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Old July 4th, 2006, 11:07 PM   #1
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Dropped frames in viewer but not canvas

Aha!
Trashing the preferences didn't help, but . . .
I finally discovered the difference between my Project Road Test clips that don't playback (dropped frame error message) and those that do.

It's all about file location for this FCP2 running in OS 9.2.2.

Clips that don't play back are in "Firewire Drive:/Road9.2.2_media/Capture Scratch/Road Test/"

That's the designated Capture Scratch folder in Preferences. The "Road9.2.2_media" folder is the funny folder that I created trying to follow Charles Roberts's instructions on the best way to set up media files. (No claim here that I followed his instructions accurately.) These are the files that play perfectly in Quicktime but not from the FCP2 browser or viewer.

Clips that do play back in the FCP2 viewer are in "Startup Drive:/Documents/Final Cut Pro Documents/Capture Scratch/Road Test/"

I didn't knowingly create that folder and have no idea how it got there.
I did the experiment of copying a clip from the Firewire Drive folder to the Startup Drive folder and behold! the clip now plays back in the FCP viewer.

But obviously I need to use the big Firewire drive, not the Startup Drive, and clips used to play fine from the Firewire drive until I did whatever I did.

So the next challenge is how to change folder names or move folders to get the files running from the Firewire drive again. Perhaps I'll trying copying the "Final Cut Pro Documents" file to the Firewire Drive. Maybe FCP won't work properly unless it has a folder entitled "Final Cut Pro Documents."

Despite what I thought I read in Charles Roberts's "Final Cut Pro 2" book. And despite the fact that I still can't find the phrase "Final Cut Pro Documents" in the 1500 page FCP2 manual.

But it's interesting that the playback issue is related to the file location condition. Wish I could find more detailed documentation on this for this ancient if not prehistoric program.

I wonder if the more recent FCP versions have these file location issues or if that's all long gone with the cleansing winds.

I'd welcome any suggestions about how to nudge these folders and files into proper order.

Newly optimistic,
Relentlessly,
Robert

Ti-book G4, 1000 mb RAM, FCP2 under OS 9.2.2, external 120 Gig 7200 rpm firewire drive . . .
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Old July 6th, 2006, 12:13 PM   #2
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Seems to me that you are just running on the border of performance and limitations of your HW and SW. FCP doesn't necessarily use the same technique to play the file as the QT player does. Presumably, you are dealing with full quality DV files. Given the age of your Ti Book and the fact that you are using an external Firewire drive, I'd suspect the recommended approach for editting on that system would be to use the much lower data rate "realtime" or RT format. Unfortunately, you'd have to upgrade to FCP 3 to get that I think.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 10:37 PM   #3
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Still looking for the key

Thanks for your response, Ernest. It seems hard to work up any interest all in this problem--ancient, historical, superceded, etc.

But I do think this is more than an issue of hardware/software vintages.

It is interesting that "dropped frames on playback" is related to file location since this is not discussed in official or unofficial documentation on FCP2. It is nowhere in the long list of possible reasons for this problem published by Apple or found in forums.
And it's also the reason for this occasion and the only other occasion I experienced this playback problem.

Here's what Charles Roberts says on one component of my setup in "Final Cut Pro 2 for Firewire DV Editing":
"Given the benefits of using the Firewire interface for storage, one might wonder why anyone would use anything else for DV editing. The convenience, portability, and rich feature set of Firewire drives make them very attractive, and their reliance on very inexpensive drives makes them a cost-effective solution."
This was copyright 2002.

So I don't believe that the problem I'm struggling with is because my equipment is "too modern" or "too old" or doesn't match the software. I'm using the legacy OS, a Powerbook with an internal drive, and a Firewire external drive. All of which Charles blessed in 2002. The only modern elements are RAM that's a little higher, CPU a little faster, drive a little faster and larger. Those factors shouldn't create a problem. The age of the Ti-book puts it squarely into the equipment range of the other elements used in the era of FCP2.

In the end, I'm still seeking the correct location and configuration of the "Final Cut Pro Documents" folder, the drives, and the other folder names.

So I'd be really grateful to hear from anyone who has any experience or info relating to these.

Cheers,
Robert
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Old July 7th, 2006, 06:31 AM   #4
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Robert,
As much as Charles Roberts may have heralded Firewire drives, there's plenty of people who had performance problems using them for video over the years (desktops and laptops alike). Performance is a function of the Firewire implementation in the host computer, the drive enclosure's controller and the drive's speed/cache. For you, the best location for Final Cut Pro Documents seems to be on your internal drive.

The Ti was heralded as an FCP capable laptop, the first. Apple took their skill and engineered a screen, processor, buss, memory, and disk combination that could run FCP. In contrast, iBooks of that era could not.

As you've shown, FCP works well using the internal drive. That was the design point. The performance of internal drives vs external FW drives is a well documented issue with many threads. As far as slow drive vs fast drive goes, yes, location matters. Put your video on a slow external disk and have performance problems. Put it on a fast external one and don't. Put it on the internal disk and don't. Old/new parts has nothing to do with this. You are running software on hardware that can't perform what you are trying to do. You have choices.
a) Upgrade to FCP 3 so you can edit using RT (Apple designed RT to solve the very problem you cite).
b) Upgrade your external drive to a faster one with the risk it still won't perform.
c) Ditto maxing out memory. Upgrade your laptop.
d) Upgrade your internal disk to a big one and be happy.
e) Do nothing

If memory serves me right, some people eventually had performance problems even with internal drives due to fragmentation. and were defragging between projects. Your mileage may vary.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 08:29 AM   #5
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The "real time" in FCP 3 was not very useful IMO. It only worked in the canvas on your computer monitor and didn't send RT over firewire. Wow - FCP2?... that's beyond antique status and all the way back to the dinosaurs ;-)

Seriously, I started on FCP 3 so I don't have any insights for FCP 2. But I did run FCP 3 on my TiBook. It really didn't work very well under OS X but ran OK under OS 9 most of the time. However there were a number of firewire issues on the TiBook and FCP 3 ran much better on my desktop G4/733.

You really might want to start saving (or take out a loan) for some newer hardware and software :-) FCP has come a LONG way since then. 4.5 was a HUGE improvement of 3 with "RT Extreme." On the same hardware you got full RT over firewire and quite a lot of effects in preview mode without rendering. A year ago I did a big project while in South America using FCP 4.5 on a 1.25Ghz powerbook and it was surprisingly responsive.

I wouldn't even bother with FCP 3 (although I guess its only plus would be MacOS 9 compatability). But for $600 you can get a new Mac mini which will run circles around your old hardware. And for $700 you can upgrade yoru old FCP 2 to the full Final Cut Studio (including DVD Studio Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro and Compressor): http://www.apple.com/universal/crossgrade/
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Old July 8th, 2006, 01:52 AM   #6
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Radically focused question

Friends,
I appreciate all the suggestions about hardware and software.

But let me try to radically simplify my questions, since most responses seem to circle around them but don't directly anwer.

It's all about file location for this FCP2 running in OS 9.2.2.

My clips that don't play back are in "Firewire Drive:/Road9.2.2_media/Capture Scratch/Road Test/"

That's the designated Capture Scratch folder in Preferences. These files play perfectly in Quicktime but not from the FCP2 browser or viewer.

Clips that do play back in the FCP2 viewer are in "Startup Drive:/Documents/Final Cut Pro Documents/Capture Scratch/Road Test/"

Here are my three questions:
1. DOES FCP REQUIRE A FOLDER ENTITLED "FINAL CUT PRO DOCUMENTS?"
2. MUST THIS FOLDER CONTAIN OR EXIST AS THE CAPTURE SCRATCH FOLDER?
3. IF I WANT TO ORGANIZE MEDIA FILES FOR DIFFERENT PROJECTS ON THE SAME OR ANOTHER EXTERNAL DRIVE HOW CAN THEY BE NAMED?

If anyone can respond to these specific questions I would be most grateful. Again, I have absorbed all the responses about hardware and software versions, but can anyone discourse on the specific questions above?

Surely there must be someone with experience or information about these specific 3 questions.

Many thanks,
Robert

PS: Four years (FCP 2 to present) for me is the blink of an eye. Antique to me means moviolas and editing tape with razor blades. I wrote several books using Wordperfect. New stuff is OK, sometimes an improvement, but the principles don't change so fast. File locations are still file locations.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 07:50 AM   #7
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I will try one more time. This is the last time I intend to respond. However, since this thread began after what appears to be another discussion on your situation, I'm proceeding under the assumption that you have already set your Viewer and Browser Windows to "Fit" and not some other value requiring FCP to clip them in realtime thus slowing down the drawing of each frame resulting in frame drops.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Withers
But let me try to radically simplify my questions, since most responses seem to circle around them but don't directly anwer.

It's all about file location for this FCP2 running in OS 9.2.2.
Your questions have been thoroughly and utterly answered. The performance problem you experience has nothing to do with the name of the location and everything to do with the physical location.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Withers
Here are my three questions:
1. DOES FCP REQUIRE A FOLDER ENTITLED "FINAL CUT PRO DOCUMENTS?"
2. MUST THIS FOLDER CONTAIN OR EXIST AS THE CAPTURE SCRATCH FOLDER?
3. IF I WANT TO ORGANIZE MEDIA FILES FOR DIFFERENT PROJECTS ON THE SAME OR ANOTHER EXTERNAL DRIVE HOW CAN THEY BE NAMED?
1. Unless it's different in FCP2 than now, No. FCP lets you configure what drive and folder to use for Video Capture, Audio Capture, Video Render, Audio Render, Autosave Vault, Thumbnail cache and audio cache (I can't recall if FCP let you do all but the principle is the same). The default folders it uses for is Final Cut Pro Documents folder.
2. No. Capture Scratch can be configured to another folder or, as you've done, another drive (and folder if desired). FCP will create the folder named "Capture Scratch" wherever you specify (drive and folder) in the configuration for "Video Capture".
3. You can name a folder for the media files anything you want. If you put them on a slow hard drive, your performance will be affected. If you know what you are doing you can split them between drives to improve performance slightly based on data being read from one drive and the output written to another.

ASIDE: There's something called Media Manager that helps you archive project and may be better than your manual process. You can name the archives whatever you want. I am pretty sure it was in FCP but my memory is faded on that. You aren't the only old fart around here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Withers
File locations are still file locations.
This is untrue and it was untrue back in the days when you were editing with Wordperfect. Whenever you did something using a diskette that needed data faster than a diskette drive could transfer it, the operation took longer when the data was on diskette than when it was on a hard disk. That's exactly what's happening in FCP. FCP has a 30th of a second to READ, PROCESS, and DRAW a frame of video. For the sake of argument, let's assume each of those takes an equal amount of time. If the READ takes longer than 1/3 of a 30th of a second, then FCP won't be able to keep up. QuickTime, it seems, takes less time to do the process and draw steps and can therefore get the operation done without falling behind due to the READ time. Your internal disk transfers data faster than your external drive and therefore, the READ operation takes less and therefore, the total time to READ, PROCESS, and DRAW by FCP can be done in less than 1/30th of a second.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 08:46 AM   #8
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I'm with Ernest on this one. It shouldn't make any difference what the file pathname is. I just skimmed through your posts again but I didn't see that you mentioned the specs on your firewire drive anywhere. Is it a 7200 RPM drive? If not then you're going to have problems. There are also different kinds of firewire interfaces on external drives, and some of the old ones couldn't keep up with the needed data transfer speeds. Most of today's 7200 RPM drives seem to be fast enough, but several years ago you needed to look for a drive which had the "Oxford 911" interface chipset.

As far as why a drive might work for awhile and then start having problems later, MacOS 9 wasn't really the most efficient operating system and as the drive fills up access speeds may slow down.

I think Ernest has really covered all this however and offered some suggestions in his earlier post. I'm sorry that 4 years seems like the "blink of an eye" to you, but it really is quite a long time when it comes to computers and software and it certainly isn't unreasonable to upgrade hardware and software at that interval - especially if you place any value on your time. And actually the Titanium Powerbook and FCP 2 are 5 years old, not 4 :-)

http://www.apple-history.com/?page=g...date&order=ASC

http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery;...dio&sbid=lc06a

Sorry you're having these problems, but like Ernest I don't think it has anything at all to do with the pathname of the clip files.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 05:18 PM   #9
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Solution at last!

Finally!

After much trial and much error, _even more_ studying of the manual and Roberts's book and online reports than I had _already_ done, I _accidentally_ found a solution and made some further discoveries.

It _was_ a hardware/software problem after all--the file location issue was a red herring spawned by accident that sent me off on a wild salmon chase.

Without going into all the gory details and hours of folder creation, moving quicktime files, creating new projects, etc. . .

First, I discovered that certain clips that wouldn't play back in the full-sized viewer on my Ti-Book screen would play perfectly at 50%. So I changed the monitor to thousands of colors instead of millions and now all clips play fine in FCP 2.

Second, I learned that FCP 2 simply must have a folder entitled Final Cut Pro Documents, and will create this folder over and over in the Documents folder of the start-up drive, no matter how many times you delete it.

There doesn't need to be anything in the folder, it just wants to be there. The potential risk if that the capture preferences are lost or changed inadvertently, clips could start going into this file and derange other file management systems.

I speculate that the reason some clips played and some didn't has to do with the length and info content of the clips. And the reason the same clips played fine in the timeline is that they were much shortened.

It's perfectly fine to have a Project Name media folder on the external drive with the Capture Scratch etc. folders within it. Active FCP media doesn't have to be in the FCP Docs folder. And the active project can be anywhere in any folder on the startup drive.

FCP2 now seems to be working fine with OS 9.2.2 with all my existing hardware, including external Firewire drive (7200 rpm), which is indeed correctly set up, after making that little adjustment to the Mac monitor display. One comment was partly correct--the Ti-Book is more "modern" in screen resolution than FCP2 expects. So the tweak is to reset it.

Maybe this info will be of some value to those who don't already command more sophisticated knowledge or who don't think that working with legacy tools is benighted. :-)

But I do offer sincere thanks to _all_ for your interest, for weighing in on this problem--and for your patience with my intense frustration. Now I can finally get on to the fun part.

Cheers,
Robert
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Old July 9th, 2006, 05:53 PM   #10
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Glad you got back up and running!
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