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FCP Laggy Playback

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Connor Callaghan
FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 12, 2015 at 3:23:00 am

Hi Everyone,

Playback in my FCP 7 has recently started lagging. It was playing back fine and now once it hits a certain point in the 4 minute timeline (around minute 3) it starts to lag and I can't play anything past that point smoothly even if I go back and try to replay that section. I've been reading other related forum posts but can't find anything that seems to work for my situation.

All of my files are on an external firewire drive, the source footage was converted to ProRes 422 with 48khz audio and everything was working smoothly for 2 months.

I have about 40 gb free space on the drive and 30 gb free space on my internal drive. Here are my computer specs:

MacBook Pro, early 2011
2.2 GHz Intel Core i7
8 GB Memory
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1024 MB

Since everything was working flawlessly until recently, I'm wondering if it's simply a matter of processing power and the size of the project. I have 2 timelines with about 3 hours of footage strung out. The timeline with the problem is only about 4 minutes but has a lot of edits.

If it is a matter of the size of the project, does anyone have any potential solutions? I'm almost done with the 4 minute video and really just want to finish it up.

I tried moving the timeline to a new project and closing the old project but it still lagged.

Any ideas?

Let me know if you need any more info. Thanks for your help!


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Christopher McDonell
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 12, 2015 at 5:39:56 am

How big is the file size? And what are your sequence settings?

FCP 6.0.6, El Capitan, rMBP 15" i7 2.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM


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Connor Callaghan
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 12, 2015 at 3:42:30 pm

The project file itself is only 7.3mb.

The sequence settings were set to match the footage: 1920x1080 HDTV 1080i, 2997, Apple ProRes 422, 48khz, 16 bit.

I also just noticed that my scratch disks were set to my local drive, not the external drive. Does that make a difference if all of the media is stored on the FireWire drive?


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Connor Callaghan
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 12, 2015 at 3:52:59 pm

I also just tried switching my playback quality to LOW and setting the frame rate playback to HALF and that still didn't help :(


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Christopher McDonell
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 12, 2015 at 7:03:40 pm

Your file size is really small so that's not it. If you switched the scratch disks back to the external drive, saved and relaunched, and still the lagging persists, it's not that. You say it starts lagging on the same clip, or the same section, every time? What happens if you remove a few of the suspect clips there? Is there anything different about that section, such as codec or frame rate?

It's a mystery.

My specs: FCP 6.0.6, El Capitan, rMBP 15" i7 2.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM


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Niklas Wikman
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Dec 1, 2015 at 8:28:51 am

Never use your system disk as video disk.

Also, the free space on the video disk should not go under 10 per cent of the total volume.

That's the only help I can give you.

One option might be to delete all render files (using the Render Manager tool) and re-render the project. This will flush your undo queue.

You could try de-fragmenting the video disk, using third-party software. (Although OSX is claimed not to suffer from file defragmentation).



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Connor Callaghan
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Dec 4, 2015 at 12:50:33 am

I think the free space on my video disk (the external hard drive) is at less than 10% so I'll try to clear that up and see if it makes a difference.

I'll also try re-rendering the project.

Thanks for the suggestions!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 12, 2015 at 10:24:08 pm

I think you've hit the limit of the bitrate on that firewire connection. If you want smooth playback, I strongly recommend a connection with higher throughput.

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


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Connor Callaghan
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 15, 2015 at 2:04:05 am

does that mean purchasing a new drive? what connection would you recommend? thunder bolt?

excuse my ignorance

thanks!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 16, 2015 at 5:50:06 pm

It might mean a new drive. Depending on the size of the current drive, 40GB of free space could be the same as saying "almost full". Drives work best up to 80% of capacity.

I don't know how many streams of video you're trying to play back at one time; it too has an impact. To play back multiple streams of ProRes you may need an array.

A Thunderbolt connection will be fast enough.

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


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Tom Matthies
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 17, 2015 at 5:15:40 pm

But a MacBook Pro that old wont have Thunderbolt.

Not my monkeys. Not my circus.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 17, 2015 at 11:57:29 pm

5-year-old software. 4-year-old computer. Band-new, up-tro-date video. Something's got to give. The guy may have to cut in sections and export each section. What a pain. But then, it's a laptop.....

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


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Connor Callaghan
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 17, 2015 at 11:56:09 pm

Got it, thank you!


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Christopher McDonell
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 19, 2015 at 7:47:11 am

Still lagging? How many streams of video are you working with? The area where it starts lagging isn't graphics heavy or anything, is it?

My specs: FCP 6.0.6, El Capitan, rMBP 15" i7 2.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM


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Connor Callaghan
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 24, 2015 at 1:26:57 am

Yep, still lagging. That portion isn't graphics heavy at all. Just cuts of raw footage.

Sorry for my ignorance, but what do you mean by "streams of video"? The sequence uses clips from probably 100 different raw source videos.


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Christopher McDonell
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 25, 2015 at 6:59:54 am
Last Edited By Christopher McDonell on Nov 25, 2015 at 7:12:48 am

How many video tracks (or streams)? Apple's white sheet says ProRes 422 has a data rate of 127 MB/s. A 2014 Retina MacBook Pro with 2.6 GHz is capable of handling 16 streams. Your's is older and you can see there's a limit to how much data you can stream depending upon your computing power.

My specs: FCP 6.0.6, El Capitan, rMBP 15" i7 2.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM


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Connor Callaghan
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 30, 2015 at 6:53:56 pm

It's only one track, nothing different about that section versus the rest of the timeline. I'm only using one track with edits throughout and there aren't even video filters or anything like that. The audio is also just a single track AIFF song.

My only thought is that my computer and external drive have basically reached the max project size that they can handle. This happened on another similar project where I had hours of source footage and was cutting a 30 minute documentary. It worked flawlessly up until I got into the final 5-10 minutes of the timeline. Then it started lagging and I basically had to export the first half of the timeline and drop it into a new sequence as a single video file so that I could edit the second half of the project without lag...

Thanks for your help with this.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP Laggy Playback
on Nov 25, 2015 at 5:40:20 pm

"Streams of Video" means the number of video layers you're playing back at the same time. If you have 3 video layers all on the screen at once, you have three streams.

All three video clips need to play back simultaneously to have real-time playback. All three video clips probably have the same bit rate. If your storage device can't handle that amount of data at once, or if your connection won't allow that amount of data at once, you will see playback in fits & starts.

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


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