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Old February 18th, 2003, 10:57 PM   #1
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Not your typical dropped frames problem (or is it?)

I've had a strange problem for some time now, and no one that I've asked thus far has had the answer for me. First, my hardware... I'll start with my old system, then list my new system - this will be useful as you read through my problem.

Old:
P3 800 mhz
512 mb SDRAM
200 gigs 7200 rpm HD's
GeForce 4 4400 ti
Audigy (for firewire)
Windows Me

New:
P4 2.2 gig
512 mb DDRRAM
200 gigs 7200 rpm HD's
GeForce 4 4400 ti
Audigy (for firewire)
Windows Me

I've used Adobe Premiere 6.0 the entire time. Now, back in September we had just finished up shooting our feature length digital film using the Canon XL1s. All through October, November and the first part of December capturing worked perfectly on my old system - zero frames lost.

Playback, however, was never perfect. Playing through Premiere, into the camera and then on to the TV would play great - except every once and a while it would throw a blue screen at me for second then continue with perfect playback. I chocked that up to my 'slow' computer.

We then go back to do some ADR and sound design work in the middle of December. I try to screen it to one of the cast and it gives me a blue screen every few seconds non-stop. Frustrated, I give up and upgrade my system.

Now, in January, on the new system I'm excited to keep things going. Only, much to my chagrin, it does the same thing through playback! Pissed as all hell I leave that alone and go to capture all the ADR and sound design work we did back in December and am stunned to see not one, but dozens upon dozens of frames lost per hundred.

All of my hardware is properly installed. I've reinstalled windows twice now. I've tried buying and using a firewire card with the same results. I've made sure it wasn't the camera or the firewire cable, so it must be software.

Never having had the Premiere book in my possession, I have no idea what the perfect settings are in the capturing/playback area. A friend talked me through that over the phone. I'm just mystified that a problem could suddenly crop up (without changing anything that I can recall) and persist through an upgrade and a fresh windows install.

Any help/replies are appreciated, sorry if this was long!
Shane

www.american-ocean.com
Co-Founder
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Old February 19th, 2003, 12:55 AM   #2
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Welcome Shane!

First, let me commend you for taking the time to provide such a complete and vivid picture of your circumstances.

Now, a caveat. I am currently a Mac/FCP3 editor and haven't used Premiere on the Windows platform for nearly two years. So my insight into your trouble may be worthless.

But I did try to use Premiere under Windows 2000 Workstation on a Dell 500MHz dual processor for nearly a year and experienced similar phenomena. Every so often playback would just burp for no apparent reason, sometimes trashing an export. After much dental gnashing and analysis I concluded that momentary task preemption by Windows was the gremlin responsible. At the time, a shared (serial port) IRQ of my 1394 adapter was probably at the heart of the glitch. Unfortunately, I never solved this problem and decided to redirect my efforts to the Mac platform.

As I indicated, this may not be your problem although it certainly sounds familiar. Off-hand, if you're doing professional or semi-professional work with this PC I recommend that you consider enlisting the services of a good professional integrator specializing in Windows-platform video systems. Such a company (or specialist) will likely be able to analyze your configuration and make/recommend changes to banish this gremlin. Although it won't be free it may save you a great deal of time (and dental bills).

Good luck!
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Old February 19th, 2003, 07:31 PM   #3
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The first thing that I thought when I read this was: DMA is disabled
on your harddisks. Now I've never run ME so I don't know where
you can find this. Generally it can be found by going through
Windows in the following way:

Control Panel -> System -> Hardware (list) -> Properties of your
harddisk(s). In one of the screens there should be a checkbox
that says DMA. Make sure that it is CHECKED.

That would be my first guess...
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Old February 19th, 2003, 07:49 PM   #4
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Hum....a couple questions.

Do you Defrag your hard drives?

If so How often?

Does your firewire card work fine on one machine over another?


Do you have your computer connected to the internet?

Do you have a virus checker?

The funny thing is, is that I have the following:

Dual P3 650 mhz
512 mb SDRAM
2x 20 gigs 5200 rpm WD
1x 120 gigs 7200 rpm WD
1x 120 gigs 7200 rpm -external lacie
ATI Radeon 8500 128mb
3 slot firewire card. basic cheap-O.
Windows XP Professional

I have had this computer since 2000 and it doesnt stop running. I normally leave it on and it just keeps on running. I would suggest you Defrag every night If your not rendering out something. Or set up a dead time when you can Defrag your computer. I do mine everynight for acouple hours. If its not doing anything.
I use Diskkepper 7.0 Great program.

good luck.

Rob
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Old February 19th, 2003, 09:10 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Rob Lohman : The first thing that I thought when I read this was: DMA is disabled
on your harddisks. Now I've never run ME so I don't know where
you can find this. Generally it can be found by going through
Windows in the following way:

Control Panel -> System -> Hardware (list) -> Properties of your
harddisk(s). In one of the screens there should be a checkbox
that says DMA. Make sure that it is CHECKED.

That would be my first guess... -->>>


Oh...
My...
God...

It was the flipping DMA!! I feel so dumb! Now that the ball is rolling once again I feel better though, thanks a ton - it was right under my nose (I knew it!)

Drop me a line sometime, I'll send you a bottle of wine or something ;)

Shane
www.american-ocean.com
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Old February 19th, 2003, 09:58 PM   #6
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Way to go Rob!!
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Hey, you don't have enough stuff!
Buy with confidence from our sponsors. Hand-picked as the best in the business...Really!

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Old February 20th, 2003, 04:40 PM   #7
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Location: Holland
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Heh... I sometimes seem to have a "sixth-sense" as to what a
problem might be. Oh well, glad you fixed your problem!

I doubt a bottle of wine would get here in one piece without
a lot of money :) Thanks for the kind words!!

Oh, I just visited your site (looks great btw!) and had a smile
when I saw myself up there :) Now can I trade that bottle of
wine for a credit along the lines off: Technical troubleshooter :)))

You guys have an impressive list of movies you are making
or have made. It seems like we like the same kind of movies...

I'm downloading your trailers now and will watch them when
they are in.

Cheers!

(and who knows, we might actually meet someday...)
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Old March 7th, 2003, 05:06 AM   #8
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I had exactly the same problem a couple of months ago.

It turns out that ME does not enable DMA by default, so all ME users have to do this by hand.

Hans Henrik
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