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Old March 16th, 2008, 09:36 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Steve Kahn View Post
But, to be quite honest I don't really care if rendering time is a little longer or shorter. I just need a robust system to get the job done (editing HD (up to 4K) shorts and features).

Then the question is what is the best bang for your buck system to get? What brand, sound card, video card etc for a $1000 system?

(also, side note, do I need raid drives?)

Thanks!
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What exactly are we trying to do here? You should name your requirements, you'll get better advice. No body has yet touched the 4K issue yet here, among the other questions you posted.

I'm not aware of Final Cuts ability to scale up to 4K resolution, and I'm centain Vegas can't even touch any project beyond HDV (unless you buy NeoHD). The cost associated with higher than HD resolutions is astronomical. Add in about $10k for storage, $8k for capture card, $5k for video card and you get the picture. You can do 2k res with CS3, if you're willing to bank the system. Go check out the cineform forums and learn about it.

If you're doing HD work, you absolutely need to buy a raid. This was the first upgrade I made to my SD machine in hopes of going hd. If you're staying PC, Adobe CS3 is way more scalable and compatible with formats, tethered with cineform prospect, than vegas. What ever program you choose, look at their website and pick the hardware that they support. You'll probably end up running a quardroFX vid card for PC. For sound cards I like the M-Audio, as they sound way better than any Sound Blaster card and I haven't found any driver conflicts. For my raid, I went internal (but hot swappable) with a four drive SATA array with a highpoint technologies card.

I hope this helps.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 01:52 AM   #32
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What exactly are we trying to do here? You should name your requirements, you'll get better advice. No body has yet touched the 4K issue yet here, among the other questions you posted.

I'm not aware of Final Cuts ability to scale up to 4K resolution, and I'm centain Vegas can't even touch any project beyond HDV (unless you buy NeoHD). The cost associated with higher than HD resolutions is astronomical. Add in about $10k for storage, $8k for capture card, $5k for video card and you get the picture. You can do 2k res with CS3, if you're willing to bank the system. Go check out the cineform forums and learn about it.
Planning to shoot a short film in mid summer on the Red Camera at 4k.

I know, or to be more precise, I have read that Red has partnered with FCP and that editing 4k is not a problem on that system. I have also tersely ran over the prices of mac vs pc and mac is about 3x more expensive - for what is really hard to say.

So, yes, FCP does edit 4k. What other systems do as well?
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Old March 17th, 2008, 09:11 AM   #33
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An unfair comparison

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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
I switched to Mac's last year and have never looked back.

I was fed up with having to worry about how my computer was configured. I wanted to buy a computer, put in an I/O card, add a raid array and to edit. I've been building PC for years and they have worked.. after a fashion. The Mac was a revelation. I purchased a 4 core mac-pro, a decklink HD extreme card and threw 3 new sata drives in the slots in the computer. I installed the drivers and software which was simplicity itself. I now have a very capable HD edit suite with just about every flavor of input and output and it's worked perfectly from day 1. That's it, no messing about, it works and works well. No Fuss, no hassle and Mac's are a nice touchy-feely experience. I enjoy switching my mac on.
When you bought a quad core MAC, you basically bought an editing workstation! There is no way you can compare that with PCs you build with parts coming from the four winds...

Buy a factory built Avid or Edius PC workstation and compare THOSE to the MAC - be fair.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 09:45 AM   #34
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Since you mentioned it:http://www.red.com/cameras/workflow

Here is the workflow posted by Red for final cut. To me, their explanation seems a bit over simplified. But yes, FCP definitely isn't editing 4k files, but rather quick time reference movies, outputing to ProRes (which is 10bit 1920x1080 not 12bit 4k raw). There might be a way to conform a final edit with the 4k raw files, and I would really like to read about it.

Right now, if you are looking for an online 4k workflow (and even a lot of hollywood DPs aren't), then you need to look past FCP and onto a discreet box. There are some other high end systems that can online 4k, but I assure you they are out of your budget as a freelancer.

Look at cineforms site (these guys have an online 2K 12bit workflow for CS3) and check out their red one workflow. Do as much research as you can into workflow consideration, FCP might work for you, but you may be kicking your self down the road if you make a snap decission based on what a computer salesperson has said.

Also, I don't get the whole Mac vs PC debate here. For me, they pretty much do the same thing with the same level of complexity (I.E. stability). My current P4 system is the most stable I have ever worked on. Also, we had 12 macbook pros on a sailing video workshop, and everything worked flawlessly, disregarding the fact that one of the escape keys broke off.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 05:17 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
When you bought a quad core MAC, you basically bought an editing workstation! There is no way you can compare that with PCs you build with parts coming from the four winds...

Buy a factory built Avid or Edius PC workstation and compare THOSE to the MAC - be fair.
Any desktop Apple (or any manufacturer) can build, you can build yourself stronger, faster, better, and for less money. But you have to know what to buy; you cannot base your decisions on manufacturer claims or regional availability. You also have to be a smart user. I haven't had to run antivirus, anti-spam, firewall, windows update, or any of that junk since 2000 because I don't click on the CLICK HERE NOW!!! e-mail attachments. In turn, my system runs much faster and doesn't crash. Apples are more idiot-proof, but you pay big $$ for that protection.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 09:08 PM   #36
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True words Jad. Even if you purchase a well built and dedicated edit station, you have to resist the temptation to install additional software or mess with the settings. Even something as innocent as allowing automatic updates of any software (and not just the OS anymore), can wreck havoc on what was otherwise a well running system the day before.

If you surf with or use you edit station as the office machine, expect issues down the road.

4K is the current holy grail and has yet to reach the budgets of most freelancers. However, I spoke with a new rep from BOXX, whom was calling around to introduce himself, and he mentioned that some customers were not looking forward to making a switch to Macs in order to work with RED at 4k. So I got the sense that something new must be brewing with BOXX as a PC solution. Even so, if true, it won't be cheap.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 10:03 PM   #37
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4K is the current holy grail and has yet to reach the budgets of most freelancers. However, I spoke with a new rep from BOXX, whom was calling around to introduce himself, and he mentioned that some customers were not looking forward to making a switch to Macs in order to work with RED at 4k. So I got the sense that something new must be brewing with BOXX as a PC solution. Even so, if true, it won't be cheap.
The more I've looked into the Red post workflow the more that camera scares me.

I like that camera for the super 35mm cmos chip and thus the ability to use prime lenses and all that goes with that game.

And, even if I shoot at 4k I'm not all that interested in 4:4:4 "raw" (and I don't think most filmmakers would be at the expense of having unmanageable file sizes.)

The real winner for me would be to obtain compressed 4k files that I could online edit.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 08:58 AM   #38
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Hey Steve,

I'd really look to running Cineform Prospect 2k, which will give you the ability to work with a resolution wich is pretty close to the digital projection standard. On Adobe CS3 of course. Also, just because you shot at 4k raw, doesn't mean you need an online workflow that accept that. Remeber that star wars and Superman were both shot at 1920x1080. If you want to go the Final Cut route, transcode to prores and do your edit that way.

Either way, the red camera is going to provide you with better sharper images than any 35mm adapter will. I wouldn't write off using this camera just yet. The workflows are out there.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 11:39 PM   #39
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Agreed. Don't worry about the camera. There's nothing wrong with having the highest resolution possible at the aquistion level, (many of us purchased HD camera's early on, even if we intended to output to SD). There's so much more you can do with the extra data, and you don't have to be 4k, or even 2k (in terms of SD for instance), throughout the pipeline. I can only emagine that a 4k image, down converted to 2k would be much sharper an original than a 2k aquisition.

Cineform 2k is an ideal tool for visually lossless compression that can be easily handled by todays workstations, has cross platform compatibility without extra license, and a team of dedicated developers whom are constantly improving that tool with almost weekly updates. Frankly, it was the only way I could get anything of HD done in PPro CS2 and CS3.

Read up on their white papers, and give the demo a try.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 11:53 PM   #40
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As far as 4k is concerned just remember that most DIs are still done in 2k. Working effectively with 4k requires massive infrastructure that's beyond desktop capabilities.

I think there is a limitation in FCP as far 4k is concerned but I'm not 100% sure. Color (as in "Color" application) is limited to 2k.

FCP on an 8 core Mac can play back RED camera proxies in 2K. In order to achieve this resolution is dropped on the fly. This is to say that although you can play back 2k files in real time, the quality is degraded somewhat.

This limits VFX usability of such setup.

On the subject of PC vs. Mac workstation, neither machine is inferior. Some high end softwares like Avid DS or Assimilate Scratch run only on PC. But you can't compare an 8 core mac with a DIY windows machine put together out of old parts. Look at the benchmarks for top HP or BOXX machines compared to a top of the line Mac.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 10:21 AM   #41
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Look at the benchmarks for top HP or BOXX machines compared to a top of the line Mac.
Look at the prices too. The HP machine on the same level as the mac pro is way more configurable and thus can become way more expensive than the mac. (Gee, I'll take the dual vid cards, 64gigs of ram, etc.)

Do this, go to both websites (mac and hp), configure similar systems and tell me that pcs cost less than macs. The xw8600 HP machine is about the same hardware for about the same price, designed to do about the same kind of work (maybe more).
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 02:19 PM   #42
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.. go to both websites (mac and hp), configure similar systems and tell me that pcs cost less than macs.
I did, and they do. I configured identical, near top of the line systems from both Dell (okay, not HP) and Apple, and the Mac was about $2000 more than the Dell, configured as equally as was possible. Going to a local builder I ended up with a price about $3000 below the Dell, and about half of what the Mac would have cost -- which allowed me to add a huge RAID array.

Depends on the system and what you want to do, I guess.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 05:49 PM   #43
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thats funny, cause the HP is about $1400 more than the mac, and so is the dell that I just priced out, though you have the option of a single processor with the dell and the HP if you like. Are you counting monitors, cause I was pricing out just the box, nothing else. I'm going to put forth more research towards this end. Pricing out similar workstaions it seems that a Mac Pro packs some serious value/performance. I'm up in the air on the whole mac vs pc issue myself, and to be honest, a little annoyed by the whole debate. You really can't compare a Compusa pc with a macpro, not in the same class. Price out similar workstations and compare. (I guess to be fair a turnkey adobe system is about $1500 less than a turnkey final cut system).

I'll also note that I dumped about $2300 into my PC just on storage, memory, a new monitor and an external optical drive, for all you DIYers out there.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 08:45 PM   #44
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You really can't compare a Compusa pc with a macpro, not in the same class. Price out similar workstations and compare.
As I said, I did. The best config I could get that was nearly identical for both on their websites at the time was Dual Xeons (5460?), 4GB RAM, 4x1TB HDD, a decent video card, and the 30" monitor.

Total Price: Mac Pro about $10K, Dell about $8K, Local Builder about $5K. Prices may have changed since a couple of months ago when I was pricing systems.

I have no dog in this fight -- I don't know or care which is "better," but I'm just reporting the facts. I'm sure there are config combinations where the Mac is cheaper than the PC, but I haven't seen them.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 10:49 PM   #45
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problem is you cannot compare 2 machines (even if both are PC) just by the parts.
it would be like considering cars performance just by their parts list.
in PC world i can put the same processore on a 60$ motherboard as well as on a 300$ one. Apple is not better since they are not building any parts you can find in their products, but they reach a high level of quality by merging ideas, hardware and software in a tight way.
This is often problem but also the warranty of a working product.
There is probably a price tag on this.
On the other hand, you can reach the same level for less money with carefully choosen PC Parts and software, but due to the huge choice available (and among it,the large crap found), you really must be experienced in this domain. Usually, it takes me months to fine tune a PC.
Personally i would go for a PC with premiere and cineform, because this domain (hd editing) is currently a changing world and i would feel more confident in a machine that is open for change.
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