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Canon EOS Full Frame for HD
All about using the Canon 1D X, 6D, 5D Mk. IV / Mk. III / Mk. II D-SLR for 4K and HD video recording.


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Old November 23rd, 2009, 01:38 PM   #1
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Aaargh! Please help with a buying decision.

I've been shooting a documentary with 2 5DMkIIs and have enough footage to start editing. I bought a maxed out iMac in Jan '09 with the intent of using it as the editing machine. I specifically inquired at the store whether or not it would be up to the task. I was assured that it would be and bought it. Technically they were right. The computer is fine. But apparently I will either internal SATA drives or external eSATA drives in order to get the video into the machine fast enough. The iMac doesn't have an eSATA port. I plan to use ProRes as an intermediate codec. I've been told that FW800 isn't going to cut it. So...

I've been pricing a new Mac Pro. Something like this:
One 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor
Apple 8GB 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM 4x2GB
18x double-layer SuperDrive
1TB Serial ATA drive @ 7200 rpm
Seagate 1TB Serial ATA drive @ 7200 rpm
Seagate 1TB Serial ATA drive @ 7200 rpm
Seagate 1TB Serial ATA drive @ 7200 rpm
NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB graphics

With a monitor, this would cost me about $4300. Would this work? Criminy that was an expensive mistake.

FWIW, these are the specs on my iMac...
One 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
Apple 8GB 1066MHz DDR3 RAM
18x double-layer SuperDrive
1TB Serial ATA drive @ 7200 rpm
ATI Radeon HD 4850 with 512MB graphics

Or do you think that using a G Tech FW800 drive would work? I appreciate any advice you have.

Grant
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 01:53 PM   #2
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Grant,

I don't advocate double posting, but this is a mac issue more than a 5d issue. The problem you have is capturing the footage, because I have a PC with far less horsepower than your imac and I edit 5d footage easily.

On a PC we simply transfer the footage via a usb card reader (or directly from the cam) to a hard drive and (on a PC) convert the footage from .mov to .avi.

I'm no mac guy, but you should be fine with your existing system. The title should probably be: ' how the h*ll do I capture 5d footage on my imac?"
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 02:06 PM   #3
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Thanks Ken. I tried to edit the title of the post but that isn't an option. So are you saying that you are editing your footage off the internal drive? That would work for me if it fit but there is maybe 300 GB available. Do you use any external drives?
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 02:16 PM   #4
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How would you bring photos into your imac? It should be the same with the 5d2 mov files. Because it is just a CF card. It may be slower to tranfer, but not really. I just use a relatively cheap multi-format card reader plugged into a usb port and transfer the files to a folder in my internal hard-drive. It's nice because you know if you have a full 16gb CF card, you'll take up 16gb of internal storage. You can then back up the files to external usb drive (which is what I do).

Now, once you get it to your imac, you will need to (from what I hear) convert it to ProRes (although I have heard of some using Cineform) for editing on the imac. There should be lots of help in the 'editing on a Mac' section for this.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 02:34 PM   #5
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Yes, that iMac should be fine if you work with Pro Res. USB transfers pretty quickly actually. Make you self a cup of coffee, and the files are there.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 02:38 PM   #6
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I see that I wasn't clear enough in my original description of the problem. My issue is not getting the files off the CF card and into the computer. The problem is getting the ProRes files off an external drive an into the computer for editing in FCP. I was told that FW800 isn't going to be fast enough to edit from an external drive. Is this baloney? Will a G Tech (for instance) external, 7200 RPM drive be fast enough to edit from?
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 03:21 PM   #7
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Grant,
It is likely that a firewire 800 drive is fast enough for simple editing but not too many layers at once. The problem with the Imac is it only has one firewire bus so you can't add much to the computer to help if it does become a bottleneck for you. There are different qualities of Pro res as well so the higher version might not edit as smoothly as the lower one on the same system. Worth a shot if you are editing mostly single layer video with simple cuts and dissolves
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 05:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Hamilton View Post
I see that I wasn't clear enough in my original description of the problem. My issue is not getting the files off the CF card and into the computer. The problem is getting the ProRes files off an external drive an into the computer for editing in FCP. I was told that FW800 isn't going to be fast enough to edit from an external drive. Is this baloney? Will a G Tech (for instance) external, 7200 RPM drive be fast enough to edit from?
I've used USB because the lousy Dell desktop won't see the external drive via e-sata cable. It works well in USB though. No issues so far. I've seen people with 8 core macs run external usb's as well without issue.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 06:12 PM   #9
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Buy a drive

I'd absolutely save the money and go with a Firewire 800 drive. For performance I'd advise a raid setup. Look at an enclosure that gives you a couple of fast hard drives, raid them for speed and hook them up with firewire. No problems for basic editing and a bit more.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 08:44 PM   #10
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Thanks a lot guys. My wife was pleased to hear that instead of $4400, it might just be $499.

I'll probably get a 4TB G Tech Raid.

I really appreciate your help.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 05:18 PM   #11
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Grant, you can build a Mac pro kind of PC for yourself for the fraction of what has been offered to you. Google "efi-x" and you will get what I mean. That stuff works great and Snow Leopard support is just out. No any issues, no glitches. I use a 3.0 Quad in my beast, works like a charm. You will need a proper 4 slot e-sata card to build in, hook it up with a 4 piece external raid and you are set, wont ever have to worry about speed. iMacs are fancy but head ache a year later when new stuff coming and you realize you cannot use for not being flexible enough with add on hardware. Also you may want to use more than one drive for your editing to get the fastest speed possible. If you use the internal drive for everything, that slows the process (read-processing-write back, and so on). You can fight "bottlenecks" in the computing if you let the information "flow through" your CPU (source meterial on disk A - processing in CPU - end result goes to disk B) the time you need for the tasks with get noticably shorter, mostly if your drives are fast, e.g. e-sata raid configurations.

I hope this helps.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 05:50 PM   #12
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I run all my 5D stuff as ProRes off several (daisy-chained) fw800 drives, non-raid, connected to my 17" MacBook Pro which has lower specs than your iMac - in other words you should be fine with firewire.
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Old November 25th, 2009, 10:39 AM   #13
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I'm the same as Evan, a couple of Firewire 800 terabyte drives and a three year old MacBook Pro.
Works fine.
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Old November 25th, 2009, 10:54 PM   #14
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Glad to hear about the success with the FW drives. I'm getting the G Tech.

Grant
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Old November 29th, 2009, 06:47 PM   #15
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this might also help things

I found this and will see if that helps keep the drives from spinning down.

Grant

Digital Heaven - The Hottest Tools for the Coolest Apps
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