Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Avid Behaving Badly #4: New Bins do not Appear in Project Window

This is just plain old terrible programming.

When creating a new bin, the bin window appears in avid, but the new bin itself does not appear in the project window.  If you close the new bin's window, it still won't appear, and effectively is lost to Avid.  What could possibly be going on?

Looking at the Finder level, I can see that the new bins were created without ".avb" at the end of their names.  If I manually add that extension, lo and behold the bins appear in the project window!

But what's causing these bins to be created sans extension?  Some crazy bug?  Some horrible computer virus?  Nope.  Just dumb fucking Avid.

This problem is the result of turning on the option in the General Settings to allow for filenames longer than 27 characters.  For some reason, Avid takes this to mean "stop properly writing bin names."  Turning that option off again fixes the problem.

Dumb.  Fucking.  Avid.

Seriously did no one testing this software turn on the option that allows you to make bins with longer filenames and then - I don't know - try to make a fucking bin???

Saturday, November 17, 2012

An Unexpected Error has Occurred when Importing Quicktime Audio...

Man I wish I'd gotten screenshots of this one.  Sometimes I forget to think about my blog when I'm working under a deadline.  Weird, I know.

Here's what the error said:

An unexpected Error has Occurred when Importing Quicktime Audio.  Do you wish to continue importing the file?  The audio may be incomplete or missing.
[Continue]  [Abort]

First off, I'm using Avid, right?  So there's no goddamn way that any error is "unexpected."  What's unexpected is when the software fucking works.

Sorry, I just had to get that out.

Honestly, this is a pretty good and descriptive error message.  Something's wrong with your audio and we don't know what it is, so it may be screwed up when the import finishes.  Fair enough.  Let's click "Continue."  Oh, hey, do you know what I didn't expect?  I didn't expect "continue" to work, that's for sure.  And would you look at that?  It didn't work.  New error:

SYS_ERROR, OSErr:-1704.
[Continue]  [Abort]

There's the Avid that I know and love.  Fucking useless message.  It's like saying, "Hey, guy on the sidewalk!  Potato!  Yes or no?"  What?  How in the flaming shit am I supposed to make an informed decision here?  Okay, let's hit continue, because that's been doing great so far.

And back to the first error.  Sweet.  Pressing Abort at either of these stages just ends your file import.  Converting the file to a different codec doesn't fix anything.  Stripping audio out of the file completely to import just the video results in going directly to SYS_ERROR, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.  Rad.

So I took this one to the Google.  My search result brought up this gem, which is for Avid 5.5 (not like I'm on), and occurs at boot instead of during import, but hey, it's better than the internet usually is when I'm troubleshooting:  http://avid.force.com/pkb/articles/en_US/Error_Message/en278403

Shockingly, the advice given was correct.  Delete your site settings, and the files will import normally.  You'd think after the first couple of versions, Avid would be able to write a goddamn settings file properly, and put in some sort of checksum to make sure it doesn't corrupt every time they want to save which of my bins is still open.

Unexpected errors, my ass...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Avid Behaving Badly #3: Making New Bins

Why the fuck does it take so long to make a goddamn new bin, Avid?  WHY?!?

...that is all.

Mac Error - 111 (WhichZone failed (applied to free block))

This error sometimes occurs when you try to edit an existing title in the title tool.  You click in the title window, and get this error.  You try to close the title, and you get this error.  You're stuck.

This error is also yet another shining example of how terribly unintelligible Avid's errors are.  No one, and I mean literally no one, should ever be expected to memorize the error codes of the platform they're working on.  Period.  Put in a goddamn error handler and add some strings from the Programmer-Speak to Actual Normal Fucking English dictionary.

If you were to consult such a dictionary, you'd know that any time computers are talking about "free blocks" they're actually talking about RAM, or the type of hardware memory that computers use to run active applications.

Any time something having to do with memory fails, you're about to crash.

Case and point, what happens when you click "OK" in the error above?

System errors are bad news.

So how did we get here?  What is going on behind the scenes that caused this?  Well, in case you never played the 100% memory game, Avid has some major memory leaks, causing seemingly innocuous tasks to fill up available RAM like freaking crazy, and eventually the memory will be so full that you can't do anything... open a bin, close a bin, play a sequence, save anything, or even quit.  This title bug occurs somewhere in the 90-ish percents, where Avid has enough memory to open the title editor, but just can't bring itself to actually acknowledge that said editor is open and to let you mess around in it.

There's only minor good news here:  you can click behind the effect editor and save your bins in the background before Avid bites the big one.

Once you've saved everything, force quit Avid, and if you haven't kernel panicked yet, disconnect from ISIS or UNITY.  If that doesn't cause you to kernel panic, go ahead and restart the computer.  There you go:  A kernel panic.

Pretty sweet, Avid's Horrible Memory Leaks.  Pretty freaking sweet.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Avid Behaving Badly #2: Re-Creating Title Media

This bug annoys the crap out of me. So, because I work in Reality TV, I have to edit in low res.  It's just not financially possible to keep all 2000+ tapes of any given series online in full 1080i HD (even at DNx145).  So when we edit in low-res, we also make titles in low-res.  We use 10:1m for our low-res editing, in case anyone is interested.  When you re-create those low-res titles in HD, an interesting thing happens: Any titles that used kerning are re-created incorrectly.  This is Super Awesome.

Now, when I say re-create the titles, I mean the easy method of marking in to out over the whole sequence, going up to the Clip menu, and choosing the "Re-Create Title Media" option.  That's the one the creates bad titles where kerning is involved (as far as I can tell, only when moving from SD to HD projects).

The solution is also Super Awesome.  You have to manually select each affected title in the Effect Editor, click the "edit title" button in the effect editor window, and then re-save the title (no need to actually change anything).  Doing this for 100+ titles per show will make you want to stab your eyes out with a pair of bananas.  Trust me, you can find a way to make that fruit work.

Thanks Avid, now I'm fucking blind.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Range specified for Dup is outside range of component.

You don't say...

So this little error pops up when you try to play or copy a sequence that contains, well, pretty much what it says:  A range that's outside of the component.  And of course this error also prevents you from playing or copying that sequence.  Here's where being able to translate Avid's horrid "engineer-ese" into "actual goddamn useful information" is a pretty good skill to have.

Let's see... Upon consulting my Avid to English dictionary, I can see that what the error is saying is that whatever it is you are cacheing - be it for playback or duplication - contains invalid information about the duration of a clip.

The "Range" is the information in the sequence - it says, for example, that your clip exists from 10;00;00;00 - 10;00;01;00.  That's the range specified for Dup.  Whatever Dup is.  You'd guess duplication, until you realize that you get the same error just during playback.  I'm assuming Dup is the proper name of Avid's video media memory playback.  I mean, if I had a kid as stupid as Avid is, I'd name him Dup, too.

But I digress.  The "component" we're referencing here is the actual master clip (not the data about that clip that's saved in the sequence).  To get this error, your master clip TC would need to go from 10;00;00;00 - 10;00;00;15 or something similar.  As long as the actual master TC is smaller than the information in the sequence, then the "specified range" will be outside of the "component."  Get it?

But what the hell causes this?  From what I can tell, rendering motion effects will sometimes do this.  Usually, it's effects from Avid 3 that some asshole editor keeps on a thumb drive in his "FX 2 GO" bin so he doesn't have to actually create a new look for each show he's on, and that he keeps using on your projects even though you're using Avid 4, and which Avid 4 stupidly allows to be used.  Doesn't Avid have goddamn version checking?

So how do you fix this crap?  Well, it's pretty easy, actually.

First, find out which effect is causing the error.  To do that, just mark in to out over half of your sequence and then choose the "play in to out" button (default is the "6" key).  If you get no error, then the bad effect is not in that half of the sequence.  If you do get the error, then the bad effect is in that half of the sequence.  Once you know which half of the sequence the bad effect is in, repeat this step on half of that section, and so forth, until there's only one possible effect that could be causing the issue.

Then you want to open the effect editor on that effect, and drag the effect icon into your bin.  This will create a new (Avid 4) version of the effect.  Why it doesn't do this automatically when the effect is actually applied to your sequence (which would prevent this stupid error) is beyond me.

Next, remove the effect from your clip in the sequence.  Then drag and drop the version of the effect from your bin (the one you just made) onto the clip which you just removed it from.

Test playback and all should be fixed.

Man, this is a stupid fucking error.  Simply putting the Avid effect version update at the point of application instead of the point of creation within a bin would totally solve this issue.  Great coding, Avid.  Just great.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Exception: MVL_INSUFFICIENT_SPACE when Exporting to the Desktop

This is the error that appears when you export a file to the desktop and there's not enough space on your hard drive.  Man, what an idiot I was!  let me just check and see how mu- WHAT?!  I have six hundred fucking gigs free, Avid!!!  Did you miss that?  Is my thirty second SD file some magic format that takes up twenty gigs per fucking second?!?  No.  Don't even look, Avid, I'll tell you right now it damn well isn't.  No, my file is going to be about 24 Megs when it's exported.

So what in the flaming brimstones is going on here?  I'll tell you what.  There's a stupid goddamn effect that isn't rendered in the sequence, and instead of rendering to my render drive, Avid wants to render to the drive that the media lives on.  I have no clue why!  But it does.  So you have to set your Media Creation settings (again - this bug overrides previous settings) and then - just to be safe - manually render that bitch.

Export again, and no issues.  Fucking crazy ass Avid.  What will they come up with next?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bus Thread Error #2: When Relinking

Sometimes Avid wants to pee in your cornflakes in a major way.  I don't know why, but that's definitely how it is.  One such time is when you are attempting to relink offline media.  Avid scans the drive, relinks... and then crashes out with a bus thread error just as the relink hits 100%.  Thanks, Avid, you flying piece of shit.

Sometimes you'll get lucky and you can just relaunch Avid and the relink will work.

Far more often, however, more drastic measures must be taken.  I suggest powering off the computer, physically unplugging it for 30 seconds or so, and then - on the subsequent boot up - resetting the PRAM 5 times (hold down Command+Option+P+R keys during boot up.  Each chime is one reset).

So when Avid tells you they know how to program, don't have memory leaks, artifacts in RAM, or other sloppy memory issues, you can slap them with their own Bus Error.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Avid Behaving Badly #1: Audio Waveforms

If you're like me, then you spend a large portion of your time wishing you could chuck your Avid out the window, and then realizing that your office doesn't have any windows.  So you create multigroups instead.

One thing that my company uses is Iso Audio - isolated mics saved as separate .wav files with no accompanying video, raw and unmixed, so that editors always have access to the best audio regardless of how terrible the on-set audio mixer is that day.  We put this iso audio on Audio Track 24 in our timelines because there's no related video and this seems to make sense from an organizational standpoint.  And it should, right?  I mean - this should work just fine.

Except that Avid doesn't draw audio waveforms for audio track 24.  I have no fucking clue why, since audio tracks 1 through 23 draw waveform just goddamned fine, but track 24 doesn't draw in.

Fuck you, Avid.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Avid has Quit Unexpectedly #1: When Batch Capturing

This one was awesome, and unfortunately I do not have an actual image from the actual crash to show you, but it wasn't an Avid error, anyway.  Nope, this was a MacOS error - alert, really - just letting me know that this program which costs hundreds of dollars, running on thousands of dollars of machinery, required for producing hundreds of thousands of dollars of televised programming, crashed.

Well, thank you MacOS, for letting me know.  I had no idea up until this point that Avid was crap.

But what was I doing with this crash occurred?  Surely I was abusing the open workflow of Avid in some horrible, mean-to-programmers way?  Maybe, I guess, if you consider choosing "Batch Capture" from the Clip menu as a mean thing to do.

Workflow:  I select my clips in a bin, choose Batch Capture from the Clip menu, Avid asks me to put in Tape X, I put in Tape X, Avid stalls for 20 seconds or so and then exits to the desktop, which MacOS kindly points out to me.  Huh.  I've done this hundreds of times... what's different about this batch capture?

Well, there is one stand out issue here:  The name of the clip that is crashing Avid is fifty-billion characters long.  By way of example, it was something like this:


So yeah, that was pretty crappy logging on the part of the logger, and - as fate would have it - Avid is really opposed to logging of that poor caliber.  So opposed, in fact, that Avid literally kills itself rather than having to stoop so low as to batch capture a clip with a logged name of that length.

So I shortened the name to :


Issue solved.

God damn Avid, if you don't like long clip names, limit the freaking character length like you do with bin names and save us all the trouble!  Or maybe learn to fucking catch your errors and post a useful message like "clip name too long to uprez, because we don't know how to program good, or have proper grammar."  Ugh.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Failed to Save Bin

This is one of the few errors that actually - and correctly - describes the problem that caused the error (in this specific case):

Failed to save bin, BIN_NAME, to
Changes will not be saved.
The volume is full.

Sweet, my drive is full.  Well, I'll just click OK, clear some space off the drive, and then save again.

Hrm.  Fairly insistent little bugger, isn't he?

I'll double check.  Okay, yeah, well Avid, there's definitely 63.9 GB free on this volume now.  Maybe you should refresh or something.  Oh, wait, you don't do that anymore.  Thanks... dick.

Oh yeah, remember how I said "In this specific case" up above?  You can also get this same error message due to a bug in Import settings.  Basically, when your import settings are set to a full or read-only drive, Avid will try to import to that drive, even if you specify a different drive to import to in the import dialogue box that appears when selecting "Import..." from the drop down File menu. Even though it tries to import to the drive in the Import settings, Avid will tell you that your other drive is full.  Good times.

The lesson here is to always specify which drive to import to in the Import settings window, and never believe that any choice you make in the pop up dialogue box when actually importing something will have any effect on your import.

Because assuming that Avid doesn't work in the way that it says it does is the only way to make Avid work at all.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bus Thread Error #1: When Importing

You may remember that Segmentation Fault from the last post.  If not, uh, go read the last post; it's pretty short.  Now take a gander at this here Bus Thread Error.  This happened while importing that same graphic at full resolution (DNx220 graphic, importing at DNx220 resolution), as opposed to the SegFault which was being imported at a 10:1m resolution.

Once again, Avid only knows one address.

It's shameful, really.

Segmentation Fault #2: When Importing

This one made no sense at all.  I have a graphic file in Avid DNx220 format.  This is an Avid format and was freaking made by Avid.  So, logically, whenever I try to import this graphic, Avid crashes with this awesome SegFault at address 0x0.  Which is, as far as I can tell, the only address Avid knows.

Fortunately, once I used MPEG Streamclip, which is a free program, I could convert the Avid format file to a non-avid format file (Apple ProRes 422 for example) which would then import just fine.  So yeah, the free program fixed the issue for the program that costs thousands of dollars.  At least someone knows how to code.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Avid is still better than Final Cut #1

Despite how god awful Avid is, and how much it just hates my face on a daily basis, sometimes I am forced to use Final Cut, and when those times happen, posts like this will follow.


This is a magic key in Avid.  It's the "focus" key, and instantly transports me to a frame-sized view of my timeline.

In Final Cut, this command doesn't even exist.  Seriously, you have to drag two different scroll bars in order to get to frame sized timeline view and then make sure you're viewing the timeline at the point where you want to be viewing it.  What the hell?  Frames are where art and dreck are separated in editing, and Final Cut doesn't want me to be able to play with them at all!

So while Avid may tell me to kiss its ass and - because I pressed the wrong thing - it's now going to spend thirty minutes displaying audio waveforms over a five hour timeline, at least I can willfully and instantly zoom to a frame-size view of the timeline with a single button press.  Avid may be crap, but at least crap was food at some point and is - to some forms of life - nourishing.  Final Cut isn't poop; it's toxic waste.

To put it another way:  Avid may hate me, but I hate Final Cut.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


The full text of this error message is:

  Player version of frame duration is longer than actual [183] (183)

My sequence was totally fine when I saved it, and then avid just decided to remove a frame of filler from the end of one of my audio tracks, which meant that when I opened my sequence back up again, this gem of a bullshit error appeared.  Thanks, Avid, for fucking up my sequence!

See, you can't physically remove *filler* - that's like deleting nothing.  But Avid can, because Avid is magic.  And then Avid says, "Oh shit dude, you've got a track with less than enough filler, because that's totally a thing that can happen!"

Right, thanks for letting me know, you giant, flaming turd of a program.  Here, let me cut some filler back over the spot where there used to be filler, and then you can stop yelling at me for the filler you somehow managed to lose.

Dumb errors are dumb.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Segmentation Fault #1: When Quitting

Me:  Command-Q.
Avid:  Go fuck yourself.

I guess the end result was the same though; the program did close.

You Saphhire Plug-in is in use on Another Machine

No it isn't.  I checked.  I checked all of the Avids in the office, and none of them have the same serial number.  Then I shut them down, one by one, until you let me use Sapphire again.  So I know edit bay 5 is the culprit here.

And edit bay 5 has its own serial number!!!  Gah!  And both bays have been working just fine for the last six months since we installed sapphire on these new assist bays.

In this case, I don't even care what caused this.  I'm also not going to bother calling Genarts and waiting two hours for them to call me back.  Uninstalled the serial on bay 5, and then reinstalled it.  All fixed.

WTF Avid?  Seriously WTF.

CM_LABEL_NOT_FOUND: tt:3, lnum:3

Well this was a fucked up error.

The actual message was:  Timecode not found for clip, 'CLIPNAME' and when you click MORE, you get CM_LABEL_NOT_FOUND:  tt:3, lnum:3, which was supposed to convey some sort of information.

The internet was no use, because it apparently only cares about CM_LABEL_NOT_FOUND:  tty:3, lnum:4, which is something completely fucking different.

Let me back up:  I got this error by trying to multigroup some clips.  The group was properly constructed and everything, all subbed out, all the AuxTCs were in place and correct.  Error.

So... what doesn't have timecode?  Well, all the tapes were totally normal.  The iso audio was a bitch to deal with because my sound guy doesn't understand how to make polyphonic .WAV files.. let's start there.

Okay, so we imported the sound files using Avid's autodetect polyphonic wave groups feature, and it worked, but all three iso clips that resulted had basically the same timecode.  This seems promising.  It's not *no* timecode (way to go Avid, that error is super helpful), but at least it seems related.

What else is weird about these clips?  Well, they list their tape sources as
20120806-151114-1.wav:2012-08-06.  That seems a bit long for a tape name.  Also, they came in named as /1 and /2 and so forth, which are definitely not what the files are named.  Also suspect.  Changing the clip names is easy and doesn't break anything, so I'll start there.  But no, no good.

Okay, fuck this weird source name.  Changed to 0806 Iso 1.  That did it!

So when Avid has a wav file that imports with a long source tape string, that causes Avid to tell you there's no timecode on the clip when you try to multigroup it.  Fuck you, Avid.

Why does Avid Hate You?

I've been professionally Assistant Editing in the TV Biz for six years now, and I've come to realize one very important fact:  Avid hates me.

The software hates me.  The hardware hates me.  Even the company hates me.  It's constantly crashing, failing to autosave, losing my data, corrupting my media, and basically making my life a living Hell whenever possible.

At this point, a normal person would probably stop using Avid.  I mean, if it's so bad, why bother, right?  Let me explain via metaphor:  Editing is like building a car.  You have a whole bunch of parts that someone else made, and you have to put them all together.  Avid is like a wrench.  You can do a lot with a wrench.  It's a legitimate tool, and it does some real, honest to god work.  It's certainly not the right tool for every job, and a car made entirely by someone whose only tool is a wrench is going to look pretty goddamn ugly, but it's sort of possible in theory to make a car with this wrench.  Final Cut, on the other hand, is a fisher-price plastic bucket.  It's pretty and colorful but there's no fucking way you're ever going to build a car with it.  So is Avid the right tool for the job?  No way.  But it's the only tool that exists right now, and it's all I've got.

So yeah, Avid hates me because I hate Avid.  But we're all we've got.  Maybe one day Avid and I will end up on Jerry Springer's "dysfunctional families" episode or something.


This blog is going to mostly deal with things that Avid does (or doesn't do) that piss me off.  Occasionally I'll also complain about workflow in general, but those things aren't Avid's fault.  I'll also try to solve any weird Avid errors that you're getting if you post them as blog comments, but please don't think of me as tech support.  I'm more like the guy who hits it 'til it works, and half the time that will be my advice to you.  Any damage done to you, your system, or your data is purely going to be your fault for listening to me.