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Content across 2 display computers begins to run out of sync over time


dunnetahl
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So I have a piece of video content as shown in the video of the production computer stage, it moves across 3 displays. Display 1 & 2 go to a display computer that controls 2 side pillars of a video wall, Display 3 is going to another display computer with a 4k output to a widescreen LED wall in the centre.

 

The other 2 videos, one of them shows the media when it is first launched and everything is in sync (IMG_1168). The media is free running and looping on a pause cue. After about 30 minutes or so the 2 display computers seem to become increasingly out of sync and I would need to restart the timeline to get them to sync back up. The other video (IMG_1167) shows how the media looks after about 30 minutes and it has fallen out of sync between the 2 display computers.

 

Does anyone have any ideas of what might be causing this and how to fix it?

Thank you kindly for your time and assistance.

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"free running" means just this: WATCHOUT is not controlling the media position when it is set to free running. It will only re-sync the cue when your timeline runs into the cue again.

Since computers have their individual speed, they will fall out of sync over time since one computer works faster than the other.

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Looping… Always a big topic..

I would recommend NOT using pause and play cue OR free running. But instead make really long timelines. Like 24 hours if needed. Put the films end to end, copy, repeat.. Do that with stills as well, when working with dissolving stills.

This way you avoid the sync AND the transparency-jump issues at the end of loops.

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2 hours ago, RBeddig said:

"free running" means just this: WATCHOUT is not controlling the media position when it is set to free running. It will only re-sync the cue when your timeline runs into the cue again.

Since computers have their individual speed, they will fall out of sync over time since one computer works faster than the other.

Thanks. That makes sense. So if I throw in a play cue to go back to an earlier part of the clip, will it sync back up if I leave it free running?

What exactly is the behaviour if I uncheck free running but still have looping checked?

 

Basically I have an opacity tween (from 0-100%) for the first second and if I take it off free running and put a play cue at the end to go back to the beginning, either it goes black before the opacity tween or I jump to right after the opacity tween and the clip doesn't loop nicely because the image jumps by a second.

 

What I did before was leave it looping and free running with a pause cue 1 second after the opacity tween and then another opacity tween to 0% right after with another pause cue so I could fade it out when needed. What would be the best way to accomplish this while still getting the clips to resync between the 2 display computers?

 

Thank you for your help.

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2 hours ago, wiesemann said:

Looping… Always a big topic..

I would recommend NOT using pause and play cue OR free running. But instead make really long timelines. Like 24 hours if needed. Put the films end to end, copy, repeat.. Do that with stills as well, when working with dissolving stills.

This way you avoid the sync AND the transparency-jump issues at the end of loops.

 

How do you do this practically? If I have a minute long clip and I was to loop it for 24 hours, there must be a much better way than just pasting it into the timeline and lining it up with the last clip 60*24 times, right?

 

20 minutes ago, Morgan Wong said:

try put those videos in composition, and loop/freeruning the composition.

 

I gave this a try, just added the clip by itself to a composition, added the composition to a timeline and added my tween to the timeline, put it as free running and looping, at the end of the media it goes black for a second before it restarts. Is there a step I'm missing here?

 

Also I was advised not to place any of my assets before the 5 second mark in the timeline because it causes 'issues' however no one has told me what issues exactly. It doesn't seem like I can do that in this context. Is it advisable to build all timelines from the 5 second mark or is this a myth?

 

Thanks again for all the help guys.

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1 hour ago, dunnetahl said:

... What exactly is the behaviour if I uncheck free running but still have looping checked? ...

When the timeline pauses, the clip stops.

Free running basically indicates, once a free running clip is started, if the timeline pauses while the cue is still present, the clip continues.

As a result, free running and looping clips should have a minimum duration to handle the effects and no more. For example, whenever I set a clip to free running, I typically shorten its "duration" to 2-4 seconds.

1 hour ago, dunnetahl said:

... I gave this a try, just added the clip by itself to a composition, added the composition to a timeline and added my tween to the timeline, put it as free running and looping, at the end of the media it goes black for a second before it restarts. Is there a step I'm missing here?...

Possibly. You need to go into Timeline settings and trim the composition duration to the end of the clip and then lock duration.

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8 minutes ago, jfk said:

When the timeline pauses, the clip stops.

Free running basically indicates, once a free running clip is started, if the timeline pauses while the cue is still present, the clip continues.

As a result, free running and looping clips should have a minimum duration to handle the effects and no more. For example, whenever I set a clip to free running, I typically shorten its "duration" to 2-4 seconds.

So if looping is checked but free running is unchecked, it will loop at the end of the media asset as long as the timeline is still running?

8 minutes ago, jfk said:

Possibly. You need to go into Timeline settings and trim the composition duration to the end of the clip and then lock duration.

Thanks, the documentation manual did not explain this in the section on compositions. Changing the composition duration to match the media duration has it looping smoothly now.

 

Time to just wait and see if it falls out of sync or if Morgan's suggestion worked.

 

As for the 5 second rule, can anyone weigh on this? It seems like just a superstition in my corner of the industry or is there some reason I should start all my timeline builds @ 5 seconds instead of 0?

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Be aware not to set the actual clips to free running and looping if you place them into a composition. Then the composition needs to be set to free running and looping instead. To make sure that the composition has the right length in the end, I usually first place my cues into a normal timeline, then open an empty composition, then set the composition length to a value shorter than my cues. Finally I copy and paste the cues from the timeline into the composition where the ruler sits at 0:00. The composition will gain length according to the length of the copied cues automatically.

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1 hour ago, dunnetahl said:

... Also I was advised not to place any of my assets before the 5 second mark in the timeline because it causes 'issues' however no one has told me what issues exactly. It doesn't seem like I can do that in this context. Is it advisable to build all timelines from the 5 second mark or is this a myth?...

It is an oversimplification of a precaution. If media starts at 0.000 AND the timeline is stopped, when you send it a play it will not have the media loaded as the auxiliary timeline is not in memory / stopped. It will transition from stop to play as commanded, but since no media is loaded, it will stumble while it tries to catch up. Creating that empty space at the beginning provides time for media to load. There are other ways, however.

If you want to set media at 0 time, you must first tell the auxiliary timeline to Pause, which will cause it to activate and load media but not start playing. Then when you send it a play it will work as expected. You can have multiple auxiliary timelines in pause, ready to fire on cue, but there are limits determined by memory, content loaded, etc.

Personally, I am completely against using auxiliary timelines in a scripted show that always follows the same sequence. And I blame the Dataton academy for unintentionally sending people down that path :) . For most scripted events, one timeline is the best way to go.

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7 minutes ago, dunnetahl said:

So if looping is checked but free running is unchecked, it will loop at the end of the media asset as long as the timeline is still running? ...

 

Correct. And this is a situation where the duration may exceed the clip length as it will keep lopping for any duration.

7 minutes ago, dunnetahl said:

As for the 5 second rule, can anyone weigh on this? It seems like just a superstition in my corner of the industry or is there some reason I should start all my timeline builds @ 5 seconds instead of 0?

I was answering that one when this post appeared :) .

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5 hours ago, RBeddig said:

Be aware not to set the actual clips to free running and looping if you place them into a composition. Then the composition needs to be set to free running and looping instead. To make sure that the composition has the right length in the end, I usually first place my cues into a normal timeline, then open an empty composition, then set the composition length to a value shorter than my cues. Finally I copy and paste the cues from the timeline into the composition where the ruler sits at 0:00. The composition will gain length according to the length of the copied cues automatically.

Thanks, I did not set the clip to loop or free run, just the composition and it was working fine mostly for the first few hours. After a few hours I got a half second black flicker, and then another hour or so later I got another one. Then another one 20 minutes later, and another like a few minutes after that so I took the show offline and back online.

For the composition length, I copied the duration from the media asset to the composition so they were the same. Is this functionally any different than what you described?

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10 hours ago, dunnetahl said:

For the composition length, I copied the duration from the media asset to the composition so they were the same. Is this functionally any different than what you described?

No, it should work the same.

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On 9/21/2022 at 12:25 PM, RBeddig said:

"free running" means just this: WATCHOUT is not controlling the media position when it is set to free running. It will only re-sync the cue when your timeline runs into the cue again.

Since computers have their individual speed, they will fall out of sync over time since one computer works faster than the other.

Well, that wasn't the case when I did the free-running and looping features. Although video is free-running in relation to the cue, it's still locked to the internal timebase of WATCHOUT. All computers in a cluster is locked to that same timebase, controlled by the cluster master. So they should not drift apart over time. At least that was the way it worked back then.

Mike 

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