Mac Pro for Video Editting

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MaveZX, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. MaveZX macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    #1
    I am looking to buy my first mac pro finally. I am primarily a video editor running Final Cut Studio, Avid Express Pro, Nuendo, Logic Studio, Shake, Photoshop, After Effects, and some various other programs. I do a lot of still photography as well but not my main concern. I do like to play video games and what not when my time allows it but this machine is primarily for work . I am wondering what is the best set up to go with. I am one who usually in the past buys the best of the best, but we all know with the Mac Pro that can be a ridiculous amount of money. I am willing to spend the money on the system to make sure that it is going to be everything I need and last a long time.

    I know I defiantly want an 8 core machine but wondering if spending the extra money for the faster procs is really worth it when rendering out video and shake flows. Was originally thinking 4GB of Ram, but wondering if I Should go 8GB instead or more. The Hard Drives have me in a bit of situation with video taking up so much space obviously the more capacity I have the better but I am curious about 300GB 15,000rpm SAS drives. The Raid card sounds potentially interesting but wonder if it is just overkill. I like that fact that it may offer a decent back up protection if anything fails while under the gun trying to meet a deadline and that it may also slightly improve performance. The Graphics card I am pretty much set on the 8800GT so no worries there. The last thing is the cinema displays originally I was going to get two 23inch displays but now I am debating if I should hold out till they are updated or go with one 30inch display instead. Two displays is kind of nicer when you have clients over to view stuff and it would be a shame to run my nice new machine on my smaller 19inch Samsung I have now.

    I apologize for the long post but your input is greatly appreciated. I can’t really provide more details about the video work as it changes all the time on a per project basis. I myself shoot with the Panasonic HVX200 on P2 Cards and a Firestore.
     
  2. LostSunrise macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #2
    Hi, I work with more or less the same set of applications and am in the same freakin dilemas. I however due to budget didn't bother considering the higher end processors. I just got the stock 2.8 octocore.

    I'm definitely waiting on the display update I bought a samsung 245BW 24 inch display for about 400 too keep me happy until then and due to budget will keep that as my second monitor. Most of my work keeps my primary image(s) on one screen and my tools bins and parameters on an other. Therefore I only need one really great monitor for my color work. So I'll probably wait a bit and see if they update them before buying an apple display. I would go with 2 displays over one big one. I think it provides a sense of organization. I get lost in tool layouts on 30 inch displays.

    I think you can get away with a software raid for your capture drive I wouldn't bother with the raid card unless you're going beyond the HVX. I've only worked with the 720p footage from the HVX and it played back fine from a standard sata drive.

    Shake rendering loves RAM, I ordered the 2x2gb OWC ram which will bring me to 6gb of RAM. I can always add to that since there is no savings buying 4gb at once and I have no intention of splurging for the 4gb dimms. I've read that the mac pro function better with more dimms installed than fewer higher density chips.
     
  3. echoout macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #3
    The post houses I've dealt with all use dual 23s (NECs) and they can afford whatever they want. Also, for the sake of After Effects, the more RAM and faster processors the better. I'm doing the 3.0s with 16 gigs.

    -s

     
  4. absolution macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    #4
    Hey,

    I'm in this same camp. I'm an Avid editor who is looking to have my new Mac Pro be my home system. I want to install FCP - which I need to learn - and Avid Media Composer Software Only so I can bring work home with me. On the various points you brought up:

    PROCESSOR: I always heard that the speed boost you get in processor upgrades really don't justify the cost. I've always heard go with a modest processor and install more RAM. I've chosen to go with the 2.8GHz 8-core for my new Mac Pro. Also, I'm not even sure if Avid will make use of all those cores. I'm curious to see what the new Leopard version of Media Composer will have for multi-core support. In all reality a Quad-core would be fine, but we're aiming for the future here, aren't we?

    RAM: At work I'm on Avid Adrenaline 2.7.5 and we run with 3GB of RAM in our machines. We're cutting DNxHD36 media. I just asked the guys who supply our Avids to install more RAM since I've been hitting a memory ceiling as of late - the machine tops out around 50% memory, says it's out and quits to Finder. I'm planning on installing 6GB of RAM in my home Mac Pro. I've also read that for FCP - which I'm going to be a total newbie to - that 6GB will be fine for cutting compressed HD, HDV, etc. If you're running apps like Shake - which I know nothing about - and that eats up RAM, then going with 8GB sounds like a good idea. I can just speak from an Avid POV that you probably won't need that much.

    STORAGE: This one I'm a little at a loss for. I'd be interested to hear the technical reasoning for going with one type of storage over another based on the kind of work to be done.

    DISPLAYS: At work I have two 24" 16x10 Samsung LCDs. They are great. The extra space really comes in handy. On top of that I have full-screen video pumped out of the Adrenaline box to another 24" multi-format JVC monitor (1080/23.976PsF) as well as to a 50" Panasonic 1080p Plasma. For home, I'm planning on working with my 24" Benq monitor for bin and timeline and then piping full-screen video to my 1080p Pioneer plasma. I would definitely say, if you're going to do most of your work on this system go with the two 23" ACDs over the single 30". I feel the two monitor system helps organize your on-screen stuff into organizational (project, bins, etc.) on one screen and work (source/record monitors, timeline, etc.) on the other screen. Also if you don't have another monitor dedicated for full-screen video you can then flip one of them into full-screen to view.
     
  5. treehorn macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #5
    As I haven't received what I've purchased yet (damn that 3-5 week delay! :), I can only tell you what I've ordered and why (which is a distillation of advice I got here and at Apple Discussion Forums).

    Like you was looking for the ideal set-up for video editing. I do a lot of work on Final Cut Pro and Motion and I'm doing more and more work at home and needed to upgrade my IMac to a 'big boy' computer. I've been waiting to do this since May of last year, and have been saving up $$$ since then.

    I ordered the MacPro with two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeo, as nothing I read on any forum justified the expense of upgrading the processor in terms of real-world usage at this point.

    I upgraded the graphics card to the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB, as it was a justifiable upgrade for increased productivity in Motion.

    I only got 2GB of RAM from Apple but ordered 8GB (4 2GB sticks) from OWC (not thrilled with them at this point). Was advised to get at least 1GB of memory per core and to move the two 1GB sticks that come with the MacPro to slots 5&6 and fill 1-4 with 2GB sticks. Since it was only $400 to do so, figured it was a good investment.

    One thing I kept hearing was that the drive that comes with the MacPro isn't the most efficient and that it was a good idea to replace it with a speedier drive to improve FCP's speed. So I got 2 SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD753LJ 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s hard drives. My plan is to use one for the system/application (yes 750GB is a bit excessive but it wasn't much more than a 500GB, and I figure the empty space can only help). The other drive will be my scratch drive and I'm going to use the 320GB that comes with the MacPro to store my Itunes music (all 35,000 songs of it). Also have a plethora of external drives (including 500GB G-Tech and 1TB WD, the later of which is going to be my 'time machine' backup)

    One thing you didn't mention was speakers. I purchased a pair of KRK VXT 4 Powered Studio Monitors from Musician's Friend, as I needed a pair of reference monitors that would be equally effective with music and dialogue.

    Now I only have one thing to get myself...a display. I'm probably going to end up getting an Apple Cinema Display, either a 23" or 30" (have to go look at a 30" to see if I like it or if it is too much of a good thing). I use a 23" ACD at work so am used to it, plus it gets covered under my Applecare.

    But I'm not thrilled about the 'paying premium for old technology' thing and am fighting not buying one out of sheer spite. So far I haven't come up with a display that looks as good consistently (Dell is out of the running as it's too hit or miss. Looked at some Samsungs at the Samsung store and was underwhelmed. The blacks looked horrible. HP is a possibility as is NEC, but in both cases I'd be getting near the ACD price point to get a good video monitor. If I wanted to get a good photo monitor....that would be easier and cheaper, it seems).
     
  6. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Location:
    Kreplakistan
    #6
    Suggestion :

    -Go for the 3.0x8.Or 2.8x8. Lot cheaper than the 3.2 and not that much speed hit.

    -Get the memory and sata HDDs(for your raid) from 3rd party vendors.Absolutely.Saves you thousands of dollars and you get a better warranty for the mem/HDDs.

    -For display,I can recommend the 30".Good room for all your stuffs. Then get the matrox MXO and a 23" for color correction.Lot of small production houses that cant afford 20k$ reference monitor works with that setup.

    -Get the raid card. Or get a 2/4port eSata card and then some external Raid boxes when you need speed/space. If you are working with HD,then you propably will need high I/O, about 300MB/s. That you cant achieve with single disk setups or software raid.

    -Definately get the 8800 if you work with shake/motion.


    I am slowly transitioning from photo work to video and have been wrestling with the same issues. What,how and with what price.
     
  7. LostSunrise macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #7
    errrr...

    Few Things...

    Mr. Macinposh is coming from the photo world where they love 30inch monitors. With all do respect any video person you talk to swears by dual monitors over one 30inch. Its just what we're used to. Two 23-24 inch monitors costs about the same as one 30. Sometimes more sometimes less. If I had something that big I would still want a second smaller monitor just because I'm so used to it.


    Generally you don't need a raid card to handle most prosumer video standards like that from the HVX, or HDV video. Its only when you get into less compressed codecs do you need the raid. I would personally wait and see how your computer handles and then if it chokes you can choke down the cost of the raid and/or serial attached scsi drives. The esata stuff is pretty good and once I run out of internal space I plan to go that way myself. I would spend the money on that before I got an internal raid card.
     
  8. Macinposh macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Location:
    Kreplakistan
    #8

    Indeed I love... :D

    But those post production studios in where I have been around here,almost everyone has a the 30" with a second (and third) display. That I was refering too with the 30" + 23" with the matrox mxo. Just to clarify.

    Obviously the price gets a bit higher,but I would say that is a non issue,if you are purchasing that kind of setup from scratch?
     
  9. LostSunrise macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #9
    I woudn't call it a non issue...

    as I've stated before I'm on a budget since this new setup is from scratch more or less and its for home I'm not going to go nuts on monitors and RAM unless freelance gigs that have me working from home pickup quite a bit. One things for sure 30" displays are not on the menu right now. All of the major productions I've been on have not bothered with anything bigger than 20-22 for the two primary AVID monitors.
     
  10. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #10
    I want to chime in and say to think carefully before buying the ACD. First off, it's old technology. Secondly, I don't think they are as good as the NEC or even the Samsungs. I have a newer model 23" ACD and it's NOT as clean or crisp as the NEC's. If I were to do it over, I wouldn't have allowed myself to be seduced by the ACD. The things that bug me the most is the light halo's around the edge of the screen when I'm working with a lot of black, and the weird mottled color blotches that cover the screen like a film. I think it's defects in the plastic. If I'm looking at white or light values, I can see these strange colors on the screen that makes it look like a gauzy film is over the screen. Hard to explain, but you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it. I went to the Apple store and most of the ACD's had this problem. When I was at MacWorld, I saw some NEC's on display and all of the whites were crisp and solid white. The color was vibrant and the text was sharp. Those NEC's blew away my ACD! Not as sexy, but much better functionality.
     
  11. treehorn macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #11
    Thanks for the input on the displays, THX. As I said, I'm wrestling with the ACD issue and have been looking into the NEC's. Any one in particular that blew your socks off?
     
  12. absolution macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    #12
    Yeah, I was going to say the same thing. There are a lot of monitors out there with better contrast ratios and more inputs than an ACD for less money. I have a Benq FP241W and it has a 1000:1 CR, DVI-D, VGA, HDMI, component, S and composite inputs. And I bought it for $100 less than a 23" ACD. Those extra inputs have come in real handy.

    This has been my experience as well. I've never seen an editor work with a 30" display - and I've been working in features and TV for the last 10 years. Sure, you could use a 30", but it's a little lavish. Especially for a home set-up.

    Question:

    Is the "at least 1GB of RAM per core" logic really true? I'm curious because it sounds logical, but I haven't read anything to say whether or not it's true.
     
  13. Alican macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Location:
    LONDON, UK
    #13
    I suppose another way of seeing of the Mac Pro is worth the money is asking for some bench marks. This evening, I applied a colour filter to a 30 minute HDV clip and it rendered with half an hour in FCE. At the same, I was transcoding a 35 minute HD Clip to a file optimised for ipod which took just over half an hour. If you want to suggest a bench mark for me to try feel free, but I only have Final Cut Express, Toast and Mpeg streamclip
     
  14. LostSunrise macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #14
    Shake Tests...

    I like to use shake rendering to test a system. In this case I would use iDVD encoding to test the system. find a piece of video, pick a basic menu, crank out a disc image. Time that. Quit to flush the caches, rinse and repeat the exact process. Its not rocket science but it'll give you a rough idea.
     
  15. Alican macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Location:
    LONDON, UK
    #15
    From DV footage? I'm at work at the moment, but I can say that the video portion of the encoding in iDVD renders in less than half real time - something like 12 minutes for 25 minute clip
     

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