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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old October 6th, 2004, 07:54 PM   #1
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I need software/hardware capable of THIS QUALITY

Hello.

I am making a tv program with a very low budget but with the highest quality as posible. Right now we are shooting in mini DV and editing with Vegas video.

We are getting very good results. However, as there is no hardware aceleration, editing takes veeeery long time because we use a lot of color correction, crops, and tracks with effects.

It is going to be very hard doing it like this. So i wonder what could we buy with little money.

Here are some captured frames from BBC´s Top Gear. This is the kind of image we are making. As you see very dramatic, with gradients in the sky...

http://www.macgregorcorp.com/topgear/topgear.htm


They probably use a &60,000 hardware editing tool which we cannot afford. So what do you people recomend me?

thanks!
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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:19 PM   #2
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With Vegas, you can setup network rendering nodes.

Check with the Sony Vegas forum on that (at the Sony site).

http://mediasoftware.sonypictures.co....asp?ForumID=4

At best, network rendering will speed up your render by the total number of renderers you have. However, there's overhead involved in the process and the render load is not distributed evenly so you can see less performance.

2- Other programs like Commotion can use network rendering. I don't think it's much faster, and I don't know how easily you can go from Vegas to Commotion.

Premiere Pro has HW acceleration, but no secondary color corrector.

FCP with a dual processor G5 is decently fast... but only with the stock apple filters (i.e. the excellent 3-way color corrector). Not sure where the curves filter is in FCP.

3- With Vegas:
Fastest renderer for complicated renders is an overclocked single processor system. Processor speed and render time have close to a linear relationship, so a 4.0ghz processor is about 2X faster than a 2.0ghz processor.

Prescotts render about 6% faster than the same clock speed Canterwood/Northwood processor, but they don't overclock as well and are hotter (more noise, higher electricity bills / total cost of ownership).

If you don't know how to overclock then I don't recommend you do it as it can/does cause instability. If you do it properly then you won't get instability, but that requires a few days of testing (maybe like several hours of button pushing where you have to be using the computer).

An overclocked computer won't be significantly faster unfortunately.

You can buy prebuilt overclocked computers from go-l.com, but those are ridiculously expensive.

4- With Vegas you can open multiple instances, so render with one and edit on the other. If you have a dual Xeon workstation this would work a little smoother.

You can copy/paste parts of one project to render if you'd like.

5- You can find ways to have filters do the same effect but with less rendering time.

6- Use good quality, not best.

To me, it looks like you should stick with vegas and do:
A- Get a dual Xeon computer. One can be had for ~$2600 in the States, depending on options.
B- Get a bunch of render nodes. I think you can get a 3.0ghz render node (Prescott) for ~$1000, but I just made that number up and didn't actually price stuff out.

If you can wait, Dell will eventually have a hot deal on a low-midrange system (~ 2.6ghz Pentium). Celeron Ds are slow, Celerons even slower. I'd avoid them. Camp on hot deals sites in your country. You might also want to shell out for gigabit ethernet if that helps render times.

C- some combination of A and B.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:29 PM   #3
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Ummm, can vegas work with dual xeon processors? i do not have that, but i could try to buy a dual 3 Ghz xeon. Would it be as a single 6 Ghz processor in terms such as render times?

Also to render in network, i suppose i would need a very fast ethernet connection, right? mmmmm

Just think that a 6 minutes video took over 3 hours to render. That is too much.

Also one of the worst problems actually is not the render time BUT the preview screen. Having all this image adjustments only give me about 3 or 4 fps at half preview quality. I cannot work well with that, so again i need to make previews. So again more time is consuming.

I think a low price system as matrox would not help at all, beacuse this types of cards just work with a couple filters in real time.

Overclonking is not the answer. It will only give little more speed.

So again, to make my point clear. THe big problem here is that i cannot see what i do properly in the preview screen.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:48 PM   #4
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A dual processor system in your case (30:1 ratio between render time and footage time) would render like a single processor machine.
i.e. a dual 3.06ghz xeon will render very similar in speed to a 3.06"B" pentium (which is about equivalent to a 2.8ghz Presscott)

However you could work away at something else while rendering without affecting the other instance of Vegas rendering away in the background.

Quote:
Also to render in network, i suppose i would need a very fast ethernet connection, right? mmmmm
Normal ethernet can hit around 8-11MB/s, depending on which ethernet controllers you are using (intel and 3com tend to be better) and whether you're using a switch.

For what you do I think normal ethernet should be fine.

2-
Quote:
Also one of the worst problems actually is not the render time BUT the preview screen.
I'm not too sure what can help. You could try disabling unnecessary layers and filters, which is relatively easy in Vegas with the mutes+solo buttons and right click-->disabled/enable all.

3- What kind of system do you have now?
Which processor?
Which chipset on the motherboard?
Is your RAM running in dual channel mode? (You need RAM in pairs of the same model RAM, and a chipset that supports dual channel)
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Old October 6th, 2004, 08:57 PM   #5
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Sorry, i did no quite well understood this phrase.

"A dual processor system in your case (30:1 ratio between render time and footage time) would render like a single processor machine.
i.e. a dual 3.06ghz xeon will render very similar in speed to a 3.06"B" pentium (which is about equivalent to a 2.8ghz Presscott)"

Do you mean that a dual PC won´t make the render faster but i would still be able to work with another instance of vegas perfectly?

Why don´t they summ up the speed of processors?

My PC right now is not the newest machine in the world. At work i had many different computers, 2 Ghz dual xeon, one single 2,8 pc... Working in all of them you see differences in render times, but there is not a huge difference in the previewing.

I don want to mute video tracks, because then i don´t see the final image i get which is important.

The network render is an excellent option which i didn´t consider. Thanks!

Now the problem to solve is the preview as i said.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 09:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Do you mean that a dual PC won´t make the render faster but i would still be able to work with another instance of vegas perfectly?
Sorry, let me try to clarify...

In Vegas:
One processor handles all the video rendering.
The other handles DV decoding/encoding and all the audio processing.

In most scenarios, the other processor gets almost no work and idles most of the time. In your case, the other processing will only be working a few percent of the time. This means dual Xeons will essentially behave like it had no second processor.

*Some Intel processors have hyperthreading. Think of it as Intel's party trick that gets one processor to do the work of two. In windows, a hyperthreading processor will show up as two processors. If a hyperthreading processor is doing the work two processors would normally be doing, it's ~20% faster than a non-hypertheading processor.

**If you have a Xeon system, you can check things out by bringing up task manager (crtl alt del) and clicking on the performance tab. Loop your project in the background or render with it. You can see how much your processors are being used.

Back to your question:
[ir]Do you mean that a dual PC won´t make the render faster but i would still be able to work with another instance of vegas perfectly?[/i]
If you have a dual processor PC then you will be able to work with another instance of Vegas well. It will be slightly slower than normal because both processors share the front side bus and the hard drive. I don't have a dual Xeon system to play with so I don't know if this slowdown is meaningful.
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Old October 6th, 2004, 09:25 PM   #7
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So what do you think would be best to buy?

- a dual xeon PC to edit and render (ie 2.8 dual) and one single precessor PC to render (ie another 2,8)
- 3 single processor PCs (ie 2.8 Ghz each)to edit and render

I assume they both will have similar prices and that preview would be the same.

By the way, what is a presscot processor? ;-D
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Old October 6th, 2004, 11:17 PM   #8
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If you have a dual xeon and a 2.8ghz at work, you can play around with network rendering and working with 2 instances of Vegas. You should be able to figure out what's good.

Presscott processor: Of the Pentium processors, there are many versions.
A, B, C, and E.
A=400FSB (400mhz front side bus- faster is better)
B= 533FSB. The 3.06ghz one has hyperthreading. AKA banias. Has northwood core.
C= same as B except with hyperthreading and 800FSB. AKA canterwood. Has northwood core.
E= like C except:
also has hyperthreading, 800FSB
uses more electricity, runs hotter
longer pipeline - makes it slower
more cache (1MB vs 512kb) - makes it faster
Has Prescott core.

So, there are differences between the Pentium processors that means a Pentium 2.4ghz"B" is not the same speed as the other versions at the same clock speed. As far as the speed differences go you have to look at relevant benchmarks (i.e. for Vegas, it's rendertest.veg).
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Old October 7th, 2004, 07:29 AM   #9
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Hi glenn.

Would you know where can i see becnhmarks of different processors?

I checked out at dell and for example i can get a
Intel® Celeron® D 325 (2.53 GHz, 256 MB cache, 533 MHz FSB for just €300, but choosing a Intel® Pentium® 4 with HT (3.0 GHz, 1 MB cache, 800 MHz FSB) wil cost exactly twice.

I´m sure the non celeron will go faster, but we are talking that we can have TWO pcs for the price of one, rendering together in the network, and having each one 512 Mb of RAM and a 80 Gb hard disc.

Other option is to go for an Intel® Pentium® 4 (2.80 GHz, 512 KB L2 cache, 533 MHz FSB) with same specifications as above but INCLUDING monitor for about €500


What would you go for? I am completely lost!
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Old October 7th, 2004, 07:58 AM   #10
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If you are interested, check in to AVID XpressDV with the Mojo. Up to five realtime streams out. Cost of the software and the Mojo, right now I think, is just under three grand. (This comes with a complete version of BORIS , worth about a grand on its on anyway)

Of course, you would have to learn a new interface, so that might not be your cup of tea. On the other hand, whatever you cut on XPress pro, can be taken into a high end Avid and finished off there.

Without the MOJO, you still get realtime previews on your computer, and depending on your setup, also on your ntsc monitor. No dropping frames. (Avid drops fields instead of frames, this is one of the differences compared to Vegas)


www.avid.com
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Old October 7th, 2004, 08:23 AM   #11
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Yes, the problem resides in that AVID DV express sucks when you want to work fast and doing lots of effects.

Also, in vegas we can do also the sound editing and compresion with extraordinary quality. With avid i would need also a protools.

I found avid very usefull when doing a very simple editing, just cuts and crossfades, but try to do some big image adjustments and it will take you much more time to do it compared to vegas.

(When i say time i mean your human time, not PC render time, which i am sure, avid with mojo is quite good)
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Old October 7th, 2004, 09:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Would you know where can i see becnhmarks of different processors?

I checked out at dell and for example i can get a
Intel® Celeron® D 325 (2.53 GHz, 256 MB cache, 533 MHz FSB for just €300, but choosing a Intel® Pentium® 4 with HT (3.0 GHz, 1 MB cache, 800 MHz FSB) wil cost exactly twice.

I´m sure the non celeron will go faster, but we are talking that we can have TWO pcs for the price of one, rendering together in the network, and having each one 512 Mb of RAM and a 80 Gb hard disc.

Other option is to go for an Intel® Pentium® 4 (2.80 GHz, 512 KB L2 cache, 533 MHz FSB) with same specifications as above but INCLUDING monitor for about €500


What would you go for? I am completely lost!
Dell only has hot deals when they offer a nice combination of specials.
The best special is free shipping, as whatever they charge now is (way) overpriced. It costs like 10GBP for them to ship. Without free shipping it's not a good deal.

Double your RAM is also good if you were looking for a home computer (you want 256MB minimum for a home computer, and the RAM upgrade is normally overpriced). For a render node the amount of RAM won't matter.

Extra HDD and CD-RW only costs Dell about 5GBP and aren't that good specials.

I think a 'white box' computer from a local computer store would be a better idea. You can get a more powerful processor in there. Get a Sis chipset motherboard with on-board graphics to save a little money versus Intel 865G chipset motherboard. Avoid ECS and PCChips.

Everything else you can/should cut corners on to save cost, with the exception of the power supply for the computer- Antec cases come with good power supplies and are excellent value. There should be a local shop that would custom build a system like that for you. However, you need to factor in the cost of Windows (which is a big advantage for Dell).

*This information applies to Canada. I'm not sure how the prices and product availability are in Great Britain, although I am assuming things are the same.

Performance-wise, Pentium >> Celeron "D" >> normal Celeron (128kb cache, 1/4th that of a real Pentium; also slower FSB)
In most benchmarks, a real Pentium is ~2X faster than the equivalent clock speed normal Celeron. This may not apply for video/Vegas though. Maybe someone at the Sony Vegas forum has a Celeron system who could bench rendertest.veg.

xbitlabs.com, anandtech.com, hardocp.com are good sites. They only really relevant benchmark (for video editing) they do is MPEG2 encoding (Mainconcept encoder) though.

If you don't want to do any waiting, a white box computer will give you reasonable pricing with just the parts you need (fast processor, everything else go cheap). Pentium 2.8E/3.0E/3.2E(/3.4E) processors seem to be the processor you want based on price/performance.

€500 should be able to buy you a white box render node, but I don't know the pricing in your country. You may need to wait a day for them to assemble and drop a deposit while they do so. I have no idea which computer shops are reasonably priced and give good service and support. I would get them to install Windows Home as it will catch glaring problems.

2- You probably don't need a monitor.

Either:
A- Get a KVM switch and hook up your render nodes that way (share 1 monitor).
B- Use UltraVNC or any of the VNC variants. It's a remote desktop solution. This will not work while you are installing Windows since you need Windows installed first to run UltraVNC.
C- Manually move the monitor cable around. It's not too much work.
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Old October 8th, 2004, 09:11 PM   #13
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I think your solution is to switch to something that does realtime editing.

I'm running such a system and I hardly ever wait for anything to render unless I've got 4 streams of video all with filters and 3D transitions. It is a 6 year old DVRexRT with some of Canopus' latest software.

A $1200 Canopus Storm with Edius would give you as much quality as there is in DV and do it in real time. I'm not real certain of prices with Edius but it is in the neighborhood. Checkout [rul]www.canopus.com[/url] for more information. A demo version of the software is available. The software will also run without their hardware but not as the highest speeds for obvious reasons.

I'm running a single 3.2 ghz HT processor in an Asus motherboard with 1 gig of memory. No need for multiple processors or multiple computers.

Fast, reliable and there just is no higher quality. Edius just got 4 out of 5 stars in a recent editorial review in Video Systems.

There are several other RT solutions out there I believe. Including the $1,000 add-ons to make FCP run real time.

Did I mention that Edius with the Canopus hardware does color correction in real time?
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Old October 9th, 2004, 06:46 AM   #14
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Thanks mike. What about matrox or pinnacle?
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Old October 9th, 2004, 12:46 PM   #15
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Having had their products (not the current products) and having suffered their amazing lack of support I stay away from them.

I was reeling from my attempts to use their products when the local pro shop suggested I look at Canopus.

Always fast, always reliable, good support (I once took my entire computer down to them and they fixed a problem that wasn't their fault) the same DVRex M1 card is in use today along with the add-on RT card that I added about 12 months later.

Since their products have always allowed one to scale the computer system for higher speeds, the Canopus hardware has stayed relatively constant (I've had mine for almost 7 years) and I've upgraded the computer and OS around it 4 times now.

I used their RexEditRt until Edius came along about 1 year ago and now I wouldn't go back as it offers so many new capabilities. Edius can be legally used on a desktop and a laptop computer and will work with just a firewire card or with any of the company's RT cards (where it has much more RT).

The difference between software that has to render and that that doesn't is incredible. I'm a one-person shop that hires help during production. But I edit everything. I couldn't do that without a realtime editing system.

I don't think twice about adjusting color, tweaking focus, using picture-in-picture (I use 4 on-screen PIPs to edit a 4-camera shoot) whenever I need it. Titles, audio . . . almost everything are all real time. Do it and forget it.

The Canopus codec continues to be the best there is. Some others have finally come up to its quality but there are none better. I think they were also the first to convert the video to 4:2:2 before making any changes so that the changes are made at the highest quality. In fact, when the system is used to output analog video, that video is 4:2:2 so you get the best quality. Yes, the Canopus cards handle analog in and out too.

Finally, the Canopus ProCoder is just about the best encoding package available short of the Hollywood high-end encoders. So if you want to go to DVD, this is the tool to convert the video. ProCoder is stand-alone so you can use it with other products.

Could Canopus be better? Sure. But I think they are at least as good as it gets at this level.
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