FCP and AJA Lhi sync issues
Im not sure if I should have posted this on AJA's forum, but here it goes...
First here are my specs.
(9) 2x2.26GHz Nehalem Macs with 8G ram 10.6.2
FCP (7.0.1, and all pro kit updates)
AJA Lhi (6.5)
on Terrablock 24D (all fiber clients)
All of our work is NTSC Apple Prores 422 (29.97)
and our audio is at 48k 16 bit (and perhaps 24bit, don't know if that matters...)
The issue I'm having is when editing precise cuts on the timeline, I get random sync on playback (on the canvas, not the client monitor). Sometimes is 4 frames out of sync sometimes 2, and sometimes it plays correct. It's not a drifting issue though, it just starts the playback off sync, you stop go back play again, and it will start right on, and so on, very random.
Our editors are even resorting to exporting qt's to make sure the cuts right. I have replaced the house sync (even put a machine on a black burst generator by itself), and the problem persists. Reformatted and reinstalled software, changed drivers for lhi, placed the media in a local drive,and even went back to 10.5 instead of 10.6 to no avail.
If I remove the LHi drivers, the system is dead on. No sync issues at all, yet AJA is telling me that it's the first they hear (and they've been very curious about the problem).
I am wondering if anyone else running a similar setup was experiencing the same "looseness" editing. Obviously suggestions on what to fix/troubleshoot are also welcome.
The frame offset is by default set at 4 as it comes from the factory. For all AJA products this should be reset to "0" (zero). (see example below)
If your editors are experiencing additional issues after changing the offset, then you should uninstall the Kona drivers using the app included in their utilities, and then reinstall the latest version.
David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™
EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards
A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.
Thanks David for your prompt response,
The frame offset does affect the playback on the canvas (which is weird in itself since I understood that it only affect the client monitor) however, whatever I change it to (0, 2, or 4 depending on the weirdness of the playback) will correct the issue for a moment, then go back to playing randomly. I also have done the install and uninstall drivers countless times on 2 different OS's.
These were my first "go to's" when we noticed the problem.
Another point I forgot to mention. I had the AJA card on slot 3, and the fiber card on slot 2 (came from vendor like this) Aja recommended we switch them, and the problem persist in this configuration as well.
we are an aja dealer in germany. we got some clients who has exactly the same issues like you. we also "downgraded" to 10.5, changed drivers, changed the whole editing client, without any success. at the moment i think it must have something to do with the prores codec. if you get anything from aja please let me know.
[Gary Nelson] "All of our work is NTSC Apple Prores 422 (29.97)
and our audio is at 48k 16 bit (and perhaps 24bit, don't know if that matters...) "
Audio at 16bit is most likely the cause of your issue, FCP wants 48K 24bit audio.
Try a Mixdown of your audio and you will find that it should clear things up.
( this is my 6th post about audio errors when using 16bit audio in the last couple of days- it is the issue)
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
We are experiencing similar problems - AJA LHi's on FCP with Terrablock 24D, working PAL 10bit uncompressed. Sync on the broadcast monitors is randomly between 4 and 12 frames out. We've taken this up with our suppliers, who've done extensive tests - similar to yours - and they've concluded that our problem lies with FCP, and is being addressed. The workaround is to use the 'L' Play key instead of hitting the space bar - try that out. Also, we have one suite which works perfectly using an AJA I/O LA - if you have access to an LA or LD, then try swapping it in.
Thanks for the heads up Jane. Unfortunately that doesn't work on our end. We were able to guarantee sync by using the built in line output option in the settings, thus having to sacrifice SDI outputs.
I have sent video recordings to AJA that showed the randomness of the sync issues, had their engineer out here, even made their computer fail, and I believe, when they had no answer for me, they left me in the dust and abandoned me and my problems with their card.
I did find, however, that switching my AJA playback output to 96hz, caused my systems to be stable with no sync issues. Obviously I cannot output at that frequency, but editing was in sync. I gave that info to AJA engineers but I think that was never explored, or was inconsequential.
They told me about the "play button solution" as well at one point, and made no difference to us. I believe the space bar is a very utilized key and find it ridiculous that an editor has to give it up (let alone 13 over here at Big Picture,) but I'm glad it works for you. By the way, they also told me to wait at least 3 seconds between stop and play. I don't know who can get away editing like that...
Again, thanks for the post, and if anyone is having these issues as well please post it. There is power in numbers :)
I thought I was the only one! I have the same issue with my LHi. Random sync issues where the audio is between 1 and 6 frames late when monitoring via the LHi's analogue XLRs. Sync is perfect every time when I switch the audio to the Mac's built in line output.
I've been back and forwards with AJA since October - they even sent me a new card over to NZ (!). That didn't fix the problem however. My current workaround is to monitor audio via the built in line output and then switch back to my trusty AJA IO to output to digibeta (perfect sync every time.)
I've tried all the ideas mentioned in this thread, as well as the ones AJA offered, but sync is still random on every format - even just a single DVPAL clip in the timeline. Oddly, sync seems OK in the AJA TV app, just not in FCP.
I bought the LHi because I had such rock-solid performance with the AJA IO...
Hope there is a solution soon.
Mac OS X 10.6.7
AJA LHi 8.1.1
I am trying to resolve this wholeheartedly. I am actually going to AJA here in LA to try to resolve this issue. I will keep you posted as to what I find out. I don't even use media anymore. I get random sync issues when I create 2pops in 15 increments. I will play once, and it will be out of sync, play once more, and it will be in sync. It's killing me!
I have to resort to built in audio to guarantee sync as well, the only problem with this, is that I don't know if my SDI output will be in sync. I have 13 edit stations and all have this issue.
I've used Kona 3, I/O, and different generations of Mac all with the same awful result. I also tested a Blackmagic, and it was totally in sync. I want to try to avoid having to buy new cards, but I may have to. I will surely write here for any updates.
This may help - I made a bit of a breakthrough the other day after 5 months of tearing my hair out like you... I simply turned off audio scrubbing in the timeline (I always usually have this on and FCP defaults to having it turned on - Shift 'S' is the shortcut) and bam, suddenly everything is in sync through the LHi. Let me know if this works for you - it's a pain not having scrubbing but I can turn it on and off depending on if I want to scrub or not...
We have been struggling with the same problem for months. First with LHe and then with LHi.
Then I had an idea to try to do things at a lower pace. With a little more delay between moving the playhead and pressing play button did the trick. I couldn't get audio out of sync with this methdod, and asked our editor to try this too.
Our editor has reported that he has had no sync issues since. He is just too fast editor for our Kona cards :)
But good to know that disabling audio scrubbing may help too.