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Author: Topic: Drop Frames

Posted: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 08:44AM
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I wonder if anyone would be able to assist me with a diagnosis for a persistent problem I have with my FCP4 system.

I have FCP 4.1.1 running on a 1Ghz G4 with 1.25 GB Ram with 0SX 10.2.8. I have an IDE 40 Gig system drive, an IDE 60 gig render drive, an IDE 120 gig video drive and an external firewire 180 gig drive.

I occasionally get dropped or skipped frames during play back of rushes in the viewer window and also from sequences on the timeline. I now make sure that I export to quick time movie to make a single file before any play out to tape of finished edits. I have also found that there is a tendency for the machine to skip frames when playing this quick time exported file in the viewer window, but not so much in the canvas window or timeline.

However these skipped frames are an inconsistent problem. Sometimes it will play a 90 minute sequence (QT export re-imported to timeline!), and not give any drop frames at all. Other times I can get 2 or 3 drop frames in a 10 minute sequence.

I have found that if I do a 'dress rehearsal' play out before I finally start the tape rolling, things seem to play a lot smoother.

However, my background is broadcast and corporate, facility house and production company editing on tape and then Avid media composer over the last 14 or so years, and although I hate the Avid company with a passion....their products work and work well! So I am used to kit working when you need it to and am getting a bit frustrated with my FCP system!

My questions to you are:

Am I expecting too much from the firewire system and should I convert over to a SCSI drive system? (My local mac centre has suggested this but although they are always helpful I do feel they are trying to sell me something all the time!...including a new G5!)

Or do I purchase a Sony dvcam deck i.e. dsr25 and edit out the drop frames when they occur on playback to tape? (I currently use a Panasonic camcorder as a deck and firewire to analogue video conversion device which works very well but will not do frame accurate editing). Incidentally, I'm not 100% sure that a Firewire FCP4 system will edit frame accurately to a dsr25. There is a delay in the firewire system which I have got used to but is definitely not there on (Avid) SCSI systems because of the drive speed. This is frustrating but I have learned to live with it because it's my machine!

Or do I do as my local mac centre has also suggested and install 2 x 120 gig IDE drives for my video, scrap my 40 gig system drive which is currently 75% full and replace it with my current render drive (60 gigs). They also say that a near to full system drive can be a cause of drop frames...?

Sorry to send you such a large e-mail. I got your address from the UKFCUG web site and thought as an expert you might be able to give me some unbiased advice and not try to sell me a new G5!!

Now having used FCP for a year or so I am very reluctant to go back to Avid as I actually like the FCP interface and compositing powers more than Avid's. I just need to have a reliable machine.

Any thoughts anyone?!

  Posts: | Location: West Worthing, UK | IP: Logged
Author: Topic: Re: Drop Frames

Posted: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 03:33PM
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beasley, if it is happening during playback it can be as silly as overlapping windows but it is usually a blend of incompatible Render options and so many audio tracks that you have exceeded your Preference setting for this - number of real time audio tracks. Also if it is happening during capture it can be good old Norton AV interfereing with Import by FW, checking what is coming in and tripping FCP up. Sometimes it is the age and condition of FW cables. Really thedre are many things to check, we expect so much from our computers. more than a Professional installation would ever allow.
We have software utilities "looking after" things for us and that means interference with FCP, like my example of Norton.
I have historically always used high-speed SCSI RAID arrays but recently moved to just FW - I have had a trouble free ride since, SO don't think that FW is not fast enough for DV and even Uncompressed!
Take a look at Ken Stones site or his postings at LAFCPUG, there you will find some articles about this very issue, they include ALL possible ingredients for your experience, you will find a solution.
I am flat chat finishing a project just now, hence the brevity, but do let me know how you go.

  Posts: | Location: Sydney, AU | IP: Logged
Author: Topic: Re: Drop Frames

Posted: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 04:15PM
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pashdej@ozemail.,It's me myself again!
Further - the thing I didn't mention is that when I went to FW drives I also went to a G5 DP 2ghz with 2.5gogs of RAM! This really IS the solution I'm afraid. If you want the benefits of FCP-HD RT playback and everything that goes with it, you have to go this far!
I had a G4 DP 500 and it really wasn't coping with things too well.

  Posts: | Location: Sydney, AU | IP: Logged