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Old November 26th, 2004, 01:04 PM   #1
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Problem with excessive hard drive cycling and dropping of frames

Hi,

I've been trying to capture a set of tapes thru firewire from a Canon Optura 20, and I have run into problems beyond my comprehension.

When I capture to the MS-DV format in Premiere 6.5, I get to somewhere between 2 and 4 minutes done when all of a sudden the hard drive starts working excessively and frames begin dropping like flies. When I use WinDV, I don't even get that far before drop-off begins...

My setup:

Athlon 1700
1022 MB Windows RAM
Windows 98 SE
2-7200 rpm hard drives 200/250 GB, DMA enabled
Generic 1394 interface + cable (could this be an issue?)

This isn't great by today's standards, but I reviewed the minimum required for Premiere 6.5 DV Capture, and it should more than fit the bill.

I've taken every possible measure I can possibly find to detect the source of the drop-off, aside from a total hardware upgrade. I turned off Task Monitor, I disabled Microsoft Office indexing, and I have worked at great pains to remove any other program that seems to make the hard drive cycle when it isn't otherwise doing anything. I even tried capturing with no desktop preview pane, the system tray deactivated, and all programs disabled except Explorer and Premiere. I got to the point where my system resources were 90% free before capturing. Still, I am at a loss as to why my system is choking.

I was able to get about no dropped frames for about two hours at a time when I began to capture my archive a few weeks ago, and I didn't have to shut any programs down or alter any settings then. But the capture process still choked at about two hours, and it has gotten progressively worse since. Now, I can't get past four minutes without errors piling up.

Do you suppose I have a hardware issue, or is an upgrade probably going to fix this? Did I burn something out? I have spent hours on end to no avail on this problem, and any input would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old November 27th, 2004, 01:13 AM   #2
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I would try the following:
A- Scan for viruses. Use AVG antivirus free. If you already have a working antivirus then you could skip this step.

http://www.grisoft.com/us/us_dwnl_free.php

You will need to register to get AVG working. I recommend using a secondary 'spam' account for registrations such as this. You can get one free off sites like hotmail.com and yahoo.com. Once you've registered, install AVG and start it up. Remember to update it before scanning your system. When AVG starts, one of the dialog boxes will have an option to let you update AVG.

B- Scan for adware and viruses:

Spybot

http://tomcoyote.com/SPYBOT/index1.php

The site above has detailed instructions on how to get started with Spybot.

Ad-aware

http://www.lavasoftusa.com/support/download/

Download and install Ad-aware. Before you scan, click on the globe and hit 'connect' to update Ad-aware's definitions before scanning.

Please note that Ad-aware and Spybot will likely find many tracking cookies. They should not really be a cause for concern. They slightly compromise your privacy but they do not affect your computer's performance or stability.

If your scans detect adware/spyware:
Try removing the adware/spyware within Ad-aware and Spybot. Sometimes spyware removal does not work perfectly so I recommend you add a system restore point before doing so. Spybot adds a system restore point automatically, so I recommend you use it before Ad-aware. Also write down the names of the spyware you are removing.

C- Disable anti-virus software's real-time scanning (AKA on demand protection, realtime file protection), especially if running Norton. This kind of contradicts A, but AV software will often try to scan files any program creates or opens. This uses up resources, which may lead to dropped frames.

D- Use the defragmenting utility in Windows and see if your drive is heavily fragmented or is over 90% full.

Note: Try A and B last.
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Old November 27th, 2004, 01:31 AM   #3
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I already have Norton AV, and the auto-protect is disabled. I did however leave the detection for malicious scripts on, mostly because of the amount of web surfing that I do. I suppose I could shut that off, but I don't know if that's a good idea.

Besides, I've tried the video capture with absolutely nothing else running except Premiere and Explorer. I've taken great pains to kill every resident app on my system, but the drive still works itself up after four minutes of avi-file writing regardless.

The defrag option I was unable to try - because I cannot get it to work. With my larger hard drives, it gives me the error that there is not enough memory to degrag the drives, and when I looked into the problem, I only discovered that it has something to do with WIn 98 not correctly recognizing drives larger than 137 GB. And Microsoft's recommended fix for this is....to upgrade to XP. If you have any other way to get this to work, please let me know. Maybe even a DOS based utility would be a great idea so that Win 98 doesn't get in the way of the process...
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Old November 27th, 2004, 01:37 AM   #4
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Are your drives over 85% full?

Use explorer to check. Right click your drives and get properties.
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Old November 27th, 2004, 10:23 AM   #5
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On the contrary, I have over 50% free on my most-used drive.
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Old November 29th, 2004, 05:43 PM   #6
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Make sure that NONE of the video files are on your boot drive. That means that the Premiere TEMP file AND the file folder/directory designated for capture on the NON boot drive. In your case that means that you can only capture to one of your drives. Try this as Win accesses the drive all the time and if the PCI bus is busy will cause this sort of problem.

ROn Evans
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Old November 30th, 2004, 10:49 PM   #7
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How do I change those settings in Premiere?
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Old December 1st, 2004, 10:02 AM   #8
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Someone else uses Win98SE? I'm not alone after all! Greetings, fellow vintage software user! ...and also an Optura20 owner too!

My system currently consists of three hard drives and a DVD burner. Here's how my setup is configured:

Athlon T-Bird 1.1Ghz, 512MB RAM, Win98SE
1st hd, C: 40GB - programs primarily, no captured AVIs
2nd hd, D: 120GB - Premiere projects, etc.
3rd hd, E: 120GB - More Premiere projects, etc.
4th DVD burner

I did install a 200GB Seagate drive once, but Win98 wasn't happy about it. The 137GB limit seems to apply to the entire drive, not just to partitions. I split it into two 100GB partitions, but Windows would complain about the second one being full around 33% (even though the drive properties showed that there was still plenty of space left). A Win2000 machine was able to keep writing to it (without a reformat from FAT32 -- weird).

I'd suggest checking your drives to see if they're at this phantom "drive full" point. I would think, however, that it would then give an error and stop capturing.

Also, FAT32 can't handle files over 4GB (and it's not happy with files over 2GB!). My workaround is the batch capture feature. I simply type in the timecode on my DV tapes and capture in 0:15:00.00 increments. I also capture using a plain Firewire card and MS-DV (I can get about 18 minutes max before I hit 4GB). When I put the clips back together on the timeline, there's always one duplicate frame (easy enough to take care of). Granted, I'm on Premiere 6.0 -- perhaps 6.5 can automatically split files accordingly?

I have noticed that my 120GB Seagate drive has something weird with the last 8GB of space. It actually does just about the same thing you described! My solution: I just don't use the last 8GB (maybe someday I'll split it into another partition and use it for Word docs or something).

Moral of the story -- I'd try a smaller drive for Win98SE. You can pick up 120GB IDE drives pretty cheap. The virus/spyware idea someone else already mentioned sounds good too. Any chance a screensaver is trying to kick in?

Also, the settings for capture drive and temp space I believe is (in 6.0 anyway) in "Edit->Preferences->Drive Swap and Device Control" (sorry -- working from memory). I know it's not in the "Project Settings" area.

Oh, and my 200GB drive? It's on my Linux archive server now (works great)!
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Old December 1st, 2004, 10:27 AM   #9
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RIch. You can change the settings under Edit>Preferences>Scratch disk and device control this will get you to a box where you can select the destination for <captured movies>, <video previews> and <audio previews>. Create directories on the second ( not Boot ) drive for these and then you can select when you get to this selection in Premiere. This way you can create and select different directories for diferent projects, which makes it easier to delete entire projects to clean up your hard drive and know you haven't deleted something you are currently working on. THat is make a master directory for a project and create sub directories for captured movies, video previews and audio previews. While editing and capturing I would turn off ALL power( PC and monitor) management, screen savers.

Ron Evans
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Old December 1st, 2004, 10:29 PM   #10
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Thanks for all your ideas.
I suspect that Win 98 is choking on the larger hard drives...
I think I'm going to test the application on Win XP, and hopefully that will solve the BUS woes. If not, I will once again be back to asking questions...
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