Flame for longform - awful performance

Hi all,

my life on Flame is becoming very miserable - playback has never worked for me on long file sequences, and the GUI performance is really bad too - opening libraries, saving, scrubbing the timeline - everything appears to max out one of the the cores.

My question to the team is not really about these specific issues, but the following:

  • How are people managing large projects - let’s say 10x60mnins with under 100 effects per ep

  • Does anyone get playback of 4k image sequences for 60 mins - either on local drives or from a central storage?

  • How do people interact with Autodesk? Is the concept of a site visit now an anachronism?

Thanks- love my Flame, but I feel it’s becoming an abusive relationship!

Gareth Parry


If you are doing episodic TV, I keep a library per episode and close all but the library of the episode I am working on. If you have multiple episodes and they are all open then Flame will slow down.

I definitely get playback of 4K media. I’ve played off a SAN, DAS and NAS. It all depends on the media you are playing from, the performance of the storage, the bandwidth and latency of how you access the storage and how intensive the playback is for the system you are on. For instance, if there is a compression algorithm such as JPEG 2000 which can be heavy on decompression using the CPU.

I tend to email someone at Autodesk when I need help. Or go through the official support ticket system which you can navigate to from the bottom right menu under help.


You mention nothing of hardware. What are you running on hardware-wise?


I agree with what you’re saying Gareth and I know of a lot of places who are having the same issues you’re having, it doesn’t matter if you’re on a z840 or a threadripper these issues will still be there.
After doing quite a lot of testing I’ve finally managed to get to a position I’m happy with regarding playback.
I’ve reverted back to flame 2021, the last build, and try to only use uncompressed formats if linking. If I receive a lossless compressed format such as a piz exr then I’ll cache it and blow the cache asap to keep on top of storage.
I need to get round to testing 2023 properly as I only had a day on someone else’s machine but I had mainly good playback.
I had a 5 part Netflix drama at the end of 2022 with a lot of effects and I had perfect playback, currently on a 7 part paramount and it’s the same.
I keep it all in one project, different libraries per episode and close the libraries not in use. Give me a shout if you want to chat about it.


Thanks Rob - interested to hear what you’re up to - I’ll be in touch! Thank also for the validation - nice to be able to have chat about the reality of using this system.

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Another thought - why are so many operations in Flame single threaded? Opening a huge closed library (cos you know, gotta keep em closed) destroys one core of my huge multi-core system…

Is this better on a mac?


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Yeah @Robg id like to hear about your testing also if possible?

Hi Gareth

Same issues here. Its playback thats the big one for me. Libraries arent too bad, even on really heavy shows.

Like Rob i gave up on 2022 for playbacks with clients in the room. But even on 2021 with cached media it drops the odd frame over an hour. Would definitely be keen to hear if 2023 is the answer but i doubt it.

Do you do all your reviews on the flame? We master in baselight so am hoping eventually I can get one in the suite to play back reviews on and just feed shots from the flame.

Hey Owen - no I don’t review at all on Flame right now - always another system.

The testing I did was pretty basic.
Trying different formats, pressing play and seeing what the inspector said and making sure there was no audio drift.
The main issues I started to notice was when 2022 was installed along side 2021. Both versions then had the same playback issues. Had a fresh rebuild with just 2022 and still had the issues. Then a further fresh rebuild with just 2021 and the issues had gone on that project. Next project my source was piz exr on 2021 and the playback issues came back. I did a round of testing using piz, zip1, uncompressed exr’s and also dpx and the uncompressed versions played back perfectly but the compressed versions didn’t. Since that day if my source is a compressed format then I’ll cache it, if it’s uncompresssd I won’t. Another thing to note is that when I cache the media I also have perfect playback. However, when I was using 2022 and cached I did not.


Yeah ive certainly had issues with both 2021 and 2022 but ive had them both installed.

We now have a new server and im in 2023 exclusively so going to give it some testing and see. Its always a nightmare having to give the client some jargon spiel about why something isnt playing properley!

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Yeah it’s very frustrating. I’d be keen to see how you get on with 2023, so please let us know Ben.


Still having playback issues in 2023. I just have no idea how to fix this. Every 10-15 minutes there seems to drop frames or completely freeze with the audio still playing

Do you have the scopes up. That has caused playback issues in the past

If you are playing over a network connection check that there are no interrupts occurring on the SAN

No scopes up or anything to be honest.

We are playing from pixit has which can do about 35 gig a second so that is plenty.

This is borderlining on the bosses considering getting rid of Flame

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We’ve been hearing of more and more places switching to Resolve/Baselight for longform.

I feel Flame is in a really fragile market position right now. It’s second best for comp to Nuke. What it generally still excels at is Timeline. But as you are seeing, that dominance is waning. Product direction for the past few years seems to be geared for the single artist person at home on Mac.

There is a hotkey which I don’t remember, that turns on debug information in the player. When it freezes there might be some useful information there. I’d definitely open a case with support as there may be other steps to get more information.

Now to your specific hardware. I think I recommended to someone at your org ~6 months ago or so NOT to use GPFS. That we had experience in the past with GPFS at Sony Pictures and it was shit with Flame and all the problems you are describing, although the last time we were in that situation was ~8 years ago. I recommend scrounging up some SSDs and creating a temporary volume that is standard raid XFS and testing some of the same content using that as backing storage. Whether local or via NFS, I would not be surprised if the issues went away. We’ve found plain Hardware Raid and XFS to be the fastest reliable/storage over some of the more fancy solution. Starting with RL 8.5 you can add the flag nconnect=6 to your NFS mounts, and on some hardware this greatly improves throughput. On our z840 it doubled, to achieve line rate 25gb fiber, all over standard NFS, not even RDMA.

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Dows anybody know what the debug hotkey is?

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The hotkey editor says shift-v-insert turns on Video Debug.


Also are you using BlackMagic or Aja card? There is this post on the BMD forum.


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We are usung AJA

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