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2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice

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Scot Walker
2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 22, 2014 at 2:38:11 pm

Hey, everyone. Happy Thursday.

I'm looking at getting a new 2013 Mac Pro to offer 4K indie film editing as a freelancer. I currently have a 2008 Mac Pro and I've been editing 1080p in FCP X. To do the 4K and 5K RED and BlackMagic, I'm going to need to update my system. It's been 6 years!

I don't know, yet, which processor choice I'm going with 6, 8, 12 cores. It's $1,500 more for 8 cores and another $1,500 for 12 cores. I've seen the benchmarks from Rob at barefeats that show exporting out of FCP X uses the 12 core version very well. If I'm exporting a 90 minute feature shot in RED as a Blu-ray disc image, I've heard it will take hours, so spending another $3K over the 6 core version might be worth it. But we all have a budget...

I'm definitely getting the 700 GPUs versus the 500.

I'll buy my extra RAM from Crucial. I figure 32 gigs is plenty for editing. It's my belief that only high-end 3D animation in Maya or Cinema 4D sees speed improvements with RAM over 32 gigs. Please correct me if you think I'm wrong on that.

I'm looking at the LaCie 5big Thunderbolt 2 RAID external hard drive as my media drive:
http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?id=10623

10 terabytes should be enough, I would think. This is about $900 on Amazon.

For backup, I could get another 5Big drive. I don't need that speed for backup, though. Anyone have a cheaper solution for 10 TB of backup?

For monitors, I was looking at getting 2 27" Apple displays for the user interface. I need to see what it looks like on NTSC, though, while color grading. The Mac Pro has HDMI built in so I figure I'd just get a consumer Samsung LCD TV and mount it on the wall behind my desk, above the 2 Apple displays. A 40", probably.

A question regarding that - if I'm working with 4K, how critical is it to get a 4K display? I'm not talking about theatrical releases here that are projected at 4K. This is indie shorts and features that will end up on Blu-ray for film festivals and VOD if distributed. I figure color grading on the Samsung LCD TV should be fine and I don't really need a 4K representation of the source media. Please correct me if I'm wrong on that.

For audio, I've had JBL 4206 studio monitors connected to a Haffler amp connected to a Mackie mixer plugged into the Mac with a Y-adapted 1/4 inch audio output. This is just stereo and not surround. Up to this point, I've just been eying the audio meters in FCP X while sound designing and using my stereo audio, then testing it on Blu-ray on my living room surround setup. Any recommendations for this?

Thank you so much for your time and advice.
Scot


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James Cude
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 22, 2014 at 7:22:17 pm

Definitely would suggest a 4K display- 4K is not going away and you'll see critical flaws you won't on an HD monitor- especially when mixing 4K with other resolutions. Also I would suggest the 8 core or higher machine and 32GB is fine for RAM though the more the merrier. Hope that helps.


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Eric Santiago
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 23, 2014 at 1:34:31 pm

Go for the D700, you will def need it.


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Scot Walker
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 23, 2014 at 1:41:46 pm

Thanks!

OK, so instead of 2 27" LCD Apple monitors I think I'll research an affordable 4K monitor that's good and then plug an NTSC TV monitor into the HDMI.

I know the professional color graders get plasma and calibrate it (still learning that trade) but I 99% of what I edit will be seen on consumer TVs and/or projected in a film fest room with an NTSC projector. Plasma creates so much heat in the room and it gets hot here in Dallas in my home studio. :)

Thanks for the help.



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Scot Walker
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 23, 2014 at 5:40:14 pm

James,

Do you work with a 4K monitor in FCP X? How does the user interface look? I would imagine it's super tiny but OS X 10.9.3 recently gave an option for scaling the UI. I'm thinking about getting the 27" Apple LCD for the main monitor and getting a Dell 4K for the viewer, but I could save $999 and just get the 4K Dell if the user interface works well on it. I'd do email, Safari, Final Draft, etc., on that monitor too.

I figure a consumer LCD Samsung TV connected to the HDMI would work for an NTSC preview.

Thanks again for your time.



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James Cude
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 23, 2014 at 6:13:37 pm

No you don't want the 4K monitor for the UI of FCPX- much of the UI becomes so tiny as to be unusable. (And this is endemic to most apps at that resolution so no fault of FCP here). The 4K monitor is for your video i/o.

You can drive it directly over HDMI from the Mac Pro. Or better: get a Blackmagic or AJA output card that support 4K. More expensive but you'll be set for at least a few years and you can impress your clients with your full 4K support. (I think you can charge more too).


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Scot Walker
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 23, 2014 at 7:38:05 pm

Got it.

I'd still need the NTSC TV monitor, though, right? To see what it looks like on consumer NTSC TV? I'm thinking the 27" Apple display on Thunderbolt bus 1, 4K Dell monitor on Thunderbolt bus 2 for the FCP X viewer window, and then the LCD TV connected to the HDMI for the AV/Out function in FCP X.

Sound right?

Thanks again.



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James Cude
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 23, 2014 at 9:40:56 pm

I don't know your clientele. If you think they'll be looking at it more in SD than in HD I could see the use. Personally, I haven't had a standard definition monitor in my bay for at least 3 years.


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Scot Walker
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 23, 2014 at 10:02:30 pm

No, I mean an NTSC HD 1080p Samsung TV to preview it in NTSC.

I'm editing indie shorts and features that end up on DVD/Blu-ray, VOD, iTunes/Amazon Instant/Google Play. They are also projected at film festivals on NTSC projectors.

Thanks



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James Cude
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 23, 2014 at 11:28:32 pm

Hehe- watch out for your terms. "NTSC" typically refers to standard definition 29.97, 480i. HDTV is HD.


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gary adcock
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 24, 2014 at 4:05:24 pm

[Scot Walker] "No, I mean an NTSC HD 1080p Samsung TV to preview it in NTSC."

Does that imply that you normally work in PAL / 50 hrz mostly? ? NTSC TV's are not known for compatibility in 50hrz countries,especially not the consumer grade sets.


Secondly, You can't do a professional edit without looking at the entire image at resolution. Banding, artifacts and other issues can only be viewed at actual resolution.

Lastly. 10TB of storage is about enough to do a single 4K project on, I would recommend that you consider 18T or more as your base storage level to Cut a real 4K project.

gary adcock
Studio37

Post and Production Workflow Consultant
Production and Post Stereographer
Chicago, IL


Follow my blog at http://www.garyadcock.com

Or follow me on Twitter
@garyadcock




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Scot Walker
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 24, 2014 at 5:07:07 pm

Yeah, my mistake. HD not NTSC. :)

Thanks so much for the feedback.

So an Apple 27" for the user interface, a Dell 4K to see it at native resolution off the Thunderbolt bus 2 so it can do 60hz. If it is off the HDMI, I've read it only does 30hz.

I was thinking I'd need a consumer Samsung LCD TV off of the HDMI using the FCP X AV/Out option to see what the color looks like for the end user. Is that even necessary, or is what I see on the Dell 4K good enough?

I understand that professional color grading is done on expensive monitors that are calibrated to a precise setting, but the people viewing my indie shorts and features will be viewing DVDs, Blu-ray and VOD on consumer HD TVs, and also on computer screens.

10 TB not enough? Thank you for that! What I might do, to keep the initial cost as low as I can (this is over $10K) is I'll wait until I get a feature project and then get the 20 TB LaCie. I'd need 2 drives so I have one for backup. The 10 TB should be fine for short indie projects, which is most likely what I'll be getting at the beginning.

Thanks again for everyone's time and advice. I greatly appreciate it.



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Dave Jenkins
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 24, 2014 at 5:14:40 pm

[Scot Walker] " was thinking I'd need a consumer Samsung LCD TV off of the HDMI using the FCP X AV/Out option to see what the color looks like for the end user. Is that even necessary, or is what I see on the Dell 4K good enough?
"


You wil not get an accurate viewing form the HDMI output. It outputs a computer feed to a monitor. On my Samsung when I hook it up to the HDMI output it turns off a lot of the setting on the monitor because it sees it as a computer feed which is a different dynamic range and color values.

It works but don't use it to judge color or contrast of the image.

Dajen Productions, Santa Barbara, CA
Mac Pro 3.5MHz 6-Core Late 2013
FCP X


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Scot Walker
Re: 2013 Mac Pro 4K Edit Suite Advice
on May 24, 2014 at 5:26:58 pm

Wow. Thanks! So I guess to get a true color representation of what the consumer would see (I realize people have different settings on their TVs) I'd need one of those AJA or Blackmagic boxes?

Thanks



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