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Dropped frames during capture

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Steve Okun
Dropped frames during capture
on Dec 31, 2007 at 3:05:43 am

Ok, I'm going pretty crazy. I'm getting dropped frames whenever I attempt to capture video from my video camera, using Final Cut Express HD.

I'm attempting to capture video from a Sony DCR-HC65 NTSC using firewire. I'm using the internal drive on my MackBook Pro. It fails at different spots on the tape, no matter which tape I use. I've tried a bunch of settings, but mostly I'm using the Easy Setup: "DV-NTSC FireWire Basic".

I've tried running iDefrag to no avail. I'm lost. Any ideas?

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Shane Ross
Re: Dropped frames during capture
on Dec 31, 2007 at 5:06:12 am

[Steve Okun] "I'm using the internal drive on my MackBook Pro."

That's your problem.

Shane's Stock Answer #12: Dropped frames on capture/playback

1) Do not capture to your main system drive. Since it is busy reading the operating system and application files, it will intermittently drop frames during capture. Capture to a separate internal drive, or external hard drive (firewire and eSATA for example).

2) Deactivate any anti-virus/filesaver software, tncluding Norton and Virex. For some reason these programs think that the large files created when you capture media are in fact caused by some sort of virus, and they try to prevent this.

3) Check the format of the drive you are capturing to. It should be Mas OS Extended, jornalling off. If it isn't, copy your files from it and re-initialize it. If it is any other format, you will encounter problems. If not at first, then eventually.

4) Trash the FCP preference files. Use FCP Rescue available here:

5) Make sure that the hard drives you are capturing to are fast enough to handle the footage being captured to it. A regular firewire 400 drive cannot capture uncompressed HD, or even uncompressed standard definition. A RAID array of drives might be in order for these formats.


Littlefrog Post


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Mark Fusco
Re: Dropped frames during capture
on Jan 23, 2010 at 4:12:27 pm

I know this is over two years old, but I'd like to offer my experience on this. I had the same issue recently. What I did was go to User Preferences under the General tab and where it says "Abort capture on dropped frames" make sure that is UNCHECKED. I've done a video for a client for the past 6 years once a year and this was the first year I didn't use my iBook G4 (800Mhz). With that system I had unchecked that box so long ago that I forgot about doing it on my current system - 20" iMac (2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo).

Once that happened, it was just like old times. I never had and issues with my iBook and capturing from a miniDV camera and using the internal drive. The only thing I did make sure of was limiting as many apps as possible during import. But my iBook was so slow, that that was SOP whenever I used FCE even for editing. Other than that your system should be able to handle the import.

Now, with that setting unchecked is there a potential to have problems? Yes. But normally everything imported just fine. What you will see happen is that the tape will stop on the camcorder and a message saying "Locating timecode break." Depending on the speed of your system, this could take for what seems like a minute or more to just a few seconds. Many times the camcorder will toggle back and forth until FCE picks up where it left off. At that point you'll get a message saying "Capturing Clip cueing source material" just like when you started.

No matter what, when you are doing some serious stuff with FCE the less stress on your system, the better, but if you have the open and say Safari open to type responses to forum posts, the capture should go well with most of the current systems. Even my iBook could at least handle that.

This post typed while actually importing said client's tape after just going through the dropped frames headache ;)

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Josie McClutchie
Re: Dropped frames during capture
on Mar 25, 2010 at 2:56:36 am

Never too late!

Thanks for sharing that gem. Although I've been FCPing for a while, somehow my settings had changed and all of a sudden nothing would capture. I couldn't remember how to sort the dropped frames problem until i read your post. Thanks!

It works a treat!

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