System instability



  • Hi all,

    I don't really know how to word this, but I'm a little frustrated and I'm not sure if there's an answer for me. I've been using Izzy for a pretty long time now, but I'm by no means a specialist, as I make about one show a year that has projections in it. And I'm not really much of a gearhead. But I'm directing a production at a University and we're using projectors. I designed the show and built it and everything is fine and now that we're in runs I find a different issue every single time I open the file. During the last performance Isadora crashed in the middle of the show -- which was immensely embarrassing -- with no warning...just went straight to the desktop screen. Today when I opened it up one scene had no sound even though the patch looks totally fine. I shut it down and restarted and now there's sound.
    I've experienced a lot of such inexplicable issues for years now. I used to think that it was because I was overtaxing my MPB...but now I'm on their Mac Tower with 2.68 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon, 8 gigs of memory. And the show really isn't very complicated. For the most part I'm actually using it to run sound and then there's some video that are more-or-less unprocessed...everything compressed to avi using Apple photo jpeg, as Isadora suggests.
    I talked my University into buying Isadora over Qlab and they can't figure out what I love about it so much, since it's caused all these issues.  Really -- I know the program well enough to know when it's me and when it's the program.  This stuff has made NO sense and has always been fixed by restarting Isadora...but I shouldn't have to do that all the time.  I do love Isadora and it's the only program I really know -- I've invested a lot of time, energy, and money into it, but I'm starting to get disillusioned. I can't have programs crash in the middle of a show! 
    Do other people experience these kind of issues -- things that are one off and don't really reoccur specifically but are consistently problematic taken as a whole?
    I'd love some perspective.


  • For me Isadora has been very reliable. I have used it for installation, where it runs nonstop for weeks.

    Maybe you can find a log in a Console of your crash/freeze time still. There may be a clue what caused the problem.

  • Tech Staff

    I am sorry to hear this. This is something we take very seriously (Mark especially).

    For the 99% isadora works very reliably - but thats not good enough we want 100% so trust me when I say we will do everything we can to help you. We don't like crashes - especially not during a show. 
    If you haven't already then please submit a but report and a member of our team will work with you on this to figure out what is going wrong. It could be something as simple as a video component, a quartz file or similar.
    http://troikatronix.com/support/isadora/ 
    Can I ask what OSX you are using and what version of Isadora?
    Kind regards.


  • "everything compressed to avi using Apple photo jpeg" is a little suspicious, for OSX based systems use a .mov container not avi. Use photojpeg if you need realtime speed changes and reverse playback, otherwise use apple prores (the proxy and LT versions are also great and lite on your disks if you are using spinning drives and the source material is good).

    Are you running the latest version ie Isadora v2 (not a beta but a release), it is much better and worth the upgrade.
    I use Izzy in developments and never have any trouble with it (well not the crash to desktop trouble you mentioned)- but as a safety with ANY software I am running in a live show I make sure that if everything crashes I have a black desktop with no icons so that the worst is that the screen is blank, not revealing my horribly messy filing system.
    Also, Izzy is a kind of programming language and you can make bad choices in how you make your patches, (not to imply that you did), that can crash reliably.
    The mac pro 2.68 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon, sounds like a machine from 2010, they are still OK, but they have a very limited GPU as standard and bus speeds are also low, they also use spinning disks stock. Izzy should run fine, but I personally would not use this machine stock as a show machine, 6 years is pretty old for a computer. Various combinations of OS updates, old hardware, and outdated izzy versions can all add to your headaches.
    Also, just in case, from way back many people installed an extension called perian to give some extra features for video playback, this (especially in combination with avi on OSX can give you instability with movie playback), it is well documented http://perian.en.softonic.com/mac that it does not work and can cause conflicts when using quicktime version 7.6.6 or later.


  • Dear @jrhooker,

    As you've seen by now, I've sent you a personal email so we can get to the bottom of this together. @Fred 's comments are all very well stated. The other thing you've got to watch out for is using the old ("Classic") movie player on 10.9 or later. This leads to crashes for sure, and that's why we updated Isadora to v2 and replaced all the movie players with a system that is far more stable and robust on recent versions of Mac OS.
    I realize that all of this is cold comfort having faced a crash during a show. As I said to you in my mail, I want to apologize for Isadora having led to that embarrassing situation. I take these kinds of incidents very personally, and I never want to have a dissatisfied user. That's why I've reached out to you in a private email to see what we can find out.
    We do the best we can to make Isadora rock-solid. But, as Fred alluded to in his software, every software can face situations where it crashes. Without naming names, I can tell you of at least two specific situations I was involved in where Isadora saved a show because the competing software was crashing _every single run_. One of those competitors has a five-figure price tag. Given the openness of Isadora, it's a tough job to make it perfect. But we really do the very best we can. I'm sorry we didn't achieve that perfection in your situation.
    Sincerely,
    Mark


  • Hi Everybody,

    I just responded to Mark's personal email, and I really appreciate all the input.  
    To be frank, as I said, I have used Isadora a fair amount but not nearly as much as you all. I'm sort of an Advanced Beginner and definitely no computer genius. Often I do think that Fred's point that one can make bad patches that seem logical enough at the time may be true of me, but this show is actually really straightforward in a lot of ways. As it happens, it does seem that the crashes are likely caused by using Classic Movie Player with the most recent OSX. I had just assumed that if I was allowed to continue to use them, they would function fine.  That said, it was likely a mistake to upgrade in the midst of working on a show, especially when I didn't have time to really learn about the new features. To Fred's other point re: my compression practices...looks like I may need to go back and relearn things I thought I new. I thought the standard was to compress video files using apple photo jpeg to .avi at 320x240, so that's what I've always done.
    But Fred also knows more about the computer I'm using that I do, and that's a problem. Again, I'm not a software developer or a computer expert and this limitation doesn't seem to be going away. I have learned to use Izzy for my purposes in a very, I'm sure, idiosyncratic way.
    In any case, knowing what I know now, I'm terrified that I'll have crashes during the last three shows of my run. I'm going to get Mark the info he requested so he and his team can troubleshoot, but I don't think I have time to rebuild the whole file without using Classic Movie Players.  Looks like I kind of screwed myself.
    Thanks again for all your thoughts.  I'm a big fan of Isadora and this forum...I only wish that I was as smart as you all so I could understand and fix my own issues!
    Thanks,
    Jake


  • Hi Jake,

    A quick way to maybe avoid crash, is to reencode your movies into quicktime (.mov) photo-JPEG 75%Q files. (as Fred said above)
    How big is your patch ?

    Best
    Philippe



  • Personally I think Fred’s being overly harsh on your hardware there. I run stageshows in a hot environment for a touring theatre act, where they’re going for 3 straight hours. Some scenes have 5 projectors and 5 individual 1024x768 photojpeg movs playing simultaneously from an external USB2 spinning disk + various visual effects in realtime on top... doing a LOT, and they run rock stable on an old Core2Duo Laptop with crappy Intel integrated GPU and 7200rpm HDDs. 

    Sure, that MacPro would start to creak a bit if we were talking multiple simultaneous playback of 1920x1080 H264 or ProRes encoded videos from spinning disks, but still, that MacPro is plenty meaty enough to be handling multiple 320x240 photojpeg encoded **.mov** files playing and switching simultaneously. That’s just basic level stuff in terms of hardware demand. Even when I started out with Isadora, using an old PowerPC generation MacPro, I was outputting to 3x separate projectors with 3x 640x480 videos simultaneously off 5400rpm disks without issue.
    A fresh install of OSX wouldn’t go amiss just to clear out any duff conflicting bits as mentioned, but ultimately, re-encode your videos, switch from the classic movie player to the new movie player, and it should all be peachy. I would strongly suspect the avi container has been the cause of the majority of the issues you’ve experienced over the years if that’s what you’ve been using all this time.
    I’m not one to get overly defensive or loyal to any piece of software... and thanks to a mental-health issue, I’m as honest as they come... Isadora has it’s quirks, but honestly - it’s solid as a rock 99.7% of the time on whatever hardware I throw it at, be it a heap of junk thang running Windows XP from the back of someone’s wardrobe to the latest n’ greatest dustbin MacPro. It’s just a case of knowing the best video encoding settings for each platform if using Izzy as a video / audio scene switcher is all you’re really doing.


  • And out of curiosity - which University, which Country? You never know how near someone on here could be to consult with...



  • @Marci, yep I am definitely harsh on hardware, having capable and up to date systems systems with headroom is how I get great looking results and reliability in critical environments especially when I am pushing systems. But I also work at minimum 1080HD these days, I did not think anyone was still using 320*240....it means my systems have to be a little tougher and up to date, especially gfx cards- minimum 2 gig memory is a must as well as a system with the throughput on busses to handle this data.



  • I also have a same trouble on last two shows. After I've  changed video in bin picker, new video start to play(for a fading time, 1 second) and then Isadora hang without any response. Then "Application doesn't response" system message appears and a have to restart Isadora immediately to continue show.

    In try-out time everythings worked fine!
    On last show i've recorded all show's operation in Isadora by External camera. In few days i will demonstrate this moment. Maybe it could help you to find source of problem.

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