Need help on workflow for editing 4K video - HD's and Connections etc.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by rossgrant, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. rossgrant macrumors newbie


    Jun 7, 2016
    Hi guys,

    I'm about to embark on some multi-camera 4k video interviews.

    3 cameras all shooting in 4K.

    Right now all I have is a late 2010 Mac Pro, which DOES NOT support thunderbolt. I am proficient with Final Cut and will be using that as my NLE.

    I'm well up for upgrading to a new system that does support thunderbolt etc., so I can use external storage devices at faster speeds to store and edit this footage.

    With WWDC just days away and new iMacs/ potential Mac Pro out soon, I don't want to grab a machine in the current line-up though - I'll wait to grab a new one.

    Is there any kind of workflow solutions that would be suitable with my old mac pro right now though (which might be future-proof too) - in terms of external HD's to store this footage on and edit it, without having to import it all to the internal system drives on my existing MP?

    I'm just super-interested in other people's setups and what the best protocol is when working with 4K video?

    Thanks so much for your time!

    Ross :)
  2. ColdCase, Jun 7, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Modify the MacPro to remote one of the internal SATA ports out or buy/install an inexpensive eSATA card. Buy external disk enclosures with eSata interfaces. The speeds will be roughly the same as the internal drives. If you use a multiport SATA card, think about using disk utility to RAID0 them for more speed. I've used a hardware RAID PCI card and connected three or four eSATA drive in a RAID configuration, but you would have to transfer the files to another drive to use in the nMP.

    You could do the same with firewire enclosures, but it may be way too slow.

    When you get your nMP, there are a few alternatives. Probably the best way is to pull the drives out of the enclosures and install them in a TB enclosure(s). Should be seamless if you used disk utility to RAID as it will find the drives in the new enclosures.

    You could also reuse the enclosures with drives, using a TB dock which has eSATA and firewire interfaces for example.

    As far as workflow, nothing special, import, edit, share.

    Oh there may be enclosures out there with both TB and firewire and SATA interfaces, usually some money.
  3. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    I shoot and edit a lot of 4k multi-cam interviews. Using 4k for 1080p or 720p distribution has significant editorial advantages since you can crop, pan and zoom in post without losing resolution. The camera operator does not have guess when to zoom in on an emotional statement, which often results in a mis-predicted zoom which then cannot be used. It can be done in post. You can also "punch in" on one camera, simulating a camera cut. Each 4k frame is an 8 megapixel still, which can be useful in slide shows, cover graphics, etc.

    H264 4k multi-cam is very challenging for any hardware or any software. Fortunately you are running FCPX which is much faster on this workload than other editors.

    However even FCPX on a 2015 top-spec iMac 27 with Thunderbolt array still generally requires using proxy media for smoothest response. This is not an I/O or GPU issue but a CPU issue. Long-GOP formats are just very CPU intensive to decode and encode, and multicam H264 4k is especially stressful. Unfortunately the Mac Pro uses Xeon CPUs which do not have Intel's Quick Sync, which is hardware accelerated H264 encode/decode. Higher-core-count Mac Pros can somewhat compensate through the additional cores.

    As you said, waiting for the next version of nMP and iMac makes sense at this point of the product cycle.

    On your 2010 MP the best approach is ensure you have enough disk space. You do not generally need SSD for 4k editing, and SSD constrains your space. Ideally you want some kind of RAID which could be implemented internally or externally. Some 2010-series Mac Pros had an optional RAID card. I'm not familiar with it but this article discusses some alternatives:

    The main workflow tip is don't use optimized media -- there is generally no need and it consumes a huge amount of space. Rather generate proxy media either during import or afterward, then select "use proxy media" in the viewer, then before final export switch the viewer back to original media, else the export will be in proxy resolution.

    Proxy media typically roughly doubles space consumption and I/O requirements, but greatly reduces CPU load.

    Depending on how your disk subsystem is configured it can be beneficial to put the library on a different drive than the media files.

    Just because you shoot in 4k and are editing in 4k you don't necessarily have to use a 4k project. You can edit 4k in a 1080p project and still retain all the original resolution for zooming and cropping. Selecting a 1080p project uses small work files so speeds up certain operations.

    While 4k is mostly a CPU issue when editing, many effects are a GPU load so that phase becomes GPU-bound. Some effects such as Neat Video noise reduction are extremely slow and compute bound, whether GPU or CPU-based. A faster GPU could help but the simplest approach is just use proxy media which reduces the data volume to 1/4 of the original 4k content.
  4. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Has anyone mentioned SAS for an option?
    Thats what I use with my RED workflow.
    At times I wil also add a CUBIX for RED ROCKET and more GPUs but thats a different mess.
    I am using an ATTO SAS with the older GTECH eS Pro drives.
    Handles 4K/5K easily but in editorial.
    Not so much in Resolve.
    That you need to use the GPU box (CUBIX).
  5. coldsweat macrumors 6502


    Aug 18, 2009
    Grimsby, UK
    I agree with joema2, just use proxies & your machine should be able to cope fine with just 3 camera angles.
  6. rossgrant thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jun 7, 2016
    Amazing, thanks so much for the help guys! I had no idea that I wasn't actually using the 4th HD bay in my MP.

    I just installed a 2TB Caviar Black and this should be fine in the interim. Proxy footage works just fine - but takes a while to create 3 hours worth - I'll just leave it overnight.

    When I get a new iMac, I'm gonna invest in one of the Lacie 'Big' solutions via Thunderbolt 3.

    Thanks again, you've all been a great help! :)

Share This Page