I got a problem with Dragonframe after ~6300 frames, it's getting really, really slow. At first it didn't allowed me to "step forward" in the animation using the right key button (for some reason it only works backwards) and I have to manually click on each frame to advance.
I could have worked with this issue but I also wanted to add and test the "character" setting and try to change my puppet lips (did not need it until now). Just after I added a new character (dr. sock) the program slowed down a lot, it's almost unresponsive. It takes seconds to listen to each command I give and it's really frustrating after so much hard work.
Do you guys know what could have happened? It worked great until now. Is this because I only used a single take, single scene to create my entire animation? Is this too much for Dragonframe? This happened too sudden and it makes me think something else is going on.
When creating a new scene all the above mentioned features work as intended.
Perhaps it helps to know that I'm using the 3.02 version and not the latest.
Hope this is a right place to post this, I have a feeling that dragonframe forums would recommend me to upgrade.
Perhaps it's also worth mentioning that I'm on a PC with an AMD FX-8320 processor and 8 GB, Dragonframe is only taking around 20%.
It wouldn't even let me preview, displaying 1 frame out of ~40. I removed the "character" and it's working normal again, but still not allowing me to advance using right key pad.
Really wanted to test the lip-sync feature :(
I only borrowed this to see how it goes but I sure don't think I'll purchase it now. Did you guys ran into any issues with it?
Found something else with the right/left pad button issue. It only works to step a frame forward until frame "6254" after which it only works backwards.
The strangest thing, after "6254" it's going backwards 2 frames (when pressing "back" once) instead of one.
That is a ridiculous number of frames for one shot! I prefer to do shots that I can complete in one day of animating, because overnight things tend to move and settle, so normally I don't go much beyond 12 seconds (300 frames). But there is one really long dialog shot I just did for someone else, 715 frames long (28 sec), that took me 3 days to shoot. (The set did shift each night, by I can add a move in post to disguise it.) The longest shot I have ever done in 20 years of animating was just over 1 minute, a long tracking shot, but that would have been around 1500 frames of film. Still not even close to the length of your shot, and before the days of framegrabbers anyway. Anyway, back to the point -
I was finding that DF, on my iMac, was ok with playing the audio in synch up to about 10 - 12 seconds, but then starts to struggle with playback and seems to get out of synch. It is only the playback, if I hold the right arrow key down it will go through in slo-mo and it is synched up. I think it is a bit much for my system to handle, and that is a fraction of the frames you are shooting.
As a work-around, you could start a new take now and then, so your computer is not dealing with so many frames in one piece. The hi res files would also be far easier to process is smaller batches, too. In your editor, they should all fit together seamlessly.
I should also say that I don't use the keypad provided, I use the keyboard and mouse, and the on-screen keypad in Dragonframe, so I don't know if that would have anything to do with it.
I would post at the forum on the Dragonframe site as well.
That first problem, not being able to click forward, is something it should be able to do, and would affect everyone if it were a common problem. I've never seen it on the 3 different Macs I've animated with Dragonframe on, using Dragon 1, Dragonframe 2, and now Dragonframe 3.5.
I do find that it will only click forward 25 frames past the last frame shot if I want to hear the audio in advance, which is annoying, but is actually enough to keep ahead of where I am up to with the animating. As I get further through the shot, the part of the audio I can slo-mo through also moves ahead so it is always 25 frames more than the frames I have shot.
You could try Stop Motion Pro Eclipse, since you are using a PC. They also have a free demo to try out. It might just play better with your particular PC.
I guess I'm not really using it as it should and I'll continue with a new take to see how it goes. The thing is, I wasn't really sure how to process files from different locations or to connect them in a straight line and one take seemed easier.
My set at the moment it's only a top flat view for exercising timing, movement, speed, sync and what ever else I can make with it. It didn't really require more takes since I don't have a script and just go from where I leave it one day after the next. My set moved from time to time but I just tried to blend it in and accepted it as it is.
The "step forward" issue also happens with the keyboard but I assume it's because it can't and perhaps shouldn't handle so many frames in one go.
I think I'll stick with DragonFrame for a while but will try Stop Motion Pro Eclipse as an alternative to see how it is.
Thank you very much Nick for your advice and for sharing some of your experience. I am really just at the beginning of a road here and hope I'm not and won't be a burden with stupid questions like this one might have been.
By the way, I've seen your videos on Vimeo and I have to say they are really good and inspiring.
Normally you would use Dragonframe just as an aid to capture your frames, and see what you are doing. It is designed mostly for pros who have access to other software, rather than as an all-in-one that does everything but not that well. Then you assemble everything in an editing program like Premiere Pro or Vegas or Final Cut Pro or whatever. (Or in my case, do wire removal and cropping/re-sizing from DSLR stills to HD in another program like After Effects or TV Paint, then put it in the editor.)
I would take one more frame in the same take, at the start of the next day, to see how it compares with the last shot taken the day before. If there is any adjusting to minimise movement you could do it there. (My floor expands and contracts overnight and during a long day's shooting, so both the set and camera on its tripod can move very slightly.) Once it is as ok as possible, open a new take in Dragonframe, re-shoot the first frame and carry on shooting from there. Maybe not every day, but often enough so you don't get such a huge number of frames for it to handle at once.
I found it easy enough to load my image sequence in After Effects, place sounds and render in an H.264 ecoded mp4 file.
What would "Premiere Pro" do more as an editing software in your case? I think I'll get a trial to test it.
After Effects is really good at processing (and adding effects to) individual clips, but Premiere is exactly what you'd want to use to, as you put it, "process files from different locations and to connect them in a straight line". It's specifically designed to do that in a way that neither Dragonframe or After Effects are.
The *best* solution to your problem is just not to create 4 hr long takes within Dragonframe, but it's possible that you're using a 32-bit operating system (or that Dragonframe only runs 32-bit), which means the process itself has a memory cap at 2GB (a bit above, but still pretty close to the 20% of 8GB you're seeing right now).
I will deffinetly give "Premiere" a try, I was a bit confused since all Adobe programs seem to have some functionalities working intertwined on more than one product. Like the stand-alone render feature from "After Effects" while it's still recommended to use the alternative "Media Encoder", guess this might be a marketing strategy.
In regards to my "DragonFrame" issue I suppose you are right, my Windows is running at 64-bit but Dragonframe is installed for 32-bit. This explains why "After Effects" can fill up my RAM and show me a longer preview time while DragonFrame only does so for ~300 frames.
Thank you Thomas for the new information.
To update my progress, I have used a new take, I can go forward/backards without issues but the character is still slowing the program down really bad. I have to minimize him when doing anything else and bring him back only when I need to lip-sync! Hopefully this won't happen with my next project but for now I got used to it.
What version of Dragonframe are you running? This sounds like a pre-3.5 issue. You should update your software to 3.6.5 and see if you still get the issue.
Never expected a reply from the main developer of DragonFrame. I will try that for my next project, for now I'll finish it as it is.