3 Replies Latest reply: Oct 4, 2012 11:31 PM by andynick
Jon Braeley Level 2 Level 2 (170 points)

Editing a feature length after success with short edits. But FCPX hangs every few minutes - no response. Force quit every 5 minutes.

I am editing native AVCHD media - is this the problem? Is my only alternative to re-encode into ProRes? I hope not. Anyone suffering like this or other ideas?


Using MacBook Pro i7 with 8G Ram. G-Drive 2TB with eSata connection.

  • andynick Level 5 Level 5 (4,925 points)

    This is my pet checklist for questions regarding FCP X performance - you may have already addressed some of the items but it's worth checking.


    Make sure you're using the latest version of the application - FCP X 10.0.5 runs very well on my 2009 MacPro 2 x 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with 16 GB RAM and ATI Radeon HD 5870 1024 MB. I run it with Lion 10.7.5.


    First, check that you have at least 20% free space on your system drive.


    For smooth playback without dropping frames, make sure 'Better Performance' is selected in the FCP X Preferences - Playback Tab.


    If you have not already done so, move your Projects and Events to a fast (Firewire 800 or faster) external HD. Make sure the drive's formatted OS Extended (journalling's not required for video). You should always keep at least 20% free space on the Hard Drives that your Media, Projects and Events are on.


    Check the spec of your Mac against the system requirements:



    Check the spec of your graphics card. If it's listed here, it's not suitable:



    If you are getting crashes, there is some conflict on the OS. Create a new (admin) user account on your system and use FCP X from there - if it runs a lot better, there's a conflict and a clean install of the OS would be recommended.


    Keep projects to 20 mins or less. If you have a long project, work on 20 min sections then paste these into a final project for export.


    If your playback in FCP X is not good, I strongly recommend you use ProRes 422 Proxy - it edits and plays back like silk because the files are small but lightly compressed (not much packing and unpacking to do) - but remember to select 'Original or Optimised Media' (FCP X Preferences > Playback) just before you export your movie, otherwise it will be exported at low resolution.


    The downside of 'Proxy' is that it looks awful. DON'T use Proxy when you're assessing things like video quality - especially focus.


    If you have plenty of processor power, for the ultimate editing experience, create Optimised Media - most camera native files are highly compressed and need a great deal of processor power to play back - particularly if you add titles, filters or effects. ProRes 422 takes up much more hard drive space but is very lightly compressed. It edits and plays back superbly.


    Personally, I work with XDCAM EX and h.264 from a Canon DSLR. Both of these run fine with my system, but I do transcode multicam clips.


    Hide Audio Waveforms at all times when you don't need them (both in Browser and Storyline / Timeline). They take up a lot of processor power. (Use the switch icon at the bottom-right of your timeline to select a format without waveforms if you don't need them at the moment, then switch back when you do).


    Create folders in the Project and Events libraries and put any projects you are not working on currently, in those folders. This will help a lot. There's a great application for this, called Event Manager X - for the tiny cost it's an invaluable application.



    Unless you cannot edit and playback without it, turn off Background Rendering in Preferences (under Playback) - this will help general performance and you can always render when you need to by selecting the clip (or clips) and pressing Ctrl+R.


    The biggest single improvement I saw in performance was when I upgraded the RAM from 8 GB to 16.


  • Jon Braeley Level 2 Level 2 (170 points)

    Thanks - I know the list and it's a help.


    I run a 2Tb G-Drive via Sata cable. There is 40% free space left. MacBook Pro is a year old. 8G ram.


    I cut the projects into 20 mins and running the program as lean as possible. Still the beach ball spins almost all the time - just moving the cursor causes FCPX to hang.


    If FCPX only works with ProRes then it's useless lets face it.

  • andynick Level 5 Level 5 (4,925 points)

    Jon Braeley wrote:

    If FCPX only works with ProRes then it's useless lets face it.

    No. FCP X is not useless, nor does it only work with ProRes. In my post I pointed out that "I work with XDCAM EX and h.264 from a Canon DSLR. Both of these run fine with my system, but I do transcode multicam clips".


    However, FCP X doesn't work with my native Sony footage - it has to be re-wrapped with XDCAM Browser or some similar application from Sony in order to be editable.


    If your camera manufacturer needs to compress footage so highly that it's not editable, then it needs to be converted to something that is editable. (Try editing native GoPro footage).


    I don't know anything about AVCHD but I read the forums and I know there are many questions asked about importing and working with it. You might try a little research on the subject by searching in Google (I find the search facility on the Apple forums less than efficient).


    I strongly suggest you read my first reply slowly and check each item. There's a very good chance it will help you.