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hastingstv
09-09-2011, 04:50 PM
Local cable access station here. We've had a TriCaster Broadcast for about a year now. One of our productions is a weekly newscast that we record live to tape. Pkg's, broll, etc are edited on Final Cut Express and exported as .mov's. Then transferred to the TriCaster via flash drive. We save the .mov's onto the hardrive and load the DDR from that file of .mov's for the newscast. This was all working just fine up until a couple weeks ago...

Since then we've had trouble with some videos "stuttering" or are "glitchy" in that the video and audio plays, freezes, plays, freezes, ok for while, then stutters again. And it's not consistent. One time it may play fine all the way, the other time it may stutter throughout, the next only a couple times. It's not every video either. Some have played fine throughout ever time. Very annoying and frustrating because then that video has to be edited in post, and it disrupts the "live" flow and feel.

We've tried re-exporting and re-loading the same files and still have stutter problems. We then tried exporting the files as .avi's from FCE. The avi.'s stuttered less often but still stuttered. There's plenty of free space on the drive (258GB free out of 419GB) and the content in the D drive's cache folder has been deleted. Still have stuttering.

Our last guess is that a corrupt file somehow snuck onto the TriCaster when loading the videos that first newscast it happened. Is there anything else we should try? Any theories out there? Is there a better, more reliable workflow and/or format we should use instead? Any help is greatly appreciated!!

SBowie
09-09-2011, 05:09 PM
You've tried defragging, right?

joseburgos
09-11-2011, 04:15 PM
Also MOV and AVI are wrappers so what codec are you using for each format?

hastingstv
09-26-2011, 01:15 PM
Mystery solved, sort of. When exporting from FCE the "make movie self contained" box had somehow gotten unchecked, and stayed that way. After correcting that we haven't had the stuttering issues with the .mov's... on their own. HOWEVER, we've discovered the stuttering still occurs when you have 1 ddr running as your background for a key (selected on the effects row) and the other ddr running simultaneously. In our case we go from a stand up shot in studio (with background on ddr 1 in effects) and cut to broll (played from ddr 2) that shows while the talent continues to read. Every single time the broll video will "stutter." So we now have to stop the background video ddr after we cut to the broll and restart it if we want to return to that shot. Any way we can avoid that? Should the TriCaster be able to run two DDR's simultaneously? It would be nice to be able to avoid using the external source but maybe we have to if we don't want to stop/restart the background video.
Thanks Steve and Jose for your input and patience.

joseburgos
09-26-2011, 01:20 PM
Yes two DDR's can run at the same time so question, what resolution are you rendering at? Have you tried putting the MOV files into Edit and rendering as TriCaster DDR/VCR format (with alpha if needed)?
Never received an answer on what codec you are rendering to?

TakeOneDigital
09-27-2011, 01:55 AM
I'm with Jose and betting that your resolution and/or codec settings are the culprits. We always had problems with high-bandwidth h.264 files. Once we went to mpeg (m2t mpeg transport from Compressor) our ddr's are happy campers! I can't believe that you were even able to get the FCE reference (not self-contained) files to even play.

hastingstv
09-30-2011, 09:02 AM
We just use the generic export from Final Cut Express on a Mac.

Looking at file info, it's 720x480, Codec: DV/DVCPRO-NTSC, Integer (Little Endian), Timecode

Total bit rate: 30,288.

What is the best to use when exporting a file to the Tricaster for DDR purposes? Of course, looking to retain quality, but not be too heavy on system resources...

SBowie
09-30-2011, 09:17 AM
That sounds like it should work without issue. I had asked if you had defragged, but don't see a reply.

hastingstv
09-30-2011, 09:39 AM
My apologies. We did try a defrag and still had stuttering issues. But working on it this morning, I think I've pinpointed the problem. MOST of the files we use are from Final Cut Express. But a few of the backgrounds are created on After Effects. Looking at those files, they are HUGE. So I ran some tests on the tricaster, and low and behold, the problem comes when one of the DDRs are playing these huge files. We've been exporting as Quicktime under the "Animation" codec in the output module in the render queue.

I guess my question keeps evolving. What is the best codec to use when exporting in After Effects?

PIZAZZ
09-30-2011, 09:46 AM
I guess my question keeps evolving. What is the best codec to use when exporting in After Effects?

"IF you are using After Effects on a PC", then Install the NewTek Codec pack. Render out to .avi with the NewTek SpeedHQ w/ alpha codec. They will play correctly every time.

{Edit}
IF you are using a Mac for driving After Effects, I am sorry. You will need to do a couple extra steps. To convert your current files having playback problems, open SpeedEdit in the TriCaster. (You knew there was an editor builtin the TriCaster right?) Place a file on the timeline and render it using the SpeedHQ codec in TriCaster. For new files you can use the same process, doesn't take long. OR you can just render the files out of After Effects in a smaller codec like the DV/NTSC DVCPRO codec you used in FCE.

Hastings mentions they are Backgrounds out of After Effects. If they are backgrounds then you do not need Alpha so no reason to use the Quicktime Animation codec. If you are doing lower thirds, sidebars, bugs, or generally any overlay, then you will want to use the Animation Codec that has Alpha support. After they are rendered in the Animation Codec, a conversion as I illustrate above will need to be done in the TriCaster to make them easier to play using the SpeedHQ codec.

csandy
09-30-2011, 09:49 AM
Jef, if he's using Compressor and FCE, he must be on a Mac. Is there a Mac version of the codec pack?

PIZAZZ
09-30-2011, 10:03 AM
Jef, if he's using Compressor and FCE, he must be on a Mac. Is there a Mac version of the codec pack?

Well I don't hold anything against someone using a Mac. Sooner or later they see the error of their ways and run Windows. :)

I realized that he was editing with FCE but I have seen many studios using Windows PCs for After Effects too. I should of put a qualifier in previous my suggestion. "If you are using After Effects on a PC, use the NewTek codec pack"

His next easy step would be to just take the Animation Codec files he is having trouble with and drop them in SpeedEdit on the TriCaster and re-render them using the SpeedHQ codec.

SBowie
09-30-2011, 10:18 AM
Alternatively, after making sure that they are no bigger resolution-wise than they need to be, use the Quicktime PNG codec, which produces much smaller files and still supports alpha.