Tag Archives: failure

Lightroom Craps Out With Videos

This is a tale of a problem I got in to with Lightroom.  I Googled solutions for this and got a bunch of suggestions but none of them worked.  In the end, Adobe sorted out the issue but I wanted to share what happened in case anyone else experiences the same issue and ends up Googling like I did.  Maybe this post will help someone out.  The source of the problem was an MP4 video file that apparently had some corruption within it.  This screwed up stuff within Lightroom that needed some detailed work to fix.  First, I shall tell you what the main error was.  This might be what someone is searching for.

Dynamic Link Media Server Failed to Launch

The result is that video files don’t import and then you seem to struggle to preview videos at all.  When you are in the Import dialog, the video preview doesn’t show and an icon of a camera comes up instead.  Some of the recommendations online were to delete the Dynamic Link Media folders in the App Data section of Windows and restart but that didn’t help.  I also tried that and deleting the media cache but no luck.  Next was to delete the Preferences folder for Lightroom which can often be a solution for unexplained problems but that didn’t work either.  That is when I got Adobe involved.

The support engineer tried a bunch of things.  Eventually, he created a new user on the machine and opened up Lightroom in there.  We tried importing a new video file from the same camera and that worked.  He then set about deleting the Lightroom related app data in my user profile and replacing it with the data from the new User.  We then tried importing the new file and it worked fine.  Next was the previous file and that caused the same problem as before.  Now we knew the file was the problem we could isolate that from everything we did afterwards.

Of course, I had damaged Lightroom again but now we knew what was required, it was a simple task to copy the folders across again.  The only downside to this was that all of my presets and information got deleted.  However, I had copied the old Lightroom folders before starting all of this.  It wasn’t too tricky to replace my camera profiles, develop presets and plugins.  At first I thought I had lost some functionality that I really like.  I have a plugin called LRInstagram which allows me to post from Lightroom to Instagram directly.  Facebook has turned off the ability to do this so, if you install the plugin now, it won’t work.  However, something about my legacy setup meant I had still been using it.  When I tried to set this up again, it failed to work.  However, my old Lightroom folder had a sub folder for the plugin which contained something like a cookie and, when I copied this across, I was back up and running!

All of this is to say, if you have a similar problem to me, there is a solution.  I won’t lay out the files that are involved because it is a bit tedious and there are some other things to bear in mind but, if this happens to you, get in touch and I will talk you through what we did.

Smokewinders Not Smoking

My F-16 shots from RIAT didn’t just throw up vortices (like this post).  They also showed something that seems to be a common occurrence in flying displays.  That is the failure of a Smokewinder to perform.  Smokewinders are a smoke generating pod that fits on a Sidewinder launch rail.  They are controlled from the cockpit and should add a nice effect to a display sequence.  The Belgian Air Force display aircraft was using them for its display.

In the early 90s we used them on the BAe company Hawk demonstrators at shows.  The crews had got to understand the workings of the pods well and knew what could cause them to quit during a display.  At one Farnborough, they actually helped out one of the other companies that was having trouble keeping theirs running smoothly.  I guess the problem hasn’t gone away and the knowledge is not widely shared as the Belgian jet lost one pod during its display.  In the shot above, you can see a small amount of flame emerging rather than the intended smoke and, a short while later, the pod quit for the rest of the display.

My Copy of Lightroom Got Sick

After a previous update to Lightroom (6.12), it became almost unusable.  Importing would take forever and, once the images were in, it would grind to a halt.  Keywording and editing became a nightmare.  I was struggling to work out what was wrong.  A check on performance showed the processor wasn’t busy but the RAM was maxed out.  I couldn’t understand why.  The first thing I do when Lightroom behaves strangely is to delete the Preferences file.  This file can get corrupted and mess with the performance badly.  Just delete it and restart and things are often fixed.  That didn’t work in this case.  When the new version of Lightroom was released, I hoped this would fix everything but sadly not.  (Meanwhile Photoshop itself is working just fine on this system.)

I had a long session with the Adobe tech support people which got me nowhere.  After telling me this was normal, they realized it was not when our screen sharing crapped out as a result of the machine slowing to a virtual standstill.  They tried a bunch of simple stuff and got no further than I had on my own.  They suggested a second session would be needed and then promptly sent me an email telling me that the issue had been successfully resolved.  Not sure how they concluded that.  Meanwhile, I wondered whether there was an issue with my Windows installation so decided to do a completely clean install.  This had some slight benefits but basically the problem still remained.

I have done a bunch of scanning of similar issues and I found out a technique the support team can use to tweak performance.  There is a config.lua file that can be created in the presets folder to influence the system.  I have added this file and it has certainly made a few things work better.  It has also slowed some things down as well which isn’t ideal.  This was not a solution though.  All it did was make the program slightly more usable.

Another session with Adobe ensued.  This time we got into the permissions for some of the folders that contained the catalogs.  Lots of time to reset these to give greater authority.  I was told this is sometimes an issue with large catalog files.  Lots of time later, I found that nothing had really changed.  The whole thing would still get bogged down very quickly.

Then I read about Lightroom 7.2.  This was a new update that was supposed to address a lot of performance issues.  It was supposed to make better use of multi-core processors as well as larger RAM configs.  I had seen a sequence of updates not improve things – my issues were clearly not the normal performance problems although I had previously experienced some of them too – but I was hoping that, if they had changed the architecture of the software, maybe whatever was causing my machine to have problems might have been tweaked/replaced.  If not, I was seriously considering the need to buy a new system since this was so horribly inefficient.

I waited for the release date to come around when I knew the update was on its way.  Then I got an update to the iPad version and it said the new version of Camera Raw was included.  This must mean it was close.  A day later, the update dropped.  I downloaded it immediately and opened up.  Hurrah!!!  Everything run fast, the RAM levels were moderate and stable, everything was happening as it should.  My system lives!  Let’s hope this isn’t a false dawn.

Demise of a NAS

Moving house means packing up your stuff and hoping it all survives the journey.  Some things you have are not ones you are happy about leaving out of your control so you take them with you.  Since we were driving up, we had a bit of flexibility about what we could take with us.  Aside from the camera gear, I brought my two NAS devices.  These have the backups of all of my stuff so, while the computer went in the truck, I had the backups.  However, when we got to the new place, one of the NAS units wouldn’t fire up.

This rather defeated the purpose of taking my backups with me.  The reason I have two units is that the one I have had the longest is limited in the size of drives it can handle.  2Tb drives are the largest so, as it was getting full, I bought a new unit.  Originally I had planned to just use it but, instead, I kept the one going and added new data to the new unit to avoid having to buy larger drives up front.

I figured at some point I might want to retire the old NAS.  It was far noisier than the new one and was probably over ten years old.  It seems to have made the decision for me.

Now I was in a worrying position.  The newer unit didn’t have enough capacity for all of the data.  However, it could handle most of it.  I immediately backed up what I could.  Meanwhile, I ordered new drives to expand it.  The price of drives has dropped dramatically so the 3Tb units are being replaced by 8Tb items.  That should provide plenty of capacity for a long time!  As the drives get swapped out sequentially and the NAS rebuilds and syncs everything, I gradually got extra capacity and set up the full back up process.  Now I am back to normal.  It does make me wonder about the life cycle of a NAS though.  (As an aside, I do have a tertiary backup of the images to BluRay so, while some elements were vulnerable for a while, the majority did have a fallback option.)