Ugly Playback in Final Cut Pro

13_uglyplayback
This is one of our favorite gotchas. Recently, a client called us and was extremely frustrated; he was rather worried that somehow his tricked out Final Cut Pro system was possessed and had ruined all of his media. After calming him down a bit, he described the symptoms as really staggered and jumpy playback and it looked like the footage was really low rez even though it was high def.

After a few more questions the fix was clear. In the RT pulldown on the Timeline, settings for Playback Video Quality and Playback Frame Rate were set too low and quarter respectively. No wonder he was getting ugly playback!

If you have similar symptoms, the RT menu is often one of the first places to check. While there are many combinations here, we find that setting both Playback Video Quality and Playback Frame Rate to Dynamic will offer the best balance of real-time playback and quality.




fcpbook

Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.






I Can’t Even Open My FCP Project File” (Or Other Flaky Activities)

Corruption can happen a lot of places, even in Final Cut Pro:

1. Look in the Autosave Vault. Before panicking, simply try going back a few versions. Do a search for Autosave in the Finder. Look in the folders for a backup of your project file. Work your way backward through the recently saved copies.

2. Create a new user account. Create a new user account for testing purposes. This is a great way to see if the problem is a corrupt preferences file. Most Final Cut Pro preferences files are stored in the user’s settings. Open the System Preferences panel under the blue Apple. Click Accounts. Click on New User. Create one call test, and give it admin privileges. You can assign it a password or not. Only use this account for troubleshooting (you may want to keep it for the future).

Now, log out, and log in as the new user. Try opening Final Cut Pro. It should open with no active project files. If it opens, you’ve narrowed the problem down to bad user preferences (see next tip) or a bad project file.

3. Test the project file. Next, open the project file that was causing the problems. (If it was stored in the other user folder, you won’t have access to it. Log in as the original user, make a copy of the file, and move it to a shared location such as the media folder or the top level of your hard drive—not the desktop—that’s owned by the user.)

If it opens, you’ve confirmed it was the preferences. If it crashes, it could be bad media or renders, or something has become corrupt in the application or the OS.

4. Delete the render files. Delete all the render files. Don’t worry—you can rerender a lot faster than you can rebuild the project. To find render files, look on your media drives for the Render Files and Audio Render Files folders. Terminate them with extreme prejudice. Yes, it’s Apocalypse Now for your render files.

Try reopening the project. Success? If not, try hiding the media files from the project. Disconnect the media drive, or drop the media into another folder. If the project opens with the media offline, you’ve got a bad media file. (An alternative is to open the project file on another machine—same rules apply.)

5. Recapture the media.
If you determine you have a bad file, you can either load/relink media back into the project in small groups or batch recapture the media from the original tapes. If you’re still getting tanked, send the project to a friend to see if it’ll open on their machine. This is the best way to determine if you’re having a hardware, application, or operating system issue.

6. Still broken? At this point, you may need to call your reseller or a consultant.



fcpbook

Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.






Rebuilding Permissions

11-08rebuild permissioins
This sounds like something from etiquette class, but this little activity can save hours of headache throughout your system. In the Utilities folder in the Applications folder, there’s an application called Disk Utility. Under the First Aid tab there’s a button to repair permissions (Repair Disk Permissions). Select your drives and let it rip. You should run it a couple of times. It’s amazing how so many of those little quirky problems will go away.



fcpbook

Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.






When in Doubt, Shut Down and Restart

11-01 shut down
Things can and do go wrong. A simple reset to your system is often the best way to “cure” software problems. Don’t just click Restart, however; let the system fully reset itself by shutting down. As a favorite engineer used to tell me, “Shut down, count to 20, restart—if there’s still a problem, then call me.”



fcpbook

Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.






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