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David McClave
FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 5, 2010 at 9:07:35 pm

I use a quad 2.8Ghz Intel MacPro with 8GB Ram properly configured and an internal 3TB Raid 0 controlled by the Mac, rather than an add on PCI card, in addition to the 500GB system drive.
1) The RAID consitently has sustained read/write rates of up to 600 MB/sec, so IT's working properly.
2) I convert all my footage to ProRes 422 files of the same size and frame rate (1920x1080 30p)

WHY do I still have to render this stuff if I have more than 2 layers and using ONLY 3-way color correction, rather than having it just play real time??? How do I solve this problem?

I'm usually considered an expert user, though I'm probably only really intermediate, even after using FCP and Mac's since they first came out.

I'm in the middle of a project with an extremely tight deadline, and things are going waaaaayyyy too slow... HELP!


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Naveen Mallikarjuna
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 5, 2010 at 9:14:14 pm

As far as I can tell, this is just the reality of FCP. Even with hardware like an AJA Kona card, getting real time in FCP just isn't possible once you get into filters or layers.

Can someone please correct me on this if it's not true? I would love to be wrong about this!

Naveen
contact@naveenmedia.com
http://www.naveenmedia.com


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Alan Okey
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 5, 2010 at 9:49:13 pm

How do you set your playback preferences, i.e. do you only use Safe RT and high quality playback, or do you use Unlimited RT and variable quality playback?

The unfortunate reality is that there's no free lunch. To get realtime playback without rendering, you need to sacrifice image quality (resolution) or frame rate. I can't stand watching "preview" resolutions or choppy frame rates, so I usually just suck it up and render.

Of course, it all depends on the type of projects you're working on. For some editors, they need to "stay in the zone" and are doing lots of cuts where rhythm is more important than playback quality, so they can deal with degraded playback for the sake of getting timing down.

I grew up editing in the post-DV age without ever learning the traditional offline/online workflow, so I'm not accustomed to viewing degraded quality playback during editing.

I also find that many clients are distracted by preview resolutions while working on supervised edits. They would prefer to wait for a segment to render so that they can see how it is "supposed to look" rather than imagining the finished product, so I usually just render as I go along.

To each his own, I suppose.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 5, 2010 at 9:57:49 pm

Very very true, Alan.

That being said, ProRes @ medium playback quality turns FCP in to a much more real time capable application.


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David McClave
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 5, 2010 at 9:59:40 pm

Alan -> Thanks.

I use Unlimited RT and variable quality/rate, but have a hard time with the choppy rate - can't see what the transitions really look like.

The strange thing is that I cut my NLE teeth on an Avid Express Elite back in the '90s that was running on a Mac 9600. I UNDERSTAND that there was hardware that allowed it to process the footage, which was SD, of course, in real time. I think we also had a Green Ice card. We NEVER had to render anything on this. Surely there's some hardware I could add to the MacPro, with something like 10 -20 times the processing power of that old 9600 with Avid hardware, that would make it have as good? No? Am I just out of luck? Should I go back and try to find an old 9600 and Avid system, and just produce SD again?

How can it possibly be that the newer technology seems slower?

Dave McClave - CASE42 Creative Media
http://www.case42.com
"Waaaayyy Outside The Box!"
Wait... there's a box??!?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 5, 2010 at 10:01:22 pm

[David McClave] "Should I go back and try to find an old 9600 and Avid system, and just produce SD again?"

If you worked in dv with FCP, you'd find that kind of rt.

You are working @ full raster 10bit 1920x1080 30p, it's the nature of the beast.



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David McClave
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 5, 2010 at 10:06:59 pm

Jeremy -
Thanks.... that's poopy. No hardware can be added to make it RT? REALLY? A MacPro with unimaginable processing power by 1997 standards can't be even modified to do it? Hmmmmm... I'm despondent.

Dave McClave - CASE42 Creative Media
http://www.case42.com
"Waaaayyy Outside The Box!"
Wait... there's a box??!?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 5, 2010 at 10:16:44 pm

[David McClave] "Hmmmmm... I'm despondent."

Go buy a Smoke.

Jeremy


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Chi-Ho Lee
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 5, 2010 at 11:32:57 pm

How much overhead is taken up with the software raid 0 that is controlled by the mac?

It's hard to say what your performance should be without looking at your sequence in person. But there is one indication - what color is your render bar? If it's Full or Preview Green, then it should be realtime 100% every time. If it's orange, then there are no guarantees and you may have to render to watch it.

I have seen two FCP system where green bars were getting dropped frames. Had to uninstall FCP with FCS Remover and reinstall. That fixed the RT problems. Actually, had to do this last night.

There's no substitution for hardware acceleration. That's why those old Avids costed $60k back then. If we're willing to pay $60k again, I'm sure someone would make a kickass RT card for FCP.

CHL

CHL

Chi-Ho Lee
Film & Television Editor
Apple Certified Final Cut Pro Trainer
http://www.chiholee.com


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David McClave
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 6, 2010 at 1:37:51 am

Chi-Ho Lee -

According to Activity Monitor, the CPU dedicated to the RAID is negligible.

Most of the time, my sequence bar is Orange - playback is choppy... This is OK. I was just hoping beyond hope that a simple piece of hardware could get me beyond this.

So, no one is aware of any hardware acceleration for the Pro that's under $1500? It just strikes me that the technology should be so far beyond this by now - given that the old 9600 + Avid was so advanced 15 years ago, eh?


Dave McClave - CASE42 Creative Media
http://www.case42.com
"Waaaayyy Outside The Box!"
Wait... there's a box??!?


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Michael Sacci
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 6, 2010 at 7:34:14 am

but you are not realizing is what we get out of the box. You keep going back to per y2K but what were was the price of that RT for SD, if you didn't spend the big bucks you had to render everything you did anything to. 3 layers of HD video with a filter, that is no lite lifting and you can get that with most computer and software off the shelf, and you probably only need to render the transitions. That is powerful stuff. But it would be nice if there were some great high powered RT acceleration for us, but if (or when) there is it will cost a lot more than $1500. I'm sure there would be a lot of high end poeple that would be willing to pay in the 5-10K rang to real RT. (look at the red rocket)



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John Pale
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 6, 2010 at 5:38:05 pm

Neither Avid nor FCP does hardware acceleration anymore. Too expensive for the r& d and support, and considering the computers are getting faster exponentially each year the accelerators would get obsolete too fast. Both Avid and FCP are now dependent on the host CPU and GPU. The hardware is just for input/output.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Feb 6, 2010 at 5:41:52 pm

[David McClave] "It just strikes me that the technology should be so far beyond this by now - given that the old 9600 + Avid was so advanced 15 years ago, eh?"

It wasn't all that advanced. You were working with what is in essence dv quality or less. It was highly compressed back then. Like I said, if you want that speed, offline in dv, you will be blown away.

Also, pony up for a Smoke system. It will cost you way more than $1500 but the performance is outstanding.

You still get what you pay for. That hasn't changed.

Jeremy


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Declan Smith
Re: FCP Mac Pro RT problems
on Mar 5, 2010 at 12:17:01 pm

I don't believe FCP uses much of the CPU. I have early 2009 mac pro, dual 4-core, snow leopard, and FCS3.

When FCP is running (or rendering) the CPU's hardly get off the floor. All this CPU power does appears not to be utilised by FCP.

After effects CS4 is much the same, but at least I can fire up multiple rendering versions on the same machine and run the CPU's flat out to render.



Declan Smith
http://www.madpanic.tv
FCS3 / After Effects CS4 / Combustion / Canon 7D / Canon XL2


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: 5D workflow in FCP
on Mar 5, 2010 at 3:37:40 pm

[Declan Smith] "I don't believe FCP uses much of the CPU."

Most of it doesn't, but you can see glimpses of what it might be some day. If you read this blog post and check the screen cap, you will see the cores cranking on Snow Leopard, but it's for log and transfer, which is one of the newest pieces of the FCP puzzle. Hopefully, all of FCP will get written like this some day.


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