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Old February 7th, 2009, 06:55 AM   #1
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Bringing my new 8-Core's CPU to its Knees...

I shot and edited a 90-minute HD project in Final Cut Pro (latest version).

(I shot it with 2 Canon XH-A1 cameras and transferred the resultant footage from Mini-DV into FCP via the FireWire port).

At the end of my edit, I exported the 90-minute show to Compressor for encoding onto a DVD (no Blu-Ray burner yet). It took my 2.8 Ghz 8-core Mac Pro about 13 hours to process this task.

Later, I added a few titles and tried to encode it for the iPhone. I let Compressor run all night, and when I checked the next morning, it indicated 20 more hours to go. 20 hours to go!!

Obviously there's a flaw in my workflow. I am seeking the best (and most affordable) solutions (workflow or hardware related) to speed up my encoding process.

Here are my questions:

> Can my Canon XH-A1 output uncompressed HD signals to a FireStore HDD or similar?
> Will working with uncompressed HD in FCP shorten Compressor's processing time?
> Will a Kona card or other dedicated card shorten processing time?
> An Apple salesman indicated to me that the NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 1.5GB (for $2,850.00) would help speed up the coding. Is that true? This isn't a video display or video rendering issue, is it??

What else does this HD newbie need to know?

Many thanks in advance.

Tony
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Old February 7th, 2009, 07:03 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Busto View Post
...I exported the 90-minute show to Compressor for encoding onto a DVD (no Blu-Ray burner yet). It took my 2.8 Ghz 8-core Mac Pro about 13 hours to process this task.
Well, I have the same Mac as you, and it seems about twice as fast as yours! Mine takes about 4x longer than real time to encode from HDV to MPEG-2 for SD-DVD. You're taking 13/1.5 = 8.6x longer than real time.

Have you got much RAM?
Lots of other apps. running?
What sort of drives/interface is your media held on?
Is your Compressor destination different from your media drive? ...from your renders drive? ...your system drive?

I don't believe any cards (graphics or otherwise) will make any different to Compressor rendering times.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 07:06 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Martin Mayer View Post
Well, I have the same Mac as you, and it seems about twice as fast as yours! Mine takes about 4x longer than real time to encode from HDV to MPEG-2 for SD-DVD. You're taking 13/1.5 = 8.6x longer than real time.

Have you got much RAM? Lots of other apps. running?

I don't believe any cards (graphics or otherwise) will make any different to Compressor rendering times.
I had 2 gigs of RAM when I compressed it for DVD the first time. I upgraded to 6 gigs of RAM when I tried to compress it for the iPhone.

BTW, a studio editor told me that unless I'm using software with 64-bit capabilities, adding more than 6 gigs of RAM prolly isn't a good idea.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 07:13 AM   #4
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> Can my Canon XH-A1 output uncompressed HD signals to a FireStore HDD or similar?
Ok, I believe the answer is "no." I should've purchased the XH-G1 (for $3,000 more) if I wanted uncompressed HD output capabilities. (Ouch).

Tony
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Old February 7th, 2009, 08:11 AM   #5
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Lots of other apps. running?
What sort of drives/interface is your media held on?
Is your Compressor destination different from your media drive? ...from your renders drive? ...your system drive?
No. Compressor and FCP were the only apps running at the time.
Footage was captured to 2nd internal SATA drive (7,200 rpm). FCP was running off (1st) main system HDD.
Compressor destination was 3rd internal SATA drive (7,200).

Both SATA drives were 1TB and brand new (ie: empty).
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Old February 7th, 2009, 08:19 AM   #6
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All sounds good to me! Not sure then, why you've got speed issues.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 09:53 AM   #7
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I MAY be completely mistaken on this, but isn't it possible on 8 cores to set up a second virtual machine in Compressor for faster rendering? If memory serves, Compressor doesn't automatically use all available cores.

<<Disclaimer>> This is FAR from expert advice. Just sort of remembering something I could swear I heard/read somewhere. Of course, it could just be the voices in my head...
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Old February 7th, 2009, 10:07 AM   #8
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See if this helps...

Final Cut Studio 2 and 8-core Mac Pro
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Old February 12th, 2009, 12:39 PM   #9
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Ok, I enabled the instances in my Q Master prefs. Enabled segmenting in Compressor. Ran the encoding of my 90-min HD project again for iPhone format.

Yes, it sped up a little. I canceled the run due to time issues, so I'll have to report later. But my CPU analysis showed that I was only using 33% of my CPU capacity.

Not sure why. Why?

Tony
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Old February 18th, 2009, 12:40 AM   #10
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hmmm My 8 core Mac is about 2:1 ratio. For 2 hours of 720p 24fps footage to DVD takes 3 hours and 50 minutes. Often less. I run FCP 5 (studio 1) and have recently upgraded to 6 gigs of memory (used to run with 2 gigs stock) I only get about 5 CPU's running with Compressor. (Studio 1 doesn't have the option to set up a virtual cluster)

When I did some testing with the Canon, the 1080i 24f and 60i were closer to 4:1 render time. My only thought is maybe you have compressor doing some over rendering at the end. Like maybe your frame controls are set to best and perhaps they don't need to be. Things like that.
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