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Old September 1st, 2010, 10:07 PM   #1
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You 8-Core and 12-Core and Render Farm users?....

I'm just curious here. I've been on my 2.66 Dual Core 8Gig Ram Mac Pro since 2006. This being my second year doing weddings, I'm swamped with over 40 weddings so far this year. That being said, I'm feeling the pain of using my old Mac. I'm constantly rendering something in Compressor none stop. Now when I edit my CPU and GPU all have been mostly eaten up by the compression in it self.

My question is, what should I do? Should i consider another Mac Pro like a 8-core or purchase another Mac Pro just to use as a Farm Rendering Machine? Also, for those of you who use the quad, 8 or 12 core, have you seen a significant difference in speed in multi tasking on these machines compared to using a dual core or no?

Where do I go?

Best,

Last edited by Kelly Langerak; September 1st, 2010 at 10:38 PM.
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Old September 1st, 2010, 11:52 PM   #2
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Compared to a buddy who has a dual core, my 8-core 2.66 rocks. You would see a difference. Also, I have 16gig RAM compared to his 4gig.

Honestly though, the biggest bottleneck is compressor. It's painfully slow and doesn't take advantage of the 64 bit OS. FCS is not up to par with Apple's hardware which annoys a lot of us faithful users.

Since I use part of the Adobe CS5 (mostly AE, PS, AI) I ended up with a copy of Adobe Media Encoder which is optimized for the new OS. It screams! I also have a matrox mx02 with max and that took my h264 encode speed to a different level. Another thing I do is use QT7 to encode certain things and it is significantly faster than using the exact same settings in compressor. No idea why.

So there's a few ideas on speeding up your workflow. Another would be to build a grid for compressor using mac mini's. You can get a heck of a lot of horsepower for the money and build as you need more. (the last company I worked for had a grid of almost 200 mac mini's!)

Compressor supports render farms (grids)
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Last edited by Robert Turchick; September 2nd, 2010 at 12:27 AM.
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 12:08 AM   #3
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Kelly, my apologies if I'm trying to teach you to suck eggs but before spending money, I'd recommend you check with your NLE maker whether their product will benefit from any upgrade. Some NLEs support render farms, others don't benefit from multiple cores or all of those available anyway.

Of course this assumes you use a dedicated editing computer.

It also probably reveals me to be one of those who doesn't rush to buy the latest version of the software but whilst a product reasonably fulfills my needs I see little point in lining some developer's pockets with my hard-won and meagre profits.
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 07:45 AM   #4
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Until about a month ago I ran on a dual core iMac and since have upgraded to an octocore Mac Pro. I can tell you it is a beast. I also work a bit in Cinema 4D and the improved performance is noticeable off the bat. However, as a business owner I can appreciate the awareness of costs. I am curious about your workflow and what exactly you are rendering in compressor? Usually I get all my footage to ProRes 422 or other codec that does not require constant rendering. This leaves me only rendering for the conversion and final export. I always set these two jobs to run overnight since watching a video render is about as much fun as watching paint dry. I guess what I am getting to here is that if you don't feel ready to upgrade financially then try tweaking your workflow so that edit as much as possible before having to send to compressor. That way you can let it work while you catch some Z's.
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 12:03 PM   #5
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I use Final Cut to edit and export my QT files. I do a lot of Blu-ray. So it takes about 36-40 hours to compress to a a MPEG-2 (Elementary Stream) file. I then import that into Encore.

A mac mini sounds like a good idea until next years busy season then a 8-Core "beast" is what I need.

I def render at night when it comes to SD DVD's but Blu-ray is eating me alive.

I do have QT7 and Adobe Master Suite to work with too.
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 01:00 PM   #6
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Ahh. That makes sense now. Yea Blu Ray does take a long time. I actually do all my Blu-Ray converting and burning on a secondary machine, I can't imagine being down for a day or two while that runs.
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 01:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Langerak View Post
I use Final Cut to edit and export my QT files. I do a lot of Blu-ray. So it takes about 36-40 hours to compress to a a MPEG-2 (Elementary Stream) file. I then import that into Encore.

A mac mini sounds like a good idea until next years busy season then a 8-Core "beast" is what I need.

I def render at night when it comes to SD DVD's but Blu-ray is eating me alive.

I do have QT7 and Adobe Master Suite to work with too.
Kelly, I don't know why, but it seems to me that 36-40 hours is a bit too long. I use PCs for my work, and when coming to Bluray, I have the following times:

-Export main feature (a project that usually lasts 1:30 hours), with many color correction and other effects applied, to MPEG 2 Blu-Ray format (a Premiere Pro CS4 preset). Time of render, 3-6 hours, depending on the filters applied.

-Bluray authoring in Sony Architect (no re-rendering) at MPEG 2 format. Time needed, 2-3 hours max.

-Burn the Bluray in 4X. Time needed, 20-25 minutes.

Of course if we go to H264 compression, things get absolutely slow, but regarding MPEG, your numbers seem too high.

Now, I am not talking about a beast of a machine. I am talking about a year 2006 Quad Core E6600, with 3GB of RAM, an ATI card of 100 Euros worth and Windows 7 32bit (soon to go to 64bit). So, I am really surprised that I see a Dual Core Mac, doing such long time to compete a Bluray project.
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 01:46 PM   #8
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It said it had 20 more hours to go, but it finished today. Compressor's count down is always off for Blu-ray. 3-4 hours to compress?? Is that with Premiere or Adobe Encoder?

The project was about 1.5 hours and it took 24 hours to compress! Ugh.
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 01:56 PM   #9
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It was rendered with Adobe Encoder, and it was actually something I did just yesterday. Indeed, time counting is not always correct, since Adobe Encoder always calculates the remaining time, depending on what it renders in a specific moment (which makes sense). For example, when it came to rendering a segment where the "Neat Video" effect was applied (an extremely demanding plugin), it came with a remaining time of 35 hours. But when it came past that, everything went back to normal 3-6 hours counting.
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 02:46 PM   #10
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Ahh the dreaded Neat Video rendering. That filter does some serious magic, but man alive is it taxing on your system. Also, the new CS5 Adobe Media Encoder is super fast for encoding. What I would do is export as a self contained Quicktime Movie, then drop it into Adobe Media Encoder and choose the H.264 BluRay codec. I can render an hours worth of video in roughly 2 hours. Of course this is on the octocore, but it still shouldn't take 24 hours.
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Old September 15th, 2010, 02:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Langerak View Post
have you seen a significant difference in speed in multi tasking on these machines compared to using a dual core or no?
In compressor you'll see a massive improvement...

12 core Mac Pro tests | Paul Joy
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Old September 15th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #12
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Kelly, if the renders aren't something you need with immediacy you may want to consider even picking up a Mac Mini and sending your footage to that machine for render. I don't like rendering and working on the same computer even my 8-core, though it shouldn't cause problems. My workflow is likely different than yours- I don't render until the project is done. I select all the clips and do a render-now. Then export a stand-alone .MOV (which I use for backup on a Drobo raid), and send the stand-alone full-res .MOV to compressor for MPG2 encoding.

If it's a lot of rendering I'll initiate it in the evening before bed.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 06:22 PM   #13
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The problem is final cut pro. I'm really sick of it. Trying CS5 tonight and we'll see how the learning curve goes.

The simple fact that I don't have to convert to pro res 422 is enough to switch over.

I'm running an 8 core imac 2.66 i7
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 10:20 PM   #14
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I would, personally, drop the Mac and get a PC... software is much more multi-core friendly.

:)
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