Another FCP question as it relates to Mac Pro decision

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by computerjunkie, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. computerjunkie macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2008
    So I have a few more questions as I get closer to deciding on a Mac Pro.

    From what I can read, it seems that FCP (in its current state) does not really take full full advantage of some of the things a MP offers. For example, it seems that FCP itself will not use more than 4 gigs of RAM. But some other things in the suite will...Color, Motion, and Compressor right? Those seem to be the ones that can really use something like all 8 cores, and gobs of RAM.

    But here are a few questions...

    I have seem people make mention of an "offine" editing machine, and talk about things like using a different (maybe more powerful) machine when rendering or encoding. How does that work? If someone were to use one maching to edit and say another to render and encode, how are the two linked? How does the encoding/rendering machine get access to the files/media/assets? My first reaction would be that its some type of network environment. And I am be no means familiar with all the various ways to network machines together, but I can't seem to get my head around how that would work.

    When doing FCP editing, one of the things that makes a MP so good (among other things too obviously) is fast internal drives. It seems you would lose that benefit when networking?

    Let me ask it this way...lets just say cost is not the main factor. Would 2 Mac Pros be any better than 1? Could they be used together in such a way as to get a real benefit? Could you use one for editing and one for the heavy duty rendering and encoding? Or could you use one for editing, and the other for heavy Motion or Color work? And if so, how would you get both machines access to the files/media/assets?

    Surely ethernet is not gonna do it? Are we taking fibre cards here or what? If I were to walk into a local video production Company and see 5 Mac Pros in use..."how" are they being used?

    Thanks for the help everyone...I know its the Mac Pro forum and not FCP, but here is where there seems to be a lot of "heavy hitters". Thanks again everyone.


  2. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Offline editing is where one copies and compresses media, edits, and then before the render replaces the compressed media with the new media for the best quality picture. Its not used so much today except in environments where getting data to the program is a problem - Its the reason why in the newer FCP there's a Proxy ProRes (IIRC) that was advertised to work well with a MBP on the road as a way to compress clips and increase the amount of data that could be pulled off the HDD for the program to use at any one point. That was the advertisement, dunno how well it works in RL.

    Render nodes/render farms. Basically the workstation sends the job out to a server or set of servers which churn out the render instead (or in tandem with) the workstation. I think this is why we like XGrid, right?

    Sorta. Unless your data stream requires less then 125 MB/s (or 250 MB/s with dual port-teaming), then you're fine. If not, then a network's the big holdup and one needs, maybe, 10 Gb/s ethernet which isn't cheap. IIRC, a speedy SATA drive could fill up a single ethernet cable - but with RAID the ethernet becomes a large bottleneck. One reason why I don't like iMacs...

    Well, you could network and swap files between machines if you really wanted to, but going between a quad core for editing to an eight core for other work really seems sisyphean in nature - not to mention if you had RAID volumes on both machines the amount of time to swap files around would be slightly impressive. Or you could have a RAID card in each machine and swap out an external RAID array going between machine to machine.

    Maybe frontends? Editors work on machines and if its a particularly large company they send out jobs to a rendering array so that the editors' machines aren't tied up between tasks. Or at least that's how I'd work it, but I could be very wrong. I'm not too much of an expert on networking machines for this sort of thing (yet).
  3. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    A better question is, do you really need that kind of horsepower? Few people set out to make a cluster unless they have their needs (time is money) very clearly in mind. You seem a bit new to this to really need more than 4 or 8 cores purely for compressing...what do you aim to do with a cluster? For most people it just shortens encoding time.

    The next version of Final Cut Pro will address the limitations and shortcomings we complain about regularly. We don't know when it will be released, though the traditional schedule is every two years.

    I really doubt you'll actually need more than one Mac Pro.
  4. tri3limited macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    Typical Post Production Workflow (Video Only)

    Ingest Footage at Low Res (10:1 or 15:1)
    Offline Edit the Show
    Project goes to Online and is Reconformed
    Motion Graphics and VFX
    Project goes for Grade and Reframing
    Project sent back to Tape, QCed (harding etc.)
    and sent out for broadcast.

    This is just an example but the footage is offlined basically to save on HDD space when there are loads of projects. Uncompressed HD and even ProRes takes up a lot of room. This also saves on render times.

    As for Color, it only uses the GPU, and Motion is pretty similar in that sense.

    When you walk in to a post house and see 5 Mac Pros, chances are they aren't in a cluster until online as it would be annoying for the other clients if their machine was being used by another client's project.

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