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The right Mac Pro for FCPX

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KrickeT Ro
The right Mac Pro for FCPX
on Dec 21, 2013 at 5:49:26 pm
Last Edited By KrickeT Ro on Dec 21, 2013 at 5:50:00 pm

Hi, I hope I posted in the correct forum.

I am using FCPX at my church to edit our sermons. I do very basic editing. We cut out the dead space and add our logo on the video. It is very basic editing. We are looking to purchase the new Mac Pro but we are not sure if it is worth the upgrade and if it is, which model we should buy.

We currently record our videos to an iMac (2.9 GHz Intel Core i5 - 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 - NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 512 MB) with Blackmagic Design UltraStudio Express. The video comes in as (HD 1080i - ProRes 422 LT) and goes to a 6TB G-RAID with Thunderbolt.

Once I edit the videos. We export for Vimeo, YouTube, and we create a DVD of each service. I am guessing purchasing even the base model Mac Pro will help cut down on the time it takes to do all this.

My first question is: is it worth the $2,999 upgrade? Does anyone know even a guestimate of how long it will take to export a 40 minute sermon for Vimeo? Right now with the iMac it takes about 5 hours just for Vimeo compression.

My next question is: what would be the ideal configuration for the Mac Pro? I want it to use FCPX to its full potential. I made a PDF of the configurations from Apple's website. Can someone please shed some words of wisdom of what is best to have in a production computer? Is the processor most important? The RAM? The Video Card? I have no clue. Any and all help is greatly appreciated.

6932_macpro.pdf.zip

Thank you so much!
kricket.


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Gary Huff
Re: The right Mac Pro for FCPX
on Dec 21, 2013 at 6:06:19 pm
Last Edited By Gary Huff on Dec 21, 2013 at 6:06:54 pm

[KrickeT Ro] "My first question is: is it worth the $2,999 upgrade? Does anyone know even a guestimate of how long it will take to export a 40 minute sermon for Vimeo? Right now with the iMac it takes about 5 hours just for Vimeo compression."

It's possible that the D300s would shorten this considerably, but it's also possible that the maxed out 2013 iMac with the 780M 4GB GPU would be close enough that it makes it a better deal.

Really interested to see some real-world (i.e. FCPX rendering times as opposed to GeekBench scores) examples of the difference between the base Mac Pro and a maxed out iMac.


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Erik Lindahl
Re: The right Mac Pro for FCPX
on Dec 21, 2013 at 6:18:10 pm

I think the 6-core base machine is a very well balanced system. I would however get 32GB of RAM at least.

The value of the D700 GPU's is harder to guess. They could potentially decrease processing time a lot but it's something very few know at the moment.

I'm not sure how you prepare footage for Vimeo but I'd advice you to look into something like Telestream Episode / Episode Pro compared to Apple Compressor.

Having a fast dual-drive setup could help as well. Read from drive A output to drive B. With this in mind a 512GB SSD might be preferable as well as a decent external TB RAID.

All the above said, it's hard to say how much faster things would be in the real world.


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Paul Neumann
Re: The right Mac Pro for FCPX
on Dec 21, 2013 at 6:45:19 pm

So the base MacPro plus the cost of a monitor will put you about $1K more than a new iMac. For what you're doing I would think a i7/27" iMac with either video card option would suit your needs just fine and be a more economical solution.


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Jason Porthouse
Re: The right Mac Pro for FCPX
on Dec 21, 2013 at 7:24:00 pm

I'd tend to agree, particularly if there's no real time pressure to get it online. Though 5 hours to share 40 mins might be a bit steep - is that to compress for Vimeo or to share to Vimeo - if the latter your broadband speed will skew results as it will depend on how long it takes to upload. So you may find a new MP less of a speed boost than you think.

I for one am finding it hard to justify, for the bulk of the work I do at my 'home' edit suite (despite the fact it's fully kitted out for broadcast level production) getting a new MP - even the base model - when the uber iMac is so darned quick. It'll do 90% of what I do faster than I can do it, if you get my drift.

Doesn't stop me wanting a Mac Pro though...

_________________________________

Before you criticise a man, walk a mile in his shoes.
Then when you do criticise him, you'll be a mile away. And have his shoes.



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Chris Kenny
Re: The right Mac Pro for FCPX
on Dec 21, 2013 at 9:03:27 pm

[KrickeT Ro] "My first question is: is it worth the $2,999 upgrade? Does anyone know even a guestimate of how long it will take to export a 40 minute sermon for Vimeo? Right now with the iMac it takes about 5 hours just for Vimeo compression."

If you're looking for an upgrade for this use case, I'd say the current 27" iMac, perhaps with the 4GB 780M GPU upgrade and i7 CPU update, is probably a better choice than the new Mac Pro. You likely wouldn't see a huge performance benefit for the entry-level Mac Pro over that iMac here. A 6-core would be faster, by the time you were done adding a monitor could easily cost ~$2000 more.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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olof ekbergh
Re: The right Mac Pro for FCPX
on Dec 21, 2013 at 9:19:28 pm

Does the 5 hrs include the upload? Or is it just the compression before upload?

Your internet connection will not be faster with a new MP. My iMac will compress a 1 hr show for Vimeo 720 30p in about 30 minutes. The upload takes about 3 hrs with my 20mbit connection (that is fast here in NH anyway).

Even my MBP is almost real time maybe 1.5 or 2x to compress for Vimeo.

Olof Ekbergh


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KrickeT Ro
Re: The right Mac Pro for FCPX
on Dec 21, 2013 at 9:36:59 pm

I am sorry for not being clear, the 5 hours is just for compressing. Upload times vary on internet speed. We capture our footage at about 1GB/minute and by the time I compress the video with Vimeo's recommended settingsand it turns out to 1.5GB-2.5GB for a 40-60 minutes video.

Here is my dilemma, ... I have a feeling that we will be doing more production stuff in the future and I'd hate to spend money on another iMac that will not be as good as the Mac Pro. This computer will not be changed for another 10-15 years (I'm not kidding). I want to make sure that if we do get a computer it will take us at least 10 years before we notice any problems. We have enough money in our budget for a new Mac Pro so it is very tempting. I'm not sure if I should continue using our iMac for a new years and then upgrade or to get it now.


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Dan Stewart
Re: The right Mac Pro for FCPX
on Dec 21, 2013 at 9:49:45 pm

You need an upgradable machine. Buy a large case pc with plenty of room to expand. For now stick in the fastest motherboard/CPU combo you can afford (without going mad) and a couple of gpu cards (again without going mad). You'll have to switch to premiere or avid but the cash you keep aside can be spent in 10 years to do the same again and you'll be magnitudes faster then than anything you buy today. The non-upgradable Macpro is sexy now but in three years it'll be a doorstop, in 10 a relic and in 25 conversation piece.

If you must stay on fcpx then keep the iMac but offload the encoding to the PC box.



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Bernard Newnham
Re: The right Mac Pro for FCPX
on Dec 21, 2013 at 10:38:33 pm

Absolutely - non-upgradeable machines are only for those with cash to burn, especially if its a MacPro, given the prices. You really don't need that kind of power - few do.

And check out Grass Valley Edius as editor if you don't like Avid or monthly payment. Runs very fast on a PC even with lots of effects.

Bernie


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Craig Alan
Re: The right Mac Pro for FCPX
on Dec 23, 2013 at 6:23:28 pm

[KrickeT Ro] "This computer will not be changed for another 10-15 years (I'm not kidding). I want to make sure that if we do get a computer it will take us at least 10 years before we notice any problems."

There is no such animal. 5 years is pushing it for pro apps.

The mid-2007 iMac is the oldest Mac that will run Mavericks. FCP X 10.1 will not run on any OS other than Mavericks. We're a few years away from mid-2017. I would think you could get away with 5 years. If you are really expanding your use of video maybe there is a way you could make some money to keep the upgrades coming. Also don't forget to figure in the cost of external storage. I assume your church does weddings. I assume you or someone shoots the videos in order for you to have footage to edit. Do a couple of weddings a year over the next five years and bingo you can upgrade when needed.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Don Walker
Re: The right Mac Pro for FCPX
on Dec 21, 2013 at 10:59:15 pm

Kricke

I am in almost the same situation. I am currently doing all the editing at my home studio on a 5yr old MacPro. I am considering going to a top of the line MacBook Pro, so I can move work easily between church and home. Though I won't get the same performance as the MacPro, it will be faster than my current machine, and it will be portable. That's not to say that you couldn't move the MacPro far easier than you could legacy machines.

If I was you, I would probably go with either a maxed out iMac or MacBook Pro, if you are sticking to FCPX.

don walker
texarkana, texas

John 3:16


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