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Old January 12th, 2010, 12:52 PM   #1
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Sony XDCAM EX w/ Premiere CS4 & BlackMagic Decklink HD Extreme 3

Does Premiere CS4 editing and rendering benefit from a BlackMagic Decklink HD Extreme 3 card on the PC side?

Or is it better to invest in 'core' processing power, more RAM and maybe a better GPU now, and maybe save for something like a Nanoflash down the road?

Right now, I have a Sony EX3, and looking to build a turnkey PC editing solution for around $5.5k, including new CS4 bundle software.

Must Haves:
-Real-time HD/SD preview (can a traditional video card handle this, or is better to have a dedicated output like Decklink? Alternatives?)
-Hard drive space to support no more than 2 hours of XDCAM EX footage at a time.

-I'm looking at a Core i-7 950 (3.06GHz, 8MB 1366) w/ 12 GB (6x2GB 1333MHz DDR3) and a Nvidia Quadro FX 1800 (768 MB PCI-E), with 1TB 7200RPM 16MB Cache SATA II (2x500GB) Raid 0 for video storage.

Maybe I should skip the Decklink and upgrade to a Quadro 3800/4800?

-4:4:4 SDI Decklink would be a great upgrade for chromakey work, but maybe it's better to invest in the Nanoflash at 4:2:2 down the road and eliminate the 'digitizing'. In my mind, 4:4:4, 2K and deck support is overkill since I just work with the EX3 and only plan to export to BluRay. (Although an occasional master to tape could happen)

-Is it better to wait for CS5 w/ CUDA?!? I don't think I can wait until that solution is stable enough, though. :)

Any other thoughts and ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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Old January 16th, 2010, 07:22 PM   #2
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Ed, my i7 920 at stock speed can playback my EX1 footage plus a few filters in real time. The only time I run into slowdowns is when I have multiple nested sequences or multiple Dynamic Links back and forth between AE & PP.

Also, the i7 920 can be overclocked to 3.4-3.6GHz with no loss of stability.

I looked into the Decklink, Aja Kona and Nanoflash, and I am ordering the Nano next week.

I just reread your statement and understand what you meant by realtime preview. So...Premiere can be setup to provide playback on another monitor just like the Decklink and Matrox Mini. I have the Matrox Mini and used it all of 2 days because it causes a 3-5s second delay when switching from Source to Program and vice versa.

If color accuracy is critical, the Eizo CG243W ($2300) is amazing.

For video card and Premiere: the Quadro's won't provide any benefit. The upcoming CS5 with Adobe's Mercury Playback Engine should support the GTX 285 and Quadro's 4800 and up. Adobe has not made a final decision on what will be supported upon initial release but read this The Genesis Project: Technology Sneek Peek: Adobe® Mercury Playback Engine
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Old January 17th, 2010, 12:29 PM   #3
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Thanks, Steve.

So if I decide not to invest in the DeckLink, does PP offer support to drive dual monitors for timeline editing in addition to a real-time "preview" LCD/Plasma for accurate video out (like HDMI or something?)

Right now, I use dual monitors for timeline editing and an SD video/tv monitor for live previewing. Is this how it's done in the HD age? Or do you just have two big computer LCDs- one with the timeline and one with a preview?

Thanks again!
Ed
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Old January 18th, 2010, 02:57 AM   #4
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Yes, PP does. Just load a clip into Source and Right click the clip name in the Source tab and select "Playback Settings". A window opens and you can select "External Device" to be another monitor.

As far as 2 or 3 monitors, whichever works best for you. I really liked stretching the timeline across 2 20" LCDs when I used the Matrox Mini but I have gotten used to a 20" as my main window for Premiere and my 24" Eizo as my Program monitor. I now prefer this setup because I can easily adjust size and position whereas the "Preview" setup I mentioned earlier doesn't allow this very easily.

Something to consider when looking at BM, Aja, etc, is they usually require the use of their presets for projects in order to get a live preview. For example, the Matrox MXO2/Mini requires Matrox sequence presets when creating a project. Projects using these presets tend to crash Premiere and AE when the MXO2/Mini is not present. However, I don't know about the other manufacturers.

Another major problem with these cards is that their HDMI only supports certain framerates and usually never 24p.

One upside to some of these cards is being able to view in both SD and HD at the same time. Some, like the Matrox, can downscale one of the outputs to SD so you can see what your video looks like if its destination is SD.

PS I know with Nvidia cards, the Nvidia control panel provides gamma, hue... for properly adjusting color using bars. The only adjustment it doesn't have is Blue only which can be easily fixed by using a blue gel.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 08:14 AM   #5
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Thanks, Steve. Your suggestions make perfect sense. I think I'll hold off on the BM card and invest in more RAM and save for the NanoFlash down the road.
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Old January 26th, 2010, 04:24 AM   #6
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Well, you can always wait a few more months and pic up a Mac dual 6 core for 12 physical cores.... ;)
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Old January 28th, 2010, 10:37 AM   #7
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i would definitely wait for core I9 to be released if ur looking to build a mean editor. benchmarks look like very promising compared to I7 (50% increase in some respects). supposed to drop Q1 '10 so could be any day.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 12:43 PM   #8
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Q1 2010 may well be at the end of Q1. Second, the indicated price and the alleged performance gains make you wonder if it is such a hot deal. Alleged price for the 17-980X (hexacore) is almost $ 1K for a performance gain of 40-50% over the i7-975X. This means only 20-30% performance gain over an overclocked i7-920 (@ 3.6GHz) for five times the price.
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Old January 29th, 2010, 09:52 AM   #9
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Thanks again for such a great discussion, all. I was looking at an I9 with a CS5/CUDA solution.

But with a $5.5k budget, a need to edit XDCAM - live video preview (HD & SD at the same time preferred) - and the cost of software, I guess I'm somewhat limited. Would you agree?

I'm having a hard time figuring out exactly the system I need.

Maybe I forget about the BlackMagic Decklink HD, focus on a i7-975 or something, get as much RAM as possible and call it a day. I guess I end up skimping on a video card and hard drive array. From what I've been able to find, using PP4 and XDCAM means its more about processor and ram than hard drive speed and video display.

I just wonder how much CS5/CUDA will or will not be a game changer.

With that in mind, do I by less ram with a better front side bus and upgrade ram later, or does that not matter?

I'm tempted to go Mac to keep things a bit more simple, but it's been years and staying entirely in an entirely Adobe workflow is appealing.

Sorry to take this in so many directions.
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