Market research spam / render speed
Sorry, forum folks -- we most definitely do NOT allow market research in the forums, because it is indeed often snake-oily. (Nice phrase!) Even when it's legit, it's close enough to commercial that we just don't allow it.
We do occasionally allow our partners to send market research emails, but ONLY to people who have opted in to receiving them. My apologies for letting that last one slip through.
That said, this was starting to get interesting. :-)
Todd, what's the story with your system? What is it, and why did you decide to do it?
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
[Tim Wilson] "Todd, what's the story with your system? What is it, and why did you decide to do it? "
Well Tim, firstly I'm an old film guy, not a computer guy by even the remotest stretch... so my vagueness isn't on purpose. It's merely ignorance.
A tiny bit of background...
16 years ago I started with one edit suite, running a DPS Perception machine (anyone besides Tim Kolb remember them?). It cost half as much as my first house and people would come in (even computer engineery types) and their jaws would literally drop as they marveled at its 15GB hard drive. Fifteen! GIGS! It edited with Premiere 4.0.
After that, we went through a couple of Canopus machines (loved Canopus, actually, until they got out of bed with Adobe and ditched Premiere for Edius). Then a couple of AJA machines. Then we finally had two Matrox AXIO LE machines. After years of hearing terrible things about Matrox we had decided to give them a try when AJA just didn't seem quite up to handling the switch to HD. Turns out we really loved Matrox.
So with our last renovation, we retired the AXIOs for two Matrox MX02 machines. I wanted to stay in the Matrox family since we had so many legacy projects that contained countless Matrox AVI files as assets. Again, not a computer guy, but we told our vendor (a local computer outfit) to basically build us the most badass boxes they could around the MX02's, loading them up with the fastest processors they could and with as much RAM as the machines will hold, and with solid-state OS drives. Each has a 6TB RAID for video, which I know isn't huge today... but we live in the 30-second world so frankly even that is way overkill. They are both Windows 7 machines.
We also wanted to stick with Matrox because there are tons of Matrox filters that all operate in realtime and don't require any rendering. I can throw on any Adobe or non-Matrox filter, of course, but sometimes those do result in having to render a little. It's never more than a few seconds usually... but zero is better than some. Most of our projects are fairly "clean" video without 50 layers of effects, so often times we're really only doing color grading as the main manipulation... and Matrox has four different color correction filters (from pretty simple to way-over-my-head-advanced) that all are renderless, so we usually use those. About the only thing we render around here is when Magic Bullet LOOKS is used (which I find really useful and use a lot), but even that is pretty fast. A 30-second clip with even a pretty heavy MB Looks filter on it would still render in well under a minute.
Compatibility was the chief reason we installed our last MX02 machine, which is upstairs in my chief editor Joey's suite. For the last 10 or 12 years or so we've always had three suites, but generally only two of them are in use at the same time (the third has usually been an older machine for archived projects). Never until now though have both suites been absolutely right-down-to-the-last-byte identical, because we've never replaced both at the same time... they just didn't need retiring at the same times, nor could we usually afford two at once. This time we did bite the bullet and do two at once though (well, about a month apart), so for the first time we can juggle projects back and forth totally seamlessly. We could always juggle them before, but there was invariably at least one or more hoops to jump though.
These machines both have the full CS6 suite (not on the cloud yet). We've had them for about six months... so I guess we'll get another six months or so out of them before people consider them dinosaurs. Sadly.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.