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How do I SIMPLY use Stock Media without getting choppy playback?

1. I recently upgraded to Screenflow 10 and purchased my first license for using the Stock Media.

With very short movies, 35 seconds, I get very, very frustrating choppy playback.

Symptoms

  1. Plaback might take a few seconds (eg tens) to start. Then starts beyond the playhead.
  2. Playback in Screenflow keeps playing for several seconds after I 'stop playback'
  3. The wrong media is rendered for playback.
  4. Sometimes crash or hang when I drag media from Stock Media to Timeline (Now I avoid that workflow and first download to Clip Editor)

The media in the movie is:

  1. Stock Media (from Screenflow)
  2. Stock Audio
  3. Jpegs (mine)
  4. mp3 audio (mine, recorded on Garageband)

See below APPENDIX A: List of media used

Investigation story so far

I'm aware that Choppy Playback is a function of the type of imported media as per these articles from Screenflow.

I'm surprised to find that the Stock Media (Video) is supplied in a format, MPEG-4 (H264) that Article 1 below says: " some common video formats that you should not edit with".

So, maybe I'm downloading the video from the Stok Media library incorrectly?


  1. Editing formats vs. Delivery formats. (2012, April 10). Telestream Blog. https://telestreamblog.telestream.net/2012/04/save-yourself-frustration-use-editing-formats-when-editing-2/
  2. Playback issues with imported from iOS MOV file. (2021, May 26). http://www.telestream.net/telestream-support/screen-flow/faq.htm
  3. ScreenFlow: Choppy Playback of Imported Video. (n.d.). Retrieved 26 May 2021, from http://www.telestream.net/telestream-support/screen-flow/faq.htm

STOP PRESS

Well, Golly Gosh! I found a workaround

  1. Ensure all the timeline media tracks can be viewed within the Screenflow window
  2. Reduce the scale of the display of the playback screen so that the farthest extent of  out-of-bounds cropped media lies within the window
  3. No playback problems.

HOWEVER, that's rather limiting!

 

Computer hardware including screen size (Specific Mac Model) Retina 5k 2017.  16 GB 2400 MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM
• OS version (11.6 Big Sur)
• ScreenFlow version (10.0.3 (31849))

  • and whether it's Mac App Store version - No

• external devices recording from and how are they connected to computer - not used in this case. In general, I use H4n Zoom connected through USB
 

• Scratch disk location in preferences if it's hard drive record or playback issue - 

I had previously used the main iMac SSD as scratch disk. I switched to this huge, high speed LaCie 16TB with 15 TB available. Problems remain in both instances.

2big Dock Thunderbolt 3:

  Vendor Name: LaCie

  Device Name: 2big Dock Thunderbolt 3

  Mode: Thunderbolt 3

  Device ID: 0x16

  Vendor ID: 0x3

  Device Revision: 0x2

  UID: 0x0003B5704D304900

  Route String: 1

  Firmware Version: 20.4

  Port (Upstream):

  Status: Device connected

  Link Status: 0x2

  Speed: Up to 40 Gb/s x1

  Current Link Width: 0x2

  Link Controller Firmware Version: 0.23.0

• Free hard drive space (iMac) - 

Macintosh HD:

  Free: 181.26 GB (181,258,100,736 bytes)

  Capacity: 499.96 GB (499,963,170,816 bytes)

  Mount Point: /

  File System: APFS

• Number of Monitors (Two) if more than one and screen size of each

Monito iMac:

  Display Type: Built-In Retina LCD

  Resolution: Retina 5K (5120 x 2880)

  Framebuffer Depth: 30-Bit Colour (ARGB2101010)

  Main Display: Yes

  Mirror: Off

  Online: Yes

  Automatically Adjust Brightness: Yes

  Connection Type: Internal

Monitor U28E590:

  Resolution: 2880 x 5120

  UI Looks like: 1440 x 2560 @ 60.00Hz

  Framebuffer Depth: 30-Bit Colour (ARGB2101010)

  Display Serial Number: H4ZN700989

  Mirror: Off

  Online: Yes

  Rotation: 270

  Automatically Adjust Brightness: Yes

  Connection Type: Thunderbolt/DisplayPort

• Complete Export settings if it's an export or encoded file playback issue - Not an issue. Export A-OK

Step by step workflow 

  1. Open NEW screenflow. Canvas 1920 x 1080. Preset 1920 x 1080p HD. 25 FPS
  2. Add new Stock Media to project (Drag sometimes crashes. So usually added via Clip Editor)
  3. Trim stock media
  4. Add trimmed stock media to track
  5. Add Video Motion callouts to .jpeg images
  6. Attempt playback
  7. Save repeatedly, due to incessant crashes.
  8. Export eg Publish to GDRIVE A-OK


• Source files used in your project. Listed in APPENDIX A: List of media used
• What you are recording. (What Program or Browser if relevant) 

Not recording. Using Stock media and pre-recorded jpg and audio media imported.

The media in the movie is:

  1. Stock Media (from Screenflow)
  2. Stock Audio
  3. Jpegs (mine)
  4. mp3 audio (mine, recorded on Garageband)

• Sequence running time. 35 seconds


• Error messages if any 

One instance of Stock media item 'Performance Evaluation Form' disappearing, as per image here

 
• Visual or auditory description of the issue. Attach screenshot if you think it will clarify. 
• We may ask you for an exported file or a project file in some cases. 

The more detail the better. 
Please include screenshots, link to video recording, screen capture of interface where relevant, to help us understand the issue.

Exported Video: Peer Assess Pro™ Explainer

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RpsaKqH2fgqveZKoM4mOoXis2kgo_LhA/view?usp=sharing

 

APPENDIX A: List of media used

  1. PAP - Ch 2 - Why peer feedback_{E3F3B718-5352-4A2E-A333-28825C0E71AA}.jpg
  2. performance-evaluation-form_M19b3UDu_{9E9064DD-FB55-4240-91B8-4F6921BD209B}.jpg
  3. man-writing-notes_v1xf17hjf_720__D_{2A1C2929-D25A-4B37-B819-5E95DD8EF3BA}.mp4
  4. audioblocks-heroic-hybrid-epic-short-2_S9Q-uKHLr_{EF5804EB-5BDD-493E-9491-D0BCD96243DA}.wav
  5. 10122468_1632991776_{86A42A89-4F46-4407-BDB5-5A1023BB51CE}.mp3
  6. audioblocks-corporate-business-success-aspiration_Sr_FaDyGU_{6FCFDB24-41EE-42CE-A12F-5DE507B98C86}.wav
  7. videoblocks-students-at-graduation-ceremony-throwing-hats-in-the-air_hrgyyw6yaz_1080__D_{282377FB-FEF6-4287-8B7B-64301AC8848D}.mp4
  8. videoblocks-slowmo-dolly-out-of-three-male-and-female-engineers-inspecting-d-printed-car-model-in-office-and-discussing-work-blueprints-lying-on-table_bjy7mto9__1080__D_{49D35796-1216-45C1-91C2-F4101086BEC8}.mp4
  9. videoblocks-interested-multiethnic-scientists-gathering-around-3-d-printer-and-watching-process-of-model-production-in-laboratory_scmkmxohm_1080__D_{2B6DB136-570A-48F7-A304-ABFC05F3E782}.mp4
  10. businessman-making-notes-on-a-legal-document_njlrz8sg_1080__D_{AF8D21A9-60F8-4CE8-8D46-ABE6E49FE653}.mp4
  11. videoblocks-a-group-of-young-people-at-a-meeting-with-a-manager-or-university-teacher-sitting-around-a-table-in-a-bright-spacious-office_sbqoco1lu_1080__D_{8C14F654-9D0D-4FB3-92C3-BE9869E913A6}.mp4
  12. 10119116_1632983538_{64DE7E55-F392-4796-BD47-2532F8224E70}.mp3
  13. PAP - Ch 10 - LOW RES - Compare Peer Platform-13_{71C7DCD4-C2A1-4028-9E55-3E502582D08B}.jpg
  14. PAP - Ch 10 - HIGH RES - Compare Peer Platform-13_{407681BA-9F9A-4BA1-98E8-260FFD7B261F}.jpg
  15. PAP - Ch 11 - Get started_{A750A7CB-E731-41B4-9A1E-D48953052B45}.jpg
  16. PAP - Ch 9 - Improve next_{5033106F-4951-4843-8547-88284FF79A38}.jpg
  17. PAP - Ch 8 - Courageous conversations - Encourage feedback_{02CEF70E-934B-4311-8A5D-897378AF06DA}.jpg
  18. PAP - Ch 7 - Manage_{BC14F053-3A77-4F7F-8C15-E632786EEB0C}.jpg
  19. PAP - Ch 6 - Create peer assessment_{091868D9-172D-4751-BACB-064028C2E920}.jpg
  20. PAP - Ch 5 - Train your students_{B084CE48-0F99-4919-95F0-00F75C66F370}.jpg
  21. PAP - Ch 4 - LOW RES_Build Team_{CC418BA0-E7AE-43DF-A3C3-40A7E54E751F}.jpg
  22. PAP - Ch 3 -  LOW RES_Prepare 3_{A2E52D8B-F4CE-46A5-B1C4-DCE2DAD278D4}.jpg
  23. PAP - Ch 1 - LOW RES_Why Teams_{534933AD-AD55-4264-B446-0CD85C5E3889}.jpg
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  • It would be best if you made a simple test.
    A variety of issues can impact playback.
    Codecs used in the stock media.
    Complexity of timeline (edits, transitions, actions, callouts)
    Imported file sizes and types. MP3 and HEVC might be better converted to other codecs. GOP structure of certain H.264 files. AIFF, Apple ProRes and H.264 with "simple" GOP structures are easiest to play back.
    Frame size of imported graphics relative to the timeline size.
    Memory available (other programs running).
     

    Peter Mellalieu said:
    STOP PRESS
    Well, Golly Gosh! I found a workaround

    Ensure all the timeline media tracks can be viewed within the Screenflow window
    Reduce the scale of the display of the playback screen so that the farthest extent of  out-of-bounds cropped media lies within the window
    No playback problems.

     This may indicate an issue related to memory use, thumbnail and/or waveform cache. Your system resources may be taxed.

    Please look at Apple Activity Monitor CPU use and Memory use (looking at Pressure, Swaps, Free Memory).

    Like 1
  • Thanks Craig,

     

    It would be best if you made a simple test. -

    I'm exploring this, to focus when exactly things go haywire. The video ATTACHED here shows the phenomenon experienced from 9 seconds through T=19 s.

     

    The % CPU usage varies as follows: Activity Samples at 1 second intervals

    Before playback:  Screenflow using 1 to 5%

    Start of playback: T= 4 through 9 seconds up to 12%

    T = 13 seconds through T=20 105.9%. This is during a callout action processing a High Res 7 MB jpeg.

    T = 20 Seconds CPU = 49.9%. (a) Concludes Processing of callout on a low res JPG 1.8MB.

    T = 21 through 32 CPU = 12%

    MY SUSPICION

    Appears incorrect processing and stickiness seems to be related to the high CPU demand for processing the video callouts (move and scale) imposed on the JPEG images.


    A variety of issues can impact playback.
    Codecs used in the stock media. - Problems seems to be JPEGS

    Complexity of timeline (edits, transitions, actions, callouts) - I suspect callouts

    Imported file sizes and types. MP3 and HEVC might be better converted to other codecs. GOP structure of certain H.264 files. AIFF, Apple ProRes and H.264 with "simple" GOP structures are easiest to play back. Seems to be related to .jpegs?!

    Frame size of imported graphics relative to the timeline size.

    Maybe. What size is optimal for using video scale and moves? I would have though 'bigger is better'. Is it better to use TIFF or PNG?


    Memory available (other programs running).

    Screenflow memory 1.4 GB 'blips' up to 1.8 GB when playback. Note blip in ATTACHED image.

     

    Swap Used stays steady at 2.29 GB

    Memory Used varies from 9.9 GB to 11 GB 

    Like
  • I think I have a 'resolution'

    I focused on creating a simple new Screenflow project with a low res and high res version of the same JPEG image.

    I discovered I was using a callout action (move, scale) on a high res A0 print size, 14044 × 9934 pixels, 72 dpi JPEG file, 7MB. It seemed a good idea at the time!

    A low res JPEG (1.1 MB, 3371 × 2384 pixels) and the high res A0 converted to TIFF (500 MB) worked fine!

    I accept the latter TIFF of 500MB is somewhat over the top just for a few seconds of the project.

    So...there is probably a 'right size' TIFF or JPEG you should select that is suitable for a call out (moving, scale-up) of a JPEG or TIFF. Perhaps 2 or 4 x the target output dimensions? I guess, as performed OK with my low res JPEG of 3371 × 2384 pixels.

    Please advise, Craig.

    I suggest please update or advise in your post below the best and least-worst media to choose for static images. There is no mention of best specifications for JPEG, PNG, TIFF, PDF or SVG formats.

    I note that .SVGs can't be imported into Screenflow, and .pdfs seem to import just the thumbprint, not the vector representation. Seems reasonable!

    Editing formats vs. Delivery formats. (2012, April 10). Telestream Blog. https://telestreamblog.telestream.net/2012/04/save-yourself-frustration-use-editing-formats-when-editing-2/

    Media

    1. Image shows the point where playback problems occur in Screenflow

    T=17s CPU hits 104% at

    Missing render of High Res JPEG Image

    2. Video - EXPORTED video showing correct render

    3. Video version of Image 1 - Screenflow playback including Activity Monitor

     T=15 through 20 seconds -=> problems

    T=30 through 40 s all good! Render of super high res TIFF 500 MB

    Like
  • Peter Mellalieu said:
    What size is optimal for using video scale and moves? I would have though 'bigger is better'. Is it better to use TIFF or PNG?

     Frame size would be important as ScreenFlow has to scale to the Canvas. PNG may be a bit easier than JPEG to decode.

     

    Peter Mellalieu said:
    Complexity of timeline (edits, transitions, actions, callouts) - I suspect callouts

     An interesting test would be to duplicate the project and open it and remove the callouts and save it. Then open it again (now without callouts) and see if that impacts playback. 

    Like
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