Computer advice

Getting started with a Blackmagic product? Ask questions here about setup and installation.
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Joakley

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Computer advice

PostWed Jun 13, 2018 1:56 pm

Hello,
I am seriously considering buying the new BMP cc when it is released. Right now I’m Using a “lower end” Canon DSLR so this should be a significant step up for me.

My main issue at the moment is getting a computer (preferably a laptop) that will be adequate for handling the footage. While I am not a Mac fan boy, I would like to stick with the MacBook Pro. I currently use an older 13” and I’m almost positive that I will need something more powerful....so I want to get that taken care of first.

While researching over the past couple weeks I believe the general consensus is that even the new MacBook Pro 15” would struggle handling 4K footage...due to the not-so-powerful GPU.

I am still pretty new to film and I am learning as I go, so discussing and interpreting certain specs, codecs, and shooting formats is taking some getting used to.

So, in short, could I get some advice or opinions based on personal experience?
What’s the workflow like? What are some specs I need to consider? Shooting, editing, rendering RAW, etc.

Can I still have a smooth and relatively enjoyable experience editing BMPCC video without having to build a huge editing computer?

Thanks guys
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Brad Hurley

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Re: Computer advice

PostWed Jun 13, 2018 11:36 pm

Joakley wrote: My main issue at the moment is getting a computer (preferably a laptop) that will be adequate for handling the footage.


It depends crucially on what NLE (nonlinear editor) you plan to use to edit your video. The requirements for working with 4K video on DaVinci Resolve are significantly higher than, say, editing your video in Final Cut Pro. If you want to use a laptop, I'd probably steer clear of Resolve; see the configuration guide at http://documents.blackmagicdesign.com/D ... _Guide.pdf for details.

Apple has minimum requirements for Final Cut Pro X here: https://www.apple.com/ca/final-cut-pro/specs/
Resolve 15, Mac Pro 3.0 GHz 8-core, 32 gigs RAM, dual AMD D700 GPU.
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Joakley

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Re: Computer advice

PostThu Jun 14, 2018 2:19 am

Thanks for the reply.

I had heard that purchasing a MacBook Pro would still leave me “under-spec” when using Resolve. I primarily use Hitfilm Pro, but I downloaded the free version of Resolve a few months ago. I pretty much never use it (except to transcode footage to ProRes), but it’s there.

I’ve never even worked with 4K, but I planned on maybe giving it a go after buying the new pocket cinema camera. It’s not exactly a huge priority. But I definitely want to get a new machine that I can use exclusively for video editing.

I would however like to shoot and edit footage shot in RAW. My current camera doesn’t have this option so this is new territory for me. It would just suck having this fantastic footage rendered useless because my new (rather expensive) laptop couldn’t handle the task of editing.

I’ve heard FCP is great, but I would rather not spend another $300.00 on another NLE.
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Brad Hurley

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Re: Computer advice

PostThu Jun 14, 2018 10:31 pm

Joakley wrote:I’ve heard FCP is great, but I would rather not spend another $300.00 on another NLE.


If you compare the cost of buying Final Cut versus the cost of buying a computer that would be able to run Resolve at full spec and working with 4K raw footage, I think you'd find FCP is the cheaper option. ;)

I just spent around $15,000 on everything I need to run this "free" program (Resolve): a refurbished Mac desktop, a RAID array for storing my media and acting as a fast scratch drive, a calibratable reference monitor, and a BMD Ultrastudio to send 10-bit video to the reference monitor.

In contrast I could do most of what I needed to do in FCP on my refurbished i5 Mac Mini (although I would have bought the reference monitor anyway and possibly the RAID). Clearly I really like using Resolve (I prefer it to FCP), but people get it into their heads that because Resolve is free it's the cheapest option. It's not. You need to look at the total cost of ownership. You should check first, though to be sure FCP has a way of dealing with raw footage from the new (forthcoming) BMPCC; I imagine it does but I haven't looked into it.

Other options you could consider are doing what I did if you want to stick with Mac; get a refurbished Mac Pro (2013 model) that meets the specs in the Resolve configuration guide. This is definitely fine for HD footage and 4K, although the GPU only has 6 gigs total memory (it's actually 2 GPUs with 3 gigs each) and some people have reported problems with those AMD GPUs. Mine have been fine so far. You'd want to get the 12-core version for working with 4k, which is pricey.

It's not impossible to use a MacBook Pro with Resolve and quite a few people on the forum here are doing it, but I think they all bump up against its limitations at some point.

Another option is going over to Windows, but as you can see in the configuration guide that's more complicated, at least at first. Actually running Resolve on Windows is no different from running it on the Mac.
Resolve 15, Mac Pro 3.0 GHz 8-core, 32 gigs RAM, dual AMD D700 GPU.
Audio I/O: Sound Devices USBPre-2
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Joakley

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Re: Computer advice

PostThu Jun 14, 2018 11:43 pm

15 grand?! Holy hell! That’s serious business right there. I only do amateur stuff as a hobby. Building something like that is just not an option for me haha.

You mentioned a refurb. Looking at refurbished laptops is actually where I’ve been looking and I haven’t seen any such specs...especially on 2013’s. GPU with 6 gb? I can only find 4gb...and that’s with newer ones. Where do you find these?
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Brad Hurley

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Re: Computer advice

PostFri Jun 15, 2018 12:43 am

Joakley wrote:15 grand?! Holy hell! That’s serious business right there. I only do amateur stuff as a hobby. Building something like that is just not an option for me haha.

You mentioned a refurb. Looking at refurbished laptops is actually where I’ve been looking and I haven’t seen any such specs...especially on 2013’s. GPU with 6 gb? I can only find 4gb...and that’s with newer ones. Where do you find these?


I wrote "Mac Pro," not "MacBook Pro." That's the so-called "trashcan" style desktop. Buying refurbished directly from Apple saved me about $1,000 off the regular price but it was still expensive. I've bought nearly all my computers refurbished for years now and have never had a problem; if you buy from Apple you get the same 1-year guarantee that you get with a new computer.

My setup is far from pro and I'll never make back the money I spent on it, but we'll see where it goes. I could have saved a lot of money by just sticking to Final Cut, but I'm hooked on Resolve, love its interface, and am especially attracted to color grading, which I've been studying for the past 8 months or so.
Resolve 15, Mac Pro 3.0 GHz 8-core, 32 gigs RAM, dual AMD D700 GPU.
Audio I/O: Sound Devices USBPre-2
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Joakley

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Re: Computer advice

PostFri Jun 15, 2018 1:58 am

Ohhhh, I see. Right on.

Mac Pro. I misread it.
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Denny Smith

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Re: Computer advice

PostSat Jun 16, 2018 1:25 am

A Macbbok Pro with 4GB will run ver 14 Resolve, and might be ok for 15 if yiu do not use the advanced features, leave them off. I got a 2013 27-inch IMac, fully kitted out refurbished for 1209 with 20GB of Ram, it runs Resolve 14, with a 2GB Nvida gtx 775M graphic card. Never had the monitor or computer die on the several IMacs I have purchased. The new IMac Pro will run Resolve 15, I may trade up to one next year, or get a MacPro 2013 refurbished like Brad did, as I do have several Mac monitors from my older MacPros.
Cheers.
Denny Smith
SHA Productions
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Peter Benson

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Re: Computer advice

PostSat Jun 16, 2018 7:03 am

Joakley wrote:I’ve heard FCP is great, but I would rather not spend another $300.00 on another NLE.


Truly, FCP X is utterly dirt cheap for the power, features and reliability you get, provided the Mac OSX variant you run it on is stable, i.e., doesn't cause you any problems.

Brad Hurley wrote:If you compare the cost of buying Final Cut versus the cost of buying a computer that would be able to run Resolve at full spec and working with 4K raw footage, I think you'd find FCP is the cheaper option. ;)

I just spent around $15,000 on everything I need to run this "free" program (Resolve): a refurbished Mac desktop, a RAID array for storing my media...a calibratable reference monitor, and a BMD Ultrastudio to send 10-bit video to the reference monitor...In contrast I could do most of what I needed to do in FCP on my refurbished i5 Mac Mini...


1) Which make model and cost for the RAID, and
2) What type RAID is it and what is that RAID configurations major benefit Brad -- (for example: RAID 0 for enhanced read/write speed?
3) Which calibrate-capable reference monitor did you snatch up?
Lastly...
4) How much system RAM and GPU RAM does that little puppy boast?

Your caution on system cost differential between FCP vs. Resolve, indicating the former as the least expensive system option plus your additional tips for configurng a pertinent, workable FCP or Resolve system is absolutely spot on.
+100


Resolve Studio 14.3...014 | MiniMonitor | DTV Setup 10.9.7 | Win8.1 Home x64 | ROG G751JL, 2.8GHz Intel i7HQ, 24GB DDR4, 1TB HD, 500GB EVO 850, 2GB GTX965M | Mackie MCU Pro | Softube Console 1 Mkii | Contour Designs Shuttle Pro 2
DTV 10.9.7 > Kingston SD5000T > MiniMonitor > Bravia | Samsung U28D590 | DRS 14.3.0.014 | Win8.1 x64 | ASUS G751JL, i7-4720HQ, 24GB | GTX965M | 1TB HDD, 500GB EVO 850 SSD | MCU Pro | Softube Console 1 Mkii | Shuttle Pro 2
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Brad Hurley

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Re: Computer advice

PostSat Jun 16, 2018 10:24 am

Peter Benson wrote:1) Which make model and cost for the RAID, and
2) What type RAID is it and what is that RAID configurations major benefit Brad -- (for example: RAID 0 for enhanced read/write speed?
3) Which calibrate-capable reference monitor did you snatch up?
Lastly4) How much system RAM and GPU RAM does that little puppy boast?


I got a Promise Pegasus 3 R4 (12 Terabyte) array, about $2,000 Canadian; it comes configured in RAID 5 which is typical for video work -- you want a combination of speed and redundancy, and RAID 5 provides both. I had to get a Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter to plug it into the Mac Pro 2013, which only has Thunderbolt 2 ports. Twelve terabytes isn't much, but it's enough for my needs for the foreseeable future. I only have time to work on a couple of video projects per year.

For the monitor, I got an Eizo CG 277. I looked into Flanders and was tempted but not for $6,000 Canadian, which is what it would have cost including taxes, duties, and shipping. The Eizo was about half that.

For the Mac Pro, I got 32 gigs of RAM and the D700 GPUs; it comes with two of them, 3 gigs each for a total of 6 gigs, and even the free version of Resolve uses both GPUs on the MacPro (normally you have to buy the Studio version to use multiple GPUs). I do plan to buy the Studio version once version 15 is officially released and no longer in Beta), but it's $400 Canadian and I'm saving up for it. I want the noise reduction and a few other features.

This is all adequate for my purposes, which is HD video editing only. I'm only working on my own projects, no clients, so I can set my own terms in terms of my system's capabilities. My day job is 100% client-based work; video is an opportunity to do what I want the way I want to, and to set my own limitations.

The other big expenses have of course been camera equipment and sound equipment. Lenses, filters (ND, IR-UV cut, etc.), fluid head for my tripod, and then sound equipment like a Sound Devices MixPre 6 for recording, and a couple of Rycote windjammer kits (with blimp and "dead cat"). Fortunately I already have good microphones as I've been doing live sound and music recording for about 20 years, although only a few of my mics are suitable for work with video. I'll probably have to get a shotgun mic eventually for recording interviews (I'm mostly working on documentary-style projects), but for now I'm using my cheap-but-amazingly good Line Audio CM-3 cardioids, which are not ideal for targetted sound and are super-sensitive to wind (hence the blimp), but they have been compared very favorably to Shoeps MK21 mics, which cost about 10 times as much.

I'm avoiding lighting equipment for now, and maybe forever...if I stick to shooting video outdoors in natural light or indoors with window lighting only (and maybe a few reflectors), I should be able to get by for quite a while without having to buy lighting. I haven't even started to learn about that end of it; video, sound, editing, and coloring are enough to keep me busy learning for the next decade!
Resolve 15, Mac Pro 3.0 GHz 8-core, 32 gigs RAM, dual AMD D700 GPU.
Audio I/O: Sound Devices USBPre-2

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