Dropped Frames from Final Cut Pro Playback

Dropped Frames with Final Cut Playback
20070519

Many people discover they can't get their project out of
Final Cut and onto a tape machine or monitor because of stuttering frames, dropped
frames, freezing playback, or crunchy sound.
This list is almost certain to help, and if it doesn't, refer
to the Desperation Method at the bottom.

(Some of these same ideas can help on capture)


--Restart the computer from a cold start. Unplug it
from the wall for a minute, replug, and then restart.

--Set the Canvas and Viewer to "Fit To Window."
--Don't overlap Canvas and Viewer or any other windows.
--Close all other applications--even that email program down in the corner.
--Disconnect the Network.
--Make sure the Log and Capture panel is closed and not just hiding.

--Go back and take out all the MP3 sound tracks. Convert them to AIFF 48/16/2.
--Perform an Audio Mixdown. This does not happen automatically in Render.
--Mix down the audio to stereo if that's what the final show needs.

--Render Everything.
--Try Print To Video and turn the mirrors off.

--Clean up your Hard Drives.
No drive on a video system including the
System Drive should be over 90% full.
Any drive the machine can see is fair game
for this problem whether you're using it for
video or not.
--Launch your machine from the OSX Install CD (hold "C" during startup)
and run Utilities, Repair Disk and Repair Permissions on all the drives.
--Start normally, open Terminal (Applications, Utilities, Terminal) and type:
sudo periodic daily weekly monthly
...and press the Return, or Enter key
Wait.

--Do Not cross QuickTime versions. QT6, FCP4, 4.5, and OSX 10.3.x get along really well.
QT7, FCP5, and OSX 10.4.x get along really well. Crosses don't.

--View, External Video, All Frames.
That's the setting to play the TimeLine live to a deck, television monitor, or camcorder.
Sound Sync follows the setting. If you throw video to a deck,
that's where the sound is going to go. No fair watching the deck and
listening to the computer.

--Trash the Preferences.
If you have corrupted Preferences Files, your instructions to the computer
can get scrambled leading to much instability and craziness. Trashing
the Preferences Files forces FCP to rebuild them and hopefully restore order.
You will need to put all the capture, system, and timeline settings
in again fresh.

--Reloading Final Cut from the install CDs does not trash the preference files!

--Cast off the FireWire drives.
Systems have enough trouble with one FireWire drive. Looping
or Daisy Chaining them is asking for trouble.
See Desperation Method below.

--Check AJA I/O *Inputs*.
AJA I/Os need stable video, black signal, or nothing at their inputs
for proper playback. Unstable video signals drive them nuts.

--AJA I/Os and FireWire Drives have a lot of trouble connected to the same computer.
Add a FireWire Card to the machine and put the IO on that.
This leaves front or back connections (on a G5) available
for FireWire drives. Also, see Desperation Method below.

--Change the FireWire cable to the deck or camcorder.
It's never this one, but it makes you feel good.
People do have damaged FireWire connectors on their computer.
Try a different connector (front versus back on a G5).

--Do not upgrade anything in the middle of a project.
A lot of people with systems running on the edge lose when they
do an upgrade to either Final Cut or the Operating System.
You can fool with it for weeks on the off chance you're going to find out
what's wrong, or you can roll back the changes until you complete your project.

--Apple has a few ideas.
--Join the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group.


Desperation Method:

Export the show as a High Quality, Self Contained Movie.
In FCP3, it's Final Cut Movie, High Quality, Self Contained, Don't Recompress.
In FCP4, 4.5 and 5, it's QuickTime Movie (not QuickTime Conversion), Current Settings, Self Contained.

Push the new, big movie file to an internal drive. Remember to leave 10% free space!

Disconnect everything FireWire except one output device (deck, CamCorder, IO, Canopus).
Load the movie and play it from there. This almost always works even if your only
internal drive is the System Drive.


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