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TOPIC: Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow

Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow 22 Sep 2020 03:59 #110165

  • tijuanakez
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So each time I want to open up my Multicam clip and make some changes, it opens blank and starts recreating all the thumbnails again. There's a dozen or so angles and most are composites so it means I have to wait 10 secs each time I want to see where things are to make an edit.

Is there any way to pause the regeneration of thumbnails or even just use a poster frame for thumbnails?

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Last edit: by tijuanakez.

Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow 22 Sep 2020 11:51 #110167

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tijuanakez wrote: So each time I want to open up my Multicam clip and make some changes, it opens blank and starts recreating all the thumbnails again. There's a dozen or so angles and most are composites so it means I have to wait 10 secs each time I want to see where things are to make an edit...Is there any way to pause the regeneration of thumbnails or even just use a poster frame for thumbnails?...


You can temporarily turn off thumbnails (inc'l generation) by setting "Clip Labels Only" which is CTRL+OPT+6, or CTRL+OPT+1 (waveform only). CTRL+OPT+1 through 6 sets various view options.

Unfortunately you cannot retain existing thumbnails and turn off only generation of new ones.

For clips in the Event Browser, thumbnails are initially generated upon import. They are regenerated under some conditions if the filmstrips are resized either vertically or horizontally. They are not all pre-generated en masse, but only sufficient for the current Browser display. As you scroll down in the Browser more are generated.

Timeline thumbnails are generated when the clip is added, and under some conditions when resizing the timeline.

Both thumbnails are stored by default in the library in EventName/Render Files/Thumbnail Media. Examination of the I/O profile during thumbnail generation indicates it's doing a lot of small random writes, roughly around 10K to 20K bytes. On a mechanical drive this will be slow, so if the cache was placed on an SSD that might help.

I previously sent an enhancement request to Apple for more control over thumbnail generation. In LightRoom you can control pre-generation of previews, trading off resolution vs time to create. However in keeping with the FCPX design philosophy, I think Apple wants a "no config" automatic algorithm for thumbnail generation.

Aside from the thumbnail issue, it's generally a good idea if possible to place the library and cache on an SSD. The library itself is internally a SQLite database and involves a lot of small random IOs. You can designate a location for cache by using the Library Inspector>Storage Locations>Modify Settings. Note on Catalina, FCPX versions before 10.4.9 might hang if creating a new folder for media or cache within the Modify Settings dialog. The workaround is first create folder with Finder, then do CMD+I and grant read/write permissions to group "Everyone", the click the gear icon to apply to "Apply to Enclosed Items". This bug is fixed in 10.4.9.

Certain codecs and import modes can worsen performance of thumbnail generation. In particular if bare MTS files are extracted from an AVCHD package and imported using "leave files in place", thumbnail generation can be extremely slow.The solution is transcode to optimized media or first re-wrap with EditReady2 before import.

If using "Clip Labels Only" view mode, it may seem difficult to navigate without thumbnails. However by using clip skimming you can generally find the location. In some cases with lots of connected clips or with a big multicam, it can be beneficial to assign a role color to tell the clips apart. For video-only clips a video role color can be assigned. A/V clips take the audio role color, so assigning an audio role color would be needed. That is the display mode Apple often uses in the FCPX ads: www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/

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Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow 22 Sep 2020 12:07 #110168

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Hi and thanks for the reply!

The Library and the Cache are on the SSD, but the 'angles' in the Multicam clip are Compound clips consisting of a BG layer and a semi transparent layer on top, with some color grading.

The slowness I assume is coming from Final Cut having to render these out on the fly to generate the thumbnails each time I open the Multicam clip. I can see the benefits of on-the-fly thumbnails upon resizing the timeline etc, but I agree we need more control to cover use cases such as this.

For one, FC should be smart enough to check that I havent in fact resized the timeline when I reopen the Multicam, which is not happening.

Ideally a 'pre-generate thumbnails' checkbox somewhere would be key, something that creates a thumbnail cache for highest zoom setting in advance for any clip with this selected, and then only re-generates if the clip is modified. Like tweaking the Compound Clip in this case.

I will see how things go with 'Clip Labels Only'.

Cheers.

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Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow 22 Sep 2020 12:44 #110169

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From personal experience, I'd say it's the compound clips slowing things down. If you weren't using compounds, the process would be much faster.

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Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow 22 Sep 2020 13:59 #110174

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Well yes, I've no doubt about that, it goes without saying that Compound clips will be slower. Especially since they have a few color wheels etc on the layers inside.

The point is, there's no reason Final Cut should be trying to recreate all the thumbnails all over again every time if nothing has changed, neither clips nor timeline zoom. It should just be able to use the ones from the cache it made last time I opened it. But for some reason it wipes them and starts again.

If there was a convenient way to 'bounce in place' those compound clips, or make temporary proxies for them, that would also be a workaround. But I don't thin its possible. So it would mean opening each compound clip, and 'Share>Master' to use FCP terminology, and bring them back in, loosing editing ability.

There's stuff happening in the compounds that takes a bunch of editing time, and I don't want to do it for parts of clips that wont make the final cut, hence keeping them in their editable Compound Clip form. Being able to cut the master timeline first means I only have to work on the bits that are visible. Brilliant idea if I do say so myself, but I guess the FCP dev team never imagined people putting compound clips inside Multicam clips.

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Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow 22 Sep 2020 14:16 #110176

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You can't cut the multicam in the project without the compounds? And then apply the compounds in the muitcam angle editor after the cut's been done?

What are the computer specs BTW?

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Last edit: by Tom Wolsky.

Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow 23 Sep 2020 00:45 #110182

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Why are you using Compounds to create a Multicam with? That just seems so weird...

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Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow 23 Sep 2020 02:10 #110183

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I have green screen footage pre-keyed with alpha in Prores444 and their corresponding background layers underneath. It's an arty clip with wild extreme color processing, and lots of little intricate snips timed up in between the layers. This stuff would be done in a compositing program traditionally, but you have to render or at least build a preview cache to see the results and its a tedious way to work when syncing bits and pieces to music. And usually a lot of stuff gets thrown in the bin when its time to make the final cut, so it was time wasted comping and editing everything beforehand.

Even on this ageing iMac, Final Cut can certainly handle doing all this in realtime from SSD and it has no problem playing back all theses compound streams simultaneously in the Multicam window. Working like this is orders of magnitude faster than compositing software.
Being able to edit only the bits that are in the final edit makes it even faster again as theirs no wasted editing time.

But the crux comes when wanting to dive into a section of one of those compound clips to make a tweak.
I have to open the Multicam clip, to get to the Compound Clip I want to tweak, and thats when it starts building all the thumbnails over again for no reason.

Just such a damn shame for such a fast and powerful system otherwise.

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Last edit: by tijuanakez.

Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow 23 Sep 2020 05:01 #110186

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The compound clip should be accessible in the browser without going into the multicam clip. Don’t know what the system specs are put it’s obviously needs a lot off and fast VRAM to function well.

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Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow 23 Sep 2020 05:14 #110188

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2011 iMac 3.4Ghz AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2048 MB.
So definitely not the greatest by todays standards.
Thats an idea though, I guess I could just make mental note of the clip thats live and the playhead position and open the clip from the browser instead

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Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow 23 Sep 2020 12:12 #110191

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tijuanakez wrote: 2011 iMac 3.4Ghz AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2048 MB.
So definitely not the greatest by todays standards....


You said you have a dozen angles in your multicam? Is that 4k or 1080p? Is it H264? Are you using proxies?

You have a 2011 iMac 27 with a 4-core 3.4Ghz i7 ("Sandy Bridge"), and a 2GB Radeon HD 6970M. That machine has FireWire, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 1 ports. How is your SSD connected? Unless it's a Thunderbolt device it seems it would be slow? If you run Blackmagic speed test on that SSD, what is your performance, plus the performance of any other internal or external hard drives?

The Sandy Bridge CPU had the very first version of Quick Sync, so if you have any H264 content, the hardware acceleration may be limited. Just between 2015 and 2017 iMacs, Quick Sync had a 2x performance increase.

Also what version of MacOS and what version of FCPX are you running? There was a significant performance increase in FCPX starting with 10.4.8 due to Metal optimization, also more in 10.4.9. If your iMac can't run those versions, that is another possible source of performance issues.

If I was editing a 12-angle multicam on my 10-core iMac Pro I'd be using proxies, and I'd have the library and cache on a 1,000 MB/sec dedicated SSD via USB-C or Thunderbolt. I realize you must make do with what you have, and you can still do valuable work on the 2011 iMac. My co-worker had a 2010 iMac until recently, and he edited 1080p H264 content. However we have spent a large amount of time investigating a presumed FCPX performance issue which might have a significant hardware performance constraint.

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Thumbnails in Multicam cripplingly slow 24 Sep 2020 01:41 #110202

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Thanks for the replies. I ripped the Optical drive out and moved the big HD to the optical drive's SATA port, and connected a Samsung 1TB EVO to the original HD Sata. It's actually super fast for a machine this old. As you said however, as its 2011, it cant run Metal hence stuck at High Sierra which is going to slow things down.

Like I said, the machine actually has no problem playing back all 12 streams simultaneously in the 16 cam Multicam view which is a testament to how optimised Final Cut is for prores.

Big problem with proxies though if with keyed footage as only Proress 4444 supports alphas so when it generates Prores Proxy versions, I loose all the transparency. The background layers are only jpgs.

Not of this would matter however if Final Cut would realise it doesn't have to recreate thumbnails when nothing has changed. I guess I just have to hit the dev team up with some feedback, and workaround using the browser for now.

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