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Alex Geroulaitis
FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 1:03:18 am

Was GPU acceleration mentioned in any way at the FCP X "sneak peak" demo?

(I haven't watched the demonstration yet - any hint either way will be appreciated.)

Alex (DV411)


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 1:23:33 am

It was mentioned.

But I personally don't care. What's the arrangement of consonants for a raspberry? P-B-B-B-B-L-T? Isn't that it?

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Eric Jurgenson
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 1:57:30 am

Premiere. It's the new Final Cut Pro.

Seriously. The fact that Premiere supports GPU accelerated transfer modes is more exciting to me right now than FCP-X. I'm creeating some very cool cinematic enhancement formulae that can actually play in real time (on a nice box with the appropriate graphics card). It's like real time After Effects.



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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 2:27:40 am

[Eric Jurgenson] "It's like real time After Effects."

It's very tough to argue with that explanation. So far from Apple we have seen the following: 1) Smoke. 2) Mirrors.

I will cut Apple some slack with the presumption they actually know what they're talking about; I know, based on past performance, that's something of a stretch. That's why I wait until the June release to make a judgment.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 3:15:53 am

[Eric Jurgenson] "Premiere. It's the new Final Cut Pro."

Nice sound bite. Adobe will love you for it. :)

Alex (DV411)


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Paul Jay
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 5:21:39 pm

Judge it, then use it.
Or was it the other way around?


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 3:05:10 am

[Dave LaRonde] "It was mentioned."

Could you elaborate on that?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 3:13:36 am

Sorry, not really. I simply know that it exists, along with the ability to use all cores available on a machine. I'm going to wait for details when the software is actually released.

Until then, anything is open to speculation, and I don't wish to speculate.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 3:17:29 am

I was hoping they demoed an R3D or multi-layered H264 timeline that would hint at GPU acceleration - but alas, no. Oh well.

Thank you Dave.

Alex (DV411)


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Andy Mees
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 5:03:16 am

Alex
Right off the top, they said 64 bit, Grand Central Dispatch and Open CL support ... that means a lot of things, amongst them that the GPU is used.
Andy


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 8:54:26 am

The technology foundation in FCP X is second to nobody's. It's stunning what they are doing under the hood IMHO.

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski. My Blog: http://blogs.creativecow.net/Jerry-Hofmann

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Dennis Radeke
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:11:16 am

[Jerry Hofmann] " The technology foundation in FCP X is second to nobody's. It's stunning what they are doing under the hood IMHO."

What do you base this on?


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Andy Mees
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:15:01 am

Heee ... we say this stuff just to annoy you Dennis :-)


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Dennis Radeke
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:28:08 am

[Andy Mees] "Heee ... we say this stuff just to annoy you Dennis :-)"

HA! ;-) In all truthfulness, I'm interested to know just like everybody else!


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Andy Mees
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 12:01:30 pm

Its all speculation Dennis, none of us are privy to the code base ... and if anyone is then they're under NDA .. but we can still have a bash at a bit of well informed and educated guesswork. We do know for sure that its an ultra modern ground up rewrite designed at its core to milk all the most modern foundations of the OS and the host hardware , and crucially its been done by a dev team who have unparalleled access to the Mac's hardware and OS teams ... I think one can readily expect they'll have milked that advantage. That said, I don't think anyone would dispute how astonishingly good the Mercury Playback Engine is in PPro.


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Chris Kenny
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 3:03:07 pm

[Dennis Radeke] "What do you base this on?"

The GPU/multicore stuff Apple is doing looks far more sophisticated than anything Avid has so far. Hell, Media Composer is still a 32-bit app -- we've been hearing about lack of GPU/multicore or 64-bit with respect to FCP 7 for a couple of years now as proof that Apple doesn't care about pro users, but somehow people cut Avid tons of slack on the exact same issues.

Compared with Avid, Adobe is doing a lot better on the GPU/multicore front. Their Mercury engine already has capabilities similar to what Apple seems to be introducing... the catch is that Adobe is using CUDA, not OpenCL, so Mercury only works on a handful of NVIDIA GPUs, whereas FCP X should be able to take significant advantage of GPU acceleration on most modern systems. If you're running FCP X vs. Premiere Pro on a current-generation MacBook Pro, for instance, it's going to be day and night.

As far as I know, the ColorSync support in FCP X is not a feature found in either Media Composer or Premiere, and it's a fairly big deal. Standard desktop displays have been able to accurately reproduce video color spaces for years now, but editors have been stuck buying video I/O interfaces and monitoring on external displays set up off of color bars, which provide less accurate color than you can get get with a $200 calibration device and a desktop display, if you only have the right software support. If Apple's implementation of ColorSync support lives up to what's technically possible, they'll have made external monitoring unnecessary for probably 80 or 90% of the users who currently need it.

And then of course there's ProRes, where Apple was already well ahead of the competition. Adobe has no answer to ProRes (surprised they let Cineform get acquired by GoPro; it would have solved all of their problems), and Avid's DNxHD has neither the range (offline through 4:4:4) nor the third-party device support that ProRes has. You can now shoot, edit, color grade, and in some cases even deliver a feature film (an indie, anyway) without ever leaving the ProRes format.

People can fight all day about whether the UI looks too much like iMovie's or whatever. From a technical perspective, Apple has its ducks in a row.

Digital Workflow/Colorist
You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read First thoughts on Final Cut Pro X on our blog.


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 5:13:52 pm

[Chris Kenny] "Their Mercury engine already has capabilities similar to what Apple seems to be introducing..."

Maybe this: "we can only speculate that Apple will be introducing GPU acceleration that is similar to Adobe's implementation" - will be less of a stretch?

Adobe's GPU acceleration works in AE, AME and Pr - on fairly specific tasks that have been proven to be a significant productivity boost. Apple can't say anything of the sort yet - so how about we don't resort to rampant speculation?

Alex (DV411)


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 5:29:58 pm

[Alex Geroulaitis] "Adobe's GPU acceleration works in AE, AME and Pr -"

Actually, an Nvidia card that speeds up Premiere is useless in After Effects. It doesn't help at all. I'm not at all surprised, either.

Adobe purchased both After Effects and Premiere from two different software developers, each with their own notions of how the data used in their applications should be structured, and with different goals in mind to use that data.

As I recall, Apple also purchased Final Cut Pro from another software developer, the same is true for Color, and it probably purchased other applications in Final Cut Suite as well. I suspect Apple faces similar challenges to Adobe's in getting all these applications to work in concert with one another.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 5:38:57 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "Actually, an Nvidia card that speeds up Premiere is useless in After Effects. It doesn't help at all. I'm not at all surprised, either."

Not quite. It may not be of the scale of GPU acceleration in Pr, but it's significant nevertheless.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 5:54:52 pm

[Alex Geroulaitis] "It may not be of the scale of GPU acceleration in Pr, but it's significant nevertheless."

I'll reiterate what I just posted to you on the After Effects Basics forum:

Perhaps you can then explain to me why every Adobe Employee I have ever spoken to keeps Open GL acceleration turned off for all rendering.

I'll wait for your answer.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 6:19:09 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "Perhaps you can then explain to me why every Adobe Employee I have ever spoken to keeps Open GL acceleration turned off for all rendering."

OpenGL accel and multi-processor rendering support don't work together so software rendering will be faster and possibly more accurate than OpenGL-assisted one - especially on fast multi-core machines. There are other issues as well.

This does not mean OpenGL does not offer a productivity boost - especially for previews.

Bottom line, this statement:

[Dave LaRonde] "Actually, an Nvidia card that speeds up Premiere is useless in After Effects. It doesn't help at all"

... should probably be adjusted to say:

1. GPU (OpenGL) acceleration is much more limited in AE vs. Pr but not useless.
2. It helps primarily in previews and may help with non-final renders
3. It's not advisable to use OpenGL acceleration in final renders in AE.

Alex (DV411)


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Chris Kenny
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 5:34:54 pm

[Alex Geroulaitis] "Adobe's GPU acceleration works in AE, AME and Pr - on fairly specific tasks that have been proven to be a significant productivity boost. Apple can't say anything of the sort yet - so how about we don't resort to rampant speculation?

I wouldn't characterize it as "rampant speculation" to say that an entirely new rendering engine probably uses recent technologies in the places where it's appropriate to use them.

Digital Workflow/Colorist
You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read First thoughts on Final Cut Pro X on our blog.


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 6:55:20 pm

[Chris Kenny] "I wouldn't characterize it as "rampant speculation" to say that an entirely new rendering engine probably uses recent technologies in the places where it's appropriate to use them."

You're right - I was just spooked by continuous repeating of "probably" around unconfirmed bits of news.

Plus, there are many examples of amazing technologies getting killed or withering in obscurity - and that includes background rendering among other things.

In other words, Apple's implementation of GPU acceleration could fall far behind Adobe's, or could be roughly equal to it. Or, it could get far ahead - which I personally find highly unlikely based on what I heard of OpenCL.

The fact is, at the moment Apple is far behind and everything else is speculation.

Alex (DV411)


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Dennis Radeke
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:16:16 pm

[Chris Kenny] "Compared with Avid, Adobe is doing a lot better on the GPU/multicore front. Their Mercury engine already has capabilities similar to what Apple seems to be introducing..."

I think this is where you're going a bit far. You're making assumptions based on no evidence. Apple showed us nothing at that demo to underscore that it had a sophisticated GPU actually working. They mentioned OpenCL once if memory serves (I was there) and did not mention any hardware acceleration of effects or playback via the GPU. I think it's your wishful thinking, but the actual product may in fact be exactly what you describe.

[Chris Kenny] "the catch is that Adobe is using CUDA, not OpenCL, so Mercury only works on a handful of NVIDIA GPUs, whereas FCP X should be able to take significant advantage of GPU acceleration on most modern systems."

Again, until you know what you have with FCP X, it's is unfortunately just speculation. It is indeed true that Adobe Premiere Pro is based on CUDA technology and not OpenCL. It should be pointed out though that when CS5 was introduced, OpenCL was just ratified to say nothing of actual implementations. It is also fair to say that OpenCL is mostly a subset of what CUDA is as ATI/AMD evidently did not have as mature a language and in working with NVIDIA adopted much of what became OpenCL. Adobe is looking at OpenCL carefully for future versions, but as of now, Premiere Pro utilizes NVIDIA CUDA technology exclusively.

One final point on this. I work primarily in the broadcast markets and NVIDIA dominates this market by a very wide margin. Often it is because of the relative power of the solution. Here is an example I found in about 10 seconds: Tom's Hardware

[Chris Kenny] "And then of course there's ProRes, where Apple was already well ahead of the competition. Adobe has no answer to ProRes (surprised they let Cineform get acquired by GoPro; it would have solved all of their problems), and Avid's DNxHD has neither the range (offline through 4:4:4) nor the third-party device support that ProRes has. You can now shoot, edit, color grade, and in some cases even deliver a feature film (an indie, anyway) without ever leaving the ProRes format."

This is of course a differentiation between Adobe and many other companies. A DI codec still has uses to be sure, but when you can natively handle all media (including ProRes) the actual need for a DI for 90%+ of users is probably nil. If you can shoot, edit, color grade and in some cases even deliver a feature film (an indie, anyway) without ever leaving the native format, I'd say you're doing just fine without a DI. In fact, I'll go one further in saying that you can output a DPX file (for film print) via Adobe Media Encoder without any additional plugins.

Can you poke some holes in the above? Probably, but my point remains. A DI is more useful when you do not have a native workflow. BTW - just because GoPro purchased Cineform, doesn't mean you can't purchase Cineform for Premiere Pro if you want a DI workflow. People do it all of the time for specific workflows.

I'm excited about the time we live in and the great choice of products that users have access to and I look forward to more lively discussions about the best tools for the best stories in the future.

...And in case you didn't know already I am...

Dennis, the Adobe guy


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Chris Kenny
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:30:33 pm

[Dennis Radeke] "I think this is where you're going a bit far. You're making assumptions based on no evidence. Apple showed us nothing at that demo to underscore that it had a sophisticated GPU actually working. They mentioned OpenCL once if memory serves (I was there) and did not mention any hardware acceleration of effects or playback via the GPU. I think it's your wishful thinking, but the actual product may in fact be exactly what you describe."

This is a new, ground-up rendering engine. Anyone writing such an engine today would make extensive use of GPU acceleration. People who are extremely skeptical about Apple's efforts in this market can insist for the next couple of months that we can't assume Apple has competently executed on this point because we have no proof, but it's not especially reasonable to do so.

[Dennis Radeke] "Can you poke some holes in the above? Probably, but my point remains. A DI is more useful when you do not have a native workflow."

More useful, sure. But it's pretty useful regardless. We commonly send ProRes files out to transfer houses, for instance. It's quicker for us to get to an external drive, it's quicker (read: cheaper) for the transfer house to copy to the RAID on their output system, and it looks great. (We've screens projects mastered in ProRes 4444 in high-end DI theaters, and there's just nothing to complain about.)

Digital Workflow/Colorist
You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read Is FCP X a professional app? on our blog.


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Martin Curtis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 16, 2011 at 12:56:31 am

[Dennis Radeke] "A DI codec still has uses to be sure, but when you can natively handle all media (including ProRes) the actual need for a DI for 90%+ of users is probably nil. If you can shoot, edit, color grade and in some cases even deliver a feature film (an indie, anyway) without ever leaving the native format, I'd say you're doing just fine without a DI. "
And that's me and my work in a nutshell. I'll go one step further: the ability to use, say, h.264 natively means that a lot of us won't need those fancy Thunderbolt drives either. AVCHD is around the same bitrate as DV. A good FW800 drive can deliver ~600 mbps. I reckon I could run 10 streams through that and would probably bog down the CPU before I saturated the FW bus. Even better: take an iMac with an i7, SSD at 2TB SATA drive. Running everything from internal drives, the CPU would (once again) be the limiting factor. How limiting will be interesting to see...


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 5:02:36 pm

[Jerry Hofmann] "The technology foundation in FCP X is second to nobody's. It's stunning what they are doing under the hood IMHO. "

Jerry, I could say the same thing about Adobe apps, MC, Vegas Pro, Speed Razor, Incite, Liquid and many other apps - and it may be less speculative. After all, background rendering was introduced in Incite and Liquid more than 5 years ago if not earlier.

Alex (DV411)


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Chris Kenny
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 3:11:09 am

[Alex Geroulaitis] "Was GPU acceleration mentioned in any way at the FCP X "sneak peak" demo?"

Yes. It uses OpenCL.

Digital Workflow/Colorist
You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read First thoughts on Final Cut Pro X on our blog.


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Erik Lindahl
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 9:35:32 am

It's all speculation but MAYBE some of the FCPX goodies will be placed system wide instead? Decoding of codecs on the GPU built into QuickTime for example.

Time will tell!

------------------------
Erik Lindahl
Freecloud Post Production Services
http://www.freecloud.se


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Joseph Owens
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 8:19:37 pm

[Erik Lindahl] "Decoding of codecs on the GPU built into QuickTime "

Not necessarily required as it has been whispered that QT is no longer the core media wrapper that FCP bases all of its image transactions on. FCPX may well turn out to be media agnostic. This would be a good thing.

jPo

You mean "Old Ben"? Ben Kenobi?


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 4:58:31 pm

[Chris Kenny] "Yes. It uses OpenCL."

Anything specific? For example, Vegas Pro 10 does use GPU acceleration in some encoding tasks, but it's insignificant compared to Adobe's use of it.

To put it in perspective, I could maybe probably drive an F1 car but my use of it will be insignificant to that of, say, Lewis Hamilton.

If there is nothing specific - then it's pure speculation - and then we'll just have to wait for it.

Alex (DV411)


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Chris Kenny
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 5:01:30 pm

[Alex Geroulaitis] "Anything specific? For example, Vegas Pro 10 does use GPU acceleration in some encoding tasks, but it's insignificant compared to Adobe's use of it."

This is an entirely new engine. There's no reason they wouldn't be using it essentially everywhere it's possible to use it.

Digital Workflow/Colorist
You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read First thoughts on Final Cut Pro X on our blog.


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 5:15:26 pm

[Chris Kenny] "This is an entirely new engine. There's no reason they wouldn't be using it essentially everywhere it's possible to use it."

The precision and clarity of this logic brings tears of joy to my eyes.

Alex (DV411)


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Paul Jay
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 6:26:41 pm

DaVinci Resolve used CUDA only before.
Now also uses OPEN CL.

I'm sure FCP X will scream on GPU, all cores and all the ram.
Who knows maybee you can add future Thunderbolt iMacs in the chain aswell!!


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 15, 2011 at 6:43:52 pm

[Paul Jay] "DaVinci Resolve used CUDA only before.
Now also uses OPEN CL."


I like the idea of OpenCL - it just appears that NVidia is further ahead in the performance curve:

"OpenCL based processing, while not as powerful as CUDA™ processing also used on DaVinci Resolve, does allow a much wider range of computers that can be used for color grading."

Alex (DV411)


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Chris Kenny
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 16, 2011 at 2:29:10 am

[Alex Geroulaitis] "I like the idea of OpenCL - it just appears that NVidia is further ahead in the performance curve:

"OpenCL based processing, while not as powerful as CUDA™ processing also used on DaVinci Resolve, does allow a much wider range of computers that can be used for color grading.""


One thing to keep in mind is that OpenCL was initially developed by Apple, and based on the timeline it actually seems fairly plausible that it was developed as part of laying the groundwork for Final Cut Pro X.

So it wouldn't be a huge surprise if there were a difference between what Blackmagic can get out of OpenCL for Resolve, and what Apple can get out of it for FCP X. And it's also kind of silly to advance the notion that we don't know if Apple isn't really using OpenCL for much, in the application it was very possibly developed for or even extracted from.

Digital Workflow/Colorist
You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read Is FCP X a professional app? on our blog.


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Alex Geroulaitis
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 18, 2011 at 6:50:57 pm

[Chris Kenny] "And it's also kind of silly to advance the notion that we don't know if Apple isn't really using OpenCL for much, in the application it was very possibly developed for or even extracted from."

Chris, "it's kind of silly to advance the notion" of anything without any evidence. Do you have any evidence OpenCL will be anything close to Cuda in performance? No assumptions or speculation please. If not, then strangely, the real evidence out there points in a different direction - see my previous post.

The real evidence that is not based on assumptions and speculation, also points to Apple moving downmarket and away from niche and enterprise markets. Pro Video is a niche market and I just can't see Apple spending much time there unless it's a side benefit of efforts in the mass market that don't cost a lot.

It's much more beneficial for Apple to work on iMovie for iPad than on FCPX for MP or MBP.

Clearly the days of Apple focusing on the "pro" market are over - several years now.

Alex (DV411)


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 18, 2011 at 7:06:44 pm

Well, without actually using FCP X, I think it's really premature to make any sort of final judgement about whether it's a pro app or not. Or whether it's better than or worse than any other app. They hardly scratched the surface with the NAB sneak peek... more unanswered than answered questions I'd say.

But the foundation is very modern/state -of- the-Art... and does take advantage of a lot of OS tech that FCP 7 just couldn't address at all. Notably it was very snappy on the iMac they were running it from. I think this bodes well for how it would feel on a 12 core machine, right? Will the 1.0 release of it satisfy us all? Probably not, but the future looks very bright to me. The code base will make updating it easier, just as it was for Motion. If you think about it, the most "new" features in Studio 2009 were found in Motion, not FCP 7. REason? Cocoa Code...

All the talk of it being iMovie Pro: how does this matter? From what I saw it's hardly iMovie. None of my clients care what I edit on, they only care about results. If the app gives me the results I need, it's going to work for me. If not, then not... Can't tell until I know a lot more about FCP X than what is public.

The cost of entry into Pro NLE software crashed a decade ago, there's nothing new in this pricing at all. FCP X for 299 but it doesn't appear to include DVD SP, STP, Compressor,Color, nor Motion... which if you add it up, the price isn't any lower than its been since Studio 1. It's just broken out. Also this means that they can update/grade FCP without having to upgrade Motion and any other apps they have at the same time like they've had to do bundling it all in a suite.

Jerry


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Richard Herd
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 18, 2011 at 10:59:27 pm

How is "Pro App" defined?


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Andy Mees
Re: FCP X GPU acceleration?
on Apr 19, 2011 at 12:49:35 am

HI Richard
"Pro Apps" is a term that Apple use to describe any of their apps that have been specifically engineered for professional applications (traditionally meaning high end media based applications). Under the hood, these apps share use of specific ProApps frameworks, check : /Library/Application Support/ProApps/SharedA/Frameworks.
Hope that helps
Andy


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