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A Few Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6

A Few Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6
 
A Creative COW Feature Article


Final Cut Pro 6 Bugs

Jeremy Garchow
Chicago, Illinois
©2007, Jeremy Garchow and CreativeCOW.net


Article Focus:
Creative COW Leader Jeremy Garchow is one of the COW's most frequent posters. "I work in Final Cut Pro all day every day," he says, "and often all night too. These are a few of the issues I've found with Final Cut Pro 6. I assume that Apple will take care of these soon, but until then, here are some tips to help you watch where you step."

First of all, there are a lot of really great things about FCP6. ProRes and ProRes (HQ) real time effects are at the top of my list.  These are extremely impressive to me, even after using Final Cut Pro for a long time. In my limited use of Optical Flow, it has been better than anything else native to the studio for retiming. With the proper footage, SmoothCam is great.

It seems the ideas and general framework for this new release are there, but the implementation isn’t all the way there yet. I’m spending lots of time on mundane and silly things that have worked for me in earlier versions.

To make sure I was on the right track, I started with a ground-up install on a fresh drive. New OS (Tiger, since FCS hasn’t yet been updated for Leopard), new updates, everything done as I always do that has led to a stable system before.

To be specific, as I write this on November 15, 2007, my configuration is OS 10.4.10, QuickTime 7.2, and FCP 6.0.1

Your mileage will vary as they say, but this is how it’s been working, and not working, for me. I hope this can help you get more out of your time with Final Cut Pro 6.

 

Media Manager
People will flame the Media manager. The Media Manager actually works. You have to hold its hand through its little journey, but it does work...

...IF you don't have any speed changes. The XML can't really hold/decipher/translate the speed changes.

The workaround is to copy-paste the normal clip (with no speed change) into another timeline, or at the end of your current timeline. That way, even though you’ll have to rebuild the speed change in your online timeline, you’ll have the clip's proper ins and outs when you need to use it later.

 

Interlacing changes
Something has changed in how FCP handles interlacing.

As it is now, if you’re working in a progressive NTSC timeline, you have to interpret every single file that is in your timeline, or that you want to put in your timeline, as having a field dominance of None.

This bit me hard the other day. I didn't have time to stop to figure it out when the client was there, so we dealt with a soft picture and kept editing. After the 14 hour client edit session was over, I had to go back and manually change every instance of a clip to a field dominance of None.

These were clips that were captured off of tape and existing CG motion graphics clips. Some of the motion graphics clips had been rendered progressive, which was fine, but some were captured from tape and all video was captured from tape or given to me as 8 bit, 10 bit, or DV NTSC files. All of these clips should have had a field dominance of lower for output, but that's not how it worked.

With FCP 5.1.4 and below, if you put a lower field first clip into a progressive timeline, it played and rendered just fine. Things can work out fine in FCP 6 as long as I remember, every time I put a clip into a progressive timeline, I have to make sure that I set the field dominance to None.

 

Mixed-format timelines
24p and NTSC are not mixing at all. The pulldown pattern that gets rendered when putting a 23.98 movie in a 29.97 timeline is 2224. It looks funky. People I edit with who don't even know what pulldown is ask me why the footage looks so weird.

Final Cut Pro understands pulldown and has been able to add pulldown on the fly since FCP3 over Firewire. Even it means that 2224 is displayed before rendering for faster play out, it should be smart enough to render in 3:2 pulldown if that's what's needed.


Render files
The render files have a mind of their own. The other day I found over 120 Gigs of render files buried in the bowels of FCP.

Yep, you read that correctly. 120 gigs!

Well, it turns out that it was an old trick that someone pointed out on the Cow a while ago. (Whoever posted it I thank you tremendously!)

It seems that somehow the render files folder got buried in the contents of the actual Final Cut Pro application bundle. The only way I could get to the render files was to 'Show Contents' of the bundle. I then deleted them and re-rendered.

Things have been better since then, in the sense that the render files are sticking to my scratch drive. But something is awry, and it’s beyond me.


Render files, pt. 2
Every morning I start up, something has come unrendered.

This becomes a huge hassle, especially with all the multi-format stuff as everything needs to be rendered eventually, and then eventually needs to be re-rendered.

Also, I have found that copying and pasting an effect can unrender clips that are totally unrelated to what I'm doing further down the timeline. I can't repeat it, the clips are different when it happens, and it happens very infrequently. Totally frustrating to me, and totally frustrating to my clients who don't want to hear the technical explanation. They just think it's my fault, so I grin and bear it.

 

One more timeline issue
This one is really weird. The other day I opened my timeline and all of the names of the transitions were gone from the timeline. They played fine, rendered fine, but adjusting them was a pain. I had to reedit in all the transitions to get them to adjust properly. Strange stuff.

 

Compressor
Virtual clusters are the most temperamental things on the planet. Some settings work really really well, some grind the 8 core to a halt.

The feedback is deplorable. It usually takes 5-10 minutes before Compressor shows it's compressing and gives me some sort of feedback on time remaining, or feedback that's it's even working at all.

If I turn off virtual clusters, everything works as normal but the compression times sky rocket. If I think about this one too much, I get kind of angry as it definitely feels as if this version of Compressor was released way too early.

I have come up with ways to work around the weirdness, but it's nothing I can post as I just figured it out today and need to test it further for reliability. Stay tuned for updates.

 

That's the list of weird things for now.
There's a bunch of stuff I'd like to see improved as well, but that's a different article. These things are driving me kind of nuts on a day to day basis. It's really costing me more time than ever in having to go back and fixing all these weird little anomalies.

Have you seen any of these? Do you have workarounds? Or maybe some more issues to add to the list? I'll meet you back at the Final Cut Pro forum to talk it over.


 

 

 

 





Comments

A few ?
by Jakob Mårtensson
I just encountered the strangest thing in FinalCut Pro 6.0.5. A month ago I captured a HDV1080i50 tape with multiple clips in to ProRes just to test working with it. Today I captured the same tape with the HDV codec just to see how much smaller files i would get. When comparing i saw that the clips differ in length between a few frames up to 5seconds. Most of the time the prores version is shorter and it's the beginning of the clip that didn't get captured but in some cases the HDV clip is shorter. Very irritating when a 9 second clip is 5 seconds shorter than on tape after capture.
this is what it looks like: http://yfrog.com/jmhdvproresbugj
A Few Hundred Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6 - APPLE Z • THE MOVIE
by Stein
All of us here in post have been sitting around discussing the limitations and irritations of Final Cut Pro (a discussion similar to anyone who has used it). Having weaseled its way into the professional world of editing, the technical capabilities of the program are the only ones that are deserving of the suffix "Pro". From a user interface standpoint...
IT IS a haphazard jumble of commands and unnecessary keystrokes and multiple mouse clicks with a growing collection of workarounds to get the actual job of editing done in a timely and efficient manner.

The people using Final Cut Pro as their first introduction to editing don't know any better and are blissfully ignorant of a better way to edit. An ignorance that I'm sure Apple is quite happy about. (Trust me on this one. I've worked on non-linear editing systems whose user interface has won oscars!)

Yes, yes yes. We're all hopeful it will get the complete overhaul it needs someday soon.

Great ranting on this post. Since that's what we seem do be doing every day we try to edit using Final Crap Pro. It's like playing piano with oven mitts. As we were sitting around laughing about the absurdity of it all we came up with a premise for an imaginary short film.

APPLE Z
A Few Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6
by Fritz Eberle
I just read cancer's post from the beginning of the year about losing voice over clips. I just had this happen, losing most of yesterday's work. But only 85% of it. It occurs to me that the stuff I lost were the clips requiring multiple takes, as I deleted each bad take from the drive so I could keep good takes numbered consecutively. None of the bad takes were saved in Trash either. Very strange, and infuriating.
A Few Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6
by Martin Nelson
I'll put headings on this because it's gonna be long and you may want to skip parts. This is in FCP 6.0.2, OS X 10.4.11, QuickTime 7.4.1

*Executive Summary*

Multiclips do not retain modifications. So far I've tried adding markers and adjusting levels to a multiclip in the Viewer and after switching angles and switching back, the markers disappear, the levels revert to default.

*What I'm Attempting*

I've got hours of two-camera interviews. Cam A is subject, Cam B is host. Clips are several questions/minutes long. I spent a day and a half syncing and multiclipping and then was ready to screen and pull selects. Or so I thought.

_Approach 1._ My thinking was the most logical workflow would be to watch the interviews then subclip bits I like. We have neither time nor budget for transcripts nor the man-hours to read and highlight them. And even if we did, I'd still need to isolate those parts.

It turns out +you can't subclip multiclips+. Modify>Make Sublcip is grayed out and if you try to subclip by extending a marker and then making a subclip from that you get a new clip with a length identical to the original full clip, but with the name of the marker appended to the head of its original name +and+ the original clip also now has this modified name +and+ there seems to be no way of changing that name back.

Still with me?

_Approach 2_. OK, so I'll put markers where I find a sound bite I like, name them by subject matter and then, at least, I'll be able to find my selects in my Interviews bin by turning down the disclosure triangles next to the relevant clips. Not as good a solution, but it's what I've got.

Not.

+Multiclips do not retain modifications.+ Put a multiclip in your viewer, apply a marker (or adjust audio level), play, switch angles, play, switch back. Your marker (or level adjustment) is gone. They're just gone.

*Corporate Response*

I got on with Apple Care Enterprise. My tech guy reproduced my problem exactly. He then put me on hold and went to an upper level tech. When he came back he told me that's the way it's supposed to work. Multiclips have a sync relationship established by the mere fact that they are multiclips so markers are superfluous. I told him I thought markers served several purposes and he started to get a little testy with me. I laughed a little (not derisively, I swear), said thanks and he hung up without even saying goodbye. I was hurt.

*Why I Care*

I've got hours of these two-camera interviews and no script. I need to find what I like +before+ I can build it into a show. I need to have access to both cameras as I screen because I can't hear the host on the subject's mic nor vice versa.

*Less Than Satisfying Workaround*

Here's the best I've got so far. I make a sequence out of each multiclipped interview, I then mark in and out points when I find a bit I like and I make a sublclip (sub-sequence, really) of it. Let's say I make a 10 second sub-sequence of a soundbite I like. When I'm ready to work with it I drag it to the Viewer and I have a fullscreen image of either the host or the subject. I'm now into the cutting and I know precisely which part of this subclip I want. I mark an in and an out, I cut it into my show, I'm good. And if I want the host and the subject is showing in the Viewer I simply hit SHIFT 1 or SHIFT 2 to get the other angle.

Here's the downside of this process (besides the extra steps). If I do choose to switch angles in the Viewer, the Viewer reverts to a copy of the original full-length multiclip with a Media Limit set at the In point. If, now that I'm cutting, I find I want to include the host's question with this response I can't without another workaround.

How many workarounds does it take to screw in a light bulb?

*If You've Made it This Far and Have a Better Solution I Would Be So Grateful*

And don't think I'm just looking for problems; this is going to be a huge issue for me on this project.

*Rant*

More and more often I'm finding FCP simply isn't designed for long-form editing, especially long-form documentary where organization, searchability, flexibility and general versatility are essential... No, at best, I've only got one person still with me. No sense in ticking you off too.

Martin

A Few Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6
by cancer
i hade a even bigger problem with fcp 6. we where loosing speaker data. We recorded for our movie the speaker with "voice over".
I made the soundmix of the whole clip, without any problem. After starting the project some days later, some of the speaker data wos lost. This happend now to times, on different disk's. The strange thing is, that only the .aiff clips where deleted, but not the subfolders. We captured as well, but we are just loosing the render date, sometimes.

For me this is really a big Problem of Confidence in to FCP 6. I cant be, that final cut is deleting important media.

Apple Support had no answer; just osx memory problem... check the memory.

We did that, there was no Problem.
A Few Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6
by confede
You are right on the money with all of this. Another problem I have seen numerous times is the program refers back to older versions of your project all the time. For instance - I did a big project and would have to make daily saves in new folders every day with the date as the title of the folder. Otherwise, if I shut down and started the computer up in the morning FCP 6 would always open up the project as it was 2 or 3 days ago - causing the nightmare of searching through back-up files and never really knowing if you are starting on the exact version you shut down on.
A Few Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6
by JeremyG
Jeff H-

You are very welcome.

I have never heard of Apple contacting someone about feedback. All I can say is that keep those feedback forms flowing even though it's a one way conversation. They do listen, it seems, even though it doesn't seem like it.

Jeremy
LOTS OF Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6
by jeffh
Here's one simply amazing thing to me--in FCP6 I have gone to "Final Cut Pro > Provide Feedback" 4 times this month, telling them that I have a (growing) list of complaints and suggestions, now up to 35. My list includes a couple of the things you mentioned, Jeremy.

Don't you think they would have contacted me back to get that list from me? As I've written to them, I'm an old Avid guy (since '94) who has now been using FCP daily/nightly for about 4 years. I feel that FCP is a great program, but it could be SO MUCH better! (And a few things are just plain strange of course.)

Oh well, maybe they're too busy watching their AAPL stock go up to care about operational improvements! Thanks, Jeremy, for an excellent article.

Jeff H, Chicago
A Few Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6
by ridindave
About interlacing changes :

The way FCP 5 managed interlaced footage was certainly not good enough.
So I feel they did the right thing by automating deinterlacing when freezing, or auto applying shift field when needed.
But they only did half the job. Interpreting each of the files you're working with is a total nightmare, you're right.
IMHO 2 things are really missing :
• A dialog box when importing a footage (is it or NOT an interlaced footage ?)
• A function similar to AE where you can copy-paste one interpretation to many.

2 more notes about interlaced footage in FCP :

• When interpreting a clip in the bin, it has no effect on the same clip in the timeline, and vice-versa. So you have to check interpretation BEFORE doing any edit, or be prepared to do twice the job...And if you did start editing a sequence with such things as freeze frames, there is no other way to get correct freezes than deleting them, correct source interpretation, and re-freezing...

• Automatic field interpretation in FCP6 seems related to format.
For ex, any uncompressed 8 or 10 bit footage will always be by default an upper field first. DVCProHD 1080i-50 will also always be upper, when DVCProHD 1080p-25 will be progressive by default.
Maybe there's an obscure file where we could edit default interpretation based on format...

One last thing thing about FCP6 bugs :
I don't know if FCP is faulty, I feel it could rather be Quicktime, but when working with DVCProHD 1080, there is a weird behaviour handling aspect ratio. The 1920x1080 is 3/4 horizontal sampling so in real it's 1440x1080 with a 1.33 pixel aspect ratio. When exporting a sequence to Quicktime (with no recompression) output file looks OK in QT player but when reimporting into FCP6, it's now interpreted as a real 1920 square file. When trying to place it in a regular 1440/1.33 sequence, FCP asks to rerender it! I'm sure this bug didn't happen with FCP5 and/or QT 7.1

If anyone knows what's wrong, I take it!

A Few Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6
by JeremyG
Kirkovision, that should be fixed today.

Thanks for that.

Jeremy
A Few Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6
by kirkovision
Please add the date and version (6.0?) to this article.
A Few Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6
by dmehrm
One thing i will say is... don't forget about restarting the machine.

A huge help that i notice lots of people don't do... and it's not just with FCP and video editing... is to save, quit and restart your machine.

I will always give a restart to my system every morning before i start for the day. You would be surprised how many issues that can fix. It will usually release any inactive memory and speed up performance.

Open Activity monitor after working for the day and check out your system memory after you quit everything.... you'll be able to see how much free RAM you have.

Dave
A Few Bugs in Apple Final Cut Pro 6
by JeremyG
Hey Dave, thanks for the comments.

The problem of exporting DVCPro HD and then reimporting and having to render has been fixed in FCP 6.0.2 (came out yesterday). I have not been able to check what (if anything) has happened with the interlacing.

Jeremy




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