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Michael Arnes
FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 27, 2015 at 6:30:58 pm
Last Edited By Michael Arnes on Nov 27, 2015 at 8:48:39 pm

Hi everyone,

Having a problem and I hope someone can help. I'm using FCP 7 and occasionally getting a dark green color in my canvas window. It will come and go, depending on where I am in my timeline. Sometimes, it happens as I'm trying to zoom in on a clip (scale), to the point where I can't even see what I'm doing. Even if I hit stop on playback, the canvas will still show green (or sometimes, it will divide the canvas screen into multiple sections, showing multiple strips of green at different opacity, with the footage showing underneath).

I have attached 2 photos to illustrate (here below).






However, when I render out a file, the result is perfectly fine. This green color only shows up during my work process (in the canvas).

I was wondering whether this might be because of my display resolution. I know FCP recommends 1280x800. But my iMac doesn't offer that resolution, so I have it set to 1280x720. Could that be the problem?

Another possibility - I should also mention that I'm booting up my system from an external hard drive (G Drive mobile, 5400 RPM, Firewire 800). Perhaps it's not fast enough? Just to clarify, this external drive is my boot drive which also contains the actual FCP software that I'm using. The only doubt I have about this possible culprit is that this happens even when playback is stopped.

My content / data is located on a totally separate external hard drive (G Drive, 7200 rpm, Firewire 800).

I tried trashing prefs, but no change.

Also, my footage is ProRes 4444.

Here are spec details of my system:

*********************************************************

iMac 27 inch, 3.4 GHz, Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM 1333 MHz DDR3

Graphics card: AMD Radeon HD 6970M

OS X 10.6.8

Final Cut Pro 7.0.3

Boot drive (external): G Drive mobile, 5400 rpm, FW 800

Content drive (external): G Drive, 7200 rpm, FW 800.

**************************************************

Thanks for any help you can offer.


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John Rofrano
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 28, 2015 at 1:44:11 pm

[Michael Arnes] "I was wondering whether this might be because of my display resolution. I know FCP recommends 1280x800. But my iMac doesn't offer that resolution, so I have it set to 1280x720. Could that be the problem?"
Your iMac supports a native resolution of 2560x1440. Why would you set it so low? This is not your problem but I don't see any need to run your iMac in anything less than the native resolution. FCP 7 probably recommend 1280x720 because it was considered "high-res" way back in the days of FCP 7.
[Michael Arnes] "Also, my footage is ProRes 4444. ...Content drive (external): G Drive, 7200 rpm, FW 800."
Green usually signals an error with decoding the codec. It could be caused by bandwidth issues. I'm guessing that your use of ProRes 4444 with FW800 drives may be the problem. I don't believe FW800 has enough throughput to be serving up ProRes 4444 files.

Two things you can try to test the theory is to convert your ProRes 4444 file to ProRes 422 and see of the green goes away. The other option is to buy Thunderbolt drives if you positively have to work with ProRes 4444. Obviously try the render first since it cost nothing to test but time.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Michael Arnes
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 28, 2015 at 5:30:07 pm

Thanks for your input John. That's exactly the kind of advice I was looking for.

Sounds silly, but it never occurred to me to set my iMac at a higher resolution (I just tried to match what FCP recommended). Also because I prefer to see things a little larger. But thanks for that.

I'm using ProRes 4444 because I'm editing footage shot in front of a green screen (chroma key), so I need the alpha channel.

I'll definitely look into investing in some thunderbolt drives (for my video content).

Question: Do you think that using a 5400 rpm FW 800 external drive as my boot drive is also a potential problem? (I like to keep my internal iMac drive separate, since I use it for audio recording for clients and prefer not to mess with it in any way).

Thanks again!


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John Rofrano
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 28, 2015 at 6:58:13 pm

[Michael Arnes] "Question: Do you think that using a 5400 rpm FW 800 external drive as my boot drive is also a potential problem? (I like to keep my internal iMac drive separate, since I use it for audio recording for clients and prefer not to mess with it in any way)."
No, I don't believe it will have any effect other than booting slower and loading applications slower. Your issue was not that FCP wan't working correctly but rather not loading the video correctly so I don't believe it has anything to do with the boot drive because the video was on a separate drive.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Michael Arnes
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 28, 2015 at 7:00:40 pm

Understood. Thanks again for your help!


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John Rofrano
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 28, 2015 at 7:02:56 pm

You're welcome. Glad I could help. Let us know if that fixes the problem for you.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Christopher McDonell
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 28, 2015 at 7:26:48 pm

I posted about something similar a while ago. I too was seeing green screens like what you've described. This using a Lacie 4TB thunderbolt drive. The reason it seemed was file size. My project was hitting close to 200 MBs. When I trimmed it down (mainly by deleting redundant sequences), the problem (mostly) went away.

On rare occasions, I do get the odd green screen still. Project is probably still too big. But a restart always does the trick.

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


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John Rofrano
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 28, 2015 at 8:25:50 pm

[Christopher McDonell] "The reason it seemed was file size. My project was hitting close to 200 MBs. When I trimmed it down (mainly by deleting redundant sequences), the problem (mostly) went away."
You know I forgot that FCP 7 is a 32-bit application and it can only address 2GB of data memory.

The green video could be from lack of resources due to excessive memory usage. This is probably made worse by the extremely large size of ProRes 4444 files. :(

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Michael Arnes
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 28, 2015 at 8:49:02 pm

Interesting John. So is there a solution for that? Given my current setup? Does that mean that my current rig is just too weak to handle ProRes 4444?

Thanks for your input too Christopher. Actually, my project is just a 4 minute music video. My FCP project file size is currently 430 KB. So I'm not sure...


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John Rofrano
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 28, 2015 at 10:34:18 pm

[Michael Arnes] "So is there a solution for that? Given my current setup? Does that mean that my current rig is just too weak to handle ProRes 4444?"
If by "rig" you are referring to your iMac, no not at all. This has nothing to do with your hardware and everything to do with the fact that FCP 7 is only 32-bit and can only see 2GB of data memory. One solution is to keep your project within those data limits or upgrade to FCP X or some other 64-bit NLE so that you can take advantage of the full 16GB of memory in your iMac. (btw, I use FCP X myself)

As for using ProRes 4444 with FW800, have you run the Blackmagic Design Disk Speed Test to see if the drive is fast enough? That will take all of the guess work out of it. Then get a Thunderbolt drive if it's not.

The other workaround is to not use ProRes 4444. I know you said that you were chroma keying but that must mean that you don't already have an alpha channel so you could use ProRes 444 as your source instead of 4444. That would cut your data rate by 1/4! That might be enough to give you the extra memory you need. Unless you are keying the footage and rendering it back out with an alpha channel to use back in your project in which case you do need 4444.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Michael Arnes
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 29, 2015 at 7:54:59 pm

Thanks again John for your input.

Frustrating I guess, the whole 32 bit situation with FCP 7. I've read a little bit here and there about people's gripes with upgrading to FCP X (many don't like it, etc). I guess I may have to consider upgrading to X at some point.

With regard to Blackmagic speed test, I had tried to download it before and for some strange reason, it wouldn't load on my computer (some discrepancy with OS 10.6.8, which is what I run). Although I thought that this speed test is supposed to be compatible with Snow Leopard. Strange. Anyway, I used X Bench instead, which I guess is similar. I posted a screen shot of the result (not quite sure how to read it). Here below are the results for my G Drive, 7200 rpm, Firewire 800.



Also, being that I'm a bit of a novice at all of this, I didn't know there was such a thing as ProRes 444 (is that totally different from 4444?) In previous projects, I had always used ProRes 422. However, I just switched to 4444 because this is the first time I am shooting footage in front of a green screen.

Just to explain my process, for the sake of clarity.

* I'm shooting footage in front of a green screen (my camera shoots AVCHD)

* I convert footage to ProRes 422 (I had already done that before I learned about ProRes 4444).

* I import ProRes 422 footage into After Effects. Key out the green. Do some color treatment. I then render out as ProRes 4444. I render out foreground (subject) footage in a separate file from the background footage. In other words, I don't commit and do the "compositing" part of this in After Effects, because I want the freedom to make editing decisions in FCP 7 later (being able to blend various foreground clips with various opacity settings, minus any background). Hope that makes sense.

* I import all ProRes 4444 files into FCP 7 and start editing.

That's when the trouble begins (the error green showing up here and there).

Thanks again for your advice. I'm still learning...


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John Rofrano
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 29, 2015 at 9:26:58 pm

[Michael Arnes] "I guess I may have to consider upgrading to X at some point."
You do realize that FCP 7 was release in 2009 and was discontinued 4 years ago and is no longer supported right? So "may have to consider" is putting it mildly. ;-)
[Michael Arnes] "Anyway, I used X Bench instead, which I guess is similar. I posted a screen shot of the result (not quite sure how to read it). Here below are the results for my G Drive, 7200 rpm, Firewire 800."
From Xbench it looks like your FW800 drive is getting 75MB/s Read and 67MB/s Write. My G-Drive FW800 gets 79MB/s read and 78MB/s write so that's consistent with what I'm seeing on my system too.

ProRes 4444 with Alpha Channel is 500Mbps (that's megabits per second). To convert that into mega Bytes we divide the bits by 8 bits in a byte and get 62.5 MB/s. So your FW800 drive can read approximately 75 MB/s and ProRes 4444 requires 62 MB/s so you are right on the edge. You can see why you might occasionally get green video because the drive can't keep up with the demands of playing back the stream.
[Michael Arnes] "Also, being that I'm a bit of a novice at all of this, I didn't know there was such a thing as ProRes 444 (is that totally different from 4444?) In previous projects, I had always used ProRes 422. However, I just switched to 4444 because this is the first time I am shooting footage in front of a green screen. "
I'm sorry, I was using the term 444 to mean without the alpha channel. I see that "officially" Apple calls is "ProRes 4444" and "ProRes 4444 with Alpha Channel" which is technically inaccurate and confusing because the first 3 numbers represent the bit depth of RGB channels and the 4th is A (Alpha). I was referring to using the non-Alpha channel version but I see now that you can't because you are keying in After Effects and not compositing in After Effects so you need the Alpha Chanel to carry the key into FCP 7.
[Michael Arnes] "* I'm shooting footage in front of a green screen (my camera shoots AVCHD)"
So you're shooting 422 8-bit source.
[Michael Arnes] "* I convert footage to ProRes 422 (I had already done that before I learned about ProRes 4444)."
As you should be. There is no reason to encode 422 source as anything more than 422. You are not going to increase the quality by using more bits. The quality is forever 422.
[Michael Arnes] "* I import ProRes 422 footage into After Effects. Key out the green. Do some color treatment. I then render out as ProRes 4444. I render out foreground (subject) footage in a separate file from the background footage. In other words, I don't commit and do the "compositing" part of this in After Effects, because I want the freedom to make editing decisions in FCP 7 later (being able to blend various foreground clips with various opacity settings, minus any background). Hope that makes sense."
Yes, it makes sense and because you are not compositing in After Effects you need to use ProRes 4444 so that you can composite in FCP 7. If, however, FCP 7 can't handle it... you may need to consider compositing in After Effects and export ProRes 422. Just sayin'... that's an option you have to solve this.
[Michael Arnes] "* I import all ProRes 4444 files into FCP 7 and start editing. That's when the trouble begins (the error green showing up here and there)."
Yea, so once again. Your FW800 drive is right on the edge of supporting ProRes 4444 500Mbps. Most people would probably say that you shouldn't edit ProRes 4444 without a RAID array. I suggest you try faster storage as the first possible solution. If that doesn't work, you might need to composite in After Effects and export ProRes 422 which FW800 and FCP 7 can handle more easily.
[Michael Arnes] "I'm still learning..."
Well... here is something to consider. If you learn FCP X and do all of you keying in FCP X, you would eliminate the need for After Effects and that whole workflow. You can edit AVCHD natively in FCP X and key it there, and you would avoid all of this trouble. Just something to consider.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Michael Arnes
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 29, 2015 at 9:32:50 pm

I really appreciate you taking the time to explain all of this John. Things are starting to make more sense now and I guess I have a couple of options to consider.

Thanks again!


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John Rofrano
Re: FCP 7 - Canvas window showing occasional dark green screen - Display resolution problem? Slow drive?
on Nov 30, 2015 at 12:15:52 am

You're welcome. Please let us know what worked for you when you final decide on a solution.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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