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 4.0.5.14 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?
Yup.

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.