FORUMS: list search recent posts

Kona LHi system setup?

COW Forums : AJA Video Systems

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Boris Missirkov
Kona LHi system setup?
on Feb 16, 2010 at 5:49:03 pm

Hi,

As a newbie to the Cow, to present myself in brief: I'm part of a small indie production company, based in Sofia, Bulgaria. We've been specializing in creative documentaries over the last 8-10 years - some links to our films' sites can be found at http://www.agitprop.bg, if anybody's interested.

We've had many flavours of Premiere-based suites in the past - starting from the Matrox RT and Digisuite over a decade ago - and now are finally making the move to FCP. As I don't have much hands-on experience with recent Mac-based systems, a bit of advice would be greatly appreciated.

The sources and formats that we expect to work with in the near future (a year or so) are:
- 720/25p HDV footage - that would be captured in Apple ProRes, I suppose;
- 1080/25 HD telecine footage - captured as uncompressed HD, as we usually end up in film-out for bigger projects;
- occasional capture/recording from/to DigiBeta and Beta SP
- 3K/2K Scarlet footage, when the beast finally comes out.

For the moment, a system consisting of a Mac Pro Two 2.26GHz Quad-Core with a Kona LHi seems to be the best solution - it would handle everything up to 1080 HD, and I'm afraid that for proper work with Scarlet footage we'd have to eventually get a Red Rocket (or whatever Red has to offer by the time they launch the camera).

What I'm wondering about is the storage: the budget we've got is not enough for a proper external disk array (like two G-SPEED eS PRO boxes for full 2K throughput). Having read quite a few posts in this forum, I'd like to ask a few questions:

- what is the maximum bandwidth I could get from an internal array of 4 disks with a RAID controller? (there was a recommendation for a similar setup somewhere here)
- what RAID is the most sensible compromise between speed and safety - 5?
- what RAID controller? I saw MaxxDigital, Dulce, JMR or GTech mentioned in other threads, but which one (tested in real-life) could control an internal array, and have the option to add external arrays later on?
- RAM: are the 6 Gigs that come standard enough, or should we add more?

Thanks a lot in advance,

Best:

Boris


Return to posts index

Bob Zelin
Re: Kona LHi system setup?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 12:04:52 am

Hi -
your post is misleading. There is a G-Tech forum that could answer these questions better, than an AJA forum.

you write -

For the moment, a system consisting of a Mac Pro Two 2.26GHz Quad-Core with a Kona LHi seems to be the best solution - it would handle everything up to 1080 HD, and I'm afraid that for proper work with Scarlet footage we'd have to eventually get a Red Rocket (or whatever Red has to offer by the time they launch the camera).

REPLY - you don't need a Red Rocket to work with Scarlet, or any other RED camera. Red Alert and Red Rushes are free downloads from http://www.red.com, that you can get right now to translate your footage to Apple ProRes422.


What I'm wondering about is the storage: the budget we've got is not enough for a proper external disk array (like two G-SPEED eS PRO boxes for full 2K throughput). Having read quite a few posts in this forum, I'd like to ask a few questions:

REPLY - two G-Tech G-Speed eS Pros will not do sustained 2K, but will work fine for all of your standard def and Hi Def compressed HD stuff.


- what is the maximum bandwidth I could get from an internal array of 4 disks with a RAID controller? (there was a recommendation for a similar setup somewhere here)

REPLY - inexpensive drive arrays will average about 200Mb/sec. The more expensive ones (that can do 2K footage) will give you about 600 - 700Mb/sec. These cost around $5000, and come from the better companies that you see advertise on Creative Cow. G-Tech makes "good stuff" and "cheap stuff". The good stuff will do 2K, the cheap stuff will not. Same applies to most manufacturers.

- what RAID is the most sensible compromise between speed and safety - 5?

REPLY - RAID 5 is the best option for you. Almost no one is doing RAID 3 these days, and RAID 6 is for larger systems (like 16 drive systems). You can run RAID 6 on less drives, (like an 8 bay) but you decrease your storage and speed too much.


- what RAID controller? I saw MaxxDigital, Dulce, JMR or GTech mentioned in other threads, but which one (tested in real-life) could control an internal array, and have the option to add external arrays later on?

REPLY - you are buying a package from any of these companies. If you buy the G-Tech G-Speed eS, you will get a Highpoint host controller card with this product. Dulce, JMR, Maxx Digital, Cal Digit, and others sell you SYSTEMS that work - all are excellent companies, all will provide you with professional host controller cards, disk drives, and chassis that will work professionally, and give you the performance for your 2K work, as well as RAID 5 protection. You will not "piece together" a drive system with components from Dulce, Cal Digit, JMR and Maxx Digital to make a cheap working system.

If you have zero money, stick 3 Hitachi SATA drives in your MAC Pro, stripe them together RAID 0, and go to work. Make money, save your money, and buy one of these professional products as a complete system when you have enough money.


- RAM: are the 6 Gigs that come standard enough, or should we add more?

REPLY - for a stand alone FCP system, 6 Gigs is enough.

Bob Zelin




Return to posts index

Boris Missirkov
Re: Kona LHi system setup?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 1:11:18 am

Hi Bob,

And thanks for the answers! There are some question marks remaining, though:

[Hi - your post is misleading. There is a G-Tech forum that could answer these questions better, than an AJA forum.]

OK, I'll check that one, too. For the moment, I haven't decided on the brand of the storage - I'm trying to figure out which is the right one for a system that has only two components clear: a Mac Pro and an AJA.

[you don't need a Red Rocket to work with Scarlet, or any other RED camera. Red Alert and Red Rushes are free downloads from http://www.red.com, that you can get right now to translate your footage to Apple ProRes422.]

I had the impression that the "native" Red card offers some benefits in working with Red's RAW files instead of exported .mov files. That's not so much of an issue for the time being, anyway - so let's skip it.

[ two G-Tech G-Speed eS Pros will not do sustained 2K, but will work fine for all of your standard def and Hi Def compressed HD stuff]

What G-Tech claims is that "A single G-SPEED eS PRO enclosure with four 7200 RPM, SATA II drives in RAID 0 mode supports multi-stream ProRes 422 HQ playback and a single-stream of uncompressed 10-bit HD. Two units with eight drives in protected mode (RAID 3 or 5) supports two simultaneous streams of uncompressed 10-bit HD or a single 2K DPX sequence." (http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-speed-es-pro.cfm).

What I am trying to get is if this is true in a real-life situation, or is there some "catch" that sends it far away from what is claimed. I have not used any G-Tech product before - and I'm open to any other solutions that would allow me to grade a final, online, uncompressed 10-bit HD master sequence in real time.

[inexpensive drive arrays will average about 200Mb/sec. The more expensive ones (that can do 2K footage) will give you about 600 - 700Mb/sec. These cost around $5000, and come from the better companies that you see advertise on Creative Cow. G-Tech makes "good stuff" and "cheap stuff". The good stuff will do 2K, the cheap stuff will not. Same applies to most manufacturers. ]

So, which models are which?

[RAID 5 is the best option for you. Almost no one is doing RAID 3 these days, and RAID 6 is for larger systems (like 16 drive systems). You can run RAID 6 on less drives, (like an 8 bay) but you decrease your storage and speed too much.]

Thanks!

[- what RAID controller? I saw MaxxDigital, Dulce, JMR or GTech mentioned in other threads, but which one (tested in real-life) could control an internal array, and have the option to add external arrays later on?

- you are buying a package from any of these companies. If you buy the G-Tech G-Speed eS, you will get a Highpoint host controller card with this product. Dulce, JMR, Maxx Digital, Cal Digit, and others sell you SYSTEMS that work - all are excellent companies, all will provide you with professional host controller cards, disk drives, and chassis that will work professionally, and give you the performance for your 2K work, as well as RAID 5 protection. You will not "piece together" a drive system with components from Dulce, Cal Digit, JMR and Maxx Digital to make a cheap working system. ]

OK, so what is the maximum bandwidth I could expect from a "home-made" internal array (an X-brand controller with 4 HDDs)?


[- RAM: are the 6 Gigs that come standard enough, or should we add more?

- for a stand alone FCP system, 6 Gigs is enough. ]

Good news. Thanks! :)


Boris


Return to posts index


gary adcock
Re: Kona LHi system setup?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 2:31:56 pm

[Boris Missirkov] "I had the impression that the "native" Red card offers some benefits in working with Red's RAW files instead of exported .mov files. That's not so much of an issue for the time being, anyway - so let's skip it."


Not with any 3rd party cards,
since the Redrocket and a Kona card CANNOT reside in the same machine at the same time.


gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL

http://blogs.creativecow.net/24640


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




Return to posts index

Boris Missirkov
Re: Kona LHi system setup?
on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:49:58 am

"Not with any 3rd party cards,
since the Redrocket and a Kona card CANNOT reside in the same machine at the same time.

gary adcock"

Yes, I read here about someone having trouble with Redrocket and Kona installed in the same machine. That would mean we'll have to either swap the cards, or build a second workstation to use everything Red has to offer - if we come to that stage.

Thanks!


Return to posts index

Bob Zelin
Re: Kona LHi system setup?
on Feb 17, 2010 at 10:45:05 pm

Boris -
I am sorry, but I am not going to answer your questions. Your general question is "how can I get the kind of high end systems that top Hollywood professionals use, without spending any money". I would only have impolite answers for you. I am not interested in helping you compete with top Hollywood professionals, while spending no money. I belive in a level playing field - which means that YOU buy professional equipment, make a professional show or movie, and compete, while spending the same money they spend.

I am not the world's biggest G-Tech fan, but G-Tech makes excellent gear - for example -
http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-speed-fc-xl.cfm

Cal Digit, Dulce System, Sonnet, Maxx Digital, JMR and others also make excellent gear. If you want to work in 2K, and 4K with RED files, you can work with all of these companies. But if your real question is "so what is the CHEAPEST way I can do this, so I can undercut everyone elses prices, because we don't have a lot of money" - I will not answer this question. I am here to tell you about good equipment, not how you can SCREW all of your competitors by spending less money and providing the same product.

Bob Zelin




Return to posts index


Boris Missirkov
Re: Kona LHi system setup?
on Feb 18, 2010 at 11:27:38 am

"But if your real question is "so what is the CHEAPEST way I can do this, so I can undercut everyone elses prices, because we don't have a lot of money" - I will not answer this question. I am here to tell you about good equipment, not how you can SCREW all of your competitors by spending less money and providing the same product.

Bob Zelin"

Bob,

If I was misleading in my post, it was probably in the use of the word "indie company". We are "indies" in the sense that we are not affiliated with any major studio anywhere. Which doesn't mean "non-professional", though. Our films screen - and often win - at Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Sundance, Slamdance, Pusan, Moscow, Amsterdam, and dozens and dozens of smaller fests. That helps us to find money for the next projects, and we are happy this way.

We are not in the commercial business, we do not offer post service (except for fellow filmmakers whom we do NOT charge for giving a hand with a project), so we are not competing with anyone - especially with Hollywood pros at the other end of the globe. We are now just looking for a way to be able to finish our own stuff made with current-generation cameras.

Let's re-phrase my question this way:
We have a certain money for post equipment, and we have to have a workstation in a month or so. After deducting the price of the host machine, the card and the software (locally, we are one of the very few companies that do pay for the software they use, BTW), we have about US 4K left for storage. (Bear in mind that all the gear is usually 25-30% more expensive in Europe that in the States, and add 20% VAT - equivalent of your state tax - to that.)

So, the question is: is there any storage solution that is adequate for grading a 90-minute feature in 10-bit uncompressed HD - if possible, in RT - for that buck?

Thanks to everyone in advance,

Boris


Return to posts index

todd mcmullen
Re: Kona LHi system setup?
on Feb 18, 2010 at 7:31:58 pm

I just purchased a Cal Digit HD one to use with my LHI setup.
Very solid and great customer support.Also to note, this system is very quiet.They had a good deal going on this unit.
FWIW, I would avoid anything G-tech as I have had poor products and poor customer service.Just my experience.
HTH

Todd McMullen
Flip Flop Films
Austin
http://www.toddmcmullen.com


Return to posts index

Bob Zelin
Re: Kona LHi system setup?
on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:25:47 pm

The following companies make excellent products - they (by coincidence) all advertise on Creative Cow. All these companies can do uncompressed HD without issue -

Dulce Systems
Maxx Digital
Cal Digit
G-Tech (not the G-Speed eS however)
Sonnet Technology
JMR

and of course, the more expensive Active Storage (and also expensive Promise V-Trak).

These companies make wonderful RAID 5 systems that can handle uncompressed HD, and work wonderfully with AJA Kona products.

Bob Zelin




Return to posts index


Boris Missirkov
Re: Kona LHi system setup?
on Feb 19, 2010 at 12:11:19 am

Thanks a lot, guys.

The Caldigit HD One looks like the "almost perfect" price/performance solution for our case - and a quick comparison of the Caldigit and G-Tech forums here says quite a lot about potential issues and the way the tech support of each company is treating them. The only problem for me is that there is no Caldigit reseller in Bulgaria. The good news is that they have a lot of dealers throughout Europe, at least - otherwise, importing equipment from outside the EU is a pain in the ass.

From Bob's list, it seems that only G-Tech and Sonnet have a dealer here - will check it out.

Best,

Boris


Return to posts index

Bob Zelin
Re: Kona LHi system setup?
on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:33:10 pm

I would pick Sonnet "in a heartbeat" before G-Tech. Sonnet drives are fantastic.

Bob Zelin




Return to posts index

Boris Missirkov
Re: Kona LHi system setup?
on Mar 4, 2010 at 5:20:30 pm

Thank you Bob,

We'll most probably go for a Sonnet Fusion DX800RAID with 8TB of certified Seagate or Hitachi drives. It looks like a perfect solution, and the dealer came up with a fairly decent price.

Will report back when it arrives,

Best to all:

Boris


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]