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Robustness and performance

Last post 10-19-2018, 16:43 by saby. 13 replies.
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  •  10-17-2018, 0:49 772734

    Robustness and performance

    I have been using Pinnacle for at least 4 releases before they switched to the AVID code.  That was a discontinuity to be sure.  I am currently using P21.5U on a home brew computer built around an Intel i7-7700 with Samsung SSD for the OS (W10 pro) all Pinnacle scratch files and 8Tb on hard drives for working folders.  I find Studio to be extremely frustrating because it could be an amazing and powerful product if Corel would just put the time and effort into making it more robust.  It is almost impossible to make a video of any significance without the program crashing multiple times.  And, after is does crash you cannot immediately restart it because it leaves a background process called NGstudio running.  You have to kill that before you can relaunch the program.  Fortunately, the program has a very good recovery system because you seldom lose anything – most of the time.

    During the past 3 or 4 years, I have sent Corel at least a dozen pages listing errors or shortcomings to the program and to date, I have not seen one of them fixed.  One that almost everyone finds confusing is the flip-flop behavior of the project bins.  I suppose for users who only have one project bin this is not an issue but I frequently have 10 or more bins and after adding content to one I have to waste valuable time trying to locate the new content.  This is especially bad if the bins contain hundreds of objects. 

    To see an example of what I have produced with P21 take a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jNuov063o8&t=25s

    This is a 65 minute video about the life of Lt. William Owen Pile, a young man who joined the Army during WWII, became a B-26 pilot and lost his life during the Battle of the Bulge.  The story was developed by Dorothy Estes who helped the Army locate his next of kin, a woman who knew nothing of her grandfather.  She decided to have his remains buried at Arlington.  Even if you aren’t connected to the Pile family, it is an interesting story.  The video has been presented at two of the B-26 Marauder Historical Society reunions, a large gathering of first generation Marauder men and their families.

    I have developed 5 or 6 similar videos.  The latest was a video for my daugher’s 50th birthday.  This was composed of about 500 jpgs, video clips, audio interviews, music, etc.  What should have taken less than a week ended up taking about 3 because of all the problems I encountered, many of which were documented and sent to the Corel support staff.  As I have learned, the only way to successfully make a long video with P21.5U is to decompose it into segments and make each independently.  After each is done, then they can be copy&pasted then together to make the final product.  As you may conclude the above video was made in chapters, each made independently then pasted together.

    The main problem with Corel is they don’t have a proper testing group.  I speak with some authority on this point because I started and ran a company that developed mission critical software products for oil and gas explorations where falling down could produce disastrous consequences.  We had to “monkey test” our software, sometimes for a year before it was released.  That means we tried to make every crazy mistake possible before putting it in the hands of our clients because we knew that no matter how much training was provided, they were going to do things that we did not intend.  It seems clear to me that Corel is using their developers to test their software.  That is not testing since they are not going to try to do things incorrectly or out of order.    Furthermore, it does not appear that they really stress the program with large amounts of data.  If so, they would have fixed that crazy flip flop of the project bins. When you are trying to learn how to use Pinnacle you are bound to do things without full knowledge of the proper or intended order of operation.  Consequently, the program falls down.

    Here is an example of what I have provided to Corel on two occasions.  Load 50 jpgs (4752 x 3168 from Canon camera) then drag them to a time line.  Open the task manager and note the amount of memory being used by NGStudio.  Now start doing Pan/Zoom operations (I usually zoomed to make the image fill the screen) on one jpg after the next.  After doing this about 10 times look at the memory used.  It will really start increasing after 20 of these operations and as the memory increases, the performance decreases to the point that you have to turn the program off and start again just to maintain a reasonable level of performance.  This is probably caused by a memory leak where the developer failed to release scratch memory when the utility is closed. 

    Another example is open the title editor and build an information title (such as credits at the end of a movie).  It doesn’t take many lines before it is almost impossible to edit the title content.  The screen often goes black and the only way to recover it to exit the editor and hope that you can get back in to complete the edits.

    I understand that developing new gadgets for the program is fun, needed to draw in repeat customers and that debugging to developers is boring and unexciting.  But to users like myself, having a robust product is so much more valuable than having color grading or multicam support.  I would gladly pay twice as much for a version that was focused on robustness and performance provided it was accompanied with a list of those bug fixes and performance improvements. 

  •  10-17-2018, 5:19 772742 in reply to 772734

    Re:Robustness and performance

    JADII:

    The main problem with Corel is they don’t have a proper testing group.  I speak with some authority on this point because I started and ran a company that developed mission critical software products for oil and gas explorations where falling down could produce disastrous consequences.  We had to “monkey test” our software, sometimes for a year before it was released.  That means we tried to make every crazy mistake possible before putting it in the hands of our clients because we knew that no matter how much training was provided, they were going to do things that we did not intend.  It seems clear to me that Corel is using their developers to test their software.  That is not testing since they are not going to try to do things incorrectly or out of order.    Furthermore, it does not appear that they really stress the program with large amounts of data.  If so, they would have fixed that crazy flip flop of the project bins. When you are trying to learn how to use Pinnacle you are bound to do things without full knowledge of the proper or intended order of operation.  Consequently, the program falls down.

    You actually know nothing about it so your statement is just speculation and untruths.

  •  10-17-2018, 5:25 772743 in reply to 772742

    Re:Robustness and performance

    You'd better redo your Youtube link. Viewing starts at 25 seconds with it => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jNuov063o8

    I know someone who should love your movie. Let me call him.

  •  10-17-2018, 12:40 772770 in reply to 772734

    Re: Robustness and performance

    Hello JADII. Your post seems to be made out of frustration, so maybe hearing from someone about how they deal with some of these issues may help. Pinnacle Studio is an incredibly complex program and it behaves somewhat differently on each machine based on its hardware and software configuration, so some of us have annoying issues that come up that don’t come up for other users… probably an impossible situation for Corel to deal with.

     

    For me, I only set up one project bin for each project that I do regardless of how large the project is. For large projects it becomes too unwieldy to quickly find elements, so that is when I use “Collections” and “Sub-Collections”. These are really glorified filters and allow me to sub-divide a large bin into manageable components for viewing. You will find that to be a huge time-saver. Remember that a collection is really a filter, so that if you delete a collection you are not deleting a project element from a project bin.

     

    For videographers, editing takes time and time is money (something that you already know), so to protect myself I have at least two versions of PS on my system at the same time. One version is what I would consider to be the most recent stable version of the program for me so that I can fall back to that if necessary. Another version would be the most recent version of PS that I would use, but if there are issues that cause me to lose time I always have my fall-back version. Just a thought to protect your time.

     

    Each of us edits in a different way, i.e. numbers of elements in a project and on a timeline, the types of elements, how we string them together with transitions, how long our projects are, numbers of tracks, and the list goes on. For me I concentrate on protecting my time, so for a large project I always divide it into “chapters” with each chapter becoming its own project. This certainly makes timeline management much easier and render times much faster since I’m dealing with smaller chunks. When all chapter projects are complete you have a couple of choices of how to assemble them into the final project. Some people create a new project and then drag each of the sub-projects onto the timeline and render the whole thing for a resulting file. However, if you need to make a small change then the whole thing needs to be rendered again. For me, I generally choose to render each sub-project to its own file then import the resulting files to PS. Then I setup a new project and drag each of the sub-files to the timeline. I find that this last method saves a LOT of time when dealing with rendering issues. If a change needs to be made, it can be made in a sub-project, only that file needs to be rendered again and then imported into PS. Management is much easier that way. The trick is to render the sub-files in a way that does not sacrifice video quality for your purpose.

     

    Anyway, my guess is that all editing software has its issues unless we spend lots and lots of dollars for really high end stuff. This forum is a great way to find ways to protect our time by drawing on the experience of others to find solutions or work-arounds. These are some ideas that seem to work for me, and others will have differing opinions based on how they edit. But, this is all good information for you to evaluate and choose for yourself.

     

    Larry

  •  10-17-2018, 12:56 772771 in reply to 772734

    Re: Robustness and performance

    Hello again JADII. You have an interesting story that you are telling. Here is a link to my website’s video sample page for some similar stories that you may enjoy, and to see how the sub-chapter method works. Aside from the Civil War soldier video (he was my great-great uncle), these are all excerpts from longer stories. Each one, however, was made by using the sub-chapter method I described in my previous post. I do have a much longer video (70 minutes) with LOTS of sub-chapters. I can send you a link to that if you private message me.

     

    Larry

  •  10-17-2018, 20:31 772790 in reply to 772771

    Re: Robustness and performance

    Larry     I appreciate your insight.  I too have found that the only practical way for constructing an extensive work product is to build it in segments (chapters or whatever).  I try to keep mine under 10 minutes.  Indeed, I may go one step farther than what you describe.  After I get each segment as I want it, I go ahead and make it into an MP4.  Then I can create a new project with a collection of MP4's and drag them to the finished timeline.  One of the problems with segmenting a product is how to handle background music that has to cross the segmentation points.  I have found that I can usually add the background music to the MP$ segments but that is sometimes problematic since I often try to make the background music sync with some of the event, maybe someone talking and there you need to see the audio track for the speaker but it is lost after becoming imbeded in the MP4.  

    I agree there are work arounds to many of the shortcomings in Pinnacle but it is still no excuse for the lack of robustness in the program itself.  It would help a lot if Pinnacle would publish an error report so that everyone knew ahead of time what to anticipate rather than falling into rabbit holes and not knowing why or how to recover.  

    I think that Audacity is an excellent example of a well wrung out program and it is free.  I have used that program for years and I cannot recall ever having it fall down even though I have done many crazy things with it.  Among my many hobbies is restoring old 78's and 33LP's which would be next to impossible without a solid product like Audacity.  VLC is another fine example of a solid software program.  

    An observation about a single vs. multiple project bins.  In making some of my more extensive work products, I use data from many different Window folders.  If you have to copy contents from each of those many folders into a single folder so that it can be loaded into a single project bin then what is the benefit of having bins in the first place.  In the earlier versions of Pinnacle you could drag contents directly from your Windows folders to the timeline and never worry with project bins.  If you wanted to know where an object came from you could click on the object and see its properties.  By forcing users to load project bins before moving their contents to the timelines they are adding complexity and extra steps.to the overall process.  Software should be designed to minimize the  number of mouse clicks (consider Apple based software).  The most important criterion in developing interactive software is that it be fast so that it is done before you can think about the next click.  Otherwise you might as well script the process.

     

     

  •  10-17-2018, 20:45 772792 in reply to 772771

    Re: Robustness and performance

    Larry    I watched your video about the young Civil War soldier.  You do a great job.  Very impressive!

    I have about 3/4 of a book done on Col. Francis Collette WIlkes.  He was on the Confederate side and fought Sherman until he too was wounded.  On his way back to Texas he was captured in New Orleans where he was given some respect by General Banks.  He negotiated with Banks to prevent the invasion of Texas by Custer and his army.  He retired to Llano, that part of Texas that is currently experiencing very bad flooding.  

    Jim 

        

     

  •  10-17-2018, 20:47 772793 in reply to 772790

    Re: Robustness and performance

    JADII:

    By forcing users to load project bins before moving their contents to the timelines they are adding complexity and extra steps.to the overall process. 

    You don't have to create bins to import an asset in the library. Bins have been added to Pinnacle Studio with version 19. Before that, there were no bins.

    Drag'n'drop an asset from Windows Explorer into any opened tab of the library and this asset is automaticaly added into the Last import collection and in the Library media section of the navigation tree where you can find it later, whatever the project you are working on.

     

  •  10-18-2018, 0:54 772795 in reply to 772742

    Re: Re:Robustness and performance


    It is correct that I have no absolute confirmation that Corel does not have a separate testing group.  I came to this conclusion after an extended number of emails between myself and one of the development managers at Corel.  I am reluctant to give his name here.  I established the connection by investigating who the major investors in Corel are.  After finding the venture firm, I contacted the man in charge of the Corel account.  He directed me to the manager (a member of the senior team) with whom I had an extensive exchange.   Following is just a sampling of our exchanges.

    Our exchanges started back with Pinnacle 14 and the rather dramatic changes at Pinnacle 19.  During this time the manager sent me a copy of their Fix List for P19.5.  One of those was simply noted as "Frequently reported slowdowns in Edit".  That may have been in response to an email exchange during which I sent Corel an axp file with the project I was working on at the time.. It was about the memory leak I previously described in this forum.  This was his reply:

    Hi Jim, 

    I apologize for the slow reply.  Yes, I have a memory leak.  As yet, it is not causing any error message, but just with your project loaded and machine otherwise idle, I see the leak.  I will be meeting with the developers tonight and they have remote access to this PC.  I will let you know as we find out more about the root cause.

    Thanks  (I have withheld his name).

    Release 19.5 was the one that caused the project bin flip/flop business.  I sent the manager an example of what was happening.  The following is his reply:  

    Howdy Jim, 

    I've reproduced the problem.  Indeed, adding new photos and the subsequent reordering in Studio's Library view, seems to have no rhyme or reason - neither via Most Recent, nor Alphabetical, number of files, etc.  I've raised a bug about this:

    PIS-1740 Project Bins: each add of new files, default ordering seems to be random

    Thank you for the details, you've found a good bug that may not annoy those with just a few photos, but indeed becomes increasingly difficult to navigate.  Furthermore that there isn't any discernible sense to it, bugs me too.  We will discuss this in our next Engineering call. 

    Regards  (I am not showing his name): 

     

    Now, I ask, how is it that a testing team did not find a glaring problem that clearly their manager calls a bug and I have seen references to from other people on this forum.  Maybe they do have a separate testing team and there is a serious disconnect between that team and the development staff.  Somewhere something is wrong.   We are into P22 and the problem has not been corrected.  You are free to draw your own conclusions.  

    Jim 

      

  •  10-18-2018, 0:59 772796 in reply to 772793

    Re: Robustness and performance

    I understand that you can drag them to the last import collection but you still have to drag them from there to the time line.  I am simply asking why did they eliminate the functionality of dragging directly to the timeline that was available before P19?  I see no value of dragging objects to the library.  Maybe someone can explain that for me.  I'm certainly willing to enjoy the benefit if there is one.

     

    Jim 

  •  10-18-2018, 4:12 772799 in reply to 772792

    Re: Robustness and performance

    JADII:

    Larry    I watched your video about the young Civil War soldier.  You do a great job.  Very impressive!

    I have about 3/4 of a book done on Col. Francis Collette WIlkes.  He was on the Confederate side and fought Sherman until he too was wounded.  On his way back to Texas he was captured in New Orleans where he was given some respect by General Banks.  He negotiated with Banks to prevent the invasion of Texas by Custer and his army.  He retired to Llano, that part of Texas that is currently experiencing very bad flooding.  

    Jim 

     

    Thank you, Jim. Also, I have a relative who recently went to visit her friend in Llano, TX. She is a little bit stuck at the moment.

    Larry 

  •  10-18-2018, 7:19 772805 in reply to 772795

    Re: Re:Robustness and performance

    JADII:

    Now, I ask, how is it that a testing team did not find a glaring problem that clearly their manager calls a bug and I have seen references to from other people on this forum.   

    My turn to ask : what leads you to conclude that the testing team did not find the problem ? Maybe the ratio "importance of the issue / risks implied by attempting to fix it" was considered too low by dev team and/or product management.

    Development is always a matter of compromises, you know.

  •  10-18-2018, 7:25 772806 in reply to 772796

    Re: Robustness and performance

    JADII:

    I understand that you can drag them to the last import collection but you still have to drag them from there to the time line.  I am simply asking why did they eliminate the functionality of dragging directly to the timeline that was available before P19?  I see no value of dragging objects to the library.  Maybe someone can explain that for me.  I'm certainly willing to enjoy the benefit if there is one.

    This functionnality was present up to PS15 and abandonned with Avid Studio (insertion of the library concept), not PS19.

    The concept of library implies that nothing can be used in Studio without coming from the library.

  •  10-19-2018, 16:43 772909 in reply to 772806

    Re: Robustness and performance

    Ok, I could reproduce the issue.

    There is a very easy workaround. Close the bin and reopen it => directories list is back to alphabetical order. This means 2 mouse clicks and problem is solved.  Big Smile

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