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Need advice for getting new FCPX set up

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Jacqueline Nauman
Need advice for getting new FCPX set up
on Jun 22, 2017 at 7:25:56 pm

I wish this was an easy question. I've finally given up on fixing my MacPro. It was a workhorse and if I could've stayed with it, I would have, but alas, it's a goner. I have a loner 2012 iMac with my SSD in it and it works ok but I'm not that keen on laptops. For one, it doesn't have enough usb ports for my work or liking even with a 4-port hub on it. I do not like to store much on my internal disks other than software and most of my media are on external drives, so I need the USB ports! Sometimes with the hub a drive will drop off for no reason. I think it's probably too many working drives on the hub at once. Though I like the portability of this machine, I prefer my macpro with the 2 monitors, trackball mouse and endless external drives as I've had for many years. The question is, what do I do? Is the Trash Can really worth it? I'm not one to buy the first-available-latest-greatest and I know there's a new mac pro out but it's pricey for me. I need something to last and work hard with FCP X, all the Adobe sw and then some. Mostly my editing is corporate or documentary video. I have yet to do any 4k editing....not sure that I ever will but it would be nice to have the option. I've been stuck because I don't know what to invest in! I'm hoping I can stay under 3-4k for everything but I know that may not be a reality. Anyone have a system setup they would like to share? Frankly, I'm tired of having to be a techie and rebuild my machine --- spent over a year on that route --- and all I want is to get back to concentrating on the creative and not have to worry about what to replace, upgrade, downgrade, spec out, or spend all my life savings on. I plan to sell off my old mac for the parts to help my funding a little (prolly very little!)

Thanks in advance!

MAC: 2 x 2.8 Quad Core Intel Xeon
Memory: 8GB 800 MHZ DDR2 FB-DIMM
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB
OS: Mac OS X 10.11.6


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Noah Kadner
Re: Need advice for getting new FCPX set up
on Jun 22, 2017 at 8:44:59 pm

The current 4K and 5K iMacs that were released at WWDC'17 are more than enough. If you're thinking 2013 Mac Pro I would recommend holding off as Apple has promised an updated modular version coming within the next year or so. Also the iMac Pro is available in December this year.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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Claude Lyneis
Re: Need advice for getting new FCPX set up
on Jun 23, 2017 at 4:37:18 am

You might look at the discussion on the FCPX debate forum called New iMac for 4k editing. There is a good discussion there that is relevant to your question.


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Jacqueline Nauman
Re: Need advice for getting new FCPX set up
on Jun 23, 2017 at 9:19:27 pm

Thanks. Didn't know it was a debate. I'll check it out.


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Scott Witthaus
Re: Need advice for getting new FCPX set up
on Jun 26, 2017 at 3:59:30 pm

[Jacqueline Nauman] "Didn't know it was a debate."

It's not. Just some old die-hards over there still wishing for FCP8! ;-)

Scott Witthaus
Owner, 1708 Inc./Editorial
Managing Partner, Low Country Creative LLC
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Joe Marler
Re: Need advice for getting new FCPX set up
on Jun 29, 2017 at 9:38:12 pm

[Jacqueline Nauman] "...Sometimes with the hub a drive will drop off for no reason. I think it's probably too many working drives..."

If these are bus-powered USB drives, most hubs have significant current limit which is lower than the current limit most Macs have. Macs can supply higher current to charge iPads and Apple uses several USB current profiles, denoted 1A, 2A and 2.4A. You can have (for example) four bus-powered USB drives plugged into an iMac and they'll work OK, but maybe not if plugged into some USB hubs, even if the port is externally powered. You never know since it depends on the hub, the drive, peak simultaneous current draw, etc.

This is a big issue on the 2016 and later MacBook Pro which only has USB-C, thus hubs are more common. Even the plug-in "hyper docks" which use two USB-C ports will not provide the USB-A current that previous Macs did, hence you can't always run the multiple bus-powered USB 3 drives you did previously.

[Jacqueline Nauman] "...Is the Trash Can really worth it?....I need something to last and work hard with FCP X....Mostly my editing is corporate or documentary video. I have yet to do any 4k editing....not sure that I ever will but it would be nice to have the option....

I have a 12-core D700 nMP on my desk right now I'm testing against a 2015 top-spec iMac 27 in FCPX. If you use or plan on using any H264 codecs -- including AVCHD, Sony XAVC-S, most drones, GoPros, most DSLRs, many camcorders, etc -- I would definitely not get the Mac Pro. It is an aesthetically beautiful machine, very quiet and with good thermal control. However due to the Xeon CPU it does not have Quick Sync which is a major handicap dealing with H264. In my tests it is 1/2 as fast as my 2015 iMac 27 at transcoding 4k H264 to ProRes proxy. It is only a little faster on Neat Video noise reduction, no faster on Digital Anarchy flicker removal, and no faster on stabilization or sharpening. It is a little faster on some effects like Aged Film, and if using a ProRes timeline some of the above effects will render faster than an iMac.

On the 12-core nMP, multicam 4k H264 requires transcoding to proxy for smooth editing -- just like an iMac. The only problem is the nMP transcodes to proxy at 1/2 the rate. In short the nMP is a great machine if you use all ProRes acquisition. In my doc team we have 12 GoPros, four drones, cable cams, crane cams, gimbal cams, 3-axis motion control cams, etc -- all 4k H264. We have Atomos recorders but prefer not using those in the field unless absolutely required because of complexity and HDMI fragility. The Inspire 2 drone can shoot ProRes internally but this doesn't help if everything else is H264. So the idea of "just use ProRes acquisition" may work on scripted narratives, short commercials and lower shooting ratios but it doesn't work for us, thus the need for faster transcoding to proxy or a machine that can edit 4k H264 smoothly without transcoding.

For H264 1080p, almost any machine or editing software is fast enough. A recent iMac 27 would be significantly faster than your old Mac Pro for H264. In your position I'd probably get a 2017 iMac 27 of some kind.


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Jacqueline Nauman
Re: Need advice for getting new FCPX set up
on Jul 9, 2017 at 6:14:11 pm

Joe, thank you so much for your thorough response. My usb hub is AC plug-in powered, so not sure why I'm having so many issues with it. Seems to only happen if I am using more than one of the external drives at the same time. I just wish there were more than 2 ports so I wouldn't have to rely on the hub. I often will have clients bring in their drives with the media and import to my syu

I'll have to take a closer look at the iMac 27 and a better hub. I guess I'm so used to old-school machines, I have to get over the stereotype of laptops being less reliable.


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Jacqueline Nauman
Re: Need advice for getting new FCPX set up
on Jul 9, 2017 at 6:56:08 pm

*system not syu

MAC: 2 x 2.8 Quad Core Intel Xeon
Memory: 8GB 800 MHZ DDR2 FB-DIMM
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB
OS: Mac OS X 10.11.6


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Joe Marler
Re: Need advice for getting new FCPX set up
on Jul 10, 2017 at 10:57:34 am

[Jacqueline Nauman] "My usb hub is AC plug-in powered, so not sure why I'm having so many issues with it. Seems to only happen if I am using more than one of the external drives at the same time. "

This is likely because the USB chip used by the hub manufacturer does not support the same DC current as the Apple USB ports. They may also have an aggregate limit on DC current to all ports on the hub. They probably took a design shortcut and used a cheap USB chip, which despite the hub's external AC power, has this limitation.

This same situation exists on some USB 3 hyperdocks for the new MacBook Pro. Despite drawing power from two 15-watt USB-C ports on the MBP, they are not properly designed to provide adequate power to the USB-A output ports on the dock. Hence if you try to use two bus-powered USB drives via a hyperdock or USB-C-to-USB-A hub, they may drop off line.

From a consumer standpoint this is a difficult area because few reviewers understand this or test for it.


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Jacqueline Nauman
Re: Need advice for getting new FCPX set up
on Jul 12, 2017 at 2:04:48 pm

Do you have a recommended brand or model hub that is more reliable?

MAC: 2 x 2.8 Quad Core Intel Xeon
Memory: 8GB 800 MHZ DDR2 FB-DIMM
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB
OS: Mac OS X 10.11.6


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