare shout - Having work successfully in a medium sized facility where I recommended it (over AVID Unity, to which it is a very affordable alternative), I can only praise what they've done for shared environments in FCP. Even without using their FLOW ingest solution, you can effortlessly share files and media and collaborate on large scale projects.

If you think Editshare is 'too expensive' you haven't properly looked at the cost (including the human cost in man-hours) of the the alternatives.

Ben

Edit Out Ltd
----------------------------
FCP Editor/Trainer/System Consultant
EVS/VT Supervisor for live broadcast
RED camera transfer/post
Independent Director/Producer

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/casestudies/detail.asp?case=therydercup


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cam khoury
Re: Error: unknown file
on Sep 22, 2010 at 8:45:22 pm

From what I'm hearing, this is actually an error designed into the system to discourage you from saving to any drive but the system drive. I'm not so sure I understand why Apple has created such a rigid structure that won't even allow you to store a project to an attached Firewire drive. Perhaps FC should warn you about this as you save to an "unauthorized" drive. The whole thing seems so "SneakerNet-ish" (seems like the perfect thing for a competent programmer to work on being that computers do this sort of organizational tedium far better than humans do). Anyway, thanks for your insights.

cam


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Mark Underkofler
Re: Error: unknown file
on Apr 18, 2012 at 8:18:55 pm

Shane,

We've been experiencing this phenomena in two of our bays and it seems very random. It doesn't appear to be content dependent because you can SAVE AS to another volume on our SAN.

We use the Facilis Terablock SAN.

I've bought your DVD so I'm hoping I'll find a solution there.



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Singleton Makin
Re: Error: unknown file
on Feb 14, 2014 at 9:49:13 pm

I am getting a barrage of errors now. I think Satan has invested my computer with demons! and is trying to ruin my project~! It is the only logical answer because none of the errors get resolved by the solutions that people are asking about….

Maybe I just got 'f'd' through the drive through……and I should have learned when the QUICKTIME UPDATE messed with the SPEED CONTROL feature in FINAL CUT 3 to newer versions …..

If you started a project say on a FCP 3 and it resides in a FCS world with FCP 7

there is no way of being able to guarantee that you will be able to solve the nightmare of riddles and puzzles that are hidden in your sequences.

I only say this because, I have been trying for years now to resolve a project from a certain POSITION in the EDIT WORKFLOW on FINAL CUT PRO.

My only problem is the RELINKING of MEDIA now on new external RAID via the eSATA PRO card by you know the name…..and the external drives by you know the name….LaCie and Gtech in my case….sep for new rebatched media on a RAID 0 from November….

I am still trying to solve these hangups and bugs…..

GENERAL ERROR
FILE ERROR unknown FOLDER
GENERAL ERROR with a NUMBER (no help)

IS there any way I can take my old AVID 5.x MediaFiles and and old .omf? and open a new project in AVID today and get any resemblance of what I edited on that LOCKED POSITION of editing.

(*I say LOCKED because there was three stages for me……AVID , PROTOOLS, AVID to FCP

FCP and FCS have long sense become more than I think I can handle or wish too with the advent of FCPX

I am trapped in a slow motion shot of a table that one leg has been broken so it is falling with the million piece puzzle I have worked so hard to put together all falling and there I am trying to save the falling sections of the puzzle in mid-air placing them together …..while the other parts continue to fall apart out of my control and down into oblivion.

POST PRODUCTION HELL? I am in it……

Does anyone have a FLATBED or MOVIOLA with some scissors and tape? or even ELmer's glue! at this point! would be better than this DIGITAL NIGHTMARE of putting out fires, only to find them lurking again and again………..the HORROR!!!!!! the HORROR!!!!!!!

8-)

I am losing it….


J. Singleton Makin

PS- maybe I could just HD VIDEO TAPE from the VHS TAPES I HAVE onto my PLASMA SCREEN and then get a better result?

At least MATROX wouldn't be up my arse…….with their YOU DON"T HAVE THE MATROX HARDWARE INSTALLED and the CODEC CAN't be FOUND…….

THESE ARE ITEMS ………I already REBATCHED in PRORES 422 HQ and re-linked!!!!!

but every time I open the project…..it has ALZHEIMER'S and STILL ASK ME TO RELINK FOOTAGE I already told it to link up before?!!?!?!?

AM I CRAZY?????? WHY is this HAPPENING? FINAL CUT PRO will not even SAVE My project files?

NOw will you believe me? I am starting to think the ANTI-CHRIST was APPLE…….and we just missed it!
right in front of our faces….

a bitten apple mocking us too!

oye vay!

But I Love JESUS!

JESUS can you help me with this?

I don't think JESUS uses FINAL CUT PRO…..

HE would rather use SMOKE or AVID…….something …….anything……….a flatbed…….and a scope?

help I am drowning and I can't get up!

J. Singleton Makin 8-)

PS- at least my prose is online……….8-)


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