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Advice on new Mac editing setup please!


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How's the reflective surface of the iMac screen for editing? Anyone find it a problem? Trying it in the Apple store, under all those fluorescent lights, it was a nightmare trying to grade stuff.

 

Also, any opinions on FCPX's double-screen setup? It doesn't look that versatile to me. If I had a 27" iMac with a smaller 2nd monitor, I wouldn't know where to put what. Anyone got that setup with a solution they like?

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Calibration and profiling are two seperate things, to calibrate, ie: to set black and white levels requires access to hardware brightness, contrast, LED backlight, RGB gain and offset. Calibration

haha, :-) I Don't if its worth trying to calibrate or if its possible to successfully calibrate it. If there is acess to those controls then first step would be to download a couple of calibration i

I'm going around in circles guys - all options seem to have their benefits.    Like I say, I edit H264/AVCHD (from D5300 and G6) converted to prores in FCPX. I grade in FCPX. I use Neat Video a lot,

The iMac screen isn't recommended for grading. You can't calibrate it and it's very punchy, making you think your grade is better than it is.

I have a 27" iMac and an Eizo. The Eizo can be calibrated and is overall a less flattering monitor.

No issues at all with dual screens - with FCPX, Capture One, Resolve or my music software. I tend to have the main viewer window on the Eizo, and the generic GUI, edits, timeline and toolboxes on the iMac.

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The iMac screen isn't recommended for grading. You can't calibrate it and it's very punchy, making you think your grade is better than it is.

I have a 27" iMac and an Eizo. The Eizo can be calibrated and is overall a less flattering monitor.

No issues at all with dual screens - with FCPX, Capture One, Resolve or my music software. I tend to have the main viewer window on the Eizo, and the generic GUI, edits, timeline and toolboxes on the iMac.

Great, very helpful, thanks. What size is your Eizo?

 

I'm conflicted now though - I can't imagine using that huge 27" screen just for the timeline and events.

Also can't believe you can't calibrate the iMac screen. Makes me lean slightly toward the 21" now, but I'm concerned the graphics processor won't be powerful enough to futureproof the machine a bit.

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How's the reflective surface of the iMac screen for editing? Anyone find it a problem? Trying it in the Apple store, under all those fluorescent lights, it was a nightmare trying to grade stuff.


You'd ideally backlight the reference display and grade in a dim lit room, ambient lighting at about 10% of brightest display white so reflective screen not so much an issue. D65 balanced lighting. 18% grey surrounding walls.

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You'd ideally backlight the reference display and grade in a dim lit room, ambient lighting at about 10% of brightest display white so reflective screen not so much an issue. D65 balanced lighting. 18% grey surrounding walls.

 

Thanks - good to know the proper way to do it!

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I just bought the loaded up iMac 27.  

 

I did the BTO with the faster processor, 3TB fusion drive, maxed out memory since I was only saving about $100 if I did it on my own. The only thing I debated the most was the VRAM.  Ended up with 4Gig since the main reason for this is to use davinci for the pocket cinema camera.  Easily hit the $3.5k mark, but worth it.  Also got one of the BMC ultrastudio mini monitor for an external grading monitor.  I think the only issue I may have is TB ports since there are only 2.

 

A lot of people seem to debate that the iMac display isn't ready for grading.  Unless you are getting paid to do color, it works very well.  I bought a x-rite i1 display to calibrate it and it looks very good. And I agree with Chrisso, that the iMac makes things look a little better then they are.  So i'm looking for a decent grading monitor in the $1k range.

 

Jim

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Calibration and profiling are two seperate things, to calibrate, ie: to set black and white levels requires access to hardware brightness, contrast, LED backlight, RGB gain and offset.

Calibration gets hardware responsive to profiling and 3D LUT for display for Resolve after that.

So does imac give hardware access to those?

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dude i dont even know lol

 

the image i posted is one of the steps in the process of the Display Calibrator Assistant found through System Preferences > Displays > Color > Calibrate

 

one of the places i work at has a bunch of brand new 27" imacs and i was just wondering the general limitations of those screens for serious color grading + vfx work

 

like is it worth it trying to calibrate one at all with or without an external device? i honestly have no idea, although im not blind and i can see that those monitors are hella blue and high contrast out of the box... perfect for this lol

 

OS-X-Mavericks-wallpaper-580x325.png

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haha, :-)

I Don't if its worth trying to calibrate or if its possible to successfully calibrate it. If there is acess to those controls then first step would be to download a couple of calibration images of some AV Home Cinema forum, the images with all the greyscale boxes on for setting brightness and contrast and see if the imac display can actually display them all after adjusting the hardware settings, if that's not possible then wouldn't waste any time trying to calibrate and profile it with a probe.

May be better to just use a decent backlit LED domestic TV and calibrate / profile that. :-)

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Imho the new MacPro is no big advantage for a typical DSLR-mpeg4 user. This only pays off if you have to deal with massive footage data. I have a MacPro Quad, early 2010. 

 

I would go with the most upgraded iMac you can. That's what I did a couple of years ago.

 

I'm going around in circles guys - all options seem to have their benefits. 

 

Like I say, I edit H264/AVCHD (from D5300 and G6) converted to prores in FCPX. I grade in FCPX. I use Neat Video a lot, but my Mac can barely cope with it (inadequate graphics card I think). 

 

I would like a system that can deal with the above very easily (e.g. quickly render, analyse clips and add effects).

 

Ideally I would like the Mac to be somewhat futureproof (for example, ability to upgrade it and/or run resolve smoothly would be nice). 

 

I'm mainly torn between a 27" iMac with top spec customisation, and a base spec Mac Pro. They work out at about the same price. 

Perhaps a Mac Pro is a little overkill for what I'm currently doing, but seeing as I'm spending that amount of money anyway, wouldn't it be the better investment? How upgradeable are the new Mac Pro's? 

It would also mean that I can buy a single monitor (just one for the time being) that can be properly calibrated.

 

Why buy an iMac when I can get a Mac Pro for the same price, and vice versa?

 

Advice appreciated ...

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I can't tell you, but there are some aspects to consider:

 

> FCP X 10.1 (free upgrade) can use more than one graphic card. It will probably run WAY faster on a MacPro. Same with Resolve. 

> Both FCP X and Resolve are primarily one-display softwares. You'd need one decent monitor, a big one with preferably 2,5k resolution, one that doesn't reflect and can be calibrated (imho if you don't grade for high-end-TV and if you don't aim at 10-bit, you don't need a so-called 'reference monitor', a Dell 27something might do). In Resolve, you can put the video scopes on a cheap, second monitor.

> Think about what you actually need. 70% of all professionals (those who stayed loyal to Apple after they got ass-kicked with 'iMovie Pro') soldier on with FCS3. 32-bit, no native editing, no real-time in Color. It may look like an unbearable hassle to xml from FCP X to FCP7 to send to Color, but I did this the last two years, and I didn't need to buy new hardware. The node logic and real time performance of Resolve are deceiving, but hadn't it been for raw, I would have been comfortable with it. 

 

Now I experience the same dilemma you are in.

 

Anyway, you can take your time. Apple goes Blackmagic: They have postponed the delivery of the new MP to february already ...

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Thanks Axel that's helpful.  

 

Though personally I disagree with (or don't understand) your point about FCPX being one-display software - even on a 27" I think it's awkward to analyse the viewer image for grading. The amount you can customise the size/shape of the viewer on one display is quite limited. I think I'd much rather have a dedicated 2nd display for the viewer/scopes. I'd be interested to hear more of your opinion on this though - it could be a big part of my decision.

 

Currently I'm favouring this option (which may look like a daft combination, but I have limited budget and it will be upgradeable):

*Lowest Spec Mac Pro

*2 X cheap 23" LG IPS monitors (not sure if a display calibrator will be essential?)

*My current 2TB of FW800 external drives (+ 2TB FW800 backup drive). Eventually I will add faster storage (SSD internal or TB external)

 

The total cost is about £400/$650 more expensive than the high spec iMac I was looking at. My prejudice is that buying a Mac Pro for low-end DSLR is overkill, but in terms of investment/futureproofing, I think it may be the most sensible option.

One other small vote for the Mac Pro is that it will be more portable than the iMac - keeping a second monitor elsewhere will potentially mean only having to move the "black vase" (+ perhaps a HD).

 

I just talked to someone at Apple who said that RAM and internal SSD will be user-upgradeable, but the processor and graphics card will not. There are suggestions online that it may be possible to upgrade the graphics card, but not "officially".

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Personally, I think it's a mistake to be thinking in terms of "future proofing". The reality is, you simply can't do that anymore with anything. The manufacturers across the board have completely adopted a model of planned obsolesce. That's with computers, cameras, etc. 

 

If the investment in your gear isn't showing an immediate return on that investment, you're foolish to spend any more than the bare minimum of what you really need right now. 

 

Now, if you've got the money to blow and you want a lighting fast system that will allow you to create more, faster, and give you more free time to spend with your friends and family, then by all means... splurge. If you have paying clients right now who demand faster turnaround and that faster turnaround will get you even more clients, then certainly invest in the state of the art right now, ie. Mac Pro & a couple $3,500 4K monitors.

 

My current 13in MBP setup with thunderbolt 27in is tolerable for what I'm actually doing at the moment. Just bought FCP X 10.1 when it was released yesterday and it does seem faster and more stable than the demo I was trying out, even on my very basic setup. I'd like a little more speed, but a nominal investment in an external thunderbolt solid state drive and more RAM will likely tide me over for the reality of what I'm actually doing at the moment. 

 

If I was farming myself out to shoot projects for other people and they demanded raw footage that was carefully graded with Resolve, etc. and my livelihood depended on quick turn-around, I'd certainly invest in the best and fastest I could afford. 

 

In the past couple of decades, I've seen people go into debt buying the state-of-the-art gear, thinking this would get them into the big leagues and bring more clients. The ones who have been the most successful, did the best and most creative work with very little, and then upgraded only when increased client load demanded it. Those who invested first, usually end up paying out huge loans with interest on gear that's obsolete and can't even be sold off for a fraction of what they paid. Think of those in the past who spent over $250K on digi-beta gear and editing bays... only to compete with $2k DV cams and $3k Macs running FCP that produced a better final product only 4 years after they went in debt for what was considered state of the art at the time. Some who already had the clientele, paid of that gear inside of the first quarter of ownership. Unfortunately, many others did not.

 

Don't get me wrong... I'd dearly love to have a max'd out MacPro for $10k and a couple of those sweet $3,500 Sharp 4k monitors to go with it. But, I wouldn't kid myself that my sweet-a$$ work-station was "future proof". It'd likely be all the rage for just a little over a year before something twice as fast and half the price was available.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if someone comes out with a viable video box that's thunderbolt based and uses something as nominal as an iPad to control it. ;)

 

Does your current system have thunderbolt? If so, I'd first see how much more performance you could squeeze out of faster drives, faster-thru put, and max'd out RAM. If that doesn't suffice your current needs, then at least the drives would be viable investments for at least another 5 years I'd guess and max'd RAM is always a good idea anyway.

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Thanks Axel that's helpful.  

 

Though personally I disagree with (or don't understand) your point about FCPX being one-display software - even on a 27" I think it's awkward to analyse the viewer image for grading. The amount you can customise the size/shape of the viewer on one display is quite limited. I think I'd much rather have a dedicated 2nd display for the viewer/scopes. I'd be interested to hear more of your opinion on this though - it could be a big part of my decision.

 

You said it: You can have the scopes and the viewer on the second display, they have to share it (don't know if this true for 10.1 as well, did not yet load it). That's akward. I find it more useful to put the events on the secondary, but anyway, the position of the windows can't be customized enough - particularly if you compare with other NLEs.

 

Then, as mentioned, Resolve can use the second monitor only for the scopes. Without a Blackmagic card, you have one monitor. 

 

If I was farming myself out to shoot projects for other people and they demanded raw footage that was carefully graded with Resolve, etc. and my livelihood depended on quick turn-around, I'd certainly invest in the best and fastest I could afford.

 

If I could afford it, I wouldn't blink an eye. I just spent 3000 bucks for camera, lenses, equipment *stuff*, and I feel Jobs' disapproving eyes over me, since there is nothing left for Apple. I'm a complete failure as a fanboy, let them plan their obsolescence, and let others dance around the golden calf. I'll join them on the chill out beach ;-)

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Skip I think you make a good point. My approach to camera buying has been to spend more on glass and peripherals, which will potentially last a lifetime, and spend less on the cameras - the items most prone to obsolescence - with a view to replacing them every few years.

 

Perhaps you're right, I should be taking the same approach to my post setup - put the money into drives, monitors etc - which will last longer, and go for the more 'sustainable' Mac option. A 21" iMac perhaps.

 

The problem is I don't know so much about the current Mac lineup - I guess I'm going for the Mac Pro because I want to be sure it can cope with everything I throw at it. But a low-spec iMac may be able to do that for all I know.

 

I do know that I need to update my Mac though - it's for the knackers yard. It's a 2.6GHz 2 core 4GB RAM 2008 MacBook Pro. It coped with FCS fine, but FCPX and the extensions need at very least a much better graphics card.

 

I spent the whole of yesterday, my first day to myself in ages, shooting and editing a nice little D5300 piece. At about 11pm, just as I was rendering it for export, the project crashed and it won't open again. I think a small piece of my soul died. It's served me well for 6 years, but I need a new mac. And I don't want that to happen again for a while. (I'm loving the 5300 image though, and it's a very cute little camera).

 

What is the graphics processor in your 13" MacBook Skip? I don't understand the differences really. Mine is a 512MB GeForce - I see 1GB GPU's and think 'that's not much better than mine - I need more' but I guess there's a lot more to it than that.

 

Reluctantly I go back to my research cave. 

 

Axel - I certainly agree that FCPX's layout isn't customisable enough. Hopefully it has been updated. But the scopes go with the viewer for a reason - if you set them underneath the viewer horizontally the waveform data is easily related to the camera image (peaks in line with highlights, etc). I like that and would probably put the scopes underneath the viewer anyway.

 

Are you considering a Mac Pro vs iMac?

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I just upgraded my desktop, even though I got MBPR 15" with i7 2.7Ghz and 16GB ram, but with 1/3 price of Mac Pro you get a 6C12T i7 with 32GB of Ram to boot. 16GB is just no enough if you have multi program opened, and 6C/12T gives 40% shorter render time than 4C8T at same clockspeed.

 

My new desktop is 2X faster than my i7 MBPR lol  (stable at 4.4Ghz), and 5X faster than my old Q9300 setup, and runs much cooler too, I swear I can make breakfast on my macbook when rendering, now just wait for cheaper 4K camera and I am all set.

 

I have FCPX project died and just crash when I try to open again, so I just use Premiere extensively (nearly cost me the job on that one)

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