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Performance issues, using RED footage

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Brian SarfattyPerformance issues, using RED footage
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 9:19:40 pm

So I am trying to edit Red 4K footage on a Mac laptop that is 3-4 years old. It is from January 2009, with the silver keys.

I can knock down the playback and pause resolution to 1/8th-1/16th, and can scrub through the timeline, source footage, and playback fine. Same as 1080/720 footage.

Here is where I get major performance headaches:
Anything that triggers entering a trim mode where the source or record monitors break down into the quad or split displays. Ex, using the slip/slide tools, doing a trim in the timeline. The little wheel spins for 5-10 seconds, sometimes the software crashes, sometimes it finally loads the split screen. The only way I've been able to do trims without pulling my hair out is to double click on the clip and drag the backets in the source, or use extend edits, both of which bypass the trim mode display.

I also get a major headache going in and out of the title tool, and moving text/typing text in the title tool with video behind it.

I am guessing all these methods bypass the resolution cutting features that cut down on the heft of the RED files.

None of the above issues occur with lower-res media.

SO what can I do? Is there some way to enhance the performance of these tools on an older machine? Is there a setting I need to change in the software? Should I be working off a solid-state drive? Or is it a processing thing, and if so, will I get workable trimming on a new MacBook Pro?

Have been considering running out the door to get a new laptop since I started this project, but before I drop 5K on the latest machine with all the bells and whistles, I want to make sure that will solve the problem, and there's not a simpler way.

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Brian SarfattyRe: Performance issues, using RED footage
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 10:17:56 pm

Update - manually entering trim mode using the "T" shortcut seems to work great. This version of the trim mode seems to figure out how to use the 1/16th res to keep up. As long as I do the dragging on those little monitors it's great. This is the new CS6 trim mode.

Where it falls apart is when I to use the Ripple Tool, Slip, and the other "toolbar tools" to perform a trim by dragging in the timeline, and those A/B or quad monitors come up temporarilly while dragging. The computer stalls like crazy, and those monitors don't come up until I release the cursor, and by then I've committed to an edit that I never got to see, then the ball spins and I cant' play for a few seconds.

It seems in this tool-based quick trim modes, the little monitors I think are trying to pull up the full 4K frame, because the image looks super sharp. Whereas the formal trim mode ("T") the a/b side images are more pixelly, so presume these feed the resolution cut-down preference.

Every now and then, though I still find myself dragging in the timeline like in FCP and the performance lag is driving me bonkers.

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Chris BorjisRe: Performance issues, using RED footage
by on Sep 17, 2012 at 11:35:34 pm

Your system is barely adequate for the task....that's the pain you have to deal with
unless you upgrade.

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Brian SarfattyRe: Performance issues, using RED footage
by on Sep 18, 2012 at 12:16:08 am

Do you think the latest version of MacBook Pro with maximum RAM is sufficient? Do I need a graphics extension card or is that not a

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Chris BorjisRe: Performance issues, using RED footage
by on Sep 18, 2012 at 12:24:25 am

The latest MacBook Pros (some have qualified OpenCL support) with 16gb or
more of ram should be way helpful. Moreso if you have a thunderbolt raid.

Lots of positive experiences written about on forums.

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Brian SarfattyRe: Performance issues, using RED footage
by on Sep 18, 2012 at 1:16:05 am

Ok. But what about the laptops? As a freelancer I need to be mobile.

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Tero AhlforsRe: Performance issues, using RED footage
by on Sep 18, 2012 at 4:58:53 am

I have a HP Elitebook and it's pretty nice. I can work with R3D easily on it too.

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Dennis RadekeRe: Performance issues, using RED footage
by on Sep 18, 2012 at 1:33:12 pm

Hi Brian,

I would say that any newer laptop will give you a big performance boost. I had a silver keys 17" MBP with 8GB and I could play RED at about 1/8 with a G-RAID Mini. Now I have a ATI MBP 17" (2011) and bumped the RAM to 16GB and put in a SSD drive. Big difference.

I can easily play 4k at 1/4 and that's 1000 lines of resolution or HD. As for how it will perform to your standards, that is really a personal decision/opinion. Maybe a friend has one you can try?

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Thomas PohlRe: Performance issues, using RED footage
by on Sep 18, 2012 at 3:30:56 pm

Is it really necessary for you to work the original R3D files? Check out your target format and:

1. If it`s not over 1080p
2. If you don´t need extensive color correction (i.e. with Resolve)
3. if you don`t need to flexibel with the scaling of your footage during the session
4. if it´s for TV, BlueRay or simular

you´ll render the stuff out from RedcineX in FotoJPG, Animation-Codec or what else and work with that. That should work on your Laptop. Working with the R3D-files needs a HP800, Mac 12Core,... to have fun with.

Thomas. - RED footage and more available in HD, SD and RED RAW R3D

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Brian SarfattyRe: Performance issues, using RED footage
by on Sep 19, 2012 at 4:05:52 pm

I am still floored that I am able to do what I can with raw RED files on a nearly four year old Mac Pro with 2.5 Ghz Core2 Duo and 4GB Ram . Working at 1/16th I can scroll smoothly through footage and find precisely the frame I want (I like to throw all my footage into a "work" timeline and scroll through it to find my shots for my edit timeline). The scrubbing I get is so much smoother than 1080 ProRes 422 HQ footage we used to transcode to and use in FCP7. Since I discovered the Premiere trim tool, I have been a lot less frustrated, and am just avoiding trimming in the timeline. The trim tool works great.

The pixely look is fine for timing, it just reminds me of the old days working on Meridian/AVBV Avid where you'd capture footage at a low resolution, except I don't need to do any re-capturing or re-linking to get the high res. I have no client over my shoulder, so for the type of work this is fine.

I find it odd, though, that the trim tool loads in the 1/16th res mode, and performs quickly, while the timeline trim tools try to full the full frame size and are so sluggish. I know this trim mode is something new to CS6, so perhaps they were implemented without the Mercury Playback or using some older technology. I searched the Prefferences for any way to modify the resolution used in these problem tools, and couldn't find anything. Anyone know of any way to control the resolution of these specific tools? Maybe they will improve their performance in a future update?

@Thomas, the whole reason I am using Premiere is to avoid transcoding. Our old workflow was to transcode the Red media and cut in FCP7, which delayed editing for a few days, and created issues trying to relink back and forth with Color (also also someone else had to do color as I could never figure it out). I was able to start editing this project WHILE they were still shooting it.

Re performance, last night I copied my media from a FW 800 portable drive to an eSata 7200 RPM drive. Not perfect, but a very noticeable improvement. I can now get the same performance at 1/8th that I was getting at 1/16th on the old drive. And the timeline trim tools are noticeably more responsive, though still a bit too sliuggish to be useful. However, this makes me wonder if the bottleneck is the system itself, or just the hard drive?

Do I need to RAID two Hard Drives and connect via eSATA? Or should I be looking at a SSD? Can you even get good performance from an eSata connection? I don't have thunderbolt, and Thunderbolt drives are still so expensive....

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