Tuesday, March 27, 2007

When you get that message and you can't figure out why

While dealing with a very odd problem in Final Cut Pro with a customer in my daily Apple Tech job, I came across what seems to be a common problem that has many people in dozens of forums seemingly dangling for an answer.

Final Cut Pro (4.5 and HD) displays this:

When Final Cut Pro or Final Cut Pro HD displays a "Preview Disabled" error message with a color bar in your log and capture window - the fix is just to reinstall Quicktime.

Just go to:


Other troubleshooting that I tried before I arrived at this conclusion:

* Searched the web ... Googled for "Preview Disabled Final Cut Pro" <-- no clear answer

* Tried a different firewire cable going to the DV camera <-- always good to do

* Made sure I had only the DV camera plugged in to firewire <-- worth a try

* Turned off capture hard drive <-- try to eliminate hardware problems

* Toggled various settings for NTSC & firewire within Final Cut Pro <-- this was useless & unnecessary

* Ran Disk Utility - Hard Drive/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility <-- always good to do

* Made sure all updates were applied - Apple Menu/Software Update <-- always good to do*

* Before you download any software it's best to do your homework first. I usually go to XLR8YourMac.COM and read the notes from various commenters and Mike's excellent followups for about a week before I download ANY operating system or iTunes updates.

This problem is very odd because you can see the time code running and you can control the camera, but nothing happens on your "log & capture" preview screen after pulling it up from the file menu. It seems at first as though it were a hardware problem. Forum after forum suggested that it was a settings issue.

It seems this is a common problem that crops up after users download updates. The 10.4.8 update seemed to have a few threads after it was released and the forums seemed to have new activity starting two weeks ago when the 10.4.9 update came out. Don't forget that all iTunes updates usually carry a Quicktime update or at the very least alter Quicktime in some way ... so even if you update iTunes ... make sure you REINSTALL the latest version of Quicktime. It's best to just bookmark the link above and have it handy.

9 times out of 10 I have discovered that if you are experiencing problems with iMovie, Final Cut Pro HD, or any video editing program .... reinstalling Quicktime seperately (even if you recently updated) is always good to do. It's also good to run Disk Utility after you run the installer.

If you are having any problems with Final Cut or Final Cut Pro ... please don't hesitate to post a message here ... I'll see if I can help or ask one of my many Video editing customers.


Anonymous said...

This is a great tip. I can see why it made the page at topix.net

TMezz said...

it didn't work.
I'm using Final Cut 5.1.4 - and the most frustrating thing is when I first set up and started digitizing, it did work. I kicked up "log and capture," saw the image, clicked play, clicked "capture now" and it captured. after 37 minutes, it crapped out. I quit the program, and tried to start again. I started a new project. I followed your instructions and re-installed Quicktime. I fiddled with all the settings. I plugged and unplugged. it's anoying, of course; but what else is new. MacBook Pro, external fatty hard drive, Canon miniDV camera, firewire in to the computer; USB 2.0 firewire from external hard drive in to the computer. any thoughts?
thank you.

FYT said...

What OS are you using? Have you applied all updates? Try a 2nd reinstall of Quicktime - I assure you that this IS THE ISSUE.

Anonymous said...

yes it worked,

what you need to do is trash all the UPDATES since THE TIME you have the problem.

Anonymous said...

hi there. am having a nightmare with 'preview disabled'. i'm running final cut 5.1.4 on a G5 with OS 10.4.1 and a dsr-11 hooked up through firewire. i was loading footage as i have been for several days now, everything was going fine, i set a batch capture which was working fine, walked away, when i came back it had captured half the clips, but the others were bypassed due to a "timecode error". since then it's been 'preview disabled' hell. i've looked around these forums and elsewhere for solutions and i think i've tried it all. i've checked all the a/v settings, tried several different tapes, i've replaced the firewire/dv in cable, i've reinstalled the latest quicktime, trashed the FCP preferences, reset the deck, unplugged, replugged, caps ain't on, everything is 'fit to window', viewer is 'all frames', G5 recognizes DSR-11 in the system profile, nothing else funky going on. i can operate the dsr-11 through my keyboard, and i can see and hear through the audio/video outputs to my production monitor but it can't seem to find timecode in order to capture or play tapes... and preview disabled problem persists. same situation when i tested dsr-11 on my macbook, which is why i'm reluctant to reinstall final cut or the OS. also can't capture or see anything in imovie though it recognizes that a "camera" is attached. i'm about ready to call the sony repairman. before i do that, anybody got anything else on this i can try?

FYT said...

I notice several things from your comment.

1) Did you reinstall Quicktime with the latest installer from the Apple Website?

2) You say you have 10.4.1 - this is definitely a problem. It is best to have 10.4.9 (NOTICE no 10.4.10)

3) There have been a number of pro app updates, these must be applied as well

I can assure you 100% that this message is SOLELY due to a bad/corrupt install of Quicktime.

Anonymous said...

hey, thanks for responding so fast. the plot thickens. meant to say i'm running 10.4.10 ... i again reinstalled quicktime 7.2 and also installed the pro app update 4.0.2. now ... the situation is different. the deck allows me to see and hear through log/capture but there are 5 bars of pixelation across. thick bars of green/purple pixalation. i tried capturing a clip and it did come in with the pixaltion, and with distorted audio as well. any ideas?

FYT said...

I talked to my customer whom I originally had this problem with and he said your FireWire device is bad

Anonymous said...

which firewire device do you mean? the dsr-11? or the computer firewire? or the plug?

FYT said...

are you using the front panel firewire, the back, or the firewire 800? Try a different cable. Also you could try a firewire/USB combo card.

Anonymous said...

i did try a new firewire cable when the preview disabled thing was happening. it didn't fix anything, plus i just tried to hook up the deck from the front firewire panel instead of the back and that didn't work either. don't think it's anything to do with my G5 because the same pixelation problem occurs when i hook up the deck to my laptop. i fear the deck somehow got corrupted by a bad tape. this whole thing started in the middle of a batch capture.

FYT said...

If you are getting the same thing on another computer then that's what my client meant by a bad firewire device ... you just happened to have experienced the problem here as a coincidence.

Anonymous said...

rats! ok, thanks for your help.

Anonymous said...

Have this problem and it might be the recording speed.

I originally tried to upload footage from a single dv tape that had been recorded in extended play. I got an error that said the footage could not be imported because the camera "is sending half sized frames"

All the other tapes are recorded in regular speed and they will import into both imovie and final cut.

If it is the recording speed, I don't have a solution for how to import it yet.

FYT said...

The "Preview DIsabled" message is SPECIFICALLY a corrupt install of Quicktime.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but updating the software and separately installling Quicktime 7.2 doesn't get rid of the "preview disabled" on this particular tape.

Every other tape, recorded in standard time, will show in the log and capture preview window.

The tape recorded in "long play" will always bring up the "preview disabled " window.

It's still doing it even though I've done the reinstall of quicktime.

FYT said...

Did you uninstall quicktime first?

Did you try reformatting and reinstalling Final Cut, Updating it, downloading pro application support, and then quicktime?

Did you make sure to re-eneter your PRO serial number?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I did all that and it still doesn't work. The only way I can get the footage from a "long play" tape is to import it into quicktime first.

Once it's in quicktime, I then move it to Final Cut. That's the only solution I've found

FYT said...

I can assure you it is a quicktime corruption as the "Preview Disabled" message is directly linked in the Final Cut software for a Quicktime corruption.

It may be a problem with your hardware - a device can corrupt the software if the firewire device is not loading the data properly.

Purple Underpants said...

I am having the same issue. I have control over my deck but cannot get an image in the log and capture window. I am using a camera as my deck. I tried a second camera with no change. I matched my FCP settings to a friend's whose having no problem capturing.

I reinstalled quicktime and am running 7.5. Is there something special you're supposed to do for reinstallation? Do I need to throw anything out?

I am running OSX 10.4.11 and FCP 6.0.4.

FYT said...

Reinstall QuickTime using the installer downloaded from the Apple website - not just from the software update menu.

Make sure you register QuickTime - FCP depends on Quicktime Pro.

Repair your disk permissions.

Try running the free program AppleJack

Purple Underpants said...

Well, I just reinstalled QT for the third time and got the preview to enable! Yay!

HOWEVER, as soon as I plugged in my external hard drive the preview disabled again. Apparently my external Lacie drive going through firewire 800 is somehow disabling the preview. Weird. I tested it on two different drives and it happens in both cases.

It may still be a QT problem as when I open imovie I get the following warning:

The QT components necessary to view, edit, import, and export several kinds of movies are not installed. These components are included with the iMovie installer. Please re-install.

I'm not using iMovie to edit. I'm using FCP, but I opened it up just to check out capturing from there...also to no avail.

I suppose I can capture to my internal drive and transfer over, but I have so much material that this is pretty annoying.


FYT said...

When did you last purchase a new QT serial number?

Your serial number may be outdated or may have possibly been pirated (elsewhere ... not necessarily by you)

Are your 400 drives still working?

I hope this information has helped you.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Thanks for the great post. We're having the same problem. We're using a Sony HVR-M15AE player for inputting. The only difference is that if we put a PAL tape in that plays back in the preview window fine but if we put an NTSC tape in we get the "preview disabled" message. We've re-installed QT twice and also looked at and changed all the appropriate project/sequence/Audio Video settings but no effect. Any ideas?

FYT said...

This post sees a lot of action each time itUnes and or Quicktime is released.

It is a problem with your Quicktime installation. Don't just reinstall - redownload the COMPLETE quicktime installer and RE ENTER your quicktime pro code. Final cut DOES NOT WORK without Quicktime Pro.

Also make sure that your computer is fully updated. Often this means iTunes as well. iTunes installs its own quicktime components. You need to load all Pro Application updates as well.

Finally - try a different firewire cable.

Anonymous said...

I have read that the Sony dsr-11 isn't compatible with Final Cut Pro 6. I read this after having my own frustration with trying to log and capture footage on my mini DV tapes using DSR-11.

I tried reconnecting, and using a different fire wire cable. So far it's the same issue: preview disabled.

I am reading the suggestions on this forum, but so far nothing that confirms or denies the possibility that the Sony DSR-11 has problems working with Final Cut Pro version 6.

Does anyone know if this might be the case ?

Here was the link where I read this:


FYT said...


I've personally had bad experiences with this particular Sony device ... one firmware revision even was recalled.

This message is generated by QuickTime

Test by trying a FireWire camcorder