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Old October 23rd, 2004, 07:43 PM   #1
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Render farms in FCP??

Hi people

I'm doing a rather large project on a powerbook at the moment and I have to leave the powerbook on overnight to render the stuff because if I add effects like colour correction or add graphics like motion projects I just cannot play back the timeline without stutter.

I guess FCP does not have background rendering or even network rendering but I'm wondering if this is a possibility for a future version??

Imagine one or even two AMD 64-bit pc's (spit) sitting on your network and being able to make them earn a living by rendering your timeline in real time? That would be so cool. I could make up two of these machine for the price of the powerbook but I can't run FCP on them unfortunately.

Anybody got any insights into what may be coming in the next release of FCP???

Just dreaming here while my timeline is rendering....
Thanks
Donie
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Old October 24th, 2004, 01:52 AM   #2
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What exactly do you mean by "background rendering"? As for network rendering... I think you would have to have a special case where this would make sense. The amount of video data you would have to push through the network in order to utilize another machine's processor is pretty intense. Distributed computing usually focuses on small bits of data that need tons of processing such as protein folding or SETI. Apple does have the XGrid software out there, http://www.apple.com/acg/xgrid/ so it is possible for them to do something...

But you would probably need Fibre Channel connecting the machines for it to really work fast. But hey, maybe with Gigabit ethernet and a huge amount of rendering to do it would be worth it? Right now, Apple only offers a solution for accessing huge amounts of storage...

http://www.apple.com/xsan/videoworkflow.html
http://www.apple.com/xserve/cluster/wgcluster.html
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Old October 24th, 2004, 09:07 AM   #3
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How about realtime cards/accelerators?

I'm still running FCP HD on my iMac, but I'm looking forward and thinking of something faster. Canopus has their DV storm and Edius products but there's no mac support. Pinnacle has the Cinewave cards and Matrox is not supporting their RTMac solution for OSX.

Avid has their DNA family of external hardware which can support the powerbook via firewire. This may be the only viable PB solution. I've never seen it in action though. Doesn't say it supports FCP either.

http://www.avid.com/products/dna/mojo/index.asp

Anybody here use RT cards/accelerators on their PowerMac G5s?

IMHO, realtime capability will be a requirement in the near future for new products and it'll be interesting to see what Apple comes up with for FCP. After all, whats the point of doing more if you can't do it faster?
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Old October 24th, 2004, 02:31 PM   #4
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If you're running a laptop, you can use a PCMCIA-PCI adapter from Magma and put a Cinewave hardware acceleration card on it.

It's even better to get a dual processor G5. If you have that there is little point in getting a Cinewave as it doesn't help much. A duallie G5 should be able to push 7-8 streams using apple filters (non-apple filters are not optimized and are slower).

Other than a duallie G5, you can't really make Final Cut go faster. You can export stuff into another program like Combustion, which supports network rendering.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 05:38 PM   #5
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Hi guys

thanks for the response. I really have no intention of buying new gear. I was just hoping to find out if something was coming.

Background rendering is where the effects are rendered in a background thread so while you sit there looking for media etc the mac is rendering the transitions and effects for you. So by the time you want to play the timeline most/some or all of it has been already rendered. This is available in liquid edition on the pc and is a nice feature.

I'm happy to use both pc's and macs to do a job as each have their merits. I would love to be able to run some software on my pc's to allow the mac to hand over processing even if not in real time. Stuff likc colour correction and the like on big projects are a pain.

Anyway, I can live with it, just thinking of what might be possible...

thanks
Donie
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Old October 26th, 2004, 06:21 PM   #6
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Of course, Shake, an Apple product for high-end 2-D effects, and Maya, a 3-D effects package, both have distributed rendering on the Mac using QMaster. This is done across ordinary ethernet networks. QMaster ships with all versions of OS X, so any networked Mac is ready to help these apps. The feature has also just been introduced to Apple's audio app, Logic 7. So it is entirely probable distributed rendering will be a feature of a future version of Final Cut Pro.

You would think that with the processing power of new G5s, background rendering would be possible. Who knows? Liquid offers fewer Real Time Streams than FCP HD, so it is not simply a matter of faster software/hardware.

What will not be brought to Final Cut Pro is the ability to distribute rendering to AMD processors. Apple sells computers (or they used to before the iPod).

In the end, if you want to improve your render speeds, or improve your Real Time playback, don't edit on a PowerBook. That is really the issue with speed.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 06:32 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Duane Martin : In the end, if you want to improve your render speeds, or improve your Real Time playback, don't edit on a PowerBook. That is really the issue with speed. -->>>

Hi Duane

Fair point, but I need to use my powerbook as I travel a lot and in fairness I guess there are better ways to improve speed. I normally work with full resolution so I should really stop doing that. I could log using jpeg I guess and re-log the original footage at the end to help speed things up but I guess i'd be stuck with rendering the whole lot in the end.

thanks for the input and I don't think that apple mightn't develop a render farm for pc's. iTunes is on the pc because not everyone who buys an iPod will have a mac. Not everyone who buy's fcp has a bundle of mac's lying around. Pc's are cheaper per raw unit of power.

Donie
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Old October 26th, 2004, 07:47 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Donie Kelly : Not everyone who buy's fcp has a bundle of mac's lying around. Pc's are cheaper per raw unit of power. -->>>

Point taken. Did I mention Apple sells computers? Yes, Apple made iTunes for PCs, but to sell iPods. Turns out to have been a clever plan. However, Apple is not going to write software (QMaster) for PCs to help sell cheap PCs.

Here is my reasoning (such as it is, little precarious today). Let's take a little trip down memory lane. The only reason Final Cut Pro was bought by Apple is because AVID threatened to drop support for the Mac. Opps, bad move, AVID! Many pro editors did not think much of this concept, and Apple saw an opportunity (and need) to get into the Pro video software market to continue to sell computers. Porting any portion of FCP to anything but a Mac would defeat the purpose, which is not selling software, but rather selling computers.

Want proof of this theory? Look what Apple has done with Shake pricing since they bought the software. The non-Mac support and purchase package costs twice as much as the Mac version! Why do this? Doesn't this scheme harm the sale of Shake? Well, turns out, this is not the point. Pros know they need Shake, and, once again, Apple sells computers.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 07:54 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Duane Martin : Apple sells computers. -->>>

I guess you're right, I'm trying to reason it from a user's perspective rather that from apple's.

Maybe someday I can afford a dual g5 5Ghz... ;)

Donie
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