Movie Making Hardware Info Resources?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by StofUnited, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. StofUnited macrumors member

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    Jul 30, 2010
    #1
    I am getting into movie editing and am searching for good technical resources online for help. So far I have found very little solid Hardware build information out there related to FCex/FCP builds (though digLloyd's 'Mac performance Guide' has been a great start).

    I want to start out wise with the Mac that I buy but finding info on specifics related to how you can design your hardware to maximize speed and longevity, etc. is hard to find.

    I simply cannot find good resources out there to help me start out.

    I hope some of you experts might be able to point me in the right direction for great information . . . . Thanks in advance.
     
  2. snouter macrumors 6502a

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    May 26, 2009
    #2
    Are you talking about editing and effects, or movie making, ie, camera, lights, mics, editing and effects?

    If the latter, you are really looking at the total workflow.

    Final Cut Pro is in need of a rewrite. Apple has been ignoring it lately. Compressor can use all the cores you throw at it, depending on codec.

    Adobe Produciton Premium is a valid alternative to FCP, esp since you get After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator. You also get a cool little program called OnLocation.

    ==

    The last shot I did went like this:

    Panasonic HD camera shot LIVE into my 15" MacBook Pro using Adobe OnLocation via a Firewire cable. Skipped the P2 cards altogether.

    Then I edited the footage on my Windows 7 i7 machine ($1250) using Adobe Production Premium CS4 and Premiere Pro and After Effects.

    You have a lot of options. I'm not sure at this point I would just automatically choose a Mac Pro and FCP.
     
  3. StofUnited thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    I am talking just about the computer work for now - no actual camera work - just the editing.
     
  4. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    Phoenix, AZ
    #4
    1. FCP and FCE are not overly multi-core aware. In the majority of cases, you'll rarely saturate 2 CPU cores. However, in applications like Compressor (included with FCP/FCS), you can set up a virtual cluster using QMaster to utilize all CPU cores for faster rendering.

    2. You'll get a lot of differing opinions on the "best" brands and models of hard drives for scratch/media. As far as internal drives go, I personally like the WD Caviar Black drives a lot. They're fast and reasonably priced. When I'm building RAID systems, I usually opt for the enterprise versions (RE3/RE4) because they're better built for those applications.

    The other thing to think about with scratch disks is your typical workflow. If you're cutting consumer video codecs like HDV and AVCHD, single-disk (non-RAID) systems are plenty fast in most cases. But for professional video codecs at high resolutions, you'll often want a RAID system for increased disk speed.

    In any case, you'll probably be fine with an external 7,200-rpm FW800 drive starting out. Even with FCP's ProRes codec, you're not going to saturate the throughput of a typical FW800 drive at 1080p frame sizes.

    3. SSDs are great as OS/app drives. The OCZ Vertex Mac Edition drives are very popular here, as are the Intel X25-Ms. I've been pondering doing an SSD for boot/apps on my own system.

    4. If you're stuck in decision between getting a high-end iMac and a lower-end Mac Pro (as a lot of people seem to be), you'll just have to ask yourself how important internal hardware expansion would be to you in the long haul. The only thing you can really upgrade on the iMac (without disassembling the computer and potentially voiding its warranty) is the RAM. For some, the ability to easily add internal hard drives is a big selling point for the Mac Pro, even if they don't necessarily need the PCI-E expansion slots.

    Seeing that OWC's iMac eSATA upgrade service was just officially announced, there really aren't a lot of specifics regarding how fast it is (1.5 or 3 Gbps) or whether or not it will void your warranty. But it does look appealing; being limited to just a FW800 bus is one of the most critical complaints with FCP users cutting on iMacs.
     
  5. StofUnited thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 30, 2010
    #5
    Online Resources of Information?

    thanks CaptChunk - i hope you and others might be able to point me to some online resources that go into detail on these types of things related to Hardware for FCEx and FCP, etc.

    As I said b4 digLloyd has some good info but hoping to find more Web sites with good information I can learn from.
     
  6. snouter macrumors 6502a

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    May 26, 2009
    #6
    More food for thought...

    Spend as little money as possible if you are just starting out - ie learning to edit and tell a story, and not really making money at this, just yet.

    It's easy to fall into the trap of buying the best computer and building large raids and buying fancy capture cards. The video market moves fast and depreciation is fairly brutal.

    Buy as little as possible at first and don't overbuy.

    A $500 Best Buy camera, homemade lights from Home Depot and a used iMac can get you started. Spend the money after you have learned a lot of the basics - thinking in terms of frames, and not minutes and seconds, story telling, technical hurdles regarding mixing film formats, mixing audio, adding graphics, outputting, etc.

    Get a job on movies, TV commercials and industrial/corporate shots in your area. The pay and hours suck balls as a PA or Location Scout, but you get to see how it's done. It's very much a word of mouth industry and making connections early can help you down the road. Get a job in a studio logging footage to work with an experienced editor.
     
  7. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #7
    Really depends on your workflow...

    What sort of editing are you doing? Motion graphics? Particles? Color correction? Just cutting video? Any rendering?

    Honestly, you could do plain editing in FCP or FCE on any old computer. Even a Mac Mini. Once you qualify exactly the work you're doing, it would be easier to give you more suggestions.
     
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #8
    What is your budget? $5k, $10k, $20k? Will the gear you buy be required to feed your family and put a roof over your head?

    As others have said unless you are doing very CPU/GPU intensive work on very bandwidth hogging codecs on very long projects your hardware requirements can be pretty minimal.


    Lethal
     
  9. StofUnited thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 30, 2010
    #9
    Hmmmmm

    First - thanks for the quick feedback . . . will be glad to get into it but . . .

    Let me reiterate the purpose of the thread - I am hoping to get pointed to some good resources on the web that have researched this stuff and have some great details on Hardware builds for Final Cut.
    digLloyd is the only one I have found so far - and he is photo-focussed. Can you point me to some good places that talk about and test Hardware builds for movie editing?
     
  10. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #10
    I work in the video industry (writing code for editing and compositing apps), so I could probably tell you, if you'd say exactly what kind of editing you're looking at doing. :)

    Again, honestly, if you just want to cut video... There are no requirements at all. Any computer built in the last two years will that well.

    It's also hard to recommend a site because most sites are geared toward different aspects of video production. A rig focused on color correction is going to be a lot different than a rig for encoding, or possibly both on a really expensive rig.
     
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #11
    Analogy time. You are asking about what kind of car to buy and we are trying to figure out what you want do w/the car so we can point you in the right direction. I could tell you the best way to trick out a Porsche 911 but that will do you no good if you want to try your hand at off-road racing. See where I'm going w/this?;)

    Spec'ing out a Mac is very simple compared to a PC because there are very few variables. I think you are making this more complicated than it needs to be.


    Lethal
     
  12. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #12
    Exactly.

    To give some examples... If you're doing color correcting, you'll probably at least want a good solid mid end GPU. If you're working with 1080p, you'll probably want 512 megs of VRAM, you could maybe get by with 256. Encoding? For casual encoding, a 4 core would be great, but 8 or 12 cores will be faster. Working with compositing or motion graphics? Get a good GPU, the heavier your work, the more of a GPU you need. Want long preview times? Bulk up on RAM, make sure your host apps are 64 bit (and that your machine is 64 bit).

    Basically, if you want a machine that can do every aspect of video editing super awesome, than just buy the best, most expensive machine out on the market. Take a Mac Pro and max out every spec. Easy answer. But if you're going to concentrate on some parts of video editing more than others, or you don't necessarily need super fast encoding (i.e. you're ok with getting a coffee while you encode), then the hardware changes. There are no machines that can do video editing entirely without waiting. This isn't like gaming. You just have to decide how much waiting you want to be doing. But even if you get the highest end Mac Pro, you're still going to be spending time waiting on rendering and encoding.

    You are basically asking us what the best car for driving is, and not getting any more specific than that.
     
  13. StofUnited thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 30, 2010
    #13
    You two are asking the exact questions and answers I want to learn about. Do you have sites that talk about all of this in intelligent detail.

    Have you guys read any of digLloyd's stuff? It is intelligent, descriptive - very helpful. More of that would be great. Point me to it all - I want to learn from the best.

    I am not looking for specifics to Q&A about in this forum yet - I want to get as much information as possible then I can ask specific questions here.

    I want to learn about ALL THE CARS and then go from there as I pick the direction I want to go.

    Point me to every GOOD/Intelligent online resource out there that talks about setting up a movie editing rig - don't try to narrow me down yet.
     
  14. StofUnited thread starter macrumors member

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  15. snouter macrumors 6502a

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    May 26, 2009
    #15
    http://www.google.com

    I have used Final Cut 1.0 on a G3 500MHz laptop.

    It's not rocket science. Buy a computer. Put Final Cut on it. Any current computer can handle these DV formats.
     
  16. rajbonham macrumors 6502

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    Mar 29, 2010
    #16
    I second this. The information is there, you just need to find it.

    In terms of video editing though, your CPU, RAM, and Hard Drives are most important. You can have the best video card on the market, but it's not going to do much if you have a slow CPU.

    If you're serious about editing you need at least two hard drives. One drive is for your OS and programs, and the other holds your video, audio files, etc. Even better is to use that second drive only as a scratch drive (temporarily holds the media you're using) and then have other drives to store your data long term. If you go one step further, you get into RAID setups, etc.

    My older system is a 2.4 GHz Quad Core with 8 GB of DDR2 RAM and can just run 1080p video in real time, and that's using 64 Bit software. Once you get into HD video, it will eat your machine alive!
     
  17. StofUnited thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 30, 2010
    #17
    I guess that nobody else has been able to find good sites related to this topic either. I have spent 10 hours + searching and reading online and have not found any that are comprehensively related to this topic.

    Thanks to rajbonham, goMac, CaptainChunk, LethalWolfe for your thoughts. I really appreciate when people want to assist like this. I just don't want to get into specifics now and waste peoples kindnesses when I don't have anything specific to hit on yet.

    And snouter, WOW - google.com, rude and very disappointing. Either you don't understand my question or you just like to talk down to others. You shouldn't assume people are stupid - maybe try assuming the opposite when you post a reply.

    I am talking about learning all that I can about the Computer Hardware intricacies related to Movie Editing. I want to learn all about this stuff in detail. Maybe I am the only one who likes to learn things in this way here.

    I will post some good sites on this topic if and when I find them in the Movie Editing forum.
     
  18. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020

    JesterJJZ

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  19. StofUnited thread starter macrumors member

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  20. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #20
    I wasn't aware of digLloyd's stuff, but personally I don't know of any sites that sound like exactly what you are looking for because, as has been said, this seems to be putting the cart before the horse. Here are some places I regularly go to share, as well as glean, knowledge. If you post though asking for hardware specs I guarantee you'll get the same "Well, what is it you want to do" replies that goMac and I have given you so it might be better to just search and observe for a bit.

    CreativeCOW
    DVXUser
    DVinfo.net
    Los Angeles Final Cut Pro Users Group
    ProVideoCoalition
    Support.Apple.Com
    RedUser.net

    BareFeats.com (good for hardware speed tests)
    ProMax (could help give you an idea for different build outs)


    Lethal
     
  21. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #21
    You also should think about your software. FCP is not 64 bit, so there may not be much point in taking your RAM past 6-8 gigs on a Mac Pro for Final Cut.

    Also, different host apps and plugins may or may not be GPU accelerated. The company I work for generally tries to add a GPU accelerated mode, which may or may not be faster than the processors depending on your card. But even the question of what plugins you might end up using (if any) goes back to what sort of editing you want to do.

    The camera you'll be using can be important too. That'll give us the resolution, frame rate, and bit depth you'll be editing at. You may even be better off deciding on a camera first if you don't already have one.
     
  22. StofUnited thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 30, 2010
    #22
    thanks lethalwolfe n goMac - Don't you think the next version of FCP will be 64-bit though?
     
  23. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #23
    Who knows. Hopefully it will be, but many people were hoping the current version would be too.

    If Apple sticks to it's regular update cycle for FCP we'll hear something in Spring/Summer of '11.


    Lethal
     

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