Recommended laptops for monitoring

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jsevakis

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Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostTue Oct 29, 2013 6:59 pm

Howdy. I'm looking to buy a new Mac laptop of some sort, to use for monitoring on shoots. Ideally I'd like to use Ultrascope with my BMC to monitor all of the levels, and occasionally capture in real-time. (I'd also use it for dumping the SSDs, of course.)

Since even Blackmagic themselves don't really have a clear, current list of system requirements for Ultrascope (but caution that the ability to process the scopes in real-time is quite GPU-intensive), can I ask what everyone here is using, what works and what doesn't? I read an earlier thread that cautions that Intel 4000 HD graphics just isn't enough, but even the 15" Macbook Pros use that these days.

Thanks!
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georgetsirogiannis

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostTue Oct 29, 2013 7:29 pm

Why don't you buy a monitor instead? :)
Website: georgetsirogiannis.com
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Johannes Hoffmann

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostTue Oct 29, 2013 8:47 pm

I use a MacBook Pro 2012 HR (non Retina) with an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M on set (non glossy display). Ultrascope runs fine but not in full mode that means only two scopes (because to the lack of screen size).

But since I discovered Resolve 10's Live Mode I never opened Ultrascope again. In resolve I have resizable scopes, a large preview with crop marks and the option to test how a certain lighting will grade. There is a slight lag of the video and the spacial limitation of a two meter thunderbolt cable, but otherwise this solution is perfect for me. (Have not yet tried to record anything.)

Johannes
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jsevakis

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostTue Oct 29, 2013 9:19 pm

Thanks, Johannes! Does Resolve 10's live mode have audio monitor? That was my biggest reason for wanting to use Ultrascope. Well, that and luma...
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Johannes Hoffmann

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostWed Oct 30, 2013 8:12 am

Unfortunately not. But it seems that the audio of the BMCC can be selected as audio input in System Preferences. I have not tested it, but in theory you should be able to monitor your audio through any audio application (and even capture it).

Johannes
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kevinconder

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostWed Oct 30, 2013 8:44 am

I'm probably the only guy with a pc notebook with thunderbolt (Asusg55, you can get a g75 with thunderbolt- make sure it's thunderbolt port, not a display port) that's using ultrascope.

You can get a 3m cable, that's the longest made. I have one and quick test showed it worked fine. I plan on getting a Seagate backup plus with two thunderbolt ports and using it to combine my 2m cable and 3m cable to a full 5m.

Has anyone tried this yet? The thunderbolt cable spec maxes at 3m, but with a powered port I believe it can work longer.

My notebook has no problem running ultrascope. I have not tried live view in resolve 10. Will try today.
Kevin Conder
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Jarrad Gittos

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostWed Oct 30, 2013 12:35 pm

Not the only PC user.

I did a lot of research into alternative windows laptops with thunderbolt port. I ended up going with a Lenovo S430. Works pretty well for ultrascope monitoring, don't really notice a lag. Haven't tried monitoring audio off ultrascope, so can't comment on that.

Has an extra graphics card other than the HD4000 (GT 620M), so it's pretty good. I turned around a video with prores/premiere in a weekend with no lag. Only issue is battery life fades really quickly and isn't comparable to mac laptops. And it's much lighter than the Asus laptops.

Just get a seagate thunderbolt dock and you can literally edit straight off your BMCC footage.

Good luck with the search!
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kevinconder

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostWed Oct 30, 2013 12:59 pm

jarred,

excellent.

how do you use the connections on your Seagate thunderbolt adapter?
Is it the one tb port version or two? If two, do you run a tb cable into it and run another out to your laptop for ultrascope monitoring?

That's what I hope it will do.

thanks
Kevin Conder
On Broken Ground Films
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Jarrad Gittos

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostWed Oct 30, 2013 1:23 pm

Sorry just re-read your question. You want to use the seagate 2 port to backup while recording? OR you just want to make a longer cable?

Left the original reply in the quote below.

I use the Seagate Goflex adapter - only has 1 thunderbolt port - id post amazon links but I can't.

I use the TB cable from camera to laptop to monitor on ultrascope, record on SSD in camera - use TB Adapter with SSD to process footage after. Not sure why you'd want to use two cables, unless I'm missing something?

I use sandisk 480's, so they are a little thin, and not tall enough to sit nicely on the goflex. I just use a little bit of foam padding with a sticky side to prop up the SSD on the goflex, works nicely.

Hope that answers the question?
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Jarrad Gittos

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostWed Oct 30, 2013 1:42 pm

kevinconder wrote:I plan on getting a Seagate backup plus with two thunderbolt ports and using it to combine my 2m cable and 3m cable to a full 5m.

Has anyone tried this yet? The thunderbolt cable spec maxes at 3m, but with a powered port I believe it can work longer.


Just doing some research, apparently the company behind gorilla glass (Corning) has developed an optical fibre thunderbolt cable which can go at length of 10m - 'Active Optical Cable 33ft/10m - Thunderbolt' on amazon. Not released yet, and it's pretty damn pricey... Don't know if it works well or not.
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kevinconder

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostWed Oct 30, 2013 3:14 pm

I just want a long cable, since none are made longer than 3m. I'd really like to have my laptop on a table on one side of the studio. Then attach the long cable to the laptop. Think of it as a director monitor.

The only way I've seen discussed how to do that is with something that is powered and has two tb ports. No one seems to answer definitively if that will work with bm ultrascopes.
Kevin Conder
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sean mclennan

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostWed Oct 30, 2013 6:21 pm

kevinconder wrote:I just want a long cable, since none are made longer than 3m. I'd really like to have my laptop on a table on one side of the studio. Then attach the long cable to the laptop. Think of it as a director monitor.

The only way I've seen discussed how to do that is with something that is powered and has two tb ports. No one seems to answer definitively if that will work with bm ultrascopes.


If you're after a director's monitor, it would probably be cheaper to just pick up a wireless transmitter and hook it up to a regular monitor. Then you could have it quite a distant from the camera too.
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jsevakis

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostThu Oct 31, 2013 5:16 pm

Thanks for your help, everyone! After looking around a bit, I think I'll ditch my original plan of going Mac, and instead get an Asus G75. Looks more than powerful enough.

The lowest price Macbook Pro with a separate graphics chip is gonna START at $2,000 which means out the door I'm looking at $2,500 or more. Meanwhile, NewEgg has a refurb G75JW for $1145. The screen isn't quite good enough for color correction, but should be fine for monitoring.

Excited!
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Elliott Balsley

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostTue Dec 03, 2013 10:56 pm

Could someone please post a photo or their setup? I'm really curious to see, and really cannot imagine having a laptop tethered 3m away from my camera on a real production. How is this practical???
Elliott C. Balsley
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Michael Weathersby

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostWed Dec 04, 2013 4:58 pm

You would most likely have a laptop stand next to your camera or just whip out the laptop and plug it in real quick to check the levels and then unplug it.
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Goran Alimpic

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostSat Dec 14, 2013 8:33 pm

How about buying Blackmagic's "UltraStudio Mini Recorder" for $137 that converts SDI to thunderbolt? Then you can have a long SDI cable from BMCC to that device plus the length of the thunderbolt cable.

Also, if I understand correctly, for those that do not have thunderbolt but a Windows USB 3.0 laptop, there is "Utrastudio SDI" for $375 that has both input and output SDI and connects to a computer via USB 3. Resolve Live mode should work with that, too, but I am not sure. Does anybody know?
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kevinconder

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Re: Recommended laptops for monitoring

PostSun Dec 15, 2013 11:53 am

well there's lots of ways to use a laptop near the camera. If I shoot in an indoor studio, I would have a little desk next to the camera.

I wouldn't use the laptop outside or if quickly changing locations. It's more useful in an indoor, controlled environment. Not part of a rig obviously.
Kevin Conder
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