Uncompressed QT HD footage from FCP has audio sync problems and repeats frames? at DVinfo.net

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Old July 12th, 2007, 04:31 PM   #1
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Uncompressed QT HD footage from FCP has audio sync problems and repeats frames?

An associate is using FCP to produce some HD footage that I need to then take into AE7 on my PC and scale down to a non-standard aspect ratio and output as wmv for inclusion in a touch screen interactive for a museum we're creating content for. He is admittedly new to HD, (as am I), but he is also an award-winning film producer, (though not a techie type, like me). He describes himself as a "Traditional Producer/Editor Guy".

He's exporting the edited HD footage (1440x1080 29.97fps) as uncompressed quicktime using Compressor. The sequence plays flawlessly from the FCP timeline, with no glitches at all; I witnessed it yesterday myself. But when I render the wmv on my PC, (or any other file format at all including QT), the audio plays smoothly, but the video seriously lags the audio.

At the beginning of the piece the audio and video are out of sync. Then, at a hard cut to another camera POV, the audio and video are perfectly in sync (the edit is only a few seconds long), but at the next hard cut (no rendered transitions/straight cut edits), the audio leads the video and it stays that way through the rest of the 5 minute piece, no matter the POV. I should also note that this happens when he exports an H.264 file on his Mac as well, so I don't think it's a problem on the PC side.

The video will also apparently do a kind of step-back for a few frames and repeat frames at the same place each time in a few places in the video as well. Not good.

I haven't seen this kind of behavior before in any of the other more than 175 individual video pieces that I produced for the touch screens in this museum, and I've had very few problems working with uncompressed quicktime files in general. But this is the first time I've gotten any footage from him for the project.

I've searched through and read a lot of DVi posts looking for an answer to this issue before posting this, and I found info that's got aspects of this specific problem, but doesn't exactly match what we're experiencing. Has anyone out there experienced behavior like this, or have any ideas where things might be going wrong?

There's also a related challenge he is having with exported HD video (as uncompressed QT, once again), stuttering very badly on the end delivery platform; both pan and zoom stills, as well as footage where the camera pans left, right, up, down, etc. I suspect a field order problem, as that's what it looks like to me, but once again the footage plays perfectly in FCP with no glitches (as one would expect on a non-interlaced display). The uncompressed QT HD footage went to a third party for custom compression to mpeg so it could be copied to a custom system that plays the HD from a hard drive to a big DLP HD displays in the museum.

Any insight as to what might be causing the stuttering?

Thanks much for your time, attention, and expertise. It is greatly appreciated.

My associate's NLE specs:
Machine Name: Power Mac G5
Machine Model: PowerMac7,3
CPU Type: PowerPC G5 (3.1)
Number Of CPUs: 2
CPU Speed: 2.7 GHz
L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
Memory: 4 GB

Mac OSX 10.4.10
FCP 5.1.4

Doyle Calvert
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Old July 15th, 2007, 02:18 PM   #2
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Li'l help?

So, nobody's ever experienced anything like I'm describing in the above post?

Usually whenever I'm chasing down a strange bug in projects I'm programming, such a lack of response and info in forums and groups indicates a couple of things; 1) *rarely* I've found a genuine bug that hasn't been addressed yet (possible, but improbable), or 2) *usually* the problem is somewhere in my own code or hardware or software set up, i.e. it's my own fault or a problem I've caused myself.

In this instance, since I'm not getting any response from those who I would think would be most knowledgeable and experienced, I'm thinking there just might be a challenge with my associate's hardware/software setup or method of exporting the uncompressed QT.

Am I posting to the correct forum? I'm a brand spankin' new DVi.net noobie and would apprecitate a redirect to an appropriate forum, if I've gotten it wrong.

Thanks much!
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Old July 15th, 2007, 03:16 PM   #3
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Doyle,

You're not in the wrong forum, you just have a VERY specific cross platform questions and I suspect that not a lot of folks here have experience with what you're trying to do.

Most of us, if we're working with HD footage start on one platform and stay there. It's a LOT easier than trying to start on FCP/Mac and transcode to something that will do HD on a PC.

Not impossible, just hard.

Whenever I hear about audio/video sync problems, my FIRST suspect is codec problems. Remember that there are as many codec varients as types of salsa. Just because two codecs are the same type (AVI, H-264, etc) doesn't mean they're the SAME codec. Two H-264, codecs for example, can handle audio encoding totally differently - and even expect or encode tto different sampling rates - one sure path to audio lag.

First thing I'd do is dig as DEEPLY as possible into the settings for both systems and make DARN sure that the codecs are identical down to their underlying "DNA".

Good luck
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Old July 15th, 2007, 06:20 PM   #4
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Beyond Bills advice you might want to explore a couple of things I've noticed:

When did your friend upgrade to OSX 10.4.10? And did he have the same problem before the upgrade? Also what version of QT is he running.

I noticed that there was an upgrade to QT with the upgrade to 10.4.10, 5.1.4 ran great on 10.4.9 so I was a bit suspect of this OS/QT upgrade. I have noticed quite a few complaints about this issue since this upgrade.

Although I have upgraded to FCP6 I'm still on 10.4.9 and everything is working great.
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Old July 16th, 2007, 01:09 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice!

Thanks Bill and Chuck. I appreciate the insight.

The challenge really isn't the cross platform thing. Like I say in my first post, he's having the exact same problem on his Mac whenever he tries to export the HD timeline to anything other than the FCP timeline. The same glitches and the same video lagging the audio. His uncompressed QT isn't exporting properly, I suspect, and I'll check with him and ask the questions Chuck brought up.

I also wondered if it might have something to do with the long GOP of HD, and how the individual frames of the uncompressed QT are rendered, but I've only just gotten into HD lately with my new Canon XH-A1 and still have a great deal to learn.

I started out with Macs and used them exclusively from 1984-1996. In 1996 most of my clients were all PC, and Lightwave 3D came out on the PC, so I made the switch. I still have 4 Macs, but I rarely use them any more except for file and font translation. So I'm not as up on all things currently Mac as I need to be.

My desired end product on the PC isn't intended to be HD (but my aspect ratio is 16:9). All I'm doing is scaling his HD footage down, frame for frame, to the aspect ratio I'm using for my interactive video content (912px X 496px) and exporting it at the same framerate he's using (29.97). I've done this on many other pieces with no problems.

I'm wondering if it would be wiser to just export a series of targa, psd, or even lightly compressed jpeg files, and then lay in the audio track in AE over on my PC? We'll have to try that.

Thanks again to you both. Your help is greatly appreciated.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 09:22 AM   #6
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I had similar problems once using HDV.

Try making a new project and copying the timeline from your buggy movie into it, then render all and see if everything's ok.

If it won't output in Compressor, try making a Quicktime Conversion. If that won't work, try Quicktime Movie output. I forget which one actually gave me problems, but one did and the others didn't.

It was some random bug that I couldn't repeat. Also try restarting the computer, rosary beads, sacrifice a chicken, and stand on your head. I've never used a program that has random, non-repeatable problems the way FCP does.

Chuck
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Old July 21st, 2007, 03:15 PM   #7
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Dude, we'll be watching you!

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Old July 21st, 2007, 09:29 PM   #8
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Thanks Chuck. I've sent him a link to this thread.

Funny how he asked me why I went to 'the dark side' (referring to my PCs), but honestly, I just don't have trouble with my PCs. Never have, actually. And I beat the crap out of my machines. But I'll always have a soft spot for my Macs.

Hey, I suggested to him that he export an image sequence of targa files so that I could try to bring those in and see if they'd work to produce the footage I need. I can't see a problem with that, unless the wierdness he's experiencing results in the video glitches (repeating frames) being written out frame by frame. Do you think that might have a better chance at working? Just bypass QT altogether?

He told me a couple of days ago that he's got a local Mac expert helping him out with the rest of his films for the museum theatres. So hopefully they'll figure this problem out and get it fixed.

Thanks again for the input.

Doyle
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 09:41 AM   #9
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One other thing to try if all the else fails is to remove attributes from the clips on the timeline and then copy them into a new sequence; then re-do the filters.

Gotta go - the chicken defense league is after me.....

But for all those reading this thread in the future, don't get the idea that Final Cut is unreliable -- it's actually really stable. It's just when pilot error or a glitch messes something up, it's always something no one's ever seen before and you need the sacrificial altar to fix it.
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 01:04 PM   #10
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Ha ha! No one escapes the Chicken Defense League (cue theme music).

I don't recall there being a lot of extraneous attributes on his timeline for this particular piece, as it looks like mostly straight cuts in his editing. But I thank you for the additional suggestion and hope he's following this thread.

The problems we're having with this particular uncompressed QT export is one more reason why I've decided to use CineForm's ProspectHD and their 10-12 bit digital intermediate file format on the new HD NLE workstation I'm currently building. The files can have either an avi or qt wrapper, and I think that would help cut down on cross platform issues. But that remains to be seen and proven with actual experience, which I'll verify as soon as I get the beautiful new beast built and operational.

DVinfo is excellent! I'm VERY glad I found this place. I've learned an amazing amount about my Canon XH-A1 in the forum dedicated to it. Like this FCP forum, quality info from helpful and knowledgable people; just an outstanding and valuable resource.
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