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Old January 13th, 2009, 09:26 PM   #1
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5DMKII Magic playback box....

Many report that the footage from the 5DMKII taxes many a playback device....

I'm hearing good reports that the WD TV works great with native footage from the
5DMKII....

Just in case you're interested...

WD TV Product Update
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Old January 15th, 2009, 03:58 PM   #2
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Glad you are having some success Ray

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Many report that the footage from the 5DMKII taxes many a playback device....
Indeed it does - I am struggling with a high spec MacBookPro & Firewire 800 drive.
I have calls in with colleagues in Apple and it looks like eSata expresscard adapter and a small raid box may be needed. On the other hand, the FW800 drive works fine on the MacPro (3Ghz).

Anyone got any other good experiences with Apple laptops that they might like to share?

Nick.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 04:14 PM   #3
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Glad you are having some success Ray



Indeed it does - I am struggling with a high spec MacBookPro & Firewire 800 drive.
I have calls in with colleagues in Apple and it looks like eSata expresscard adapter and a small raid box may be needed. On the other hand, the FW800 drive works fine on the MacPro (3Ghz).

Anyone got any other good experiences with Apple laptops that they might like to share?

Nick.
I would advise you to save your money - it's most likely not the hard drive that's giving you trouble with playback. These files are 1080p but they're compressed to very manageable bitrates for modern hard drives to deal with. The data rate of the files is only about 5megabytes/second while most USB 2.0 hard drives (and firewire 400/800) these days can easily sustain more than 20megabytes per second of throughput. I can play the clips fine on my 2 year old macbook pro (core 2 duo 2.33GHz) using a standard USB 2.0 hard drive.

I wish Apple would put eSata ports on these macbooks as it would be nice to get full SATA throughput when you need to move very large files around, but for playback of these clips it's not necessary.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 04:21 PM   #4
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Very helpful indeed Keith, thank you. There must be another issue causing the slow playback, I'm only managing 16-21fps in Quicktime Pro and FCP 6 is no better. I will try running a USB drive and FW400.

Puzzling..

Nick.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 05:03 PM   #5
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The real question isn't how well playback is achieved from a standalone device(personally almost every YouTube/Flickr video I've seen stutters at some point) but how well the footage holds up to being transcoded/encoded into MPEG2 for DVD, H264 for Blu-Ray or even uncompressed for commercial-display purposes.

So far not too many seasoned pros are using the 5D2 for serious work (I've seen only literally a handful) and getting things right from camera setup to using the right codec for editing is key for this hybrid workflow but until I see examples of DVD or BR conversions from the 5D2 (or when I finally get time to test it myself) then the viability of the camera's output for standard workflows is an unknown.

No doubt somebody will figure this out, the footage is too gorgeous to be left strictly for the consumer market.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 05:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Nick Wilcox-Brown View Post
Very helpful indeed Keith, thank you. There must be another issue causing the slow playback, I'm only managing 16-21fps in Quicktime Pro and FCP 6 is no better. I will try running a USB drive and FW400.

Puzzling..

Nick.
Here's something you can try.

close out all of the running applications. Start up Activity Monitor (should be in Applications -> Utilities). Make sure you can see the main Activity Monitor window. If you can't click "command-1" so it comes up. When it's up, click the "CPU" button/tab on the lower portion of the window.

Drag that Activity Monitor window over to the left portion of your screen. Now go into finder and open up the folder containing a test clip on your firewire800 drive. Open it with Quicktime. Before you start playing it, move the playback window so you can see the activity monitor screen underneath. Watch the readout next to % Idle. On my machine, I tried playing back the same clip using USB 2.0 external hard drive, a Firewire 400 external hard drive, the laptop's internal hard drive, and also off of a sandisk extreme III compact flash card plugged into a usb 2.0 reader. In each case, the % idle reading hovered right around 30-32% during playback, sometimes dipping down to around 26% and other times surging up to around 35-36%. In all cases, "Movie Inspector" on quicktime showed a very consistent playback average of right at 30fps (give or take a few tenths).

If you're seeing significantly less than this with your firewire 800 drive, then try playing the same clip off of your macbook's internal hard drive and see if you see significantly more idle CPU time. If you see an improvement in the CPU Idle % number, then it's almost certainly something to do with the firewire800 drive.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 06:05 PM   #7
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Very helpful indeed Keith, thank you. There must be another issue causing the slow playback, I'm only managing 16-21fps in Quicktime Pro and FCP 6 is no better.
Drive speed's definitely not the issue here. I'm getting 30fps on a latest-generation 17" MacBook Pro (not the new one announced at macworld) running in quicktime pro regardless of the drive it's on. CPU use hits about 75% on both cores - so clearly it's not maxing out the system.

FCP is a different story though. It can play files smoothly in the viewer or canvas window but looks like it's dropping a lot of frames if I try to do full screen playback. CPU use is still about 75% though so it appears to be an issue with software rather than hardware.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 05:41 AM   #8
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There is something not working correctly here...

From HD (7200 rpm, 40% free) or latest 45Mbs Extreme IV Card / FW800 reader, results are the same: 29-30fps until there is some action (fast moving seals). Frame rate then drops to 24fps and idle is around 30% / processor utilization 70%

All Apps shut, machine re-started prior to test.

Thanks for all the info here - it confirms my issue, but not sure what is causing it.

Nick.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 06:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Wilcox-Brown View Post
There is something not working correctly here...

From HD (7200 rpm, 40% free) or latest 45Mbs Extreme IV Card / FW800 reader, results are the same: 29-30fps until there is some action (fast moving seals). Frame rate then drops to 24fps and idle is around 30% / processor utilization 70%

All Apps shut, machine re-started prior to test.

Thanks for all the info here - it confirms my issue, but not sure what is causing it.

Nick.
so your processor utilization never spikes above 70%? I'm not sure why you would be having this problem. If you told me it was hitting 90-95% or more and seeing this framerate slowdown, then it would make more sense to me. What graphics chipset is in your macbook? I have an ATI Radeon X1600 - apparently there's some built-in h.264 decode acceleration built into that chip, but I'm not certain whether or not Apple actually utilizes it (you'd think they would, though). This is a shot in the dark, maybe yours is using some form of playback acceleration too, but the GPU is choking on some scenes, and I don't think Activity Monitor would show that.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 08:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Keith Paisley View Post
so your processor utilization never spikes above 70%? I'm not sure why you would be having this problem. If you told me it was hitting 90-95% or more and seeing this framerate slowdown, then it would make more sense to me. What graphics chipset is in your macbook? I have an ATI Radeon X1600 - apparently there's some built-in h.264 decode acceleration built into that chip, but I'm not certain whether or not Apple actually utilizes it (you'd think they would, though). This is a shot in the dark, maybe yours is using some form of playback acceleration too, but the GPU is choking on some scenes, and I don't think Activity Monitor would show that.
This is very common with multi-core processors running software that isn't multi-threaded. The OS can help to spread the processes across all available cores but not utilize them to their maximum potential. This could point either towards the software decoder not being written for multithreading or something wrong with the OS not properly managing the CPU resources.

As a test I would recommend running a CPU testing utility that is known to be multi-threading and make sure you can drive the CPU to 100% with an application external to the OS. If you can then it points to the decoding software as the problem.

Give this a try and post your results.

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Old January 16th, 2009, 03:07 PM   #11
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I mentioned this in my thread on first impressions, but if you're running Leopard, Quickview will play the 1080p clips perfectly smooth full screen (on my 24" dual core iMac)...even allow you to scroll from clip to clip and jump from clip to clip playing without a hiccup.
If you've got a Mac and don't have Leopard, get it just for Quickview with the 5D2.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 04:03 PM   #12
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I'm running Leopard 10.5.6 - the latest of everything.

OK, some progress. Had a call with a tech colleague at Apple (not support) and although the data rate is particularly high from this camera, it is nothing that any recent machine should have a problem with.

Tried every trick and eventually created a new user account - all ran smoothly, never dropping below 29fps. It would not however play at double rate. This means it is a software issue / conflict of some flavour.

Out of interest, I loaded the clip that I was using onto my wife's new MacBook (2.4 Unibody) - the clip played flawlessly, including at double rate, 60fps!! I'm guessing the higher bus speed + later graphics card is a contributor here.

Currently the MacBookPro is being taken back to 10.5.5 via Time Machine and we will see if that eases things, failing that, a full clean install of Leopard, FCP and minimal other software.

Thanks for your thoughts everyone. This was all a bit of a surprise, but raised a few questions - It transpires a colleague is having dropouts on a Quad MacPro with three disks raided, so things are not straightforward.

Once the restore is done, I'll post an update.

Nick.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 01:33 PM   #13
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5DMKII Magic playback SOLUTION!

Hi All,
I've been 'playing' with my Dell XPS laptop running WinXP Pro... 5400 rpm Samsung 500MB drive, stuttering like crazy and managing scarecely 8 fps .. UNTIL ...

I downloaded the 'free' VLC Media Player ... and installed it .. then found that 'miraculously' the ZoomBrowser EX utility would playback without a judder!!

Rename the .mov files to .mp4 and then Windows Media Player will also playback at smooth full rate.

Extraordinary?
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Old January 18th, 2009, 01:36 PM   #14
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VLC player

Just a note to say that VLC player does NOT play the Canon EOS 5D MkII files .. but installing it allows other media players to do so ... dunno why .. but it works in Windows XP.

rename .mov to mp4 and Windows media Player works SMOOTHLY with these files .. and leave as .mov and ZoomBrowser EX works perfectly with them ...

Have fun.
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