Help needed to accessorize nMPro for video editing

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by treehorn, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. treehorn macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    I have an 8 core nMpro on order, which won't be coming until Feb/Mar (unless I'm lucky) so have time to get things sorted out as to what I can 'repurpose' from my current set up and what needs to be replaced.

    I currently have a 2008 MacPro, on which I do video editing primarily with FCP7 but am in the process of fully switching over to Premiere Pro CC (plan on not installing FCP suite on the new computer but keep the old one in the closet 'just in case' I need to access an old project file)

    Currently my set up is:

    Monitor - 30" HP LP3065
    Speakers - KRK Rokit 5
    Audio Interface - Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

    Internal Harddrives:
    System: 750GB SAMSUNG HD753LJ
    ITunes library: 2 TB WDC WD20EARS
    Media Scratch: 2 TB Hitachi HDS723020BLA642
    Project Archive: 2 TB WDC WD20EARS

    Plus a dozen various external hard drives and an LG Bluray/DVD burner

    Current workflow is to film on SDHC cards, copy them to an external drive, import from copy into FCP as ProRes (as this computer is too underpowered to edit from card).

    Plan on ordering a PROMISE Pegasus2 R4 Diskless 4Bay Thunderbolt 2 RAID System to at least access the current internal drives, swapping them for 4TB drives in the process.

    Would love suggestions on optimal workflow, whether I can (and should) use my current monitor until Apple gets their butt in gear and releases an upgraded display (as I don't edit in 4K it seems at this point pointless to get a 4K display - correct me if I'm wrong and there would be a benefit), and if there's a better audio interface (I had a firewire ProSonus that literally blew up in flames a few months back and figured this was a good stopgap as it's USB and could be switched over…hate that it gives loud "POPS" when you power up/down the computer if you forget to turn the speakers off before hand).

  2. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    First off, you never want to edit straight from the cards. Your computer isn't the problem there. It's the read/write speed of the cards that is the bottleneck. So you're going to want to continue offloading your footage before editing.

    As for audio interface, what purpose does it serve for you? It's hard to gauge if the device you have is suitable or not without knowing what your workflow is.

    As for 4k monitors, you probably don't need them yet but they do serve a purpose other than displaying 4k video content. Just like any other increase in resolution you get more screen real estate. That could impact your workflow. Besides. How often are you editing footage full screen anyway. That's usually much better suited for a stand alone reference monitor.
  3. calaverasgrande, Jan 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
  4. treehorn, Jan 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014

    treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    No, the bottleneck is that my current computer can't process from the 'cards' after I've copied them to a hard drive, be it internal or external, without severe stuttering or slowdown. As I mentioned, I copy the cards to another drive and work from that.

    The speakers' input is via Unbalanced 7kΩ RCA or Balanced 10kΩ ¼" TRS and XLR thus I need an interface to hook them up to the computer. As I mentioned, used to be Firewire until that device blew up. Now it's USB.

    is the device (which seems similar to the Big Knob…or rather a stripped-down Big Knob focusing only on what I really need - volume and outputting signal to the speakers)

    But it's really a false increase in real estate in that looking at something 'full size' (say 1080 footage) will be smaller (similar now to watching SD footage on an HD monitor) isn't it? So unless one is actively working in 4K (or at least in some format larger than 1080), one really wouldn't see a benefit?

    What would be a good thunderbolt reference display that's available now - or is it better to wait and see what Apple does and soldier on with my current monitor until something else comes down the pike (I'm guessing those much-ballyhooed Dell 4K displays aren't going to be the best things for reference given their extremely low price point :)
  5. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    My bad. I misinterpreted what you meant by "editing off the cards." For what it's worth, there's still good debate on whether you should be editing that footage natively even if your computer can handle it. I'm assuming you're shooting with something like a DSLR that gives you h264 files. Despite what anyone says, h264 (or any highly compressed format for that matter) were never intended to be editing formats. So even as NLEs have adapted and computer hardware can handle it, you're still better off transcoding all of your footage before the edit (or I believe FCPX can do this conversion in the background while you work). This will be especially beneficial on larger scale projects with many effects and concurrent video streams.

    Yeah, you really don't need anything complicated here if you're really only using it for connection for your monitors and volume control. However, even though you might not use it now, I always think it's a good idea to have some sort of audio I/O for unforeseen circumstances. Anything that will allow you to plug in an XLR or 1/4" (with phantom power).

    Also, the loud pops are a somewhat common occurrence with some of these audio interfaces. I imagine it's something to do with OSX dealing with the external I/O and core audio.

    When I'm referring to screen real estate here, I'm suggesting that there will be more room for the software's windows/elements/tools. You could arrange it so that you see more of your timeline. Or you'll now have room to throw a vectorscope or waveform monitor up on screen for reference. Stuff like that. Essentially, more options to customize your workspace.

    You're right about the video resolution part. But as I mentioned before, while simply editing, how often are you working with full screen video? Most editors are predominantly working with the scaled down "record" and "playback" monitor windows (I know this is a little different in FCPX) and really only use full screen video for looking at detail or playback on a 3rd reference monitor.

    As for Thunderbolt reference displays, I don't know of any. I'm not sure what kind of work you do, but if any of it is intended for broadcast, then I would highly suggest a broadcast reference display if the budget will allow. Those things can get expensive. I also wouldn't really depend on Apple for displays. I think you can always find better and/or cheaper with other brands. Unless you're dead set on making all of your components match, but that's never been a concern of mine.
  6. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    No worries, HandsomePete - sorry I wasn't more clear in my initial post/query. While I wouldn't be planning on doing any multi-camera/2+ hour in length projects going directly off the card image, the fact that Premiere Pro can (supposedly) handle it well means it's something I'm leaning towards doing for extracting short interview clips, etc.

    I film on Panasonic AG-AC130s, btw. Footage is used for a combination of broadcast, web usage and various archival formats (bluray, Quicktime, and yes even DVD sadly…).

    As for monitors…yes, that's my big head spinning 'dilemma' right now…is it best to use what I got and see what comes down the pike shortly (and thus spread out the outlying $$$ expediters) especially in the 4K realm (even though I won't be editing anything 4K in the foreseeable future), or get something now (which doesn't have to match anything - as much as i love the aesthetics of the nMPro, it's a tool :)

    Trying to research online just ends up with a morass of contradictory information/opinion.
  7. khamaj macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2014
    I think a Thunderbolt 2 RAID is essential.

    If you really don't foresee doing 4K editing any time soon, I'd go with an Apple Thunderbolt display for UI. With the $2500 you'll save by not getting the Sharp 32" 4K, get a Flanders Scientific color-calibrated monitor (the 17" CM171 is $2500) for grading, color correction, and HD monitoring. With a Blackmagic Ultrastudio Mini Monitor ($145) and a BNC cable, you can connect the Flanders to the nMP via Thunderbolt-to-6G SDI and get true 10 bit color.

    The Sharp is remarkable -- you can get a full HD playback window in Premiere or FCP right in the UI -- but I find the resolution of the Apple monitor to be more comfortable for daily use.
  8. treehorn, Jan 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014

    treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    Hmmm…that's a thought. I hate the idea of buying an Apple monitor until they upgrade though, but the set up you propose has merits I hadn't considered. Unless you think the Sharp is a good all-in-one alternative for grading, color correction, et al

    In reading other threads here was looking into the NEC PA 27 or 30" route which would save $1,000-1,500 vs the Sharp as they seem to have better color (at least in reviews) than the current Apple monitors, or sticking with my HP LP3065 until the dust settles on prices or Apple upgrades theirs as things seem in major flux right now.

    Until broadcast/cable goes the 4K route, it's not going to be something I edit/film (unless, of course, all the competitors proactively go that route…but as the majority of footage gets distributed as compressed HD as it is…)

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