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'Mirror on Desktop' causing dropped frames

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Tom Mountford
'Mirror on Desktop' causing dropped frames
on Dec 21, 2011 at 9:29:02 am

Hello - I'm trying to sort an issue for one of my editors.

We're using FCP 7.0.3 and are experiencing a maddening continual dropping of frames on playback (even on single-stream sequences) and have to throttle FCP back to 'Medium' video quality in order to play projects to clients - we use XDCAM-EX so we aren't exacly pulling massive bitrates from disk (see specs). We are deriving the output for our client screen as 1080i coming from an installed Blackmagic Intensity (HDMI) card, and I updated the drivers for this to Digital Desktop 9.0 but this didn't provide a solution.

The ONLY workaround I've found so far is to turn off 'Mirror on Desktop' in FCP's Audio/Video Settings - this gives 1080i playback to the client screen without dropping frames, but naturally disabling the Canvas window makes it very difficult to edit! The converse is also true, if I turn off External Video playback the video in the Canvas window also becomes free of dropped frames - it just seems unable to provide an output to both without struggling to maintain the required framerate.


  • MacPro 2.66GHz Quad-Core Xeon
  • 3GB RAM
  • OS X 10.6.8
  • 4TB internal striped RAID, 2x 7200RPM SATA - benchmarked at 274MB/s read (with 3TB available space)
  • Blackmagic Intensity - running Digital Desktop 9.0
  • FCP 7.0.3

All help most gratefully received!


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Bret Williams
Re: 'Mirror on Desktop' causing dropped frames
on Dec 21, 2011 at 5:34:49 pm

Do you have video scopes playback on? The timeline is fully rendered?

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