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FCP 7 dropping frames and I think I've tried almost everything

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Paul Harrill
FCP 7 dropping frames and I think I've tried almost everything
on Aug 1, 2012 at 4:49:41 pm

Hi all -

I'm getting dropped frame warnings -- including those dreaded red-letter "Slow Disk" warnings" -- in Final Cut, and I've never had this happen before. I've been troubleshooting for the last 24 hours and fear the issue is the new 2tb Hitachi Deskstar drives I'm using. I recently upgraded to them from 1TB Western Digital Caviar black drives.

The one thing that makes me think the Hitachi's aren't to blame is that I've run the AJA System Test ("2.0 gb file size on the Sweep Video Frame Sizes test") on my RAID (as was suggested in one forum thread) and I got very good read/write speeds from my Raid: Write 282 MB/s and Read 253.6 MB/s.

Can anyone offer any tips to isolate the problem? Below are my setup and the things I've tried so far.


Setup:

Mac Pro 2.66 Quad Core Xeon
6GB ram
FCP 7 on Boot Drive
media on RAID 5

Raid is an Other World Computing Mercury Elite AL Pro Qx2 Enclosure with 4 x 2tb Hitachi Deskstar drives for a 6 TB RAID 5.

Things I've tried (separately and in various configurations):

- trashed FCP prefs file

- turned off internet and internet-related applications (dropbox, etc.)

- restarted FCP

- rebooted Mac Pro

- turned off journaling on RAID

- ran applejack (tests disks, repairs permissions, cleans up cache files, validates pref files, cleans up virtual memory)

- switched RAID enclosure from eSATA to FW800 (to see if it could be a connection or esata card issue)

- tried only having one sequence open on timeline

- tried a different FCP project file

- tried a different esata input on esata card

Screenshots of one of the many warning messages I've gotten, as well as the AJA speed test results attached.







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Tom Bucknall
Re: FCP 7 dropping frames and I think I've tried almost everything
on Aug 1, 2012 at 5:24:13 pm

A couple more things to try/questions.

What kind of media are you working with?

Are you using any kind of I/O card or box, have you tried turning 'External Video' in the view menu to Off.

Do you have video scopes, audio mixer or the VO tool open?


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Paul Harrill
Re: FCP 7 dropping frames and I think I've tried almost everything
on Aug 1, 2012 at 5:28:05 pm

Good questions. Answers below:

[Tom Bucknall] "What kind of media are you working with?
"


I'm working with ProRes (normal, not LT or HQ), transcoded from AVCHD shot by an FS-100. This is newly logged/transferred footage I'm working with, but I believe the settings are identical to footage I've been working with for some time... never really had problems like this with it before. (At least nothing that a simple reboot of FCP didn't fix.)


[Tom Bucknall] "Are you using any kind of I/O card or box, have you tried turning 'External Video' in the view menu to Off.
"


No I/O card or box. I do occasionally used Desktop Cinema Preview, but external video being on or off doesn't seem to make a difference. I've had it off and on at different times and the frame dropping has happened either way.


[Tom Bucknall] "Do you have video scopes, audio mixer or the VO tool open?
"


Nope. Nothing.



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Paul Harrill
Re: FCP 7 dropping frames and I think I've tried almost everything
on Aug 1, 2012 at 6:22:48 pm

Two other critical pieces of information:

1) I've just switched out my backup RAID (identical type of RAID enclosure and identical type drives). Using the same project, I still get the dropped frames. This greatly reduces the chance that there's something wrong with my enclosure(s) or one of the specific Hitachi drives. If there's something wrong with the Hitachi's it's something about the design/build, not a specific malfunctioning drive.

2) The dropped frames don't happen every time I try to playback. It happens like every 15 minutes or so. The last three times happened at 1:22pm, 1:57pm, and 2:07pm. I'm almost wondering if it could be that the computer is trying to do something else on an intermittent basis and it creates a hiccup.

I've checked Activity Monitor but don't know enough about system processes to venture a guess. I will say the only new applications I've installed in the time between things working and things not working are: 5DtoRGB, and two updates (Slink and Handbrake). None of those applications have been running, however.



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Rafael Amador
Re: FCP 7 dropping frames and I think I've tried almost everything
on Aug 1, 2012 at 7:09:18 pm

And what is on your time-line, just one track of raw footage without any kind of filter or motion effects that needs no rendering?
The "Slow disk" warn includes also the System disk, so that might be the one that is not running fast enough.
rafael
PS: Personally, I would uncheck the "Warn next time" and forget about a frame dropped every few minutes.

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Doug Beal
Re: FCP 7 dropping frames and I think I've tried almost everything
on Aug 1, 2012 at 9:33:23 pm

I've had issues with hitachi drives in a couple of different raid boxes of the 4 drive ilk.
try the AJA test switch to the graph mode
see if you see downward spikes on the data rate.
In my case I only had issues editing to tape where the tolerance is much tighter.
after locating WD RE4 drives and dropping them in the issues went away. Black caviars are very similar to RE4's except the caviars are not TLER enabled
I have not bought hitachi drives since. I think they cycle to achieve a lower power demand and that "breathing" is what brings up the dropped frame warnings. I was unable to layout a DVCPro50 file for longer than a few minutes on an ESATA 6TB raid5 array with only the DVCPro50 file on it. Switching drives made it usable

Doug Beal
Editor / Engineer
Rock Creative Images
Nashville TN


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Paul Harrill
Re: FCP 7 dropping frames and I think I've tried almost everything
on Aug 1, 2012 at 10:29:03 pm

Thanks so much for that info, Doug. Your message, combined another few hours of testing, has me concluding that it's the Hitachi drives.

I finally took the RAIDs over to another computer (MacMini, running Lion). Though promising at first, I started getting the same messages. Even though the same computer is pushing prores on another FW800 drive just fine. Same specs of footage and everything. So, while I can't be certain it's the Hitachi's I have no other link in the chain to rule out.

To Rafael's point about unchecking "Warn Next Time" and moving on: While, yes, it's not a major issue at the moment, I am worried that it could develop into one. I am pushing one track of video and two tracks of audio on this footage. No renders, no effects, nothing else. I feel like if I'm going to drop $1000+ on new drives, there shouldn't be issues like these. My window for returning the drives is closing, so I need to either return them or accept the the problem. I'm choosing to return them.



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Chad Smith
Re: FCP 7 dropping frames and I think I've tried almost everything
on Nov 27, 2012 at 7:08:39 pm

Hey Paul - Did you ever get this sorted? I am also getting dropped frames.


Working on a project that was shot on RED. Got the job when it was halfway done, started by another editor. All clips were brought in as RED Native so the codec is REDCODE. 1080 24p. Not the way like to do things. Put all the footage on my RAID 5 storage that gets over 450 megs sec. According to an apple doc I should be able to play back this media if I select "unlimited RT" and knock down the playback quality to low, play base layer only, dont have scopes open, turn off multicam playback, only have one sequence open. All the clips have the orange bar up top. I can play down for less than one second before the system drops a frame. Yes I can turn this off, however playback becomes choppy and is difficult to determine if an edit is good or not.

The seq setting is Pro Res 4444 as per the apple guidelines.

The only way it plays back is after rendering.

Does anyone have luck working with REDCODE footage in FCP7

Mac Pro 2.26 Quad Core Xeon
10.8.2
14gb RAM
8TB Raid @ > 450 Megs Sec


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Paul Harrill
Re: FCP 7 dropping frames and I think I've tried almost everything
on Nov 27, 2012 at 7:51:01 pm

Chad -

Sadly, I never resolved the issue. In August, when I last posted, it seemed like it might be a problem with those Hitachi drives in my OWC RAID enclosure. A week or so after switching to WD Caviar Black drives the problem cropped up again. I also did tests of the RAM, tried running off of firewire instead of eSATA, working off of a fresh boot drive, tried working off a fresh FCP install... I never got it to stop dropping frames. I ultimately moved the RAID over to a new iMac and had no problems, so all I was able to conclude there was something wrong with something related to my Mac Pro. Odd, though, as the Mac Pro displayed no other issues.

Kind of sad when Apple's "top of the line" hardware has such problems, and their iMacs do better. The incident has done nothing to abate my growing skepticism about Apple's dedication to pro hardware.

PH



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