Final Cut Pro 6 - Problems During Playback

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Problems During Playback

This section lists problems that can occur during playback, along with possible solutions.

Video is not visible on an external NTSC or PAL monitor.
 Make sure your cables are properly connected from the DV device to your computer

and from the DV device to the NTSC or PAL monitor.

 If you’re viewing your video on a camcorder that’s connected to your computer’s

FireWire port, make sure the camcorder is set to VCR mode.

 Close the Log and Capture window if it’s open.
 Make sure you choose View > External Video, then choose All Frames or Single Frames.
 Make sure you’ve selected the appropriate setting in the A/V Devices tab of the Audio/

Video Settings window. (See “

Learning About Audio/Video Presets

” on page 324.)

 If you’re outputting to a DV device, make sure that the clip you’re viewing is a

DV compressed clip. Choose Edit > Item Properties and make sure the Compressor
setting is the DV-NTSC or DV-PAL codec.

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Appendix E

Solving Common Problems



Your external NTSC or PAL monitor is displaying an orange frame with the message
“Video card not supported for RT Effects, it may have insufficient video memory or
be an unsupported type.”
 Make sure the monitor displaying the Viewer and Canvas is connected to a video

graphics card that’s compatible with Final Cut Pro.

The audio is not in sync with the video, or you’re experiencing dropped frames
in your video.
Many audio sync issues stem from dropped frames on capture or output. Nearly all
dropped frames are caused by either incorrectly configured hardware or incorrect
preference settings. The leading causes of dropped frames are the following:

 If you’re using external speakers connected to a camcorder, deck, or third-party

capture card, and external video is set to All Frames, the video displayed on your
computer’s monitor (from the Viewer or Canvas) will not be in sync with the audio.
The audio will instead be in sync with the video that is displayed on the NTSC or PAL
monitor that’s connected to the same output device.

 If your clip or sequence is zoomed while open in the Viewer or displayed in the

Canvas, this can cause frames to be dropped. Choose Fit to Window from the View
pop-up menu in the Canvas or Viewer.

 The computer display is set to a low refresh rate. The refresh rate in the Displays pane

of System Preferences should always be set to 75 hertz (Hz) or greater. (This is not
applicable to flat-panel displays.)

 The Canvas and Viewer windows are overlapped by other windows; they should not be.
 Reduce the number of tracks in the Real-time Audio Mixing field in the General tab

of the User Preferences window. If more audio tracks are specified to be mixed in real
time than your computer can handle, this can cause dropped frames. Reducing the
number of tracks will result in your having to render your sequence, but will result in
improved playback.

 Incorrect versions of Mac OS X and QuickTime can be another cause of dropped frames.

Check the Final Cut Pro website for the version of system software you should use.

 The hard disk drive you’re capturing to is inadequate for capturing video. This could

be caused by slow hard drives, incompatible drivers, or configuration issues. For more
information, see Volume I, Chapter 13, “Determining Your Hard Disk Storage Options.”

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Part V


 Another source of dropped frames on capture or playback may be fragmented hard

disks. In general, it’s preferable to capture to disks that are specifically reserved for
video. To avoid fragmentation, you should avoid filling up your disks with numerous
files unrelated to the projects you’re working on.

If you’re editing a long project where some clips are captured, others are deleted,
and then more are captured, and so on, even the cleanest storage volume may
become fragmented. You can diagnose this with a hard disk utility. Should your
capture disks be seriously fragmented to the point of impeding performance, you
have three options:

 Quit Final Cut Pro, back up your project file, and delete all the clips from the

affected volumes. (Delete only media that can be recaptured; do not delete
graphics, audio, or project files.) Upon reopening your Final Cut Pro project, you
will find that all your video clips are now offline. Simply recapture them and
performance should improve.

 Copy all the files from the fragmented volume to a blank volume with enough

space. Copying files defragments them on the volume to which they are copied.
Then delete the files from the original, fragmented volume; now you’re ready to
capture more clips to it. Upon reopening your project, Final Cut Pro will
automatically begin the process of reconnecting your media.

 A more time-intensive solution is to back up your project file, then use

disk-defragmenting software to defragment your volume.

 You can also try deselecting “Mirror on desktop during Playback” in the A/V Devices

tab in the Audio/Video Settings window.

 Another potential cause of dropped frames during output is having too many

sequences open simultaneously in the Timeline. Especially with complex sequences
with numerous edits, having more than one sequence open at the same time can
affect playback performance. To resolve this, close all sequences except the one you
want to output to video.

 Another cause of dropped frames is playing sequences with numerous short edits.

Projects with a large number of short edits (for example, a video made up of several
hundred ten-frame clips) can sometimes overwhelm a hard disk’s ability to jump
from one clip to another. In this case there are two things you can try:

 Write out one single file. When rendering out using the Export QuickTime Movie

command, disable the Recompress All Frames feature to save unnecessary
rendering time.

 Another solution, particularly in the case of long sequences, is to split a single long

sequence into multiple short sequences, outputting them to tape one at a time.

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Appendix E

Solving Common Problems



After editing to tape, you don’t see the material you edited when you play
back the tape.
 The Edit to Tape command requires that the sequence or clip you’re outputting be

opened in the Viewer before you click the Insert or Assemble edit buttons in the Edit
to Tape window. For more information, see Chapter 14, “

Assemble and Insert Editing

Using Edit to Tape

,” on page 197.

An error message appears during capture reporting a “Break in the Timecode.”
 When capturing clips for your program from source tapes that were shot in the field,

or from old source tapes that have been played to the point of wearing the media,
timecode breaks may appear, disrupting the computer’s ability to read a continuous
stream of timecode. A few timecode breaks are normal on any source tape, but these
timecode breaks should be avoided during capture whenever possible, as they can
cause audio/video sync problems and incorrect timecode in your captured clip.
Incorrect timecode can in turn cause inaccurate EDL export, and incorrect recapture
of the clips containing the breaks.

If you’re logging your source tapes manually in preparation for capture, it’s a good
idea to avoid logging clips along with the breaks that appear between shots, as
these are spots where timecode breaks frequently occur. If a timecode break appears
in the middle of a shot, it may be because the tape is worn, or because the media
simply failed on that frame.

To avoid capturing timecode breaks in any circumstances, make sure that the “On
timecode break” option in the General tab of the User Preferences window is set to
either Make New Clip or Abort Capture. For more information on the “On timecode
break” option, see “

General Tab

” on page 304.

 If you are experiencing excessive timecode breaks during capture, try cleaning the

heads on your camcorder or deck. Dirty heads can cause timecode breaks that don’t
actually exist on the tape.

An error message says “Servo Can’t Lock.”
 The tape transport mechanism in the camcorder or deck may not be able to

synchronize as expected and may require more time to synchronize to where the
computer thinks it is. Try increasing the pre-roll time in your device control preset.
(See Chapter 26, “

Device Control Settings and Presets

,” on page 349.)

 If your device is connected via FireWire, try changing the protocol from Apple

FireWire to Apple FireWire Basic in your device control preset. (See Chapter 26,

Device Control Settings and Presets

,” on page 349.)

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Part V


DV video clips look fuzzy on the computer’s monitor.
 Older Power Mac G4 computers cannot process and properly play back DV in real time

when playback quality is set to High. As a result, these computers display DV video at
a lower resolution in order to maintain the full frame rate of playback for DV clips. This
lower resolution results in a softer image, but no information is lost. You can see this
when the picture is stopped. Final Cut Pro can use a high-quality still frame when it
doesn’t have to maintain playback, so the picture snaps back into focus.

To view your DV media at full quality while playing at 25 or 29.97 frames per second
(fps), you’ll need to connect the FireWire output of your computer to a camcorder or
deck. The camcorder or deck will decompress the DV stream using dedicated
hardware, resulting in smooth playback of your DV media on an attached NTSC or
PAL monitor.

Note: You’ll see the same fuzzy effect with DV clips that are exported into other
applications as well. As long as the clip is compressed with DV, slower computers will
lower the resolution during playback, but the source media on disk still contains all
of the information, at the highest quality.

You’re having problems playing a reference movie.
 If you encounter playback problems with a reference movie, export the media as a

self-contained movie (which includes all its media files), and not as a QuickTime
reference movie.

To do this, make sure there is a checkmark in the Make Movie Self-Contained
checkbox in the Export dialog. For more information, see “

Exporting a QuickTime

Movie File

” on page 240.

Video does not play through to the computer screen.
 Make sure cables from the video device are properly connected to your computer.
 Check your QuickTime video settings in the Capture Presets tab in the Audio/Video

Settings window. For details on QuickTime source and compression settings, see
Chapter 25, “

Capture Settings and Presets

,” on page 339.

You experience poor playback and stuttering video when trying to edit.
 Make sure you are not editing with media that uses keyframe compression, such as

Sorenson or Cinepak.

Your camcorder or deck doesn’t go to the specified timecode or won’t perform
a command.
 Make sure you selected the correct protocol in the Device Control Presets tab of the

Audio/Video Settings window. If you’re using FireWire, try using the Apple FireWire
Basic protocol.

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Appendix E

Solving Common Problems