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Thread: Are my drives too slow?! WTF?
07-17-2008, 11:20 AM #1
Are my drives too slow?! WTF?
So, I am editing a concert I shot using FCP. I am on a brand new MacBook Pro blown out to 4gb of RAM. My scratch disk is a 7200rpm 500gb Maxtor external. I have uploaded most of the footage and have rendered what I have edited already. Now when I try to play anything back it will go for two seconds, then stop and give me that fucking warning screen. "WARNING - SOME FRAMES WERE DROPPED"
Am I fucked? I thought this new system would be fine. Guess I need a RAID or something else that cost a shitload of money?
07-17-2008, 11:32 AM #2
Recently, I had a couple of dropped frames too. My friend told me that an external drive was too slow for video work even with firewire. I was using an internal drive, so that was not the problem. This may be your problem. He then suggested that I close all programs other than FC, remove all external devices, reboot, then Render Only --> Mixdown. That did the trick for me.
Hope it helps.
07-17-2008, 11:43 AM #3
07-17-2008, 11:54 AM #4
The other option although def more of an investment, would be an esata card for the express slot. Alot of the enclosures are starting to offer this as an option, or obviously you can just buy one off of newegg for fairly cheap. Junker's suggestion should work to help things be a little more manageable. I wish they would have had a faster internal hd available when I got my mbp :/undergoing a phase change.
07-17-2008, 12:02 PM #5
HD editing definitely pushes these machines. I'm not a video guy, but I'd make sure I had a happy high speed, not too full/fragmented disk w/ happy Firewire 800 connection (or, as noted use the internal drive for editing work). Also knock off anything competing for system resources. Time Machine backups, major network activity, auto-syncing, etc., etc. Double check to make sure you don't have any compute or disk intensive background stuff bubbling around...
07-17-2008, 12:18 PM #6
here's an easy way to test your drive speed:
- start Utilities/Terminal
- in it type the following command:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/test count=1000 bs=56k
but replace /tmp/test with some location on your internal or external hard drive (they are both under /Volumes)
the command will create a file of size 56 megabytes full of zeros and will print the writing performance in bytes/second at the end. for example, on my 5200rpm macbook it shows ~ 30MB/s speed:
$ dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/test count=1000 bs=56k
1000+0 records in
1000+0 records out
57344000 bytes transferred in 1.858397 secs (30856701 bytes/sec)
try both the internal and the external disks.
07-17-2008, 01:14 PM #7
Well, my drive was nearly full. So I am deleting everything but the FC scratch and dedicating the drive to video. Gonna de-frag it and then test my speed like f2f said.
07-17-2008, 01:20 PM #8
what is the drive formatted as? that may also make a difference. if possible, avoid ms-dos (FAT32) formats. you're better off moving the scratch stuff away and reformatting the whole drive rather than just deleting.
as far as i know there's no defragging feature for the mac filesystem type. it shouldn't lose performance based on how full it is, although when full it will have less chance of optimizing when writing new blocks so that stream reading benefits from spatial locality. i'm not sure it even does that anymore.
07-17-2008, 01:25 PM #9
07-17-2008, 01:39 PM #10
firewire will generally give you a better speed than USB2.0. even though usb2.0 is rated higher for peak speed, it continuously gives lower performance numbers than FW for large reading and writing (as you're doing with video). i believe FW is faster by an order of magnitude (20MB/s vs 10MB/s sustained).
firewire also gives you a guaranteed sustained speed, while USB can drop the performance if you're busying the CPU with something else. see this comparison for better explanation:
(older macs, but point is still valid)
explanation of the difference between usb and fw:
at any rate, before you rush off and buy a new drive do the cleanup first (both of the hard drive and any extra software you may have running on the machine) then check the playback again. a simple calculation shows that a single raw frame of HDTV is 2 megapixels (1920x1080), or 2 megabytes at 8bpp. to display those raw (full frame, each frame, no compression) at 30fps you'll need something with a bandwidth of about 60MB/s which is more than what both FW and USB will give you. (note that 1080i is 1.5 megapixels, so that requires about 45MB/s for raw playback). of course those numbers are overestimates since most recorders use at least a basic type of compression, but they should give you an idea for what you're aiming at.
Last edited by f2f; 07-17-2008 at 01:57 PM.
07-17-2008, 02:15 PM #11
i found some more information: HDV* recording and playback indeed compresses quite well, all the way down to ~4MB/s for 1080i. the problem however is that it compresses data between frames (interframe) and while editing you either need to blow out the movie to some more expensive format to splice between frames, or use the CPU to calculate the missing information "on the fly". the former increases your bandwidth requirements, the latter may potentially cause the available bandwidth to drop in the case of USB.
hope that helps: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDV#Editing_HDV
* I'm assuming you're editing HDV since you're talking about 1080i, which is one of the available formats there.
07-17-2008, 03:21 PM #12
Well Cineform is like $500 bucks. I guess I will try to find a store that sells firewires for my drive. Otherwise I am gonna have to get a new one and start over again. Since it doesn't need to be HD I could break it up song by song into FCP and then compress each clip and then reimport into a new sequence in FCP and paste the compressed files together.
07-17-2008, 04:55 PM #13
Hmm, I would tend to think it's not your external hard drive. I'm working on about as mediocre a system as possible for comparison, including a 250gb maxtor external hard drive for photos + music (USB) and an external 500gb (USB) that holds all of my video. The internal hard drive holds all of the temporary rendering files.
Sounds like you are running a long video. Can you try one song by itself, maybe 5 minutes max?
Cavat: I'm running vegas on a pc w/ pentium 4 & 2mb ram. 5 minutes of compressed video takes about 1h20min to render to 720/1280 and 10 minutes takes about 4 hours. rendering full video back to tape is about a 1:1 process after some pre-rendering time.
Last edited by Gerome; 07-17-2008 at 04:57 PM.
07-17-2008, 04:59 PM #14
07-17-2008, 09:40 PM #15
I know nothing about video. But if the hard drive isn't the issue, is something slowing down your computer.
I assume you are working with it plugged in and not running off the battery? Because the energy saving settings would likely slow down the CPU to save juice unless you set it for highest performance.
(Just throwing out ideas.)"Good girls go to heaven. Bad ones go to hell. And girls on fast bikes go anywhere they want." Elena
07-18-2008, 12:56 PM #16
Plugged in. And only running FCP with no other open apps. At the moment my playback stops I can see the light on the drive start to flash like its trying to catch up.
As much as I want to deny it, I think I need to get a new drive thats firewire 800.
07-18-2008, 01:05 PM #17
Again, verify that nothing random is going to make your system hiccup. Backups, syncs, spotlight indexing, etc can all grab system resources at inopportune moments. Also make sure no other startup items have heavy duty or random firing background tasks (although I'm not even sure what the ground rules are for these sorts of things these days).
07-18-2008, 02:05 PM #18
07-18-2008, 02:08 PM #19
07-18-2008, 03:34 PM #20
There are so many factors involved with video rendering. I would personally experiment with very short clips to find out what does or doesn't work - trying standard dv vs. HD, high compression to minimal, etc. When originally capturing the video, Vegas shows a dialogue box that says if any frames were dropped. Maybe FCP did the same thing.
My first HD render of a 1 minute video took 8 hours to complete. That's when I found out I had to upgrade my ram from 512 to 2gb. When I upgraded my ram, I found out my antivirus software had a bug that was taking all of my memory (go figure) - it went from 3mb of ram use to 500mb, so I knew it was hindering my system.
07-18-2008, 03:41 PM #21
Get AVIDXpress, cut the proxy video, then have a drink or twelve while it renders the final edit.
07-19-2008, 11:15 AM #22
07-19-2008, 12:43 PM #23
What's the reason for the HD not being the issue? I'd stay as far away from USB as I can...
07-19-2008, 01:01 PM #24advres Guest
Very simple work around. Set your timeline to playback in lower quality. You don't really need to watch it in HD, do you? Upper-left corner of the timeline window you will see a little box that says "RT". Scroll down to "playback video quality" and adjust as needed. You can also adjust the "playback frame rate" if needed but I would shy away from that if you are cutting it.
I have an old POS PowerBook G4 (1GHz) with 1GHz RAM and cut my HD demo reel on it because my edit system was in transit. My assets were on a crappy slow USB2.0 500G drive. The video was in DVCPro HD 1080i60 codec and I had no dropped frame problems. Realistically, it was a VERY basic timeline with only one song, a few random sound hits and very few layers of video. There were however, a lot of motion graphics I rendered with the Animation codec which is much more heavy hitting than most HD codecs. On your machine you should have no problems if everything is working correctly!
Where is your video/audio render scratch set to? Is that going to the external as well???
07-19-2008, 01:10 PM #25advres Guest
ALSO, I almost forgot. This is something so simple that many people overlook it. Over the years, FCP has had a problem with dropping frames if any window IS OVERLAPPING the Canvas window at all on playback. I was having tons of dropped frames one day inexplicably. After pulling my hair out for a few hours I noticed that my viewer window was nudged slightly down and covered over the title bar of the canvas window. I reset my windows using my custom layout and voila, no more dropped frames. This was on a system that had 100% no reason to be dropping anything with the video I was working with. Just a thought...
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