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FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?

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Michael Brown
FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Nov 29, 2015 at 5:20:40 pm

Hi folks,

In reply to my previous posts and questions, many of which were nicely answered:

It appears that the drive speed is an essential factor. Up to a few days ago I was using 4TB LaCie drives, one for the ProRes converted media, the other for render files and original media storage, and despite the much faster iMac, playback in multicam was bogging. My drives were connected via USB 3, previously on the MBP via FW800.

So I splurged 350 bucks on a LaCie 4TB Thunderbolt drive, sacrificed one port and hence one additional external monitor (that I could always try to connect with USB), hoping thunderbolt would make the difference.

IT DOES NOT! In fact, FCP multicam works better on the previous drive! The thunderbolt drive takes longer to restart playback once it's bogged (sound keeps rolling and it eventually catches up) than hitting the pause button twice to get playback rolling again in sync. I am tempted to send the damn thing back. I cannot afford 350 bucks for lousy experiments anymore.

What does work in multicam is setting your RT playback to medium quality and half-frames when multicam playback is checked and unclicking auto render! The playback is of course stuttery, but for the 1st editing process it works, even on the 9-angle set-up. Once you uncollapse your multicam clip for decent preview, effects etc… then you can uncheck multicam playback and you see what you deserve. So that's 'satisfactory'.

Q1: Do I understand correctly that the thunderbolt drive being a typical 7200 rpm drive is not substantially sped up by the thunderbolt connection and that my investment was to little to no avail?

Q2: Does all this mean that for better playback conditions in multicam (9 angles) I have to move on to an SSD drive? The financial aspect is frightening.

Who can keep my going on this before I give up?

Thanks for your invaluable support!

Michael Brown


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David Roth Weiss
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Nov 29, 2015 at 7:00:44 pm

You need a RAID Michael. The rule of thumb is, every time you double the number of drives in a RAID array you double the throughput. A single spinning disk is only theoretically capable of approx 100MB/sec - nine streams of ProRes running at 21MB/sec each exceeds that limitation by a factor of almost 2X, do it makes no difference what your connection speed is. So, a 2-drive RAID is the bare minimum required.

FYI, while an SSD drive would have enough throughout, SSDs are not really great as media drives, as moving huge amounts if data in and off an SSD drive will fairly quickly ruin the drive's performance. SSDs are better suited for use as boot drives, because starting apps and storing document files does not move that data on and off the drive as is the case with media drives.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


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


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Michael Brown
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Nov 29, 2015 at 8:29:24 pm

David, long time no read. Many thanks. Just had a conversation with a nerd in California who confirmed that I'd be better off with a raid. I'll have to give it a try. Can I raid more than 2x?

Will keep you posted,

Best from Hamburg

Michael Brown


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Nick Meyers
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Nov 29, 2015 at 10:13:55 pm

another, less expensive approach would be to media manage your footage down to a smaller frame-size,
you'll get a lot more data through-put.

edit with that until your are satisfied,
then re-conect to the larger files.


nick


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Bobby Hall
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Nov 29, 2015 at 11:38:31 pm

"FYI, while an SSD drive would have enough throughout, SSDs are not really great as media drives, as moving huge amounts if data in and off an SSD drive will fairly quickly ruin the drive's performance."

David, are you saying if you move large amounts of data on and off a SSD, it will permanently ruin its performance???


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David Roth Weiss
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Nov 30, 2015 at 12:03:25 am

Yes Bobby! The way SSDs are rated is by the number of terabytes of data that can be moved on and off the drive before performance begins to degrade. As I mentioned earlier, using a drive as a boot drive does not degrade the drive as quickly as using it as a media drive, because you're not constantly moving huge files on and off the drive, as you do with media drives.

In addition, SSDs are also rated according to the amount of "over-provisioning" that drive comes with from the factory. Over-provisioning is the number of extra gigabytes you get when you buy, as data is constantly being moved from bad or failing cells on the SSD is constantly being moved to fresh cells. Better SSDs can come with many gigabytes of extra cells, thus extending the life of the drive. However, because they still get so much more than spinning disks the best SSDs are not cost efficient for use as media drives, because they lose performance too quickly.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


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


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Bobby Hall
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Nov 30, 2015 at 1:37:07 am

I see, David. Thanks. I just bought a retina MacBook Pro with 512 GB of flash storage, but I don't ever use my boot drive for storing media files. I always use an external HD.

Also, do you know if it makes a difference if I run FCP 7 on Yosemite compared to El Capitan? My new rMBP came with Yosemite and it's asking me if I want to get El Capitan, but before I install FCP 7 on it, I wanted to know if FCP 7 runs better on one of them over the other one. Thanks!


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David Roth Weiss
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Nov 30, 2015 at 1:58:08 am

Stick with Yosemite... I've tried El Capitan and there's just nothing about it that's so wonderful that anyone should feel compelled to update to it from a perfectly working NLE.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


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


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Bobby Hall
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Nov 30, 2015 at 3:07:56 am

Okay. I just read somewhere that El Capitan boots faster and makes programs start up a bit faster, but I don't really know how much faster it is.


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Michael Brown
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 2, 2015 at 4:01:17 pm

Nick, just FYI and to the benefit of other multitrack editors who have financial aspects to consider before going for expensive raid solutions:

I followed your advice on some of the footage, downrezzed it to ProRes Proxy 1280x720, hence creating a new project that I called my Proxy version:

It works very well with up to 7 cams in 9-angles, very smoothly, no bogs or hiccups, RT set to safe and dynamic, all on a single 4TB USB3 external drive! I have the Canvas on full-screen mode above me on a 32" LG monitor, my tools and TL to my left on the 23" NEC, and my 9-angle viewer on the right on the 27" iMac (close and big enough to work comfortably from).

Re-importing the TL to another project and reconnecting is child's play, and the Proxy footage weighs in at less than a third of the ProRes LTs.

This is a very satisfactory compromise, even if you have to give your Mac the 15 hrs to re-compress the media. It's worth it.

Nonetheless, I'll be getting 2 2TB internal drives tomorrow and I'm going to try to rack them up in an ICY BOX 2-bay Raid 0 array – this was my affordable option.

Thanks all for so much helpful advice, will keep you posted.

Best from the learner's corner ;-)

Michael Brown


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Michael Brown
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 3, 2015 at 12:54:31 am

Nick, just FYI and to the benefit of other multitrack editors who have financial aspects to consider before going for expensive raid solutions:

I followed your advice on some of the footage, downrezzed it to ProRes Proxy 1280x720, hence creating a new project that I called my Proxy version:

It works very well with up to 7 cams in 9-angles, very smoothly, no bogs or hiccups, RT set to safe and dynamic, all on a single 4TB USB3 external drive! I have the Canvas on full-screen mode above me on a 32" LG monitor, my tools and TL to my left on the 23" NEC, and my 9-angle viewer on the right on the 27" iMac (close and big enough to work comfortably from).

Re-importing the TL to another project and reconnecting is child's play, and the Proxy footage weighs in at less than a third of the ProRes LTs.

This is a very satisfactory compromise, even if you have to give your Mac the 15 hrs to re-compress the media. It's worth it.

Nonetheless, I'll be getting 2 2TB internal drives tomorrow and I'm going to try to rack them up in an ICY BOX 2-bay Raid 0 array – this was my affordable option.

Thanks all for so much helpful advice.

Michael Brown


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Michael Brown
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Nov 30, 2015 at 9:30:16 am

Well I'll be damned, David! Just tried it on a small 4-angle section of my project and set playback to dynamic, and off they go like a herd o' turtles!

I'll try later on a 7-angle part and keep you guys posted, but thanks David, you may have made my day!

Michael Brown


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Bobby Hall
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Nov 30, 2015 at 9:02:10 pm

Hey David, if someone constantly downloads and deletes movies on their SSD boot drive, will this eventually ruin the drive's performance? Or is it only when you transfer large media files back and forth from the boot drive and an external?


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David Roth Weiss
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Nov 30, 2015 at 9:49:03 pm

Yes, constantly downloading and deleting movies on your SSD will cause it to deteriorate prematurely, very much like using it as a media drive, simply because your moving big files on an off the drive. In a boot drive, apps are updated only occasionally, but for the most part they are left in place and simply started up when you need them. Document filed are also pretty much left in place with some minor changes, but that's what SSDs are designed for.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


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


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Michael Brown
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 1, 2015 at 2:05:45 pm

David, thanks and that's what I'm heading for now. My main goal is to get unhampered multiclip playback with 7 angles, preferably without having to stick to 1/2-frames (just a nuisance for fine editing).

Now here's the dummy part: I have never worked with a raid, I know very little about it, I've been reading but the more I read, the more I get confused. So questions:

Q1: If I build a raid 0 from 2 conventional USB3 4TB HDs using the iMac's internal Disk Utility, am I building a software raid or a hardware raid, and will this substantially increase my throughput speed?

Q2: Does the aforementioned set-up have anything to do with re-booting my iMac differently than usual, and will my Raid 0 config look like a unique mounted disk, just like any external HD that I can mount and unmount from my sidebar according to my needs? (I will only be using that for fcp 7).

Q3: If all this is ok and the way to go, do I need to copy / back-up any one of the disks I intend to raid, because they would be re-formatted when creating the Raid? My ProRes converted footage is on there, but the original footage is stored safely elsewhere. And of course: when building the Raid, does the OS software (disk utility) do the job of dividing up the media on the raided disks or do I do that manually?

Q4: last but not least, is it worth the extra money to purchase an external Raid drive (pre-configured, if I understand correctly, meaning 2 drives in one unit?)

Many many thanks in advance ;-)

Michael Brown


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Roger Poole
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 1, 2015 at 4:45:32 pm
Last Edited By Roger Poole on Dec 1, 2015 at 4:59:41 pm

Hi Michael, if you need so many angles, as already suggested, you need raid. There a two things to consider, the speed of the hard disk itself and the amount of data the interface can carry. I would suggest a 4 way striped thunderbolt raid. You would never saturate the thunderbolt interface and get some astonishing speeds which would be up to streaming multiple angles. Try downloading the Black magic speed test utility and test your media drives, then watch this....

Edit: I just tested my G SpeedQ Raid 5 and get just over 200 MB/s read and write via esata. Thunderbolt would be off the scale.







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Michael Brown
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 1, 2015 at 5:55:48 pm

Hi Roger, thanks for your advice ;-)

I have about 3 TB of ProRes footage to deal with (LT). Since I'm producing this thing myself, I also have economic aspects to watch out for :-(

Thanks for the BM speed checker, works like a charm. Out of curiosity, I just compared my standard 4TB LaCie USB3 drive with the newly and unsatisfactorily purchased Lacie 4TB Thunderbolt drive (that gave me an impression of bogging faster) : the Thunderbolt is by about 30 to 40 Mb/s slower than the USB3!

Now since I'm in a kind of a hurry and my resources are limited here, I went for an ICY BOX 2-Bay Raid enclosure (not too expensive and years ago I was very satisfied with their FW400 cases), and I ordered 2 WD 2TB Raid internal disks rather cheap (80 € a piece new) that should be here in a couple of days.

I know that's not Thunderbolt, but I prefer USB3 in this case since I want to save my 2 DV ports for my monitors (especially since I don't know yet – haven't experimented – if my iMac and fcp7 will read a 2nd external monitor via USB3.

Knowing I've invested about $300, do think I'm going to be sorry?

Best from Hamburg

Michael Brown


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Roger Poole
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 1, 2015 at 6:17:43 pm

Slow thunderbolt. Did you format the drive to Mac extended, not journaled?


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Michael Brown
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 1, 2015 at 7:49:31 pm

Yes, Extended, but all formatting options are journaled. In this case Extended (Journaled) w/o other options such as encrypted and/or case-sensitive.

Michael Brown


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Roger Poole
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 1, 2015 at 9:38:16 pm

Though journaling is for boot volumes it doesn't have a huge impact, well not 30-40% slower. What are the actual speeds shown by speed test.


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Michael Brown
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 1, 2015 at 11:45:24 pm

Well now they read about the same: +/- 165 to 170 read & write. Earlier the USB3 drive read around 190-220 if I remember correctly. Strange. But slow, right?

Michael Brown


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Roger Poole
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 2, 2015 at 4:35:11 am

I checked out the Lacie 4tb thunderbolt and the specs suggest speeds around those you are experiencing. However, if I'm correct, the Lacie has only one disk inside and although the thunderbolt interface runs at a massive 20GB/s you are still stuck with the maximum that a single disk can read and write. Thunderbolt has ample capacity to to handle multiple disk RAID read and writes simultaniously so this is where the increased speed comes from. A single disk enclosure wont show a dramatic speed increase because the disk is working at it's max, where a 2 disk Raid would pump out much more and that would be very easily handled by the Thunderbolt interface. The "off the scale" speeds shown in the YouTube clip are achieved by striping multiple disks, each only as fast as your single disk but multiplied by the number of disks in the RAID configuration. For the amount of angles you want I would suggest a 4 disk RAID 0.


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Christopher McDonell
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 2, 2015 at 7:20:04 pm

[Roger Poole] "I checked out the Lacie 4tb thunderbolt and the specs suggest speeds around those you are experiencing. "

I've come to defend the honour of the Lacie 2Big 4TB drive, which I happen to own. First of all, there are indeed 2 drives in there running at 7200 rpm's. Secondly, Michael's read/write speeds are in fact slower than they should be. Connected directly to my rMBP with thunderbolt, I'm getting up to 285 MB/s for both read & write. It fluctuates from about 260 up. Here's a screen grab:


My specs: FCP 6.0.6, El Capitan, rMBP 15" i7 2.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM


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Roger Poole
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 3, 2015 at 12:10:39 pm

Chris, thanks for the info. Those are impressive speeds for a two disk raid. The info I found was for a single disk Lacie. Hopefully Michael has the single disk model which would account for the slower speed he is experiencing.

Here the year is 2010 and has been for quite a while, so Thunderbolt has not been invented yet. :o)


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Michael Brown
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 3, 2015 at 12:53:58 pm

That's precisely the case, Roger. I purchased the 2-bay ICY BOX Raid enclosure and I'm waiting for the 2 WD disks to arrive, and I'll check the speeds and keep you posted. At any rate, rezzing down to Proxy 1280x720 really did the trick with only 1 disk! Very smooth working, and the picture so more than good enough for editing 6 or 7 angles, also in 25 fps which makes the big difference.

Michael Brown


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Roger Poole
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 3, 2015 at 4:02:27 pm

Good to know you are making headway Michael. I'm a big fan of WD black series drives. I have a 4 disk box containing 4 WD Blacks which lasted 5 years until one drive dropped out about six months ago. Now just sitting there as I should change all the disks, but they served me well. FYI Drives with fractional spin speeds such as 7210 don't RAID well.

keep us posted.


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Walter Soyka
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 2, 2015 at 3:28:40 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "FYI, while an SSD drive would have enough throughout, SSDs are not really great as media drives, as moving huge amounts if data in and off an SSD drive will fairly quickly ruin the drive's performance. SSDs are better suited for use as boot drives, because starting apps and storing document files does not move that data on and off the drive as is the case with media drives."

Check out the SSD Endurance Test [link]. While it's true that flash memory has a limited number of re-write cycles, that limit is much higher on good, modern SSDs than one might expect.

The Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB SSD in that test wrote 2.4 PB of data before failing. That's the equivalent of re-writing the entire drive nearly 10,000 times. If you re-write your entire drive once daily, it would take almost 27 years to fail like that. Even if that's a high one-off, manufacturers are commonly offering 10-year warranties on SSDs. Your computer may well be obsolete before your flash storage hits its write limit.

As long as you consider any drive, mechanical or solid-state, to be a consumable, and build a backup strategy accordingly, you'll be fine.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Roger Poole
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 2, 2015 at 4:01:22 pm

Hi Walter, whilst what you are saying is maybe correct, things are a little different with the Mac OS and SSD's. As far as I can understand, the Mac OS, particularly Yosemite, disables the trim function on third party SSD's and this leads to premature failure. Apple certified SSD's and fusion drives are ok but in Michael's situation where he might buy a "Lacie" external SSD for instance, he would have to be sure that it is Mac qualified. That may be a sticking point.


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Walter Soyka
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 2, 2015 at 4:07:11 pm

[Roger Poole] "As far as I can understand, the Mac OS, particularly Yosemite, disables the trim function on third party SSD's and this leads to premature failure."

You can enable trim on third-party SSDs with Yosemite 10.10.4 and higher:
http://www.macrumors.com/2015/07/01/os-x-trim-ssd/

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Roger Poole
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 2, 2015 at 7:10:37 pm

Interesting, thanks for the link. It sounds good in the main article but reading further down it seems things are not quite so simple. For now, I'll be using spinning disks for storage for the foreseeable future, they are big, reliable and cheap.


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Bobby Hall
Re: FCP 7 / Multitrack on Yosemite?
on Dec 2, 2015 at 11:20:51 pm

Thanks for the info Walter! I have a mid-2015 retina MacBook Pro with 512 GB of flash storage. Do you know how long that computer's hard drive can last in terms of moving large amounts of data on and off it?


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