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TOPIC: Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8

Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8 13 Feb 2020 17:08 #104589

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I have a 2018 MBP 13" i5 quad core with 16gb of ram.

I have found that ever since I updated my OS and FCPX version to the latest it has been almost unusable. Before this I was on Mojave and FCPX 10.4.5 and was experiencing no issues.

The rendering or the timeline has become extremely slow to the point where i sometimes wait 10 minutes for it to render a 1 minute clip. Stabilization, noise reduction seem to be taking forever now.

I am typically using h265 footage in 4k. But as mentioned, there were working perfectly before the upgrade. I would add my clip to the timeline and would be able to play back instantly. Now its extremely jumpy.

Anyone have any suggestions as to what could be going on and some possible fixes? I have a bunch of videos I need to produce for a client.

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Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8 13 Feb 2020 17:17 #104590

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In 10.48 and Catalina FCP is using the Metal framework, which is really hurting all the machines with integrated graphics, and even machines with eternal eGPUs. I'd suggest switching off stabilization and noise reduction while you work; don't render, and just export when you're done.

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Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8 13 Feb 2020 17:22 #104591

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Yeah i typically dont apply any effects until i have finished my whole timeline. But even playback of the timeline afrer throwing a clip in has been awful. I thought metal was supposed to improve things not make them unusable? Do you think this will likely be temporary until a newer update of FCPX or Catalina?

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Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8 13 Feb 2020 18:56 #104592

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I have no idea. Perhaps it will improve a bit, but probably not a lot is my guess. Personally I think they set the minimum system requirements too low, and when they mean minimum, it's just that, minimum capabilities.

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Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8 14 Feb 2020 22:31 #104616

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maxstjohn wrote: I have a 2018 MBP 13" i5 quad core with 16gb of ram... rendering or the timeline has become extremely slow to the point where i sometimes wait 10 minutes for it to render a 1 minute clip. Stabilization, noise reduction seem to be taking forever now...I am typically using h265 footage in 4k. But as mentioned, there were working perfectly before the upgrade...Before this I was on Mojave and FCPX 10.4.5 and was experiencing no issues... I would add my clip to the timeline and would be able to play back instantly. Now its extremely jumpy...i typically dont apply any effects until i have finished my whole timeline...


There is a stability problem related to HEVC which started with 10.4.7. It is usually reported as an extreme FCPX slowdown, often culminating in a process hang. It seems more likely with some HEVC codecs not others.

The first investigative step is take a small set of existing material which will reliably reproduce the problem and externally transcode that to H.264 using HandBrake. Below is a short video showing how to do this. If the behavior goes away, this is likely the problem. If it does not, the problem is elsewhere.

If this test indicates it's your problem, the best and fastest solution is transcode everything externally to H.264 and stop using HEVC acquisition until it is resolved. Several months ago I reported this problem to Pro Apps support, along with a file package to reproduce it. It still exists in FCPX 10.4.8 on Catalina 10.15.3.

Also verify you are not using the Chrome browser. That can cause extreme FCPX slowdowns.

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Last edit: by joema.

Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8 14 Feb 2020 22:39 #104617

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I will definitely give this a try. I presume this will be the issue. Because my drone, phone and cinema camera all shoot into H265 it would be near impossible to switch these to h264 without seeing significant quality loss in the capture process. So what I am going to try to do is to install 10.4.5 on my machine and see how that behaves since that seems to be before they fully enabled metal support. I know there was some bugs in that build with Catalina (like you couldn't drag and drop clips to import and you instead had to import from the menu area) but if that alleviates the issue i could make to with those workarounds until apples get their sh*t together.

Thanks for the video though and will double-check to make sure that is truly what is happening

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Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8 14 Feb 2020 22:44 #104618

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This could be an FCPX issue, not Catalina. You can probably test this by installing FCPX 10.4.6 on Catalina. That would be easier to try.

Also do not assume that H264 will be lower quality. My doc team has two Inspire 2 drones and while we normally shoot ProRes, I have tested H265 vs H264 extensively on those and H265 is unquestionably worse. In theory H265 is double the quality at the same bit rate or same quality at 1/2 the bit rate, but this is implementation specific. DJI has some problems with H265, at least on the Inspire 2 and X5S camera.

10-bit H265/HEVC can be significantly better than 8-bit H.264, especially on gradients when using a flat color profile. But there is currently no support for hardware accelerated *10 bit* H265 encoding on any Mac platform. It is super slow. Decode is OK.

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Last edit: by joema.

Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8 14 Feb 2020 22:48 #104619

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Yeah I have the Mavic pro 2 and i dont think theres an options for 10 bit h264.
With the cinema camera theres no options for my 4k 120fps in h264 10 bit either, only h265 if i want 10 bit.

Big pain all this for sure. I thought I had waited long enough for the bugs to be ironed out. I especially didn't think i would encounter these types of issues with apples own pro aps.
Won't make this mistake again.

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Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8 15 Feb 2020 13:02 #104645

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maxstjohn wrote: ...Big pain all this for sure. I thought I had waited long enough for the bugs to be ironed out. I especially didn't think i would encounter these types of issues with apples own pro aps.
Won't make this mistake again.


All the above-described issues and behaviors are not bugs. If FCPX locks up when handling HEVC, *that* is a bug.

If a camera has no option for 10-bit H.264 that is also not a bug - H.264 was mostly designed for 8-bit material and 10-bit H.264 codecs are rare.

If FCPX is super-slow to export to 10-bit HEVC that is *not* a bug. Hardware-accelerated HEVC encoding is just not implemented yet. Each Intel CPU version and each AMD GPU has varying support for 10-bit HEVC. In general the recent ones support 10-bit decode but few support 10-bit encode.

Quick Sync works well but is not available on Xeon systems (e.g, Mac Pro, iMac Pro). Those systems must use the acceleration hardware on the T2 chip or AMD UVD/VCE. Each version of Quick Sync or UVD/VCE has different capabilities. Apparently both Quick Sync and AMD's UVD/VCE have two main operational modes, Fixed Function and Processor Graphics mode (AMD term: hybrid mode). Each mode has varying capabilities and quality vs performance tradeoffs.

The complexity of this area can be glimpsed in the below 2018 SISGRAPH slides about Quick Sync:

Slides from 2018 SIGGRAPH session: www.slideshare.net/IntelSoftware/deliver...ph-2018-tech-session

AMD's UVD/VCE has multiple versions, each with their unique features & limitations. The NAVI successor to this is called "Video Core Next", and I'm not sure of the features: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Core_Next

H.265 (aka HEVC) is newer but had a poor start as it was heavily patent-encumbered. There have been major disputes over licensing, royalties and intellectual property. That is likely why it's not included by default within FCPX but you must import it from Compressor. Similarly, Premiere doesn't include HEVC in their trial version, even though it's supposedly "full featured". At one point the HEVC patent holders were demanding a % of gross revenue from *each* individual end user who encodes HEVC content. The patent holders have recently retreated from their more egregious demands, but that negatively tainted H265/HEVC and has delayed deployment. That means software development and debugging of HEVC at the system and application layer was also delayed.

Outside the streaming video and TV segment, today only a tiny fraction of video material is encoded H.265/HEVC. The de-facto standard is H.264.

This is a significant issue for we content producers. Due to the technical immaturity of HEVC and the slow start due to IP and licensing disputes, you can't just assume it works perfectly. Yet say you shot 4k 10-bit or 12-bit ProRes and need to upload that to Youtube, Vimeo, etc? Unless you have optical fiber, a 4k ProRes file may be too big to upload, or maybe your ISP has data caps. For many scene types (esp. involving gradients) it won't look good if crammed down to 8-bit H.264, no matter what the bit rate. It will often look better if encoded as 10-bit HEVC (plus upload faster) but the above FCPX stability bug and lack of hardware acceleration make this difficult.

It is an unfortunate and frustrating situation. In your case if your Mavic Pro 2 only has 8-bit HEVC there's no qualitative reason to use it. You can use 8-bit H.264. If it has 10-bit HEVC, that is desirable -- but for now you'll have to transcode that to ProRes using FCPX or Compressor, assuming they don't lock up doing it. My previous suggestion about using HandBrake only applies if transcoding 8-bit HEVC to 8-bit H.264. Anytime you step down from higher to lower bit depth it is risky. E.g, take a TIFF file with subtle gradients like a grey sky or blue ocean and export as 8-bit JPG. Often this causes banding.

HEVC is now used as an acquisition format for "pro" cameras like the Panasonic EVA-1. It is increasingly urgent that Apple do whatever they can to help resolve this. However it's a complex dance between hardware (Quick Sync, AMD UVD/VCE, Apple's T2) and software. Each version of each accelerator may only support certain frame rates, certain bit rates, certain bit depths. Each version of the hardware may have bugs or quirks that must be worked around. We know from Max Yuryev's videos that Apple is working on this area. The hope is by around NAB (April 2020) a new version of FCPX and/or MacOS will fix and enhance some of these.

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Last edit: by joema.

Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8 15 Feb 2020 13:40 #104646

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Yeah i mean I am considering it a bug because on every version of FCPX and Mojave since I bought this computer a year ago I have had no issues with editing H265 footage from my mavic pro 2. Typically when i put the footage in the timeline i can play it back right away before it renders with no dropped frames. Sometimes a simple pause for a second clears up any issues. With rendering happening in the background using the t2 chip.

Recently i did buy a camera that shoots 4k 120fps in H265 and this has worked for the last 5 videos i produced over the last 3 months with zero issues, working exactly like the Mavic Pro footage was on my timeline. Sure stabilization on a 4 second clips would sometimes take 20-30 seconds which was ok. But now this same process, with the same clips, same library even on some occasions takes 5-10 times longer, while also bringing my whole computer to a halt. This i would consider a bug.

I am also not exporting in 10bit everything gets brought into the timeline and gets exported into h264.

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Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8 15 Feb 2020 14:26 #104647

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That could be the HEVC bug I already reported to Apple. The best way to rule that in/out is try FCPX 10.4.6. I always save the previous several versions of FCPX in case I need to test those. Before upgrading, just rename the current Final Cut Pro.app file. Unfortunately it is difficult to find them on the web after a new version is released.

It is very easy to test different versions of FCPX, provided you have the app bundle. It does not require installing or renaming. Say you named it Final Cut Pro_10_4_6.app, Just double-click on it and launch it. Obviously an upgraded library won't be readable by a back-level version of FCPX.

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Render is painfully slow after updating to Catalina 10.15.3 and FCPX 10.4.8 23 Feb 2020 16:09 #104864

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So i installed a 10.4.5 version and it seems to be working perfectly fine like it was before. So it is likely the bug as you reported it.

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