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Old September 29th, 2013, 02:57 PM   #1
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Sony FDR-AX1

I am planning on getting a FD-AX1 and was testing some XAVCS files in Vegas 12. I plan on cropping and panning around the 3840x2160 image in a 1902x1080 project so was testing the playback and render speeds with my present PC. It is an i7 2600K, 16G RAM, Win7 64 bit and with GTX560 GPU card. Vegas 12 build is current as is the NVidia driver. Render speed to Canopus HQX codec is slow at about 5.3 times realtime with the GPU and with hardware acceleration off it is faster at about 3.9 times realtime. Render to AVCHD is faster at 4.7 times and hardware off is 3 times. With GPU on CPU is showwing about 45% and with GPU off CPU is showing 80%.

A simple scale to 1920x1080 takes about 3 times so not really different from the crop and pan for AVCHD output.

I would really like to find out what I have to do to my PC to make the render faster. Changing my processor to the latest Haswell will only improve about 15% at most I think so it may well involve a little more.

Ron Evans
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Old September 29th, 2013, 10:49 PM   #2
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

Have you matched the Vegas project settings to the XAVC?

Here's what I read on the Sony Site for XAVC:

"Support
Vegas™ Pro 12 is the world's first HD, 2K and 4K XAVC™ native editor. The latest version features built-in support for XAVC files, with the same drag and drop, no transcode simplicity that Vegas Pro users have enjoyed with other popular formats. No expensive add-ons or plug-ins are required. For optimal performance with 2K and 4K XAVC content, use the new smart proxy HD workflow for full frame rate playback on a wide variety of hardware configurations, from compact laptops to advanced multi core workstations."

Note the 3 items:

1] Transcode Simplicity

2] For optimal playback use smart proxy.....

3] Laptop and Advanced core stations

Ok, I interpret this as you may need to look at that there is Transcode going on PLUS experiment with their new Smart Proxy and consider experiment on on more Core workstations.

So to recap: Transcoding is a given; Smart Proxy is offered, we've gotta think "why"?; the number of cores is again becoming crucial. And finally, GPU acceleration does become capable of heavy lifting when they are GPU optimum-enabled FXs.

I hope my clumsy interpretations are accurate. But more than that, hopefully I've offered some thoughts you might consider thinking or researching further.

Cheers

Grazie
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Old September 30th, 2013, 06:00 AM   #3
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

I have to say, that is one nice bit of machinery.
Cant wait for the reviews.
I just cant see how you could have a fluid editing experience with the native files.
Maybe a nested project with a proxy on top to be muted before render?
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Old September 30th, 2013, 07:30 AM   #4
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

FDR-AX1 is XAVCS not XAVC. It uses the Long GOP version of XAVC so I was expecting to have more problems. XAVC editing in Vegas 12 or Edius Pro 7 are not a problem as it is an i-frame encode so PC does not have to create frames from LongGOP stream and if the hard drive throughput is OK for the higher date rate there should be no problem. I can multicam 3 streams of XAVC in Edius Pro7.

I specifically want to use a 1920x1080 project because I want to crop the image to 1920x1080 and pan around so that I can emulate a multicam shoot with one camera. I did this with HDV when it first was introduced to produce SD output and it worked great so want to do the same with 3840x2160.

Rendering and scaling to output format is the issue for the PC so I just want to find the best way to do this. A more powerful CPU or GPU are the options. Installing a 3770K in my motherboard is the lowest cost alternative but that may only give me about 15% improvement. Not sure what GPU I would need to even get better than the CPU alone since my first tests show the CPU alone to be faster. Maybe the GPU in this case is not used or optimized.

Latest build of Vegas 12 will edit both XAVC and XAVCS.

Ron Evans
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Old September 30th, 2013, 11:55 AM   #5
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Bernard View Post
built-in support for XAVC files, with the same drag and drop, no transcode simplicity that..."

Note the 3 items:
1] Transcode Simplicity
I interpret this as you may need to look at that there is Transcode going on
So to recap: Transcoding is a given
It says "NO transcode simplicity" - in other words, no transcoding is needed, 'cos Vegas just handles it natively as-is. Depending on your CPU of course. The only reason for the proxy on playback is if your CPU can't handle it. It won't make any difference to rendering though.

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Old September 30th, 2013, 12:57 PM   #6
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

Ron, I wonder if a dual processor workstation would do the trick.
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Old September 30th, 2013, 02:04 PM   #7
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Ron, I wonder if a dual processor workstation would do the trick.
Yes I think it will but I am just trying to assess the benefit for the cost as I am only really interested in the render times as the editing is OK. Unless it is 4 or 5 times quicker it may not be worth the extra cost. A Supermicro workstation will be a few thousand dollars and I may just leave it render over night !!! If by going to a 3770K in my motherboard and a new video card I could improve a reasonable amount that may be the most economical solution for me.

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Old October 1st, 2013, 02:43 AM   #8
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

I'd wait for the native 8 core LGA2011s to start editing XAVC-S. That along with a GTX TITAN (or newer) could do the trick.
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Old October 1st, 2013, 08:28 AM   #9
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

Having looked at several sources now the answer seems to be multiple fast cores. Many people report no real effect of the GPU which is what I have found with my admittedly slower GTX560. Current cost for a 8 core Xeon is from about $1200 for a slow one to over $2200 for the fast one. I think I will leave it render over night !!! My present though is to upgrade my 2600K to a 3770K only a little faster but with improvements to PCI and Quicksync when I upgrade my motherboard bios to use the 3770K. Editing in Vegas or Edius seems usable its just the rendering/scaling to 1920x1080 that is taking the time.

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Old October 1st, 2013, 08:51 PM   #10
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

I have done a few tests that you all may be interested in. For those that have obtained the XAVCS files from the VideoAcadamy I used the first file the C0008 which is 36 sec long.

First I set up a 1920x1080 50i project in Vegas 12, placed this 3840x2160 file on the timeline. I used the crop/motion to set up a 1920x1080 crop and just set up a pan from left to right over the length of the clip. This played back fine with 960x540 preview at full frame rate of 50. I then rendered a Bluray preset file which took 2 min and 52 sec and then a Canopus HQX file which also took 2 min 57 sec.

Then I repeated the exercise in Edius PRO 7 with the same clip same project setting etc. Used the Layouter to do the crop and pan. Render from Edius Pro 7 took 55sec for the Canopus HQX file and without hardware acceleration the Bluray took 4 mins and 42 sec. With Quicksync hardware assistance the Bluray preset encode took 55 sec.

The user interface for doing this cropping is a lot easier in Vegas but clearly the performance is much better in Edius. For editing both Edius and Vegas playback just fine for this single track crop/pan that I want to do.

I think I have come to the conclusion that upgrading my motherboard bios and CPU to a 3770K to get about a 15% performance improvement and better Quicksync will be the way I will go. I will use Edius most of the time as I now do, and Vegas when the crop/pan is more difficult to see where to go.

Ron Evans
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Old November 6th, 2013, 05:00 PM   #11
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

There are two more possibilities:

switch to premiere pro + a quadro card with the mercury playback engine The quadro cards are outperforming dual xeon workstations, from the test scores I have seen on line. The mercury playback engine, is exclusive to the quadro cards.

ref: http://www.servethehome.com/Workstat...s-card-review/

or,

do like what I do on my X9dai e5-2687 WS (single cpu), with a k4000 quadro card:

(Vegas 11) GPU turn on for editing and playback. GPU turned off for rendering. Render project to xdcam 35Mbps HQ profile that matches the project settings, (which in turn matches the majority of the footage - so that vegas processing is minimized); and render from the source drive to a scratch drive. Then use handbrake to resize and de-interlace the project for web and computer delivery, rendering from the scratch drive back to the source drive. Vegas will not make use of the computing power that is available, no matter the codec used for export. In fact, I can start and edit another vegas project while vegas is rendering in the background, on my system. Handbrake will use all 8 cores and use all of the computing power available - and is blazingly fast. The results are far faster and of better quality this way and is free of system crashes. I used to export from vegas using the dnxhd codec, but I found that it was problematic and way too slow in vegas. So I switched to xdcam Hq with no loss in quality that I can see.

R

P.S. STH is my favorite website for getting advice on system builds.

Last edited by Ray Turcotte; November 6th, 2013 at 06:01 PM. Reason: updated link
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Old November 6th, 2013, 06:31 PM   #12
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

For information the FDR-AX1 only shoots progressive either 24, 25, 30, 50 or 60 fps so need to deinterlace. To be correct, 23.98 and of course 59.94 . Since I use both Edius and Vegas I use the Edius HQX 10bit codec to transfer between them or to send to TMPGenc for resizing and encoding for DVD.

I have ADOBE CS6 Production Suite but never use Premiere. Edius is a lot faster than the others especially for multicam which I do all the time its weakness is audio which I do in Vegas and Sound Forge.

I did upgrade to the 3770 and see the small improvement I expected of about 10%.

Just waiting for my camera now. Its on backorder.

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Old November 6th, 2013, 11:09 PM   #13
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

this is a most interesting thread - am also looking at the pxw z100 - seems to be the same as the ax1?
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Old November 7th, 2013, 07:51 AM   #14
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

Basically they are the same but there are significant difference especially for the first releases. FDR-AX1 uses the XAVCS LongGOP codec is 8bit 4:2:0 QFHD 3840x2016. The PXW-Z100 uses the XAVC i frame only codec 10bit 4:2:2 is both QFHD and true 4K. Consequently the data rates are very different. Max data rate for the FDR-AX1 is 150Mbps but the PXW-Z100 is 600Mbps so for record times a 64G card will run for 50 mins on the FDR-AX1 and about 10 mins on the PXW-Z100 !!! Next year the PXW-Z100 is said to get a firmware upgrade to have longGOP at both 10bit and 8 bit which will make it more usable but as a camera for long form projects now it is not viable in my mind.

PXW-Z100 has other interfaces too that are nice. WiFI dongle for control with phone or tablet , HD-SDI and timecode interface and I think more menu controls than the FDR-AX1. That would make it similar to the differences between the AX2000 and the NX5U. Next year with the firmware update it will be a nice camera.

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Old November 7th, 2013, 07:57 AM   #15
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Re: Sony FDR-AX1

Slightly off topic. This thread has been a good read for me since I am considering buying a new camera soon and the Sony FDR-AX1 is on my radar. I am also considering the Sony PMW-150 (pal). In terms of editing on the Vegas timeline, how does the AX1's codec compare to the MXF files? Are the MXF files easier to work with on the timeline? I might have to do some editing off-site with a laptop and I'm looking for the smoothest workflow possible.

Apart from the ability to crop and pan with the AX1, is there any other reason to go with this cam over the PMW 150?
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