FCP HDV workstation
I have done my research and now I am hoping to get some feedback from the experienced folks at the Cow. I am proposing an FCP/ Mac Pro workstation for a corporate client who will be hiring me as a freelance producer/editor. The vast majority of the projects will be shot HDV either with their camera, which I believe is the XL H1A or mine which is the Sony Z7U. Delivery will typically be either the web or DVD (for duplication of 10K or more). Most projects are long form, 30-60 mins. The system must be able to handle 2-3 projects at a time. I would also like to be able to edit remotely with my MBP (17" 2.6Ghz, 4Gb ram and a Graid mini external drive with FW and eSata interface). I really need to keep it around $9K (or less).
So here is what i am thinking.
The Mac: MacPro Quad core 2.8ghz with addition 8GB memory (total 11gb).
I/O: The matrox MO2 with Max for desktop, then purchase an express card for my MBP.
Display: A single larger (27" or more) monitor would be better for the space then dual set up. Anybody use the UltraSharp U2711 model? It would a huge bonus if the monitor could also be connected to my MBP. Any other suggestions?
Storage: Caldigit VR 2TB and FASTA 2e card
Monitor: Must display multiple formats and have built in waveform and vector scope. It must display any interlace jitter issues so does it have to be full 1920 x 1080 resolution? Also, it would be a big selling point if, with accessories, it could double as a field monitor when shooting. I've seen the posts for the Flanders LM-1760W. I can get a Plura PBM 217s (http://www.plurabroadcast.com/plura-monitoring-solutions/pbm-217s-17.html) for a few hundred $ less than flanders but it has fewer outputs with SDI and Analog loop output only. Anybody familiar with Plura?
Thank you so much for any feedback or recommendations you can give. I'm happy to do my own research on any products if you point me in the right direction. Thanks so much. I love the Cow!
A couple of quick thoughts.
I didn't run a price sheet, but off the top of my head I don't think you can do all that for 9K.
Also, I don't think the 8 core 2.88 is available new anymore. The only 8 core is the 2.4. Odd number memory (11GB) combos wont work on the 8 core.
Lots of reasons I wouldn't take my edit room monitor in the field. Too much wear and tear. And since you only want to buy one monitor, what happens if it gets dropped in the middle of a big project? Your going to be running around trying to replace it, instead of editing. Murphys Law. Or what if you have a shoot, and want to set up a long render while your gone?
SST Digital Media
I can give you feedback on what I've seen on my Mac Pro:
Specs: 2009 Mac Pro, FCP7, Snow Leopard. Single 2.66GHz Quad-Core, 8GB RAM, nVidia card, MATROX Compress HD card, Black Magic Intensity Pro and four internal SATA drives
What I cut: HDV, 1080P HD from Sony EX3 and 1080i Pro Res ingested via the Black Magic HDMI card.
How it responds: Not too bad actually. The two main things I'd change about this system would be getting a RAID controller (or at least striping the drives as one) and getting the additional quad-core processor. I see the disk I/O bottle neck sometimes when editing with the lovely rainbow wheel when I'm just moving around in the timeline. It will play a timeline with two HD tracks, but anything more and it starts choking fast.
I'd love to have more cores cranking away when I need an HD to SD DVD encode done. QMaster on this system now takes hours to do only 10 minutes of HD ProRes HD video down to the best frame control SD encode. That sucks.
Don't have any good advice for the monitor. I use Dell HD monitors. I can get three or four of them for the price of one MAC monitor and since I use them for traveling to jobs, I'm not trashing a $900 shiny silver monitor from Apple.
Having the Black Magic HDMI in is nice for any time you can't ingest over firewire or the workflow isn't tape based.
Hope that helps!
If you plan to use Color, ATI cards are best.
Thank you all for your suggestions. Scott, I did price out the system, but admittedly, math is not my forte. I will certainly double check. The QuadCore 2.8 is available on apple.com and comes with 3GB (3x1gb). I was surprised by that as well. Good point with the taking the monitor in the field.
Kyler, I'm with you on the ADC. Which model Dell monitor you use? I would love to move these guys into a tapeless workflow. Do you mind sharing your workflow for tapeless?
Duh, I gotta learn how to read.
You said quad core, I was thinking dual-quad 8 core. That gives you a grand extra headroom on the budget.
You can probably squeak by a 9k, but you would be surprised how fast the cash goes with the little 'gotcha's' that you run across putting a system together.
Check OWC for some good prices on drives and extra RAM.
SST Digital Media
Something like this:
It has HDMI and Digital in so I also use it on the field for "video village". These are Hollywood productions though. I don't have a DP on set with light meters....so 100% accurate color isn't a big deal to me. I'm not saying these are off, but I'm sure they are at this price.
Workflow for tapeless depends on the production/camera, etc. So I'm not sure what you're after exactly...last project was Sony EX3 which was just normal FCP log and transfer stuff. Just remember where your capture scratch locations are! I'm an Avid editor and Avid is so much better and forcing good media management. Final Cut's approach is such a pain.