Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

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Shiunbird
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Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby Shiunbird » Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:22 am

Hi guys, Happy Holidays!

I've been trying to learn a bit of video editing stuff, and I'm putting my G5 Quad to work.
My workflow currently consists of transcoding video from my DSLR from H.264 24.93fps 1080p to Apple ProRes using Compressor, working in FCP, and then exporting the final product back to H.264. The H.264-ProRes-H.264 step is done using my 2011 Mac Mini - it's far more efficient.

Storage is currently on a FreeNAS box built out of a HP MicroServer Gen8, using link aggregation so I can get 2ish Gbps from the NAS to the G5 (the G5 connects itself to the rest of my network using AirPort). It can push around 120MB/s without much CPU overhead on the G5 end. The NAS is using 40-50% of CPU when the load is heavy. It's enough for me.

The G5 can handle most of what I throw at it fine, even with RT Unlimited and very few frame drops. Sometimes, however, it asks me to render stuff for preview, and I still don't know what causes it.

Here is my question: I was looking into getting something like an used KONA 3 - there are fine examples with ok prices on eBay. How much would that help me? I was checking the documentation and I couldn't get if, with a KONA 3, I can do more it starts asking for renders, or what kind of work it relieves the CPU from, or if my exports are faster, etc..

I know Final Cut allows you to choose what kind of codec is processed where...

So how much would that help me? Anyone around with experience in the area?
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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby toasty » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:51 am

The secret to editing with FCP on a G5 or older Mac is to do what's called offline editing. You basically capture your media in low resolution (or make low res copies of your already captured high res media), edit in low res, and then conform your edited sequence to the high resolution version. Editing would be a breeze as you are only working with standard definition videos. And you just let your computer do the crunching all night long when it's time to spit out the hi def version.

https://documentation.apple.com/en/finalcutpro/usermanual/index.html#chapter=91%26section=2%26tasks=true

This is what editors in film and television have done for years until computers were fast enough to directly edit 1080p, 2K, 4K, 3840934293K, etc.
Past: :Fuel: :Octane2: :O2: :O2: :O2: :Indy: Present: MacBook

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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby Shiunbird » Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:57 pm

Oh, thanks for the tip! It sounds pretty obvious now that I'm reading it.

Not to go into the 3984293048290384K silliness. We lived SD for a few decades, and I thought we would spend at least 20 years on HDTV. I just bought a decent TV 4 years ago and I'm not buying a new one. The amount of trash this foolishness generates is insane: capable computers go to trash because of YouTube. And monitors. And TVs. And broadcasting equipment.
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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby uunix » Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:14 pm

Shiunbird wrote:Here is my question: I was looking into getting something like an used KONA 3 - there are fine examples with ok prices on eBay. How much would that help me? I was checking the documentation and I couldn't get if, with a KONA 3, I can do more it starts asking for renders, or what kind of work it relieves the CPU from, or if my exports are faster, etc..


I don't work in the area you are describing, but I got myself one of these and used it for pre-source converting for my discreet system and it worked brilliantly. It would easily take any input and throw out what I wanted. My Card came with the rack mount modules as well, which was great. I don't use it now, since I've finally mastered the art of VHS -> Betacam -> Flame and I'm nearly 99% complete with my 2 year goal to setup a super system.

2 Years to buy everything in the world related to 625 converting VHS.. which I could do for £20 on a mac and I've only got 3 tapes to do anyway.. ah keeps me off the streets I suppose.
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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:27 pm

To toasty you listen. That said, I generally edit in native Apple Intermediate Codec on my Quad.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby Shiunbird » Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:00 am

uunix wrote:2 Years to buy everything in the world related to 625 converting VHS.. which I could do for £20 on a mac and I've only got 3 tapes to do anyway.. ah keeps me off the streets I suppose.


I know the feeling. Not being rich, we’ve all got to wait to gather what we need for specific projects, and sometimes that wait makes me anxious. My pile of projects grows up faster than I clear it. It’s maddening.

And yes, you do 3 tapes, done. =)

ClassicHasClass wrote:To toasty you listen. That said, I generally edit in native Apple Intermediate Codec on my Quad.


Hmmmm… I thought of using the Intermediate Codec, but when I saw it could handle ProRes, I settled for it. Have you ever compared both? I’ll check it out.
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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:22 am

ProRes IIRC is going to be overall slower, although in fairness you'll get better quality and colourspace from it. Since my workflow doesn't really benefit from that, however, I use AIC, which is smaller than ProRes and faster to edit.

Note that if I were editing on an Intel Mac I'd just use ProRes; AIC doesn't really have any advantage there.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby Shiunbird » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:17 am

Thank you for all the tips.

I'm going to do a few comparisons. My sources are mostly H.264 MPEG-4 AVC 4:2:0 YUV videos from a Nikon D7000. 1080p / 29.98 fps. The bitrate is around 18Mbps.

The quality is not great, specially since I end up having to shoot at higher ISOs, even though I'm using 1.8 aperture.

I tried using my Mac Mini for editing, but:
1. When it's idle, it's great. But when the fans are blowing, it's far more annoying than the G5. Whiny high pitched fan.
2. I don't necessarily like Final Cut X (or didn't take the time to learn it properly).

In the past, I edited internal material for my first job and I had Final Cut 2 on a G4 733, so I'm much used to the interface. I just haven't really touched it in years.
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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby uunix » Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:16 am

Shiunbird wrote:2.(or didn't take the time to learn it properly).

True with all software, the more you become familiar the nicer it is.
I spent a good few hours (days?) trying to rotate a small clip 90 degrees in Flame.. I managed to do it after going through the books, but then had some crazy layer in the film, which took more time to remove. I achieved it but ask me to do it again.. :?

It's all a big learning curve when you're new.
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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby Shiunbird » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:35 am

Gentlemen,

Waking my own thread from the grave, for the record, I found my final setup:

- Uncompressed works fine for 1080p@24fps (that's what I use). RTExtreme (preview of transitions and multiple layers without pre-render) works fine. My NAS is fast enough to push 1 stream to the Quad without any problems. It does 2-3 streams with a few frame drops. Extra bonus of using uncompressed: decoders don't crash upon mixed endianness, so I don't need to export recompressing every frame if I'm using sources encoded by amd64 boxes. When playing on QuickTime, it's flawless. VLC skips a frame and shows again the file name on the screen whenever you transition between parts packed or encoded with different endiannesses (if there's such term).
- ProRes 422 gave me a few issues with RT @ 1080p, I don't know why. I thought it should work. I'm not in the mood to try to figure it out, because I have enough storage available.

I decided to give 4K a shot. Maybe I will own a 4K camera someday. H264 gives me 5fps and one full core used. The others sleeping.
On VLC, full of artifacts. CorePlayer doesn't recognize it.
- My system doesn't have storage fast enough for uncompressed 4K@24fps. I have 2 pairs of 2x RAID0 SSDs, and I would need to go for 4 SSDs on RAID0. Naturally, the NAS can't push that much. The bitrate is 2460mbps. I believe Final Cut would handle fine 1 or 2 4K streams if I would have the 4x SSD RAID0 on the G5.
- Now, surprising to me, Final Cut handles 4K ProRes 422 just fine, even when reading from the NAS, at 70MB/s. Not a single frame skipped during playback. However, I need to render transitions and multilayered parts. It's not a big deal though, took me 50 seconds to render 65s of footage during my tests.

I'm happy and settled. I've just scored a sealed box of Shake and will give it a go.

Edit: poor grammar.
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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:22 am

Very interesting. At least you found a solution that seemed acceptable. What were the RT issues with ProRes? Did AIC give you any performance improvements?
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby Shiunbird » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:51 am

ClassicHasClass wrote:What were the RT issues with ProRes?

In theory, I should be able to run ProRes on RT at 1080p, but it won't let me. It just keeps telling me transitions and effects have to be pre-rendered. As far as I know, the G5 should be able to handle it. I'm going through the manual now (the beautiful smell of paper manuals), to see if there's anything I'm missing.

ClassicHasClass wrote:Did AIC give you any performance improvements?

Yes, it did. Thanks for the previous suggestion. But uncompressed uses even less CPU. Given that I'm on speedy storage and I have no need to save it, I'm going for compressed. I can even run a sequence with few edits with the CPU speed set to reduced and not lose frames, with the interface fully responsive.

So now my workflow consists of converting everything to uncompressed using the available cycles in my NAS, and storing output already there. Then I mount it on the G5 via AFP, do the edits, export the final version to uncompressed and then do H.264 again using the idle cycles of my NAS. Scratch disk for the huge files are on my PCIe SSDs. Originals go to Blu-Rays or to Ultrium 2 tapes, depending on the size. Finals stay in the NAS.
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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby GIJoe » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:43 pm

Shiunbird wrote:I tried using my Mac Mini for editing, but:
1. When it's idle, it's great. But when the fans are blowing, it's far more annoying than the G5. Whiny high pitched fan.
2. I don't necessarily like Final Cut X (or didn't take the time to learn it properly).


i on the other hand can't seem to make a 2012 i5 mini spin up the fans, not even video encoding does the trick, always stays silent (but gets warm).

btw. if you don't like final cut X you probably prefer the classic multilayer timeline editing. in that case a look at blackmagic's davinci resolve might be interesting. it has a really nice editing module, like a modern version of how FCP or FCE might behave and look like nowadays if they hadn't instead developed into this new-age abomination for the youtube generation.

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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby Shiunbird » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:04 am

I have a mid-2011 Mini with AMD Graphics, 2 SSDs and 16GB of RAM.
However:

1. If I have two displays connected, whenever I'm encoding video, the export times go up by a factor of 20x. No idea why. Even a simple iMovie video outputting H264... It can be showing 15 minutes remaining, but as soon as I connect a second display, times go up to 5 hours. It gets old really fast to have to disconnect the display to encode video.
2. Doing uncompressed, the G5 fans also don't go up. =)
3. The Mac Mini seems to choke under pressure.

I use it only when I really need to have the computer on for days in a row or for the random new-ish game I want to play. For the rest of my serious tasks, I generally go to the G5.

I've heard of the DaVinci Resolve, and was actually curious about it though. I will have a look, thanks for the tip.
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Re: Video acceleration on Power Macs / QuickTime / FCP

Unread postby GIJoe » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:17 am

(double post)
Last edited by GIJoe on Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.


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