Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Avid Behaving Badly #10: Avid won't Quit

This is possibly the most ironic of the errors that I've encountered while using Avid.  Imagine, if you will, a program that crashes two out of every three times that you use it.  The only program on the Mac (at least that I'm aware of) that is so poorly coded as to literally require you to reset your PRAM on a regular basis just in order to keep it running.  Imagine that this program is so frustrating to use, so annoyingly buggy, that you just want to quit.

But you can't.

I hit Command-Q and I get the Mac "bonk" sound.  Avid doesn't quit.  Go to the File menu and choose "Quit."  Bonk.

What the fuck, Avid?  Of all the times that you could just crash me to the desktop, instead, you refuse to exit.  You dirty, sneaky, underhanded asshole.

Near as I can tell, this is a bug that only happens in Avid 5, which is good, because no one on Earth should ever go near that flaming piece of garbage.  It's the Final Cut X of Avids.  I'm just sayin'.

There's an easy workaround, but it doesn't allay the fact that this is just a terribly frustrating annoyance of a bug:  Close your project window, taking you back to the "choose a project" launch window.  From there, click the Quit button.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I hate you Avid.  So much.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Protip: Making HD Playback Smoother in Multicam

At my old office, we edited everything in 10:1m after a real-time capture because that codec is fucking good at its job.

At my new office, we edit everything in MPEG-4 from the XDCam proxy files, and that codec blows hairy goat sphincter.

In addition, because we deliver in HD, people keep wanting to work in an HD project.  I understand their belief that this matters, but they're wrong.  In fact, yellow/green mode in an SD project is every bit as good as yellow/green mode in an HD one as long as you're talking about multicam 9-split playback.

Which I am.

SO... If your producer or editor is having trouble with a group that's lagging during playback, losing audio sync, or otherwise doing that thing that Avid calls "functioning normally," the solution is often as simple as changing the format of their project from HD to SD.  That does an automatic downconvert on all playback footage, and stops stutter in its tracks.  Erm, starts stutter up again.  No.  Hmm...  Uh, it makes the thing play back smoothly.  Yes.  Even in 9 camera multicam on Avid 5.5.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Exception: AUTO_COMP_NO_SYNC

Well kids, I've "upgraded" to Avid 5.5 at my new office, and that means there's a whole host of new issues for me to bitch and moan about.

Chief among them is this bullshit:

Exception:  AUTO_COMP_NO_SYNC

This is what happens when I try to multigroup by doing exactly the same fucking thing that I used to do in Avid 4.0.5.16.  Fucking Avid 5.5 is bullshit.

I guess there are some minor differences here:  I'm working in a 1080/23.976P project.  Okay, so there's one minor difference.  Fucking Avid, of course it goddamn breaks.

Let's start at the beginning (because it's a very good place to start) (and also because I like making Dad Jokes, apparently):  The group I'm making has a lot of pretty basic flaws.  First, it's eight hours long - that's actual media length, not the time spanned by that media.  Second, there's both XD Cam footage and imported GoPro clips.  Third, there's also iso audio.  Fourth, that iso audio is actually three different sources of iso audio.  Fuckin' right!  Normally I'd break this shit up into more manageable chunks, but I'm stepping into a show mid-season (as in, it's actively fucking airing) so there's not really time to explain different things to the team.  We'll stick with making a thing that looks just like the old thing, but works.

Okay, to the Google!

...  Let's try.. "can't multigroup Avid 5.5"

Wow, the whole fucking internet is full of people saying "you can't multigroup in 24P, " and also "waaaaa I'm a baby!"  Fuck you internet.  You're not helping.  Okay, maybe some sort of similar issue will come up if I Goog the error message (you know, like how you got to this page).  Okay, this is more useful.

"Can't multigroup GoPro footage" and "I have a fix for multigrouping GoPro footage."  A fix??  Fuck yes!  Good job, guy on the interwebs, what's your fix?

"Don't use audio."

The fuck you say?  Seriously.  Not using the audio isn't a fucking fix.  That's giving up and going home.  Literally.  You shouldn't have a job.

Does anyone else have something useful here?  No?  Seriously?  Assholes.

Okay, let's search again for just something more generic.  Maybe just "Can't multigroup"  That seems... too generic.  "Can't multigroup 24P" perhaps... Oh.  My.  God.  Okay, this is fucking paydirt.  Many, many props to the author of this excellent blog (and not nearly as full of offensive language, much to my chagrin):  http://rittorno.wordpress.com/  Seriously, everyone should just bookmark this page.  Oh yeah, the specific post I found to help me out?  Here it is.  He literally named it "Avid multigrouping doesn't work 24P Project.  Amazeballs.

Now, it's not exactly specific about the sort of error you get or how this helps, but don't worry, I'm gonna handle that shit right the fuck now.

Open your group bin with the sequence in question.

Then open the original source bins of every single imported clip that is in that sequence.

For each imported clip, you have to modify the source so that there is one, and if one already exists, you have to modify it anyway - just set the new source to be the exact same as the old one.  Running a little test with my GoPro footage... BAM!  I just grouped some motherfucking GoPro footage with audio in fucking Avid 5.5 in a 24P project.  Suck my dick, internet!

Alright, let's do the full group now, including the iso audio.

No timecode found for clip "clipname"

Avid, you mother fucker.

Clicking "more" gets me:

Now where have I seen that error before?

So I know this has to do with setting a source also.  Okay, so what in the seven green shits of Satan is wrong with my sources?  My iso audio is an autosync subclip of a subsequence that's made from three different sources... A ha!  All with different source labels.  Okay, if I modify those sources to all be the same source...

BOOM TO THE MOTHER FUCKING FUCK YEAH AVID BITCH YEAH MOTHER FUCKER!!!

And that's how you multigroup every clip, all your audio, and all your video in a 24P Avid 5.5+ project.

Fuck you Avid, you can't stop me.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Avid Behaving Badly #9: Autosequences

Dear Avid,

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.  I know that you're very busy fucking up someone else's job, career, and possibly life, and so I truly appreciate you stepping away from whatever catastrophe of television horror you were in the process of creating to listen to my humble question.

Why doesn't autosequencing work?

If timecode is a thing, and sorting by timecode is a thing, then why the fuck, when I sort my clips by goddamn timecode, do you sometimes just give me an autosequence of them that is fifteen fucking days long?!?  And then, when your shitty little single-processor-using compu-brain goes and makes a fifteen day long autosequence for no fucking reason, why do you even bother to alert me that the playlength toggle needs to be turned on?  I mean, if you know it needs to be turned on, why don't you just go ahead and turn the damn thing on already??

But I digress.

They say that the definition of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting different results.  Autosequencing, then, is proof that you, Avid, are driving me fucking insane, because the way to fix a bad autosequence is to delete the bad sequence and then autosequence the exact same clips in the exact same order as before.

Like, hypothetically, if I have one clip that starts at TC 08;12;36;14, one that starts at 12;44;40;02, and one that starts at 23;11;14;00, why in the fucking pig-footed hells would you think that the last clip should go 32 HOURS before the first clip in the autosequence?  Oh, you don't think that this time?  That's good news.  I guess everything is totally fine and we can all go home now.  Dick.

Warm regards,
Judd

Friday, July 12, 2013

Avid Behaving Badly #8: No Such Thing as Project Templates?

Let's engage in some hypothetical discourse:

Hypothetically, you are the creator of a suite of editing software.
Hypothetically, you want this to be the go-to editing suite for professionals.
Hypothetically, you understand that once businesses design their workflow, they want to plug that workflow into every single one of their projects.

Any guesses what I'm talking about, here, Avid?  None?  I'm talking about this bullshit:

Seriously, how fucking hard is it to add project templates to this behemoth of a program?  If my goddamn Cannon Printer Software can store templates, how incredibly hard would it be for you to do it?  And I'm not talking about anything complicated here.  I'm just talking about making and naming a bunch of folders so as to save me from spending fucking days fixing some asshole's half-handed attempt at organization just so that I can actually do some goddamn work.

Do you know what I do?  I have a folder saved called "Templates" and inside it is a bunch of other folders named things like "01. Current Cuts", "02. Old Cuts", and "58. Avid Can Blow Me".  Then I just copy those folders into every single new project that I ever make.  All of them.  Especially the Avid Can Blow Me folder.  I copy that one like fifteen times.

You know what I'd like?  I'd like to have something like, and this seriously pains me to say, I'd like to have something like Microsoft Word or Excel, where when you make a new project, it pops up with "what template would you like to use" and then when I'm inside an existing project, I can go to the file menu and select "save template".  So come the fuck on, Avid, and get with the 1980's already.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

MCSettingsMgr::WriteCoreSettings: failure writing setting group

Well, if you like pictures (and who doesn't?) you're going to love the issue du jour.  Near as I can tell, this error is really a non-issue, but what the hell, let's check out how horribly Avid handles it!

You know how it goes:  You're just sitting at your desk after a long day and you're getting ready to head home.  You close all of your bins (because you're a goddamn responsible adult) and you quit out of the project.  When this bullshit happens:
What the fuck, Avid?  Why do you crash when quitting so much?  Okay, let's click "continue."  Oh, sweet, some more debugger code:

Ugh.  Whatever.  Avid's assertions be failin' left and right, yo.  Okay, continue again...  Oh fuckballs.  It's the first error again.  And so forth.  Forever.  Eventually you'll either force quit Avid (which is probably the thing I should have done), or you'll notice that there's a brief period of time between each debugger message during which the progress bar appears with "filesystem busy" displayed on it.  Be quick (like a bunny) and hit Command-Period to cancel whatever the fuck process is waiting for the busy filesystem.  Ahh, good - a new error that's actually being "handled" by Avid.  Sort of.  We all know how Avid gets about errors:

Okay, so Avid can't save the project settings.  WHO GIVES A SHIT, AVID?  WHAT THE FUCK DO PROJECT SETTINGS EVEN DO?  Seriously, the project settings are those things that you delete when your project says you can't open it because a duplicate file already exists.  All they do is break.  They're like the fucking appendix of Avid, just waiting around in your gut doing fuck all until the day that they decide to burst and kill you.

There is no goddamn way I'm going to click "Try some more" and I'm insulted to find that is the default option here.  We're clicking Raise Error because Fuck You, Avid.

This is a pretty good error.  Thanks.  Let's click More to see what you really mean.

Ahh, the folly of my ways.  Now we're getting the original debug message, except in an Avid style error handling window.  Awesome.  This means that the programmers didn't write the code to catch the thrown error before it broke the program, but instead got their error handling ass backwards to catch it AFTER the code broke.  Fucking hell, Avid, what the shitballs is wrong with you?  Stop hiring engineers and start hiring user interface developers.  Seriously.  Actually, I take that back - start hiring actual fucking professional editors and assistant editors to tell you what your program is actually being used for in the real fucking world.  Jesus.

Anyway, let's click OK and now we can see that this error is meaningless as Avid exits out just fine.  You know, maybe my project settings file didn't save, so like, a bin might open on launch or something.  Man, that was totally worth all this nonsense.  Grrr.  I wish I could tell Avid that no one gives a flying fuck about project settings files and just to goddamn ignore it when write errors happen.  Maybe one message like "Error saving project settings.  Please double check all settings the next time that you open this project."  That's all I need.  I don't need five different errors that all say that you don't know what the hell you're doing.  I already knew that.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Exception: Operation not supported on socket, filename:/Volumes/MediaDriveName/Avid MediaFiles/MXF/ComputerName.1/Creating/creating26


Clicking OK from this super helpful error message gives you the twice as helpful:
Literally twice as helpful.  Hooray.

The good news is that this is an easy fix to a dumb problem.  The problem is that your computer has dropped it's connection to the remote media drive during media creation (in this case, mine was named "TN02_CASTING_MEDIA").  My computer is named "zEDIT01_104B" which is why the media folder in the error message bears that name as well.  The title of this post has been made more generic so you can better understand where the files that you need to delete are living.

The fix to this problem is to quit avid (if it doesn't just crash out on you), dismount and re-mount your drives, delete the creating folder in the directory specified in the error message, and then start creating the media again.

So yeah, the error message is wrong, but the path is correct, so in the scope of Avid errors, this is - as stated - actually super helpful.  Even so, why the hell can't Avid tell that it has lost connection to its drives???

Ahh well, can't win 'em all.

Exception: MSM: No directory Specified_3

This message appears on launch, alongside an old favorite:
Ahh yes, the good old bus thread error.  Well fuck me sideways.

Now let's travel back in time and try to find out what caused this nonsense:  I came in to the office today to hear the four words everyone in tech fields loves to hear:  The power went out.

Awesome.

After booting ye olde Avid, I found that every time it got to the "initializing media manager" stage, it would crash out with the above two clickyboxes.  Of course, you can't click either one of them, so you have to manually force quit out of the crash.  Hilarious.

What does this mean?  Well, I tried a bunch of stuff.  I deleted site settings.  Nope.  I deleted the databases on my mounted drives.  Nope.  I deleted the database on my local drive.  Nope.  I deleted the media on my local drive.  Nope.  I cleared the shared attic, deleted shared users, reset the computer, reset the PRAM, and tried mounting up with no drives mounted whatsoever, and no Avid MediaFiles folders in the root directory of the boot drive.  All to no fucking avail.

Which is when I remembered that there's another, goddamn hidden media files folder.  It's located at:
BootDrive / Applications / Avid Media Composer / SupportingFiles / Avid_MediaFiles

Oh yeah, thanks Avid, that was easy to fucking find.  God damn Avid.

I went into there and deleted the two database files:
msmFMID.pmr
msmMMOB.mdb

Problem solved.

God damn I hate Avid.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Avid Behaving Badly #7: Failure to Draw Audio Data on Track 24

This one is just asinine.  For no reason that I can think of, Avid simply won't draw audio data (waveform or energy plot) on Audio Track 24.  Tracks 1 through 23 work perfectly well, but track 24 is total bullshit.

Anyway, simple workaround:  Use a different audio track.

Protip:  You can add a specific audio track by hitting Command + Option + U (and a specific video track with Command + Option + Y).  Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.  The other half of the battle is killing people.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

File 'Avid_MediaFiles' not found.

This is a great error.  It's great for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, the problem isn't that "Avid_MediaFiles' can't be found.  That's the folder on your media drive named "Avid Media Files" and it's pretty goddamn easily found by both you and Avid.  No, the real problem is that a file *inside* Avid Media Files can't be found.  Which file?  Good question.  A database file.  What this error message should really say is:

File 'msmFMID.pmr' not found.
OR
File 'msmMMOB.mdb' not found.

Or the error message could be actually helpful and say:

The File 'msmFMID.pmr' which should be in path 'MediaDriveA/Avid Media Files/MXF/Ingest1' cannot be found.

You know, something actually fucking helpful.  But no.  No, this message basically just says that Avid lost something, it isn't sure what, and it sure as shit isn't going to let you save any bins until you fix the problem.  Also, opening the Media Tool will cause this message to appear in an endless loop.  So don't do that.

But wait a minute - doesn't Avid just rebuild databases when it can't find them?  Well, sort of.  It will rebuild databases in the media files subfolder that is named the exact same name as the computer you're working on (and those folder names are taken from the system that ingested the media).  So you can cheat by renaming all of those folders to:

YourComputerName.1
YourComputerName.2

and so forth.  Then, if you click back to Avid, it will rebuild all of the databases in those folders (depending on your version of Avid, you may have to manually select 'Refresh Media Directories' from the File menu).  Note that rebuilding databases takes a fucking long time.  Go get a coffee or something.

So if Avid can rebuild databases on its own, what the fuck is going on with this error message?  Good question.  It turns out that this particular error was caused by (and I really, really hate to say this) the User.  It's what is known in the IT world as an ID-10-T error (read that again, without the hyphens).  Some asshole has renamed your computer while you were in the middle of creating new media.

In the particular case of the message above, I set my system to import overnight and then I went home like a normal human.  One of the night time Assistant Editors then came in, during my fucking import, and renamed the computer while it was running Avid.  What the fuck?!  So even though this error message is horrible, it's actually not Avid's fault.  The end user did something really stupid, and Avid at least had the presence of mind not to just crash.

To fix the problem, first take note of all unsaved bins and what media clips are in them.  Then force quit avid, delete the lock file(s) on the bin(s) that you had open at the time, and then rename either your computer to match the media folder name or the media folder to match your computer's name.  It depends, I suppose, on whether the renaming of the computer was intentional or simply moronic.  Relaunch Avid, wait for the databases to rebuild, and then use the media tool to recover the clips that were never saved to your bins because you had to force quit.

At least there's some good news:  Stupid people have given me a reason to post another stirring installment of Avid Hates You!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Avid Behaving Badly #6: ISIS Login Client Doesn't Properly Log Out

If you're like me, well, first off... Why?  That's weird.  Stop it!

Ahem.

If your work set-up is like mine, you have to log on to an ISIS server before launching Avid in order to mount all of your media drives.  If you're a responsible editor who doesn't like to crash and lose all of his or her work, then at the end of the day you quit Avid, log off of ISIS, and shut down your computer.  Except, well, that's not really how the end of the day goes.  It's more like you quit Avid, log off of ISIS, select "Shut Down" from the apple menu, tell ISIS to force eject all mounted workspaces, and then your computer shuts down.

For me, this is not an isolated incident.  This happens every time.

In fact, ISIS failing to log off every drive happens pretty much every time I log out of ISIS, no matter which system in the office I'm using.

Let's take a minute to step back and examine the ISIS Client software.  It does two things, which are to securely log a user into an ISIS server, and then mount specified drives for that user.  When your client software fails to unmount drives, it is pretty much failing at both tasks.  Your logins are no longer "secure" because anyone else who uses the system after you will find a drive mounted that shouldn't be there.  You're not mounting the exactly specified drives, because there are still some leftover drives from the previous login.  Grrr.

In my experience, this is exactly the sort of issue that most editors simply don't notice.  It bothers the living shit out of the Assistant Editors who have to clean up the messes editors leave behind, but the editors literally won't be aware of it.

The problem works like this:  Assistant Editor A logs on to Editor station X to install a new font.  The AE has write access to a whole gang of media drives that the editor doesn't.  The font install being completed, the AE logs out and leaves, not noticing that the Master Sources drive didn't unmount.  The editor then logs himself in, decides he doesn't like the graphics suite that Network approved, and he deletes all of the graphics bins from Master Sources.  Or the editor renders all of his effects to the Master Sources drive - totally oblivious to the fact that he shouldn't be doing that.

The problem also works in reverse:  An editor needs a database rebuilt on a media drive that he doesn't have write access to, so he asks an AE to come fix the problem.  The AE logs out the editor and logs himself in, but doesn't notice that the media drive in question never unmounted (dismounted?) when the editor was logged out.  Lo and behold, the AE does not have write access to the drive now, even though all of his permissions are set correctly in the ISIS Admin tool.

While this is an incredibly easy issue to solve (manually unmount the affected drives every time you log off of ISIS), when it goes unnoticed, it is thoroughly frustrating.  God damn it, Avid, why is everything a big fucking ordeal with you?

Seriously though, I love ISIS.  It blows Unity out of the proverbial water.

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

These error messages sometimes appear when attempting to save a title in the Title Tool:
The first message, contains the useful information:  "Applied to free block" means that Avid has failed to allocate enough memory to save the title.  Which is dumb.  The title should already be fully stored in memory.

This second message is less helpful, though I guess it does let you know that your title didn't save.  So not a total failure.

in addition to your title not saving, the title tool window won't close after these messages appear and you can't deactivate it, preventing you from saving your bins (in my opinion, that's the real problem caused by this bug).  Fortunately for you, dear reader, I have a workaround for that.  Your title, however, is not going to save, and you're going to have to restart Avid in order to try again.  So yeah, the good news is that the title tool is pretty basic, so it shouldn't take you too long to recreate your title after relaunch.  Take a screenshot of your title beforehand if it's complicated; that way you have a visual reference of what you're trying to reproduce.

Okay, the workaround for the title tool window not closing:  You can click on the desktop to make the Finder active, then click back on Avid, and you should now be able to close the title window (if you tell Avid to save, you'll get the same errors, so you have to choose to discard your title.  The good news is that, once the title window closes, you can save your bins normally and exit Avid without force-quitting.

Relaunch Avid and you should be able to make and save your title successfully.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bus Thread Error #3: When Importing a Still Image

I don't know why I post all of the bus thread pictures; they all look exactly the same.  But whatever, here you go:

Pretty sweet.

This particular bus thread error was when attempting to import a still image for use as a graphic.  The file is a .PNG, and Avid hates it.  Importing the image into Photoshop and exporting a flat .PSD also failed.  so did a .TIFF.  And a .JPG.  And every other format we could think of.  Testing all of these formats was fucking awesome, because every fail results in this crash, and necessitates a relaunch of Avid.  Hooray for two minutes of sitting around with my thumb in my ass.

So what gives?  I can import other files, so it's not the act of importing.  I can import those files to the same drive I'm trying to import this particular file to, so it's not the drive.

Okay, what's going on with this graphic?  It's 720p, has transparency, is full-raster 16:9, and - oh.  What the fuck?  Why is the color space RGB instead of 601 or 701?  Goddamn graphics department doesn't know their color space has to be different for television.  Did I mention this is the network's graphics department?  Awesome.  Remind me to tell you about the time they gave us graphics that weren't title safe, and then rejected our color-corrected master tapes of said episode because - seriously - the graphics weren't title safe.  But I digress.

The color space still shouldn't fuck up Avid.  But lo - when I change it to 601 in photoshop and re-save the graphic, it imports just fine.  As it turns out, something about this particular version of Avid (4.0.5.14), 720p stills with transparency, and RGB color space just makes the world end.  So stupid.

Anyway, an easy fix - though admittedly exasperating to test.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Avid Behaving Badly #5: The Autosave Timer

Avid doesn't give a shit when you last saved.  If you set that autosave timer to every 15 minutes (the standard at every company I've ever worked at), then it will goddamn autosave on the hour, quarter past, half past, and quarter to the next hour, regardless of whether or not you literally just pressed save.

Today I saved my bins at 1:14 pm, and by the time it finished saving, the clock and turned, and so Avid ran the autosave.  In whose fucking moronic brain did this behavior make sense?  Editors are paid to edit, not to watch the slow as molasses save bar crawl across the screen like a geriatric without LifeAlert!

Avid devs, take note:  Change Avid to log the last time that the program saved all of the bins, and the run the autosave fifteen minutes after that.  If the user saves all the bins within those 15 minutes, reset the goddamn timer.  Seriously.

Speaking of time being tantamount to money, if I'm going to get my producer so he can watch down my cuts, I always save all of my bins before walking away from my desk, just in case Avid decides to hate me behind my back.  That being said, I can't tell you the number of times that I've fetched a producer, just to have him sit down in my bay and then watch the save meter because the autosave timer flipped just as he stopped texting and said, "okay, let's go."

I suppose that it is a little comforting to know that Avid doesn't just hate me:  It hates my producer, too.