I have recovered the Terminal Philosophy edit files! Here’s a picture of me to prove it:
I mentioned in the last vodcast the horror of the Final Cut “general error” message. Well, you can rest easily knowing that the problem (if not the mystery behind it) is solved. I got in touch with a very nice film major here (he was one of my orientation leaders), who smuggled me into the editing lab so that I could hook up my hard drive and recover the files that wouldn’t open on my laptop. If you’re not technologically inclined or curious, be content with this explanation: it took some cajoling, but I got the files to work and now I’m back to being a part-time editor as well as a full-time student. If you want all the nitty-gritty techno-details, read ahead:
I figured the problem was something in versioning. When I crossgraded Final Cut so it would run on my Intel Macbook, I sent in the disc for Final Cut 5.0 and got back a disc for Final Cut 5.1. So I was a bit disheartened to see that the G5s in the editing lab are now also using 5.1—I wasn’t sure if the files would load on them, either. But they did. Huh. Anyway, they said the project files were from an older version of the program (true) and that I should re-save them in the new format. I did. I tried the newly saved file on my laptop. Still got the general error. I noticed that the edit lab was running FCP 5.1.1, while my laptop was running 5.1.0. Did a software update. Figured this must be the problem. Tried again. Still didn’t open. So I went stone-age. I opened each individual sequence on the G5, exported them to XML and re-imported them on my laptop. That worked, so I did it with all the sequences I needed, and re-built the projects from there.
So I still have no idea what was causing the problem or, thanks to the EXTREMELY verbose error message “general error,” what the problem even WAS. I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities: 1) I have an incompatible video card in my Macbook. This is what Apple says, anyways, and it’s why Final Cut Studio is officially unsupported on Macbook. This doesn’t make any sense, though, because the video card is not involved in parsing project files, which is what was failing. 2) It’s because my Macbook has an Intel processor. This also doesn’t make any sense, because FCP 5.1 is universal and should be creating identically-structured files whether it’s running on a computer with a PowerPC or Intel chip.
If you know what caused this problem or have vast piles of cash with my name on them, you can e-mail me.