Troubleshooting NLE Issues 101

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This won’t render. That won’t import. My media is gone. The producer is losing his effing mind and the video was due three hours ago. You have NLE issues and they need troubleshooting.

We’ve all been there. Every editor faces these gray hair inducing situations every so often. Over my time spent in and out of the edit bay as editor and producer, I’ve learned a couple mostly no-brainer things you should do when you are troubleshooting NLE issues.

Before starting any sort of NLE troubleshooting remember the following. The universe isn’t conspiring against you. Your system doesn’t have a mind of its own. Problems happen. We gotta deal with them. That’s part the gig, y’all. Repeat after me: The computer is just following orders. You need to figure out what orders it is following, why, and how to tell it to do something different.

Communicate Your NLE Issues

Tell your client/director/producer/boss/whomever that you are having issues. Be realistic about what’s going on. If you don’t know a solution, TELL THEM THAT AND YOU ARE WORKING ON IT. It might be a few hours and you need some space to research and troubleshoot but you will touch base in X time. Then actually contact them at X time telling them if you are still working on it, if you need help, if you fixed it, etc.

First Technical Troubleshooting Step

Turn it off. Whenever you call an IT person their first question is always, “Have you reset your computer?” Why is that? Well, oftentimes these devices that are multitudes more powerful than what we used to land on the moon just need a break and to start fresh. Seriously. Do this. Quit every application. Eject every hard drive. Turn off the computer. Go grab a glass of water or walk the dog. Then come back and turn the computer back on. I swear this fixes 50% of my system’s performance issues.

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Get Back to Default

Take off custom settings. In Media Composer, create a new User Profile. In Premiere, switch back to the standard Editing Workspace instead of whatever monstrosity you’ve probably built with 10,000 panels stationed down to the pixel. Just like resetting the computer, reset your NLE the best you can to it’s “natural” default state.

Look For a Solution to Your NLE Issues

Hit up the Google machine. Go to Google, DuckDuckGo, Ask Jeeves, or wherever. Type in your issue. Hit the Enter key. Then, hopefully, someone has asked the same issue in the forums or its answered in a blog post or YouTube video. Spend some time digging through the forums. For real. You are not the first one to receive this issue. I promise you. Someone has probably asked for help and found their answer here. All you gotta do is look.

And that’s about it. Let’s recap that in some simple terms.

  • Communicate that you are having a problem to your client.
  • Reset your system.
  • Get your NLE back to its default state.
  • Research the problem.

Do these four steps and more than likely you don’t have a pissed off client and you’ll have a solution to whatever your issue is. Good luck. I wish you error-free days ahead but just know that they’re gonna happen.

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If you’ve read this article and you still need help, please leave a comment and I’ll do what I can to help in your NLE troubleshooting issues. I hope you stick around and check out some of the other articles on my website or consider signing up to get notified about new blog posts and happenings around EVF.

– Josh

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