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Stewart Bourke
Playback pro laptop
on Oct 16, 2010 at 10:29:55 am

I have been spending quite a bit of time researching show control software, and playback pro look like it will be my choice.

However, I am coming from a PC background and this will be my first MAC purchase. I have had access to a relatively old machine to do some s/w evals, but I am now looking at what I should go with for using playback pro.

Having never purchased a mac before (sharp intake of breath) I was looking for any advice/suggestions as to what specs I would need on a mac laptop to run showcontrol

The profile of the shows I tend to work are:

Typically three projectors (currently all SD), with the three projectors run from a a splitter attached to the 2nd DVI output on my current machine all showing the same image. (currently I use a combination of VLC and MPC, but I cannot get decent cueing and any sort of effects are out).

Depending on the show content, sometimes I run a Matrox triple-head, to the three projectors, all set at 640x480, with the show content rendered as 1920 x 480 to give me three sep. screen positions. In an ideal worl I would have three sep. videos all running together to the three different projectors via the matrox.

For the forseable future I see SD as being my format (amateur shows, budgets etc) and so I would welcome any suggestions as to the types of specs I should be looking for.

I expect to continue rendering and editing the shows on Vegas, so this machine will be purely for playback.

What are the choke points I should be aware of? IF other people are doing these types of shows using showcontrol, what specs are your machines?

Any suggestions to a PC'er about to hit the mac world would be very welcome...

Thank you.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Playback pro laptop
on Oct 19, 2010 at 2:10:50 pm

Playback Pro is video playback software -- not show control. Show control involves coordinating multiple systems (i.e., controlling video playback from the lighting desk).

Playback Pro's performance scales with your hardware. Any of Apple's laptops should be powerful enough to easily play full-screen HD video. I think the choke point would be the disk subsystem -- laptop hard drives are generally slow. Most laptop-based PBP systems I've seen use external drives (either FW800 or eSATA with an ExpressCard 34 adapter). I really like SSD drives for media playback now because they have instantaneous seek, but they're still pretty expensive.

If you must get a laptop, I'd suggest the 17" MBP -- it's the only one with ExpressCard expansion, so if you want to add eSATA for hard drives or a video capture device to digitize video, the 13" and 15" won't do. Of course, a Mac Pro doesn't have these limitations, but it is a little harder to slip into your briefcase.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Stewart Bourke
Re: Playback pro laptop
on Oct 19, 2010 at 6:41:54 pm

Walter,

Many thanks and I am clearer now on the difference between the video-payback app and show-control. I saw the 17" referenced a couple of times. The 17" with 2.66Ghz CPU and 7200 rpm disk looks like the way to go.

Thanks again


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