Why Am I Getting Black Frames in My Video?

Last week, Robin wrote saying: “I am facing this black frames issue with FCP X from v. 10.6.6 to 6.8 where footage shows black frames [during playback] when viewed in FCP, [but those] same drop frames are not visible in Premiere Pro. [Instead, they show artifact] glitches. [However, Premiere] allows us to export the videos.

“I have done tests on Canon R5 + Nikon Z8 /z9 + Sony A7s3 [cameras using] Prograde Cobalt series top of the line [camera] cards and AngelBird CFexpress Type B cards, VHelp needed: Robin is seeing black frames in his video which fail to export in Final Cut Pro 10.6.x and display severe artifacts in Premiere Pro. Why is this happening?90 cards while shooting 4k videos and seems to face the same issue no matter which camera/card I choose.”

“I use two machines to edit – Apple MacBook Pro with an 1 Max & 32 GB and Apple MacBook Pro with an M1 Max * 64 GB – and on both I am facing the issue. As both laptops are so fast I never used a proxy to edit footage. Both machines are running macOS 13.6.

[Recently] “this black frames problem has become more evident… [especially with large timelines.] How can this resolved?”

NOTE: Robin replaced his camera and all SD cards, but the problem continued.

Larry replies: Wow! I remember at least one other reader had this issue a few months ago, but I can’t remember what solved it.

I’m really hopeful another reader can provide an answer in the comments!

Here are some screen shots from Robin that illustrate the problem.

(Click to see larger image.)

Here’s an example of the severe artifacting on his body, hands and camera.

(Click to see larger image.)

Here are the results of the tests Robin ran.

The Final Cut export fails with a specific statement about which frames “broke,” though Premiere can export the media, thought the video still has artifacts.

If anyone has suggestions, please add them in the comments.


Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Why Am I Getting Black Frames in My Video?

  1. Dave says:

    Robin posted about this issue about three weeks ago on fcp.co:


    A few of us confirmed the issue as distorted frames, not necessarily black frames. I personally saw distorted frames in one file, though at slightly different spots than Robin reported. I saw this behavior in FCP 10.6.5, Resolve Studio 18.5.1, and Media Composer.

    There may be a language issue, as the thread kind of stops (Robin didn’t provide enough details to do any further troubleshooting).

    So, the issue exists prior to import into an NLE. Many media players might not show any issues, as they can often skip/drop frames to maintain playback speed.

    Robin needs to do some simple tests to reproduce the issue. Perhaps, recording just to camera cards and skipping the Ninja recording or transfer to SSD, i.e., read camera card directly into the computer (directly in FCP, not after copying to the drive). The idea is to simply the number of “links” in the chain.

    (As a followup… my testing was done using macOS Monterey 12.6.3 on an Intel Mac Pro (2019).)

    • Larry says:


      I’ll pass this on to Robin. He created a large number of tests which I did not include in my article. I’ll let him know he can post the links here if he wants to share them.


  2. Joe Marler says:

    We examined this closely on fcp.co. The problem has nothing to do with FCP. It also happens on the latest versions of Premiere Pro and Resolve Studio. The problematic camera files are damaged internally. Scanning them with ffmpeg will throw errors.

    How they got damaged is a good question, but it’s nothing that can be fixed in NLE software. This is likely an issue with the cameras, the cards or card reader, or how the data was handled.

    He needs to talk to Canon and Nikon technical support about this. Either some files are being damaged on the camera card, or the process of offloading them is causing damage. I’d first suggest doing a binary compare of the files on the camera card with the offloaded files. That would at least narrow down where the problem happened.

    Were the cards formatted in the camera or externally? Were the cards fully formatted in camera before use, or were individual files deleted (which can cause fragmentation)? These are all areas unrelated to NLE software. Vendors or support personnel more closely aligned with the malfunctioning items are better equipped to help in these areas.

    • Larry says:


      This is an excellent, and reassuring, comment. I’ll make sure to pass this along.

      Properly handling media, especially source files directly from the camera, is critical. This is also the best place to look first when problems occur.



  3. Mike Rom says:

    I had the same problem with FCPX and I solved it by downloading the files from the camera to my hard drive and then importing them into FCPX. For some reason, this got rid of the problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Larry Recommends:

FCPX Complete

NEW & Updated!

Edit smarter with Larry’s latest training, all available in our store.

Access over 1,900 on-demand video editing courses. Become a member of our Video Training Library today!


Subscribe to Larry's FREE weekly newsletter and save 10%
on your first purchase.