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BlackMagic eGPU - Yes, I Know It's Mentioned In Other Threads... BUT!

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1 hour ago, webrunner5 said:

All the above is true. But none of it makes me think of using a Apple Laptop to do it using power hungry Codecs. Apple just seems to me to be on some suicide mission with video lately. They are becoming irrelevant in it with their design over usefulness thing.

You may well be right.  I have an Apple laptop and I use it for the above, but I chose Apple because of other factors.  If someone didn't have a laptop already and was wanting to only use it for video I wouldn't recommend an Apple laptop unless they were a FCPX user.

When I was in the market for a new laptop I did a detailed comparison between the MBP and a couple of non-Apple laptops, and it was things like the integration with the Apple ecosystem that decided it for me - something that had nothing to do with video.  Of course, being my only machine, it's what I use for video, and so being able to upgrade it with an eGPU if I want the extra performance provides some extra flexibility and options to extend my current setup, which is nice to have.

I think that the average person on this site is oriented around video more than the target users for eGPUs, or certainly eGPUs with this processor anyway.  If you're looking for a video-first machine then this eGPU isn't the way to go, and I think people that are video-first find it hard to understand that video products should be made for anyone other than video-first people.

In the same way that it would be silly for me to hang around on mobile phone forums criticising every smartphone because it doesn't shoot 4K 60 in 16-bit RAW, have XLR inputs, or SDI connections, I find it strange that people who would never buy an Apple laptop are all-of-a-sudden the experts in what to buy for those people who do own an Apple laptop.

It's like the film-making industry hasn't worked out that convenience and decent video can now co-exist, that the vast majority of film-makers are amateurs, that the biggest networks aren't broadcasters, and that the majority of video content isn't consumed on projectors, and possibly even on TVs!

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I am sort of baffled why BM only made this One version of the eGPU with a lackluster GPU in it. WTF! What the architecture of the Laptop can't handle the throughput??

And then it's AC powered. So kind of irrelevant for portable use. This is sort of a Polished Turd. 🤔

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2 hours ago, webrunner5 said:

I am sort of baffled why BM only made this One version of the eGPU with a lackluster GPU in it. WTF! What the architecture of the Laptop can't handle the throughput??

And then it's AC powered. So kind of irrelevant for portable use. This is sort of a Polished Turd. 🤔

I agree that the chipset and requirement for AC power are both severely limiting factors..  I watched a Hackintosh video where the guy mentioned something about the compatibility of various chipset manufacturers that surprised me, but the fact they didn't put a higher powered Radeon in there is a bit strange perhaps..

Unless it was designed to a spec, perhaps something like "FCPX must be able to play 4K 30 in real-time with 2 LUTs and some basic curves adjustments applied on the nicest Apple display" or similar?

The first battery-powered one will be interesting.

One thing I learned over at liftgammagain is that you can ingest footage with a slower machine, you can generate proxies with a slower machine, you can edit with proxies, you can do sound with proxy video, but you can't grade with proxies, so if you are grading in front of a client then your machine needs to be able to play the original footage with all the grades applied in real-time.  Grading, however, is done in a controlled lighting situation with calibrated monitors, so it's a situation where AC power is available, so in that sense an AC powered solution still makes sense. 

Personally I don't need to be able to play graded footage in real-time, so it doesn't matter for me.  I'm happy to scrub the playhead around and see how things look over the footage, and then render it out and watch that render back again, and then make changes if required.  For my home videos my 'clients' are my family so I can play them the mostly finished project and get their inputs but also be reviewing the output for any strange things that catch my eye too.

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1 hour ago, jonpais said:

Learn something new every day. I had no idea you can’t grade proxies.

I think it's to do with the colour accuracy after a conversion, especially considering that most proxies are much lower quality than the original footage.  If you were transforming from RAW to something like Prores 4444 HQ then I don't imagine it would be a huge problem, but I could be wrong about that.

Another thing I didn't mention is that if you're doing VFX work or any precise tracking then you want to use the original files too because they'll enable much better tracking accuracy.  I've heard VFX people say that for realistic 3D compositing work you sometimes need to be able to track to within a single pixel of accuracy, or even to within half or a quarter of a pixel.  I've never done it but it makes sense if you're moving the camera and putting in a 3D object that is also meant to move like it's part of the environment then if the VFX object wobbles around in comparison to the real environment you filmed then that's going to be quite noticeable if your tracking isn't great.

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The use of Proxies / cache renders / optimised media has little to do with image quality and is mainly to do with working around highly compressed camera codecs that consume large processor cycles to uncompress and reconstruct on the fly.It's not even a laptop vs desktop issue as it takes a very high end desktop to edit these files smoothly. For most users the proxies / cache / optimised media are in codec terms higher quality than the originals but in practice image data is often lost in the transcoding process which is why you never want to do anything other than render to your delivery format from the original camera files. Also as far as grading accuracy is concerned most NLE's give you the ability to switch the viewer between the proxy and original file to check for things like NR , sharpening and any banding or macro blocking artefacts and  obviously for compositing you don't want to do it at anything other than native resolution. Lastly - portability and mobility is not the same as battery power or independence from mains power. I never use my laptop on battery power alone for editing as it would drain the battery way too quickly. Desktop GPU's consume large amounts of power so it's totally impractical to expect them to run on battery power. 

 

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6 hours ago, Shirozina said:

The use of Proxies / cache renders / optimised media has little to do with image quality and is mainly to do with working around highly compressed camera codecs that consume large processor cycles to uncompress and reconstruct on the fly.It's not even a laptop vs desktop issue as it takes a very high end desktop to edit these files smoothly. For most users the proxies / cache / optimised media are in codec terms higher quality than the originals but in practice image data is often lost in the transcoding process which is why you never want to do anything other than render to your delivery format from the original camera files. Also as far as grading accuracy is concerned most NLE's give you the ability to switch the viewer between the proxy and original file to check for things like NR , sharpening and any banding or macro blocking artefacts and  obviously for compositing you don't want to do it at anything other than native resolution. Lastly - portability and mobility is not the same as battery power or independence from mains power. I never use my laptop on battery power alone for editing as it would drain the battery way too quickly. Desktop GPU's consume large amounts of power so it's totally impractical to expect them to run on battery power. 

I think this depends on what level of film-making you're doing.  The professional colourists over at liftgammagain are likely working with RAW and high quality Prores files from the high end cinema cameras, and live in a different world to the one we talk about on here.  There was a thread about buying "cheap" client monitors for their grading studio (these aren't monitors to grade with, they're only for the clients to view the grade) and I just about had a heart attack when someone said that their budget was $8000 per monitor, and they were looking to buy half-a-dozen of them!!

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