Distribute rendering over multiple CPUs?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Chasealicious, Jan 28, 2006.

  1. Chasealicious macrumors member


    May 6, 2005
    Fayetteville, AR
    Just wondering if there is any relatively simple way to connect two Macs (iMac G5 & PowerBook G4) and have them split up rendering duties to make the process run a little bit quicker.

    I'm guessing iMovie wouldn't support this, what about Final Cut? (Same goes for iDVD/DVD Studio)
  2. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    I recall reading something about network rendering with some version of FCP, but a search of "network render" on Apple.com only turns up info for Shake and some Pro stories.
  3. DrNeroCF macrumors 6502

    Sep 2, 2004
    xgrid? Can FCP use xgrid? I've always wondered about that... and why they wouldn't. I guess you're supposed to be able to do everything in realtime now.

    I can't wait until they get the video cards doing all the rendering, hella fast...
  4. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
    Apple's Qmaster software...it comes with FCP, Shake, and other pro software. It is used for distributing render tasks over a Mac OS X network. I've never gotten it to actually work, but i don't think adding my 12" pb will effect my render times enough to make up for the effort. If anyone knows how to do it and it is simple, then I would be down to hear it...:D
  5. pdpfilms macrumors 68020


    Jun 29, 2004
    Ditto. Not sure if adding a 1.67 pb to a dual 2 G5 would make a noticable difference, but it would be interesting to try...
  6. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    Don't know about iMove or FCP, but I do distributed rendering using Cinema4D between several machines at home, including previously to my roommate's PC (she has an iBook now :) ). I use my old 400 MHz G4 PowerMac as the render server and frame wrangler, and it can even distribute rendering over the internet. You can also apparently distribute After Effects rendering, though I've never tried it.
  7. Espnetboy3 macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2003
    I wish someone could clear all this up. I had posted about setting up a small render farm before but people said xgrid or xraid serve something. I suppose it was a myth that if you use ethernet cables to link ur computers that would work.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes you can do this but I don't think you can with Apple software. If you weant to make use of t a "render farm" I think you either have to move up to the more expensive suites or use a free one like Cinelerra.

    You can do it is a crude way manually. You just start a task that will take a long time on one computer and walk away and work on a second computer. But I'm sure youwere asking about _automatically_ splitting a task.
  9. asuidrok macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2005
    Currently Not Supported

    This is the third or forth time someone has asked this question, and like you guys are saying, people keep throwing out "xgrid" but no one really gives a solid answer.

    Well the answer is NO, you cannot currently network render in iMovie or Final Cut, as neither one are a multi-thread application. That is strait out of a Sr. Systems Engineer from Apple Enterprises mouth.

    What I find funny is that people keep claiming they have done it or have seen it done when its not possible. Xgrid only works with multi-thread applications. Yes, you can network render in other pro apps like Compressor, but not Final Cut.

    I hope that helps...Maybe it is something we'll seen in the next version...
  10. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    DVD Studio Pro 4 offers distributed encoding.

    I'd bet a few bucks that this will be added to FCP 6. I'm starting to believe that rumor of a huge upgrade in FCP 6. Apple had to go in and tweak a bunch of stuff to get the Pro apps to run on Intel so they probably did other major new features like this...

    Or they took the conservative approach and just ported over what is already there ;)

    I'm thinking we may see this distributed encoding or Xgrid type stuff in consumer apps by iLife '08.
  11. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    You'd figure that FCP, of all apps, would be multithreaded...
  12. srogers1 macrumors newbie

    Oct 3, 2007
    Did anyone ever figure this out?

    Did anyone ever figure this out? Boy, it sure would be nice to distribute that render across the machines in the house. Maybe it's too data intensive to be practical . . .
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    The answer is still no. Maybe it will come in FCP 8. ;)

  14. AnalyzeThis macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2007
    Yes, you can do it, but No thanks!

    FCP does not do anything with Video conversion - it is uses AIC for editing. You will need to export your movie to self contained quicktime movie (.MOV) and then use it as a source for a "Compressor" (part of FCP or Logic Studio). "Compressor" could use a QMaster (comes with QMaster node installer) you can use to distribute encoding jobs. Although QMaster has a node installer - it would not deliver Compressor to the macs without FCP. So it is easier just install FCP or Compressor on every node you want to use for encoding.

    I managed to arrange a distributed H264 and AC-3 encoding with "Compressor" a few years ago. Apple has a guide on "how to". Just to give you something to estimate - it took about 20hours for 2 iMacs and MacBookPro to render 720p60 ~12Mbs (you have to use 60fps as some older compressor versions will not double rate implicitly when 30fps specifiedi in video profile) 20mins movie (1440 AIC). The key for success it to create a drive mapping compatible for every node. Keeping the source on the Network share (another Mac, PC or NAS) will let you set up the rendering job correctly (so all macs will reference the source file correctly). Before you start it, make sure you mount network drive on all nodes (macs). "Compressor" will split source video into 4 chunks and set every node to process chunks simultaneously. Set Job to "Do not copy source" mode as encoding is very slow and network share will handle I/O sufficiently. There is also some guide published, just keep "Googling" and include "Compressor" in the search. Because it is too slow I never did any HD encoding, untill i7 came alone. Maybe latest "Compressor" is better, otherwise it was a complete drag. 1080P was not even feasible. Quality was questionable too.

    With new Windows 7 64-bit i7 rig (overcloked to 3.4GHz) - I could encode this video with 2xtimes better quality (6Mbs) with MeGUI/x264 in about 5 minutes. With the best quality ~ 30mins:cool:. At the rate of 12Mbs MeGUI/x264 will get you stunning HD quality videos. One thing for sure, Windows 7 has some real beef when it comes to HD H264 or VC-1 decoding right out of the box. Hard to believe it, but it is true. No 3rd party codecs could even compare to efficiency of the built-in ones.

    Note: I always use 2-pass encoding and 1Gb network.

    Good luck...

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