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Screening from MBPRO

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William Carr
Screening from MBPRO
on Jun 2, 2011 at 7:21:26 pm

Advice needed for my client needing to play back his currently native DVCPROHD720p 23.98 movie (my edit) from a MacBook Pro's internal drive into a theater's projector via HDMI. The idea is he will play from Quicktime Player as full screen.

The laptop is 4 months old, 4GB ram, dual-core 2.8.

The query is wondering if it's "better" for the laptop to be crunching a very large intraframe file (ProRes or the original DVCPROHD) of about 23GB, or, to be crunching a much smaller file of about 3GB which is more processor-intensive, meaning, the mp4 version.

It works fine as a test here into a plasma, either way. But I did not play the entire 90 minutes.

In a nutshell, playback a ProRes or an m4v? Why?


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Joel Hufford
Re: Screening from MBPRO
on Jun 2, 2011 at 8:56:49 pm

Hi William,

I would recommend using a ProRes version of the movie. That format was specifically designed to work efficiently in the Quicktime environment. The high complexity present in MP4 compression is more often what leads to dropped frames during playback.

However, I would also say that I would never play back HD content using a single hard drive. The better option would be to use a RAID array of disks to increase the read speed of the drive. This could be accomplished using an external RAID tower, like the ones you see advertised here on the COW, or better yet, using a MacPro tower.

Hope that helps.

joel
Corporate and Special Event Staging Services
http://www.pacificstaging.com


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Richard Cooper
Re: Screening from MBPRO
on Jun 2, 2011 at 10:57:06 pm

Go with ProRes 422 or even ProRes LT
They will both play back fine from single drive without issue... unless your laptop has other issues.
I just did this exact thing for a one time theater screening and it worked flawlessly playing a 35 minute ProRes 422 1080p video from the desktop of a 2 YO MBP (Fairly clean install of Snow Leopard) and a DVI cable directly into the projector. I cant say how accurate the color and gamma where coming out of the GUI of the MBP but I can say it was not bad looking at all.

Richard Cooper
FrostLine Productions, LLC
Anchorage, Alaska
http://www.frostlineproductions.com


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Chad Tingle
Re: Screening from MBPRO
on Jun 3, 2011 at 3:01:00 am

avoid MP4... especially if your projecting it.

Chad Tingle
Producer/Editor


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William Carr
Re: Screening from MBPRO
on Jun 3, 2011 at 7:32:08 am

Thank you all for your advice and info!
I will suggest ProRes plus an external RAID like a small factor G-Tech. The setup has to be small at the theatre so a MacPro is not practical, needs to be the MBPRO. And there will be an opportunity to test.

FYI, an interesting test I did tonight was an iPad!
I used an HDMI adapter playing an m4v to a plasma TV via a switcher. The image quality was great, no hiccups, but 2 caveats: the audio kicked in two seconds after the file start, so this method would want at least a few seconds of black at the head.
The other issue was, if stopping and starting the playback the audio would drop out entirely, and only an unplug-then-plug-back-in brought it back. Perhaps a signal integrity issue, or some interface thing with the switcher (routing was not directly to the plasma).
Lots of promise with an iPad or other solid state device used as a media player, but not quite for prime time perhaps... at least with the iPad 1.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Screening from MBPRO
on Jun 3, 2011 at 2:13:01 pm

I always recommend running two playback systems through a switcher -- whether you're playing from tape, DDR, or computer.

If the main unit fails for any reason, you can simply switch to the running backup to avoid ruining your client's event.

It's like insurance -- you hope you never have to use it, but it's nice to know that it's there in case anything goes wrong.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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William Carr
Re: Screening from MBPRO
on Jun 3, 2011 at 5:11:24 pm

Excellent recommendation!
I always arrange for that, even with low-end events that have no switcher. BD/DVD players are cheap. Start the back up running 15 seconds after the primary.
Better an awkward pause and resume, than a crash and burn.


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