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Old June 15th, 2007, 08:34 AM   #1
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Establishing a functional HDV Toolkit (and 1st step into capture cards)

After reading multiple posts and engaging in this site, I have generated the courage to create my first post!

With the new demands HDV and the recent upgrade to FCS 2, I find my original G5 (purchased in 2003) struggling to keep up, especially in Motion 3 (3D) and w/ real time playback attempts in final cut pro (e.g. > 1-2 filters or w/ keying subjects w/ Matte filter for reflecmedia). Of course the demands of SD > HD, but I'm at a crossroad regarding how to adapt my system to work in HD as I did in SD (at least managabily) - specifically in Motion (among the other apps as well).

Option 1:
Upgrade the RAM within the machine to max out at 8 GB and/or upgrade the video card (note: i have the default video card still in the G5 from '03).

Option 2:
New Apple Dual 2.5 (Intel Xeon). Ouch. A possibility, but would like to hold out a little longer if possible.

I'm not certain which option makes the most sense - and of course would be most cost-effective for the impact gained for the investment. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

-------------

I'm also looking to get into the capture card game (e.g. Kona cards). I've seen a few threads regarding what the investment buys you - but I've only worked w/ firewire in the past. What is the benefit from a workflow standpoint (real-time HDV monitoring or capturing from different sources)?

Setup:
Apple Dual 2.0 GHz G5 original, 4 GB RAM (8 slots) | Apple 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM, Final Cut Studio 2, Canon XH-A1, Rode Shotgun Mic, Reflecmedia Chromaflex, Lowel Rifa Kit
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Old June 15th, 2007, 09:34 AM   #2
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Hardware Upgrade?

Hi Brandon:

I have recently suffered the same dilemma with my G5 dual 2.7ghz machine, 1TB, 2gigs ram and stock AGP ati video card.

First of all, if your machine is AGP, and by its age I assume that it is, finding an appropriate video card for upgrade purposes will prove to be a frustrating quest. I have made numerous phone calls to dealers whose internet ads alleged the availability of video cards only to be told that their ads were ancient. Well, I will not bore you with the remaining details but the end result was the purchase of a new 3ghz dual quad mac with the NVidia Quadro FX 4500 video card, G-speed 3TB FC RAID system, 4 gigs ram, etc. The difference in function between the two machines (old vs new) is astounding. Although I have only had the machine for one week, the speed improvement for FCP Studio 2, Shake 4.1 and various animating packages amounts to nothing less than a quantum leap.
Although I will continue to use the old machine for less taxing tasks, i.e. photoshop and various other photofinishing processess, it will be hard to tear me away from the new one.

Although economics may play a significant role in your decision making process, in my opinion, your dollars would be best spent on new hardware rather than trying to resuscitate your old machine.

As for capture cards, my G5 has a Kona LH which I have been quite happy with but was disappointed to find that it was not compatible with the intel Mac's Pcie configuration. Moving it from one machine to another amounted to buying the Kona, with the exception of the breakout box, all over again. It was for that reason that I opted for the BlackMagic Extreme for the new machine. The BM's electronics are contained withing the breakout box and changing the Pcie card
amounts to a minimal investment, should that ever be necessary. Furthermore, from my perspective, the BM has more to offer than the Kona LH or Le but that may turn out to be an personal choice related to your individual requirements.

Good luck in your decision making process.

Best regards.
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Old June 16th, 2007, 08:25 AM   #3
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I was afraid of that answer ...

Ronald,

First of all, thanks the reply. It is appreciated.

Indeed, I was afraid you'd say what I had always thought, but perhaps there was a possibility of the "resuscitation" you mentioned.

However, I am intrigued and encouraged by the fact that you say the improvement is astounding. With that understood, is there any briefing you can provide on two hardware choices you made? (1) what the capture cards (Kona or BM you discussed) gain as an editor/producer? (2) I'm familiar with RAID as a redundant storage device, but the "G-Speed" 3 terabyte deal is new to me as well. I will do some research, but in the meantime I thought I'd ask.

Again, your thoughts and insights are appreciated...

--Brandon
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Old June 16th, 2007, 10:17 AM   #4
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Hardware choices

Hi Brandon:

I will try to answer your questions but bear in mind that there are others on this forum who are more knowledgeable than I but, with that said, here goes:

The G-Speed is a product of "G-Speed Technology," a maker of many different types of media storage devices. I chose their 3TB Fiber Channel system for its reliability, warranty and flexibility (the ability to configure the device in various RAID formats ... I chose RAID 5) and have been very happy with the device and the company itself. For a discussion of RAID devices, advantages and so on, you might do a search on this BBS.

As for the differences between the Kona and the BlackMagic, the most obvious are:
1. BM has its "On-Air" software that allows for real time direct monitoring of camera output.
2. BM provides for a continuous USB connection to the host computer that permits easy retrieval of its eventual firmware-software updates, among other functions, whereas, Kona requires that you manually check with their website for any updates and then manually install them.
3. Kona's electronics are contained on their PCI-X or PCie card which represents the major cost of the system itself, whereas BM's electronics are located in their breakout box (in the case of the "Extreme") requiring only a small and inexpensive interface card for the host computer. This is a big boon for anyone desiring to move the system from one machine to another.
4. The BM Extreme allows for both HDMI and DVI output ... Kona LH, LHe do not, however, both do provide for SDI in and out.


I am sure that there are differences on both sides that I have not yet discovered but from a functional perspective either one will do an admirable job of capture.

I hope that I have answered your questions but if not, a trip to either the Kona or Black Magic web sites should serve to fill in the blanks.

Ron
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Old June 16th, 2007, 03:36 PM   #5
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Brandon,

it took me some time to get answer to the same question as you face.
Finally I have kept my dual 2Ghz G5 for the time being and it works fine.
Here is how it looks:
6Gb RAM (generic modules), ATI Radeon X800XT Mac Edition videocard http://ati.amd.com/products/radeonx8...tme/index.html

I can use Motion 3 with this setup, edit HDV in FCP6 flawless - although Compressor for the final output might not be as fast as on the Intel Macs, but I can use the nights for rendering.
Regarding capture cards: I see that you use HDV, so unless you want direct capture of the footage on your Mac (means the Mac always should be with you wherever you take your shots), capture cards are useless or unnecessary.
This setup may not give you the option of monitoring, however the 2nd monitor output from the video card might be used for this, I have not tried it though. You may even find a DVI-HDMI adaptor to connect your plasma or HDMI monitor.

My next step would be a Sony XDCAM EX - using solid state media for recording, so I can dump the footage to a hard drive and transfer it to the G5 from that without capture card. I would rather spend money on the cam, as editing XDCAM format shall not require more processing power than HDV.

Then...maybe once 16 or 32 core Macs will be out, I will invest in one..:) And I think I dont have to wait too long before they pop up.

You may want to wait at least until October when Leopard will be available, and see what hardware Apple will come out with. It also makes sense to check Intel about the progress of new chip development.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 07:35 PM   #6
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X800 Mac Edition

Zsolt,

Thanks so much for the insight. I am definitely on the brink of the new machine, but from the sounds of it the new graphics card would be of benefit. I actually called ATI and the Radeon X800 ME is on backorder. I'm not quite certain where to grab one, but I will likely do so very soon.

Again, your thoughts are appreciated, and if you have any more thoughts, I'm always open.

Best regards,

--Brandon
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Old June 20th, 2007, 02:01 PM   #7
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X800Xt

Hi Brandon:

Prior to purchasing my new dual quad I had done some fairly extensive research into obtaining the above mentioned video card. My search included a phone call to ATi and I was told the same thing, "it's on back order." However, I was also informed that they have no idea if and when the card will be available. That statement alone was enough for me to suspect that they may be holding off on production until they determine that there is sufficient demand ... whatever that means!
You might find one on Ebay but my research revealed that all those available were used and pulled from various machines, making such a purchase precarious at best. I even looking into several NVidia cards but they were not available either. So, if you find a source for an upgrade card (new) for the standard 9650, I would be interested in hearing about it as I still have use for my Dual 2.7ghz G5.

Good luck in your quest,
Ron
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Old June 21st, 2007, 08:24 AM   #8
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For budget video card upgrades, there's alternative methods to get cards working in AGP Macs:

http://strangedogs.proboards40.com/

http://themacelite.com/forums/
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Old June 21st, 2007, 08:55 AM   #9
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Budget AGP?

Hi Mark:

Thank you for the suggestion.

One of your links requires membership for entry but the forum link took me to a site where they discussed an OEM Ati 9000 card with 64mb ram, however, I believe that such a card would be a significant downgrade from the standard ATi 9650 that was offered with the dual G5's, both because of its limited on board memory and the suggestion that it is not AGP 8 compatible, whereas, the G5 is. So, I suspect that those of us who retain such machines will have to make do with what we have. The ATi 9650 is quartz compatible and as such runs FCP 5.1.4 and Shake 4.1 without a hiccup and will probably do the same for FCP 6 ,although, I am not as confident when it comes to the newly added "color."
Thanks again for your input.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 10:17 AM   #10
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Yeah it might be out of date - I last frequented strangedogs site 2006 to get a G4 500DP Gbit to run FCP5, I put in a Radeon 9800 PRO 128MB.

I'm not really up on all the AGP cards, but was more referring to 256MB cards such as 9800Pro, GeF7300GS, X800/850 as listed here:

http://strangedogs.wikispaces.com/COMPATIBILITY
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Old June 21st, 2007, 11:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Wilk View Post
Hi Brandon:

3. Kona's electronics are contained on their PCI-X or PCie card which represents the major cost of the system itself, whereas BM's electronics are located in their breakout box (in the case of the "Extreme") requiring only a small and inexpensive interface card for the host computer. This is a big boon for anyone desiring to move the system from one machine to another.
4. The BM Extreme allows for both HDMI and DVI output ... Kona LH, LHe do not, however, both do provide for SDI in and out.

Ron
Ron, are you talking about the BM MultiBridge.
The reason I ask is that the BM Extreme seems to be the Decklink HD Extreme card (I believe) which has a breakout cable (not box) and only has SDI HD output and no HDMI capability.

The MultiBridge box is a breakout box that plugs into a PCI card which is onboard the computer. Although the MultiBridge Pro has HDMI out it doesn't posess HDMI in. The MultiBridge Eclipse does offer both HDMI in and out however.
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 01:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Michael Liebergot View Post
The MultiBridge Eclipse does offer both HDMI in and out however.
And a price tag for an extra HDMI in printed by some thick face!
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Old June 22nd, 2007, 04:45 PM   #13
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Black Magic

Hi Michael:

Sorry about the misunderstanding but yes, you are correct, I was referring to the Multibridge Extreme and it does indeed have DVI and HDMI output. And as one other poster mentioned, it is more costly than the Kona LH or Le but depending upon your needs, it may have more to offer. As I mentioned in a prior post, I have and use both the B/M Multibridge Extreme and the Kona LH and am happy with both but there are differences, the import of which is a rather personal matter.
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