FCP 7: Fixing a General Error
Probably my least favorite error in Final Cut Pro 7 (or earlier versions) is a General Error. It has one of the least helpful warning dialogs and is frustratingly difficult to solve. However, I’ve learned that when a General Error occurs it is almost always related to a bad clip, or a bad render file, in your sequence. Maybe not always, but this should be the first place to check.
General Errors most often relate to render problems; either when you are rendering directly during editing, or rendering as part of an export. While there isn’t a fast way to fix this, it can be fixed. Before you attempt to fix a General Error, it doesn’t hurt to reset your system by doing a Safe Boot.
NOTE: Here’s an article that explains how to do a Safe Boot: www.larryjordan.biz/trouble/
THINGS TO CHECK
1. While Final Cut SHOULD be able to work with video of different frame rates, it can often have problems when a clip with a faster frame rate (say, 30 fps) is put into a slower sequence (say, 23.98 fps). Disable clips with different frame rates and see if the General Error goes away when you render.
NOTE: To disable a clip, select it and type Control+B. A clip changes color when it is disabled.
2. It is possible that a specific render file became corrupted. This isn’t your fault, every so often it just happens. Delete all render files and see if the error goes away.
NOTE: To delete all render files associated with a track, turn off the green visibility light, located in the track header on the left of the Timeline, then turn it back on. This is just a quick click – click. If you don’t turn the visibility light back on, all clips in that track become invisible.
3. Sometimes clips downloaded from stock image houses are corrupted during the transfer. Disable any stock shots (select the clip and type Control+B) and re-render.
4. If these first three suggestions don’t work, you will need to get a bit more methodical by rendering your project in sections until you finally isolate the clip(s) that is causing a problem. To render just a portion of your sequence, select roughly 10% of your clips and render. If that works, SAVE YOUR PROJECT, then render the next 10%. (Saving your project allows you keep the render files that you’ve created so far, in the event of a crash.)
NOTE: The easiest way to render a portion of a project is to select the clips you want to render and choose Sequence > Render Selection. Make sure all the render options are checked, as they are in this screen shot.
Repeat this process until you find the section that causes the error. Now, render each clip in that section until you find the offending clip. In almost all cases, you’ll need to remove the clip causing problems and replace it with a new version.
Solving a General Error problem is possible; it’s just time-consuming. This gives you some tips on where to start.