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Heath McKnight May 28th, 2003 01:30 PM

Final Cut Pro-Apple/Linux-PC Render Farm?
 
Is this possible? Of course, in two years, this will be obsolete, but I need to figure it out for my budgeting on my next film, 9:04 AM. (www.904am.com plug plug)

I want to have a Final Cut Pro system, top of the line, with a hi-def card and stuff needed to cut HD. But, I'll need a RAID/Render Farm. Now, to save costs, I'm willing to forego a couple of X-Serves in favor of three fast PCs strung together with TONS of RAM and harddrive space inside, linked together as a SAN/Render Farm with the magic of either FireWire 800 or Ethernet (can FW 800 work like that?), and running Mandrake Linux 9.1 or CLIC (I read this done as a "supercomputer" in a magazine with CLIC, the generic free Mandrake Linux; no word on if it can be used with Apples or PCs).

Now, if I do that, will the Apple NLE be able to run the nodes/slaves running on Linux? Would one of the PCs end up needed a master of its own, outside the Apple? Is any of this possible, or shall I plunk down an extra $20,000 for an uber-X-Serve?

Thanks,

heath
www.904am.com (plug plug)

Nigel Moore May 28th, 2003 01:40 PM

How on earth are you planning to run an FCP renderer on a PC when FCP is only developed for Apple hardware?

Sure, OSX is a flavour of 'nix, but it's coded for a fundamentally different chip architecture.

Jeff Donald May 28th, 2003 03:01 PM

Heath, what type of project what are you working on, an animated feature? Three time Academy Award winner Walter Murch is editing his latest feature with FCP on Apple G4's. This article ought to explain his work flow. When FCP 4 is released you should see a marked improvement in render speeds. Couple this with the next OS (10.3), new processors (IBM 970) and the performance should rival or exceed anything on a PC.

Heath McKnight May 28th, 2003 03:07 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Donald : Heath, what type of project what are you working on, an animated feature? Three time Academy Award winner Walter Murch is editing his latest feature with FCP on Apple G4's. This article ought to explain his work flow. When FCP 4 is released you should see a marked improvement in render speeds. Couple this with the next OS (10.3), new processors (IBM 970) and the performance should rival or exceed anything on a PC. -->>>

Just a high-def project, but I hear rendering is a royal pain in the rear. Maybe I really SHOULD hold off on buying a PC now. Will the IBM 970s be announced in late June? (Is Macworld San Fran dead?) Will Apple run Linux-based PCs as slaves/render farms?

THANKS!

heath

Details on my project and company: www.mpsdigital.com and www.904am.com

Jeff Donald May 28th, 2003 03:58 PM

Apple is a tight lipped as they come with details of future products. WWDC will give some hints. It's in SF in a few weeks. Apple will preview Panther (OS 10.3) at the event. FCP will be released around that time. I think new machines will ship as early as late June and no later than early Sept. But who am I to say. The people who really know are all under DNA's

Heath McKnight May 28th, 2003 04:10 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Donald : Apple is a tight lipped as they come with details of future products. WWDC will give some hints. It's in SF in a few weeks. Apple will preview Panther (OS 10.3) at the event. FCP will be released around that time. I think new machines will ship as early as late June and no later than early Sept. But who am I to say. The people who really know are all under DNA's -->>>

Thanks, Jeff. So, anyway, thanks for the article link, but that's still above my budget. Is it possible to render FCP projects on a Linux render farm? Or will it totally go out of whack, because of hardware specs?

heath

Jeff Donald May 28th, 2003 04:42 PM

Sorry, missed that part of your post. To the best of my knowledge it can't be done. If it could I think we would hear about Pixar (Steve Job's other company) doing something like that.

Heath McKnight May 28th, 2003 04:50 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Donald : Sorry, missed that part of your post. To the best of my knowledge it can't be done. If it could I think we would hear about Pixar (Steve Job's other company) doing something like that. -->>>

Thanks, it was worth an idea.

heath

Guest May 30th, 2003 02:53 PM

I'm unclear what you're trying to render. If you have the cash for a 20,000 Xserve, why not just get a HD card that has RT built-in. Unless you're doing lots of FX and matte work, it should be fine, no?

I don't know much about HD, but I'm sure there's some cards that will do what you need.

edit: And, actually, if you are doing heavy FX work, I think you should be working in Commotion, Shake, After Effects, etc ... I'm sure they are more likely to have cross-platform render farm capabilities.

-Aaron

Heath McKnight May 30th, 2003 03:08 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Aaron Kovalchik : I'm unclear what you're trying to render. If you have the cash for a 20,000 Xserve, why not just get a HD card that has RT built-in. Unless you're doing lots of FX and matte work, it should be fine, no?

I don't know much about HD, but I'm sure there's some cards that will do what you need.

-Aaron -->>>

I can't afford the $20,000 Xserve if I buy the $20,000 HD capture card.

Basically, Chris, I want to hook three Linux systems (PCs) to my Apple (with the HD card) and use those Linux "slaves/nodes" as a render farm. But I don't think I'll be able to, since the Linux systems may not be able to read FCP stuff.

I'm doing limited effects, but there will be at least one or two MAJOR CGI shots.

heath

Guest May 30th, 2003 03:18 PM

Oops, you replied while I was adding to my last post.

I'm still a little confused on what you already have, what you need, and what you can afford.

But it looks like Pinnacle CineWave is your only answer for HD cards and FCP (according to Apple).

You might want to edit offline on SD for your non-CGI shots and then for your CGI shots work in one of the programs mentioned above and see if they support cross-platform render farms.

Heath McKnight May 30th, 2003 03:41 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Aaron Kovalchik : Oops, you replied while I was adding to my last post.

I'm still a little confused on what you already have, what you need, and what you can afford.

But it looks like Pinnacle CineWave is your only answer for HD cards and FCP (according to Apple).

You might want to edit offline on SD for your non-CGI shots and then for your CGI shots work in one of the programs mentioned above and see if they support cross-platform render farms. -->>>

No matter how I slice it, Aaron (sorry to call you Chris by accident, that was for another post), it's gonna cost me about $40,000 just to buy a full HD FCP system and a Protools HD system.

heath
www.mpsdigital.com

Martin Munthe June 9th, 2003 10:57 AM

1. There are a bunch of HD cards for FCP.
2. You wuill not be able to hook up Linux machines to FCP since FCP only runs on OSX.
3. You should never ever mix different types of processors on any type of rendering project where the slaves is supposed to give all around process support. If you do you will have color shifts in the material. This is because processors do math in varying ways. You can mix P4 and Xeon but that's about it. Forget about rendering AMD and G4 at the same time. Let alone mixing 64 bit and 32 bit processes. G4 should only render to G4.

Heath McKnight June 9th, 2003 03:41 PM

Thanks! It was worth a thought or two. I saw that SuSe Linux bundles an NLE (which may be opensource, which means FREE) that I may try just to screw around with.

I'm an Apple man, but need a PC, too (for various programs) and I'm looking for a Linux that can run Windows programs.

heath

<<<-- Originally posted by Martin Munthe : 1. There are a bunch of HD cards for FCP.
2. You wuill not be able to hook up Linux machines to FCP since FCP only runs on OSX.
3. You should never ever mix different types of processors on any type of rendering project where the slaves is supposed to give all around process support. If you do you will have color shifts in the material. This is because processors do math in varying ways. You can mix P4 and Xeon but that's about it. Forget about rendering AMD and G4 at the same time. Let alone mixing 64 bit and 32 bit processes. G4 should only render to G4. -->>>

Jeff Price June 9th, 2003 04:25 PM

How serious is the processing you need to do on the PC programs? Might it be something Virtual PC (ugh) could handle?


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