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Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.

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Daniel Ray
Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.
on Mar 1, 2012 at 7:35:31 pm

I'm preparing to work on an Uncompressed 10-bit footage that was encoded from digibeta. I ran a test on my Mac Pro and saw that the playback for Uncompressed 10-bit was very choppy in both FCP and QuickTime. I'm assuming because my Mac Pro isn't installed with a Fibre Channel or an internal RAID hardware so workflow on 10-bit uncompressed will be challenging -- mainly because because of the data rate issue. Even though I have some ideas, I'd like to check with members of CreativeCOW to be safe.

I have two important question and I would REALLY appreciate any answer:

1) What exactly do I need to upgrade on my Mac Pro in order to handle Uncompressed 10-bit workflow via FCP? I have a 2 x 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processor with a memory of 6 GB 667 MHZ DDR2 FB-DIMM and a NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT card. It doesn't come with a Fibre Channel or a Hardware RAID device or any Apple Internal Memory Card reader.


2) Would converting digibeta to Pro Res 422 from digibeta instead of Uncompressed 10-bit be a better option quality-wise?

Let me know if you need any more information. Thanks


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Joseph Hung
Re: Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.
on Mar 1, 2012 at 8:15:26 pm

Hi Daniel,
In order to really handle Uncompressed 10bit you need a hardware based RAID controller PCI-E card, with high speed high quality cabling, such as SAS, Mini-SAS, or fiber channel, to an external RAID chassis and harddrives, preferrably in RAID 5 or 6 configuration. An internally striped software based RAID will not hack it, as it takes up alot of your CPU power, where a RAID card will take on the administration onto it's own CPU.
With that said, you do not necessarily need to use Uncompressed 10bit, but it depends on what you are planning to do with the footage (lots of graphics, keying, compositing, etc?) and your distribution (interweb streaming, broadcast, DVD, etc?). Since the source is DigiBeta, it's SD, and in most cases ProRes 422 will be just fine for your purposes, and on top of that, your bitrate will be low while maintaining high IQ and resolution that you could conceivably edit via a small RAID harddrive like GRAIDs via Firewire 800.
In the post department at a broadcast show I used to work on, before they switched to HD, everything was taped to DigiBeta, and we would ingest to Apple ProRes 422 HQ. Probably a little overkill, but we could afford the SAN network, fibre channel, high bitrates, and two full pro edit stations, so why not? we said. I do believe that you will be just fine with ProRes 422, or even 422 HQ if you can handle that bitrate, and save yourself some money and headaches, and avoid Uncompressed 10bit because you don't really need to go that far. But of course, again, this depends on what you plan to do with the footage.
If you do want to build a RAID chassis I have a DIY blog I wrote for an 8TB RAID 5 for under $2K. I can email it to you if you like.
Best of luck,
Joseph

http://www.tulpapictures.com
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Daniel Sametz
Re: Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.
on Mar 1, 2012 at 8:29:08 pm

Hi, Daniel:

I have edited some proyects from 16mm into digibeta and then converted to 10 bits uncompresed. SD. My computer, an old 2.66 Mac 1.1 and I didn't have any problem. What you need is to have 2 or more internal HDD and some descent RAM, about 4GB. Other than that in my experience you don't need.


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Daniel Ray
Re: Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:13:46 pm

Hi, Joseph, thanks for the detailed explanation, it shed a lot of light on what I'll need to improve my Mac Pro. Unfortunately, I can't go with Pro Res 422 because there'll be a lot of compositing and keying, and this digibeta footage was shot on green screen in 1998. Yep, 1998, so to prevent a lot of artifacting and noise issues, the best route is edit everything through Uncompressed 10-bit. I just gotta upgrade my workstation to ensure I can handle and I wanted to make suer I needed one before purchasing one. Again, thanks for your answer.


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Daniel Sametz
Re: Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.
on Mar 1, 2012 at 9:38:11 pm

Go then with Prores HQ. It's good for keying and composing and less processor intensive than 10 bit uncompressed. But if you must use the codec then the more the internal HDD the better. :)


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Michael Gissing
Re: Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.
on Mar 1, 2012 at 10:41:12 pm

There are free speed disk tool to test the data rates that your drives are capable of reliably running. Blackmagic and AJA provide free software tools on their web sites. The problem is drive speed and could be solved using esata enclosures. You absolutely do not need fibre. esata with a small external RAID is not that expensive.


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Matt Lyon
Re: Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.
on Mar 3, 2012 at 5:02:33 pm

[Daniel Sametz] "Go then with Prores HQ. It's good for keying and composing and less processor intensive than 10 bit uncompressed. But if you must use the codec then the more the internal HDD the better. :)"

Wouldn't ProRes actually be MORE processor intensive, due to its more sophisticated decoding requirements during playback? 10 bit uncompressed has more hardcore data throughput requirements, but I would think it would actually be LESS processor intensive. Unless I'm remembering wrong, 10 bit uncompressed is supported on much older hardware then ProRes is.

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.
on Mar 3, 2012 at 5:13:03 pm

[Matt Lyon] "Wouldn't ProRes actually be MORE processor intensive, due to its more sophisticated decoding requirements during playback? "

ProRes is not actually processor intensive Matt, it's a high performance codec, meaning, it's just the opposite of processor intensive.

ProRes was designed to enable realtime playback of fairly large and fairly lossless files on smaller and less expensive hard drives that could not handle 10-bit uncompressed due to its requirements for massive throughput (i.e. 6 to 8 drive RAIDs minimum).

David Roth Weiss
ProMax Systems
Burbank
DRW@ProMax.com
http://www.ProMax.com
Sales | Integration | Support


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Matt Lyon
Re: Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.
on Mar 3, 2012 at 6:16:25 pm

yes, but with fast enough hard drives, it was possible to edit 10 bit Uncompressed on a powermac G4.

ProRes need a top of the line G5 or intel mac, minimum. To me that implies that ProRes is MORE processor intensive. That's not the same as saying that ProRes' data i/o requirements are lower.

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.
on Mar 3, 2012 at 6:32:32 pm

[Matt Lyon] "ProRes need a top of the line G5 or intel mac, minimum. To me that implies that ProRes is MORE processor intensive. That's not the same as saying that ProRes' data i/o requirements are lower."

Again, I'm not really in agreement with you on this. I'm fairly certain ProRes would play on a G4 if there was a version of FCP with ProRes that would play on a G4.

BTW, all the great stuff you discovered about FCP time-stamping audio files makes you a techno force to be reckoned with, so I certainly don't doubt your technical chops one bit. I just think you might be assuming that ProRes is less friendly than it really is.

David Roth Weiss
ProMax Systems
Burbank
DRW@ProMax.com
http://www.ProMax.com
Sales | Integration | Support


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Daniel Ray
Re: Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.
on Mar 3, 2012 at 7:13:52 pm

Hey, everybody, so me and the guys from the VFX house decided to go with ProRes 4444. My computer can handle that kind of codec. But answering your recent posts, I used to own a G4 and ProRes was always friendly to edit in that system but I think, like my situation with my Mac Pro, some G4 and G5 doesn't have all the necessary processing specs to handle and need certain upgrades. Since ProRes 4444 is still a "compressed" format, I'd still like to upgrade my speed drive to handle 10-Bit Uncompressed or even 12-bit in case I need to work with them in the future. Big thanks, everybody!


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Matt Lyon
Re: Workflow and playback for Uncompressed 10-bit is choppy on my Mac Pro.
on Mar 4, 2012 at 4:23:42 am

[David Roth Weiss] "BTW, all the great stuff you discovered about FCP time-stamping audio files makes you a techno force to be reckoned with, so I certainly don't doubt your technical chops one bit. I just think you might be assuming that ProRes is less friendly than it really is."

Thanks David. Don't worry, I have a thick skin and am always happy to learn something new :-)

I realized I was quoting my info based on Apple's system requirements page for ProRes. But that was for HD playback, so yeah, SD ProRes on non Intel hardware is a different can of worms.

But that being said, this post by Gary Adcock seems to suggest that there are quality losses when playing ProRes on non Intel hardware:

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/8/1024925

Whereas, I'm pretty sure that isn't the case with uncompressed 10 bit material.

Matt Lyon
Editor
Toronto


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