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Workflow: First Red Project

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olivia clare
Workflow: First Red Project
on Dec 28, 2009 at 7:59:06 pm

Hi there,

I have about twenty-five hours of Red footage I wish to edit down to 90 minutes. I am looking to get the most straightforward system up and running that will allow me to do this: both hardware and editing software. Cost is an issue.

I'm on a steep learning curve and I'm hoping to avoid making expensive mistakes. I apologize in advance for my technical ignorance.

1) Hardware. I cannot stretch to the Mac Pro. My option is one of the new i-macs or one of the new mac book pros. My preference would be to go for the new i-mac. If this is acceptable, should I go for the top of the range 27" 2.66GHz Quad Core Intel Core i7 processor with 8MB shared L3 cache with turbo boost up to 3.2GHz. Or could I get away with the cheaper 21 inch 3.33GhZ Intel Core Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache?

2) I am assuming I will need to down-res the 4K to ProRes and edit on that. The edit will consist in basic cuts - no special effects etc. Can I use Final Cut Express (which I can get in the bundle) or do I have to get Final Cut Pro/Final Cut Studio?

3) Does the fact that the i-mac has no e-sata connexion or express card slot make any of this too problematic? (The new Mac Book Pro 17" has an Express Card Slot, but I would prefer not to go the lap top route, especially one of that size).

4) Will I be able to output from the i-mac satisfactorily once finished? I would like to have both the option of outputting a finished film to HD directly (to broadcast standard) as well as the option of sending the project out for online/grade/dub with a possible higher resolution finish for projection.

I really appreciate your feedback.


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Colin Hubick
Re: Workflow: First Red Project
on Jan 21, 2010 at 7:06:38 pm

Hi Olivia, below are some answers to your questions.

answer 1 - Since this is your only option that fits your budget, it'll have to do. The nice thing is that you can make due with this type of system.

answer 2 - Yes you will need to process out your footage, as even the fastest MacPro machines don't necessarily give you the best playback performance. What I would suggest is creating 1k prores files at 1/4 debayer for your offline. These will process out quickly using the standard set of "free" apps available and It offers many benefits that make the editorial process more fluid.

answer 3 - If you are ultimately going to be cutting with ProRes material an external FW800 Raid will give you the performance you are looking for.

answer 4 - The one issue using just an iMac is the lack of a proper HD broadcast monitor to look at. This too is easily dealt with using a product such as the AJA IOHD. This will allow you to monitor your work through HD-SDI to a calibrated HD Broadcast monitor. As far as the option to send out for a film print, you can always conform your project afterwards to 2k for a film print, but obviously you would be able to do this efficiently on an iMac.

I was giving a workshop in Maui last year about the Red, and workflow challenges, and I was able to shoot for an entire day, output 1/8 res debayer (1024x512) prores quicktimes, do an offline edit of the material, then conform the locked pic to 1080p full res debayer on a laptop in my hotel room. Obviously this has limitations, but the process worked very well, and I was able to show a fully cut piece the following day on a 1080p projector.

Please feel free to contact me if you have more questions.


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