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Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation

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John Crane
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Apr 17, 2012 at 8:29:35 pm

FCP X 10.0.4 & AJA Driver v.10.3 External Monitoring Success At Last!?

If you are interested in finding a solution to external monitoring with FCP X as I have been determined to do; AJA and Apple has finally come up with a solution – or so it appears at first install. The two new latest releases from Apple FCP X 10.0.4 and AJA Driver v.10.3 seem to be a winning combination – but then I have only had it on my tower for about two hours, but so far so good. If it remains stable I will be very happy. So put me down as optimistically cautious.

Just 10 days ago I was completely frustrated with external monitoring via AJA LHi for FCP X – it was killing me – as I was unable to reliably playback my shows on my broadcast monitor for my clients. In fact, I had to use my desktop monitor to play a recent cut for my client while the big screen sat dark because during playback the video would stall and the audio would inexplicitly drop out – horrifying to me and unnerving to clients – completely unacceptable by any professional standard.

After months of work around and beta solutions, I was determined to solve the external monitoring problem – once and for all – even if I had to buy a new solution from Blackmagic, Matrox or other. Or make the move to Premiere and/or AVID as so many colleague have done. But I actually love some of the new FCP X features. Specifically I think the magnetic timeline is huge improvement and I really love the background transcoding that saves me tons of time. The event browser also allows you to work visually - but those advantages will be discussed in a different article or blog.

On April 4, I called AJA tech support and discussed the problems I was experiencing. They were awesome and provided me with detailed instructions for a process that would delete Kona, QuickTime’s, and FCP preferences; reset the PRAM and then reinstall AJA drivers from their website. I was determined to do this immediately upon my return from a short trip.

When I returned from my trip, I set time aside to take on the task of re-configuring FCP and AJA - and to my immense pleasure Apple had an update 10.0.4 as did AJA 10.3 (released 4.10.12). This was a stroke of luck – but also a clear indication that both companies are determined to solve problems for their customers.

And best of all - it seems to be working...so I am cautiously optimistic...and have hopes that it will remain stable. Here is what I have learned and here’s what you need to know:

1) Use a dedicated boot drive for FCP X just as AJA recommends. I have FCP 7 with AJA LHi on one boot drive, and FCP X and AJA LHi on another – same AJA hardware – the difference is the software configuration.

2) Set Energy Saver to “Never” for Computer Sleep and Monitor Sleep. Go to Apple Icon (top left) > System Preferences > Energy Saver and move both sliders all the way to the right to “Never”.

3) Delete any and all existing KONA, FCP and QuickTime preferences.


· Delete KONA preferences

Go to Mac HD: /library/preferences/ and delete all the com.aja files

Go to Mac HD: /users/username/library/preferences and delete com.aja.KonaControlPanel.plist.

Go to Mac HD: /users/username/library/preferences and delete com.aja.Kona(your particular card/serial number)

Reboot

· Delete QuickTime preferences

Go to Mac HD: users/username/library/preferences/

Delete com.apple.quicktime.plugins.preferences.plist

Delete a file called: "quicktime preferences”

Reboot

· Delete FCP preferences

Quit FCP

Go to Mac HD: users/username/library/preferences/ and Delete com.apple.finalcutpro.plist: Drag the FCP user data folder to the desktop

Reboot


4) Install KONA LHi Driver Version 10.3 go to http://www.aja.com/en/support/kona/mac/kona-lhi/ and go to the software downloads section.

Try the first download; KONA LHi Driver Version 10.3, Control Panel,and Notes. but be forewarned that it may not work: This killed my Monitor; but AJA release notes clearly addresses this snafu - specifically:

After installing the AJA driver, if you experience any issues booting your computer, restart the computer while holding down the shift key (safe boot), uninstall the AJA driver and then install the NDD driver version instead.

The AJA NDD driver versions are the same as standard driver versions, but they remove the Macintosh Desktop Display feature.

So I "safe booted" (restart the computer while holding down the shift key for a safe boot - which eliminates all drivers except though essential to apple OS) my Tower, uninstall and reboot.

Then go back to AJA download and install the NDD Driver version instead. The version that you need is: KONA LHi NDD Driver Version 10.3http://www.aja.com/en/support/kona/mac/kona-lhi/, Control Panel, and Notes. Install and reboot.

5) Re-launch FCP, and it should work without much trouble. In fact, I was very pleased to find that automatically found the KONA card audio; and when I turned on my external monitor the video worked perfectly, too.
But if you don’t get that lucky go to: http://www.aja.com/pdf/FCP_X_and_AJA_10.3.pdf for instructions on “Working with Final Cut Pro X and AJA.”

So far it appears to be very stable and I can actually jump around the timeline without the video freezing, or audio dropping out or FCP crashing – but let me know what you discover!



John Crane
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