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Changing Sequence Settings - Video Won't Play

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Lynette Gilbert
Changing Sequence Settings - Video Won't Play
on Sep 13, 2011 at 1:47:25 pm

This has been happening to me for a long time, both at my work computer and at home. I assume the problem is me, but I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong.

Let's say I have a clip in a strange aspect ratio, or I need to force it into a very specific size, like 720x374 (this kind of thing happens a lot, as I often receive clips from people who know nothing about video, or I need to send it in digital form to be played on something like a stadium monitor that has a very specific size). When I change the sequence setting, I can usually scrub through the video, but I cannot play it. The audio will play, but not the video. It will just freeze on one frame. Sometimes I don't even get video, I just get a black screen. I can't always scrub, either.

The strange thing is that most of the time these clips play just fine in the preview window, but not on the timeline. And, it is ONLY when the sequence is at something other than 720x480. I've had the same thing happen when changing it to 640x480, or just changing it to 16:9 (this isn't always forcing video into a different size, most of the time the original clip is that size, and it still freezes).

I always thought it was because I was trying to use clips that weren't meant to play straight in FCP, but even after converting them, I've had the same problem. I've mostly ignored the problem because I figured that was the issue, and usually I'm just doing very light editing to the clips.

However, the other day I was playing around with footage that I shot - I work with my own footage on a daily basis. This time I made custom sequence settings - forcing 720x480 into 720x374 - and I have the same problem. This is really an issue because I can't edit efficiently when I can't play the video back ...

So what am I doing incorrectly? I went through a ton of other threads, but I never really found an answer, unless I'm using the wrong search terms.

Here are my specs:

FCP 7.0.3
Model Name: Mac Pro
Model Identifier: MacPro4,1
Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
Processor Speed: 2.26 GHz
Number Of Processors: 2
Total Number Of Cores: 8
L2 Cache (per core): 256 KB
L3 Cache (per processor):8 MB
Memory: 8 GB


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Steve Eisen
Re: Changing Sequence Settings - Video Won't Play
on Sep 13, 2011 at 3:02:55 pm

FCP ONLY plays back standard frame sizes. ie...720x480, 720x486, 1280x720, 1920x1080.

Do not change your sequence settings. Keep them standard.

If you need to use other peoples footage that is not standard, either resize them to fit or keep them as is and render those clips.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group

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Shane Ross
Re: Changing Sequence Settings - Video Won't Play
on Sep 13, 2011 at 4:26:52 pm

Either that, or get an NLE that does what you want. Because FCP isn't designed to do what you are trying to do. As Steve said, FCP only works with broadcast video frame sizes.


Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

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David Eaks
Re: Changing Sequence Settings - Video Won't Play
on Sep 13, 2011 at 5:57:07 pm

Can't you just edit in a standard size that FCP likes, then resize in compressor via the "Geometry" tab when the editing is all done? I haven't really had to deal with non-standard sizes but it seems like that would be an easy way to accomplish what you want.

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