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Importing P2 footage slows eveything

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Fernando Mol
Importing P2 footage slows eveything
on Apr 23, 2010 at 9:56:19 pm

This is weird.

I have a project in AE and I can preview files and audio just fine, but at the moment I import P2 footage to the project window (not even the timeline) everything slows down. Even a simple audio preview will take forever.

I copied the P2 footage (720 30PN) to my hard drive and imported the full VIDEO folder to the project. I tested just deleting the VIDEO folder and everything works fine again.

I'm running AE CS4 on Vista 64 bits Home Premium.
Intel Core i7 CPU
8 GB RAM
Used different settings on the preferences and nothings seems to work.

Thanks in advance

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Importing P2 footage slows eveything
on Apr 24, 2010 at 4:59:10 pm

How did you transfer the files in the first place off the P2 cards? Do you have any spanned files? Are they still in their MXF wrappers?

I'm pretty much convinced this isn't an AE problem, but an error in your procedure when transferring from P2.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Fernando Mol
Re: Importing P2 footage slows eveything
on Apr 24, 2010 at 6:12:11 pm

I just copied the folder from the P2 card to the hard drive (mounted the card via USB, drag and drop). Didn't do any conversion or used any software.

The files are MXF. I imported the full folder from the hard drive to the project in AE.

I did the same in Premiere and it seems to work fine. That's why I thought it was something with my preferences in AE.

I'm feeling a little embarrassed. I'm doing everything wrong?

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Importing P2 footage slows eveything
on Apr 25, 2010 at 5:28:55 pm

I avoid using MXF files in AE. Actually, I don't have much of a choice, because I cut in Final Cut pro, which can use quicktime only.

But I found the following in AE's online Help after using the search term MXF:

http://help.adobe.com/en_US/AfterEffects/9.0/WS16FF592F-CAB0-44cf-B4F1-E27A...

I tell you, the more I search in AE Help, the better I like it. I can usually find the right topic in about a minute and a half.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Fernando Mol
Re: Importing P2 footage slows eveything
on Apr 25, 2010 at 5:52:27 pm

It seems that it is what it is. AE CS4 supports native MXF but at least in my system it still use a lot of resources just to have the footage available in the project.

I used to work on a Mac with Final Cut and the work flow never was compromised when using the ingested media in After Effects. But, as you mentioned, the Mac files are quicktime.

Maybe CS5, with all the promises on the better performance, can manage better the imported MXF files. We'll see.

Thanks again for the useful help, Dave.

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Importing P2 footage slows eveything
on Apr 25, 2010 at 6:08:28 pm

[Fernando Mol] "....AE CS4 supports native MXF but at least in my system it still use a lot of resources just to have the footage available in the project..."

The flip side to your situation is the dyed-in-the-wool Windows guy who has footage problems and asks, "Hey, what's wrong? It's a .mov file!"

You have to remember that MXF is just a media container, like Quicktime. How many different codecs are there for QT? Same situation for MXF.

The stuff you imported may be an MXF in the H.264 codec or something, which will definitely give AE fits.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Fernando Mol
Re: Importing P2 footage slows eveything
on Apr 25, 2010 at 6:53:29 pm

Agree with the common "container" problem. I forgot to mention the footage codec is DVCPRO HD (720 30PN), recorded on an AG-HPX170.

That shouldn't give any problems to AE. Right?

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Importing P2 footage slows eveything
on Apr 26, 2010 at 1:02:36 pm

[Fernando Mol] "I forgot to mention the footage codec is DVCPRO HD... That shouldn't give any problems to AE. Right? "

Ah, but DVCPro HD isn't available to Windows machines without buying the codec first! It's $150.00, and I'm not even sure of the name of the software developer... nor am I sure if you get both read/write capabilities, or read only.

It sure would be nice if Apple and Microsoft learned how to play nice together and share toys....

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Fernando Mol
Re: Importing P2 footage slows eveything
on Apr 26, 2010 at 1:29:13 pm

I think the performance issue is fixed now. It was as you mentioned, Dave, not an After Effects issue. It seems it was a hardware problem, so basic I feel a little embarrassed.

I have a working 1 TB raid disk and it was not close to be full, but it was more than a half full. I did some backups and cleanups and now it has more than a half free space. Not a big difference in space (free 442 GB vs free 627 GB) but the performance in AE is much better now.

Some time ago I read somewhere that hard disks performance could drop down when half of the disk is full, but I didn't experienced it before. I'm not 100% sure of my diagnostic, but After Effects is working fine now.

You're right about the codec issue. A year ago I had that problem, when a client asked me for a file in quicktime with DVCPRO HD. I didn't have the codec then, but I have now (came with the camera).

I'm glad After Effects is running smoothly now. Just in time to start the week.

Thanks again for your time and your useful help, Dave.

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