2011 Mac Mini Server w/ RED RAW Footage

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by qCzar, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. qCzar macrumors regular

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    #1
    I'll have the opportunity to shoot with a RED ONE MX this summer and from the looks of it may be doing all the editing on my 2011 Mini Server, if we use Final Cut Pro and Compressor I may be able to put together a weak distributed cluster for rendering using my laptop and my friends laptop - sadly we both have MacBooks (not MBP's). But that's another issue, since we haven't quite thought about post production yet as we still need to shoot the film.

    Has anyone here edited RED RAW (R3D) on recent a Mac (2010, 2011)? We'll likely be shooting at 4.5k so the file sizes will be huge. I upgraded the RAM to 8GB's upon delivery of the Mini and have dual 750GB HDD's. What are we looking at in terms of rendering time for a 30 minute 4k output video? If we use my Mini we'll likely perform an offline edit then link to the high-res for final rendering.

    We'll also render it in lower resolutions, but 4k is the largest we'll output. Just to get the two extremes, if we render it in 1080p, what would our estimated render time be?
     
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #2
    You have a very long, and potentially very frustrating, road ahead of you. First off, FCP classic can't handle 4k footage (and FCP X still can't handle RED I don't think). Second, it won't take much shooting before you start measuring your storage in TBs. Third, render, export and transcode times on those machines is going to be painful. I haven't worked with much RED footage, but on an 2.9 ghz 8-core w/12gigs of RAM it was taking seconds per frame to convert from R3D into ProRes. I don't remember the exact numbers as it was a year or so ago but it was painfully slow.

    Remember to keep patient and you'll be fine. ;)


    Lethal
     
  3. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

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  4. BeamWalker macrumors 6502

    BeamWalker

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    #4
    You can actually test this ahead of time. Just download some R3D sample files - from here for example. Red Cine X is a free download from the Red website.

    I don't have high hopes for you though. Even simple Playback will be a hassle without encoding it to a 2K or 1080 file first.
     
  5. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Good idea for the link.

    Testing on my Mac Pro hex 3,33 GHz and an SSD shows that I can't playback above 1/4 resolution, and would probably have to drop down to 1/8 or 1/16 for editing. Transcoding to ProRes 422 HQ ran at about 12:1 (1 minute encoding for a 5 second clip), so it will be pretty painful on a Mini depending on the quantity of rushes.

    Maybe the OP should look into renting a Mac Pro for transcoding ? A RED Rocket card may help as well.
     
  6. qCzar thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
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    Thanks guys! I have tossed the idea of renting a Mac Pro on the table, but we'll see if we can raise enough to do that.

    I'll visit that link BeamWalker provided when I get the chance. Regarding FCP and RED/4k, I'll pass that on.
     
  7. cgbier macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Question: I'm sure shooting with a Red is kinda a wet dream, but what are you actually producing? Does it really have to be 4k?
     
  8. qCzar thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    He's a movie buff and I'm a tech buff. So, he wanted to shoot at 4k to future proof the film and I was fine with that because that way my 4k TV one day will have a film to play!

    Also, other reasons that are more important than 4k, as 4k was just an added bonus. The entire film is pretty much at night, so the Mysterium-X sensor will provide great light sensitivity. We may have to bump the ISO to 2000 still, though. RAW was another factor. There are great HD Cams out there - and I haven't done any research, the director has been doing that - but I don't think any professional HD-Cams provide a RAW format. I've shot on film cams, but the MX sensor covers more stops of light than film (not to mention we'd have to process all that film as well!). The MX has 13.5 stops, where has 35mm film has about 10 stops.
     
  9. cgbier macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    With all geekiness, keep in mind that a camera is only a part of the whole infrastructure. You either adapt the camera to the computer, or the other way around (meaning: Look for a computer that can handle your footage).

    It doesn't shoot 4k, and has some other perceived (?) shortcomings, but have a look at the Canon C300 (keep in mind, though, that I'm an ENG kind of guy, not really a "filmmaker", so add a grain of salt).
     
  10. qCzar thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Indeed. We're definitely looking at other computers as we're dead-set on using RED, this topic is more of a worst case scenario and is likely to change. We may use Avid or Adobe Premier. Whatever is practical at the end of the shoot, we'll do. Right now we're looking at FCP and (worse case scenario) my Mac Mini.
     
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #11
    It's getting late in my end so pardon my brevity.

    The Alexa can shoot in the ARRI RAW format.

    10 stops for film seems low to me. Kodak 5219 35mm film has been measured at 14.5 stops. Alexa and the Sony F3 w/the S-Log upgrade both have measured better dynamic range than the RED MX. I'd take a serious look at the C300 as it's low light is supposed to be excellent and it has a significantly lower operating and workflow cost. But, honestly, camera technology being what it is today there really isn't a bad choice once you get into the 5 figure range. Some cameras are better at X some are better at Y and it comes down to does your shooting require more X or more Y and that's the camera you should go with.

    Unless what you are shooting can be sold later as stock footage there's really no point to try and 'future proof' your film like that, IMO. Maybe shoot 4k, so you have it someday if you actually need it, but go down to 2k or 1080p for editing and finishing. Being 'only' 1080p didn't seem to hinder "Avatar" much. ;)

    As of now Premiere on a Mac Pro w/a CUDA-compatible GPU and a fat eSATA or Thundberbolt RAID is going to integrate the best w/R3D files. If you can get a RED Rocket card ($5k-ish I think) all the better.

    Finally, post production is part of pre-produciton. Do tests now and figure out what things work and what things don't. Waiting until you shot most/all of your footage before

    It's like planning to drive from NY to LA. Do you just leave NY and hope that you eventually end up in LA? Of course not. Before you even get into the car you pull out a map, look at where NY is, look at where LA is then look at all the millions of roadways in between and plot your specific course (yes, I realize that Google maps and GPS make this analogy a bit antiqued but just humor me).

    Final finally, you are a tech buff, he's a movie buff... is anyone involved a filmmaker? A DP? An Editor? A DIT? I ask because shooting RED and sticking w/the R3D's is, and I'm not exaggerating here, the most PITA and the most error-prone of any modern workflow and it would really make you guys less likely to go postal if there were people involved that had an intimate knowledge of post and production. All the flexibility that sticking w/R3D can give you is also a whole lot of rope to hang yourself with. I'm not saying it can't be done, but when a number of pros that do this type of thing day in and day out still get frustrated by it...

    Final final finally, don't forget to triple your storage needs. 1 copy of footage to cut with, 1 copy of footage says at the director's house, 1 copy of the footage stays at the editor's house. Or something like that. Basically, if someone's house burns to the ground you don't want your only copy of the footage to go with it. And in the unfortunate event that does happen you don't want to be left with just a single copy of all your footage (which of course would have to get backed-up immediately).

    Final final final finally, shooting a movie so it looks dark does not entail actually shooting the movie in the dark. It's all about relative lighting differences. Cameras need to be able to 'see' what's in the shadows otherwise it turns to noise and instead of a nice smooth, black shadow you get a shadow that's full of ugly, crunchy artifacts.

    I mention this because I see it all the time (even from people that have so much experience I'd think they'd know better). Your image out of the camera should look flat (the highlights shouldn't be over exposed and the shadows shouldn't be under exposed) and when you do your grade is when you'll play with your levels to get the image to look beautiful.

    If you watch the behind-the-scenes of movies that shoot a lot at night you'll get an idea of just how much light is actually used during production.

    Yeesh, if this is me being brief I hope I never start to ramble... ;)


    Lethal

    P.S. If I sound negative it's not because I'm trying to dissuade anyone. I'm just trying to keep people from making the same mistakes, or similar mistakes, that I've made.
     
  12. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

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    #12
    I had to edit a movie shot with no light. It looked horrible, full of noise. Can't agree more to shoot with enough light and grade it darker.
     
  13. fox10078 macrumors 6502

    fox10078

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    For what it's worth it RED is a beast to deal with, I assume you're renting, it would prob be cheaper to get a gennie and some lights than to be so dead set on RED.

    At least for me I wouldn't rent all the stuff for a RED unless I had a feature length film that I was trying to sell I mean for everything else it's overkill.
     
  14. mBox macrumors 68020

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    #14
    You can visit the reduser.net site and see how everyone else deals with this.
    For me its been easy only because we go from REDMX > Avid AMA > DNxHD220 most of the time.
    Ive only round tripped to Resolve (Color) a few times but mostly to learn Resolve.
    RED's software can do first light easily and times we just leave as is.
    I guess if we had to stay on 4K it would be a different story.
    The above workflow is done on Mac Pro first then edited mostly on a MacBook Pro 2010.
    To add Ive done 4K ProRes4444 (REDCineX export) editing on both Mac Pro MacBook Pro using FCPX. It can do it (if you have really had to) but you would have to rely on low res playback. Our RED Rocket cards dont work with FCPX yet.
    I say good luck to the op.
    If you read the topics on reduser, you will find your not the first to go into this type of adventure ;)
     
  15. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #15
    Transcoding at the start certainly does cut down the complexity of the workflow. Sometimes I feel like working w/RED is the post/production equivalent of working with Linux. There is a lot of upside to it but it does require more effort and 'elbow grease' to to keep things running smoothly. It can be very different from the, basically, 'plug and play' workflows you get with pretty much every other camera.


    Lethal
     
  16. mBox macrumors 68020

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    #16
    We got our RED MX thinking the worse. However its been decent to good. Again, we mostly go straight to HD. We took advantage of replacing a Sony XDCAM (just a dead pixel so we still have a few of them collecting dust) with a RED MX. We dont mind the work around since the quality blows XDCAM away :)
     
  17. qCzar thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    I can only imagine they didn't shoot with the proper settings or equipment. As far the lenses go, we're renting an aperture 2.8 and 1.3 lenses. I'm not sure if you've seen a test of the MX sensor, if not here's a video for you shot with a T 1.3 at ISO2000. So shooting at night with minimal light shouldn't be much of an issue then.


    That's good to know. As for as editing is concerned on our part, we believe we won't have to do anything with the exposure since we're going to try and nail-it on camera. With that out of the way, all that's left is color grading and cutting the film together. Aside from the color-grading, the cutting can take-place with .mov files.

    I think our workflow will be working with the RAW files in the start, get a consistent color across all the clips and save those in .mov or some format for final editing. We'll likely use those clips to export proofs, then link to the RAW + XML files for final export to ensure top quality. If I'm not mistaken, that's more or less an offline edit.
     
  18. fox10078 macrumors 6502

    fox10078

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    #18
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    Do you plan on using any lights at all? Or just relying on moonlight?
     
  19. WRP macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Not sure if this has been mentioned since I am late to the party but... For the editing, rent a red rocket to quickly ingest your clips and transcode to prores proxy. Edit that way and link back to the red files on final timeline. I was able to easily edit 16 streams live simultaneously of red footage transcoded to proxy on a 2.8 4-core mac pro with 16GB.
     
  20. qCzar thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    I've been thinking about the RED Rocket but my Mini wouldn't be compatible unless I can enclose the Rocket into a ThunderBolt enclosure. If we end up editing with Avid or Adobe, we may use a Windows computer for the numerous customizability configurations. If we do use Windows - or rent a Mac Pro - renting the rocket would be a matter of how much funding we can muster.

    The only Rocket I can find is 225 a day, by searching "Rent Red Rocket." We don't have any real timeline for the editing process yet, but we're giving ourselves about two months with on & off editing.
     
  21. WRP macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    My bad, I meant a Mobile Rocket. You have to know someone with a MBP and external drives right? Transcode it all in the field!
     
  22. mBox macrumors 68020

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    #22
    We almost purchased one last year but withe Thunderbolt out, Im glad we didnt.
     
  23. qCzar thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    Agreed. I've been watching the Thunderbolt scene for a short while now. I remember that Thunderbolt PCI card thing that MR posted about a while ago.

    It appears I mis-read the page I linked too. The RED Rocket comes with a Mac Pro tower. Not a bad deal, perhaps they do monthly pricing at the cost of a week (which seemed to be standard when looking at cameras, we got our ONE MX for the cost of a weekend/three days.)

    I do know folks with MBP's and I do have external hard drives. I've never heard of the Mobile Rocket before, I'll look into it.
     
  24. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #24
    I agree. They probably either underexposed the shot because they wanted it to look moody or they under-light the shot because they wanted it to look moody. Which goes to my point of shooting flat (thus preserving information in the shadows and the highlights) to give you the most information to work with when it goes into post. Exposing to the right is popular for a reason and even Jim Jannard specifically recommends it.

    I remember that when it first came out and it's still impressive. But it's also a very carefully constructed shot. The light in the stairwell and behind the door provide a motivated back light to define Leo and separate him from the darkness. Put Leo's back towards an unlit wall in that rom and it's a much different shot.

    The YouTube link doesn't do it justice. There is a higher res version at RedUser.


    Honestly, you'd probably have better luck getting answers, and being made aware of potential pitfalls, by posting over at RedUser.net in theri workflows sub-forum.


    Lethal
     
  25. fox10078 macrumors 6502

    fox10078

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    #25
    This, video with only a key is very flat.

    http://www.red.com/learn/workflow

    Try this if you havent already looked on here.
     

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