CS5 w/ Real-Time Preview for Color Grading - What Hardware? at DVinfo.net

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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:12 AM   #1
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CS5 w/ Real-Time Preview for Color Grading - What Hardware?

Hi-

I'm still trying to configure a workstation w/ CS5. I want real-time preview/scrubbing from the timeline on an external plasma/lcd screen, for color grading and for clients to watch. What's the best approach?

In looking at the CUDA cards (Quadro FX3800 for example), do I have one video card output drive a single bigger computer monitor (for timeline) and then the one with an HDMI adapter to the pro preview monitor? Is that real-time and color accurate? (I don't think so)

Or, is it better to have the Quadro work with smaller dual computer monitors (which I have already) for one extended desktop and then by an external card (Blackmagic or something) for real-time HD-SDI preview? (I don't want latency issues- and I want full HD preview)

Is one big monitor enough for timeline work? Or do you still prefer two side-by-side? Thanks!
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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:31 AM   #2
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I forgot to also ask: If I use Blackmagic or Kona cards, do I have to edit in one of their formats/codecs to get the real-time preview from CS5? I want to edit with a 1080/30p timeline for the most part. I use the XDCAM-EX format for acquisition. (Trying to figure out if I should edit with that codec or use Cineform/ProRes) Anyway, then are THOSE formats supported with these real-time playback cards? I'm getting completely lost as to what works and what doesn't these days.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 04:02 PM   #3
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Hi Ed. I am doing/trying the exact same as you, but with CS4 at the moment. With my current i7 system, I have no problem scrubbing and playing in real time (and I'm editing XDCAM EX as well from my EX1).

Here is what I have done so far: I am using a 20" Dell for everything except the Program monitor. For that, I am using an Eizo CG243W ($2100) with just the Program monitor in it. This is working great. For my studio, I will be using a Panasonic 17" LCD ($2900) for color grading and keep the Eizo as my program monitor.

However, I tried the Matrox Mini (and still have it) but it created so many problems, including a 3-5 second lag when clicking between source and timeline/program monitor.

To your question about having to use BM's or Kona's presets - yes, you must use theirs (as I did with the Matrox) but I know the Kona DOES have 1080/30p presets. (The XDCAM EX preset in Premiere does not determine the format or codec) I am in the process of setting up a studio with a new HP Z800 w/ dual 6 core Xeons and the FX3800, and I have researched the Kona LHe/LHi because I want to get one.

As far as getting real-time playback via the HD-SDI from any card, Tim Kolb recently made a great post about that. He essentially said that the Mercury Playback Engine's hardware acceleration might not have much of an effect on the HD-SDI video. However, timeline playback is still done using mainly the CPU and effects have the most benefit from the hardware acceleration. So, with XDCAM EX and an i7 CPU, I don't see why you wouldn't get EXCELLENT playback.

For client viewing while editing: it is very common in editing suites to have a setup similar to mine for just the editor and then use a Kona card out to a large TV for client viewing. Look at it this way - do you want the client to be looking over your shoulder at the program monitor or shouldn't they be sitting back watching a large screen, which should make everyone more comfortable.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 10:48 AM   #4
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Thanks for taking the time to respond, Steve! I'll probably send you a PM in the next month or so to see if I can see your setup in person. (I'm SouthWest of Chicago) It sounds great. Your posts on the Matrox Mini have saved me already. I'm looking into the Kona solution now. I want to pull the trigger on the workstation by fall. I have the EX3 now, but can't cut it on my legacy machine.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 07:56 PM   #5
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No problem Ed. BTW, I am starting up a government access channel for Cicero. We are converting a room in their town hall for our studio. We already have several Kino's and we are putting the final touches on the studio side. I am ordering the HP and some other computer equipment tomorrow; so, I hope to have my editing 'bay' setup within two weeks. However, I don't know if I will have the Kona card by that time.

Back to the color grading topic: in a 720p sequence, using a curves effect and a transparent layer w/ Circle effect for vignette, my i7 920 at stock speed could not playback in real time. With CS5, there won't be a problem at all playing this in real time (assuming you are using a MPE certified card).
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