Some Observations on Avoiding Fusion Studio Crashes

This began as thread drift on a different topic, but I decided to post it here as a separate topic. I also want to preface it by saying that I have very little experience with the GoPro Fusion 360 camera or the Fusion Studio software; but I have observed a definite pattern behind the frequent crashes (and ways to work around them), and I think sharing my observations may be helpful (albeit also somewhat speculative).

On every single occasion when Fusion Studio has crashed in my own experience, it was when it came across an uninterrupted sequence that the camera decided to split into multiple folders. I have observed that the camera does this when it loses or re-acquires the GPS signal, but there may be other reasons, as well.

What happens on the Fusion Studio end is that it identifies all the images as belonging to the same multishot sequence (presumably by reading the EXIF timestamps), and attempts to process them as such. It names the task after the first folder in the sequence.

The problem is that Fusion Studio inevitably will crash on the first image in the second folder. I suspect this is because the file name no longer matches the name it gave to the task based on the first folder, but that’s just a hunch. What isn’t a hunch is that in my experience, it has happened every time Fusion Studio encountered a sequence that the camera split into two folders.

The simple workaround is to import the images from the SD cards into the computer manually. It doesn’t matter whether you use an SD card reader or just copy them from the camera using Windows Explorer. The problem isn’t the camera’s USB interface. It’s the software’s inability to deal with sequences that the camera divided into multiple folders.

Once the files are copied over, you have two choices. The first is to point Fusion Studio at the working folder containing all the folders copied from the SD cards, and see what happens. If none of the sequences were split into multiple folders, it should work fine.

If one or more of the sequences were split into separate folders, Fusion Studio will crash on the first image in the second folder: but the images in the first folder will have been successfully saved. So delete or move the first folder (the one already processed) out of the working folder, clear the contents of Pictures\GoPro Fusion\Sources, start Fusion Studio, point it to the working folder again, and let it re-process the remaining files. The second folder will be renamed as a new task based on the folder name, and the files inside of it will stitch and render successfully.

The second option is to create yet another folder, and move each folder pair (front and back) into that folder one pair at a time, point Fusion Studio to the folder, and let it process the files. When it’s done, shut down Fusion Studio, delete or move the pair that has been processed, paste the next pair into the folder, clear the contents of Pictures\GoPro Fusion\Sources, start Fusion Studio, and let it process that pair. Wash, rinse, and repeat until all the pairs are processed.

What it all boils down to is that when Fusion Studio notices that the files in two folders are part of a continuous series (presumably based on the timestamps), it attempts to process them as a single task, but is incapable of doing so. But if it can only “see” one pair of folders at a time, it won’t make that mistake. Presenting only one pair of folders at a time has, in my experience, prevented this particular crash opportunity.

Personally, unless I know for a fact that the camera has split a sequence (for example, if there are more sets of folders on the cards than the number of sequences I recorded), I let Fusion Studio try processing all the folders. In my experience, it only vomits when it tries to combine a sequence that the camera has split; so unless I know that that’s the case, there’s no point in not letting it try processing all the images. If it does vomit, then I fix it. If not, I saved myself some time.

As an aside, GoPro could solve this problem with a line or two of code instructing Fusion Studio to create a separate task for every folder on the SD cards rather than trying to combine split sequences into one task that it is incapable of completing. But it’s my impression that no one at GoPro actually knows how to code. They know how to string FOSS together. I doubt they’ve written a single line of code on their own.

A friend of mine has told me that another common problem (which I personally have not encountered) is that if a single image in a pair is corrupt, Fusion Studio will crash. He says that if you somehow notice the corrupt file before rendering, simply delete it (and its companion on the other card), split the folder there, and process the resulting folders separately, clearing the contents of Pictures\GoPro Fusion\Sources and restarting Fusion Studio between the batches.

If you don’t notice the corrupt file until after the crash, the images up to the crash will have been saved successfully; so delete all the files up to and including the offending file and its mate from the folders for both lenses, clear the contents of Pictures\GoPro Fusion\Sources, restart Fusion Studio, and let it render the remaining files. Again, I have not encountered this problem, so I have not tried the solution; but my friend has, and it also seems sensible to me.

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I’ve also noticed that issues with the camera re-initializing, and thus splitting a sequence into multiple folders that Fusion Studio vomits on, seems to happen more often when using the Smart Remote. (My phone doesn’t work with the app when using the Fusion 360, so I use the remote.)

I don’t think the problem is the remote itself. I think the problem is that opening up the radio connections creates more opportunities for extraneous RF to distract the camera. If it re-initializes in the middle of the sequence, Fusion Studio will crash during the render.

The solution is the same: Instead of letting Fusion Studio import the images from the camera, copy the folders over to the computer, point Fusion Studio to each mated pair manually, and the images will stitch and render without incident.

It doesn’t matter whether you copy the pictures over using the camera or an SD card reader. The reader may be a bit faster, though. What matters is processing each mated pair of folders individually. That has solved every crash problem I’ve had so far.

Again, these are observations from a novice, so please don’t take them as gospel.