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Eric Hansen
Unspecified Path
on May 3, 2011 at 11:34:08 pm

i read some other suggestions in other posts, but none of the solutions worked.

i have some large projects - about 50MB each, that are full of timelines and bins that Assistant Editors have prepped for a movie edit. we're running a shared ethernet SAN with about 56TB. the projects were created from ProResHQ media, but since it would take an additional 100TB to keep everything at HQ, we've decided to do onlines at ProRes Proxy.

so we've been creating Proxy files with the same names as the HQ file and replacing them on the SAN. for the most part, FCP projects have been reconnecting to this new media without an issue. but i have a collection of projects from a shoot that will not reconnect. i get "Unspecified Path" when i try to reconnect.

i tried Trashing Preferences and making new projects. i've tried different computers. one trick i tried, which almost worked, was to roundtrip the offline bins and sequences as XML exports. if i do that, i can then reconnect the media, except for Subclips. instead of FCP looking for the Master Clip during the reconnect, it's now looking for the Subclip by name, which doesn't exist in Finder (only the Master file exists in Finder). so that solution doesn't work.

any suggestions? these projects are referencing a massive amount of media. even if i went back to the HQ clips, FCP would still say "Unspecified Path", so that wouldn't be the solution either.

my biggest worry is that we're planning on "team editing" this movie in a few different locations. some on the shared SAN, while others will be out of house using external drives. if we can't move projects around and reconnect to the media (which all have the same names), then we won't be able to edit this way.

thanks

e

Eric Hansen - http://www.erichansen.tv


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Unspecified Path
on May 4, 2011 at 1:25:19 pm

Just curious, if you force connect a file, does it reconnect?

What is the source, meaning did you capture from tape? Red transcodes? Tapeless?


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Eric Hansen
Re: Unspecified Path
on May 4, 2011 at 4:31:30 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Just curious, if you force connect a file, does it reconnect?"

yes, but we're talking about a massive amount of media in multiple places - timelines, bins, multiple projects etc. reconnecting a file in a bin doesn't reconnect the same file in the sequence, or in another project. we estimate reconnecting by hand this way would take weeks.

[Jeremy Garchow] "What is the source, meaning did you capture from tape? Red transcodes? Tapeless?"

a bunch of different stuff. HDCAM SR tapes captured through Log and Capture. Varicam P2 and Canon DSLR footage through Log and Transfer (run 2 times to make one set of ProResHQ files and one set of ProRes Proxy files). RED, Phantom HD, GoPro, etc. everything has been transcoded to both ProResHQ and ProRes Proxy at 1080p23.98 to make things easy on the editors so the timelines aren't rendering nightmares.

i also tried to use Media Manager on the projects that show Unspecified Path, to see if it would work similar to roundtripping XMLs. but MM wanted to rename the files in weird ways. it wanted to call new files "1" or "3", but sometimes it would rename to its full correct name. i don't get it.

i'm trying an app called "FCP Reconnect" i hope that works.

e

Eric Hansen - http://www.erichansen.tv


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Unspecified Path
on May 4, 2011 at 4:41:28 pm

[Eric Hansen] "yes, but we're talking about a massive amount of media in multiple places "

The reason I asked is to make sure that the media is still good. That names/reels/tc hasn't disappeared.

[Eric Hansen] "i also tried to use Media Manager on the projects that show Unspecified Path, to see if it would work similar to roundtripping XMLs. but MM wanted to rename the files in weird ways. it wanted to call new files "1" or "3", but sometimes it would rename to its full correct name. i don't get it. "

If a file has a same name in a timeline, it will transcode each instance of that file. So File_01, becomes File_01 1 and File_01 2. Sweet, right?

FCP Reconnect has worked for me in the past, let's just hope that all of your reels and tc are solid as that's how the app works. Also Bouke is extremely helpful should you run in to problems.

Jeremy


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Matt Lyon
Re: Unspecified Path
on May 5, 2011 at 5:59:04 am

Hi Jeremy and Eric,

I've had this problem too in the past, always with projects shared across machines. I guess nobody has figured out exactly what causes it?

I could only ever get a rough idea of why this happens, but I have never been able to reproduce it predictably. But I'd be very surprised if it has anything to do with the prores proxy media itself.

Eric, a couple things tips that may be worth trying:

-On the machine that created the project, dig through the autosave vault for a "good" version.

or

-On the machine that created the project, unmount all your network shares and SAN drives. Open the problem project and see if the file paths are intact (everything will be offline, of course). If the file paths are in fact intact, copy your timeline(s) and bins in a new, empty project. This will likely not work if you've already "re-saved" a project once the file paths have broken.

Do you have any files with extremely long filenames or paths, or symbols in the file name? In my experience, that sometimes seemed to make the problem worse (but not always!).

Hope this helps,

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto


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Eric Hansen
Re: Unspecified Path
on May 5, 2011 at 4:12:35 pm

hey Matt and Jeremy

thanks for the suggestions. we ended up going back through the Autosaves and pulled a version that didn't have the "Unspecified Path" problem. since the project has been added to since, it looks like the AE has about a day of work to update the project, so not as bad as i was fearing.

ok, so this is only a guess as to why this happened: i think media went offline while the projects were open. it's my understanding that FCP is always checking to see if media is online or moved (there's a check box for this). which is why FCP will sometimes beach ball if you return to it after being in Finder or another app for awhile. it's double-checking that all the media is still available. if media is moved, FCP will quickly reconnect to the new media if it's easy to find. older versions of FCP just didn't do this. but i think if the media just goes offline and there's no new media to connect to, or it's not easily found, FCP will replace the "Source" metadata with nothing. you can see the "Source" metadata by right clicking on a clip and selecting Item Properties. the problem is that there's no way to replace the information in the "Source" metadata once it's gone.

FCPreconnect looks like a great app, but didn't work in this particular situation because the problem wasn't the media, it was this "Source" metadata in FCP. roundtripping XMLs would add the "Source" metadata back in, but it would be based on FCP's clip names and not Finder names, which would mess up Subclips. (in our naming scheme, the subclip for Master clip - FLT-110401-Jackson-CF01-01 would change to FLT-110401-Jackson-CF01-01 Subclip 10). so reconnecting is impossible because Subclip names don't appear in Finder.

so moral of the story (i guess) is don't delete media while FCP is open.

i'm bummed i couldn't find a real solution though. i foresee this being a huge problem as we start team editing this movie. i think roundtripping XMLs could work if there was a bulk way to change Subclip names back to their Master clip names in the XML (reading the XML, i couldn't believe how LONG each clip's entry was - a bin of 10 shots churned out about 20 pages of code). i should say that roundtripping XMLs does work if you don't have Subclips. but a lot of our media is either full HDCAM tapes or hour-long interviews on P2, so we have to deal with subclips quite a bit.

thanks

e

Eric Hansen - http://www.erichansen.tv


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Matt Lyon
Re: Unspecified Path
on May 6, 2011 at 7:55:55 pm

[Eric Hansen] "i'm bummed i couldn't find a real solution though. i foresee this being a huge problem as we start team editing this movie."

Hi Eric, I totally understand your fear! But I think your solution here lies in making sure the problem doesn't occur in the first place. With the right work habits in place, you should be able to avoid or minimize disaster.

It sounds like you already have a good idea of what caused the issue in the first place. So I would suggest establishing some ground rules like "don't delete media while the editors are online." Leave the heavy lifting to the night shift, when no machines are connected to the SAN and no FCP projects are open.

Similarly, make sure everyone uses autosaves, and does nightly backups of their projects to a memory stick.

If the problem occurs again, try to quickly figure out why it happened and then establish additional rules to stop it in its tracks.

Hope this helps,

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto


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Shawna Talbot
Unspecified Path
on May 4, 2012 at 3:34:13 pm

Has anyone else found out anything more about this issue? I'm working as an AE who keeps two computers updated with new footage for a project two editors are working on at the same time. Only I had the day off yesterday and all was well, then when I came in this morning one editor had unconnected media with Unspecified Paths. She didn't move any files around. Just edited like usual all day yesterday, saved her project, and shut down the machine. Then had this issue pop up on her when she opened the project today.


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Shawna Talbot
Re: Unspecified Path
on May 4, 2012 at 3:58:34 pm

Just a note: We did bring in the original hard drive the footage was from and it reconnected to it. So that way we at least had the file names to go off of and we redirected all the files to her hard drive. So now they are no longer off line.

We still don't know WHY this happened as the original hard drive was not connected to her computer when it was working yesterday. I also know not everyone can go back to the original drives like this. I hope a clearer why/how shows up to this some day.


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Eric Hansen
Re: Unspecified Path
on May 4, 2012 at 5:05:32 pm

Hey Shawna

I had to re-read this entire post, as i had totally forgotten about this issue. It's amazing how many projects i've done since that movie this time last year. Like Matt suggested, we got really diligent about organization and when to delete and move media. So we never really ran into the problem again.

Autosaves saved our butt. actually, on that note, i worked with an editor last year that set the autosave frequency to 5 minutes. It was extremely annoying working at her station, as it would pause every 5 minutes to autosave, breaking the flow. the problem is that the default number of autosaves FCP saves is 40. so 40 at every 5 minutes is only 200 minutes - 3 hours and 20 min of backup. Normally, we would notice this issue the next day, so the autosave vault in this case would be completely worthless. so be careful how you have your autosave vault set up.

i'm not sure what caused the problem in your case. in my testing, deleting the media while FCP is open is the only thing that caused this issue. what kind of hard drive are you using for your media storage? is it possible it went to sleep for just a microsecond and FCP thinks everything went offline? check your Energy Saver settings and make sure "Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible" is UNCHECKED

thanks the only thing i can think of.

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Shawna Talbot
Re: Unspecified Path
on May 4, 2012 at 5:45:59 pm

We do have the put hard drives to sleep unchecked. As for the hard drives we're using the original media is on a G-Tech 12TB and her hard drives are two Lacie 2Bigs that are 6TB each, but are striped raided together using thunderblots

The way we have the system set up is there are three computers. I use the G-Tech to make any changes I need to raw footage as it comes in (re-naming, re-coding, ect) and get timelines set up. When I'm done for the day I take the G-Tech to the two editor's computers who are both each using the Lacie set up and update all files and add my new timelines to their projects and also update their projects with the work they each did. Then I reconnect everything to be connected to their drives rather than mine before ejecting my hard drive.

We haven't had an issue with this too much (Except for a couple people renaming things on me in the beginning) but that was a simple reconnect - rename to match file fix. These files that were Unspecified where not those clips and were working just fine when I left for my day off. Worked the whole day I was wasn't there. Then as the editor got started today she had this issue where the other editor is fine.

So yeah, it puzzles me. Just glad we were able to get it all connected again. I'll have to double check what they each have their autosave set to and keep an eye on the FCP vault too just in case this becomes an issue again and we can't reconnect using the G-Tech again.


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Eric Hansen
Re: Unspecified Path
on May 4, 2012 at 6:02:03 pm

I don't have Thunderbolt, so I haven't been able to experiment with a set up like this. but you're saying your edit stations have 2 Lacie 2Big drives (each) and are using Apple Disk Utility to create a RAID-0 across the 2 2Big drives. correct?

can i ask why? do you need that much speed? what codecs are you editing with? i'm wondering if the Apple Disk Utility software RAID is unstable - i've had issues when trying to create a software RAID with external hard drives. can you just run the 2 2Big drives as individual drives?

i'm not saying this is your problem, especially if you're not having any other issues. but to me, this is a red flag. i only use software RAIDs on internal drives. and even then, fairly rarely. I've heard good things about SoftRAID, but it's been years since I've used it.

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Shawna Talbot
Re: Unspecified Path
on May 4, 2012 at 6:09:27 pm

That is correct. Honestly it's raided like that because that's how the boss wanted it. I mentioned if we really need THAT much speed and he seems to really think so. We do currently have over 3TB of footage and he's planning on going out to shoot more for a small doc we're working on. And we're using Apple Pro Res 422.

It didn't seem really needed to me, but that age old saying: Boss gets what he wants - he foot the bill for them.

Although we haven't had an issue at all with this set up and they have worked very fast. So I'm not sure if that is the issue or not as the second editor has the same set up and hasn't had a problem.


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Paul Whishaw
Re: Unspecified Path
on Jun 7, 2013 at 10:32:11 pm

I just had this happen to me. I had to spread some files to a second drive and all that media went offline with "unspecified file path" and I could not relink even though I knew exactly where the media was and could see it in the relink media window. FCP just refused to recognize those files.

I went back to the last autosaved project and everything relinked perfectly. Some kind of crazy corruption to the project file.

Paul Whishaw
PDVpro.com
"If it moves, We'll Shoot it"


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Andrew Wilson
Re: Unspecified Path
on Jul 23, 2013 at 3:16:17 pm

I've had this happen a few times when moving from desktop to laptop and back to desktop.. That's what I get for taking work on vacation!

I've had the most luck if I take the good project and do a SELECT ALL and then export an XML of the whole project.

Then on the target computer do IMPORT / XML and make a new project and then do the relink.

Hope that helps someone.

Andrew Wilson
WestView Digital Video & Design
http://www.westviewdigital.com


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Karel Voners
Re: Unspecified Path
on Jan 27, 2015 at 12:32:09 pm

I had this issue before on a big project.

As stated elsewhere in this thread, you can't delete or modify/replace media that is in use when someone has a project open that is linked to that media.

The next time that project will be opened chances are some/all media will be offline with an unspecified path.

And it's not always the modified media, most of the time is seems completely random.

K.


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