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NLE Unreliability

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david grantham
NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 4:40:59 am

I am getting - I hope - to the finish of a project which has been my worst-ever professional experience.

The manufacturer/specifier of the hardware/software combination on which I have been working has not been able to deliver remotely consistent basic functionality over the years I have had my system, but have assured me repeatedly that with the right systen tweaks, driver updates, and bios flashes, and if necessary the removal of all other software on the machine, my problems would be over; and there has be a steady stream of such recommendations from emails and phone calls stretching now into years.

Thus reassured about protecting my considerable investment, I embarked on a major project and have followed all recommended system tunings. Despite - and because - of this, the project has been so seriously compromised by equipment malfunction through this period that I have experienced delays of weeks at a time while reinstalling software and adjusting the bios and editing the registry and porting data and applications from the machine in a vain effort to get a reliable setup. The delays have resulted in an aggravated relationship with the client, whom I am lucky to have maintained at all considering the performance I've been able to demonstrate. Not to mention sleep-deprivation stretching into months.

Now with nothing on the the machine but the basic software and hardware and after several pristine reinstalls, I limp along with a major crash every few minutes, despite attempting what I understand are only moderate demands of the system and following to the letter drastic fixes which have caused enormous delays and offered little improvement in the performance of the system. In addition to severe crashes some crucial basic functionality remains completely out of reach.

The project is locked into operating in a proprietary mode, so getting out of the situation in the midst of it has not been practical and posed many possible risks.

2 questions arise:

1) There's a practical imperative not to be in this situation again, I did more than due diligence with weeks of research before purchasing this machinery so I'm not sure how to avoid being in this situation again with what will no doubt soon require a complete and costly replacement of this system. As for troubleshooting, I'm one person. I have no tech department and require reliability. I've got 2 degrees and some engineering training: I understand the basics, but ensuring reliability has clearly been beyond me.

2) There's an ethical (and financial) imperative to seek redress from the manufacturer for the initial problems, inability to resolve them, and - perhaps worst of all - holdingout the false hope that they could be solved, thus leading me into the guagmire I've been struggling in for months.


I welcome comments.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 7:01:40 am

It[david grantham] "I have no tech department and require reliability. I've got 2 degrees and some engineering training: I understand the basics, but ensuring reliability has clearly been beyond me. "

David,

Just as there are lots of great athletes who can't play golf worth a lick, there are lots of very smart people who simply can't configure editing systems. That's why VARs are in business.

It seems pretty darned obvious that configuring (and procuring) editing systems is definitely not your strong suit, but just why you've put up with these problems for so long simply seems crazy. Whatever NLE app and hardware you're using is being used by hundreds of thousands of others around the world, at a minimum, and I can assure you, these systems are not sold as devices of torture. In the hands of competent integrators they can all be configured to professional standards.

So, what's the deal? Who were you getting all your great advice from? And, why the heck are you being so cryptic about the gear you've got?

Come on spill the beans, if you give us details it's possible that people here can provide you with some solid direction on which way to turn -- it's precisely why most successful people here on the Cow list their gear in their profile. There are lots of smart people here to help you, but you've got to help us to help you.



David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Bill Davis
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 7:56:38 am

I'll second the idea that with the complexity of today's hardware software systems, it's pretty easy to get into a failure trap.

My best advice is never to buy into any software/hardware system without access to a robust and reasonably professional users group in your area.

That's the FIRST thing I looked for when I invested in NLE stuff decades ago. Because brochures and even company flacks aren't gonna help when your system goes down at 8am on Sunday and you're on a Monday deadline. Having the phone numbers of five other editors who use your same system WILL help. A lot.

All the major software players in editing have users groups in all the major cities. And of course, there's on-line reasources such as here at the Cow.

I'll second the idea that if any of us here can help - we'll give it a try.

Good luck.



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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 8:26:18 am

Thankyou David and Bill for your comments.

I'm in discussions with the manufacturer seeking compensation for the situation. I am eager to relate much about the situation. Apoplectic in fact. I don't want to say much 'till there's a distinct outcome but I'd appreciate any advice that will help me obtain satisfaction. I'd like to have a happy ending to relate. (Don't be too disappointed if the drama doesn't involve one of the biggest players but one of the up-and-comers.)

Yes, it seems crazy, but in the absence of a functioning NLE over the while I've had to occupy myself with other things and just play around at using the NLE in the meantime and attempt - sometimes intermittently - to obtain follow-through from the mf'r during long stretches while the ball was in their court. It's gradually gotten more and more urgent - as I've developed projects - for it to get to the level of basic performance they constantly assured me was possible.

The machine had been assembled by my computer vendor to precise manufacturer's specifications initially; and refurbished recently in an effort to troubleshoot, and multiple software and hardware reinstallations conducted and/or vetted remotely by the manufacturer.

I've had nothing to do with the latest install technically- clearly I haven't administered the entire process correctly or I'd have something that works. I suppose I haven't known how to properly research reliability and succesfully insist on results, and trusted aparrently spurious advice. (Albeit from the Mf'r.)

I believe Mf'r specifications and testing were faulty for this particular configuration. I know for certain that their initial installation instructions were faulty because they revised them after the fact (would have been great to hear from them about that at that time but I had to provoke it with problem reports)

I don't know that the VAR acronym stands for, but if it's for someone who makes sure my NLE works, I could use one of those.

Clearly I fell down on getting connected with a local user group. Next time. What I also seek is advice on holding a manufacturer and perhaps vendor to account.

Thankyou for your offers to point me toward immediate technical assistance. THis isn't the forum for it. I continue to post all over the place- have for months - to try to get advice to get it to work. Of course the set-up has become less-than-current so its not a hot topic. (If it had ever worked properly I'd have upgraded it.) I have come to the conclusion that it never will work. It's the ultimate lemon. As it is the deadline is Friday, and the newly re-built machine crashes every ten minutes without discernable pattern, I can't - nor should I have to - afford another machine. It's a mess; I'm hoping for redress and to learn for the future.



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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 10:00:07 am

(Incidentally, I must have missed where to indicate gear in a user profile. No stealth intended, but considering the situation it may be just as well.)



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David Roth Weiss
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 11:58:09 am

VAR is an acronym for value added reseller. Companies who specialize in configuring non-linear editing systems, and who only sell stuff that works, as they would otherwise be out of business. Frankly, from the sound of things, the company who configured your system sound like they don't configure NLEs very often.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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walter biscardi
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 12:43:12 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "Frankly, from the sound of things, the company who configured your system sound like they don't configure NLEs very often. "

I don't think he used a VAR. He said the computer was configured according to some specs, sounds like a computer that was simply built with the correct RAM and graphics card according to some software specs. I could be wrong, but it doesn't sound like he purchased a fully configured editing system.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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David Roth Weiss
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 6:14:25 pm

[walter biscardi] "I don't think he used a VAR. He said the computer was configured according to some specs, sounds like a computer that was simply built with the correct RAM and graphics card according to some software specs. I could be wrong, but it doesn't sound like he purchased a fully configured editing system.
"


I'm still kinda confused about who did what, due to some seemingly conflicting info in David's posts, but I think you're right Walter. My guess is that some big concern (bet it was Dell) built the computer, then David installed the software himself and he's been having issues ever since.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Steve Wargo
Bad memories...
on Jan 27, 2009 at 6:30:23 am

David, This reminds me of *Edit 10 years ago. That software only worked on a particular Intel chip set. No matter what anyone did, it only worked on the system it was designed for. And, if you installed Word, the whole thing would crap out because of a conflict in the registry. On our FCp machines, we have every software under the sun.

The small "p" indicates "not quite pro, long way to go".




Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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walter biscardi
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 12:21:51 pm

[david grantham] " I've got 2 degrees and some engineering training: I understand the basics, but ensuring reliability has clearly been beyond me. "

Having college degrees and engineering training doesn't mean a hill of beans when it comes to configuring an non-linear editing system. I'm assuming you didn't have a VAR completely configure the system for you? (As in Value Added Reseller.) They configure the entire system including computer, video capture card (if necessary), media storage, external broadcast monitor (if necessary) and audio monitoring (if necessary). In short, you get a ready to edit NLE. If something doesn't work, they have to repair it or replace it. Plain and simple.



[david grantham] "The manufacturer/specifier of the hardware/software combination on which I have been working has not been able to deliver remotely consistent basic functionality over the years I have had my system, but have assured me repeatedly that with the right systen tweaks, driver updates, and bios flashes, and if necessary the removal of all other software on the machine, my problems would be over; and there has be a steady stream of such recommendations from emails and phone calls stretching now into year"

Over the years? It should have been over the weeks. If your system does not work consistently after two weeks, then something is wrong. You could have software conflicts, hardware conflicts, cards installed in the wrong place, incorrect / insufficient media storage, incorrect drivers, and so on. Again, this is where a VAR comes in. And there's no excuse for you allowing a system to not operated for a year.

Something is completely configured incorrectly and since you're the one who set it all up, then the blame falls on you.



[david grantham] "2) There's an ethical (and financial) imperative to seek redress from the manufacturer for the initial problems, inability to resolve them, and - perhaps worst of all - holdingout the false hope that they could be solved, thus leading me into the guagmire I've been struggling in for months. "

I don't see that happening. You already said in your initial comments you set up the system. Doesn't matter if you set up exactly to the manufacturers specs, there is something very very wrong with your setup. You obviously don't understand enough about your NLE and the setup to properly diagnose what is causing the instability. Most likely a driver / card placement / software conflict somewhere along the way.

NLEs are incredibly reliable when they are set up correctly. Here on the Cow there is a forum for pretty much every NLE out there with a lot of folks who can assist getting a system back up and running. But in Final Cut Pro forum, we're forever getting folks in there who just set up a system themselves and can't figure out why it won't work properly. Or they allow Apple's Software Update to run blind in the background without first checking to see if there are any OS or Quicktime issues before they update.

Honestly if you set up the system on your own, I don't see how any manufacturer is going to be held responsible for you taking a year to try to work out tweaks. If something doesn't work right out of the box, I talk to the manufacturer right away and if I'm not satisfied, I send the product back. This very issue just happened here with me about two weeks ago with some new products that were not operating correctly.

Your argument is going to especially tough if that same NLE system is shown to operate correctly in many other instances. In the case of Final Cut Pro, for example, there are 1,000,000 registered users. Sure there are going to be some unstable systems in there for one reason or another, but an overwhelming majority of the users, like myself, are using the software every day in heavy deadline situations and in our case, delivering finished products to broadcast networks.

I know this is incredibly frustrating for you, especially since you set it all up yourself, but honestly, a VAR is the way to go. I used ProMax to set up my very first system back in 2001 and I continually purchase all my equipment and systems from WH Platts here in Atlanta for this very reason. Anytime anything doesn't work as it is supposed to, they have to make it right. I don't have to worry about anything.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 6:46:55 pm

Thanks for your input. Clearly an error was in not dealing with a VAR, but indications from the manufacturer were not that configuration was so onerous. Advice was not to run other programmes at the same time as the NLE. Simple.

I am a tier down (at least) from you men in terms of professional production output - and I believe I was the target market for this product. I hope this doesn't make this post a waste of your time.

The computer was assembled by a vendor who is not an expert in NLEs to specs they received from the manufacturer, and yes, from what I can tell it was a matter of choosing which card and which mortherboard were advertised as tested for the gear. I installed the editing card and the software. THe installation was not complicated nor special skills recommended - and advice from manufcaturere was use this motherboard with this video card and plug it in here and all will be fine.

It worked for about a year when it was first installed, but it crashed about every 45 minutes. I thought it was just to be expected (I'd heard NLEs crash a lot), but this was in fact due to overheating because the only slot authorized for the dedicated hardware was directly under the video card.

When I began having the cooling system upgraded, and installing software upgrades - for which it was advertised to be upgradable - proved problematic on the system, it became necessary to interact with technical support, and I learned that the recommended slot was now one at the other end of the board. (One wonders about the throughness of the initial testing and recommendation.) It was also then that I learned now many other other programmes should not be installed (let alone concurrently run) on the NLE system. I needed comopositing/animation (2d) ware on it, (and relied on the machine for autocad - there's another life..) (I know this rings alarm bells, but it's important to note that removing all of that ware has made little difference to the gear's basic performance problems - the major problems remain.)

I began noticing subtly anomalous performance in the upgrade and was troubleshooting that. I had not put the upgrade through all paces - capture, effects-heavy rendering and so on. But I was assured by the m'fr that many had success with this gear.

As I embarked on more substantial projects to test the gear and vet it for incresaingly serious projects, troubleshooting got complicated involving deep editing to the system. This is what stretched out over long periods and could not be juggled with other commitments without long delays (including lack of follow-up from the mf'r) , but it continued with repeated encouragement from tech support not to give up on the system as I got into more ambitious projects. Once the current major project was underway within the past 6 months was when tech folks eventually began remotely interacting with my machine over phone lines and it got stripped of everything else and even now still will not properly work. The latest mf'r suggestions once again revolve around cooling, as if this has just come up as a possiblity after we've been stripping the computer of other applications with little success.

It's been like being the frog invited into a pot of slowly heating water and it's now become boiling.

Clearly a more authroritative vendor was required - easy to see that now. I think there's an onus on a manufacturer to recommend authorized seller-technicians if they are necessary, and to stand by a direct-to-user support network if they are not - and demonstrate acountability when their recommendations are followed but success is not established. This manufacturer marketted directly to the user with no such recommendation, so it seems to me this is where the requirement for support perfromance lies.

THere are mixed reviews on the performance of this mf'rs ware on some posts in some forums on some sites. I was assured by mf'r that this is the way things are, "people complain" and have remained with the system on the basis of that assruance and cordail realtions with the mf's, but I am no longer so sure.

This seems to me to be a delicate situation because of course mf'rs support sites like this with advertising, so encouraging accountability in such a forum is s difficult dance. But it's an important role for the good of all - and to establish and maintain good reputations. I appreciate the opportunity. It seems it must be discussed.



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David Roth Weiss
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 7:18:00 pm

Actually David, after a bit of poking around on the Cow I found some of your previous posts, so despite all your stealth, I know what you've got.

In the future, I would suggest that you first find a vendor who has done this before, and second, don't make the mistake of thinking that a manufacturer's list of minimum hardware requirements will get you that well-oiled machine you're hoping for. For example, 2Gb of RAM is nothing these days (and costs little), and no NLE in the world will operate for long without issues with just 2GB. That points out the key to your big picture, which is, you simply cannot hope to edit video without knowing precisely where to spend and where to save. And, that only comes with experience.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 7:35:13 pm

Thanks, David, but I don't see that:

The specs for running the versions of this software with this hardware are vetted with the m'fr - not as minimum but as well above required for the initial installation, and recommended for the upgrade. It's only being asked to do what is was specified to do.

So I believe it's all matching specs. (But as you point out it's not current now - I wasn't going to spend more on the same system when it never worked properly in the first place.)



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Tim Kolb
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 11:07:48 pm

So David...

The issue is not clear in this system...

You have the following:

1. A computer you bought somewhere
2. Your for-some-reason-unmentioned software (which is all over your other posts here on the Cow)
3. A third party boardset running underneath it which accelerates the process through a proprietary codec and hardware.


Which manufacturer is at fault? Most of the time it's nearly impossible to determine...and 'fault' may be nowhere to be found.

The computer manufacturer made a computer...you made sure it had the right processor and RAM, but a well-running configuration takes a motherboard that has known components that don't interfere with the app you plan on running. Macintosh is a different story as the same company makes the computer and the NLE software so even though once in a while, you could still have an issue, for the most part it's sort of difficult to create a Mac/FCP combo that's incompatible if you stick to the configuration recommended.

PCs are different. It's a little bit like building a hot rod in the back yard...sure you could put a 455 V8 in a Chevy Vega after you add the front suspension from a half-ton pickup...of course, the first time you hit the gas, you'll be picking up smoldering particles of disintegrating rear differential...

Check the RAM...is the RAM defective? Inexplicable problems can often be caused by partially malfunctioning RAM.

My VAR simply changes it out if it's determined to be defective within the warranty period. Maybe there's a component in the system that isn't compatible with either the software, or the boardset...perhaps it's not compatible with piece of software that has nothing to do with video editing and the problems you're experiencing and the issues you're experiencing are secondary to a secondary issue...

I know that Jeff Pulera has answered several of your messages here on the Cow in the past. His company, Safe Harbor Computers, configures Matrox/Adobe systems, I suspect he'd have some ideas, though unless the components are up-to-date, it can be difficult to troubleshoot.







TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 11:28:30 pm

All components including RAM were checked when the manufacturer and vendor reinstalled everything in November. New Hard Drives were installed.



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Tim Kolb
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 11:35:13 pm

OK...the computer components work properly...has Matrox had any thoughts on the physical configuration of the machine itself when they see all the specs?

...also what other software is in the machine? (include everything in this analysis)



TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 12:11:07 am

Thanks Tim. That information is all up in the part of this site where it fits and I continue to troubleshoot there. It would be kind of you if we could pursue that there.

I don't want to link to that here in the business post area. I dont want to directly impugn a mfr who is an advertising patron on this helpful site if it can be avoided. We can fly at a higher altitue than that here and I'm thinking we can probably have a freer conversation if we do.

This is about where we go and what we do in the wake of what appears to be irredeemable failure of systems and support. Suffice it to say the system has been recently stripped down and always configured directly to mf'r standards, under direct supervision of the manufacturer to only the (optimal version of the) OS and other software that's required to make it work. Nothing else. And its perfromance hasn't substantially improved.

Its interesting to note in the next post that Tim appears to have simply eaten the cost and retired his under-delivering gear. Others appear to accept that mnf'rs do not at moment of purchase recommend specialists be engaged to maintain the gear (as if this is something only for inner circles to know. )

This acceptance doesn't seem to be right in the long run for any of us. If we can win accoutablity and insist on deliverable quality, certifable advice from manufacturers about how to maintain gear, and absolute accountability for failures, let's. We'll have better gear for it. It may be the only good that can come from my current disaster.

When we push back let's be absolutely certain we have just reason. I don't want to name a brand while I'm still extending them every oportunity to be accountable for their product.



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Tim Kolb
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 3:44:29 am

[david grantham] "This acceptance doesn't seem to be right in the long run for any of us. If we can win accoutablity and insist on deliverable quality, certifable advice from manufacturers about how to maintain gear, and absolute accountability for failures, let's."

Ok David, I follow your idea here...sorry, I went into gear analysis.

On your larger point, I think the market has dictated that more features and less purchase price is what they want. That's now what we have...but let's look at the financial ramifications...

In 1996, I bought my first NLE. Faaaaar less sophisticated than anything anyone uses now. It was dedicated hardware ($14,000), a Mac with 16MB of RAM and a 1X CD ROM reader ($5500.00), I needed another 72MB of ram...which had to be installed on an add-in card (another $5,000) 4x 9GB harddrives ($4,000/pc=16,000) along with various monitors, removable drives, peripheral software, etc. I paid 2500.00 per year for tech support and software upgrades (I believe Avid users were paying around 10K/yr in those days on bigger systems). For all that I had 2 video tracks, 4 audio tracks and a title track...and I rendered everything. The only stills I could put on the timeline were PICTs and they had better be perfect in their dimension and dpi or it was a mess...

Now, Apple and Adobe make a software NLE for around...5-6 hundred dollars. It runs on a beefy, but off the shelf computer system, PC or Mac (FCP is Mac only of course), which will run you 3-5,000.00 for a reasonably efficient machine. Harddrives are all over the board depending on whether you can RAID-0 some Westerns you picked up at Best Buy on the motherboard, or you need a big-iron array with redundancy and serious throughput for HD/Film.

So, the marketplace (us) has what it (we) wants...cheap and powerful. The issue is that there's no margin left for the kind of tech support that professionals want...but then the pros are paying near-consumer prices in many cases (for software at least).

I don't know if the customer base can make a LOT more demands on NLE manufacturers...our appetites for cheap and powerful has put severe stress on the manufacturers who have traditionally stood behind their products...if the profit margin on one box of software is more than wiped out by a 1.5 hour phone call to a knowledgeable support person, then prices have to go up, or support has to go down...simple.

The reason why software manufacturers say quite clearly (though usually in tiny, dense type) that user remedy is limited to replacement or refund of the product, is that they know quite well that production work costs far more than one license of NLE software.

It's why government purchased items cost ridiculous amounts of money.
You can't verify the grain structure in the handle of every 5.00 hammer to make sure there are no weaknesses that MIGHT cause it to break under conditions so severe one can't even imagine them...but an 80.00 hammer could be Xrayed and run through an MRI causing 40% of finished product to be discarded instead of shipped...if the price is high enough, expectations can be high with no problem.

I've been saying for some years that the cost of our tools going down was going to have negative as well as positive effects.

this article is a bit rambly...but the "1-800-SUPPORT" section sort of addresses this situation...I wrote it in 2003, so if the products/situations sound a little dated, that's why.

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/kolb_tim/value.php






TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 4:47:28 am

Thankful for your thoughtful comments I look forward to reading the whole article after this dust settles.

Every marketplace responds to the demand for highest quality at the lowest price. Let's not use that reason to excuse this one from delivering.

I used to be symathetic to the troubleshooting time encurred to a manufacturer, but not after all this. I'm afraid I have little sympathy for the cost of support technicians when they waste my time without fruitful results. Not anymore. It's not about the value of their time, it's about the value of their gear. Either the gear should basically work or supportable or they shouldn't be selling it. Mine doesn't. I don't think it ever will.

It would have been annoying but more useful to hear from tech-support months or even years ago "you know, we can't solve your problem, you'll have to work aroudn it or replace the unit." Instead they strung me along for months of interruptions to my work with drastic attempted fixes at great expense to us all. It cost them way more to do that. It goes deeper than bad support. It appears to be bad engineering, and bad testing. And it cost them a lot of their troubleshooter's time, so it appears to be bad management as well.

The destructiveness of all this on my life and professional circumstances is enormous, and before embarking with this gear on a major proejct I gave them every direct oportunity to tell me in advance if it wouldn't do the job.





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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 12:27:58 am

I tried an answer which got witheld for review by forum moderators. I understand that. Treating issues with advertisers must be handled fairly, so I'd just as soon not ID any brand name here nor link to where they occur. But I'd love your kind input in a tech troubleshooting area.



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 12:52:07 am

[david grantham] "I tried an answer which got witheld for review by forum moderators. I understand that. Treating issues with advertisers must be handled fairly, so I'd just as soon not ID any brand name here nor link to where they occur. But I'd love your kind input in a tech troubleshooting area."

I am the one that most times does the moderating of this particular forum, David, and I do not recall censoring any post here in this forum or any other because of "advertiser concerns." To be honest, I haven't moderated much of anything for any reason in the last year or more. With my amount of gray hair, it could be years since I've moderated a post due to advertiser concerns and I wouldn't remember.

Perhaps you have us confused with Chris over at DVInfo.net??? We are regularly told that he does that, a lot.

We have moderated for a lot of reasons here at the COW over the years, but silencing honest issues with manufacturers or advertisers hasn't been one of them.

The only time we have ever done anything like that is when we had -- for example -- a guy who hated JVC cameras and was a VAR for another brand. He tore into them and made it out like there was a bunch of different people in agreement with him. There wasn't, it was just him masquerading under numerous names and accounts -- but all hailing from the same IP address. When I warned him that we check things and that I was ready to reveal his ID publicly if he tried it again, you would be shocked at how silent that all those "various and assorted people" became.

Ron Lindeboom
creativecow.net


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 1:22:16 am

No worries Ron, when I got the notice that the post was being held up because it might violate policy, I thought you were just doing what was prudent, making sure that a renegade user wouldn't be making outrageous inflammatory statements without cause. No objections, but thanks for the clarification.



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 2:12:18 am

Thank you for understanding, David.

Sadly, all newer accounts are moderated for a while as one of the newest tactics of spammers is to have a real person create an account, make a few posts by copying and pasting answers from other older posts, and then once the account is approved, they go crazy across the forums. If you look at a recent thread on the COWmunications forum, we had an account opened and approved that did just this and when they got approved after a few posts, they quickly added a couple dozen or so posts for their DVD piracy program they were selling.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom


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walter biscardi
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 9:33:20 pm


[david grantham] "I am a tier down (at least) from you men in terms of professional production output - and I believe I was the target market for this product. I hope this doesn't make this post a waste of your time.
"


I opened my company in a spare bedroom. Not exactly top tier. But I did start out with a full broadcast capable Final Cut Pro editing system assembled by ProMax.


[david grantham] "The computer was assembled by a vendor who is not an expert in NLEs to specs they received from the manufacturer, and yes, from what I can tell it was a matter of choosing which card and which mortherboard were advertised as tested for the gear."

What is this, some ad-hoc put together by number system? That's horrendous. Putting together a stable NLE is much more than the correct motherboard and card. It's OS version, Storage Card, Storage system, Software Version number matching up to everything else that is installed among others.


[david grantham] " I thought it was just to be expected (I'd heard NLEs crash a lot),"

Not when they are properly configured for the task at hand. If they did, most of us would be out of business.


[david grantham] "When I began having the cooling system upgraded, and installing software upgrades - for which it was advertised to be upgradable - proved problematic on the system, it became necessary to interact with technical support, and I learned that the recommended slot was now one at the other end of the board. (One wonders about the throughness of the initial testing and recommendation.) It was also then that I learned now many other other programmes should not be installed (let alone concurrently run) on the NLE system."

Sounds like you had the wrong machine all along. And yes, there are software applications that can conflict with NLE's. That's true of any NLE editing system out there. It depends on that that application changes to your setup and if it is trying to do any background tasks while you're editing. They can wreak havoc on any NLE if you install the wrong software.

As for the thoroughness of testing, things change all the time on systems. As the OS, machines and drivers change, card placement recommendations change too. This is normal.


Just to be clear, you're a professional editor earning money with this system and you did not feel the need to hire someone who sets up professional editing systems. Now said editing system is not performing as you are expecting, but you want the software manufacturer to give you some sort of refund or monetary payment for your suffering?

I'm sorry, but none of your argument flies for me. From what I can tell you did not set yourself up properly from the get go with a proper professional editing system. The manufacturer owes you nothing.





Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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Timothy J. Allen
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 11:05:06 pm

We ran into a similar situation a few years ago. Actually, the guys who worked for the "up and coming" NLE were brilliant, and patient, and to their credit, they tried for a few months to help us configure the systems. We had proficient and experienced (even talented) engineers on staff who were dedicated to troubleshooting the things.

After weeks stretched into months - and then longer - as we waited for software and hardware upgrades that would "fix everything", we finally had to admit that as much as we all wanted the NLEs to work.

Long story short, we finally bit the bullet and bought an edit system that had been proven by thousands of users, one that had a widespread and deep user base, and one that offered an expensive, yet expansive tech support contract. The next year, we bought several more systems and the "up and coming" NLEs finally started their new task of keeping the dust in the storage rooms from falling all the way to the floor. (They do a great job of that.)

I'm not saying we still didn't have problems with the so called "big brand". But at least we knew there was a network of support around the world... and I got back a level of confidence in projecting project completion dates.

There's no shame in going with a proven system.



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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 11:33:18 pm

Thanks for your comments.

The system I chose was recommended to me by a friend who edits national television dramas. It isn't at the bottom of the heap, I think it's in the middle and it does appear to have both supporters and detractors.



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Paul Thurston
Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 12:11:31 am

Things to look for:
1) The motherboard (has a bottle neck that cannot be fixed)
2) The hardrive array (it's not giving you at least 200MB/s)
3) The hardrive is connected to a controller that is defective by design (meaning the motherboard manufacturer used a chip in the controller that consistently fails under particular conditions, Non-linear editing is one of them.)
4) After all was installed correctly, the wrong Quicktime was installed or was upgraded (with or without your knowledge...)
5) Your RAM is incorrectly installed in your motherboard. Certain motherboards are designed to only have RAM sticks installed in ONLY slots 1,3,5, and 7. Other motherboards are designed to only have a certain maximum amount of RAM installed in a particular slot and your particular stick of RAM may have surpassed that amount.
6) Your ATi Radeon X1650 Video Card wants the same resources your Matrox hardware wants. (How this could possibly happen is a mystery, but a different motherboard model may fix this.)
7) Your power supply is to small (the wattage it supplies is less than what the hardware requires.) Or your power supply is wired incorrectly into the peripherals (modern power supplies have four or more circuits, and if you overpower one of those circuits, the power supply becomes too small for the wattage required.)
8) Your hard drives are SATA drives, they are past 50% full, and so their reduced speed causes the hardware to fail (a RAID 0 or RAID 6 may help… make sure you're getting at least 200 MB/s)
9) You are using PP 1.5. The newer QuickTime Codecs & Drivers for certain devices are for more up to date editing systems (Premier Pro CS4) Premier Pro 1.5 was designed for what was available in 2003.
10) You have a worm or virus that keeps returning to your system. USB drives are usually the ones that make this happen.
11) The processors installed came from a bad batch (happens more often than what people think... from what you explain in your symptoms, I think this is the most likely cause of your ills.)

Hope this helps


-----------------------------------------------
Paul Thurston
Producer
Chile


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david grantham
Re: Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 12:32:12 am

Thankyou Paul.

Treating issues of unreliabilty claims must be handled fairly by moderators, so I'd just as soon not ID any brand name here nor link to where they occur. But I'd love your kind input in a tech troubleshooting area. I may be able to check into these items, but in general everything is quadruple checked to mf'r specs.



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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 26, 2009 at 11:10:11 pm

"Putting together a stable NLE is much more than the correct motherboard and card. It's OS version, Storage Card, Storage system, Software Version number matching up to everything else that is installed among others."

Of course. Those were early discoveries for me. I believe these are among the facts a manufacturer is obligated to tell users at the outset and - it certinaly appears - recommend a qualified NLE specialist be attached to the system throughout its life for regular upgrades and maintenance.

This is what I am hearing here and I thank the assembled for it. (I've pretty much come to that conclusion on my own anyway) However, that's not the whole story.

Walter, it sounds like you are conetnet with low expectations of those developing this technology in terms of advising their user base on how to keep it working - or at the very least whom to consult to do so.

I welcome the helpful advice here, but I strongly feel that I should not have to come limping bruised into a forum for that advice after I have been dealing with the manufacturer directly on a weekly and sometimes daily basis for months stretching to years. If they say "plug in the card, install the software thusly, and away you go..." - as they did - I believe it should be that way. If they say "this wil fix the problem" as they repeatedly have, it should do so. If they say it can be made to work under such-and-such circumstances, at some point it shoudl be made to work if those circumstances are met.

What I appear to be hearing here - and its a bit startling - is not to rely on a system manufacturer for support and advice on how to maintain their own gear. If that's the case, we should decalre that as shortcoming in the indsutry and the unreliability of their advice should be taken to task and I believe they should undertake accountability for it.

Caveat emptor has a ring, but I don't think it excuses a supplier from rewarding the trust of its client by delivering on promises.

A Rolls Royce can only be serviced at a Rolls Dealership, from what I understand. If this is true for any other vehicle, it should be stated in the promotional material. It should be the same for any other type of equipment.

Besides, the system complies with all that you mentioned and it still doesn't work. If that points to problems extraneous to the NLE-specific system, that itself should have been possible to identify early on from some route the manufacturer recommended.

I'm not ready to accept that a supplier is not obligated to provide knowledge to the user about how - or at the very least through what source - to maintain the effectiveness of equipment.



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walter biscardi
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 2:27:13 am

[david grantham] "Walter, it sounds like you are conetnet with low expectations of those developing this technology in terms of advising their user base on how to keep it working - or at the very least whom to consult to do so. "

Nope, I research all my options before I purchase. And then I find the best possible people to work with me, even if it costs me more money to do so, to ensure that the solution works correctly. If the solution doesn't work and work right away, it's gone. I get a refund or it gets replaced with something else.

This has happened on multiple occasions, just last week in fact, and in each case, the VAR took care of everything. In your case, it's too late now, you are the editor, engineer and researcher.


[david grantham] "What I appear to be hearing here - and its a bit startling - is not to rely on a system manufacturer for support and advice on how to maintain their own gear. If that's the case, we should decalre that as shortcoming in the indsutry and the unreliability of their advice should be taken to task and I believe they should undertake accountability for it. "

What you are hearing from me is your system is not properly configured, or it has some other shortcoming that does not work for whatever it is you're doing with it. There's no way I would work with any system that was unstable for one week, let alone one year.

I have no idea which manufacturer you're using, some have said Matrox which does make some good products. I don't know anyone personally who uses any of their Windows editing products, but many folks use the MXO and MXO 2 for Final Cut Pro successfully.

Here are all the possibilities that I can think of for an unstable system and again, I absolutely no clue what you're running:

Bad components in the computer.

Incorrectly configured components in your computer.

Insufficient RAM (we run 8 to 20GB RAM in our systems)

Bad RAM

MisMatched RAM

Incorrect Card Placement in the PC

Incorrect Card drivers for the OS installed

Incorrect Host Bus Adapter for your storage

Insufficient Storage system (too small, too slow. We have 8TB, 8TB and 24TB systems available)

Overloaded Storage System (storage is over 80% full)

Fragmented Storage System (I erase my drives every three months as possible)

Capturing Media to the internal System Drive

Putting a lot of media elements on the internal System Drive.

Conflict between Graphics card and Video Capture Card.

Incorrect Media / Codec version (not sure what that is in Windows, it would be Quicktime on the Mac)

System not configured for codec (i.e. trying to edit HD on a system configured for SD)

System not configured for project type / length (i.e. trying to edit a 2 hour feature on a system configured for shorter projects)

Application Software conflict

Control Software conflict (the video card control panel if there is one. AJA has this for the Konas)

Accessory conflict (tablet, special keyboard, mouse, trackball, usb stick, usb / bluetooth device)

Running multiple applications with NLE open.

Internet Browsing / Email with NLE application open.

Bad or incorrect reference signal to the video card and your VTRs.

Bad power to your system (we have power conditioners and APC's on all systems)


It takes about a week to run through all of these and more. If I've tested and cleared all of this, then the system would go back.










Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 2:52:31 am

Helpful Walter, thankyou. (Most of thos issues have been troubleshot and the surface none of them appear to apply, but they bear investitation.)

What about protecting ones' interest where upgradability is concerned?

One of the reasons I chose the setup I did is that it was upgradable. It was this upgraded version of the software which caused the problems further into the life of the gear. Initially I thought I had to live with crashes every 45 minutes, and I had to find my own fix to non-pre-multiplied alpha channels on titles, but otherwise out of the box it was okay - espeically compared to the way it developed. The hidden wrinkle was the lack of promised performance on the next upgrade of the NLE software.



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Chris Blair
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 3:28:05 am

Heck nobody else will say it...so I will. Premiere Pro cannot be considered at the top of the heap of any high-end editing system.

Can you edit professional projects with it. Yes. Can you do it without pulling your hair out? Doubtful, unless you couple it with the Matrox Axio hardware.

We've tried virtually every version of Premeire Pro since version 1 all the way up to CS3, and it's one quirky, resource hogging, finicky piece of software coupled with most other hardware. Over on the Premiere forum one of the most popular pieces of advice for users experiencing problems is to:

A. Not run ANY other programs while you're editing.

B. Not to install ANY other software on your NLE machine.

This is flat out unrealistic, as Adobe's products are designed to allow you to seamlessly move projects from one product to the other. The list of configuration recommendations for setting up Premiere is about 3 pages long...with half a dozen esoteric tweaks to registry and OS settings. We've run it with Canopus hardware, Blackmagic hardware and with no hardware. I've successfully built and configured no less than 20 high-end graphic and NLE workstations over the years going back to 1996 and have a pretty good working knowledge of hardware, Windows configurations and NLE troubleshooting.

From your list of specs I can tell you where your issue lies. The motherboard. We had a graphics system built on that motherboard and while it's highly rated among many gamers and CAD programmers, it's a piece of crapola when it comes to editing. (Hey I didn't mention the brand). We tried to install one of our Velocity editing systems on that board, and while it's also an approved board on the Leitch/Harris compatibility list, it absolutely would not run correctly on it. Constant hangs, crashes and quirky behaviour. We moved that Velocity boardset to an IBM Intellistation Z, has worked perfect ever since (5 years).

So...you CAN get Premiere to work without crashing, I've seen it run adequately in our shop on HP xw series computers, but I doubt you'll ever get it to run on that motherboard. Switch motherboards. NOW. Buy a used, approved HP xw8200 or IBM Intellistation (if they're approved with the Matrox hardware) off of ebay. You can get them for under $500. Then try reconfiguring.

Hope that helps...although it's probably not what you want to hear. As others have pointed out, there are probably tens of thousands of people with RT-X boards that work fine. There are probably hundreds of thousands of people editing with Premiere Pro without constant crashes. But keep in mind this is $600 software coupled with a $200 motherboard (when new) and a Matrox board that was, if memory serves me, about $1,500 new. Our current turnkey NLE systems cost over $20,000 new, and that's without video storage, which typically was another $3-4000.

Bottom line, I don't see how any of the manufacturers are at fault here. The people that recommended the motherboard don't sound real bright as you can google that motherboard model and find a litany of problems with it. So they're the only ones that might owe you anything. I bet it was an IT company because that's who recommended that board to us as part of them building a graphics workstation. Needless to say, I don't use that IT company to build workstations anymore. Not after the hours I spent troubleshooting that thing.

I will use outside vendors, but I research the specs and hardware and ask questions on forums before diving in. Still, I've had experiences just recently that were disappointing. Dare I say it was combining Premiere Pro CS3, an HP xw6200 and a Blackmagic HD Extreme. It works...but only after we spent 2 months configuring and tweaking and updating and...whew...makes me tired just thinking about it.

We rarely use it though as it just doesn't work the way it's advertised by either Adobe or Blackmagic. It's little more than a software based editing system with SDI capture and output, with very little real-time hardware acceleration or real-time functionality. But again...what was I to expect with $600 hardware and $1000 video hardware??

Like I said...can you edit a professional project on it? Certainly. Can you do it without pulling your (graying) hair out? Doubtful.






Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 4:04:46 am

Thankyou Chris. It's great to get all these stories and possibilities. I'm still looking at all solutions.

I'll iterate (reiterate, I think) that the choice of this motherboard wasn't at all arbitrary or recommended by unknown sources. It was listed on the accelerator card mf'rs website for every possible purchaser to see as one of a handful officially sanctioned as tested to be compatible for this purpose, and to make matters worse, a bad slot for it identified as the only one that would work (overheating next to the video card). (That slot recommendation was eventually changed, but not in any offical follow-up sort of way. It eventually sort of came up in tech-support sessions years after the fact.)

THere's got to be some basic accountability there with a card mf'r who claims it's been tested as compatible with something if - as you say and I seem to be experiencing - it is not.

Compatibility was a simple claim and yours is a simple assertion: that it's false. If we consider such failures to deliver as a labyrinth of interdependent components too complicated to be followed up and accoutnability demanded, we're doormats inviting others to propose slipshod assemblies in the future.

This systme is really on the threshold of not working at all. I don't know if I can get to the finish line. THe NLE isn't the problem as far as I know, it's the accelerator card mf'rs claims.

Sure I'll have to find a remedy and that's ongoing, but it seems to me some redress is required after all this. It simply seems wrong not to stand up for that.





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Chris Blair
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 4:33:01 am

As I said, it was and still is listed as a compatible board for use with Velocity and VelocityQ systems. There are people using it successfully even today. But certain versions and revisions of the motehrboard were just flat out bad. As I said, google that brand and model and you'll see.

You can't blame the manufacturer (Matrox) if they tested that MB and it worked. The only people to blame are the motherboard manufacturer and your system builder (for not researching the board). Matrox, just like Leitch, probably tested their hardware and Premiere thoroughly with this board and it likely worked flawlessly. But motherboard manufacturers are constantly changing chips, writing new code, changing bios settings, updating drivers etc. They could even get defective materials and chips from their suppliers.

You can lament the accountability issue all you want. You'll never get anywere with it. Nobody plans for this type of failure. Not the motherboard maker, not the video capture hardware company, not the software company and not your system builder. Nobody wants this to happen.

At the end of the day, you were unlucky. It sounds like Matrox, Adobe and your system builder have tried mightily to fix the issues. But if the core hardware (your motherboard) turns out to be the problem, you certainly can't blame them.

We bought a turnkey VelocityQ back in 2003. Worked great for a couple months then it started crashing. Upon reboot, it wouldn't go past the bios screen. We sent it to Leitch. They couldn't replicate the issue, but they wiped the thing clean, reinstalled, put in a new boardset. We get it back...same damn thing. Leitch recommends we call IBM as the workstation is under warranty. We call IBM and they've got a tech there that afternoon. He tears the thing apart, tests everything; can't find a problem. He too wipes the drives, reinstalls, uses Leitch disk image to install the NLE software. Hooks it all up. Same damn thing!!

They take the computer to their shop. They hook up similar components (external USB's and a Firewire drive), run it under similar software loads. They can't replicate the problem. They suggest we have a power issue in our building. We call an electrician who comes out, checks everything (we had 200 amp service installed that serves just for our 3 edit suites). He can't find any issues. They bring it back in, we hook everything back up, boom, same problem. They're stumped. They replace virtually everything in the PC right there in the suite, motherboard, RAM, power supply, graphic card, all one by one. SAME PROBLEM. All this went on for a month and this suite was down the whole time.

I get a free day and I go in and take EVERYTHING non-essential out of the PC and unplug everything non-essential from it, including the USB backup drives and a firewire drive we used for rendering).

Boot it up. Works. I start adding components to the inside. After each card is added. Boots up fine. I get to the external USB drives. Boom...won't boot. I unplug the USB drive (Seagate) and plug another brand USB in. It boots fine. I re-plug the Seagate USB. It won't boot. So for a month I'm blaming IBM, Leitch, and anybody else I can blame, when the entire issue was caused by an incompatibility with the USB chip on the Intellistation and Seagate's USB external drives. I later learned MAC's had a similar issue with some brands of external USB drives. The Seagate drive worked fine as long as you turned it on AFTER booting.

I still can't believe that experienced IBM technicians weren't trained to work backward like this when troubleshooting...but they weren't! The moral to the story is that there could be 20 things causing your problems. My guess is the motherboard, but it might be a bad or incorrect driver, it could be an incorrect setting in Premiere, it could be defective RAM that tests out ok (happens all the time). It could be a darn external USB drive! So stop looking for a reason and someone to blame and get on with getting a system that works.



Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 5:08:22 am

Wow, effective tale. Thanks. Strangely comforting to imagine such a hassle for someone else... I'll get something that works somehow.

I thank you for the encouragement not to delay a solution.

And I get your main point I think, but I don't completely share your conclusions.

This wasn't bad luck only for you, but for those providing the gear. But who took the huge hit if you had to retire your gear because they couldn't find what you could? Only you. That's not right. If we're in this together with the supplier for good or ill, then we share the good and the bad. "Tough luck for you," here's your money back is no loss for them. It's the absence of gain. Seems different to me. By all means let's be reasonable, but folks in creative fields like ours shouldn't be doormats; it's hard enough here.

I wouldn't specify a motherboard to anyone without pinning it down to a specific version of it. Besides, they checked all that and found that I had the right chipset. There's nothing left to swap out on this machine. Its' just two hard drives and a video card and a motherboard and power supply, all with current drivers.

We wouldn't make someone a movie that might not play on their DVD player and refund the cost of the show if it didn't. If that happened we would move heaven and earth to correct it - and if we could not there would there not rightly be hell to pay? I propose that it be the same with our suppliers, even if it's as difficult for them as you relate.

Maybe I'll try taking the DVD player off of it. It's probably the only expendable (which it isn't, really) utility on it.



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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 5:17:49 am

No - Windows Media plyer won't scrub properly. I wonder if having WinDVD - which scrubs nicely and I have to scan DVds of al my footage regularly - might cause a problme.

There's nothing else on this that the mfr didn't add. maybe there's a known-to-be-benign DVD player I can use.

Gotta take that Q to the techforum somewhere.



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Todd Terry
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 5:10:33 am

[Chris Blair] "Premiere Pro cannot be considered at the top of the heap of any high-end editing system. Can you edit professional projects with it. Yes. Can you do it without pulling your hair out? Doubtful"

Oh, I'll bite back at that.

We are not a big-time big-city post house by any means, but we do very professional work and broadcast commercials on the local, regional, and occasional national level.

We've been a Premiere house since we started, 12 years ago.

The very first machine we had cost darn near half as much as my house, was a DPS Perception machine (anybody but Tim Kolb remember those?) running Premiere 4 on Windows NT. Since then we have been through a number of generations... Canopus DVrex, Canopus Storm2, Aja XENA, and Matrox AXIO. Right now we have three Windows suites running Premiere... my personal suite is an AXIO running Premiere CS3.

Believe it or not that original Perception machine is still running strong.... rarely used, of course, but we keep it around in the rare instances that we have to access those old proprietary .pvd files.

With a couple of exceptions and a few small speedbumps through the years, we have never had any problem with any of our boxes, they are rock solid stable, never crash... and all happily run Premiere. And I am happy to edit with it.

And even though I probably technically shouldn't... I will routinely keep quite a few other applications running while in Premiere. It's never given me a second's worth of trouble to do that or bog down any machines in any way.

All of the editing platforms have come a long way through the years... so much so that these days FCP, Avid, and Premiere are darn near interchangable in terms of quality, usability, and fuctionality.

Now, all that being said... we do typically buy whatever is absolutely the most powerful smokin' fast computer availble anytime we are moving to a new NLE... but... I think the success has a lot more to do with the fact that the machines are perfectly and properly configured by a VAR that builds turnkey systems for a living. I'm a relatively swift guy, but I would never attempt it myself. I'd much rather pay someone who knows how to do it right than waste my time trying to do it myself.

I think configuration is key.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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walter biscardi
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 5:16:36 am

[Todd Terry] "All of the editing platforms have come a long way through the years... so much so that these days FCP, Avid, and Premiere are darn near interchangable in terms of quality, usability, and fuctionality. "

Yep.


[Todd Terry] "Now, all that being said... we do typically buy whatever is absolutely the most powerful smokin' fast computer availble anytime we are moving to a new NLE... but... I think the success has a lot more to do with the fact that the machines are perfectly and properly configured by a VAR that builds turnkey systems for a living. I'm a relatively swift guy, but I would never attempt it myself. I'd much rather pay someone who knows how to do it right than waste my time trying to do it myself.

I think configuration is key. "


Ditto.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 6:00:31 am

"I think the success has a lot more to do with the fact that the machines are perfectly and properly configured by a VAR that builds turnkey systems for a living. "

If this is necessary, system providers need to let that be known.



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walter biscardi
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 12:21:27 pm

[david grantham] "If this is necessary, system providers need to let that be known. "

If you did the proper research before investing in a system, you would have known that. ANY NLE system is much better configured by a reputable VAR than a do it yourselfer.

As this is a business forum and not a technical forum, your original post asked if you were correct in assuming that you can get some sort of redress from the manufacturer. Your posts since then suggests we should all hold manufacturers to the fire because you have had an incredibly unstable NLE that is out of the ordinary.

From a business standpoint, No, you are not owed anything from the manufacturers.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 4:50:12 pm


I apreciate your input. I haven't been looking to know whether to get redress, but how to best seek it.



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Jason Jenkins
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 28, 2009 at 12:22:28 am

David,

If you have the time and resources to go on a crusade to make somebody pay, that's your choice. In my opinion, this is not about what is right or wrong, it's about what works and what doesn't work. You've proven beyond a doubt that what you are doing/using does not work.

My advice: Stop typing. Stop analyzing. Move on. Don't look back.

Jason Jenkins

Flowmotion Media

Video production... with style!


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Chris Blair
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 6:23:35 am

Todd,

I didn't mean to imply you couldn't do very high-end work with Premiere and I stated as such. I even pointed out that an Axio based Premiere workstation is very powerful. Heck, a talented individual could do high end work using Premiere Elements or Vegas Movie Studio or Final Cut Express.

But it's tough to argue that using Premiere with anything other than Axio hardware is as fast as using other systems. I know dozens of colleagues who share my take on Premiere from a configuration and performance standpoint COMPARED to systems like Avid, Final Cut systems with AJA hardware, VelocityQ and VelocityHD systems etc. If you compare the system I mentioned, Premiere CS3/Blackmagic HD Decklink Extreme to a VelocityHD or even a VelocityQ, it blows....even when it's configured properly. You just simply cannot edit as quickly, efficiently, or with as much visual feedback. Plus, configuration of a system like that yourself is MUCH more difficult and quirky than building say VelocityQ systems like we have, or Final Cut systems yourself.

My point was that David has to consider that Premiere is a $600 program, and the machine, the video capture/acceleration hardware, and the configuration all contribute to the stability and performance of it, especially considering his hardware.

I have a friend using Premiere CS3 with Axio and he says it's virtually identical to editing on a real-time Avid or Velocity system and is very stable, but with so many varied configurations possible with Premiere, there's a pretty wide berth out there for opinions on it's performance/stability quotient. And even on many properly configured systems using approved hardware, performance is pretty dismal compared to competing systems.



Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Todd Terry
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 27, 2009 at 6:39:14 am

No offense taken, Chris...

You are right, it depends on the system and the configuration. I didn't like my Aja XENA system, too much... I ditched it for the Matrox AXIO which I love... works flawlessly and is lighting fast.

I must say though that I was a HUGE fan of the Canopus/Premiere combination. We had two systems, worked great, crashless, fast.

In fact, if Canopus hadn't gotten out of bed with Adobe I'd probably still be using Canopus. But we like Premiere so much that when Canopus ditched Premiere for Edius, we ditched Canopus.

Again, I think it has to do with proper configuration, because I don't generally get that lucky.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Chris Blair
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 28, 2009 at 12:22:31 am

Interesting because we liked Canopus hardware and Edius much better than using it with Premiere. Guess it's all about what works for each person. But everyone is right on this thread. Proper configuration is key on just about every system out there. And if you're not knowledgeable or don't have someone knowledgeable to configure the thing, it's probably not going to work.

But I think in the original poster's case, he has bad hardware somewhere. It sounds like he's done most of the right things in troubleshooting, but that nobody's been willing to step up and suggest what seems obvious to me. I've built and dealt with enough systems to suspect chronic problems like he describes are likely caused by the motherboard. It could be as simple as an out of date bios on the thing, but it's unlikely that anything but the main board could cause this sort of catastrophic failure over and over.



Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 28, 2009 at 1:11:16 am

Resolution appears to mean seeking a used computer to have a project-compatible machine to finish this work on. Not a great situation. MOving on. But its' beside the business point of where accountability lies; and I think it's an important one.

MOtherboard problem has been suggested. If that's the porblme it didn't evince itself in any of the demanding aplications I've now removed in a vain effort to get the NLE to work. SO if it's bad it's a specific problem in delivering compatibility claimed only by the NLE folks, for which they won't take much responsibility.

It seems reasonable that an advertised tested configuration implies some sort of promise to be honoured by the tester, especially when the results enable the sales of their product. Otherwise - whether I'm a user or a VAR serving one - it's an extremely risky report to base a configuration on. If that risk is considered acceptable, the cost of it will be passed on to the user either directly as in my case or via the VAR.

In any event, where the problem lies isn't clear. Mfr guess is the board or the accelerator card itself.



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Randy Wheeler
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 29, 2009 at 3:47:46 am

Here is some perspective from a Matrox RT.X100 user (uh, me) for the past 6 years. What's got me a little confused is why he is complaining in 2009 about a hardware board that came out in 2002 and is no longer sold by Matrox?

But anyways, I'm still producing videos and TV commercials on a Matrox RT.X100 and Dell 4550 (P4 pre-hyperthreading) computer using Adobe Premiere 6.5. The computer was refurbished and bought on eBay in 2003 and the Matrox board new at the same time. I was no computer tech back then and configured the thing myself. I'll be editing a 2-3 hour Mardi Gras Parade and Ball video on it for the next 2 days. I use this computer for everything including internet and email. I still get people over here watching me edit that use the "latest and greatest" that can't believe all the real-time capability I have with this system including full-rez and full-time DV output with the proper 7.5 IRE black/setup level to a video monitor. Of course, this is all in DV not HD. I finally bought a laptop to start getting into HD and boy I sure hate having to render again!

Here's a link to the Dell PC's that were tested with the RT.X10:

http://www.matrox.com/video/en/support/rtx10/rec/systems/

I suggest throwing away your current PC and getting a used Dell 8300 or 8400 computer with the right video card and other specs for a couple hundred bucks on eBay. These Dell PC's are recommended and successfully used by people in the Matrox forums. Heck, you may as well replace your Matrox RT.X10 board and get used RT.X100 board for $300 and get more capability.

Both boards came out in 2002 and remember that Windows XP Service Pack 1 was out then and when Service Pack 2 came out and then Adobe Premiere Pro was released that caused all sorts of potentials problems with users of this system that didn't know how to configure them properly. My Dell 4550 is still using Service Pack 1 for that reason and works fine. Don't even think about using Service Pack 3 without knowing other users that have it working. I have configured several Dell 8400/Matrox systems for other people and they work great with Service Pack 2 and Adobe Premiere Pro.

The other important thing is what video card you are using in combination with the Matrox board and what driver version you are using. The latest driver can sometimes cause problems so you have to roll it back to one that works if that's the case.

By the way, the Axio is not the only SD/HD choice out there from Matrox they also have the RT.X2 for people on more of a budget.

Randy


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 29, 2009 at 3:53:35 pm

Thanks Randy. Helpful. I'm tending in that direction.



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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 29, 2009 at 4:46:10 pm

Randy, you seem to have a lot of experience on these setups. I hope modreators wil excuse a non-buiness question here as I ahve your attetnion: ANy advice on how to manage project size and memory use to ensure prodcutivty on a problem system. I"m trying to mke progress as I look for a replacemnt.

If I delete all my unused clips from the bin (do you think then the project size should go way down and perhaps not stretch my system resources ?) (but it's going to make it really hard to choose further clips wihtout ready access to the in and out point lists I was realying on the bin list to tell me. I'l have to open up an old project for that - but maybemost of that is finished for this project for now.)

I"ave also closed all but my most current sequences, which may be helping reduce the (every-five-minutes) crahses (though tnot by much). But as I'm starting to merge those seqeunce sint oa bigger one IM" creating more demands for one indivual sequence.



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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 30, 2009 at 2:25:57 am

Randy - thanks again I have a used 8400 for doing this project on now thanks to your recommendation. It's got xp pro to current specs so I suppose I should roll it back to sp1 if can figure out how. Also there's this on the matrox website :

"This system includes an Intel ICH6R controller in RAID or AHCI mode. These modes are not supported with a Matrox RT.X system because they can cause dropped frames. You therefore need to configure the Intel ICH6R controller to work in a mode supported by Matrox RT.X. For instructions on how to do this, click here2 (if you're an advanced user), or contact Dell Technical Support."

I can't get Dell on the phone and the link in the above doesn't work. Any suggestions?




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Randy Wheeler
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 30, 2009 at 9:29:17 am

I posted a response in the Creative Cow - Matrox Video Systems forum.

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/132/857320

Randy



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Tim Kolb
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 31, 2009 at 9:45:30 pm

[Chris Blair] "I have a friend using Premiere CS3 with Axio and he says it's virtually identical to editing on a real-time Avid or Velocity system and is very stable, but with so many varied configurations possible with Premiere, there's a pretty wide berth out there for opinions on it's performance/stability quotient. And even on many properly configured systems using approved hardware, performance is pretty dismal compared to competing systems"

Well...that last part is pretty broad.

AJA makes hardware for Premiere too...I use it...it's as stable under a Premiere Pro scenario as an FCP box. I'm in a building with two guys with FCP running on Macs and life isn't trouble-free for them either...

You are correct that there is a FAR wider variation in configurations of PCs under PPro systems than there is Macs under FCP systems...and now that PPro runs natively on a Mac, I think many users are seeing the benefits of a Mac...with the workflow of PPro. FCP is a fine program, but i think many of Premiere/Premiere Pro's historical issues have been PC and/or Windows limitations. It's more a Mac vs PC conversation on reliability than an FCP vs PPro from what I've experienced.

I've used FCP and PPro on the same Mac system and they are comparable in performance as far as edit responsiveness...PPro has several workflows where it's superior in its flexibility certainly, but once FCP turns everything into QuickTime, it edits just fine.

As far as price...I can't find FCP available anywhere by itself...FC Studio which is FCP, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, Color, and Compressor is 1299.00 USD (Apple site) and PPro by itself is 800.00 USD (Adobe site). I don't see much price difference.

As far as RT performance, again, I suspect if FCP were installed on as wide a variety of systems, slower systems would perform slower. The remark that "...even on many properly configured systems using approved hardware, performance is pretty dismal compared to competing systems" is so vague that it simply has no value. I usually find this sort of thing comes from someone who may have owned a problem PPro system and simply gave up on it forever...legitimate experience, but far too anecdotal to derive such 'global' conclusions from.

If I classified all FCP systems based on the issues one of my colleagues has had with their FCP system, I would report to the world that all Mac FCP systems are undependable and they crash when DVD Studio Pro is burning a DVD...

Obviously they had an issue with their system that ended up being related to some subtle power supply damage among some other system issues. It wasn't indicative of Mac systems as a whole...and I've seen enough of them to know that.

...PC based PPro systems may have a few more technical configuration quirks, but when they're set up properly (whether with an Axio or not), they're quite powerful and as far as varied source material possible on the timeline...I daresay, relatively unmatched.




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Feb 1, 2009 at 1:45:44 am

The state of my problems is that a new machine seems to result in the same type of crashes, though when not crashing the system feels much smoother.

SO either the editing card is faulty or suffering universal compatibility issues, the project is corrupted or overtaxxing these machines, or some of my video is corrupted. I am transfrerring my 310 GB of clips from a drive with 100 GB free to a drive with about 700 GB free. (All 7200 rpm SATA) to remediate any drive-related problems.

TROublshooting is bieng discussed on tech forums. Premiere Pro and Matrox.



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grinner hester
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 31, 2009 at 12:15:48 am

Today's post industry is devided by two groups, in my humble opinion...
Those who owned an Avid when it was an awesome product and an aweosme brand, and those who have not.
Those who have simply cannot use an Avid today. It's just too frustrating and buggy compaired to what we use to work on... and pay for.
Then , there are those who do not know what Avid use to be and are willing to roll the dice with em, not very vocal either way as, well, they have very little to lose.
Non of the above, including myself, have a legit gripe towards the company or the product. It's up to us as consumers to drive supply with demand. It's up to us to research and not to purchase because some white sheets written by a sales department menationed buzzwords we like. It's up to them to speak the truth and back things if they want that demand I spoke of. That demand, is not what changed... the product line is what fell. People simply fell around it.
pounbd for pound wel know FCP must be looked at when building a suite now. Wasn't even in the running 4 years ago. But their upgrades are upgrades, not bug fixes that introduce new ones.
There are many of us who got stuck making payments on a box worth about a payment. Take it on the chin and don't do it again.
Kind of an old school POV but what are you gonna do, waiste more time and money on em?
Wish them well in their soon to be retirement and rock on.



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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 31, 2009 at 6:13:02 am

INteresting. But just so as to avoid any confusion, my post hasn't anything to do with Avid. But I applaud any effort to identify excellence (and I suppose that also means calling shortcomings to task.)



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grinner hester
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 31, 2009 at 4:00:37 pm

It applies globally. Our government just rewarded failure in the auto industry to the tune of billions and are about to do the same with the banks. My experience with Avid is the same. They are a company that simply does not try very hard to compete. Your product or vendor just lacks passion and desire to be on top. You cannot hender your progress as a result of others lacking passion.
None of us can afford to do this anymore.
Evolution is gonna have to leave some behind.



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walter biscardi
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 31, 2009 at 4:44:48 pm

[david grantham] "INteresting. But just so as to avoid any confusion, my post hasn't anything to do with Avid"

He didn't say it was. He was saying what the rest of us have been saying. Cut your losses, move on to another system and get on with your work. The overwhelming majority of the people who posted in this thread feel you have no basis to demand any sort of restitution from Matrox, myself included.

Ditch the system, get something that truly works and move on.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Jan 31, 2009 at 7:34:05 pm

With the benefit of this discussion and specifically thanks to Randy's suggestion I have a Dell Dimension 8400 system up and running on SP2 only and today is the day I'll be thoroughly exploring how well it works with this entire system. Mfr says I have the bad luck of one in hundreds of thousands and that it wil be making some changes in its tech support to ensure this doesn't happen to anyone else. This discussion isn't holding that back. It's probably held the keys to success and I"m extremely thankful.



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grinner hester
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Feb 1, 2009 at 4:12:28 pm

rock on, brutha!




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david grantham
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Feb 1, 2009 at 4:43:18 pm

Im' rocking all right. To the point of sea-sickness.

TUrns out computer may not be the problem, because inconsisten crahses remain with a replacement.

Even more Srcupulous testing reveal that if it's going to crash - whic sometimes int doesn't - it will do so near where certain clips show up;unfotuatnely one scattere irrregularly through the piece well-desguising this pattern. Made more difciult to diagnose by the inconsistency of the problem. Strating to modfy those places helps.



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Chris Blair
Re: NLE Unreliability
on Feb 1, 2009 at 5:52:29 pm

Sounds like a codec issue. I've seen "broken" or incompatible codecs bring some systems to a grinding halt...namely our VelocityQ machines and Digital Fusion. Those apps absolutely hate Blackmagic codecs. They conflict with The VelocityQ's proprietary virtual AVI codec (which creates an AVI pointer to an existing .dps file). With Digital Fusion, it simply won't open with certain Blackmagic codecs installed.

Google "Sherlock Codec Detective." Download it (it's free and a tiny file). Run it and see if it finds some "broken" codecs. If it does, unistall them through control panel. If they don't show up in control panel, google "how to uninstall codecs through the registry."

We had some old Avid codecs on our Premiere CS3/Blackmagic HD Decklink Extreme that caused Premiere to crash anytime you placed one of the Avid based clips on a timeline. Solution was to transcode the clips to the Blackmagic native codec and get rid of the Avid codecs. Crashes stopped.

Hope that helps.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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