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Where's my bottleneck? Editing a RED feature

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Bryan Roberts
Where's my bottleneck? Editing a RED feature
on Jul 5, 2011 at 6:38:03 pm

Hello all,

I just started editing a feature shot on the RED. I'm taking over for the past editor that the director and producers weren't happy with. Low and behold, the project is a nightmare in terms of organization. Everything seems to be chugging and struggling on my system which admittedly, is an older mac pro. I've edited 2k prores on another feature before on my system but it was a comedy and just had straight cuts - this is an action / epic film. Before I drop $4k on a new Mac Pro, can someone verify that this is indeed my bottleneck?

Film shot at 4k, editing at 2k. Footage already converted to ProRes 422 2k. The timeline was originally at 1080p (no idea why), so I changed it to 2k so there's less rendering to do on the fly to display 2k at 1080 (I just use Digital Cinema desktop preview for watching). The footage was given to me on three Graid 2 TB drives connected via eSATA to a Sonnet Tempo E4p card in my machine. Here's my system info:

Mac Pro 2 X 3 Ghz Dual-Core Intel Xeon (the late 2006 model)
12 gigs of Ram
Boot drive is a 160gb Intel SSD that I have my project located on.
Video Card: ATI Radeon 3870 with 512 MB RAM
OSX 10.6.8
FCP 7.0.3

I don't care about long export times for cuts, just performance within FCP while editing. Thanks!


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Bryan Roberts
Re: Where's my bottleneck? Editing a RED feature
on Jul 5, 2011 at 7:34:27 pm

Just to clarify - I meant that I changed my timeline settings to 2k so my 2k resolution prores footage stays native to the timeline rather than FCP having to convert 2k to 1080 on the fly. I'm sure it's a minimal conversion but every little bit helps. Also, the film has a 2.35 matte on every single shot so there's additional rendering on every shot to begin with...

FCP / AVID EDITOR
Features : Television
http://www.DefiningFilms.com


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Michael Gissing
Re: Where's my bottleneck? Editing a RED feature
on Jul 6, 2011 at 12:12:26 am

Did things bog down after the OS update to 10.6.8? Some people have reported problems with this update and the best advice here has been to stay on 10.6.7 as the OS update is all about FCP X.

As you are working with ProRes, the older computer shouldn't be a problem. Matching codec and frame size to the correct sequence size is also wise. The drives shouldn't be an issue. However, OS updates can upset drivers for esata and other cards, so never rush into OS updates without homework.

So my guess is the OS upgrade may be the culprit, possibly your esata drivers or graphics card/ drivers. Do you have a card - AJA/ Decklink/ Matrox etc to display to en external monitor? If so then that may help with getting better RT performance. Speaking of that what are your RT settings?


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Where's my bottleneck? Editing a RED feature
on Jul 6, 2011 at 1:24:09 am

You have a number of issues Bryan.

1) the mask on all the shots in the timeline should be chucked immediately. On your system that's an absurd waste system resources and your time. Those who must see the project at its current stage of development need to have their priorities placed at the bottom of the list for now.

2) Your system is not really up to the task, and you should definitely consider an updated and faster computer.

3) Though I can't say for certain, I would bet my bottom dollar that you have problems you're encountering that are not system related, but which instead may be related more to the pilot error of your predecessor. I would certainly try a few tricks to see what you've really got before buying a new system.

A good start would be to open a new project and try copying a few bins and working with the same material as in the big project.


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new tutorial: Prepare for a seamless transition to FCP X and OS X Lion
http://library.creativecow.net/weiss_roth_david/FCP-10-MAC-Lion/1

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Bryan Roberts
Re: Where's my bottleneck? Editing a RED feature
on Jul 6, 2011 at 5:28:12 am

Michael - RT settings are Unlimited, dynamic picture quality, full frame rate.

David - thanks for this list. Yes, I agree - the matte needs tossing, alas I'm on an insanely tight time table for editing and don't have the time to remove it all. I was having panic attacks all day looking at the myriad of different frame sizes and weird mattes used. I believe it was an Avid editor trying to just make it all work along with assistants that never really chose a consistent frame size to convert their RED files to.

My system cuts 2k ProRes 422 fine when the files are actually 2k ProRes and the timeline is setup for 2k resolution. 4k ProRes, it starts to bog but who cuts at 4k anyways. I don't mean to sound like I'm in denial, I guess it seems like FCP7 can't take advantage of multiple cores or even a fraction of my 12 gigs of ram so that's why I was having a hard time justifying a system upgrade. If I'm cutting a feature, I can let cuts render out overnight. Otherwise, short form doesn't take too long. If FCPX had just been FCP8 that was rewritten from the ground up to take advantage of new system architecture, I'd be all over one of the new Mac Pros hopefully about to be released but as it stands, I'm still having a hard time finding a reason to upgrade my Mac Pro other than quicker export / render times. Am I missing something re: RT performance that a new system can bring (serious question)?

FCP / AVID EDITOR
Features : Television
http://www.DefiningFilms.com


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Where's my bottleneck? Editing a RED feature
on Jul 6, 2011 at 6:25:47 am

[Bryan Roberts] "If FCPX had just been FCP8 that was rewritten from the ground up to take advantage of new system architecture, I'd be all over one of the new Mac Pros hopefully about to be released"

You're in good company on that one Bryan. There are a lot of very talented people that would agree with you, and even some at Apple who have got to be wondering who's really making decisions behind the curtain in Cupertino these days. The guy who called the shots on this move was clearly no Steve Jobs.


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new tutorial: Prepare for a seamless transition to FCP X and OS X Lion
http://library.creativecow.net/weiss_roth_david/FCP-10-MAC-Lion/1

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Bryan Roberts
Re: Where's my bottleneck? Editing a RED feature
on Jul 6, 2011 at 3:07:10 pm

Or... perhaps it was Steve Jobs looking at where their profit margins come from - it aint selling FCP or even Mac Pros. If FCP was anything to them, it was like an Audi R8 - you don't build them to make a profit, you build them to increase your brand's appeal - in Apple's case, it was to gain the support of professionals, to eventually have Walter Murch write a book about Final Cut Pro (I own all of his books). Anyways, I digress. This was what led me to hold on to my 06' (that's the longest I've ever owned a computer) Mac Pro - I essentially still have overkill for what the program is even capable of 5 years later, unless I've missed something which was what I was trying to figure out with this post. It sounds like that other than faster render / export times, my 06' mac pro, the way it's configured now (other than adding an AJA card etc.), is still pretty much maximizing my FCP experience?

FCP / AVID EDITOR
Features : Television
http://www.DefiningFilms.com


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kyler boudreau
Re: Where's my bottleneck? Editing a RED feature
on Nov 19, 2011 at 3:08:16 am

Michael - hey man. I'm not sure what you ended doing, but I'm an editor here in LA and I need to sell my Mac Pro. It was purchased from Apple December 2010. It is the 3.33GHz 6-core model with 16GB RAM and 5TB of disk. I'm trying toget $3800 which is way less than configuring this new. It is current product right now.

kyler / 310.425.2231 (to the Cows...hope saying this is okay. i'm not trying to push anything, just need to see this due to a money crunch)

_______________________
kyler boudreau
http://www.theatereleven.com
ph.310.425.2231


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