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Old September 16th, 2005, 09:10 AM   #1
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FCP Playback Suddenly Jerky

Hi Folks.

This is my first post and I'm hoping somebody can help. I recently made the switch from Premiere to FCP and I'm trying to learn FCP, which up until now I had liked more than Premiere. However, yesterday, for reasons I don't know, FCP started having REALLY jerky playback (like 2 or 3 non-sequential frames per second). On my DV deck, it's a freeze frame (whichever frame I last clicked in the timeline). This happens for ALL projects, even ones I did several weeks ago that I had not changed. They had played back fine up until yesterday. I would add these things:

1. I have tried taking footage off an external hard drive. Same problem.
2. There is a yellow warning icon with an exclamation point on the Canvas.
3. The footage plays back okay in the Viewer; it's only when I put it in the timeline that I start having problems.

I'm using a titanium G4 Powerbook, with a 667 mHz processor and 512 mb of RAM and running Panther. I know that's not an ideal computer for running FCP but, like I say, FCP had worked fine until yesterday.

I would greatly appreciate any suggestions. I teach television production at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville. We recently made the switch to FCP and I think this problem is likely to occur again at some point so I need to know how to solve it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Last edited by Matt Rouch; September 16th, 2005 at 10:16 AM.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 11:42 AM   #2
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I'd say all bets are off with a machine that slow unfortunately. I realize that it used to work, but you're barely within FCP's minimum spec (500mhz G4 with 512MB RAM).

There is one bug (uh, I mean "feature") worth checking however. In the canvas window, what have you set the view for? The problem you describe sometimes occurs when the view is set to 100%. Set it to "fit in window" instead and see if that helps. Also be sure to close the log and capture window at all times when not actually capturing.

Capturing and editing to the internal drive is always going to be problematic for a number of reasons. For one thing, it will be fragmented due to the thousands of system files, etc. For another, the system and applications constantly read and write to that drive.

Couple other things come to mind.... disk journaling should be OFF on your media drive to maximize performance. Close all other open applications while editing. Add more RAM.

I used to have a powerbook just like yours - 667mhz Titanium with 512mb RAM. I was running FCP 3 in those days. What version do you have? With that version I could never get FCP to work properly under OS X, but it was OK under OS 9.

But honestly, if you're teaching, you need to upgrade to a faster computer. Even an iBook will be 3x the speed of your Powerbook. And even the fastest powerbooks pale in comparison to the G5's unfortunately. I do my editiing on a dual G5/2.5 but also have a 2 year old 1ghz powerbook with 1.25GB RAM. That machine runs FCP acceptably, but is a huge step down from the G5.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 12:20 PM   #3
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Hi Boyd.

Thanks for getting back to me on that. I ended up reinstalling FCP before I could check those things you suggested. It runs okay now, but I actually ended up having to re-install TWICE. Before I did the second installation, I did a search to make sure I had deleted EVERYTHING related to Final Cut Pro.

One interesting thing happened. Sherlock turned up a Final Cut Pro Preferences file that was not in the Preferences Folder within the System folder. I forgot to click "get info" to determine where the darned thing was located. That MIGHT have been it, because the first time I re-installed it was still playing back ALL projects jerky. I have no idea what I did that made them play back jerky in the first place...it was just all of a sudden they all played back that way.

I think you're right about the computer, though. We're getting a couple of those new JVC HDV camcorders in the next ten days, and I know there's no possible way to edit HD with a 667 mHz processor. A gig is the MINIMUM. Unfortunately, unless I buy it myself, I'll probably have to wait until next academic year to get the money for a new computer. The University's technology budget for this year is spent. But we do have G4s and G5s here that can handle HD.

Next time it happens I'll try the things you suggested. I'm trying to learn in a professional way with the Diana Weynand text, but sometimes I putz around and click on stuff. I think I may very well have changed the settings you suggested giving a second look to. I was fooling around and clicking on things just before I went to lunch yesterday, and when I came back I couldn't remember what I'd clicked on...and that's when it started happening.

Thanks again for the response. Seems like a helpful group here.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 06:16 PM   #4
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Matt, when you mentioned about that preferences file it reminde me of an article I read about maintaining your FCP system. Even if you have the problem fixed you might find it interesting.
http://larryjordan.biz/articles/lj_trouble.html
The yellow warning over the canvas could be the excess luma or chroma warning, which is turned on with ctrl-z, or under the view menu.
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Old September 16th, 2005, 07:13 PM   #5
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Jerky Playback

I Have Final Cut Express 2. I was experencing the same situation with jerky
play. I logged on to Apples discussion site and was given my answer.Above the viewer and canvas screens,there is what is called the zoom window, When opened there are several settings. For smooth playback, "fit in window" needs to be checked. The way I understand it, The larger the percentage checked,the more jerky the playback becomes. This worked for me. I spent hours trying to figure it out. I got the reply I needed in just a few minutes.
Hope this might of some benifit.

Bob J. Trimmer
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Last edited by Bob J. Trimmer; September 16th, 2005 at 07:19 PM. Reason: correction
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Old September 16th, 2005, 07:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
In the canvas window, what have you set the view for? The problem you describe sometimes occurs when the view is set to 100%. Set it to "fit in window" instead
That was my point above. I think this is just a bug, and it has been around at least since FCP 3. I don't think it's related to the actual scale however. With "fit to window" set I often find it scaling to over 100% on my big screen but playback is still fine.
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Old September 19th, 2005, 09:38 AM   #7
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Folks:

Thanks a ton for the feedback. Nate, that article was awesome!
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Old September 19th, 2005, 07:25 PM   #8
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Glad to help!
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