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MacBookPro, AJA, and Fw800?

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Scott
MacBookPro, AJA, and Fw800?
on Oct 23, 2006 at 5:48:23 pm

What we want to do:
Take our new Mac Book Pro 17" on location, pull out and plug in our Aja IO, somehow feed it video and tc from a Betacam SP (hey, what can I tell you?) and capture 10bit uncompressed directly to the FW 800 drives -- This lets us immediately check each or any take for confidence, content problems, etc., whilst also letting us log and capture on the fly, saving lots of time in post. Each nite of the shoot, we xfer the media files from our Fw800 drives to our main system RAID back home, and next day, ready to start again.

Uh-oh?
Sounds like there may be a problem capturing realtime to FW drives whilst IO is on the firewire buss. Can we get around that by digitizing at lower res?

Anyone here trying this? Thanks for all your advice, stories and warnings


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JeremyG
Re: MacBookPro, AJA, and Fw800?
on Oct 23, 2006 at 7:22:45 pm

I see two, okay three, glaring, immediate problems.

1) FW800 is not fast/reliable enough for 10 bit uncompressed capture. Capture at a lower resolution. 8 bit should do you.

2) You will need to separate the FW devices (io and fw800). Find yourself an express/34 fw800 card. (or go SATA, if you stripe two sata drives together raid 0, 10 bit uncompressed becomes achievable)

3) Timecode. Where are you getting it from? The io does not have 'tc in' only rs-422. You will somehow have to convert your tc feed to rs-422.

Those are the immediate issues. You won't find any more until you set it up and do it.


Jeremy





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Bob Zelin
Re: MacBookPro, AJA, and Fw800?
on Oct 24, 2006 at 12:30:17 pm

FW800 is not the miracle storage device, aside from the fact that the MAcBookPro does not have native FW800 ports.

Your company is the prime future user for XDCamHD, P2, and other "instant" technologies. So how do you get your old beta gear to act just like XDCamHD and P2, for instant gratification?

You don't

Bob Zelin


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Tony!
Re: MacBookPro, AJA, and Fw800?
on Oct 25, 2006 at 5:43:45 pm

[Bob Zelin] "aside from the fact that the MAcBookPro does not have native FW800 ports. "

Hey Bob, just a small correction: The 17" MacBook Pro's do have a FW 800 port, it was the 15" models that didn't one in the past. However, with yesterday's announcement, now all MacBook Pro's have a FW 800 port as well as many other new features.

http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/

Tony!

P.S. I would go with a SATA external drive solution/raid as recommended above.


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Green Bean's Productions
SATA (Re: MacBookPro, AJA, and Fw800?)
on Oct 29, 2006 at 5:17:08 pm

This is our plan as well. I've been waiting since my old TiBook died at the beginning of the year for these new MacPookPros - even though I sure would like a slightly peppier GPU. In the studio, we're doing all our video and audio through the io connected to a G5 dual 2.0 (late 2004) running the latest software and drivers. Storage is through a Sonnet X4P SATA card with port multiplication to a box of 10 Hitachi/IBM 7K500s striped RAID 0 with OS driver, and a 5-bay box I use for single drives. The other thing I'd been waiting for was the new Sonnet ExpressCard SATA card with two slots supporting port multiplication.
It looks to me like I can just swap a new 17" MBP with all the trimmings into my current setup, plugging in the io and either the honkin' big RAID as is, or all the single-volume drives, or reformat a box of ten for say, 6 or 8 drives striped 10 for field capture and 2 striped 0 for backup cache. Striping 2 drives for capture or playback will do it, but for 10-bit uncompressed I like to use four or more. With long captures or dual-stream effects editing every drive helps.
Now how do I hook up my SCSI160 DAT72 backup drive without a PCI chassis? Should I just get the Magma ExpressCard interface and PCI chassis for the Sonnet SATA card and the ATTO SCSI card? The bandwidth will be clamped by dropping these cards to the 32/33 PCI bus, so I think I'd just use it for backup - no cache in this case - and switch ExpressCards back to SATA for capture.
Bob, any sage SATA advice here? Anyone using old or new Magma, especially with ExpressCard? Anyone got a good source for dense rackmount drive cases (unpopulated) at a decent price?
Scott, you should have no trouble finding a timecode converter to dump whatever format you've got to RS422 for the io - try Horita. My BetaSP field shoots usually involved a BVW-50 field deck for backup getting component video over 26-pin and TC on BNC from the camera, sending component video to the io on BNC and timecode over 9-pin RS422.
What else is part of your field setup? How big is the studio RAID and is someone using it to package dailies or roughs or anything during the day? What's your workflow like for logging and such on set? My last few field shoots involved lugging around the G5, monitors, drive box, etc, etc, on a hand truck with a shelf - I'm _really_ looking forward to a new MacBook Pro!

Mark Goldberg
Green Bean's Productions


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Bob Zelin
Re: SATA (Re: MacBookPro, AJA, and Fw800?)
on Oct 30, 2006 at 2:09:03 am

Mark-
from your post I have determined that you are crazy. You lug around a UVW-1800, a BVW-50, obviously a camera, monitors, 10 SATA drives in a box, and you obviously have no issue with a Magma expansion chassis, but you insist on running all this "portable" gear with a laptop. Are you crazy - your rig is not portable. Get yourself a G5 tower, and stop this nonsense. You know all this stuff works just fine with a G5 (dual, Quad or Mac Pro), and you will have all the slots you need without the Magma, and excuses. I have a great thing for you to buy now - A ROAD CASE WITH WHEELS ON IT to hold your G5 AND all the other crap that you are lugging around - so you can be portable !!!!!

You don't need a MacBookPro. A MacBookPro with a Magma and SATA chassis with skinny little eSATA cables ain't a field package.

Bob Zelin


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Green Bean's Productions
Re: SATA (Re: MacBookPro, AJA, and Fw800?)
on Oct 30, 2006 at 11:58:23 pm

Bob - I saw your articles today on Alliance Digital's website. I have agreed over the years with so much of your advice, which was a huge part of my success in building this RAID system. I wouldn't have asked for your help had I not thought you'd occasionally been forced to do crazy things too.
The previous setups which involved the G5 tower, some drive case, LCD & CRT field production monitors, field audio gear, anything from my Toshiba TSC-200P's component output to DigiBeta over SDI, UPS, etc. were all single location over multiple days, often with a PA or two. Small moves are easy enough with everything mounted on my hand truck with the shelf up for a work table. The io, audio processors, and a couple spare hard drives are mounted in a 6U SKB mini Gig Rack. I use the top for the Mackie Control Universal MIDI "mixer."
Replacing half the audio gear with a box of drives or stacking another rack means I can plug a laptop into this setup, even if it's internally shock-mounted and patched to a panel I'm trusting as much as the rest of the connections. I'd probably use shielded latching InfiniBand from a dock for the Sonnet card's dongle to the SATA box. Inside the drive box, it's a short throw from the 3726 boards to the drives, and these connections can be silicone taped or otherwise secured if need be.
My old 23" plastic-edged Apple LCD or a new 30" along with a Bella keyboard, mouse/trackball/tablet, audio mixer, gives me the same workspace I'm used to at home. I only lugged around Beta decks before I started shooting direct to disk with Media 100 on my Marathon rack mounted Quicksilver G4 with 10-15K SCSI RAIDS.
The idea is to keep getting more portable. A laptop replacing the G5 drops my form & power consumption. When pushing pixels comes to shove, the miniX1600 don't beat the 6800GT, but it runs a 30" and will do fine for capture & log, if not replace my main effects station. I've used remote closets for shoots in the studio with Gefen or similar boxes to run VGA, USB, etc to the capture desk and prompter, and I'd love to get all this stuff racked and set in the closet directly downstairs from the workstations in the studio.
A dense rack case for the hard drives would help for home & field, and a new one would help my peace of mind, but even JBOD 12 bay 2U or 16 bay 3U boxes aren't cheap if I'm blowing this year's hardware budget on the laptop & maybe monitor. I'm probably not seeing the OEM prices you are as an integrator, though.
I'd rather keep hardware RAID as an add-in option, maybe with an IBM 80331/3/? with dual+ Gigabit Ethernet and a Small Tree Gig Ether card for the MBP to trunk the two pipes. This gives me a more universal path to SAN, remote login (my studio and apartment are on the same cable head-end with 4M/768K service), putting the DAT72 SCSI160 backup drive on iSCSI, etc. If I need to I can pop on a SCSI interface for the G5 and G4 - this is the other reason I've been trying to hang on to my SCSI cards, rather than get good Gig Ether cards for the G4 and G5. It sounds like dual Gig Ether across the board and maybe quad in the G5 would be the best this would do.
I like planning ahead and making sure everything works well together. I hope that my camera & laptop in a hiker case and a mid-sized flight case or two small ones could replace the big setup I described above. This has been the plan for a while, though, and I try to make sure each purchase will continue to contribute to this goal. Before I really decide on the laptop, I need to know I can integrate it into my current setup for at least a few years of heavy use most days. Getting the laptop and some other gear also means no MacPro until after octo rev 2 most likely.
Though I rent the right camera for the shoot, I still get a lot of use out of my teenaged Toshiba camera. I've had an Emmy-winning camera op laugh in my face as soon as the word "Toshiba" came out of my mouth, but I would have thrown away the Sony version years ago. The 26-pin component out was the main reason I chose this camera, and it allowed me to shoot to a BetaSP field deck and have a synced Hi8 backup from the camera. Later, it was easy enough to swap tape for disk, and though the Hi8 deck's no longer working, Beta was then my backup tape format. The camera even survived a storage flood thanks to all-around gasketing by Toshiba and service by Imtek.
Sure, I'm crazy, but I've managed to pull off a lot of field shoots to disk with a relatively modest expenditure - usually the DigiBeta camera rental is one of the largest line items. As documentary and education producers, my partner and I are usually the primary backers of our projects until near to their completion. Even being able to bring the basic setup in a car rather than renting a minivan would make a difference.
Of course, I'd also have the option of bringing in the G5 as well to offload log, backup, Compressor, maybe even go up to PictureReady at some point. It's out of warranty in a year and I can lop off the handles to rack mount it. I could even bring out the G4 with its Radeon 9800, maybe try again to bump up the dual 800s (I got burned in the scandal).
Anyway, I've had a lot of coffee today. You see where I'm going with all this. Scott and I seem to be looking at the same core workflow, even if I often tack on lots of gewgaws. We need fast, reliable, portable storage compatible with MacBook Pro, PowerMac, MacPro, etc. I already own SATA drives and port multiplier boards, so that weighs into my choice. I also want to use most of what I buy for at least 5 years if possible. I've used a couple LaCie FireWire 800 drives rack-mounted and striped together on an added bus in the towers and my disintegrated PowerBook G4 800, but I'd still have to add a bus for the new laptop and buy bridges. SATA also seems to scale more happily than FireWire, though I'm waiting for benchmarks on the Sonnet card in a new MacBook Pro. Right now, it sounds like the best bet for me.
Scott, you may want to consider a pre-packaged storage box over SATA, possibly with a RAID controller. I would strongly urge a packaged, supported solution if you are not an Apple Certified Technician.
Bob, maybe I should book a couple hours of your time for some thorough integration advice? My e-mail is mark@greenbeans.com and the number here is 800-227-BEAN or 973-509-0155. Thanks again for helping me get this far.

Mark Goldberg
mark@greenbeans.com
Green Bean's Productions


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Bob Zelin
Re: SATA (Re: MacBookPro, AJA, and Fw800?)
on Oct 31, 2006 at 12:24:57 am

I will email you privately -
you may have won the award for longest post on this forum in a long time.

bob Zelin


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