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View Full Version : Moving to a 1080i pipeline from SD - what upgrades needed?


fxgogo
07-24-2012, 08:16 AM
The television station I work for is finally moving to HD broadcasts shortly and we are looking at what we need to do to our systems to cope with the increased data flow and storage.

All our machines are dual quad core Mac Pro's, but my first thoughts to upgrade are:

bumping our ram from 8gigs to 24 or 32 gigs
increasing our HD storage 4 fold, possibly a faster HD solution than standard Sata
possibly increasing the graphics card from a quadro 120 to something more current


So my question is to you people who have already gone through the process. What were the issues you found and how did you have to beef up your systems to deal with the data increase?

Thanks in advance

olson
07-25-2012, 06:34 PM
What part of the workflow do you deal with? Going to HD will impact some areas of the workflow but not others. Do you have specific concerns already? In other words your question is so generic the only answers people can give would be generic too. The more information you can provide the more helpful people can be.

sentry66
07-26-2012, 12:39 AM
yeah, upgrade everything

I don't know what issues there are other than the files are heavier and you need hardware capable of handling them at a reasonable speed.


I'm dealing with 4k stereo files now.


If you're a 3D artist, the issue is all those textures, models, and shaders you thought were awesome at standard def, are total crap at 4k. It takes a lot of work to get your content up to snuff when it's under such a huge magnifying glass.

olson
07-26-2012, 12:44 AM
yeah, upgrade everything


That's what I mean by generic answer... :shrug:

fxgogo
07-26-2012, 01:43 PM
Ok, so we are motion graphics designers dealing mainly with branding and promos for our channel. So we use Cinema 4D, AE, Illustrator, Photoshop mainly. Lots of video footage, 3D renders, Particles, masks, keying, grading etc.

So many of our AE comps in SD encompass hundreds of layers, many with video. I have had certain projects where my machine drops to a crawl cause AE is so heavy, especially when Trapcode is doing some particles for us.

3D wise we do the normal multipass out of C4D into AE. Textures are not that heavy at the moment, but that is mainly due to the channel having a clean flat look. That might change in the next few months, so I want to plan for the fact that we need loads of textures that will hold up in HD.

So I know my memory and HD requirements are going to be higher, but how much? What is that sweet spot where things are mostly smooth? Does the gfx card need a revamp? etc.

olson
07-27-2012, 02:15 PM
So many of our AE comps in SD encompass hundreds of layers, many with video. I have had certain projects where my machine drops to a crawl cause AE is so heavy, especially when Trapcode is doing some particles for us.


My guess is the processor is the bottleneck for complex compositions unless the layers are all different imported EXR renders. This is especially with plugins like Particular which uses only one processor core. Since you're on a Mac changing this would mean purchasing a completely different system. Given the piss poor offerings in the Mac Pro range right now you might consider moving away from Apple if you're going to upgrade the processors.


3D wise we do the normal multipass out of C4D into AE. Textures are not that heavy at the moment, but that is mainly due to the channel having a clean flat look. That might change in the next few months, so I want to plan for the fact that we need loads of textures that will hold up in HD.


For the clean look the rendering times will increase from the higher resolution but the memory impact will be minimal. Upgrading the processors could minimize the impact of the longer render times. If the station goes with the look that requires lots of textures the impact could vary, count on around half a gigabyte of memory usage per 8K texture with 16-bit per channel color.


So I know my memory and HD requirements are going to be higher, but how much? What is that sweet spot where things are mostly smooth? Does the gfx card need a revamp? etc.

The sweet spot right now in my opinion is 16GB for general purpose computer graphics. If the budget allows there's nothing wrong with getting 24GB or 32GB (or more). It all depends on what the budget and machines can handle.

Having a lower end graphics card like that won't impact the majority of the workflow. Where it could have an impact is the 3D viewport with lots of heavy textures or with applications that leverage OpenCL and/or CUDA.

For storage upgrading the local disk is an option but if you have more than a few people working on projects I'd consider a high performance NAS or file server. Ten gigabit Ethernet prices are coming down and there are several commercial NAS appliances with ten gigabit Ethernet. If you go the local disk route don't get the low RPM "green" disks if you can avoid them. Good luck with the transition!

sentry66
07-27-2012, 05:10 PM
I'm a generalist, so I'm doing all aspects of production. I'm working with 2160p files and IMO overclocking, fast SSD's, and 64 gigs of ram are an absolute must for going that high. IMO the amount of ram you have is more important for if you're compositing while having a lot of other files open. AE loves ram for HD and higher resolutions.

For 1080p, 16 gigs of ram should be fine for most people. I'd just get the fastest machine you can reasonably afford.

Adobe stuff doesn't really use multiple processors all that well most of the time. IMO faster speed CPU's are better than slower, but more cores for the adobe stuff - especially AE.

IMO the video card doesn't matter as much for most 2D and video editing and matters more for 3D stuff. It all depends how much more complex you plan on making your models for HD.

fxgogo
08-07-2012, 01:44 PM
Thanks for the response guys. Yeah we are stuck with the machines for a while as the company has a 5 year life span on each workstation before they are replaced. So the processors will have to do for now.

For the upgrade, we put in for 24 to 32 gigs of ram, with a possibility to upgrade the graphics cards as well.

Actually the future of the Mac Pro's is looking like it is going to be a real issue. For us designers and animators, we need heavy duty hardware with expansion capabilities. If Apple are clever they will come out with a gorgeous design where you expand via thunderbolt, yet you machine looks like a Mac Mini. You then stack the expansions on top of each other in a tower of art....just a thought....;)

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