Thursday, February 5, 2015

AJA Monitoring In Premiere Isn't Fun *UPDATED 4/14/15*

CC 2014.1 screws up playback with AJA devices in a really irritating way. It's stuff like this that really makes we wish Adobe offered some sort of stable release of CC for post houses rather than constantly pushing out updates that fix some things while causing others to break.

We had a RED Dragon project coming in that was going to be extremely After Effects heavy and quickly discovered this fun fact, which required an update to Adobe CC 2014.1 to fix.

The After Effects team are investigating a bug in After Effects CC 2104 (13.0) where RED (.R3D) files are very slow and the image resolution is poor, about 1/8 sampling.

With CC 2014.1 you'll have audio glitches, cutouts, and a lot of instability unless you update your AJA Adobe plugin to version 10.6 which adds official support for CC 2014.1.

UPDATE

AJA has finally introduced an update that has their own home-brew version of delay controls. It is less precise (frame based vs millisecond offset) but it works well enough and finally puts this issue to bed. Their release notes shed a little more light.

Added Premiere Pro desktop frame delay for syncing the desktop monitor with the output monitor in instances where the desktop monitor or other electronics downstream from the AJA device are introducing delay. NOTE: This is not the millisecond delay provided by Adobe, but can be found in Preferences>Playback>Video Device>AJA Device>Setup>Output Offset. In a future version of Premiere Pro, the Adobe provided millisecond offset will work. • The interim AJA provided offset has two limitations: • Use of the offset will cause the audio and video to be out of sync. Audio can then be adjusted using the Adobe provided millisecond delay features in Preferences>Playback>Audio Device • Use of this video offset can cause a missed frame when laying off to tape. Be sure to set this offset to zero before layoff.

THE CONTEXT


We have AJA Io XT's and Io 4K's for playback to our broadcast monitors. Out of Premiere there has always been a slight delay; e.g. a cut will happen on the computer monitor and will then happen a short while later on the broadcast monitor. It was just enough to make the editors feel uneasy, and make you question what was in sync to the audio when cutting something to music.

When we first set all this up I wondered if it wasn't some processing in the broadcast monitor or elsewise. I tested with FCP X and AJA's own control room software and experienced no perceptible delay at all.  This made sense in a way as Premiere, unlike those two, relies on an AJA provided plugin in addition to the hardware driver for the device. (Avid does as well, but we are not an Avid house so I'm not even going there.) So the delay must be stemming from the communication between Adobe's code and AJA's driver via the plugin.

Thankfully is was easily enough solved through a little trial and error of some bars/tone and 2 pops to dial in a offset for the device, which is a feature built into Premiere. 

Premiere Pro > Preferences > Playback

THE PROBLEM


Unfortunately while adding support for CC 2014.1 the updated AJA Adobe plugin removed support for the offset functionality. Well, the functionality is part of Premiere, but from the release notes on the AJA plugin.

Millisecond delay controls will not function for video device in Premiere Pro Playback Preferences.

Starting with the AJA Adobe Plugin version 10.5.2 they implemented a new buffering system.

New Hardware buffering setting in the Transmit plug-in.

• Standard – This mode uses an 8 frame buffer and is recommended for use when mastering tapes. This is the default mode.

• Minimum – This mode uses a 3 frame buffer. Using this mode will increase the likelihood of dropped frames on the output when system resources are not keeping up, but can improve the stop/start and JKL performance on the timeline while editing.

• Maximum – This mode uses a 14 frame buffer and should be used any time occasional frame drops are occurring and limited system resources are the suspected culprit. For example, with an underpowered, older Mac Mini, or a system without a Mercury Approved GPU, this setting may help mitigate minor frame drops.

Clicking Setup next to Io XT in the above screenshot gets you here. Choose your amount of frustration maximum, standard, or minimum.


So, I'll give you a few frames for that to sync in... *ZING!*

No matter what we are going to have our program monitor in Premiere be at least 3 frames out of sync from our broadcast monitor. And there's no real way to fix it.

THE SOLUTION


Surely a large company like AJA would scramble to fix support for such a large NLE platform if they knew this was a thing right?

I was just informed about the Slide/Delay , and that it is a known issue, AJA and Adobe are working on … I have entered you into the database with case ID# D5232 for notification when the next release will be with a fiX.
Sorry I don’t have better news! 

AJA Tech Support

That email was from November 25th, 2014. I followed up with them on January 13th, 2015 and received the following.

The Slide/Delay issue has not been resolved as of yet… you are on the notification list and will get an email as soon as the bug is fixed!
Sorry that we do not have an ETA !!
AJA Tech Support

Other than increasing the amount of exclamation marks in their apology, it looks like they haven't done much.

If anyone has anything to add on this one, I'd love to hear it. In the meantime I think we're SOL.

Nothing to do but deal with it. You don't really need to use that broadcast monitor anyways right?

FURTHER THOUGHTS


In case you've asked why we didn't roll back to 2014.0 it's because 2014.1 projects aren't backwards compatible. There is no easy out here.

1 comment:

  1. I have been editing with my cheap Black Magic Extreme on Adobe Premiere without any problem. My BIG EXPENSIVE AJA 4K is terrible. Audio delays, crashes and many other problems. Back to my Black magic and 18o euro's down the drain. THX AJA :(((

    ReplyDelete