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Final Cut and the 27inc iMac

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Joseph Sierchio
Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 7:51:57 pm

I'm thinking of buying a new 27 inch iMac primarily to be used as a Final Cut work station. Since there is no I/O box for this that I am aware of, is their a device that can be attached via fire wire or USB that will allow me to use an external monitor in both SD and HD?

Thanks


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 8:14:55 pm

Matrox MXO and the proper adapter for that mini display port connection on an iMac should work just fine for external monitoring.

But you'll be limited to firewire drives forever with an iMac... if that's OK and you don't need other than firewire input, it's sort of doable. However it's dicey to capture from a firewire device to a firewire drive.

Sure you don't want a tower? that 24" display apple has right now is a really nice display.. and the expandability of the tower makes life a lot richer (setting aside the faster Mac of course)...

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski.

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX Cinema Displays


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 8:22:33 pm

That's a perfect analysis Jerry. I agree with everything you said.

Those iMacs seem tempting, but they have some serious limitations.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

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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Rob Grauert
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 8:28:34 pm

"That's a perfect analysis Jerry. I agree with everything you said. "

Really? I thought monitoring from the display port was a big No-No. Isn't it still a computer graphics signal going to the Matrox if that's what he decides to go with?

Anyway...to answer the original question, I think the AJA I/O HD allows for capturing and monitoring through FW800, and you can transcode all your stuff to ProRes too, which is nice.

Robert J. Grauert, Jr.
http://www.robgrauert.com
command-r.tumblr.com


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 8:49:42 pm

Rob,

I was referring to Jerry's analysis of the weaknesses of the iMac. However, the original MXO is specifically designed to display via a signal from the computer display, as in the DVI out etc.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

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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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 9:04:05 pm

The MXO takes care of all the differences between a computer display and TV set. (the no no is judging the video full screen on a computer display...

Essentially, it turns a native 1900X1200 display into a true video monitor. Read the article on it here at the COW... there's a review I'm sure. The MXO taps the RGB only from that display port, and then changes the scan to interlaced and at the same time adjusts for the inherent gamma differences. You can even set up that connected display with blue only bars from the MXO's control panel. Pretty slick.

Full screen monitoring on a computer display is not optimal by any stretch of the imagination, and can only be "trusted" for web delivery.

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski.

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX Cinema Displays


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Pepijn Klijs
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 8:33:10 pm

I am not disagreeing with the former posters here on wether or not a tower model is better. Ofcourse it is. But it's also a lot more expensive!

I'm working on 27" iMac and I love it! The screen itself is incredibly good. I used to work with a client monitor connected thru firewire, but I moved them to my attic. FCP has the ability to view your timeline full screen with a single push of a button and I'm using that a lot, even when a director is sitting next to me. The detail on this monitor is so great!

It's a fast machine as well.

Hope I have been helpful!

Avid/FCP Editor, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
http://www.pepijnklijs.nl


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 9:01:18 pm

Pepijn,

Yes, the iMacs are fast and cheap, but limited by their connections. In your case, you're displaying video to a computer monitor, which may look wonderful, but which doesn't reveal "the whole story" from an engineering standpoint. If you don't ever to deliver for broadcast an iMac will do just fine, but there's just no great/easy/inexpensive way to capture, playback, and professionally monitor with an iMac. An IOHD helps, but that's not a cheap solution by any means.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

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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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 9:06:35 pm

Yeah, the Io HD... problem is you can't capture to a firewire drive on the same bus with it... so it's not going to be workin too well with an iMac.

Quite frankly, if you can live with the limitations (and there are many) of an iMac, it's OK with processing power etc.. it's just not expandable. Even a used tower is a better investment if budget is an issue. A used 8 core Mac is one sweet computer.

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski.

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX Cinema Displays


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Pepijn Klijs
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 9:18:56 pm

haha, you got a point there! The one firewire connection is very annoying and disappointing. I admit! They should have put more!

Anyway, it all depends on what you want to do basically. We can keep on making lists of what an iMac can or can not do. But the most interesting question is what you want to do with it.



Avid/FCP Editor, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
http://www.pepijnklijs.nl


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Pepijn Klijs
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 9:12:30 pm

David,

Like I already said, I agree on the mac pro being the best mac to edit with. But still, I can't fully agree on what you are saying. I mean theoretically you right, very much indeed, but practically...

Almost everything I edit at home enters my front door on a disc, so no more capturing.

Second, 95 % of my work consists of listening, watching, building. I don't need to broadcastsafe all the time when I'm creating my stories. I just need to relaxed and focussed. (the iMac doesn't do massages unfortunately).

Most of the time my final product will be a quicktime file that will go to color correction.

So tell me why I should still spend a lot of money on a mac pro? I think times are changing to more filebased workflows and you can do a lot more for a lot less.

Regards!

Avid/FCP Editor, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
http://www.pepijnklijs.nl


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 10:40:20 pm

[Pepijn Klijs] "my work consists of listening, watching, building. I don't need to broadcastsafe all the time when I'm creating my stories. I just need to relaxed and focussed."

I completely understand why that works for you in your particular situation Pepijn, but there are loads of professionals on this forum who can't get by without delivering a properly engineered work product. Jerry and I would be remiss if we didn't point out to them the numerous shortcomings of the iMac, which make it impractical for many.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

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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Pepijn Klijs
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 10:57:01 pm

I understand very well, but it still depends on what you want to use your equipment for. You shouldn't advice someone to buy a sportscar to drive his children to school.

I'm working for various dutch television networks and never had a single complaint for the quality of my work.

It works for me so it might work for others as well, and save them a lot of money.

Greetings.

Avid/FCP Editor, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
http://www.pepijnklijs.nl


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Joseph Sierchio
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 10:15:38 pm

What did you use to connect the client monitor to the fire wire port? Were you able to view your time line in both SD and HD ?

Thanks


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Pepijn Klijs
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 27, 2010 at 10:24:02 pm

I used a little box from data-video that only supports sd.

Avid/FCP Editor, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
http://www.pepijnklijs.nl


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Robb Harriss
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 28, 2010 at 3:02:08 am

Back up for just a second: what kind of work are you planning on doing? What's the source (camera/format)? And what's the output/purpose?

Non-linear: all the time and nothing but.


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Joseph Sierchio
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 28, 2010 at 8:07:13 pm

All of my footage is delivered via fire wire or USB drives. I output to the same drives. Formats vary.

Thanks


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Robb Harriss
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 28, 2010 at 8:29:03 pm

it's the formats we need to know. How you carry it around doesn't matter. If you're doing consumer level stuff you don't need top of the line anything.

Non-linear: all the time and nothing but.


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walter biscardi
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Mar 28, 2010 at 8:54:55 pm

Joseph,

Jerry has given you some very good information on the limits of the 27" iMac and the use of an MXO to drive an SD / HD video monitor.

In our new facility, we are planning to install 4 of the 27" iMacs to compliment our 4 Mac Pro AJA Kona 3 systems. The iMacs will tie into our 32TB Shared media storage via Ethernet. If you go with Ethernet Storage, you can then attach almost unlimited storage and still use the Firewire port to ingest from a camera or deck.

But, as I have reported previously on this forum and in my blog, the i5 and i7 27" iMacs do not currently work with the ethernet based storage systems. We had the i7 model which had to be returned and are currently waiting on the Core Duo 2 3.33ghz model to get here.

As for just pure editing, the iMac is a fantastic editing machine. We've been using a 2 year old model for my edit assist to work on 3 feature documentaries and the machine has no issues keeping up with well over 200 hours of material. The biggest limitations are the lack of ability to upgrade the cards, the limits on the amount of RAM, and of course the processing speed for rendering. The iMacs will never render as fast as the towers, but as for just a great editing machine, our iMac cuts 720p and 1080i ProRes all day, every day.

When we have the four set up, we will be editing a combination of episodic television series and feature documentaries on them for the day to day editing. When we have picture lock on each show, we'll simply open the projects on the Mac Pros for color enhancement, graphics and final mastering. But if we were only delivering digital files we really would not need the Mac Pros as much.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

Blog Twitter Facebook


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ronda birtha
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Jun 17, 2010 at 2:20:29 pm

I stumbled upon this thread and late in the discussion but I thought FCP did not work on new iMacs because, according to Apple: ATI or NVIDIA graphics processor (integrated Intel graphics processors not supported)

I found this out after trying to load in on my i7 and the install failed. If someone has figured out how to make this work, please tell me. I got this one because my G5 Tower is dying a slow death. Either way I'll start pinching pennies again to replace it with a tower, but that may be some time.


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Carlo Ferraro
Re: Final Cut and the 27inc iMac
on Dec 13, 2010 at 6:52:35 am

Mr Biscardi is right, I switched from Macbook Pro (sata drives) to Imac 27 Quad 2.93, 8GB ram, FW800 external plus raid drives and the editing is far more faster with the FW800 drives than with sata on MBP, no need for rendering when applying corrections and effects on two video lines and the rendering is around six times faster, playing back AppleProRes files of around 14MB/s. The drive of the unit writes and reads at 80MB/s, the FW800 raid at 60, the external single FW800 at 40. Definitively much much better that my previous MBP and cheaper, not talking about a screen that lets me see now everythong I need (at 66). So far monitoring on a led TV via HDMI, not the best but thinking to switch to Matrox.


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