Missing Render Files

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the November, 2008, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


Alan Day, from Cape Town, South Africa, sent me the following:

[I’m having problems with render files disappearing] when I use the Smoothcam filter.


We have been editing one of THOSE mammoth documentaries. Shot mostly on HDV 60i with a Sony Z1 with some footage shot DVCPRO HD with a good Panasonic camera.


My first action was to set the time line and render settings to the appropriate PRO RES codec. BUT… We still could not render a whole sequence manually without FCP crashing. Closer inspection showed that all these clips “losing” their renders were shot hand held on a camcorder by a non-pro … CONSEQUENTLY they had ALL been “smooth-cammed”…


Is there a problem with render files and the smoothcam plug-in?

UPDATE – Nov. 17

Mike Brennan sent me the following:

I believe that the issue is with HDV footage round tripped to motion or with the smoothcam filter. FCP only uses 2 gigs of Ram and the system cache gets to full to quickly. If they had transcoded via a capture card or AJA IOHD to ProRess I don’t believe that they would have this problem. If they had round tripped to motion it would make more sense to export quicktime’s form motion or via compressor and import the self contained clips in the timeline. Alan uses the word Mammoth to describe his project and from what I’ve seen HDV and big sequences never work well. Most HDV workflows start by transcoding or playing out to digibeta and recapturing to avoid the long gop codec.


I think that FCP can not read all the mtdf files and calculate all the missing i frame data in real time on projects that are over an hour, I think that it crashes the system because the cache is full. Hence move away from HDV by transcoding as a first step.

Larry replies: Thanks, Mike for the idea. I’m also getting reports of render files disappearing in Final Cut Pro 6.0.2 and 6.0.3. This problem seems to go away with FCP 6.0.5. If you are continuing to have problems, try upgrading to a later version of the software.


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2 Responses to Missing Render Files

  1. Kent says:

    I’m using FCPX 10.4
    I have Compressor and Motion. All the latest versions of everything. I’m editing 4K on a new 27″ iMac off a USB3 drive.
    All works well but when I reopen a library I am missing some render files. Everything was rendered before I closed FCPX.
    The issue is with some Motion Templates with multiple drop zones. They render fine but they randomly disappear when I re-open.
    Any idea why this is happening?

    • Larry says:


      Nope. Check to see where the templates are stored – it almost sounds like it is not recognizing your hard disk properly. Time to call Apple Support.


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