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How best to configure for the move to FCPX + 4K?

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andy webb
How best to configure for the move to FCPX + 4K?
on May 12, 2015 at 1:11:10 pm

This is an appeal for help in a situation which is probably pretty common right now. If anyone has the time to share their knowledge I’d be very grateful – and maybe others too?

So – I’ve been using FCP for approaching 15 years, since v2. I shoot and edit documentary for broadcasters like the BBC, Discovery and NatGeo.

4K seems to be here – and so I finally need to re-educate on FCPX - and re-equip.

It’s that second of these that I’m not at all sure about – and would value advice more from users here than a dealer with sales to make.

I currently run a mid-201O MacPro/ 2x 2.66 Ghz 6 core/ Radeon 5870/ 12G RAM.

But what core + clock speed combo from the current MacPro range should I go for? I’m prepared to spend – this is my livelihood – but I don’t want to throw money away.

As regards storage – I currently run a RAID system from an internal card – 52TB in all – and it’s plenty fast enough for 1080HD.

Two questions here – is Thunderbolt truly fast enough to handle native 4K editing – or should I try to ‘migrate’ my existing RAID system. And is that even possible, given that the new MacPro towers don’t have card slots?

My final question is on monitoring. I currently run a 3-screen system – Viewer+ Canvas+ Timeline/Browser/Output monitor – using a Blackmagic Decklink card.

I’d like to stay with 3 screens – though is there a way of playing out to a ‘consumer grade’ 4K monitor. I don’t want – or need – to pay out a huge sum for a broadcast 4K monitor since my films are always finished out of house.

Quite a few questions here – and my apologies if I’ve missed someone else’s similar plea.

Many thanks.


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Eric Santiago
Re: How best to configure for the move to FCPX + 4K?
on May 12, 2015 at 6:23:57 pm

First off which 4K crayon are you working towards?
I live and breathe RED (I own a Scarlet) so my current system (same as yours) is suffice.
However I replaced the AMD with a Quadro 4000 (Resolve and Adobe).
I also use an ATTO SAS680 with GTECH eS Pro RAID to get the speeds I want.
Along with a RED ROCKET (yea I know costly) my set-up is perfect for 4K/5K finishing.
RED and FCPX is like a hot knife through butter.
No need to Optimize/Proxy anything on my set-up but I do Proxy for clients (dailies and rough edit).
Now of course if you had a chance to get a new Mac Pro then you probably wont need a ROCKET card.
Get a Thunderbolt 2 RAID and your laughing.


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: How best to configure for the move to FCPX + 4K?
on May 13, 2015 at 10:08:12 pm

The answers will depend greatly on the flavour of 4k you're going to be dealing with and how much of it.

I'm only just dipping my toe into the 4k waters but so far I've had a good experience with my 6 core 2013 Mac Pro and a two drive RAID Thunderbolt enclosure. On the other hand, I'm not stressing it to any great degree. Mostly I'm just working with one or two streams of 4k ProRes 422 footage.

Where I find the new Mac Pro can struggle is dealing with non-ProRes media, specifically h264. I recently was struggling to edit a project using native 4k files from a Panasonic GH4. I moved the external drive to my 2013 iMac and everything was a smooth as silk. Now maybe that's a system issue with the Mac pro but I've only recently down a clean install of it and I've had the issue fairly consistently over time.

For monitoring I'm using three screens - FCPX timeline on one with the Browser window sent to the second, and I output picture to a 1080p screen via a Blackmagic Ultrastudio Mini Monitor.

Anyway, that's what's working for me so far...

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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