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Question for John Rofrano on system

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Ron Whitaker
Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 2, 2015 at 12:16:00 am
Last Edited By Ron Whitaker on Nov 2, 2015 at 12:35:05 am

John:

I noticed in some of your previous posts that you are VERY into Macbook Pros/Mac Pros. I also noticed in a previous post or two that you recommended a system (PC based) for editing found on the Videoguys' website.

So, do you now recommend a Macbook Pro, Mac Pro, or that PC-based system?

Since you use the MacPro, can you still use Vegas Pro on it?

I'm looking for a more powerful system for editing (I currently have a nice Acer laptop, but I could use a more powerful system), but don't want to move to FCP. I do want to stick to Vegas. Can it run on a Mac? Also, can Resolve for color grading run on a Mac?

Thank you.

Ron


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John Rofrano
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 2, 2015 at 1:26:47 am

[Ron Whitaker] "So, do you now recommend a Macbook Pro, Mac Pro, or that PC-based system? "
A computer is just a tool. I personally prefer the Mac. If someone asks for a recommendation on a PC to build, I will guide them on how to build a PC to the best of my ability but I don't keep up on PC parts anymore because my Macs come with with all the parts already in them. ;-) I know the VideoGuys DYI's are always good systems so I still recommend them but I haven't built one in a while and I don't plan on building one again. It's just not worth it to me when a Mac does everything I need.

The last PC workstation that I built was a 6-core based on VideoGuys DIY9. I was very happy with that system so I will recommend it to people who want a PC. I sold that system earlier this year right after purchasing a 12-Core Mac Pro. I don't use ANY PC software anymore. Everything I do is native on the Mac. I can't, however, in good conscience recommend a Mac to some who uses lots of PC programs. You have to want to move to Mac.

So I recommend the system that people are comfortable with and I personally do everything on a Mac.
[Ron Whitaker] "Since you use the MacPro, can you still use Vegas Pro on it?"
Yes you can run Vegas Pro in one of two ways:

(1) You can create a Windows partition using Apple Bootcamp and re-boot into native Windows from your Mac just like any other Intel computer. At that point it's just a PC with hardware made by Apple.

(2) You can run a virtual machine using VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop, or VirtualBox on your Mac desktop and not have to reboot at all. What you do is install Windows inside the virtual machine and then any PC software you want (like Vegas Pro, ACID Pro, etc) and run it.

This is Vegas Pro running BCC plug-ins in Unity mode in VMware Fusion on my Mac Desktop. Notice the Vegas icon in the dock:


[Ron Whitaker] "I'm looking for a more powerful system for editing (I currently have a nice Acer laptop, but I could use a more powerful system), but don't want to move to FCP. I do want to stick to Vegas. Can it run on a Mac? Also, can Resolve for color grading run on a Mac?"
Resolve runs natively on a Mac. Final Cut Pro X is very easy to learn for a Vegas Pro users. It's a lot like Vegas in some ways. You can always run Vegas Pro on a Mac like I do.

If you want a laptop, the new Retina MacBook Pro's are killer. They run FCP X very smoothly even with 4K source files. I have an older 15-inch Mid-2012 MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i7 2.3Ghz, 16GB memory, 1TB SSD, and it runs Vegas Pro just fine but I do all of my "heavy" editing on my 12-Core Mac Pro.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Ron Whitaker
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 2, 2015 at 1:39:54 am
Last Edited By Ron Whitaker on Nov 2, 2015 at 1:43:52 am

Thank you for your response!

When you say "heaving editing" on the Mac Pro, what do you mean that "heavy editing"? Lots of effects, etc? Can a MacBook Pro not handle heavy editing? What about a Retina Macbook Pro?

I'm somewhat confused on the specs right now. Moving to a Mac would definitely be a different ball game! So, sorry for all the questions.

I do like the "small-ness" of a laptop. Can a Macbook Pro running VMWare or Bootcamp running SVP smoothly edit 4k footage? If so, what are the specs that the Macbook Pro would need?

I've seen quite a few Mac Pros on ebay at reasonable prices. What should I look for (spec-wise) and what should I avoid? Same goes for used Macbook Pros?

I just looked on ebay and noticed this Retina Macbook Pro. Would something like this handle "heavy" editing? 4k editing? I'm actually surprised at how inexpensive it is.

Thanks for your help.


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John Rofrano
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 3, 2015 at 1:26:37 pm

[Ron Whitaker] "When you say "heaving editing" on the Mac Pro, what do you mean that "heavy editing"? Lots of effects, etc? Can a MacBook Pro not handle heavy editing? What about a Retina Macbook Pro?"
Yea, I meant "heavy" and lots of FX is exactly what I was referring to. I use Boris Continuum Complete a lot so that needs a good GPU when you start doing 3D graphics. The graphics card in my Mac Pro is just a lot better than the one in my MacBook Pro. Don't forget my MacBook Pro 3 years old now (2012) and has a NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M. The new Retina MacBook Pros have AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. That's probably comparable to the AMD Radeon 7950 in my Mac Pro. I'm not sure that I would make the same statement if I had a brand new MacBook Pro. Also AMD is better for Vegas Pro than NVIDIA.
[Ron Whitaker] "I'm somewhat confused on the specs right now. Moving to a Mac would definitely be a different ball game! So, sorry for all the questions."
That's fine. Ask anything you'd like.
[Ron Whitaker] "I do like the "small-ness" of a laptop. Can a Macbook Pro running VMWare or Bootcamp running SVP smoothly edit 4k footage? If so, what are the specs that the Macbook Pro would need?"
I don't work in 4K so I can't answer that. I can tell you that the 27" iMac Retina 5K edits 4K like butter in FCP X because I have played with that in the Apple Store. I don't know if Vegas Pro would perform as good using Windows. There are people over on the FCP X forum here at the Cow that are editing 4K on their new MacBook Pros and they love it. Like I said, I don't know if Vegas Pro on Windows would give you the same experience.
[Ron Whitaker] "I've seen quite a few Mac Pros on ebay at reasonable prices. What should I look for (spec-wise) and what should I avoid? Same goes for used Macbook Pros?"
That's an excellent question. I bought my 12-Core Mac Pro on eBay and you do have to be careful. What a lot of underhanded people do is take the 2009 Mac Pro 4,1 and flash the firmware to make it look like a 2010 Mac Pro 5,1. That allows them to put a new CPU in it but somehow they don't perform as well as an original 2010 Mac Pro 5,1. I bought mine from a company that buys back computers from corporations when they upgrade. So I know that they don't mod them at all; you're getting all original Apple equipment. What I usually do is ask to see a picture of the label on the back by the slots. Apple encodes the original configuration there and if that doesn't match the current configuration you know it's been modified. Also you can go to Apple's web site and put in the serial number and Apple will tell you if it's a 2009 or 2010 or whatever.

I bought a 2010 Mac Pro, 2.93Ghz 12 Core, 24GB Memory, 1TB boot drive, 6TB Apple RAID 5 (hardware RAID), AMD Radeon HD 5870, for $2475. That's a pretty good deal. If you're serious about buying a Mac Pro on eBay I would be happy to help you check out auctions and make sure that what you are buying is genuine. If you are looking for a MacBook Pro then there is nothing to modify so you can usually trust the listings. Just check the Apple Refurbished list to see if you are getting a good deal. Also OWC sells used Macs for a slightly more than eBay but you know what you're getting. EveryMac has all of the original specs listed with original prices. This is a great way of telling if a Mac Pro has been modified. If someone is selling a 2010 Mac Pro 3.2 Ghz 12-Core and says it's original you will quickly see that Apple never made a 3.2 Ghz 12 Core Mac Pro in 2010.
[Ron Whitaker] "I just looked on ebay and noticed this Retina Macbook Pro. Would something like this handle "heavy" editing? 4k editing? I'm actually surprised at how inexpensive it is."
Yea, that was a really good price and that's a relatively new one. Like I said, these things are optimized for Final Cut Pro X and there are people over on the FCP X forums that are using them to edit 4K. Sony recommends a PC with 8 cores for using Vegas Pro with 4K. So will Vegas Pro work as smoothly as FCP X on the same computer? I really don't know because, as I said, I don't work with 4K but I gotta believe that the experience will not be the same according to Sony.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Ron Whitaker
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 2, 2015 at 7:54:43 pm

John:

Could you define "heavy" editing? I'm wondering how a Macbook Pro would work with heaving editing?

For example, I found this one on ebay. Would this Macbook Pro handle heavy editing, in your view?

Also, can you do Bootcamp on a Macbook Pro and then have SVP running? Also, if you use Bootcamp, do you then need to purchase Windows to run within Bootcamp. (I'm confused as to how that works.)

Thank you for your assistance.

Ron


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John Rofrano
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 3, 2015 at 1:36:50 pm

[Ron Whitaker] "Could you define "heavy" editing? I'm wondering how a Macbook Pro would work with heaving editing?"
By "heavy" I meant heavy GPU intensive 3D graphics with Boris Continuum Complete which I use a lot. My Mac Pro has a better graphics card than my MacBook Pro and my Mac Pro as an AMD which is better for Vegas Pro than my MacBook Pro which has an NVIDIA. Newer MacBook Pros have AMD GPU so they would probably be fine with Vegas Pro.
[Ron Whitaker] "For example, I found this one on ebay. Would this Macbook Pro handle heavy editing, in your view?"
That MacBook Pro is newer than mine so if should perform great.
[Ron Whitaker] "Also, can you do Bootcamp on a Macbook Pro and then have SVP running?"
Yes. You can use Bootcamp on any Intel Mac.
[Ron Whitaker] "Also, if you use Bootcamp, do you then need to purchase Windows to run within Bootcamp. (I'm confused as to how that works.)"
Yes, you need a Windows license. Bootcamp is a set of Windows hardware drivers that Apple supplies for the Mac. I don't know if you've ever built your own PC but if you haven't you probably don't know that Windows can't take full advantage of a computer unless the motherboard manufacturer supplies drivers to tell Windows how to talk to the hardware. Apple has done this for their motherboards and they call it Bootcamp because it comes as a utility that automatically partitions your hard drive and formats the new partition for Windows and allows you to install your copy of Windows on it just as if it were a PC. After that you can Dual-Boot into Mac OS X or Windows.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Scott Francis
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 3, 2015 at 3:02:51 pm

If I may add, I also have a Mac Pro 2.6 ghz, 12 core, sorta on John recommendations.
I got it off of ebay at a company named edit builders, they offer a 1 year warranty on their products and so far mine has been fine.

http://www.ebay.com/usr/edit.builder.store?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754

I have had decent luck with it, I also installed a Radeon 7950 card that had the EFI updated so I can boot from either OS as it starts up. If you use an off the shelf "PC" card you would have to select it in OSX and reboot if you want to boot into Windows.

I also have a PC I built about 3 months after getting the Mac Pro, with a Devil's Canyon 4790k chip and R9 290 GPU.

Both have SSD main drives and run Windows 7 Ultimate, both have 16 GB RAM.

I have come to the conclusion that the PC runs Vegas a bit better. Render times are comparable between the two systems and 4K edits a bit better on the PC. I would likely give this up to the GPU, I cannot update my GPU in the Mac Pro without adding a second power supply, so I am kinda stuck with the 7950 unless I do, as that is about the highest end GPU you can put in an older Mac Pro model without the second PSU.

I have a few more crashes of Vegas on the Mac Pro, when using MXF file formats than the PC, which was weird, but other than than, it works great!

I would say that Mac Pro's have a LOT better components and I really wish I could see what would happen if I could get a better GPU in there. I just don't currently have the ability to take the time to work on hacking and using a second GPU.

That is just my experience, yours may vary.

Xavier (Scott) Francis
Mind's Eye Audio/Video Productions


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Thayalan Paramasawam
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 3, 2015 at 3:17:54 pm

Thank you Sir (Mr.John Rofrano)

Nice explainasion...its help me to

http://www.jptsskyvision.com
System Details:
Motherboard - Asus M5A99X-EVO,HardDrive1 boot C:SSD Kingston,Processor - Amd FX 8350 4.0/4.2 GHZ,Ram - 16 GB,Graphic Card - Asus Gtx 650 1GB DDR 5,Blu Ray Writer - Plextor PX-B950SA,Operating System - Window 7 Pro 64 Bit and Editing Programe - Sony Vegas Pro 12


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Ron Whitaker
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 3, 2015 at 6:48:15 pm

Thanks so much, John! That was helpful!

I'm a bit confused as to what the difference is between Bootcamp and VMWare? Have you had any problems with speed for anything else while running SVP on your Mac Pro?

Also, does FCP X have a large learning curve? My brain is just so full right now and I'm so used to SVP, I thinking about having to learn a new NLE. You have said in the past that it's quite similar to SVP, though.

Thanks again for all your helpful answers. I just might take you up on that offer to help me with any ebay listings. But then again, I went to OWC and they look pretty good and apparently are reputable.

Thanks again!


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John Rofrano
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 4, 2015 at 2:31:26 am

[Ron Whitaker] "I'm a bit confused as to what the difference is between Bootcamp and VMWare? Have you had any problems with speed for anything else while running SVP on your Mac Pro?"
Bootcamp is a set of hardware drivers that allow you to run Windows natively on your Mac hardware from a separate hard drive partition. It's as if OS X didn't even exist. Your computer is running the same as any other Windows computer, it's just running on Apple hardware.

VMware is emulation software that runs on your Mac OS X and hosts Windows in a virtual machine. Because you are running OS X + VMware + Windows, it is slower than running Windows natively on the hardware with Bootcamp. VMware also does not support GPU acceleration in Vegas Pro. If you want Vegas Pro to take advantage of your GPU, you need to use Bootcamp. But Bootcamp requires a reboot. That's why I'll use VMware for rough editing and then reboot with into Windows native to do any work that requires he GPU.
[Ron Whitaker] "Also, does FCP X have a large learning curve? My brain is just so full right now and I'm so used to SVP, I thinking about having to learn a new NLE. You have said in the past that it's quite similar to SVP, though."
Yes and No. It is similar to Vegas Pro in that you can create fades on clips, manipulate volume envelopes, etc. just like Vegas Pro. It is very different in the fact that it does not have tracks. There is a primary storyline with connected clips and secondary storylines. I happen to like that a lot better than using tracks because I never have to worry if a clip is covering another clip like what happens in Vegas Pro when you move grouped events or are using ripple editing. FCP X simply doesn't allow silly things like that to happen. I happen to love it the magnetic timeline. Some people hate it. You can't argue with the price though. It was $299 over 4 years ago when it first came out and every year Apple adds major new features (like recently it added 3D titles) and doesn't charge a penny for the upgrades! One the best software investments I ever made. Apple Motion is $49 and it is the equivalent of After Effects but way better because it's FX are integrated into FCP X. Apple Compressor is also $49 so for $399 you have the complete suite. Vegas Pro is still better at audio editing but it started out as a DAW so that's not surprising.

You can safely continue to use Vegas Pro as you learn your way around the Mac. No need to change NLE's if you like SVP.
[Ron Whitaker] "Thanks again for all your helpful answers. I just might take you up on that offer to help me with any ebay listings. But then again, I went to OWC and they look pretty good and apparently are reputable."
You're welcome. I spent several months looking for my Mac on eBay. I lost a lot of auctions because I wasn't going to spend more than my limit of $2500. OWC is awesome. I've bought lots of accessories from them for my Mac. Very reputable indeed.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Ron Whitaker
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 4, 2015 at 3:27:52 am

John:

Thanks again for your helpful response!

I spent the afternoon studying FCPX and the verdict...as soon as I can I'm getting a Mac and going full FCPX1! I love what I've learned and it looks like an awesome NLE. One of my big things I want to do is full color correction/grading WITHIN the NLE. Just seems like a pain to export footage, bring it into Resolve, grade it, then export it back into the NLE!

I learned this afternoon that Red Giant makes Colorista III now for FCPX, and the cool thing I learned, is that there's a plugin called Slice X, which is a motion tracking plugin that you can use in conjunction with Colorista, so you can, for example, create a mask (like a power window in Resolve), track a person's face and have the color grading apply only to that! Love it!

Lots of way cool/awesome plugins for FCPX as well.

When I get to that point, I will look at OWC as well as ebay. Would a Mac Pro from 2010 be okay? I've seen some that have 32GB RAM, 8-core for reasonable prices. What is the minimum GHz you would recommend?

Thanks again for your help on this!

Ron


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John Rofrano
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 4, 2015 at 2:41:32 pm

[Ron Whitaker] "I learned this afternoon that Red Giant makes Colorista III now for FCPX,"
I use Color Finale. It's very good and reasonably priced. You should check it out.
[Ron Whitaker] "I learned, is that there's a plugin called Slice X, which is a motion tracking plugin that you can use in conjunction with Colorista, so you can, for example, create a mask (like a power window in Resolve), track a person's face and have the color grading apply only to that! Love it!"
Slice X and Track X both rock! I use them too. Lock & Load is an incredible stabilizer. I use that too. ;-) It's all based on Mocha.
[Ron Whitaker] "Lots of way cool/awesome plugins for FCPX as well."
Yea, The other thing is that you can create Templates in Motion and export them to FCP X so you have all of the power of Motion but in an easily digestible template. This is an extremely power concept that I've taken advantage on several occasions.
[Ron Whitaker] "Would a Mac Pro from 2010 be okay? I've seen some that have 32GB RAM, 8-core for reasonable prices. What is the minimum GHz you would recommend?"
Yea, that should be plenty. These are Xeon workstation class processors with ECC error correcting memory, not gamer PC's. They still perform very well given their age. I wouldn't get anything older than a 2010. If you can find a 2012 even better. Just keep your eye on the price because if you go too high you might be able to afford a new Mac Pro which is using much newer processors and dual GPU's which perform at a much higher level than the old hardware.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Scott Francis
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 4, 2015 at 7:35:26 pm

Also, know that USB3 and Thunderbolt are not native to these Mac Pros. You will need a PCI-E card to have USB3.

Xavier (Scott) Francis
Mind's Eye Audio/Video Productions


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Ron Whitaker
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 4, 2015 at 11:10:59 pm

I have a somewhat dumb question. I notice so many, if not everyone, saying that you need an external storage device. I take it that means a Thunderbolt RAID system? What is the purpose of that? Just to save your bacon if you internal HD goes down?

Also, do most of the Mac Pros (older ones) come with PCI-E cards? It looks like that is needed for Thunderbolt and USB3.


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Scott Francis
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 5, 2015 at 3:53:57 am
Last Edited By Scott Francis on Nov 5, 2015 at 3:55:33 am

Any external storage would need to be via Firewire 800 and/or USB2. There are 4 internal slots for 3.5" HDDs. They are NOT SATA 3 speed but SATA 2.
SATA 2 is still VERY fast however, if you want ESATA or SATA 3 you will need to get a PCI-e card for those as they are NOT part of the native Mac Pro.
Also, with the SATA slots are 3.5 if you want to use an SSD drive you will need a specific adapter that you can get at OWC.
I am unsure of how to setup an internal RAID for Mac OS so I am not sure how to do that, if you use an external raid, than you will just need to determine if you would need to get a PCIe card to match it's interface (as I said above). I am not aware of ANY Thunderbolt PCIe cards bring manufactured (because of the speed), and the older Mac Pros don't have Thunderbolt.

I purchased a USB3 PCIe card and it is pretty fast, I use all 4 SATA slots, running both OSX and Windows on a partitioned SSD drive in slot 1, and 3 other drives that are for either Windows storage (formatted in NTFS) or exFAT if you want both OS's to see the info.

Hope this helps and good luck!!

Xavier (Scott) Francis
Mind's Eye Audio/Video Productions


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John Rofrano
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 7, 2015 at 5:15:35 am

[Scott Francis] "I am unsure of how to setup an internal RAID for Mac OS so I am not sure how to do that"
You can set up an software RAID with Apple's Disk Utility that's built into OS X but I would only use that for RAID 0 or 1. If you want to use RAID 5 you really should get a dedicated RAID card like the Apple Mac Pro RAID Card that I have which comes with it's own RAID utility and battery backup.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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John Rofrano
Re: Question for John Rofrano on system
on Nov 7, 2015 at 5:12:45 am

[Ron Whitaker] "I have a somewhat dumb question. I notice so many, if not everyone, saying that you need an external storage device. I take it that means a Thunderbolt RAID system? What is the purpose of that? Just to save your bacon if you internal HD goes down?"
There's an old saying: If you don't have your data backed up twice on two separate devices... it's not really backed up! I have an internal Apple RAID card with 4 x 2TB disks in a 8TB RAID 5 with 6TB of usable storage that can withstand a single disk failure. I also have external drives that I backup the RAID 5 to just in case including another 12TB RAID 5 (you can never had too much storage).
[Ron Whitaker] "Also, do most of the Mac Pros (older ones) come with PCI-E cards? It looks like that is needed for Thunderbolt and USB3."
Yea, there are 4 PCI-e slots that can't exceed 300w of power combined.

My 2010 Mac Pro slots contain (from top to bottom where slot 1 is on the bottom):

Slot 4: Apple Mac Pro RAID Card [link]
Slot 3: Inateck 4 Ports PCI-E to USB 3.0 Expansion Card for Mac Pro [link]
Slot 2: OWC Mercury Accelsior E2 480GB PCI Express SSD with 2 external eSATA III ports. [link]
Slot 1: Saphire Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition [link]

This gives me internal and external SATA III ports and USB 3.0 ports. The internal SSD is blazing fast because it's on the PCI-e buss not the SATA II bus. I'm getting 650 MB/s Read and 582 MB/s write performance. To appreciate this you need to know that a regular SSD attached to the internal SATA II bus gets 270 MB/s read and 257 MB/s write so that's double the performance of a normal SSD.

OWC Mercury Accelsior E2 480GB PCI Express SSD performance:


~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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