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Old June 21st, 2005, 09:44 AM   #1
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Does FCP have any Hardware I/O Support

I'm looking into Final Cut Pro 5, and if it would be a sound business decision to switch our in house editing over to FCP from Avid on a PC. There are many attractive benefits to switching, but I must ask because I don't know... is there any hardware for improving or assisting FCP in the processing of video such as the Mojo from Avid?

I currently enjoy the added real time support that comes from using a Mojo, and I would hate to switch to FCP only to get "real time" playback via quality and frame rate scaling such as I've read about in FCP literature. If I'm playing back transitions and effects for a client I don't want the picture to go from pristine video to choppy, pixelated dissolves, and effects, such as Premiere Pro does with it's quality and frame rate scaling to enable "real time".

Knowledge on this issue is most welcome.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 04:19 PM   #2
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Hi,

Believe it or not, your Mojo doesn't add any real time to your Avid (as far as I know from everything I have read and seen).

It's just a D-A. Even the Adrenaline BOB (Break Out Box) is just I and O. The DNA acceleration marketing is confusing. The phrase DNA suggests that the computer hands data for multiple streams of video to the Mojo/Adrenaline which then processes and renders them all into a final stream for output.

In fact it acts in exactly the same way as the AJA IO which I describe later. Go into an Avid Adrenaline put 6-8 picture in picture layers of uncompressed on the timeline, then play it. You don't think that all those streams of video are being sent down a single FW400 cable to the BOB do you? It's not technically possible.

All the work is done by the computer not the DNA BOB at all.


Now onto FCP. Just like your Avid/Mojo the acceleration is in fact in the computer CPU. The CPU does all the work and simply hands the final video over to the IO unit.

Without any extra handware, just FCP and a cheap Mac.... (eMac or iMac) If you edit in DV it will give you real time full rez, full quality, full framerate output with hundreds of real time transition on even the cheapest Mac. It'll even give you several streams at once depending on the speed of your storage drives. It simply spits out a DV signal.

Stick an AJA IO on a G5 with fast enough drives and it'll give you multistream 10bit Uncompressed pictures all full rez with loads of real time effects. (I have one of these) All the work is done in the Mac.

There are loads of other IO cards and units for FCP too. AJA make scalable SD HD cards, Blackmagic is very good too I believe. They'll all give you a full rez output. In some cases even in full UC HD.

Of course if you want even more RT you can ask FCP to drop the playback framerate and resolution in areas of the timeline where it can't play full rez etc.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 05:52 PM   #3
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How many streams you get in Final Cut depends on the filter/effect you are adding.
For example:
A dual 2.3ghz can do 5+ gaussian blurs on a DV clip. Gaussian blur is typically very slow... I was pretty surprised to see FCP do so many.
FCP can only do 1 linear or radial blur presumably because those filters aren't as optimized.

The "standard" stuff like cross dissolve, resizing, and color correction* are real-time. I think you will be pretty pleased with Final Cut in that scenario.

*The defocus/blur for the secondary color correction controls is not real-time, but it is a feature not many other programs have.

2- I have never used an Avid so I can't say how it compares. You may find it limited in similar ways- only certain filters and effects are fast.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 06:04 PM   #4
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MOjo increases realtime performance and more. It's more than just a breakout box.

From AVID -

Key features:
DV, S-Video, composite, and optional component (4:2:2) input and output
Simultaneous output of accelerated video and effects to both client monitor and tape
Hardware DV codec frees host computer for additional processing - no matter what your computer's real-time performance, Mojo makes it better
Hardware scaling of draft resolutions provides unsurpassed performance with uncompromised image quality
Add uncompressed graphics and animations to DV25 projects in real time, without re-rendering to lower quality format
Single-cable FireWire connection to laptop and desktop computers
Bi-directional signal flow for monitoring during capture
Avid Mojo and Avid Xpress Pro

Avid Mojo provides much more than simple I/O. Its hardware DV decompressor means that more cycles are available to your computer for other tasks, such as effects processing. That means more real-time effects output and more real-time video streams, simultaneously output to both a broadcast monitor and to tape. Mojo's hardware decoder also scales up draft resolution video for display on a broadcast monitor, providing unsurpassed performance with uncompromised image quality. No matter how strong your computer's real-time performance, Mojo makes it better.

Additional benefits for Avid Xpress Pro HD
Avid Mojo offers additional benefits for Avid Xpress Pro HD software. Its ability to display HD video on an SD monitor is perfect for producers who want to use HD content for SD output, such as standard-definition DVD, as well as producers who want to take advantage of HD capture without having to upgrade every component in the studio at once.

Display HD images on SD monitor
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Old June 21st, 2005, 08:38 PM   #5
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I appreciate everyone's comments. I have to agree with Richard Alvarez, I've worked with many avids, some with Adrenaline, other's with Mojo, and several as software only machines, and there is a definate difference between using a DNA device and not using one. In fact the difference is staggering. However, I must say (in a disappointed tone) there is not a large performance jump between the 1,600US mojo and the 24,000 adrenaline.

If the mac and final cut can perform so extremely well that it is comparable to a PC with a DNA device, then I am still strongly considering the Mac/FCP solution, however I cannot go back to a workflow with less than true real time work flow. I've seen the decklink cards, and the Aja Io, the former being something that really catches my eye. But both of these solutions are only in/out conduits and do not assist in performance.

But with everything I have said, I must say that I do not know enough about Mac's to say that they are not just superior enough when standing alone to rival a DNA enhanced PC.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 08:58 PM   #6
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Rick,

Don't know what you're timeline for making the switch is, but I'm guessing when the NEW mac's come out with the intel chips, there will be a marked improvement in performance speed. SO you might want to hold off for a bit.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 12:29 AM   #7
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I don't think holding off would make sense. With a computer-based system, it probably makes the most sense to upgrade every 2 years. A faster Mac doesn't cost that much in comparison to an Avid system (i.e. Adrenaline).

2- Rick, maybe try getting a demo of Final Cut and trying to recreate one of your projects in it. This way you'd get to see how fast it would be for one of your projects. Places to try:
Apple resellers (i.e. Promax)
User groups - http://fcpugnetwork.org/contacts.html Make friends with people there and mention you are contemplating switching from Avid to FCP.

You may also find that the interface works a lot better for you. The trailer editing houses are now predominantly Final Cut. I am guessing it's because the interface works better for editing effects-heavy work.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 10:10 AM   #8
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Intel Mac's

what is the time table for release of the Intel Macs? and will they really be that much improved over the current 2.7 dual G5's?
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 11:00 AM   #9
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I was convinced I was going to switch to FCP on a dual 2.7 G5, but the more I read about the release of the intel macs, the more I feel I should stick to windows on a dual 3.6ghz Xeon PC.

It sounds like the entire mac product line to date is facing a dead end alley with no support in the future.

If I were to purchase a G5 mac with final cut pro 5 and operating OS X, I would be stuck with final cut pro 5 and OS X Tiger, right? Because all of the software updates and new OS revisions would be for the Intel Mac, correct?

Does the entire Mac product line become legacy products now?
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Last edited by Rick Pearson; June 22nd, 2005 at 12:25 PM.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 08:32 PM   #10
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All new apps will be dual-compiled so that they'll run on both old and new architecture, and in effect, become architechture agnostic. I don't see current macs becoming a dead end - they have too great an installed user base. With my new apps, I'll be developing them to work on both architectures, and I'm sure all other developers will too.

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Old June 23rd, 2005, 08:01 AM   #11
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Dual Compiled

Graeme,

If the new apps will be dual compiled that indeed is great, and hugely comforting news. When I contemplated living with a G5 for 1-2 years and then upgrading again, I was miffed, but still o.k. But when I thought about having to purchase Intel Mac applications like FCP, Adobe creative, again only 1-2 years after purchasing all new Mac software for the G5, well that was just not going to happen.

Any idea, how long after the switch that applications will come dual compiled.
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 08:28 AM   #12
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Actually, it's the other way around. Apps are being dual compiled now, even though people don't have the Macintels to run them on! I think the PPC macs will be supported for quite a while.

Interesting comments on the "mojo" above though. It's not an accellerator in the way that Avid want you to think it is, but yes, it does do some work that the processor would have to do, but it's not terribly significant work in the grand scheme of things. Also, the DtoA and AtoD on the mojo is meant to be very poor indeed, unless they've actually fixed it.....

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Old June 23rd, 2005, 10:12 AM   #13
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Out of the box

If I were to purchase a 2.7 dual G5 today, would I be able to output video to a client monitor and deck at full rez right out of the box, or would I require a seperate card.
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 11:35 AM   #14
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Rick:
DV: firewire to deck to monitor. If you have a professional deck, it should convert from firewire to analog on the fly.
I'm not sure if you need to get a firewire cable... but they're like $12 online.
If you have a broadcast monitor, you should be able to loop through and attach your client monitor to the broadcast monitor. Or use a different connection from your deck, which may output all of composite, S-video, and component.

Other formats may not work like that. Which formats are you looking at?
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