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Mick Kalber
FCP read/write access denied
on Mar 19, 2014 at 11:38:13 pm

Suddenly, after about fifteen months of running FCP 6 on a 3.4 GHz Intel i7 iMac OS X 10.8.5 and promos/pegasus 18T R6 Raid, I get the read/write access denied on FCP startup. Went thru firmware, etc updates with Promise... Raid seems to be OK. Tech suggested updating system software, but I'm loathe to do that at this stage of my project. Tried unclicking scratch disk when FCP allowed me to reset and then clicking them again, but didn't click set when I finished... clicked continue instead. oops. Now FCP starts to load, then stops, then closes w/o showing read/write access denied screen. Any clues what to do next. I'm at the very end of a humongous project (naturally)... laid it off to HDCAM yesterday, only to find one clip offline in the master. That's what I was trying to investigate when all this happened. God I hate this business sometimes. Thinking about selling hot dogs in Hilo. Mahalo in advance for any help you might have to offer.

Mick Kalber
Tropical Visions Video, Inc.
Hilo, Hawaii

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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP read/write access denied
on Mar 20, 2014 at 12:18:50 am

Try repairing the permissions in the Mac OS.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Mick Kalber
Re: FCP read/write access denied
on Mar 20, 2014 at 4:33:20 am

thanks, dave... did that, and there were numerous repairs made to the internal drive permissions, but that didn't solve the equation. FCP still crashes after about four seconds of opening.

Mick Kalber
Tropical Visions Video, Inc.
Hilo, Hawaii

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Mark Suszko
Re: FCP read/write access denied
on Mar 20, 2014 at 1:20:13 pm

Have you tried running disk repair from the Apple Disk Utilities on the boot drive AND on the RAID?

And is there any place you can take the tape you made and just insert-edit the needed shot, on someone else's system?

Malama pono, brah

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Mick Kalber
Re: FCP read/write access denied
on Mar 21, 2014 at 9:13:38 am

well, yes we're salvaging the program at the replicators... they have an intact QuickTime they can grab that section from and lay it in... but FCP6 is apparently badly corrupted. I did finally get the app to open using a new user name, but it still gave me numerous (like six or seven) permissions denied to a variety of different things. when I finally got the program open, and could see the timeline, many shots were missing. something happened the first time I tried to open it earlier. I was able to access the scratch disk page and thot I'd uncheck the raid (it's the only drive I have), and when I did so I was warned that something had to be selected. I proceeded, unchecked all the boxes, and when I did so, the raid went from .5TB to 2.5TB space available. somehow, 2TB of media either disappeared or is just not showing up. hence, I assume, the loss of shots in the sequence. I will shortly have a copy of FCP7 and be able to do a quick install and see if I can open my program there. think that will work... will an FCP6 project open in FCP 7?
If that seems to be working ok, I will then try to reconnect the missing media or do further research into where it has gone. I can do without the show playing correctly for now, but ultimately will have to get all the pieces back together. oh, and to answer ur question, mark... I repaired permissions on the internal drive, but disk utility will not let me repair permissions on the raid for whatever reason. more will be revealed. thanks for ur input... please let me know if you have additional thots. mahalo, mick

Mick Kalber
Tropical Visions Video, Inc.
Hilo, Hawaii

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Mark Suszko
Re: FCP read/write access denied
on Mar 21, 2014 at 1:30:31 pm

The "create a new user account" trick is something I should have remembered from the list of emergency recovery procedures published by Larry jordan. I'll append that list at the end of this message.

The jump from 6 to 7 is small, but 7 works better. The unknown factor is how damaged your project is when you import it. I've had RAID failures and other disasters happen often enough that I stop at major mileposts of an edit and export safety masters in versions with and without graphics, and in audio stems, and lay those off to hard media, just so I have a foundation to rebuild from instead of starting from square one.

Since you're committed to an upgrade anyway, though... this is really a time to consider jumping forward into the 21st century and looking over FCPx, or Premiere CS6, or Creative Cloud. FCP7 is currently "surviving" in the Mavericks OS environment, with a few shaky areas, but it is, after all, EOL, orphaned software, and at some point, sooner than later, Apple's upgrades are going to "break" it beyond recovery. If I had to guess, we've got maybe a year before some OS upgrade is going to force everybody's hand.

I'm very happy using 7 both at work and at home, but to safeguard my future, I'm learning FCPX right now, using the Larry Jordan tutorials, which went on sale for some ridiculously low cost like $50. And I have to say that so far, except for some bumps in the tape importing area, it all makes sense and seems like a usable platform with a bright future ahead. We've also bought Premiere CS6 and we'll be spending most of this year learning and working with both, before we decide what to standardize the shop's suites on. You may find you like Premiere's interface, which is actually visually pretty similar to FCP6 and 7.

But you are going to have to pick a new ride at some point... maybe this FCP6 breakdown is an omen to consider your strategy going forward.

I loved my SAAB 900 for 13 years and way over 100K, but I had to let her go when she got too busted and rusted to keep going.

Here's a cut/paste from Larry's suggestions:

IMPORTANT NOTE: Doing a Safe Boot and Trashing Preferences fix well over 90% of Final Cut Pro problems. If you are still having difficulies, read on. However, before going deeper into this article, test your system first to see if things are working OK. Page 4 of 14
Larry Jordan - Trouble-Shooting Your FCP System | Final Cut Pro Training | The Best Training in Final Cut Pro 6/10/13 10:16 AM
UPDATE – FEB. 3, 2010 Jon Grimson adds:
Larry, I had a real crash problem yesterday with FCP7 and had tried everything. Repaired permissions, trash prefs. reinstall FCP, all the typical steps and still no luck. I uninstalled 3rd party plug-ins too. Finally remembered many years ago the same thing happened and the culprit was...corrupted fonts. I ran verification on font library and trashed the 3-4 bad font libraries. That did the trick.
Just wanted to point this out on troubleshooting checklist since I’ve not seen anybody mention this before. But it has been the cause for me twice.
Larry replies: Thanks, Jon.
Allow your Unix background utilities to run
The foundation for OS X is Unix and Unix was invented specifically to run servers; systems that needed to stay on for long periods of time.
Because of this, a variety of system utilities were developed to run in the background to keep the operating system running at peak efficiency. However, as these utilities should not interfere with the normal operation of the server, they were programmed to run in the wee small hours of the weekend night.
Which means that if you regularly shut your system down each night, these utilities don’t get the opportunity to run.
To solve this, you have a number of options:
1. Let your system stay on over the weekend at least once a month. 2. Or, install a utility program that will run these programs for you automatically. I personally like
Macaroni (, but others also like Mac Janitor ( There are others to choose from, as well.
In any case, give your Mac a chance to stay healthy.
Setting Ownership Permissions on External Drives
Ownership permissions play an important role in helping OS X figure out who has permission to do what on your computer. However, when it comes to editing video, permissions can get in the way.
To keep things running smoothly,
1. In the Finder, select every hard drive EXCEPT your boot drive. 2. Go to File -> Get Info 3. Twirl down “Ownership and Permissions” Page 5 of 14
Larry Jordan - Trouble-Shooting Your FCP System | Final Cut Pro Training | The Best Training in Final Cut Pro 6/10/13 10:16 AM
4. Select the checkbox next to “Ignore ownership on this volume.” 5. Close the Get Info box.
This means that OS X will no longer worry about whether a user has the right to access the information contained on your media drives. This prevents problems where one user can record to, or playback from, a drive and other users can’t.
Set all non-boot media drives to “Not Journaled.”
Journaling is a feature that began in OS 10.3.x that helps your Mac to recover after a crash. (See: OS X Journaling Explained.)
However, it can also decrease the performance of your media drives.
My recommendation is to leave journaling ON for your boot disk, which is the default, then go to Disk Utility and select all your media drives. Go to File -> Disable Journaling and turn Journaling OFF for all media drives.
Also, in the past, in OS 9, we worried a lot about file fragmentation. In OS X, with large hard disks, this is not something to worry about. So, don’t.
[ Go to top of page ] - –-
Picking the Right Utilities Andre D. Ficklin writes:
I was wondering about extra utilities for the Power Mac. I am a recent switcher. I have used the Mac for about a year now and have heard that the diagnostics tools in Mac OS X 10.4.7 are not really enough to keep a drive healthy.
Coming from the PC side, its easy to select which utilities tool to use, but for the Mac I am having a hard time selecting the right one. I am looking for a good utility tool to defragment, and possibly repair damaged files if needed. I don’t have to have an all in one package, but it would be nice. Currently I Have nothing.
What do you use? Do you have several different utilities: Disk Warrior, Drive Genius, Tech Tool Pro, or just one? What do you recommend? Or, do I even need any of it?
Larry replies: Andre, my absolute, number one best utility for the Mac is Alsoft’s Disk Warrior X. I recommend it to all my clients. It is, essentially, a one-trick pony — it repairs blown disk directories. However, that seems to be the number one problem that all Macs running OS X suffer from.
Second, I recommend Micromat’s Tech Tool Pro. It is an excellent, all-around utility. Page 6 of 14
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However, and this is important, I strongly urge you NOT to defragment your drives. We used to do this all the time in OS 9 – and Windows users still do it today. However, Final Cut intentionally stores your files in a fragmented state — because, when you think about it, we never play a file from beginning to end, we are always playing our clips from the middle to the middle. Final Cut stores video files in a fragmented, what Apple calls “optimized”, way. If you then defragment your media drive, everything slows down.
Let Final Cut store media how it wants. Don’t defragment your drive and don’t worry about it.
This list could actually be hundreds of items long, but here are four favorites, based on how often I hear them.
1. You can’t see video on your external NTSC monitor. Make sure BOTH the Viewer and Canvas windows are set to Fit to Window. Then, if you are using DV, make sure View -> External Video is set to “All.” 2. You’ve imported a still image, but can’t see it on the timeline. Make sure all imported images are RGB.
CMYK images (frequently used in graphic design and printing) won’t display in Final Cut. 3. You don’t have any audio. Go to Final Cut Pro -> Audio/Video settings and make sure the Audio
playback menu is sending audio out the right port for your monitor. 4. Audio and video are out of sync. If there are red flags at the start of your clip, control click on the red
flag of your video and select “Move into sync.” If there are no red flags at the start of your clip, go to Final Cut Pro -> Audio/Video settings and make sure the Video playback and Audio playback are both set to the same point. For instance, monitoring video via Firewire and audio via Built-in audio will automatically be out of sync by around 6 frames.
Click here for more “simple things” to check: [ FCP FAQ ] [ Go to top of page ] - –-
There are a number of things you can do that will keep your system running smoothly.
1. Make sure your hard disks are never more than 85% full. Hard disks need lots of room to create temporary files. If a hard disk gets too full, it can lock up and prevent both writing and reading data. Go to Final Cut Pro -> System Settings -> Scratch disks and set the “Minimum Allowable Free Space On Scratch Disks” equal to 10,000.
2. For larger projects that will take longer than a day or two to edit, make a point of doing a “Save as...” at the end of editing every day. Doing a “Save as...” will automatically clean up any potential problems in your project file, before they become serious. This also has the added benefit of giving you reliable back- ups every night for your project.In naming my projects, I use version numbers (“My Project v1, v2, v3... and so on.) You can also use dates (“My Project 0315, 0316, 0317...). Save as... is better than duplicating the project in the Finder because duplicating a project doesn’t fix problems. Save as... does.
3. Avoid creating Browser nests which are too deep. Although the Browser allows you to put files up to eight levels deep, try to avoid going much more than 4 or 5 layers. Sometimes, the Browser can get too complex for it’s own good.
4. Don’t have too many sequences open in the Timeline at the same time. Sequences require memory when Page 7 of 14
Larry Jordan - Trouble-Shooting Your FCP System | Final Cut Pro Training | The Best Training in Final Cut Pro 6/10/13 10:16 AM
they are opened in the Timeline. Sequences in the Browser don’t use memory. So, if you are limited in the memory you have on your system, keep the number of Sequences open in the Timeline to a minimum.
5. If you have a sequence that is acting flakey: a) Create a new project b) Go back to the flakey sequence and Edit -> Select All c) Copy the entire selected sequence to the clipboard (Edit -> Copy) d) Go to the newly created project and create a new sequence e) Move your Playhead to the start of the new sequence f) Paste (Edit -> Paste)
Often, moving clips from one sequence to another fixes problems.
[ Go to top of page ] - –-
Normally, on a reasonably fast computer, the default installation of OS X and Final Cut Pro works perfectly. If your system is working fine now, you can ignore these suggestions. If not, try these suggestions to see if things improve. (This list has been modeled on one supplied by Pinnacle Systems for it’s Cinewave card.)
These are not necessarily listed in any particular order.
Optimize Your System Preferences
1. In the “Login Items” System Preference Pane, remove any items that automatically start when you log in. 2. In the “Screen Effects” System Preference Pane, set “Time until screen effects start” to “Never.” 3. In the “Display” System Preference Pane, set the “Colors” to “Millions.” 4. In the Energy Saver System Preference Pane, set “Put the computer to sleep when it has been inactive” to
“Never;” and “Put the hard disk to sleep when possible” should not be checked. 5. In the Sound System Preference Pane, select the “Sound Effects” tab. Turn the “Output volume” all the
way up, then back up one notch, and lower the “Alert volume” to the desired level. 6. In the QuickTime System Preference Pane, select the “Update” tab, and deselect “check for updates
automatically.” 7. In the “Sharing” System Preference Pane, disable all services. The Firewall should be off. Internet
sharing should be off. 8. In the Software Update System Preference Pane, “Automatically check for updates when you have a
network connection” should be unchecked. 9. If you have OS X 10.3.x, go to the Security Preference Pane and turn OFF File Vault. While having the
extra security is nice, your Mac can’t decrypt FCP Project, or other files, fast enough to ensure smooth playback.
Notice that our goal is to minimize processes that run in the background, or that call out to the network. You probably won’t need to use all these settings. Experiment to see which ones work best for you.
Also, once you stop editing, you can turn on those features that you need (with the exception of File Vault). If Page 8 of 14
Larry Jordan - Trouble-Shooting Your FCP System | Final Cut Pro Training | The Best Training in Final Cut Pro 6/10/13 10:16 AM
you need to use File Vault be sure that NONE of the files used in your project are stored in it. Then, you can leave it on, just not access it during editing.
Finally, after making these changes, quit out of the System Preferences utility before launching any application — especially Final Cut.
Optimize Your Final Cut System
Here are some additional steps you can take to improve the performance of your Final Cut system.
Turn off audio waveforms (Option-Command-W). If you aren’t actually editing audio, displaying these will slow your system down.
1. If you have FCP 4.x and you have more than 512 MB of RAM and are using still images (say, to create a “Ken Burns” effect) go to Final Cut Pro -> System settings -> Memory and Cache tab and set the still image cache to between 100 MB and 120 MB.
2. If you have FCP 4.x and if you have more than a gigabyte of RAM on your system, also set the Memory allocation to 90%.
3. If you have FCP 5, the minimum memory you should have is 1 GB. I’ve seen serious slowdowns with less memory installed.
[ Go to top of page ] - –-
1. Add more RAM to your system. Final Cut requires a minimum of 384 MB. However, I strongly suggest you have at least one gigabyte in your system. I have 2.5 GB in mine. Adding more RAM beyond 2 GB won’t make a material difference, because FCP is disk-based, not RAM based. However, you will notice a significant performance increase by increasing your RAM from a base level of 512 MB to 1 GB.
2. If playback is stalling, try disconnecting some, or all, of your Firewire drives. Although the Firewire spec allows up to 63 devices to be connected to your computer, after about five or six drives, there’s so much “talking” on the Firewire bus that performance really starts to degrade. Where possible, limit the number of Firewire drives you are using. Worst case, buy bigger drivers and copy data from smaller drives to bigger drives so you total storage remains the same, but the number of devices decreases.
3. If you are constantly getting dropped frames on playback, it may be easier to export the sequence than to try to fix it. In this case: a) Export your timeline to a QuickTime movie (which happens at computer speeds as opposed to real- time). Be sure to set the export to “Current Settings.”
b) Create a new project c) Import your QuickTime movie into the new project d) Play out the new movie
4. Sometimes errors creep into the User file. In this case, creating a New User will solve it. a) Save your project file OUTSIDE of your User folder and NOT on the desktop b) Go to System Preferences c) Go to Accounts
d) Click the “+” key to add a new user Page 9 of 14
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e) Fill out the rest of the screen f) Log out as your current user and log in as the new user g) Open your project and see if things are better
5. Reinstall the Final Cut application. Like I said, these last three suggestions require a fair amount of time. On the other hand, if you are still having problems, they are the next thing to check.
6. Reinstall all upgrades by downloading FIRST, then updating using the package. Don’t use Software Update.
7. Do a clean install of the Operating System — be sure to run all updates afterward. The best versions of OS X to use for Final Cut Pro are 10.2.8 and 10.3.2.[ Go to top of page ] - – -
It used to be that when a new upgrade rolled out, all we needed to do was upgrade the affected application. With video editing this is absolutely the WRONG thing to do.
Video editing requires a complete system level approach to upgrading.
For instance, when 10.2.6 came out, there were so many “under-the-hood” changes that a very popular RAID vendor needed to upgrade its drivers. When 10.2.8 came out, the drivers needed to be updated again, for the same reason. When 10.3 came out, the drivers needed to be updated, again.
For this reason, you can no longer assume that the only thing needing to be upgraded is FCP itself. Here is a list of what needs to be considered when upgrading. If you are using DV (MiniDV, DVCAM, or DVCPRO-25 gear) upgrade in this order ONLY:
1. Upgrade the operating system 2. Upgrade QuickTime 3. Upgrade Final Cut Pro 4. Upgrade the other applications in the FCP suite
If you are working with SCSI cards, RAIDs, uncompressed video and a capture card, upgrade in THIS order:
1. Upgrade your SCSI card FLASH ROM (if necessary) 2. Upgrade your SCSI card driver (if necessary) 3. Upgrade your RAID driver (if necessary) 4. Upgrade your operating system
5. Use Software Update to install any operating system updates 6. Do a Safe Boot and Rebuild Permissions (see the beginning of this article) 7. Restart 8. Upgrade QuickTime 9. Upgrade Final Cut
10. Upgrade any additional applications 11. Upgrade any drivers you are using for machine control 12. Run Software Update to install any new versions of the applications 13. Do a Safe Boot and Rebuild Permissions 14. Run Software Update one more time. Frequently, one update needs to be installed before a second update
can be installed. This process checks for both. Page 10 of 14
Larry Jordan - Trouble-Shooting Your FCP System | Final Cut Pro Training | The Best Training in Final Cut Pro 6/10/13 10:16 AM
I got myself in a serious mess recently by not updating the SCSI drivers for a couple of my clients. I was at a complete loss to explain why, after I updated the system, performance slowed to a crawl. When I realized I had done an incomplete update, then installed the correct SCSI drivers, performance was restored and everything worked great. (Whew!)
If possible, doing a clean install of the operating system is the best. (That means erasing your hard disk and installing everything fresh.) However, that is not always possible. Nor is it always required. By following these steps, in this order, you can save yourself a lot of problems down the road.
[ Go to top of page ] - –-
System utilities have always been a significant cottage industry for the Macintosh and today is no exception. Here are three that I recommend:
1. Disk Warrior X (version 3.1) This utility is indispensable for restoring corrupted disk directories. It is a one trick pony, but nobody does it better. I carry this CD with me everywhere. Run it once a month on your system to keep things working the way you expect. (If you have OS X 10.3, be sure to get version 3.0.1.)
2. Tech Tool Pro (version 4.01). This system test and maintenance tool can help you spot trouble before it occurs. While I do have a quibble about how it’s video display test works (it seems to find a great number of false positives) overall it has earned the right to be in my daily repair kit. Only run this when you need it. But keep it close at hand.
3. Macaroni. I use this for all my support clients to make sure key background Unix utilities run in a timely fashion. This is from the “install it once and forget it” school of thought, but I like it and use it on both my client and personal systems.
Two other quick thoughts. While religious wars continue to be fought on both these issues, I wanted to weigh in on both:
1. Partitioning 2. De-fragmenting
Based on talking with drive vendors, partitioning is not necessary. If it helps you stay organized — use it. But there is, generally, no performance benefit to partitioning. If, on the other hand, you want to have two different boot disks using two different operating systems, partitioning is the way to go. However, partitioning is often wasteful of hard disk space. The short answer is, if you are looking for speed, you don’t need to partition. If you are looking for organization, partitioning is OK.
However, NEVER store media files on a partitioned disk. Media should always be stored on a second drive. Page 11 of 14
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De-fragmenting was necessary when hard disks were smaller and systems were slower. With today’s technology, if it makes you feel better to de-frag, then by all means, go-ahead. However, you will not see a significant performance boost. Nor is it necessary. Nor does Final Cut particularly care. Because when FCP is playing video back, the hard drive heads are bouncing all over the place anyway. Decreasing the fragmentation won’t help a whole lot.
Well, that’s about it. These are procedures you can use to keep your system running at peak performance. If I’ve omitted one of your favorites, let me know so I can periodically update this article.
In the meantime, it’s time to stop trouble-shooting and start editing.
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Comments 5 Comments to “Trouble-Shooting Your FCP System”
1. Roger Smith says: September 17, 2012 at 10:39 am
This is a great document. But “Optimize Your System Preferences” is getting out of date, What I have in front of me is a 10.7 system, but I think these notes apply to 10.6 as well. #1 “Login Items” are found on the Users & Groups pane. #2 the “Screen Effects” System Preference Pane is now found in “Desktop & Screen Saver”, under the Screen Saver tab.
#7 Controls for the firewall (and File Vault) are now found in the “Security & Privacy” pane.
One quick note of FileVault. In 10.8 it has been completely re-written and makes use of new encryption hardware on the latest Intel chips. It is very much faster. Not fast enough for HD playback, but lots faster. Unfortunately there are no Mac Pros with those chips...
2. Graham says: October 3, 2012 at 9:36 am
Hey Larry – just a very small correction to this great troubleshooting document. Not sure if this changed in OS 10.6, but I’m running FCP7 on 10.6.8 and wanted to turn journaling off on my media drive. To do that, you must select the disk in disk utility and Option-click on File. Just clicking will not reveal the “Disable Journaling” option.
thanks! As a newcomer to the field and amateur editor, your articles are priceless!
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