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Suddenly, a codec error

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David Dean
Suddenly, a codec error
on Jul 4, 2011 at 12:53:12 pm

Hi, everyone - hope your Fourth is happier than mine...

I'm trying to export a 100-minute, full-sized, 1920x1080 Quicktime movie from FCP. I have used this process for the entire six months of this project with consistent success, even my first 140-minute roughcut. The compression type, according to the settings, is XDCAM EX 1080p24 (35 Mb/s VBR), but it has never asked about codecs when I choose Export/Quicktime Movie. I do not use QT Conversion for this process; exporting it with Current Settings takes much, much less time and I'm happy with a 30GB movie to work with in Compressor, taking FCP out of the equation while I create a DVD of the timeline.

As far as I know, I have made no significant changes in my timeline since exporting the last roughcut; if anything, I've cut 20 minutes out. The timeline is completely rendered before starting the process. And yet, after two hours or so of processing, I'm getting the "Codec Error" message. This has now happened twice, and has never happened before.

I confess I don't know a lot about codecs, and so I'm just lost this morning. Can I duplicate my timeline and change the compression type to something that's suddenly more amenable to Quicktime exporting? And what, out of the dozens of options, could I try? I'll be happy to provide whichever other details anyone might need to help, but I'm on the verge of panic -- I have to have a DVD to send to distributors by Tuesday afternoon. Many, many thanks for anyone's help in advance.


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Suddenly, a codec error
on Jul 4, 2011 at 3:47:45 pm

Sounds to me like there's a bad render file in the sequence. If the export gets to a certain percentage of completion, then it fails, it's about that same percentage into the timeline from the head... those render files should be re-rendered...

Jerry

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David Dean
Re: Suddenly, a codec error
on Jul 4, 2011 at 9:15:17 pm

Hi, Jerry. Thank you so much for your observation that the percentage of the export corresponded to the percentage of the timeline. It seems obvious in retrospect, but I hadn't heard it spelled out so clearly.

When I got an "out of memory" error message instead of a "codec error" message, and didn't understand why my Activity Monitor showed plenty of memory, I found a YouTube video by Larry Jordan, who told me about the maximum amount of memory FCP can use, and how you really shouldn't have a project file much bigger than 100MB to keep it from getting hinky (and mine was 200MB -- it's a feature film), I had the thought of creating a new project and only bringing in the timeline in question from the main project. Sure enough, the project is now a streamlined 30MB. And this time, when I exported the timeline as a Quicktime movie (same codec, XDCAM EX 1080p/24), it worked -- it did take the three hours or so I expected, but there were absolutely no error messages. And because of your post, I monitored the entire process, cross-referencing the percentage to where I knew it approximately fell on the timeline. If a percentage point took a long time to move, I could tell it was because it was a spot where there were a lot of graphics, or whatever. But it didn't fail!

However -- and this is baffling me -- the exported QT movie gradually drifts out of sync. By the end of the 100 minutes, it is off by almost three seconds. As I've written over on the Compression thread, I am back to point zero, and have no idea how to proceed now.

Thanks again for any advice you might have.


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Tore Jonssen
Re: Suddenly, a codec error
on Jul 5, 2012 at 9:22:39 am

Just experienced the same thing. Nothing worked until I muted the video track with a few Motion templates (for lower thirds), then I exported without problems

Regards,
Tore Jonssen


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Tiago Ferreira Marques
Re: Suddenly, a codec error
on May 16, 2013 at 5:36:32 pm

After having this error, I veryfied I had put an IN just after the last video of my sequence, instead of an OUT - wich made the export to be infinite in video lenght.


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Alex Dolginko
Re: Suddenly, a codec error
on Nov 3, 2014 at 9:08:37 pm

Just want to chime in to thank Tiago for mentioning how the "Codec Error" was due to a mistakenly placed IN marker in the timeline. This was exactly what was causing my issue.

It's amazing how easy it is to overlook something so obviously wrong when looking for a more complex problem.

Cheers!


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