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Old January 14th, 2008, 05:03 PM   #1
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Urgent Help: Black frames appearing on export from FCP

I have the latest FCP6 and am running the latest version of Leopard on the best iMac. Captured DV footage is from a Canon XH-A1 (24p, full screen). I am exporting self-contained movies, uncompressed 10-bit DV NTSC. I've had no export troubles with the first half-dozen projects all using the exact same settings and source material, but on the most recent one--DISASTER!

FCP is inserting weird black frames on export to DVDSP that are NOT visible in my timeline or viewable on my canvas. These are not gaps in my timeline, nor are they always related to a cut--just randomly inserted blinks of black frames, or in some cases, double blinks. No matter how tightly I zoom into the timeline, no gap appears, even in the spots where I know they appear in the exported version.

I tried making the project a new sequence and that didn't get rid of the export issue. Please help! I haven't found much about this issue elsewhere on the web. Thanks.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 05:51 PM   #2
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As if things couldn't get any worse, I tried exporting the file to QT conversion (default settings) and had to take a rather long phone call. When I came back to the imac, it had gone into sleep mode and when I woke it up, it was frozen. I can use the mouse cursor, but it doesn't activate anything. I tried force quit and that let me shut down the programs I had running, but relaunching the finder didn't work. I held the power button down and shut down that way, but it was still stuck in this state when I powered it on again. I tried unplugging it, plugging it back in and powering up but it's still stuck in the same state. I can't get anything to open or work. Can't access dock or Apple menu. Not getting any bomb icons or other system warnings.

What's going on??? I'm going crazy! LOL
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Old January 14th, 2008, 05:56 PM   #3
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Wow, Jim, that's a nasty one. This sounds like a piece of hardware that's either starting to fail or, has failed.

First, when was the last time you did any system maintenance on this system, such as fixed permissions, ran the daily/weekly/monthly sub-routines etc.?

If you have a copy of DiskWarrior 4 run it. If you don't have a copy get down to the Apple Store and pick one up - then boot from that disk and fix your the directory of your main drive, first. (Do NOT install DW on Leopard yet, they have not released a fully compatible version).

If those maintenance items don't work, it could very well be a hardware failure, anything from a HDD to bad RAM to the motherboard or power supply getting frisky.

See if you can boot into SAFE mode - turn the system off then hold down the SHIFT key while it boots. If you can get into SAFE mode OK, then it's a software bug that DW should be able to rectify. If you can't get into SAFE mode, then it's most likely a hardware failure.

Try the maintenance first, then let us know what's up.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 06:15 PM   #4
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I just got the imac less than a month ago, and have only been actively using it for the past week, so I haven't run any utilities yet. I can't access the utilities while its in this state. I hear that most "fatal" problems with macs hit in the first 30 days. It's a good thing I still have my old PC laptop or I wouldn't be able to access the internet to ask for help!

I just restarted (before reading your reply) holding down the D key and ran the hardware test. It said "no trouble found," but I didn't run the extended test.

I will retry starting up holding down the shift key per your suggestion...

BTW: My comp's stats are:

Model: iMac7, 1
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo
# of cores: 2
CPU speed: 2.80 GHz
L2 CPU Cache (shared): 4 MB


PS: Earlier, I tried sticking a paper clip in the hole by the power cord to restart, but that did nothing and I had to use the power button to shut down.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 06:22 PM   #5
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Weird! I decided to try "restart" from the hardware test menu and that seemed to correct the problem of being frozen. I don't have Disk Warrior but did download Applejack and Main Menu (haven't tried them yet, but I hear they are good). Will look into Disk Warrior and run additional tests just to be safe. Thanks!

Anyway, my original problem still remains--the curse of the mysterious black frames showing up in my FCP to DVDSP exports! Any ideas on this??? I do not want to reedit the entire 21-minute project from scratch and then hope that will fix it...

***EDIT: I did a QT conversion (default settings) and there were no weird black frames in that! But the quality isn't what I want, and I can't burn it with DVDSP.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 08:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Duggins View Post
Weird! I decided to try "restart" from the hardware test menu and that seemed to correct the problem of being frozen. I don't have Disk Warrior but did download Applejack and Main Menu (haven't tried them yet, but I hear they are good). Will look into Disk Warrior and run additional tests just to be safe. Thanks!

Anyway, my original problem still remains--the curse of the mysterious black frames showing up in my FCP to DVDSP exports! Any ideas on this??? I do not want to reedit the entire 21-minute project from scratch and then hope that will fix it...

***EDIT: I did a QT conversion (default settings) and there were no weird black frames in that! But the quality isn't what I want, and I can't burn it with DVDSP.
Sounds like you have serious problem with the computer beyond the export issue. If the export finally works I would suggest running TechTool if you got that with your AppleCare (I hope you have AppleCare, it's really worth it). There might be a hardware problem with the RAM or something else. Also, have you downloaded all of Apple's software and firmware updates?

Try this in the meantime:

Export a QuickTime Movie. This is under the file menu. Make sure "make Self-Contained file" is checked. This creates a perfect clone of your finished project, no recompression just a straight data copy of timeline.

Open a new project and import this new QuickTime movie. If you look at the file icon in the Finder, you'll notice that it has a Final Cut icon instead of the standard QuickTime icon. This indicates that it's a special QuickTime file for use with Final Cut and other video savvy programs like After Effects.
Check the file as see if the dreaded black frames have appeared. If they have, you are not in good shape. First consider reinstalling Final Cut Studio but you may have to back up all you video data and program files and reinstall everything on the computer. Not a wonderful time for sure.

If the file plays clean, then export it with Compressor either thru Final Cut or just drag the file into Compressor and set it for MPEG2 like before. If this doesn't work then reinstalling Final Cut Studio is the first order. If it works then at least this project is saved and you can put time into solving the freeze issues.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 11:20 PM   #7
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The dreaded black frames are in the self-contained .mov file. :(
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Old January 15th, 2008, 12:14 AM   #8
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before you waste a lot of time, reinstall QT. its quick and painless. also have you trashed your FCP prefs ? thats the very first thing to try before doing anything because it usually fixes a lot of FCP problems. you need to trash FCP prefs, plist, POA cache and OBJ cache. Do NOT touch the user ID files. try those two first. then maybe consider reinstalling FCP and updating. failing that, do a OS reintall & archieve. this is fairly painless and takes less then an hour, but will copy over fonts, user data, ect. its also possible its a hardware problem. the iMacs are known for funky hardware problems.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 03:52 AM   #9
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Sadly, I couldn't fix the one project, but was able to get a good-enough QT conversion of it without having to redo the whole thing. Trashing FCP prefs has fixed the problem on all projects since then. I didn't reinstall QT or FCP as I was in a hurry to move on (tight deadline) and just crossed my fingers, LOL. If it gives me anymore trouble, I'll do the reinstall. Thanks for the help!
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Old January 17th, 2008, 10:34 AM   #10
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I have to tell you, I am very familiar with the black flickers! I have asked on this board before and no one had heard about it.

The 2 major times I've seen it is:
1. shooting 24p and importing it into a 24p timeline, that for some reason needed to be rendered. Towards the end of the project I got black flickers and even worse one random frame from the timeline would flash for one second throughout the video.
2. I did a normal scene that was extremely heavy on green screen, by the end I had the same problem.

For me this glitch happens when I get too complex, or use footage/timeline that isn't compatible (I don't know about you though). The way I fixed it was rendering SMALL portions of the timeline and putting them together in a new timeline. I suggest you copy your project many times and open one up to delete most of the timeline till it plays ok. Export self contained and continue this process till you have all the small functioning clips to put together in a new timeline. Alternatively, copy and paste segments to new timelines to get functioning clips.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 12:04 PM   #11
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Troubleshooting questions:

Do the black frames occur at points on the time line where it's just a clip... middle of the clip or ends of the clip... any titles or effects overlaid or keyframed at that point?

Are you exporting as a 24p quicktime movie?

Is the timeline from which you export it 24p?

Were the previous working timelines 24p?

What differs in your setup that changed since you worked on the last project that this worked for?

If you burn a test disk with the created file to DVD, does it play that way on your dvd player/tv?
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Old February 4th, 2008, 10:08 AM   #12
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having same problem with black frames

we just upgraded to Mac Pro 2.8 GHz , FCS 6 and are getting same problem with NTSC monitor blacking out occasionally (while canvas looks fine and no report of dropped frames). these are raw clips, no effects, nothing fancy. DVCAM original, anamorphic, straight.

Monitor is patched through DSR1500 (connected to Mac Pro by firewire) and some media is on FW400 drives. A clip that plays fine from eSATA drive creates black frames when played from FW400 drives. I'm wondering if it has something to do with VTR sharing same bus as drive (on our G4, the deck had its own bus). We had no problems with previous G4 and FCP 4.1.

However, some black frames happened when clip was played from a FW800 drive, so that is probably not the whole story. tried trashing preferences and made no difference.

Maddening, and we can't figure this out.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 10:38 AM   #13
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did you try my suggestion? In my experience the black frames don't go away. They seem to only get worse the more you work on it. Try to salvage what you have, or make copies of the project and shorten them seperately, to export working chunks and piece them back together in a new project.

I just realized you are a different person than Jim... If you only get black frames on your NTSC monitor, and not on the canvas or QT export, than ignore my post.
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Old March 5th, 2013, 02:26 PM   #14
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Re: Urgent Help: Black frames appearing on export from FCP

If this is useful to anyone:

I'm running FCP6 and just had black frames appearing out of nowhere in rendered clips. Trashed prefs blah blah...

Cure - I uninstalled MB Looks and reinstalled.

Possibly coincidental - but I was running Looks for Prem Pro, FCP and FCP X.

All tickety boo again.

Ben.
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