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Making the mostof my Workstation.

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Joshua KlinkenbergerMaking the mostof my Workstation.
by on Oct 14, 2009 at 8:11:00 pm

Ok so I read through the FAQ section and I couldn’t really find anything specific to my questions. I just built a fairly fast PC for running the Adobe Production Suite. I heavily use the Dynamic Link and After Effects is the program I primarily work in. Here is what I’ve got inside the computer:

Dual Xeon E5530s – 8 total cores (16 Threads/Theoretical Cores)
24GB of DDR3 1333 Memory (PC3 10600)
nVidia Quadro CX (1.5GB/384bit)
OS Drive – 160GB 7,500RPM
Media Drives – 300GB 10,000RPM RAID
OS – Vista 64 Ult.

I mainly use after effects but also do 1080p video editing in premiere.
So here are my questions:
What settings should I use for After Effects?
Should I use Multiprocessing or Open GL (It’s one or the other right?)
If Multiprocessing- What should I set my ‘Allocation per CPU’ to? (.5/1/2/2.8)
Should I get some 15,000K Drives?
Should I get another Quadro CX for SLI?
Should I get a different type of video card like the Matrox RT.X2 or something?
What’s the difference between the Matrox and the Quadro? One is more for AE and the other Premiere?
Should I get any specific Plug-Ins for any of the Adobe Programs? Background rendering isn’t a huge benefit to me, just faster rendering, exporting, and editing.



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Dave LaRondeRe: Making the mostof my Workstation.
by on Oct 14, 2009 at 9:18:03 pm

A few things come to mind immediately:
  • Glad to see a Windows box with a fair amount of memory in it -- good for you.
  • How come you're so light on storage? Only 460GB total!
  • If you're serious about editing in HD, you'll need to get a RAID to get the bitrate you need to view HD video in real time. A few TB would be good.
  • Multiprocessing in AE is good for you since you have both the cores AND the memory. I'd say allocate about 2GB/core.
  • Never, EVER use Open GL when rendering. For preview? Okay. Even the guys at Adobe have Open GL turned off for rendering. This should give you a clue.

And there's one thing that's NOT on your list: the type of video you're shooting. Don't confuse that crappy HDV junk for real HD Video. It's particularly toxic to AE. Read on:

Dave's Stock Answer #1:

If the footage you imported into AE is any kind of the following -- footage in an HDV acquisition codec, MPEG1, MPEG2, mp4, m2t, H.261 or H.264 -- you need to convert it to a different codec.

These kinds of footage use temporal, or interframe compression. They have keyframes at regular intervals, containing complete frame information. However, the frames in between do NOT have complete information. Interframe codecs toss out duplicated information.

In order to maintain peak rendering efficiency, AE needs complete information for each and every frame. But because these kinds of footage contain only partial information, AE freaks out, resulting in a wide variety of problems.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Joshua KlinkenbergerRe: Making the mostof my Workstation.
by on Oct 15, 2009 at 2:24:29 pm

Excellent! Thanks so much Dave.

I’ll see if I can get a small dedicated server with some fast drives. I know HD footage requires lots of space, but most things I work on are 30-60 seconds long. What kind of RAID would I want it configured in? As for the footage; I mainly use (in Premiere) exports from 3D programs and Dynamic links from After Effects. I don’t often use video footage in After Effects, but when I do, what would you say is a good codec to work/edit with? (1080p)

Speaking of what codec to work with, I’m actually having trouble with finding a good 1080p codec to use with Premiere. I’ve tried NUMOUROS combinations of codec with different sequence settings and I’ve found that only the H.264, H.265, and MPEG 2 compressions seem to work well in Premier under most sequence setting modes. I would have thought uncompressed AVI’s would be best.

Here’s the results from a test I did, the circles mean the footage imported and had no yellow or red lines and played back smoothly. The test was with 720p footage and settings.

Ok So Don’t use Open GL. Got it!

Do you know much about the video-card thing? I’m under the impression that the Quadro cards are for effects rendering, 3D work, and that sort of thing; computing power. The Matrox card I would assume is made more for high transfer of video data to allow HD footage to be worked with easily and quickly. Does this sound right? Do most computers have one or the other? Since most computers are more specific to their tasks (ie. AE graphics machine, Editing Workstions (premiere/Avid/FCP), Render Farms, etc.)

Also – I just got Elemental Accelerator to play around with. Are there lots of plug-ins like this build for rendering?

Thanks again Dave. Good Information, I appreciate the help a lot!


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Dave LaRondeRe: Making the mostof my Workstation.
by on Oct 15, 2009 at 4:31:14 pm

Now that you're getting down to nuts & bolts, you'd better hope a Windows person comes along. Even though I have a windows box at home, I'm a Mac guy at heart.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Adam ShamoonAE and Cineform Codec
by on Oct 25, 2009 at 2:48:39 am

Hi Dave,

You helped me out a while ago on a project that I was working on, and I remember this your stock answer regarding problem codecs and AE. Very helpful -- thanks.

I am starting on another project and will be capturing my HDV footage with Cineform's NeoScene. The original footage is M2T, but NeoScene will convert this to the Cineform codec with an AVI wrapper in real time during capture. I do plan on using AE CS3 for this project, so just wanted to make sure that this codec wouldn't pose problems like the ones you mention in your stock answer.

Adam Shamoon

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