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FCP 7 suddenly won't playback

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Ann Hoyt
FCP 7 suddenly won't playback
on Oct 22, 2014 at 1:35:44 pm

Hello Everyone,

I'm working on a studio computer that is running FCP7 on Snow Leopard. Project is 29.97 1080i. Media is all jpgs and audio is wav. Audio is 29.97. I have an ancient AJA Kona card that has been crashing (or whatever you call video card bugging out). I only use the external video playback when directors are in the room for various reasons... but mostly because I crash A LOT when I use it.

Project is small and was working fine until yesterday when I turned on the external video. Playback became choppy, stalled, stopped, dropping frames and no playback on external video. I checked settings and then rebooted, re rendered etc. Same result. Keep in mind, everything has played back fine before now. Well, except for the frequent crashing.

After reboot and switching off external video and re rendering, now I can't playback AT ALL. Get the stuttering, weird frame dropping,rainbow wheel of doom, etcetera. I can output to quicktime and it looks perfect so thats what I did last night but I have a Friday deadline and have to work with the directors so this is kind of an emergency.

Before this started, I was working on another project and kept getting the 'out of memory' error. I assumed it was because the project was large but started having the same problem with this new tiny project and now I wonder if I have a render issue. I've dumped render files and re rendered but still can't playback.

Have sent an SOS to the techs to please run disk utilities on my machine. No response as yet. I can't run it myself because only admins can do this maintenance.

Any ideas about what could be causing this? Do you think it might be the video card failing? I have been working in 24 p up until this project. Should I have the 'drop frame' box checked in my sequence setting? I do at this time.

As an experiment, I copied the entire project onto my laptop with the same OS and the project played back but I DID get 'drop frame' errors.

Any ideas?


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Mark Suszko
Re: FCP 7 suddenly won't playback
on Oct 22, 2014 at 1:38:22 pm

I think it may be your boot drive is too full and has no room for virtual memory operations, or your media drive is failing. Have you scanned /repaired both drive systems with the Disk Utility yet? How much free space has the boot drive got?


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Ann Hoyt
Re: FCP 7 suddenly won't playback
on Oct 22, 2014 at 1:44:56 pm

Sadly, I don't have admin id or passwords and so I can't run the utilities myself. The techs aren't responding to my requests to do so. I may have to call in the big guns to get it done. Boot drive is very full, you are correct.

When I first arrived I got the tech to run disc utilities because we were having many problems. That was two months ago. Things ran fine for a while after that. How often should one run it?


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Mark Suszko
Re: FCP 7 suddenly won't playback
on Oct 22, 2014 at 3:30:10 pm

You don't need admin rights to run the scanning part of Apple's disk utility, AFAIK. Just navigate to the boot drive, go to applications, look for the folder that says utilities, then scroll to the icon for disk utilities. Or use the quick finder window at the top of the screen to keyword search for it. When you get there, pick the disk of interest, hit the "verify disk" button, see what comes out.

Just clicking on the "get info" tab for your drives will tell you their capacity and how much space each has left. As a rule of thumb, you need fifteen percent of the boot drive to 25 percent of it empty, to maximize performance. The computer is writing "virtual memory" to that empty space during operations.


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Ann Hoyt
Re: FCP 7 suddenly won't playback
on Oct 22, 2014 at 4:58:07 pm

Yes, the tech dept has set it up so I can't run the disk utilities on my own. I tried. The drive has almost 80 percent free space now that I've cleaned but the fix came when they ran the verify permissions. Fixed EVERYTHING immediately.

Old software, old computer.... its making ME old.


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Tom Matthies
Re: FCP 7 suddenly won't playback
on Oct 22, 2014 at 6:49:06 pm

Make sure that the drivers for your Kona card are up to date as well.

Not my monkeys. Not my circus.


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Ann Hoyt
Re: FCP 7 suddenly won't playback
on Oct 22, 2014 at 6:51:41 pm

Wow, thanks. I will pass on that request to the techs. We've been having all kinds of issues.


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Ann Hoyt
Re: FCP 7 suddenly won't playback
on Oct 22, 2014 at 6:52:38 pm

And if anyone is interested in this thread, I want to add that I found changing the codec to Pro Res made a difference in the playback too.


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Mark Suszko
Re: FCP 7 suddenly won't playback
on Oct 22, 2014 at 11:02:59 pm

You changed it to prores but what was it before?


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Roger Poole
Re: FCP 7 suddenly won't playback
on Oct 23, 2014 at 1:28:28 am

First off, FCP6-7 doesn't like Jpegs. Jpegs are a compressed format which have to be un-compressed on the fly for playback by FCP, this is where many such problems arise. The accepted workflow is to convert to an uncompressed format such as TIFF or PNG before import to FCP. Secondly, modern still cameras record images which have very high pixel density, very often exceeding the Quicktime maximum of around 4000 pixels in any direction so it's best to adjust the image size at the same time as format change.
FCP is a 32 bit application and as such can only address 4 gig of ram, regardless. That 4 gig can easily be exceeded by trying to play back compressed and/or wrong format images in RAM. Exports will play back fine because all the files have been conformed to your video codec and are no longer Jpegs or anything else.

If you convert all your Jpegs into TIFF or PNG, resize them, make a new project in FCP. Then as a test throw the whole lot into the timeline and I'm sure it will play through without any out of memory error messages.


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Ann Hoyt
Re: FCP 7 suddenly won't playback
on Oct 23, 2014 at 1:45:23 am

This is animation and jpgs are the accepted format for the images. They are drawn in photoshop 'flattened' to jpgs and we import them.

This has been the method used for at least the two decades I've worked in animation. Hasn't ever been an issue.


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Roger Poole
Re: FCP 7 suddenly won't playback
on Oct 23, 2014 at 2:18:01 pm

Good luck with that then.


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