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Why is FCP so wimpy?

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olof ekbergh
Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 26, 2009 at 1:05:49 pm

OK so maybe that is inflammatory. But this is driving me nuts.

I have been using FCP since v1. But I never really tried to do a long form. Because I also use M100.

M100 ever since the late 90's has been able to play titles real time with drop shadows, no rendering for recording to tape. And do CC full res no rendering.

I currently have 3 suites with M100 (latest Suite) and latest FCP (09 Suite). With AJA HDe and Matrox MX02.

The M100 will play realtime full res up to 4 layers of video tracks 1080 (I mean multi graphics tracks with drop shadows varying opacities and video tracks with varying opacities) with no rendering. Also lots of transitions play full res no rendering. This is on the same systems with 600MB/s RAIDS.

FCP needs to render even a cross dissolve to play full res. Also M100 CC is full res playback with no rendering.

Why is FCP so bad at this?

For the first time I am doing a 1 hr program in FCP, just to see how it would do. And I now really regret it. I am forever rendering. In M100 I would just work, and see everything play full res all the time.

Also the audio in FCP is really awkward, having to jump into STP all the time. M100 does it right in the timeline (compression, eq, reverb etc with presets you can make and just click on.

I really do like Color, but I can do XML round trip from M100 to Color just like in FCP.

Basically I believe M100 is about 3-5 times as fast to work in, at least the way I work.

I would appreciate any comments.

Olof Ekbergh


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Nigel Beaumont
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 26, 2009 at 1:41:05 pm

I guess that's why there are a few different types of NLE on the market - we all prioritise differently. I moved to FCP in January after three years with avid and I can't say I've any desire to go back. Not because avid is poor, but because FCP fits my way of working better. There's some niggles, but mostly I enjoy it more than Avid. If M100 works for you, stick with it!

"Ofcourse it'll be finished in time for tx"


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Kevin Monahan
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 26, 2009 at 4:43:03 pm

Are you working in Unlimited RT? Almost no rendering then until final output.

Kevin Monahan
http://www.fcpworld.com
Author - Motion Graphics and Effects in Final Cut Pro


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 26, 2009 at 7:14:35 pm

M100 has always been great at this. Always. It had rt titles (not motion alpha channels) preG3. It was also tuned for the animation codec later on for motion alphas. It was also able to do this with a very compressed RGB codec. With the advent of FCP 7 and ProRes 4444 FCP finally has real time alpha channel support. What codec are you working in? What format and frame rate. M100 is great at a lot of things, you have highlighted them nicely, FCP also has it's strengths. Audio mixing capabilities in M100 blows FCP our of the water. I agree. I really wish Apple would ditch the studio and roll Motion and STP right into FCP. After switching from M100 years ago (before m100 could handle HD) I find the FCP interface to be much flexible despite the rendering.


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Alan Okey
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 28, 2009 at 7:20:30 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I really wish Apple would ditch the studio and roll Motion and STP right into FCP."

Oh man, I am so right there with you on this.

From one of my past posts:

"I can't help but think that Apple's whole Final Cut Studio strategy is driven by a marketing focus group rather than actual video professionals. It's as if they believe that having more separate applications makes people think they're getting more value for their money. In my opinion, all of the separate applications and need for round-tripping is extremely cumbersome and unnecessary when it's easily possible to have a much tighter and more seamless integration of tools in fewer applications. I realize that FCP can't be all things to all people, and that one application is rarely the solution to every problem, but I think Apple's insistence on separating the tools so much is holding back the potential of the FCS suite. Adding a few of the most useful tools to FCP from other apps in the FCS suite would be a huge timesaver and help to streamline workflow."

Taken from:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/8/1045063#1045063

I still think that Color should stay a standalone app, though.


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walter biscardi
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 26, 2009 at 7:58:01 pm

[olof ekbergh] "Basically I believe M100 is about 3-5 times as fast to work in, at least the way I work. "

Are you still using the proprietary hardware boards from M100 or software only? This was the big key with M100, the HDR fx board that you tied together with the M100 board to give you tons of realtime.

As Jeremy noted, ProRes 4444 offers real-time alpha support, which I used to get with FCP and the old Pinnacle CineWave board. The CineWave acted very much like the HDR fx board in that I got realtime chroma key, realtime alpha and all sorts of realtime effects like slo mo / speed ramping straight to tape. This was 5 years ago with FCP. No clue what Apple has done but all hardware based accelerators are gone and nobody would pay for them anyway. At least not enough people to make it worth the while. Look at all the people who want an Uncompressed HD RAID for almost no money on this forum.

So you have to adjust your workflow to match FCP. Aside from those RT features you mention from M100, I really don't miss it. I worked 6 years on M100 before switching over to FCP in 2001. Can't think of anything that would get me to switch back though, but M100 was / is a great product.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
Credits include multiple Emmy, Telly, Aurora and Peabody Awards.
Owner, Biscardi Creative Media featuring HD Post

Biscardi Creative Media

Creative Cow Forum Host:
Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion, Apple Color, AJA Kona, Business & Marketing, Maxx Digital.

Read my Blog!

Twitter!


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olof ekbergh
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 27, 2009 at 1:40:54 am

As I mentioned above, I am using M100 latest Suite with AJA HDe and Matrox MX02, on the same systems. One is an 09 MP 8core 12GB ram RAID 5 Promise box (600+MB/sec). The other is an 08 4 core MP with similar RAID. Another Suite is the old M100 with HDR FX. I also have a couple 09 MBP's with M100 and FCP, that can use the MX02.

So everything is the same for FCP and M100 on the newer systems. And M100 just blows FCP out of the water. All the SW is latest only one of the MBP's is on Snow Leopard, the rest are on 10.5.8. I use an EX3 a lot and that does not really work with SL yet.

I usually use ProRes422 HQ on HD 1080p 60 or 23.976. SD is usually edited HD then played out on AJA or MX02 to Beta SP deck.

The only real advantage I see with FCP are the tabbed windows. If M100 had that there would be no comparison.

Bear in mind this is just my opinion and a lot has to do with the way I like to work. I like monitoring everything on an external Pro monitor all the time in full HD and I run external scopes full time as well, the AJA and Matrox do this very well.

In M100 there is almost never a need to render, but in FCP I spend more than half my time waiting for renders or jumping into STP and back, M100 has fantastic audio built right in including separate buses tracks can be assigned to with any compressor/limiter or whatever applied to it.

Olof Ekbergh


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walter biscardi
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 27, 2009 at 2:01:14 am

[olof ekbergh] "
In M100 there is almost never a need to render, but in FCP I spend more than half my time waiting for renders or jumping into STP and back, M100 has fantastic audio built right in including separate buses tracks can be assigned to with any compressor/limiter or whatever applied to it. "


Then I guess the obvious question is why are you using FCP? Sounds like you should just stick with M100. FCP is definitely not for everybody and its workflow is not for everybody.

We hardly ever have a need to render with our systems until final output as we use Unlimited RT and 500 to 750MB/s hard drive arrays which negate the need for rendering as we go. I'll take the cost savings of FCP and deal with the renders as the low cost of FCP allows me to upgrade the hardware all around it. But if you need realtime, lay to tape realtime, then stick with M100 as that sounds like the better solution for your workflow.


Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
Credits include multiple Emmy, Telly, Aurora and Peabody Awards.
Owner, Biscardi Creative Media featuring HD Post

Biscardi Creative Media

Creative Cow Forum Host:
Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion, Apple Color, AJA Kona, Business & Marketing, Maxx Digital.

Read my Blog!

Twitter!


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Ben Holmes
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 27, 2009 at 4:30:39 pm

Hi Olof

I've no experience with M100 - it sounds like it does some things better than FCP.

However, with the correct RT settings in FCP, you will get real time dissolves, CC and some effects - or playback with slightly reduced resolution if it's a mix of too many effects. I find many users do not set RT up correctly - but it should be noted that often using an external video device effects the RT performance (ask anyone editing RED timelines with BM hardware).

I have to agree, however, that we seem to have been waiting far too long for better performance - how many pro users would pay for hardware acceleration in FCP? Working in HD in time-sensitive environments, I know I would. If there is a market for the Kona 3, there is a market for something that works to improve a situation I frankly thought Apple would have solved in software/multicore hardware by now. I would pay for that - and so would many others.

Edit Out Ltd
----------------------------
FCP Editor/Trainer/System Consultant
EVS/VT Supervisor for live broadcast
RED camera transfer/post
Independent Director/Producer

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/casestudies/detail.asp?case=therydercup


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Gabriel Regalbuto
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 27, 2009 at 4:47:14 pm

Its been many years since Apple has been shipping computers with 4+ processors. Alas FCP never tickles more than two....

FCS2 CS4
MacPro 8x
5drive eSATA stripe


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walter biscardi
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 27, 2009 at 4:47:25 pm

[Ben Holmes] " how many pro users would pay for hardware acceleration in FCP? Working in HD in time-sensitive environments, I know I would. "

Not enough apparently or Apple has done something to discourage this. That's why the CineWave died a few years back.

Here's my article from 2004. Notice all the realtime capabilities of this card.

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/biscardi_walter/state_of_CineWave_2...

Here's a page from Pinnacle's site listing all the RT capabilities.

http://www.pinnaclesys.com/docloader.asp?templ=10&Product_ID=108&doclink=/d...

Again, this is 2004 and all of these RT Effects were Edit to Tape Real Time Effects that did NOT require any rendering. Period. Yes, that include Chroma Key, Luma Key and color correction. I did a project back in 2004 right after this came out that was a 15 minute Chroma Key cutting on a G4. Realtime, Edit to Tape, No Render.

In 2004.

Needless to say, I was very disappointed to see it go away (thanks to Avid) and still disappointed that nobody has been able to replicate the same feature set..... from 2004. But then people on this forum want everything for free or for $100 so there's not much of a market for the card which I believe was around $5,000 once you bought the card and the RT License. The $3,000 Kona 3 card and even the $1,500 Kona LHi is too much for most folks on this forum so I can't see that a $5,000 card would survive today's market.

I mean we want a $1,200 software to do everything in realtime today like the more expensive NLE's can do, right?



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
Credits include multiple Emmy, Telly, Aurora and Peabody Awards.
Owner, Biscardi Creative Media featuring HD Post

Biscardi Creative Media

Creative Cow Forum Host:
Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion, Apple Color, AJA Kona, Business & Marketing, Maxx Digital.

Read my Blog!

Twitter!


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Erik Lindahl
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 28, 2009 at 2:27:09 pm

I think what Olof points out here is one of FCP biggest problem and features today. As I've understood it Apple doesn't want developers to tie FCP to dedicated hardware. Why I do somewhat ask my self but I do understand keeping it tied to software and general hardware is the way of the future. I think FCP is just lagging a bit behind…

The Next "Generation" of Final Cut Pro HOPEFULLY embraces the true "future" of computing at the moment looking at Snow Leopard…

- OpenCL and Grand Central for full use of the available GPU(s) and CPU's in the system
- Full 64-bit for use of more memory and being able to push more throughput (and have better performance!)

If only FCP was able to effectively use the power of the current systems I think we'd see a lot more RT and perhaps a lot more guaranteed RT. Also, if Apple moves to OpenCL the possibility is always there for custom solutions to again enter the market. These aren't actually custom hardware for FCP, but general purpose high end GPU's such as the nVidia Tesla that in theory could hook up to the OpenCL-system and accelerate stuff 100 fold to what we have today.

Personally I think this one of the biggest drawbacks with FCP today - high end realtime performance.

Erik Lindahl
Freecloud Communication
------------------------


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walter biscardi
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 28, 2009 at 2:47:04 pm

[Erik Lindahl] "Personally I think this one of the biggest drawbacks with FCP today - high end realtime performance.
"


That and the people willing to pay for it. I'm all for a CineWave type of card to come back and I'll gladly pay $5,000 to get "Edit to Tape" realtime performance. But how many other people are willing to do this?

I think Apple thought they would be pulling out all sorts of realtime by now with CPU / GPU performance but it isn't there. So we accept the fact that we have to render before outputting, but this is a welcome trade-off for the price we pay for the software.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
Credits include multiple Emmy, Telly, Aurora and Peabody Awards.
Owner, Biscardi Creative Media featuring HD Post

Biscardi Creative Media

Creative Cow Forum Host:
Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion, Apple Color, AJA Kona, Business & Marketing, Maxx Digital.

Read my Blog!

Twitter!


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David Roth Weiss
Dedicated hardware cards are dead meat
on Sep 28, 2009 at 4:54:56 pm

Most, if not all, of the NLEs with dedicated hardware cards are unable to keep pace with changing technology, hence the reason so many users are dissatisfied and migrating to FCP rather than away from FCP. Plus, dedicated hardware is no longer necessary anyway -- processor speeds are very fast, the number of onboard processors is scalable and virtually unlimited, and the amount of RAM is also essentially unlimited with the newest generations of computers that are coming down the pike soon.

One need only look at an app such as Autodesk Toxik to see what is possible today without hardware assist. Toxik was designed from the ground up to take advantage of 64-bit processing, multi-threading, and hyper-threading, and it can do 2K and 4K realtime playback with standard 8-core Windows and Macs right out of the box. And, contrary to the GPU processing that other companies have decided upon, Autodesk explored all of the possibilities, but decided against that route. With scalable processors and unlimited RAM coming our way, they have opted to let the computer itself do all the work. And, it does seem that this is the way of the future.

So, those of you who think that hardware cards for FCP are the key, and that they are in your future, better not hold your breath. But, keep in mind, it took years of R&D for Autodesk to discover their "holy grail" of performance. If Apple hasn't been secretly on the job working to build FCP from the ground up, we'll probably be in for a very long wait.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Alan Okey
Re: Dedicated hardware cards are dead meat
on Sep 28, 2009 at 7:41:30 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "But, keep in mind, it took years of R&D for Autodesk to discover their "holy grail" of performance."

The real irony is that there apparently isn't a large enough market for Autodesk to profit from keeping Toxik as a standalone product. Autodesk recently announced that Toxik is becoming "Maya Composite," and it is now only available bundled it with Maya. All of that R&D money, and for what? A bundled companion product for Maya.

There must be a reason that Autodesk is doing this, and I'm sure that it simply comes down to money. There simply must not be a big enough market for a $3K compositor to justify its continued development as standalone application.


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gary adcock
Re: Dedicated hardware cards are dead meat
on Sep 29, 2009 at 2:00:23 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "So, those of you who think that hardware cards for FCP are the key, and that they are in your future, better not hold your breath. "

DRW
I am going to take that challenge, because it depends on the work that you are doing.

Yes I agree that many people do (will) not need output cards in the future, you will not need one for the plethora of internet content, nor for many of the non-broadcast uses like signage or displays.

but honestly
TODAY- You haven't got a FRAKKIN' clue.

Today you cannot deliver to a national broadcaster without a hardware card.I know of no way to get content onto an HDSR Tape without a video card.

Dedicated hardware solutions are still more common than the final cut masses would even know of, since FCP started as a "prosumer" tool it was not taken seriously until 3-4 years after it came out. God look how long it took Apple to get TC working from anything other than firewire?

In the world of live events like Sports, News and Concerts all require hardware to achieve that process- we are going to throw all of the instantaneous content while we wait for a download from multiple cameras? what about switching between different camera positions? On Screen graphics, line and down markers all come generated out of hardware.

The single biggest jump in RED tech has been the RedRocket card, hands down the best mono-tasking tool in modern post, Only works with R3D files, but with a brute force that has not been seen out of the RED labs. For timely delivery in the RED world it is the only way to go whether you are working in FCP, Avid or something else.

Companies like Avid and Grass Valley still sell huge amounts of hardware for their production toolsets.
If Apple wants to expand what they are doing they are going to need to address some of these uses and tools, just like the other platforms.

Without Video cards how does one confirm the quality of the output, correctly monitor output for 2K and larger frames, output to tape for broadcast or to film for the archival properties.
The best waveform and vectorscopes require baseband video signals, as do switchers and playout devices.

Over 10 years people started saying that HD would be the death of Celluloid - yet it continues to be a widely used medium for acquisition as well as the single most permanent archive medium we can have for the foreseeable future. < the 3 strip B&W separation archives>

Different stokes for different folks, but it's going to be long after I get out of the biz that technology will surpass my need for speed.




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


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




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walter biscardi
Re: Dedicated hardware cards are dead meat
on Sep 29, 2009 at 2:15:26 pm

[gary adcock] "Over 10 years people started saying that HD would be the death of Celluloid - yet it continues to be a widely used medium for acquisition as well as the single most permanent archive medium we can have for the foreseeable future. < the 3 strip B&W separation archives>
"


Yeah and 3/4" and VHS are totally dead but you know what, I've recently upconverted both formats for HD projects. I agree with you, hardware cards are a long way from going to pasture for those of us dealing with broadcast HD and higher delivery.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
Credits include multiple Emmy, Telly, Aurora and Peabody Awards.
Owner, Biscardi Creative Media featuring HD Post

Biscardi Creative Media


"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" now in Post.

Creative Cow Forum Host:
Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion, Apple Color, AJA Kona, Business & Marketing, Maxx Digital.

Read my Blog!

Twitter!


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Dedicated hardware cards are dead meat
on Sep 29, 2009 at 4:56:06 pm

Gary,

Of course, I too can list exceptions to everything. The needs of TV broadcasters for dedicated realtime hardware is still very pertinent. And yes, of course, Video I/O cards are clearly essential, basically for everyone, even those we hear from everyday here who don't even know it. However, that wasn't what the discussion was about, nor do I really care to argue about it. However, the trend in NLEs is, and will continue to be, more software running on more powerful computers, and fewer systems running dedicated hardware.

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 28, 2009 at 12:28:27 am

I regularly online films as 1080 10 bit uncompressed, and I rarely have to render for most of my work.

Dissolves, titles, even lower thirds usually play in realtime. They may drop frames and play at half res while playing back for review, but I don't care about review. To see full res, I can simply stop, scrub through, maybe render short sections.

We fully render timelines before exporting or layoff, though.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Joe Paolo
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 27, 2009 at 10:04:28 pm

I had to learn Media 100 for an on going gig about a year ago. I am working on old G4 laptops at offline resolutions so some of my issues may be hardware related.

I find I'm 2-3 times faster in FCP. I find may of the usual things I use, like match framing, to be non-exsistant in M100. When I mark an in and out on a clip I can only see that range until I push another button to reveal the entire clip. The dated "A/B" roll metaphor on the main video layer is cumbersome. The audio waveforms are nearly unless and really slow the box down. An insert can take 4-8 seconds to update the time line on longer programs. (These last issues may be the crappy lappy) Also, no sync indication. No repositioning or cropping. The new version finally got "JKL" navigation and the ability to scroll in reverse. If you make a slomo or any other processed effect M100 losses all reference to the original media. This issue alone has caused all sorts of problems.

M100 forces the render on import. All media must conform to the project settings. Thus everything eats up processing time even if it is not used. I like FCP's more open approach of allowing most media types and then only after I decide to use it do i eat up the time.

When we output for appoval the timelime must render for a long time before it can start to make the file almost doubling the time it take to make a quick appoval file.

Also, in our market FCP workflows are used by every major facility. The managing editor for this project has built a M100 island and found a few vendors to support him. Therefore our talent pool is limited.

FCP is not perfect but as an editing tool I prefer it to Media 100.

joe
editmojo.com


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Jim Calahan
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Sep 28, 2009 at 1:55:00 am

What version of media100 are you using that you can't have mixed file types in a time line Media100 was doing that before FCP. We switched to Final Cut because we switched to XSAN and Media100 doesn't play well with XSAN.

Jim Calahan
KVIE, Sacramento


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Jim Wiseman
Re: Why is FCP so wimpy?
on Oct 2, 2009 at 5:00:51 am

Well, I've decided to hedge my bets. Media 100 just released their new Media Suite which now runs both in software and with AJA boards. They have a special upgrade offer for $1895 for current M100i owners which includes an AJA Kona LHi card (which also works with FCP 6 and 7). I was really not anxious to upgrade my G5 Quadcore PCIe 2.5Ghz to a Mac Pro for 3k plus to run FCP 7, so I gave them a call. They said download the fully functional trial software, now at 1.02, and try it out, no card needed. This I did, installed, and imported my XDcam EX-1 1920 23.98 mov's converted for a FCP project with XDcam transfer. They converted to ProRes 422HQ faster than realtime on import to M100.

I was able to play two streams of 422HQ in real time with the G5 at full res, apply filters such as levels concurrently. Will test other realtime features when the board arrives next week, although I am sure it will also do concurrent simple titles. The processors were not fully stressed. This was with a single LaCie Firewire 800 HD.

In short, I ordered it today, and plan to run the G5 with the LHi/M100 and also with FCP 6. I will run FCP 7 and my AJA ioHD on my Macbook Pro. Now I can wait another generation for the next upgrade to the Mac Pro's and not be forced to buy a new tower immediately. I had honestly forgotten how much I missed the real time features of the M100 since moving to HD shooting.

There are a lot of features I will certainly use in FCP 7, but for my situation, this promises to be a great solution. BTW, the new M100 Suite supports roundtripping to Color 1.5 via XML, as well as interchange of timelines between applications, as long as the features are supported on both.

Jim Wiseman


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