FORUMS: list search recent posts

Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions

COW Forums : Apple Final Cut Pro X Debates

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Julian Bowman
Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 23, 2013 at 8:34:50 am

Hi, the base prices are now out for the new mac pro. I need a new machine because despite maxing out my 2009 Mac Pro FCPX gives a fair amount of crashes, slow downs and other efficiency hindering blips, burps and hiccups.

Being it is just me and I buy all my own stuff price is important and I don't want to buy more than I will need for the next 4 years, in terms of computer.

I shoot on Canon DSLRs, then encode to ProRes. A workflow I am happy with. I never multi cam and my final timelines are usually quite neat and don't have a load of tracks on them. I use plugins and filters and occasionally motion templates I have tweaked for purpose. I do my audio in FCPX and my final output goes to clients on DVD or for the web.

I don't not collaborate. I only use FCPX and Motion 5.

What I want is my mac to glide through the above rather than FCPX pausing to open plugin folders, or crashing on me whilst trying to 'range' something to export which is has done, and me needing to circumnavigate by rebooting, closing other events/projects etc etc. I just want to be able to work unhindered by technical gremlins.

my big questions here, from looking at the specs, are about CPU and GPU.

in my ignorance and based on a little googling, it seems to me that for my needs the base quad mac pro with the 2 x 2gb GPUs with a thunderbolt G-Raid 8TB drive (and another backing the main one up) will work for my needs for the next 4 years. All in that is £3700 from Apple (Drives included) + a bit more for more RAM.

The top end i7 iMac comes in at £2200 which is only £300 less than the above Mac Pro, plus I like the lower power consumption of the new mac pro, have dual monitors anyway and want to not buy any more gear for 4 years.

So will that bottom spec Mac pro be like a knife through butter for me? And when the options appear, what should I focus on, in order, if I have a bit more cash? Am I better off putting a bit more in upgrading the GPUs over the CPU?

I appreciate that most people who post on here work in fields more collaborative and in broadcast etc., but my needs are lesser and I am happily making a living from my little niche, so when I read people talking about stuff it tends to be about environments with more demanding needs than me, and i want to buy well but not over buy at this moment, so any help will be appreciated.

****

And before any Drobo / Pegasus comments come in, I appreciate they are better than 2 g-raids in some ways but are also more expensive. The raid redundancy seems a bit negated though by the fact I have 2 x 8TB drives that are a copy of each other. In fact I could buy a third g-raid and it cost the same as an pegasus R4 with a g-raid back up and have 2 back ups. Also, due to the nature of my workflow, I don't think I need more speed than the thunderbolt g-raid would offer. So it seems to me 2 x g-raids makes sense. Always willing to hear well conceived challenges to that thought process, but please remember cost is an issue as I buy all my own gear as an individual, rather than a company.

Many thanks in advance, and hopefully any answers will help any other one man shop people thinking along similar lines.


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 23, 2013 at 9:10:20 am

Depending on what your client base is, I think the biggest change will be deliverables and I suspect H.265 will demand quite a bit of system resources. Given that, I don't expect any machine today will fair well closing in on four years. My own guess is that I can see replacing a MacPro in two years as encoding/decoding will be assisted by newer GPUs that can't be replaced in the MacPro.

Since you mention web, my concern would be having to deliver h.265 1080p files in two years (or less) and if they're longer form, those encodes might be painful.

If you're accumulating a lot of source material but don't need all of it immediately available, looking at LTO6 for archival might be more important than heaps of "live drives" so getting the g-raids and having money for archival when the time comes might be a good way to go.



Return to posts index

Andrew Kimery
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 23, 2013 at 9:12:30 am

From what I've read, any modern iMac or MBP would probably run FCP X smoother than your '09 MP because of under-the-hood changes to those machines that FCP X takes advantage of.

With out seeing independent performance tests it's hard to say how the machine distributes the loads, but if I had to guess I would say upgrade the GPUs before upgrading the CPU. Apple, like many other companies, are really leveraging the GPU for heavy lifting so that's where I'd assume you'd see the most benefit.

RAM I wouldn't necessary worry about right now as that can be added later and $500 worth of RAM today will probably be $150 worth of RAM in 2-3 years. Same thing with drives. I'd certainly buy with room to grow but I wouldn't blow my wad on it as the price per gig only goes down. Maybe just budget storage for what you'll need over the next two years and you'll probably be able to get 12 or 16TB in 2yrs for the price of 8TB today.



EDIT:

Craig, there are external H.264 encoders that could take the heavy lifting off the MP if those tasks are weighing it down. I agree that 4 years will be pushing the life span of the machine as a daily use editing rig.


Return to posts index


Craig Seeman
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 23, 2013 at 9:22:40 am

[Andrew Kimery] "Apple, like many other companies, are really leveraging the GPU for heavy lifting"

[Andrew Kimery] "Craig, there are external H.264 encoders that could take the heavy lifting off the MP if those tasks are weighing it down"

H.265, there's no way to replace the GPUs. I believe the GPUs will be involved in both Decode and Encode which is why I think replacing the MacPro in two years. Wait until some smart aleck camera manufactures decide H.265 is the next step up over H.264 for acquisition. I think we'll need new GPUs in two years.



Return to posts index

Julian Bowman
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 23, 2013 at 9:27:32 am

Ok, cheers both.

Craig the LTO machines are around £2k after a quick google search so that's a no. I am fortunate in as much as I don't need to archive rushes much at all and I forgot to mention I don't do long form, usually films run from 2 mins to 15 mins (only one job had a 45m and 30m output). I encode for clients at 10,000 kbps 720 and everyone is happy and to be honest on this machine that part of the process is fine and dandy and I can't see how that will change over 4 years (though of course it may). So to me keeping the mac for 4 years seems totally feasible. I work in the not for profit sector (councils, charities, NHS Trusts, Housing associations) so no top end stuff at all.

Just re-read and saw you put h.265 files. Ok, a quick read suggests it is like h.264 but keeps file sizes smaller. Again, with my business I don't need to encode end products a great deal so at the moment that isn't a concern on my radar, and if in 2 years it is a pain then I'll buy another mac but I can't see it being an issue for me at the moment.

Andrew, thanks for the feedback. I am actually pathologically opposed to iMacs and not the biggest fan of laptops (I never take the machine into the field and will only end up plugging in my keyboard, mouse and monitors anyway) and I can't believe the small amount I would save buying one of those now over the mac pro will stand me in good stead over the coming years. In addition I am very drawn to the lower power use as the mac stays on a lot round my place.

Thanks for the GPU comments. It is what I believed from what I have read over the past which makes me also believe I won't really need to step up to the 6 core base unit either. I will wait and see what the upgrade price is for the graphic cards in the base model.

And RAM, well I can wait and see what it is like with it but I always buy from crucial and see that as one of the smaller costs in the buying process.

External drives I pretty much run with 8TB at the moment (4x2TB drives 0 raided in my mac) and that space is good for me, thus my going down that route. And yes, when I may need 12TB it will be much further down the line and prices will have dropped.

So it seems from you guys feedback that I am leaning towards the low spec mac pro with a possible upgrade in graphics cards and my 2 x g-tech drives. In 2 years I can look again. If new codecs impact on my to the degree that everything feels like I am working in treacle then I can consider a new mac again but if not then I will be good for another year or 2. in the meantime I have saved money at this point which is my sticking point (big tax bill coming up, just moved house, getting married... triple whammy though 2 of the 3 are quite joyful events).

If any others want to pipe up that would be great though as I take a lot from reading what people say about topics and this one is totally specific to my needs.

Many thanks for your time.



Return to posts index

Jeremy Garchow
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 23, 2013 at 1:24:42 pm

I agree, buy the computer with the fastest GPU you can afford.

In Apples presentation yesterday and now on the MacPro webpage, Apple folks said many things about rewriting the OS as well as apps for dual GPU support and taking advantage of openCL.

The fastest GPU will serve you longer if CPU based processes aren't as important to you.


Return to posts index


Julian Bowman
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 23, 2013 at 1:26:49 pm

Cheers Jeremy for confirming my inklings.



Return to posts index

Martin Phillips
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 23, 2013 at 2:13:22 pm

Julian - don't know whether it helps, but I've got the same Mac Pro as you (2009 Quad Core). Over the summer I put in a Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 7950 - £320 very well spent as FCPX really flies now. Unrendered timelines with 2 or 3 layers play perfectly (at 1080p 25), and the rendering is very fast. I was struggling before with an older card, with beach-balling and crashes, but the difference now is like chalk and cheese. The whole program just feels alive now. Just wondered whether that could be your bottleneck?

Martin Phillips Freelance Cameraman / Producer / Editor
Chesham, Buckinghamshire, UK. http://www.thevideodepartment.co.uk


Return to posts index

Julian Bowman
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 23, 2013 at 3:05:08 pm

Cheers Martin, though I'm still going to get a new machine, but....

I did upgrade my card to a ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB. I have 32gb of ram, SSD as my launch drive and it is a 2.26 Quad Core.

To be honest I am not sure what the issue is, and things are a bit better since I added the SSD drive and the graphics card, but it still frustrates me enough to want to invest in something new and better. I have been waiting on the pricing of the mac tube and if I can, as it seems, get a good machine for my needs with the low spec and a possible GPU upgrade then i'll sell my current baby on after i've got everything up and running.



Return to posts index


Dave Gage
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 24, 2013 at 12:19:33 am

[Julian Bowman] "
Just re-read and saw you put h.265 files. Ok, a quick read suggests it is like h.264 but keeps file sizes smaller."


Does anyone know if this is true? Is H.265 like the "new" x264 codec?

Thanks,
Dave


Return to posts index

Craig Seeman
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 24, 2013 at 12:39:12 am

[Dave Gage] "Does anyone know if this is true? Is H.265 like the "new" x264 codec?"

I'm not quite sure what you mean by that. H.265 is a major improvement in efficiency over any variant of H.264. It's also a major resource hog to encode. If you find H.264 slow to encode now, imagine something at least twice as slow. Then there'll be the need for hardware (GPU) assisted decode.

My concern is that unless there's a way to add that to current (new) MacPro GPUs, as H.265 demand increases in a couple of years so will our need to replace the MacPros.

Given the efficiency, whether it be matching the quality of H.264 at half the file size or making 4K viable. the demand will increase for VOD delivery.

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/162027-h-265-benchmarked-does-the-next...

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13970_7-57387626-78/qualcomm-shows-horsepower-...



Return to posts index

Dave Gage
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 24, 2013 at 12:53:35 am

[Craig Seeman] "I'm not quite sure what you mean by that."

Craig,

I've been using x264 for years and the .mp4 encodes work great on my website and for Youtube uploads. For the time being, H.265 may be overkill for my needs. I haven't done a lick of testing yet, but may want/need to in the near future.

[Craig Seeman] "If you find H.264 slow to encode now, imagine something at least twice as slow."
I've never actually thought of it as slow, it just is what it is. But twice as long might be annoyingly slow.
--

Craig, did you ever see my question for you in the Wirecast forum?
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/260/620
I haven't picked up one of the BM Mini Recorders yet, but I have since found it comes with software which may be what you were referring to in the original review you posted.

Thanks,
Dave


Return to posts index


Craig Seeman
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 24, 2013 at 1:04:24 am

[Dave Gage] "H.265 may be overkill for my needs. I haven't done a lick of testing yet, but may want/need to in the near future."

It certainly will be for some time. My hunch is that'll change in about two years though.

I'll check the Wirecast forum. I've been a bit inundated these days (Wirecast 5 beta tester amongst other things).



Return to posts index

Dave Gage
Re: Mac pro, FCPX, 1080 DSLR footage, One man shop - Questions
on Oct 24, 2013 at 2:35:35 am

Thanks for the reply in the other forum, I then replied with (yet) another question. I just watched a Larry Jordan video on H.265 at Youtube. It sounds like it's not quite in usage yet. Maybe the next Compressor 5 or MPEG Streamclip will have it as an option?

Dave


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]