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How to fix “Out of memory” error in Final Cut Pro 7

The dreaded “out of memory” error is caused by the fact that FCP 7 can only address 4 Gigs of ram. Those 4 Gigs are full of a lot of things other than cached files, so the actual number is even a bit smaller. The only thing that you can do to prevent the error is actually to use less memory. Thankfully, here are a bunch of tips on how to do that.

1) NEVER edit in h.264 or any other compressed format. It will add a little bit of transcoding time to the beginning, but it will prevent a lot of rendering and rerendering once in the edit.

2) Make your sequence settings (ideally) prores, and make sure that all of your footage is transcoded to the same flavor of prores (LT, HQ, 4444, whatever) This applies to framerate as well!

3) Ensure that your audio is aiff (not mp3) and at the same settings as your timeline.

4) Resize all stills to rough video sizes. 30,000 pixel wide files will bog down fcp immediately so crop or scale it down to something closer to your timeline resolution. If photoshop does this once, then fcp doesn’t need to do it a million times.

5) Flat stills are easier than layered files. FCP doesn’t have to deal with the precomp that psds or layered tiffs come in as.

6) Close unneeded tabs in the timeline and canvas.

So that’s basically it. Pre-process your footage to be 100% the same as your timeline and work with as few sequences open as possible. In my experience it seems that once things start erroring there is very little that helps outside of a restart.

Posted by: Ross Daly on Jul 17, 2012 at 1:30:36 pm FCPglitch

easy sd card speed test for dslr video

I picked up a canon t2i the other day to save some timelapse-related wear and tear from my 7D. It used sd cards, and I quickly realized that some cards are better than others, even when they have the same specs. I was inspired by this post over on peta pixel. This isn’t a very broad test, but I tested all the cards I could scrounge up.

In order to do this, I just popped in an sd card and fired off 15 shots. The quick cards bogged down significantly less than the slow cards. You can see the in-camera buffer get filled up after 7 shots, and then the real test begins. The gap between shots is now due to the write speed of the card. The end of the green bars represents the total amount of time that the card spent writing buffered data. Since I didn’t line them all up starting at zero the numbers to the right of the green bar represent the total time to shoot 15 shots.

What does this mean? Well, it shows the comparative speed of different cards I have available to me. I wouldn’t even think of using the slower smaller cards for video, but this certainly puts some data behind that feeling. For stills the speed really doesnt effect me very much, but it is crucial for video. If I am shooting hd with a high iso (lots of detail make a hard to compress image) then I absolutely need to have a fast card. This way I can test my cards (in combination with my camera) to see how well they perform. I am also interested in testing out different priced cards in the same class to see what the return is for price paid. Lastly, it brings up the interesting idea that a slow enough card can almost replace an intervalometer. My super old sandisk 1Gig card took almost 3 seconds between shots! That could make for an acceptable time lapse interval in a pinch.

Note – I know that there are much more precise ways you can actually test cards using a computer. I don’t want that. I wanted to test both my camera and sd cards simultaneously.

Posted by: Ross Daly on Jul 10, 2012 at 9:56:48 am Hardware

How to interview for creative video positions

There have been a lot of factors that have been forced me to think about and look at resumes lately. I’ve been doing a lot of intern interviews, and Siggraph had a bunch of panels about how to get a job / a better job. It’s also that time of the year that I get my reel together so that I don’t end up going 3 years without updating it. All of those things have been brewing, and I figured I’d share what I’ve learned and seen. This is more a list of more things to do than not to do, as it’s just too easy to do the opposite.

  • Reel

•Put your name and full contact info on the first and last frame as well as on EVERY SINGLE THING you hand out. Make it easy to contact you!

•Feel free to include a long form piece, but know that most people will decide based on your reel.

•Pack the good stuff at the front. If we have to wade through 60 seconds of garbage to get to the good stuff we won’t end up there.

•Pick content and music that is non-objectionable. No one wants to send around a reel with offensive content. That doesn’t mean water it down, but don’t put gory or explicit things in there unless you really know your audience.

•Even if you are building a site to host your reel, still upload it to vimeo. Do NOT make a site with crazy menus or flash. DO make it iphone compatible.

•Avoid letterboxing / litterboxing whenever possible, and make sure your reel is as technically perfect as you can get it.

•Put content on your reel that applies to the specific job you are applying for. If not, then don’t bother applying.

  • Interview

•Know what position you are applying for, and think up questions about specifics.

•Learn the ins and outs of the company and think up questions that prove you did.

•Get as much background as you can on the people you will be meeting.

•Do whatever you can to show that you are eager, well trained, and intelligent (i.e. think up questions!)

•Know when to wrap it up. If they like you, they will like you after the first 5. Don’t change that by making it 45.

•Send a follow up to say thank you. Try to include something memorable that you spoke about so they have a reminder of the interview. If you actually want the job, hand write it and send it in the mail.

•Have a career focus, but don’t be afraid to be flexible. Say you want to edit, but be willing to take the tape room.

  • General

•Be true with yourself about what you want to do and where. This is important. They smell desperation. Find your love and follow it.

•You are infinitely more likely to get a job through a person you know, even if it is a loose acquaintance. Ask your friends, ask your former bosses, and ask your enemies.

•NETWORK! Join linkedin and get connected. Stay in touch with former coworkers. If you help them they’ll help you.

•Go to local user group meetings.

•Go to NAB.

•Go to Siggraph.

•Find out about all of the players in your area so you can “talk the talk” if given the chance.

•Offer to help, however you can. Help out on a student film, help out filming a music video. Get your hands dirty and you’ll keep making contacts.

•In general, try to flatter the people you meet with. Ask them about how they got where they are, ask them what they suggest you can do to get into the biz. People are self-interested, so try to align your self-interest with theirs.

Now is a really tough time to be finding work, but there is always work out there. Keep your head up, keep applying and networking, and most importantly KEEP LEARNING. There is a possibility that other people are better-qualified than you. Only you can change that, and all it takes is drive.

Got any other job seeking or interviewing tips? Leave them in the comments!

Posted by: Ross Daly on Jul 8, 2012 at 7:33:41 pm shortcut

Hello all, this is my little corner of "the cow"! I'm a vfx artist and I work in final cut, nuke and after effects. I love finding workflow hacks, and I'm always looking for a new keyboard shortcut! For more posts check out You Down With FCP
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