How to solve a General Error in Final Cut Pro 7 - or not
As some of my Twitter followers might know. I had a “General Error” constantly showing up in Final Cut last week. The program just stopped playing and was showing this message. Next to it was a neat looking OK button, but nothing else. Just a stupid OK button. All logs didn’t give any hint on what might cause this problem, the logs weren’t even constant. Sometimes there were log entries, sometimes there weren’t, sometimes they were referring to some sort of Motion.framework bug, but most of the time they weren’t. Really weird.
A “General Error” usually occurs when there is a problem with corrupted media files. A friend told me: visibly corrupted. My media was fine though. Heck there wasn’t even much of a change at that location in the timeline. General Error.
4 days, including my weekend, wasted, trying to find a solution. Here’s what I did, before I decided to re-record that damned 30-minute screencast, grudgingly. Remember I’m getting this error on a clip that hasn’t been altered.
- Re-export the media file from ScreenFlow with same settings.
- Re-export the media file with different settings.
- Re-encode using a different media encoder like Compressor.
- Re-encode using a non-Apple media encoder like MPEG Streamclip. (Which also has a handy “fix corrupted frames” function)
- Create a new sequence, copy & paste from malicious sequence.
- Create a new sequence, recreate sequence.
- Create a new project, create a new sequence, copy & paste.
- Create a new project, create a new sequence, recreate sequence.
- Install Snow Leopard on a new internal partition. Install FCP7 there.
- Start getting desperate.
- Tinkering with the idea of moving all Mac OS X Screencasts projects to FCPX and Motion.
- Start liking the idea. Improved editing times, better look, modern app, the integration with Motion.
- There’s no way I could go to Final Cut X easily. I record in 1024x768. FCPX doesn’t allow projects being an “arbitrary” size, only movie resolutions are supported. The only size that fits with 1024x768 are the 2k and 4k resolutions. These projects would be twice the size, but on export Final Cut uses the source material, which means it won’t be scaled. I tried it, but this method doesn’t make my screencasts look very pretty.
- Dumping this idea.
- Try to work with stills.
- Does the error occur just there or does it also happen when the entire clips are moved somewhere else? → No, position doesn’t affect Mr. Error.
- Does the error occur when its video track is deleted? → No.
- Does it occur when its audio track is deleted? → No. It was weird to see this, you would have assumed that one or the other makes General Error come up, but not both.
- Apple released their response to the concerns people have with editing in Final Cut Pro X. I looked at their videos. They record in 1200x720. If I go for FCPX now, I would probably use this widescreen size from now on, but I wait out a little longer.
- I read somewhere of someone having had luck with Auto Rendering the sequence. So I reduced the time it takes for Auto Render to start. General Error.
I re-recorded and edited the clip in question now, but started getting General Error after importing title sequences and lower thirds. I decided, now that it’s too late already, to do what I wanted to do for so long: Redesign all animations in Motion. Mac OS X Screencasts never looked that good.
I hope to have this screencast ready soon.
To everyone else who’s trying to solve General Error: Good luck!
Here’s a funny Twitter conversation for you.