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Thread: Dropped frames in Pinnacle 9.4

  1. #1

    Default Dropped frames in Pinnacle 9.4

    I have noticed that I m agetting dropped frames in Pinnacle, I am not using any hardware card for decoding, just teh firewire connection and pinnacle software.

    Is it normal to have some dropped frames, or should I expect Zero dropped frames if the system is setup properly?

    On the second system listed in teh siganture, I only have the operating system video drivers and Pinnacle 9.4 running and still got dropped frames.
    Intel Pentium 3.2G HT
    1 GIG RAM PC3200
    200 GIG SATA 7200rpm
    Radeon 9800 Pro (128MB)
    Compro HD TV Capture card
    Pioneer 108 Dual DVD Write
    Liteon Combo Drive
    Windows XP PRO SP2


    AMD ATHLON 2800+
    512MB RAM DDR400
    80 GIG IDE 7200 RPM
    Radeon 9600XT
    Pioneer 108 DL DVD
    Liteon Combo Drive

    Windows XP PRO SP2

  2. #2


    Ok Guys (I should listen too)

    The correct answer is ZERO!

    One should expect and AIM for Zero dropped frames. However there are a multitude of factors that can cause frames to be dropped.

    Here is a graet post that I found from John Meyer. Its long but very helpful.

    By: John Meyer

    The most basic — and certainly the most essential — part of video editing is making sure you get the video into your computer without degrading it in any way. The most basic form of degradation is the dropped frame. If a frame gets dropped during capture, you will see the video “jump,” and if you drop enough frames, entire sections of your video can be lost. The audio may snap or pop as well.

    Some people ask, “How many dropped frames are acceptable during capture?” The answer is simple: None.

    If you are dropping frames during capture, here are the most likely causes, starting with the most likely.


    DMA stands for Direct Memory Access. It is a feature of all modern computers that lets data go from one device to another without having to pass through the CPU, thus freeing up the processor for more important tasks. It must be enabled for each disk drive on your computer.

    If DMA is not enabled, you WILL drop frames. It’s as simple as that.

    To check whether DMA is enabled:

    In Control Panel, double-click on “System.” Then, click on the Hardware tab, and then on "Device Manager." Expand the "IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers" branch. Double-click on the "Primary IDE Channel" (unless your drive is connected to the secondary drive, in which case you double-click on that). On the "Advanced Settings" tab you will find the setting you are looking for. Also, the current mode will be displayed. What you DON'T want is PIO Mode. If you have any form of DMA, you will be fine.

    If you have an Intel motherboard, especially one from Dell, you may need to change DMA settings by using the Application Accelerator utility that comes with the Dell. If this utility is installed, you will find that you cannot set DMA using the above procedure, and that you must use the utility. If you cannot find it on your Start menu, then you will find an Intel folder in your Program Files folder, and you can navigate to the EXE file from there and start the application.

    Once started, click on the "+" mark next to the "Primary Channel," and then click on the Master drive. In the right pane, you will see various settings, most of which you cannot change. The only one that you can change that relates to your problem is the "Transfer Mode Limit" parameter. That should be set to "No Limit."

    Background processes

    Even if you have no other programs running, you will still have dozens of processes that are doing things in the background. These include anti-virus programs, fax/modem software, various disk utilities, and much more.

    If you are running Windows XP, you can find out what processes are running by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del. If you have closed all your programs, you will find that the “Applications” tab shows nothing running. However, if you click on the Process tab you will see several dozen processes running. This is normal.

    You can use the Startup tab in the MSCONFIG utility to temporarily disable any process that you suspect might be causing a problem. To start MSCONFIG, click on the Start button, then on Run, type MSCONFIG and then press Enter. Look at the list of startup programs, and remove the check from the checkbox for any process you don’t think is needed. You have to re-boot after disabling a process using MSCONFIG. If you later find that this process is needed (for instance if you get an error message from some application), you can simply run MSCONFIG again and re-enable the check box.

    There is an excellent list of all the common Windows XP processes, and which ones can be disabled, at this site:

    One example of a background process that WILL cause dropped frames, is HPHA1MON. This background software is installed if you have an HP printer with a built-in card reader. You definitely do not want this process running during video capture.

    Another nasty background process is the Microsoft Indexing Service. Very few people even know it exists, but if you have Microsoft Office installed, this beast cranks away in the background, indexing every document on your hard disk. To disable the Indexing Service go into "My Computer", right-click on all your hard drive letters one at a time. Left-click "Properties". Then, uncheck "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching". Select "Apply changes to subfolders and files". If any files can not be updated select "Ignore All".

    Adware and Viruses

    While relatively few computers get infected with viruses, a huge number are now infected with “Adware.” If you find that your computer displays annoying pop-ups, you may have Adware installed on your computer. This background software usually gets installed as a result of downloading and installing some “shareware” or “freeware” program. The authors of these programs often cannot make enough money from the sale of their products, and so they sell advertising space in their programs. When you run their programs, ads are downloaded from the web and displayed. If this were all that happened, it would be no big deal, because virtually every web site you visit has some sort of advertising displayed. However, unlike ads displayed on a web page, these ads are downloaded and displayed by a program running in the background. Further, the companies that produce the adware are not content to merely display banner ads, but instead often also tracks what you do on your computer. This is obviously a major invasion of privacy. However, the real killer for video capture is that these adware programs are usually very poorly written, and many of them completely kill the performance of your computer. In some severe cases, the mouse even ceases to be responsive.

    To find out if you have a problem, download, install, and run an adware or “spyware” removal program, such as Adaware from Lavasoft:

    or Spychecker:

    Install the 1394 (Firewire) patch

    There are a variety of problems with the 1394 driver in Windows XP. These are described in this Microsoft Knowledgebase article:;en-us;329256

    While the problems described in this article primarily relate to connecting and disconnecting 1394 devices, many users have reported capture problems have been solved after installing the patch recommended in the article. Since this patch is made by Microsoft, and since it can be uninstalled if you don’t like it, there is little downside to trying it out (although any external Firewire drives will transfer at a slightly slower rate). Here is the link to the driver:

    XP’s Service Pack 2 includes this driver fix.

    Capture to a different physical hard disk.

    This is especially important for slower computer (less than 1 GHz). In general, it is a good idea to put data — including video — on a different physical disk than the one used for your program files.

    Power Saving

    This is definitely a problem on some, older laptops. You usually get only a few, widely spaced dropped frames. The solution is to change the options for powered operation so that it never turns off the screen or the disk drive. The strange thing about this problem is that the dropped frames will happen long before either the screen or drive power down.

    Other problems

    The solutions given above are the most likely problems. Here are a few other things to check.

    It is amazing how much damage a poorly written driver can do. Video drivers are usually the worst culprits. Bad drivers can screw up the entire system. Go to your computer manufacturer’s web site, or the vendor that makes your graphic card, and download the latest drivers.

    Firewire drives

    Some external Firewire drives seem to have a design flaw that causes them to interfere with streaming data on the Firewire cable. Some older Western Digital Firewire drives definitely can interfere. Therefore, if you are dropping frames — whether you or capturing to the Firewire drive or not — try disconnecting the Firewire drive and then try the capture to a drive inside your computer.

    Unlikely causes

    Here are some other things often recommended to solve dropped frame problems:


    Perhaps it is possible to get a disk fragmented to the point of dropping frames. If you have exhausted the other previous suggestions, go ahead and defragment if you want to -- it won't hurt anything, except for the several hours of time while your disk grinds away.

    IRQ settings

    Modern "XP computers" are designed to share interrupts. Many tutorials on dropped frames recommend eliminating shared IRQs, but in a modern XP computer, this is unlikely to make any difference. One thing for certain: If you try to change IRQs, you will end up taking a pretty wild ride. Things might actually get broken in the process.


    Most modern BIOS are pretty well debugged. The updates usually address pretty mundane issues, like handling a peripheral device that didn't exist when the BIOS was first created. Updating your BIOS is unlikely to help.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Berkshire, UK


    In my experience, with Pinnacle software at least, the biggest cause of dropped frames or artifacts in captured video is the firewire port the video is being captured over. This is especially the case if the firewire port is one housed on a sound card. In this case it is often worthwhile buying and fitting a dedicated firewire card.

    That's my opinion. If you don't like it I have others

    System: Apple Macbook Pro 17, and an external Freecom 500GB eSATA drive.
    Software: Final Cut Studio 2 (FCP 6, Motion 3, Soundtrack Pro 2, Color, DVD Studio Pro 4, Compressor 3), Sonicfire Pro 4.5
    Favourite Resources:, Free DVD menus, Ken Stone's FCP Page, Wikivid

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