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Oren Hercz
FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Dec 6, 2011 at 3:21:38 pm

Hi there,

Has anyone experienced this strange playback issue? It started when I began editing 1080p material in Prores and upgrading to Snow Leopard. Basically, the system works fine at the beginning of the day, but if I go to check e-mail or look something up online, then go back to editing, video and audio becomes jittery, dropping frames, etc. Only a restart will solve the problem. Closing down the other programs will not.

I'm on a MacPro with plenty of RAM, fast drives, etc. The problem exists whether using external video monitoring or not, so it's not my MXO2 box, I don't think.

It's almost as if the CPU gets occupied with some invisible task that slows down performance. . .

Any help or thoughts would be much appreciated. Thank you very much!

Best,

Oren Hercz
Journeyman Film Company


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Steve Eisen
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Dec 6, 2011 at 3:28:51 pm

Are you using the latest drivers from Matrox? Should be 2.2.3 for Snow Leopard.

Trashing your preferences can't hurt. Use Digital Rebellion's Preference Manager.

One more thing overlooked is your window layout. Hit Control U to reset and Shift Z in you Canvas and Viewer.

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


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Joseph Hung
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Dec 6, 2011 at 5:36:05 pm

You can also use Console while it's happening to see if any errors come about. And use Activity Monitor to see what's hogging your CPU. Generally, I never update anything while in the middle of a project, this almost always creates problems. I suspect that it's a driver/firmware incompatibility between something and something, from updating to Snow Leopard.

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Oren Hercz
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Dec 6, 2011 at 6:03:10 pm

Thank you for the tips Joseph and Steve,

I will try out all these suggestions and see if I can get to the bottom of it.

Cheers,
Oren


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David Roth Weiss
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Dec 6, 2011 at 6:33:05 pm

[Oren Hercz] "It started when I began editing 1080p material in Prores and upgrading to Snow Leopard."

If you did an upgrade over the top of Leopard, but not a clean install, you may never find the issue. Issues such as the one you're having now are very common when a simple update is performed between different OSs. A clean install of the new OS is the only reliable way to do the job.

In the future, clone your old system drive to a firewire drive first, then wipe the system drive and start from scratch.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new Creative Cow Podcast: Bringing "The Whale" to the Big Screen:
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POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Oren Hercz
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Dec 6, 2011 at 6:48:59 pm

Thanks David,

Actually, I did do a clean install of Snow Leopard thanks to the good advice of yourself and others on the forums so that I could avoid issues like this!

Hopefully, that means resolving the issue will be easier.

Cheers,
Oren


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David Roth Weiss
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Dec 6, 2011 at 7:02:33 pm

[Oren Hercz] "Actually, I did do a clean install of Snow Leopard thanks to the good advice of yourself and others on the forums so that I could avoid issues like this!"

Very good!!!

[Oren Hercz] "Hopefully, that means resolving the issue will be easier."

It will definitely make the job easier.

1) Run Software update until everything is up to date
2) Fix permissions on the system drive using Disk Utility
3) Run Disk Warrior on all drives if you have it
4) if the above fails, try the FCP repair tools from http://www.Digitalrebellion.com

If all of the above fails then write back and we'll go deeper.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new Creative Cow Podcast: Bringing "The Whale" to the Big Screen:
http://library.creativecow.net/weiss_roth_david/Podcast-Series-2-MikeParfit...

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Oren Hercz
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Jan 5, 2012 at 8:06:16 pm

Hi folks,

Remember me? I know it's been a little while. Happy New Year everyone.

I wanted to continue this discussion about the problem I was having. It hasn't gone away, despite me doing most of the suggestions above.

So I'm wondering now if it is something to do with how my system is set-up. Can I give you my specs and you let me know if anything seems amiss? The problem only surfaced when I started editing 1080p Prores 422 material regularly. 720p still plays back no problem, so I'm thinking now that this may have always been a latent problem in the system. Again, problem is--on a fresh restart timeline plays fine, but after a couple of hours (especially if Motion, Mail, Firefox, etc. have been in use as well), it starts to stutter regularly, dropping frames, and putting audio out of sync. The problem usually starts when going a over a dark green or bright green render bar, but once it starts it persists on segments that have been fully rendered. Only way to solve it is to restart.

So this is my system:

Computer:
Apple Mac Pro (8-core Xeon 5400 Series) 2nd Gen. Early 2008 Desktop/PC
RAM: 10GB
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512MB

Media Drives:
Either:
2 1.5TB drive internal striped RAID set (total capacity 3TB), or,
External GRAID 2 1TB drive from GTECH, through Firewire 800.

Output Box:
Matrox MXO2 feeding HP Dreamcolor through HDMI

OS:
Snow Leopard 10.6.8

Everything has been updated to its most current version. Drives have all been defragged, permissions checked, FCP preferences trashed, etc. Regarding the FCP repair tools, I wasn't sure which were useful to my situation aside from the trashing preferences one which I did.

The only other thing I'll mention is that the system does crash more often than I would like. Often, I'll experience the problem, then shut down. On restart, after log-in I get the scary transparent gray screen that says I need to hold down the power button and restart my computer. I'll do this and then everything will be fine.

Any help would be much appreciated. I'm tempted to reload the whole system onto a new boot drive, but I don't want to do all that work only to experience the problem again!

Thoughts? Thanks again!

Oren


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Joseph Hung
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Jan 26, 2012 at 6:00:41 pm

Hey Oren,
Sorry for the delay. Happy New Year to you. I am wondering if you found a solution? Have you tried monitoring your CPU usage during specific tasks? It sounds like you did a clean install of the OS, and you've tried other steps such as permissions repair and disk health tools, to no avail?

I had a similar issue like this. I couldn't playback my edits without dropping frames, and other system holdups and hiccups, making editing a real pain. Mornings were better than later in the day. I had internally striped RAID as well which was my capture scratch. I fixed my problem by updating my storage and IO feed.

One thing to think about is that an internal striped RAID (via internal HDDs and Disk Utility) is not the ideal way to have high speed throughput and CPU's unencumbered. An internally striped RAID requires the computer's CPUs to control them. It is much more ideal to have a RAID PCI-E card installed that has hardware based CPU RAID controller, thereby taking the processing off of your computer's CPUs and handling it on the RAID card's CPU instead. This will relieve the inherent bottleneck. Couple this with high speed cables and an external RAID chassis and you'll be pulling in enough throughput to edit several streams of uncompressed HD.

HD video, depending on your choice of codec, will require high enough throughput. Especially when you want the best HD possible, either Uncompressed or ProRes 422 HQ. To help determine if it's a throughput issue, are you keeping your files on the internal RAID or the external GTECH? Firewire 800 isn't going to do it for you either, depending on what codec you are using. Also, what codec are you cutting with? FCP7? How many video streams? How do you have your material organized? Organization of your material and how the NLE links to them is just as important.

Building an external RAID with hardware is not cheap, and I know this is not what you want to hear. But it sounds like your system is getting bogged down when you need high throughput, so the answer that I can think of is creating better throughput.

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Joseph Hung
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Jan 26, 2012 at 6:05:11 pm

One other thing to check out is your RAM health. You can run a test with an app called Rember. See if your RAM is faulty and if it is, replace it and see if that helps.

http://www.tulpapictures.com
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Mac 2.66 GHz Quad Intel Xeon
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CS5
8GB RAM
ProAvio 8TB RAID 5 Dual Mini-SAS
Blackmagic Intensity Pro
ATI Radeon X1900
RocketRAID 4322 via dual MiniSAS
Panasonic Lumix GH2, Canon 5DMKII, 7D, Panasonic HVX200A, Panasonic DVX100A


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Oren Hercz
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Jan 26, 2012 at 8:30:50 pm

Hi Joseph,

Thanks for the input. I agree, my system is a bit of a Frankensystem at times. I've got the internal striped RAID, but then sometimes I'm also drawing media off a stock footage drive which is just a bare 7200 RPM drive plugged into an ESATA dock (I have an ESATA PCIe card).

I did a RAM test using Apple Hardware Utility, so all the hardware seems to be working fine.

I've been thinking about getting a proper external RAID array. Can you recommend? I want to get something that could support (or connect to) networked attached storage down the line as it looks like things are heading in that direction for our company.

The reason I haven't thought about this in the past is that we edit in Apple Prores 422, not HQ, so even Firewire 800 should have plenty of bandwidth to accomodate, even without RAIDED drives.

Problem is, only way to test this is to invest a lot of money in new drives and see if things fare better. That's an expensive experiment!

One more thing, the problem seems to occur when I hit green render bars, at least at first. Does that give any more clues?

Cheers,
Oren


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Joseph Hung
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Jan 29, 2012 at 1:19:35 am

Even at ProRes 422 you can be bottlenecking when you have too many streams of video, with filters, effects, etc. If your timeline is quite long and complicated, FW800 drives (raids or daisy chains) will still falter at 100% res.
You should render all to get rid of all colored bars and whatnot, and see if that helps. Streamlining your master clips to one place will help too. When I was having issues, I moved my audio clips and audio render to a different drive and that seemed to help a little.
To do complicated edits, you really do need good bandwidth with HD material. If you are thinking future proof for multiple edit stations networked to one place, I would look into turn key systems such as SANs and the likes. If you are thinking a single RAID array for one edit station, there are tons of options out there, but FW800 will still be your bottleneck. You could look into an eSATA card and try connecting with that, but I haven't tried it and don't know about its performance, in theory it's better than FW800. Worth looking into.
Many turn key RAIDs plug and play are expensive, and the really good ones still require PCI-E RAID cards. I wrote a tutorial for building a DIY RAID array for single edit bay, for under $2K. If you want, send me your email and I'll email it to you. My DIY RAID is beefy and I have not had any trouble with complicated feature length edits in ProRes 422 HQ.
This route doesn't set you up for future networking and SANs. When you want to do that, you'll have to invest in outfitting stations with the appropriate hardware to network multiple edit bays.

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CS5
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Blackmagic Intensity Pro
ATI Radeon X1900
RocketRAID 4322 via dual MiniSAS
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Oren Hercz
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Jan 30, 2012 at 1:24:00 pm

Thanks Joseph,

Yes, please send your tutorial. oren@journeymanfilm.com

Thanks!
Oren


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Joseph Hung
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Jan 31, 2012 at 4:14:14 pm

Hey Oren,
I've been thinking about it, and with the new update to FCPX bringing in some much needed functionality, it's looking more mature and I might be moving over to it from FCP7 soon. But that's not why I'm writing. I've been reading up, especially this article, where the demo presented to the editors by Apple was with an iMac, AJA IOXT box for broadcast monitor output, a Promise RAID, all via Thunderbolt.
http://tinyurl.com/79al2o3
Add to this set up the real possibility that Apple will probably kill the Mac Pro this year, and force everyone to not only relearn their NLE, but to rebuild their systems as well in order to stay up on tech and hardware and speed. Can you imagine walking into an edit bay and seeing this set up? Eye opening for sure, and impressive, although I'm not a fan of a bunch of desktop peripherals. However, we are animals that evolve to our environments, so making those adjustments to my system is something I can get over.
With all that said, you might want to add to your considerations and equations, and look a little further into your work's near future, since your computer will soon be outdated, too slow, and require hardware that is no longer supported (as is my computer is already there, coming onto 6 years old now). This is only going to make it tougher. I wonder if it is better to price out a new computer with Thunderbolt connectivity, and see where that lands you after you upgrade everything to handle the technology and be able to function on a professional level?
FCPX, Thunderbolt interface, and the peripherals, plugins, etc will continue to bolster themselves collectively. It's gonna get better, and for me, since I am in need of a new tower, like right now, I think I should consider how to fold in Thunderbolt. I'm just waiting to see if Apple drops a new Mac Pro, and if my current hardware will be compatible with it. If it is, I will likely buy it or a refurb from last release like a 12 core, and I can hold out a few more years until all the new tech bugs and updates are worked out and it's at a pro level that I require. If it is not, then I may have to make that move over to smaller but faster computers and Thunderbolt. My RAID 5 array may soon be a very expensive paperweight. :)
Sorry to get off topic, but thought this might be helpful in deciding what to do to fix future bandwidth issues.

http://www.tulpapictures.com
Twitter: @tulpapictures
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Mac 2.66 GHz Quad Intel Xeon
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FCS2
CS5
8GB RAM
ProAvio 8TB RAID 5 Dual Mini-SAS
Blackmagic Intensity Pro
ATI Radeon X1900
RocketRAID 4322 via dual MiniSAS
Panasonic Lumix GH2, Canon 5DMKII, 7D, Panasonic HVX200A, Panasonic DVX100A


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Joseph Hung
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Jan 31, 2012 at 5:04:01 pm

However, this is enlightening and has some good info links.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1179272

But this is getting off topic and requires it's own or existing thread.

http://www.tulpapictures.com
Twitter: @tulpapictures
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Mac 2.66 GHz Quad Intel Xeon
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FCS2
CS5
8GB RAM
ProAvio 8TB RAID 5 Dual Mini-SAS
Blackmagic Intensity Pro
ATI Radeon X1900
RocketRAID 4322 via dual MiniSAS
Panasonic Lumix GH2, Canon 5DMKII, 7D, Panasonic HVX200A, Panasonic DVX100A


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Oren Hercz
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Jan 31, 2012 at 5:17:14 pm

Hey Joseph,

Funny you should write this this morning, as I just got out of a team meeting where we are talking about how much work is coming down the pipes and how it will affect our workflow. Basically, we have a lot of stuff coming in, and more and more we are continually re-purposing old footage, so it looks like we will need some kind of Digital Asset Management solution (maybe CATDV) soon, and definitely will need some kind of large RAID, maybe networked, for allow for more editors.

And it's my job to figure out how to make all this work! I've been eyeing FCPX for a while now. I really like the looks of it, but was nervous about the jump. I really don't want to switch to AVID or Adobe, but all the Apple fear mongering (you know, all they care about is iphones, not us professionals, boo hoo. . . ) has gotten to me so I've been really hesitant.

I'd love to get FCPX, Thunderbolt, maybe CATDV, and a killer RAID to plug into, but this will be a huge investment in a particular workflow that is pretty untested. I'm going to need whatever it is to work. . .!

Interesting times. What do you think? Does FCPX have a future for professionals beyond the one person shop? Do you know of any small to medium sized production houses that have adopted FCPX?

The MacPro question is another thing that makes me wonder. . .

Okay, now we are really off topic (but not really)!!!

Cheers!

Oren


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Joseph Hung
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Jan 31, 2012 at 6:14:49 pm

Well, I'm a one person shop and I am very hesitant myself, and will not make the jump yet. There are too many factors and I want to wait and see how it all plays out. Your fears I believe are legitimate, and many professionals share it. I have not heard of any post houses adopting FCPX completely yet, only purchasing one app and playing with it, staying up on it, and seeing how it will fold into their current workflows. For the most part, post houses using FCP7 for majority of their work is sticking with that until FCPX really shows them they can "trust" Apple and FCPX. Or testing other NLEs. Walter Biscardi is a big proponent on this and has written alot about it. Time will only tell.
I do believe that Apple has shown that they want to be in the pro game. They are working on FCPX and it is getting better and eventually it will get there I think. But when that is, is the big question.
If you are under a time crunch and need a solution for upcoming work right away, either stick with FCP7 or you might need to move over to a different NLE that you are more comfortable trusting on the long run. If you have time, then waiting a little while longer to see what happens could be worth it. Not sure, it's a tough call.
Thunderbolt isn't tested in the situations that you are describing, so I wouldn't trust it yet. FCPX and sharing volumes is still in the works and not ready I think. These new workflows needs real world testing.

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Mac 2.66 GHz Quad Intel Xeon
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CS5
8GB RAM
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Blackmagic Intensity Pro
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RocketRAID 4322 via dual MiniSAS
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Joseph Hung
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Jan 31, 2012 at 8:21:25 pm

You know, ethernet is still a very viable and affordable networked SAN connection. I think I read somewhere that Walter Biscardi connects his entire post house via ethernet. I could be wrong tho.

http://www.tulpapictures.com
Twitter: @tulpapictures
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tulpapictures

Mac 2.66 GHz Quad Intel Xeon
OSX 10.6.8
FCS2
CS5
8GB RAM
ProAvio 8TB RAID 5 Dual Mini-SAS
Blackmagic Intensity Pro
ATI Radeon X1900
RocketRAID 4322 via dual MiniSAS
Panasonic Lumix GH2, Canon 5DMKII, 7D, Panasonic HVX200A, Panasonic DVX100A


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Jeremy Belzer-Adams
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Mar 6, 2012 at 12:14:57 am

Joseph,

Did you ever solve this problem? I'm having something very similar happen on my mac pro. I'm on a fiber SAN, so disk speed is not the issue.

Jeremy


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Joseph Hung
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Mar 6, 2012 at 1:40:01 am

Well, I don't think Oren "fixed" his problem, more like identified what could possibly be slowing his system down.
For you, it's not your scratch location, it sounds like something internal. Have you checked your RAM health? Disk health? Graphics card? You aren't giving us much information, so we're just shooting in the dark here.
In fact, you should start a new thread, as your problem is different from the OP.
Thanks,

http://www.tulpapictures.com
Twitter: @tulpapictures
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tulpapictures

Mac 2.66 GHz Quad Intel Xeon
OSX 10.6.8
FCS2
CS5
8GB RAM
ProAvio 8TB RAID 5 Dual Mini-SAS
Blackmagic Intensity Pro
ATI Radeon X1900
RocketRAID 4322 via dual MiniSAS
Panasonic Lumix GH2, Canon 5DMKII, 7D, Panasonic HVX200A, Panasonic DVX100A


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Jeff Hackbarth
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Aug 15, 2012 at 8:25:02 pm

I am also having a very similar issue as Oren. If I connect my audio mixer to the headphone/line out on my Mac Pro, the signal is fine. However, when I connect to the RCA outs on the Blackmagic card, I get the audio stutter, dropped frames, etc.

FCP 7.0.3
Mac OS 10.6.8
2 x 2.8 Quad-Core Xeon
6 GB DDR2 RAM (800 MHz)
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT (512 MB)


My capture scratch is a G Technology ES Pro, RAID 5, using a MiniSAS connection.


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Oliver Timm
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Sep 25, 2013 at 7:35:13 am

10.6 and 10.7 I am having 'this' issue. Overall degrading performance until FCP7 is unusable and nothing apart from restarting the mac pro resolves it. At which point it scrubs and plays back to 2 external monitors …. and the cycle continues until performance is awful and I restart again. These are 422 and 422 HQ 1080 sequences matched to the source footage which is the same.

On a mac pro we have a SAS attached storage and have tried 2x Kona Lhe and Lhi.

On a new iMac (2012) with Thunderbolt storage and an AJA IO XT thunderbolt box.

Over time something gets worse and a restart fixes it. Seems to be the common denominator in this thread and as far as I can tell no one has gotten to the bottom of it??

Anyone? Bueller?


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Joseph Hung
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Sep 25, 2013 at 6:33:23 pm

Could be drive health or RAM health. Usually I find that when weird problems like this arise, and everything says it's fine, it's something to do with a drive or memory stick, etc. Run some testing software to determine if a drive or stick is dying.
It shouldn't be your cabling, but I would just double check your cables to rule out that problem, as cables do go bad from time to time.

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David Roth Weiss
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Sep 25, 2013 at 6:39:34 pm

The symptoms you describe sound as though you may have either updated the FCP software or the OS over the top of a prior version. Is that the case?

David Roth Weiss
ProMax Systems
Burbank
DRW@ProMax.com

Sales | Integration | Support

David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Oliver Timm
Re: FCP 7 strange playback issue gets worse over time
on Sep 25, 2013 at 10:25:34 pm

The mac pro - was on 10.6 and I did upgrade it to 10.7, though the symptoms were present before the upgrade. I will un-install fcp7 and do a re-install.

The iMac was new, clean install of 10.8.4 on which I installed fcp7. It seems funny that across both machines it is a persistent set of symptoms. On this iMac I did update 10.8.4. --> to 10.8.5 while FCP7 was installed.

When you mention updating or upgrading do you mean point increments e.g 10.8.4 to 10.8.5 ?
Or the major updates of OS 10.6 to 10.7 or 10.8 ?

I will do a memory test today on the mac pro, I have done numerous drive tests. The only common thing across the 2 machines is a incremental point upgrade.

Let you know how we travel, thanks for your input!


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