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Andrew McKee
Monitoring
on Aug 25, 2009 at 8:47:39 pm

Hey,

I'm trying to put together a second FCS2 suite to handle editing and grading (in Color) of 4k RED footage for as cheap as possible so I can increase our workload. Does anyone know of a breakout box cheaper than the Matrox MXO2, that would allow me to monitor 2K Prores transcodes from Final Cut and full 4K raw from Apple Color. I know its fairly cheap already so I might be asking a bit much but I just thought I'd check. I have all the other pieces necessary and I just want to get another system up as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Andy


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gary adcock
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 25, 2009 at 9:07:16 pm

[Andrew McKee] "Does anyone know of a breakout box cheaper than the Matrox MXO2, that would allow me to monitor 2K Prores transcodes from Final Cut and full 4K raw from Apple Color."

the MXO does not do 2K.

Apple Color does not output 4K as a signal but as files only.

[Andrew McKee] " just want to get another system up as quickly and cheaply as possible."
That is not going to happen in a 4K world.
( I wish I could be more like Zelin about this since this is the 3rd time today I have stated this)

displays that are capable of allowing you to view 4K cost much more than your computer will.




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL


Inside look at the IoHD
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Bob Zelin
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 25, 2009 at 9:29:33 pm

Don't worry Gary, I will do it for you.

OK, let me get this straight. You are not working in ProRes422, or DVCProHD. You don't even want 2K. You want to work in 4K uncompressed, for the absolute BEST resolution, for the most pristine job, for the highest quality work. You are working on a hi end RED shoot that will color grade and conform at 4K (not even 2K).
Yet you have NO MONEY to even buy a Matrox MXO2, and you want a cheaper card than an MXO2 so you can edit, color grade and conform your 4K movie.

Is that about it ? Well, I have great news for you.
Russell Lasson of Kaleidoscope Pictures is the nicest guy in the world. He is so friendly to everyone. I bet Russell will pay for you to fly out to his facility in Utah, and let you use his Assimilate Scratch system for FREE, because he is such a great guy.

Working in 4K is the most expensive process in the world. The Maxtrox MXO2 is a very nice budget product, that is used for generic video post production. The words 4K post production and "cheap" are not in the same book - in your world, or anyone elses.

Bob Zelin




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gary adcock
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 26, 2009 at 12:07:02 am

[Bob Zelin] "Don't worry Gary, I will do it for you"

Bless you

let them frakin' have it....

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL


Inside look at the IoHD
http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Russell Lasson
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 26, 2009 at 4:39:40 am

[Bob Zelin] "Russell Lasson of Kaleidoscope Pictures is the nicest guy in the world. He is so friendly to everyone. I bet Russell will pay for you to fly out to his facility in Utah, and let you use his Assimilate Scratch system for FREE, because he is such a great guy. "

Bob, how nice do you think I am:) Did I mention I kill a bug today and laughed out in joy afterwards!

Bob, if you'd ever like to come out and play with Scratch here, let me know. I can fly you out and buy you lunch. The whole royal treatment. I'll just send the bill to Gary!

As far as the 4k stuff goes, the only time I've finished something in 4k was as a favor to Assimilate. Other than that, it's a waste of render time, hard drive space and effort. We shoot all the RED stuff at 4K mostly because if you shoot at 2K it windows the sensor. I've really liked working with Scratch because RED RAW has been great to color from, but the majority of stuff we monitor and finish at 1080. If it's going to digital cinema, then we'll add the few extra pixels for 2k.

Andy, do you have a 2k or 4k monitor. No? Then what's the point of getting a card that will play that back? If you're on a budget, then a card that will output 1080 will be great. My guess is that you don't have 4:4:4 monitor either, so the best you can probably do is single-link 4:2:2. You didn't mention the type of computer you're looking into, but if it's a Mac Pro, then use the AJA LHi. Great card. Color will work great with it.

By the way, what type of monitor are you planning on using?

-Russ



Russell Lasson
Colorist/Digital Cinema Specialist
Color Mill
Salt Lake City, UT
http://www.colormill.net


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Andrew McKee
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 26, 2009 at 2:02:23 pm

I think you guys have flown off the handle a little here. I work at a college not some massive production company, so yes I have very little money to work with and I'm trying to get something sorted so we can allow students to edit and grade red footage. We already have a MacPro setup with FCS2 and a breakout box and broadcast monitor that students use to work on HD projects. We have another MacPro and HD Monitor that I want to create another suite with but I dont have a breakout box. Monitoring in 4k 4:4:4 doesnt even enter into the equation. I just want something that will allow me to connect the MacPro to the monitor and display an accurate HD image when students are working on a project in FCP (assuming that they will be using ProRes transcodes) and Color (assuming that they will have conformed back to the native codec once they've finished there edit and then sent the edit to Color). Am I correct that the MXO2 will allow me to do this? The reason I asked about a cheaper product is because if there is something that costs a grand their is usually something which does the same thing for cheaper so I thought I would ask your advice.

Andy


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Russell Lasson
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 26, 2009 at 2:49:46 pm

[Andrew McKee] "that would allow me to monitor 2K Prores transcodes from Final Cut and full 4K raw from Apple Color."

Andy, with how you phrased your original post, it sounded like you wanted something to monitor (output) a 2K and 4K signal. You might consider being more clear on what you want next time.

The AJA Kona 3 is the best option for this. It will deal with the 2K files in FCP and output them to 1080 for monitoring. If you deal with any other card, it is best to set up a 1080 sequence and put the 2K log and transfer imports into that sequence. That way, it will be broadcast signal friendly. I would by the AJA LHi over the MXO2 in a heartbeat in this case.

I hate how FCP doesn't let you choose the resolution that you bring RED footage in at. If you shoot 4K 2:1 or 4K 16x9, you'll end up with a file that is 2048 pixels wide for editing. That's not edit friendly for any system but Kona 3 systems. I would strongly suggest people shoot 4K HD instead. This gives a 3840x2040 4K file that when FCP brings it in will be a 1920x1080 file. This will allow for native sequence resolution editing and output.

The other option is to use another program to make 1080 files for editing. If you're really dealing with a lot of RED footage, I would very strongly suggest getting a REDRocket. For student workflows, using the REDRocket to render to ProRes 4444 at 1080 would be great. Then just finish with those files in Color. It means that you have to transfer the ProRes files with a flat look which might drive some students crazy, but it would be a very efficient workflow. I might mention that this type of workflow is Bob's favorite:)

But if you have the time and resources, many students will want to color from the RAW RED files. Not because it will necessarily look any better or be a more efficient workflow, but because they can. Then they can feel like they're getting the most out of their project and that will make them happy people and feel like real live filmmakers.

-Russ

Russell Lasson
Colorist/Digital Cinema Specialist
Color Mill
Salt Lake City, UT
http://www.colormill.net


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Andrew McKee
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 26, 2009 at 9:14:41 pm

Thanks for the information Russell. I can see that I wasn't clear in my original post and that it might have seemed like I was some ridiculous novice expecting the moon for no money. Obviously I realise that 4k and 2k monitoring is at the very peak of production standards and way past the realms of a media school. I will certainly push for the money to buy a Kona 3 now, on your recomendation. Just two question remains in my mind. Which, if any, of these cards allow monitoring on an HD monitor from Color if we reconform to the native codec before bringing the sequence in to allow access to the RAW properties inside Color? And even if we keep to the 2k transcodes at 444 or 422, will we be able to monitor this with the MXO2 or the LHi from Color, or would it have to be the Kona 3 so it could downconvert? You said in FCP we could place them in a 1080 project and they will display but can we do a similar thing in Color? Thank you again for all your help, and I'm sorry to anyone who misunderstood my first post.

Andy


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Russell Lasson
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 26, 2009 at 10:28:17 pm

With Color, you shouldn't set up your project at 4K. Unless you're going out to film or D-Cinema, you shouldn't use 2K either. Just set up the project at 1080 and scale the RED footage down to fit. Then you'll monitor out anything that Color is compatible with.

-Russ

Russell Lasson
Colorist/Digital Cinema Specialist
Color Mill
Salt Lake City, UT
http://www.colormill.net


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gary adcock
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 27, 2009 at 1:23:30 pm

[Andrew McKee] "I can see that I wasn't clear in my original post and that it might have seemed like I was some ridiculous novice expecting the moon for no money"

that is kind of an understatement...



let me be clear on a couple of hardware issues that you are not getting.

there is no such thing as any video over 1080 lines in a single link HDSDI, that means no MXO and no LHI, both are limited to 1080 frame rasters so your maximum live signal would be 2048x1080 (DCI spec)

[Andrew McKee] "And even if we keep to the 2k transcodes at 444 or 422, will we be able to monitor this with the MXO2 or the LHi from Color, or would it have to be the Kona 3 so it could downconvert? "

Correct- you will need a 2K capable card and the K3 is recommended by RED.


[Andrew McKee] " You said in FCP we could place them in a 1080 project and they will display but can we do a similar thing in Color?"

Look if it is a school, teach them how to do plain old HD correctly before you leap into Mega-rasters working with an il-conceived workflow for the tools at hand.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH 1080 HD for a student. --The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was shot at a 1920x1080 image size and it looked good enough on the Screen to garner Oscar nods for Best Picture, best editing, Special effect and Cinematography.






gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Andrew McKee
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 27, 2009 at 3:25:50 pm

I understand the limitations of HDSDI plenty. In my second post I stated that I am not interested in obtaining a 2k signal out to the monitors because we don't have 2K monitors. As a school, we do only teach up to HD and I agree that it is plenty to learn on. In fact, most of our teaching is done in SD formats, leading on to HD later. But naturally students get involved in projects outside the school and an increasing number are being shot on RED. I'm certainly going to help them contribute to these projects, not tell them "oh dont bother, HD is good enough".

I can understand why you are being short with me. I know how annoying it is when you hang around a forum long enough that you hear the same questions over and over but if its making you angry, then why not leave or just not post? Ranting at every user who comes on here looking for information only shows that the reason you give advice isn't to help but because it gives you a smug sense of satisfaction to demonstrate that you know more than someone else. Bob and Gary, just please try to be nice, for the sake of communal learning. I know its not your job to give out advice on hear but if you choose to do it then the least you could do is not put people off. Russell, your advice was invaluable, thank you.

Andy


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Russell Lasson
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 27, 2009 at 3:43:45 pm

[Andrew McKee] "But naturally students get involved in projects outside the school and an increasing number are being shot on RED. I'm certainly going to help them contribute to these projects, not tell them "oh dont bother, HD is good enough". "

Not to beat a dead horse, but I'm all for people shooting at 4K on the RED. But I'll say again, and it's what's Gary is saying to, finishing to 1080 is good enough. You can monitor everything at 1080 and it will be great. If you want to render out at 2K, go for it, but just monitor at 1080. The challenge with rendering at 2K is that the extra pixels just get in the way unless you're going out to film or digital cinema. Other than that, the extra 64 pixels on either side just make it harder to go to blu-ray, dvd, broadcast, tape, etc.

-Russ


Russell Lasson
Colorist/Digital Cinema Specialist
Color Mill
Salt Lake City, UT
http://www.colormill.net


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Uli Plank
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 28, 2009 at 5:22:36 am

I second this, and as long as your project doesn't seriously aim for a cinema screening, use the 4K HD mode on the RED – that's what it was made for. No cropping, better and faster scaling to 1080.

It will still be RED with it's more controllable depth of field and more latitude for tweaking the image.

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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Andrew McKee
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 28, 2009 at 9:00:39 am

It looks like the project that i'm getting this set up for was done on 4k HD so thats good to know. Let me be clear though, the only reason I am interested in taking the RAW codec into Color is for the extra control over the image. I am not and never have been planning on setting up a workflow that monitors or outputs at 2k or 4k, just a system that can monitor RAW that was shot at 4k or 2k scaled down to 1080 either by the card or inside the software. Now its just a case of getting a cheque signed for that Kona 3.

Andy


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Bob Zelin
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 28, 2009 at 9:18:28 pm

Andrew,
you have to understand that it is very strange to us in "the real world" who struggle to stay in business, that you have the money for a RED One production package, yet are "struggling" to get $2200 approved for an AJA Kona 3. You can monitor in 2K by simply taking the output of a Kona 3, go into the dual link input of a Blackmagic HDLink Pro ($449) and send the DVI output into a 30" LCD monitor (like a Dell, HP or Apple) which is about $1100. This is VERY inexpensive.

You may say "well, this might be inexpensive, but I can't get this budget". Please excuse me as I make assumptions here, but I find it insulting that your university has found the money to get a RED One production camera package, is probably charging students and their parents between $30,000 - $40,000 PER student to attend your school, yet won't appropriate the funds to get the proper education they expect. I have seen this over and over in university enviornments, and to me, it's totally unacceptable. I fully understand that you have nothing to do with this personally, but if your school and your department actually CARES about teaching a hi end workflow, appropriating these funds will be a "drop in the bucket".

There is probably not one single person on this user forum that has learned Red workflow in university enviornment. It's great that you are teaching this, but the school has to do the right thing. Or just teach production and editing techniques. No student film needs to be 4K resolution.

Bob Zelin






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Andrew McKee
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 28, 2009 at 10:13:09 pm

I agree with you completely Bob, and yes I know university funding is often strange but I think you have misunderstood me again. We don't have a RED One, we only teach up to HD. These projects come from outside the college and have already been shot. If and when we go into teaching RED I'm sure we will set ourselves up properly for the task, this is a case of setting something up in the meantime and its this fact that makes funding the thing difficult. The course is marketed and priced as a digital production course and actually costs only £8,0000 for two years (about $10k I think).

Andy


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Uli Plank
Re: Monitoring
on Aug 29, 2009 at 9:48:24 pm

We have a RED One and proper monitoring and we charge 500,- Euro per term. But you need to learn German…

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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