About the Activity and Logs window

In MovieRecorder 3, we paid extra attention not to have windows popping up all the time because we know that you can use it remotely and are not always in front of it. So having a blocking window telling you that there was an issue with the record can be an issue.

We then used an "Activity & Logs" window:

 

 

This window has 2 sections:

  • at the top, you have the "Activity" area which shows you different gauges to show the general status of all the sources and destinations (including the remote ones).
  • at the bottom the "Logs" area will display the different warning messages that were shown.

 

Activity

The Gauges explained

There are quite a few gauges shown in the Activity window. If you "hover" your mouse on one of them, you will see that there is a tooltip that explains what it means. Let's go through them.

But first you should know that these gauges can have different colours:

  • Green: when its use is between 0% and 70%
  • Orange is the "Warning level" when its use is between 70% and 85%
  • Red is the "Critical Level" when its use is between 85% and 100%

Note that for some of the gauges the warning level or even critical level is not too bad if it does not stay as such and is only temporary, while with other gauges reaching the critical level can really be problematic. See the explanations below of each Gauge.

 

Using the disclosure triangle to hide some info

Note that you can use the small disclosure triangle to show or hide part of the info. In the following screenshot, you can see that we only see the "computers":

  • Local is your computer
  • And them are listed the different remote recorders that you eventually control (one line per computer)

 

If you click on the disclosure icon for one of the computer, you should see:

  • The computer info:

  • The Source info:

  • The Destinations info:

 

Computer Gauges

For each of these computers, you can see:

  • CPU usage: shows how much of the CPU is used. 
  • Memory usage: shows how much of the CPU is used

Note that those are the values for all the processed on the computer, not only for MovieRecorder. So there could be another application using CPU and Memory. Basically this shows if your computer has enough CPU and Memory available to perform its tasks. So if the gauges are filling up, you will most probably have performance issues. Open the application "Activity Monitor" to verify which process is using CPU, and Memory and if it's not MovieRecorder, you may want to quit the other processes.

 

Source Gauges

For each source you can see the Source buffer. This is the video device (AJA Blackmagic-Design, M|family) buffer.

When the video device receives a frame from the SDI signal it stores it in a buffer (Depending on the type of device used the size of the buffer can vary, but is usually around 7 frames) until MovieRecorder come and get it. Ideally the buffer is empty or has one frame stored. Once we retrieved the frames we indicate to the SDK that we have it.  If we are slower than real time, then the buffer is filling up (this is what you see when the gauge is filling up) until it reaches the max number of frames (again depend on the device) and then the oldest frames are deleted from the buffer without us being able to retrieve them.

 

Now as to why we were not able to retrieve the frames quickly enough, this can be caused by various things:

  • MovieRecorder can be blocked in a process and too slow to retrieve the frames.
  • Another process is slowing down the whole computer, and thus slowing down MovieRecorder.
  • Thunderbolt connection is too slow. Something else is blocking the communications (can happen if you daisy chain too many things, or ask too much of the TB connection), or an issue in the cable.
  • The Card has an issue and has for example wrongly negotiated the PCI speed.
  • ...

 

Destination Gauges 

Then for each Destination you can see:

  • Destination Name: This is the "automatic name that is given to the source derived from the device name and the format. This is not the manual name that you have set.
  • Encoder Buffer: is the buffer that is used to store the uncompressed frames that are received from the video device and before they are encoded. If the encoder is too slow and encodes slower than real time, this buffer will fill up. When the "Encoder Buffer" is full, frames are dropped. When the gauge is full, it means that the "Encoder Buffer" is full.
  • Preset Name: is the name of the AV Preset that is used for that destination.
  • Encoder: shows how quick the encoder encodes frames. When the gauge is full it means that 1 frame takes exactly its duration (or more) to encode. So it leaves very few margin in case something happens and in this case the encoder buffer will fill up. If the gauge is half full, it means that the encoder encodes at twice the real time.
  • Write Buffer:  is the buffer that is used to store the frames encoded by the encoder, before they are written to the disk. If the disk is too slow and writes frames slower than real time, this buffer will fill up. When the "Write Buffer" is full, the destination will stop! But this buffer is 30 seoconds long. So it would mean that we were not able to write frames for 30 seconds, which is almost impossible to catch back anyway. When the gauge is full, it means that the "Write Buffer" is full. The write buffer is the only buffer that will cause the recording of that destination to stop (other destinations won't be impacted).
  • Write Needed: (Available only when you are currently recording and only for Classic QuickTime destinations) Shows the bandwidth that will be needed to write that destination to the disk. If you add up all these values for all your destinations, you will have an idea of the bandwidth that your hard drive must be able sustain.
  • Writer: The "Writer" gauge shows how quick the frames are written to the disk. When the gauge is full it means that 1 frame takes exactly its duration (or more) to be written to disk. So it leaves very few margin in case something happens. If the gauge is half full, it means that frames are written to the disk at twice the real time. The gauge can be full for a short period of time. It would just mean that writing to the disk was too slow at that moment. As long as the "Write buffer" does not fill up.
  • Remaining Space: Shows the remaining disk space in GB. While recording it also shows an estination of the duration that can be recorded for that destination. Note that
    • this estimation does not take into account all the other destinations, only that one.
    • this estimation is only available only when you are currently recording and only for Classic QuickTime destinations.

 

Logs

The log area will show you some important warnings. But it may be difficult to know what each log means and how to fix the possible issue. Her is an article that will explain the most common logs:

https://softron.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/220680728-TROUBLESHOOTING-About-the-most-common-Log-messages

 

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