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Old December 9th, 2010, 10:01 PM   #1
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Trouble Capturing HDV

I've been trying to capture about 7 hours of interviews that I shot on my Canon XHA1s. After 5-10 minutes of capture, FCP will suddenly quit for no apparent reason. This is rather frustrating and becoming very time consuming. I have tried manually stopping the capture every 5 minutes or so, but there isn't always a convenient stopping point, so I have to push it further sometimes and then I get the FCP crash.

Here are the settings for the camera and FCP:
- Camera is Canon XLH1s
- The footage is HDV, 30f, 1080
- Connected via Firewire
- Capture is HDV to Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 1440x1080 30p
- Device Control Preset is HDV Firewire
- Computer is 2009 Mac Pro
- Scratch Disk is a G-RAID 2TB connected via eSATA
- FCS2

Any thoughts on this? It's driving me nuts right now, and I'm losing a lot of time going back and recapturing.

Thanks!
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Old December 9th, 2010, 10:11 PM   #2
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That's a good post with good details. From what I see, it appears that the capture is having to transcode from HDV to Prores on the fly. You might try eliminating the transcode and capture to HDV then run it thru Compressor to get to Prores.

More FCS voodoo to try would be to capture to an internal drive instead of an external one.
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Old December 9th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #3
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My 4 year old iMac 2.16GHz had no issues transcoding HDV to ProRes422 (NOT HQ) in nearly real time (lagging about 4% but never failing) on 1 hour captures in FCP 6.0.6 (FCS2) under OSX10.4.11.

Your Mac Pro is certainly more capable than my iMac was. Try capturing to ProRes (non-HQ) and see if that works any better.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 09:32 AM   #4
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Do you have anything else connected to the firewire bus? This can cause problems and slow things down. Also, you might try capturing to the internal hard drive and see if that works. When I captured HDV it took some fiddling to get it to work. There was something on the camera I had to change and the settings for FCP weren't as obvious as they probably should have been. Unfortunately, I don't remember the details, but I found a few posts on-line about it through googling. You could also run a disk speed test to verify the write speed of your hard drive.

Andrew
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Old December 10th, 2010, 10:34 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies, keep 'em coming.

(Les) If I can avoid the extra step of using Compressor to transcode, I will. Tape-based workflow is cumbersome enough, so I'm trying to keep it as streamlined as possible.

(Shaun) I may try to capture in ProRes (not HQ) but I prefer to edit in HQ so it leaves me with an extra transcode to get back to the workflow I'm using.

(Andrew) The external drive is connected via eSATA, so there shouldn't be any Firewire Bus issues. There are no other eSATA devices running at the same time. Capturing to the internal drive is possible, but I'd definitely loose some speed trying to edit off of the boot drive. My external is a G-RAID (RAID 0) 2 TB with nothing else on it, and it's connected via eSATA, so I doubt there are any speed issues there, but I will check.

I hadn't considered the camera settings, so I'll check there. Not sure what could be adjusted in-camera but I'll definitely have a look.

I was hoping to deliver the dailies to the client today, but I'll have to shoot for Monday. It's frustrating when you have $10,000 of equipment and software that are designed to work together but won't for some reason.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 12:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Keffer View Post

It's frustrating when you have $10,000 of equipment and software that are designed to work together but won't for some reason.
I feel your pain but keep in mind 90% of the time, it's something WE as end users haven't optimized that is causing a stability issue. Every one of my FCP systems over the years WASN'T stable and problem free right out of the box and took some massaging... and then COMPLETELY stable.

It's a good stable SCALABLE system - sometimes you just have to find the right combination.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 02:03 PM   #7
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Try plain ProRes. ProResHQ isn't going to give any improvement that I know of over regular ProRes if you are starting with HDV footage.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 10:03 AM   #8
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"The external drive is connected via eSATA, so there shouldn't be any Firewire Bus issues." -- No, but the camera is, and it's worth checking to make sure you're not having any kind of conflicts. When troubleshooting stuff like this, half the time the solution is to do something that I didn't think would matter, and then only later do I discover the esoteric reason why it actually mattered. I would try capturing to the internal hard drive, at least just as a test, because then you can rule out hard drive speed issues.

Anyway, I hope you get it working.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:06 PM   #9
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Thanks for the tips, guys. I will definitely keep playing with the setup to try to get it right. I was able to capture all of the material by manually stopping it every 5 minutes or so (and cursing every time!).

Hopefully I can track down the bug and get it sorted out.

Seriously considering a DN-60 after that ordeal!
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Old December 25th, 2010, 05:00 AM   #10
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A great trick to fix capture issues when FCP doesn't cooperate, is to capture with iMovie instead of FCP. iMovie is much more forgiving with issues like timecode breaks or a janky camera connection, and will often capture footage that FCP refuses to digest.

You need to have iMovie HD installed to capture HDV.
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Old December 26th, 2010, 02:27 AM   #11
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have you tried firewire basic setting rather than firewire? i am capturing into prores all the time now from my XH-A1 but my setting is firewire basic.
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