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TOPIC: Transcoding taking long time!

Transcoding taking long time! 10 Nov 2017 23:16 #91601

  • PilotHal
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Hello,
I'm new to the forum and need some help with FCP X 10.3.4.
I have UHD (3840x2160) footage that came in from a GoPro Hero 6. So it's H.264 8-bit video. Scrubbing through the video yields stuttering and poor performance. When I optimize the footage or create proxy files, I can scrub through the footage no problem in the browser.
I have two issues:
1) Transcoding a 3 min clip takes like 6 mins! And my GPU Diode goes to 47 degrees and the fan kicks on. Is this normal?? Can't be.
2) I was in the Apple store and an iMac of lesser configuration was handling full 4K Original files and scrubbing no problem!!!! Made my machine looks like a joke. And transcoding for insanely fast as well.

What's up with this? I should have a screamer of a machine, and the performance is not great.
Thanks.
/H

See attachment on the specs on my machine. It's a deck'ed out iMac 27" 2017
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Transcoding taking long time! 11 Nov 2017 04:40 #91603

  • FCPX.guru
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Be aware that the iMac in the store was carefully staged and controlled. It's there to sell stuff, not be a real-world comparison to yours.

What I'd question is, what hard drive do you have your media and Libraries on? Is it USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt? 5200rpm drive, 7400rpm drive, or SSD? Please don't use the system drive for media and Libraries, as that can slow things down.

GoPro footage is super highly compressed, so transcoding it can take awhile, and yes, it can make your cooling fans kick in. That's normal.

What macOS version, what FCPX version?
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Transcoding taking long time! 11 Nov 2017 12:43 #91605

  • joema
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PilotHal wrote:
....FCP X 10.3.4...UHD (3840x2160)....from a GoPro Hero 6. So it's H.264 8-bit video. Scrubbing through the video yields stuttering and poor performance. When I optimize the footage or create proxy files, I can scrub through the footage no problem in the browser...Transcoding a 3 min clip takes like 6 mins! And my GPU Diode goes to 47 degrees and the fan kicks on. Is this normal?? Can't be...in the Apple store and an iMac of lesser configuration was handling full 4K Original files and scrubbing no problem!!!! Made my machine looks like a joke. And transcoding for insanely fast as well.....

I don't have a Hero 6 but I have several Hero 5s and have edited lots of 4K H264 8-bit material from them on a top-spec iMac 27, similar to yours.

H264 video is not all the same -- there are many variations, each with unique characteristics. In general 4k GoPro H264 is highly compressed and difficult to edit smoothly -- on any hardware or software.

On my 2017 top-spec iMac 27, 4k Hero 5 material is a bit sluggish, even with the viewer set to better performance. However Premiere Pro CC ver. 2017.1.2 is much slower on the same hardware for that media type. JKL commands are so slow in Premiere it feels like the keyboard is broken.

On my machine creating ProRes proxies for an 8 min 52 sec Hero 5 4k H264 clip takes FCPX 2 min 15 sec, or about 4x faster than real time. Premiere Pro CC takes about 2x longer to create ProRes proxies, even though they are only 58% of the resolution (1536 x 790 vs 1920 x 1080).

After proxies are created, both FCPX and Premiere are lightning fast.

I don't know why your nearly identical iMac 27 took so long to create proxies. Is it possible you were creating *both* optimized *and* proxy media? That would take longer, and normally you don't need both. On my iMac creating proxies + optimized media for an 8 min 52 clip took 7 min 15 sec.

Using optimized media does nothing for your video quality, it is mainly for editing performance -- which proxy will also achieve with less transcoding time and 1/6th the space of optimized. One of the few exceptions is if you need alpha-channel transparency data; proxy does not support that.

Transcoding H264 to proxy is a highly CPU-bound activity, not I/O-bound. You can observe this yourself using Activity Monitor or iStat Menus -- the I/O rate is relatively low. Trying to improve this via additional I/O capacity likely won't work since that's not the weak link. It is normal the CPU temp will be high during this task, maybe 97-100C.

Every Mac I've seen at the Apple store running FCPX is using short clips of ProRes optimized media. 4k ProRes will run OK on nearly any Mac, even a five-year-old MacBook Air.

Make sure you are transcoding *only* to proxy, not optimized media. Get a test clip, time the transcode performance and and compare to your previous numbers.

While transcoding to proxy is not an I/O-bound task, a sufficiently slow portable drive might negatively impact this, e.g, a 5400 USB 2.0 bus-powered drive. If you were creating both optimized *and* proxies, plus this was on a slow hard drive, that could create an I/O bottleneck -- optimized ProRes is about 6x the size of H264, so about 6x the I/O rate plus the I/O rate of concurrently writing separate proxy files.

In that case use a faster drive and/or don't use optimized media. Normally you don't want to use an internal drive for media, but the 2017 iMac SSD is extremely fast -- nearly 2,000 MB/sec for write and 2,400 MB/sec for read. If your media is there, it seems unlikely that's a problem. However space is limited for the internal SSD so even if it's fast enough you typically will run out of space fairly soon so that's another reason to use external storage.
Last Edit: 11 Nov 2017 12:45 by joema.
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Transcoding taking long time! 11 Nov 2017 18:35 #91608

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Thank you very much for the information. I'm going to test out different H.264 encodings to measure performance. No doubt that the Apple Store had optimized footage fro the get-go to make their demo machine appear fast.
I also need to move my media to an external drive but worry about backing it all up. Unless I go for an expensive RAID 5 array. I'm a small shop so funds are at a premium.
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Transcoding taking long time! 12 Nov 2017 05:18 #91614

PilotHal wrote:
…worry about backing it all up. … I'm a small shop so funds are at a premium.

What does a re-shoot/re-edit cost, due to loss of some data? ;)
(imagine a wedding-videographer, telling the bride "sorry to tell you, we have to redo the party, 'cause …")

For a back-up, a real one = no work-drive, you can use any cheap usb3 drive, you get bigger ones (4-5TB) for ~120-180€ …
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Transcoding taking long time! 12 Nov 2017 14:06 #91622

  • joema
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PilotHal wrote:
....but worry about backing it all up. Unless I go for an expensive RAID 5 array...
Even RAID 5 should be backed up, since the chassis could fail, or an OS or filesystem bug or application bug or human error could cause data loss.
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Transcoding taking long time! 12 Nov 2017 15:19 #91626

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Agreed. I looked in to using DLT as tape has made a comeback. It's great for long-term archiving but man are those systems expensive. I don't believe in using HD's for long-term archiving. Gonna have to save up for a DLT drive.
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