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COW Blogs : Little Frog in High Def : apple
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TIME MACHINE...and other things.

Here is the Kona KBox mounted on the back of my IKEA "rack." I had to add an extra piece of wood to the side, but the 2U rack brackets fit nicely.Now...onto TIME MACHINE. In my MacPro I have 5 drives. The system drive is in Bay 1, I have three Seagate 500GB drives in the other 3 bays. One stands alone as a work drive, where I store show exports, imported footage and other odd and ends that I transfer to the server. The final two are RAIDED as RAID 0 and I use them to capture media too before I transfer it to the XSAN.I have a fifth drive installed in this MacPro. The fifth drive resides in the normally empty second optical bay. It is connected to the computer via one of the two spare SATA connections on the logicboard (accessed by removing the fans) and a 3.5" to 5.25" adapter kit. I use this drive as my TIME MACHINE drive, since I am using Leopard. Already this has saved my behind.There was a small bit of temp footage that we had in the system that was accidentally ripped from the DVD as h.264. When I added this to the timeline, it required rendering...a clue to me that it was not an editing codec. So I copied the file to my computer, used Compressor to convert it to DV, and copied the DVD file back to the XSAN. I then went to reimport this clip and dropped it into the timeline and..it STILL recuired rendering. HUH? I looked at the clip and it STILL said it was h.264. Somehow it was still referencing the clip on my desktop, or in the trash...somewhere. So I dragged the clip to the trash and tried to empty it. It couldn't...FCP was still referencing it. So I quit FCP and then emptied the trash. To make sure that it linked properly, I also trashed the converted file on my drive. Then I opened FCP and...and...the clip was offline. I looked at the file I copied over and it was corrupt...zero KB.It was gone. Crap. Here I am, Sunday night and hour 10 into a 12 hour shift, and I lost media and I don't know where the DVD is, and it is footage I need. Crap crap crap.Then I remember that I have Time Machine running. What the heck, I'll check. So I open my desktop folder and then hit TIME MACHINE. I go back one notch and...YUP, there it is...on the desktop. So I copy the DV file over...RESTORE it...and drop it on the XSAN. Import that into FCP and all is good. I like Time Machine.But this also points to an issue with my connection with the XSAN. I know something is up because I have to type in my password any time I want to copy footage to it...AUTHENTICATE it. And I can't create folders on it, nor set it as my scratch disk. I gotta call the IT guys and get them to look at it.

Posted by: Shane Ross on Mar 11, 2008 at 11:21:25 pm editing, apple, adobe, final cut pro
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NEW SYSTEM Part 7: Install, part 2

Here it is. It took me a while to get this post up because...well, I am beat. I spent last weekend finishing the desk...and taking the remaining wood and unused scraps to make THREE bird houses...well, help my daughters make them. Kids demanding their dad's time...how can I refuse? So that was Saturday.But I am jumping ahead a little. The computer arrived on Thursday, Feb 28...a day ahead of schedule. I jumped for joy at work when my wife called. And when I got home from work...and after a quick meal...I put my full attention onto this machine. Installing three 500 GB Seagates into the spare drives, yanking out the fan to access one of the SATA ports on the logicboard and installing a small drive into the empty optical bay (this I am using as my Time Machine backup). I replaced the stock ATI 2600 card with the x1900 XT card. You heard about that mess last time. OK, bouncing ahead again.Sunday evening I moved the desk and all my gear to the edit bay at the office in Hollywood. Yup, actually working in Hollywood. This installation took about 3 hours. Lugging equipment and desk upstairs, assembling desk, fixing HD CRT as the power button was stuck IN and I couldn't turn on the monitor. I fixed that and finished the build. I was pleasantly surprised that the desk was as steady as it was. I realized a small design flaw in my desk. The legs flare IN from the front. They need to flare OUT, as the bulk of the weight is in the back. I will be getting two more single legs from IKEA to add to the back.I was up and running on Monday. Not on the XSAN yet, so I worked with the footage on the internal drives...I striped two of them as a Raid 0. Running the AJA SYSTEM TEST I found that I got 200MB/s read/write on this. NICE. I had the media stored on these drives for now, so I could edit. This afternoon, Tuesday, is when I was finally added to the network. So far so good...smooth sailing.SIDE NOTE. I hooked up my G5 to the MacPro via GigE and was able to share the media drive from the G5 to the MacPro. And I was able to do three streams on the G5. The MacPro, connected to the G5 that was acting like a Server, was able to do 2 streams. That was cool to kown. SO if I have a two computer shot, this is a pretty cheap SAN.ANYWAY...dying of sleep deprivation, so I gotta try to get some shuteye. I can't post specifics about the desk, as I have partners who want to make ALL the desks like this, but I will say that everything came from IKEA. Everything but the shelf...that came from a lumber yard.EDIT: I am on the XSAN this morning, and it is SWEET!

Posted by: Shane Ross on Mar 5, 2008 at 9:16:12 amComments (1) apple, final cut pro, aja
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NEW SYSTEM Part 6: Install, part 1

OK...the good news is that the ATI X1900 XT card works in the new Mac Pro. All that was needed is for the firmware update to be run on it. The bad news is that this update cannot be run on the current machine. The machine will say "this update is not needed," which is complete crap! What you have to do is find someone with a PREVIOUS Mac Pro, like the April 2007 model, have them install the card and run the update. Then the card will work. That is exactly what I did...I had my buddy Patrick Sheffield run the update and BOOM...it works. And it works well.So here I am installing software...and it is a LONG process. Microsoft Office, Adobe CS3, Raylight, Sorenson Squeeze...and of course Final Cut Studio 2. I know that I said that I wouldn't give out exact version numbers of the OS and QT and the FCS components...but I will say that I am fully updating everything to the current versions as of Feb 29, 2007. After I install FCS 2, I am updating it. Then I am installing CS3, and updating them (I downloaded the installers). Then I will test out the system before I bring it in to install at the production office. One thing I will test is the ability to SHARE a media drive on the G5...use it as a server and share the CalDigit S2VR Duo that I have connected to it containing DVCPROHD footage. I will see if this will work as a "poor man's SAN" for a two station DVCPRO HD edit. I will have to have both machines running FCS 2 and playing the footage...so it will be interesting.OH...pictures. Darn...OK...when I install it at the office, I'll post all the pictures then.


Posted by: Shane Ross on Feb 29, 2008 at 11:26:13 pm apple, final cut pro
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UNINSTALL FINAL CUT STUDIO

If you have ever wanted to uninstall Final Cut Studio (FCS), for whatever reason, doing so was a bit of a challenge. If you are like me, you don't know where all of the components and extras that FCS installs are located, or what half of them are even called. Now there is a way to do this. Jon Chappell, a contributing member of the Apple Final Cut Pro forums, has developed a small handy little application that finds and removes all the components Final Cut Studio installs. It is called the FCS REMOVER. Now I haven't tested it yet, as I have no reason to remove FCP, but I hear it works well.

Posted by: Shane Ross on Feb 29, 2008 at 2:45:26 pmComments (2) apple, final cut pro
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NEW SYSTEM Part 5: Arrival!

IT'S HERE! It was supposed to be delivered tomorrow, but it got here a day early. I was tracking it on FedEx and it seemed to be sitting idle in Fort Worth Texas...it was there for a while. But then I looked up the tracking number just after lunch yesterday and suddenly it was in Sun Valley CA (here in the Valley, close to Burbank Airport) and on the truck to be delivered! I called my wife...she was going to be out of the house from 11:45 to 3:00...and sure enough, that was when the delivery occurred. But then they made another attempt later in the afternoon and my wife was home and I GOT MY NEW MAC PRO!I raced home from work...as fast as one can race in rush hour traffic...and burst through the door. There it was, in the entrance hall. Too heavy for my wife and kids to move. After dinner I unpacked it and...well, OK...I'll go into more of that later. Posting pics and all...as if you all care. I'm getting a new machine, it is exciting to ME. But I'll post a few pics as to what I installed and how crowded it is inside there.But I did want to mention one thing. One thing that put a damper on this machine. I replaced the stock ATI x2600 card with the ATI x1900XT. I read on BareFeats.com that this card works in the newer MacPros. I plugged in a monitor and fired it up and....nothing happened. The card was spinning VERY FAST AND VERY LOUD...but nothing appeared on the screen. DRAT! I took the Kona 3 card out and put the x2600 card back in and fired it up again. Yup, now I can see something. I looked in the System Profiler and it saw the 2600 card, but it said GRAPHICS CARD...then ATI...in slot 1. It wasn't working.GAH!I updated the system fully. Nothing. I looked to see if there was a driver for this, and I found that there was a Firmware Update. I downloaded that and ran it, but the computer said "that is unnecessary for this computer" or something like that. GAH! So I e-mailed Rob-Art of Barefeats and told him my predicament. He responded with "You have to upgrade the firmware on the X1900 XT with it installed in a 2006/2007 Mac Pro." OK...fine. I can do that. Rather I can have a friend with an older MacPro do it for me. More after the weekend. BIG post when it is all installed into the edit bay.

Posted by: Shane Ross on Feb 29, 2008 at 8:55:08 am editing, television, apple, final cut pro
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NEW SYSTEM Part 4: Shipping

Quick update. My MacPro is finally shipping. And it turns out that I will be getting the original machine I ordered. Even though my dealer bent over backwards to get me the older version of the MacPro, I will be getting the new machine. Why? Well, the XSAN we will be getting will be running Leopard, so the fact that my machine will be running Leopard as well can only be good. And this saves me a few hundred bucks too...which is also a good thing. I am still tracking the progress of the shipment at Apple...building the excitement. And when it arrives I'll to the obligatory unboxing photos, followed by the installing of the accessories photos (Kona 3, x1900XT, hard drives). In the meantime I finished building the desk. Here is a quick photo of the desk...built entirely from parts purchased at Ikea. Well, except for the shelf, that was bought from the lumber store.

Posted by: Shane Ross on Feb 29, 2008 at 8:49:21 am editing, apple, final cut pro
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NEW SYSTEM Part 3: The Pickle

Ongoing discussion at the Apple FCP forum.I am in a pickle. And goes to show that even people who are FCP Gurus and forum leaders aren't infallible.OK...the situation thus far. I needed a MacPro 3.0Ghz that was to be included in a Tiger SAN network running XSAN. The new MacPros...the one I ordered, do not come with Tiger installed, they come with Leopard. In fact, they are designed to work with Leopard and Apple highly recommends AGAINST installing previous OS versions on the newer machines as they might not function properly. They are designed to work with the new OS. In the case of the new MacPros, it is because the PCIe slots are the new PCIe2 technology, and MacOSX Tiger is not designed to work with them. Since the x1900XT graphics card will be on these slots...when it was designed for the original slots...issue may arise. What they are yet, who knows. How often they will happen, if at all, who knows. But I really cannot afford to be testing that out, as this will be an edit machine used in a broadcast environment with deadlines and downtime is bad.Soooo...what I have to do now is figure out how to remedy this. Perhaps sell my machine with a slight loss, look for a previous MacPro 3.0Ghz and pay the higher cost for it. Yes, it stinks, but attention to detail is what is needed in circumstances like this...and detail is what I seemed to have missed. I was giddy to get a new machine so I was a bit blind to the details. BAD.Of course I'll keep this thread updated...as well as this blog.

EDIT: OK, I got it all worked out. I was able to find a previous version MacPro 3.0Ghz and swap it out with the one I ordered. At a slight cost increase, of course. But the new machine will have 8GB of RAM...plenty.


Posted by: Shane Ross on Feb 16, 2008 at 4:39:45 pmComments (1) editing, apple, final cut pro, aja
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NEW SYSTEM: The Apple Thread

Well, I am still awaiting my MacPro. Everything else has arrived: Kona 3 with K-BOX, HD10AVA, RAM, X1900XT Graphics card...heck, I even bought the pieces to the desk I intend to build today. I am discussing the arrival of my machine on this thread on the Apple forums. Trying to build tension, and have fun discussions that aren't meant to solve issues.I'll post desk pics when I get the thing together. I bought various pieces at Ikea, but the design will be unique.

Posted by: Shane Ross on Feb 15, 2008 at 10:23:42 pm editing, entertainment, apple, final cut pro, computers, aja
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MXO NOW NVIDIA COMPATIBLE

With the most recent Mac OS Update, OSX 10.5.2, the Matrox MXO is now compatible with all Mac models, INCLUDING the new MacBook Pros. Finally.To get this to work, the following is REQUIRED:Update to Leopard 10.5.2Then Update to Leopard Graphic Update 1.0Then install the Matrox MXO 2.1.1 drivers.This has been tested by Matrox and according to them, it works. This has always been a thorn in my side, as I try to recommend this great box, only to have to tell people, "sorry, it doesn't work with the new MacBook Pro models." Well now it does. Wheeee!EDIT: Well, apparently I was a little gung ho and announced it BEFORE it was official. Here is the official press release from Matrox, with a link to the MXO 2.1.1 drivers

Posted by: Shane Ross on Feb 14, 2008 at 9:32:15 am editing, apple, final cut pro
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NEW SYSTEM

(Freemont Street light show - I was in Vegas this weekend)I am on the verge of buying a new edit system for my next project, so I thought that I'd take this opportunity to talk about setting up a good working system. Unfortunately I won't get into exact details on OS versions and QT versions, because that is information that I and others keep closely guarded as this is information we use for consulting. But I would like to explain the general steps and reasons for those steps.First off, lemme get into the specs of the system. This machine will be one of four edit systems on an XSAN shared network storage, so the specs of this machine will need to match the other 3 exactly. Not that you MUST do it this way, but the more the machines are the same, the better. I will be getting a Dual Core 3.0 Ghz Mac Pro with 4GB of RAM and a 4GB Fibre switch. I will also be getting a Kona 3 with K-Box and the AJA HD10AVA mini converter so that I can convert analog signals into HD SDI, since those are the only inputs the Kona 3 has. Finally I will be getting an Intel Mac, after relying on my trusty Dual 2.0 GHz G5 for 2.5 years (It will still see regular use, just as my home system).On this I will install Final Cut Pro Studio, Adobe Creative Suite 3 (mainly for Photoshop and After Effects), Panasonic P2CMS and HDLog, as we will be dealing with P2 footage. I might get Firefox on there as I like it better than Safari, but that is about it, besides the drivers for the Kona card, which is a given. No games, no funky widgets, no neat little applications from versiontracker.com. The OS and versions of Quicktime will all be exactly the same as the other three machines. All of the Final Cut Studio apps will be updated to the exact same versions. AND WE WILL NEVER EVER EVER PERFORM ANY AUTOMATIC SOFTWARE UPDATES ON THESE SYSTEMS. It is never advisable to do that. Go into the System Preferences and turn that option off. Ignore every prompt iTunes sends you asking to update to the latest version. We are going to inform every editor to NOT update the machines in any way. Print out, in big bold letters on a sheet of paper, "DO NOT RUN ANY SYSTEM UPDATES ON THIS COMPUTER." Put it on the wall behind each edit station. A simple system update, even to iTunes, can throw a system out of whack and suddenly it won't work well with the others, and the system administrator will have to wipe the system clean and install everything from scratch, and that is not a way I like to spend my day. When an update says "adds enhanced functionality to Quicktime. Recommended for all Apple users," don't believe it. Apple is lying to you...well, that little blurb is lying to you. Sorry, but you have to believe this. This Quicktime update might be designed for Apple's new video rental system, and often very little consideration or testing was done with Final Cut Pro and the third party hardware you have installed, so there is no guarantee it will work. Don't do it. This is the key to a solid functional editing machine. And when you are in a shared editing environment, you really should use exactly same machines, versions of OS, Quicktime components and versions of the software. Any deviation from this can lead to issues. Very often I have seen on the forums people trying to work on the same project but on different systems. From completely different systems like an Intel iMac and a PowerPC G5, one running FCP 6.0.2 and the other running FCP 5.0.4....to two systems running FCP 6.0.2, but one is a Dual G5 and the other is a Quad Intel MacPro. Obviously you will have issues with the iMac and G5, as the versions of FCP are very different. The only solution there is to exchange XML files of your sequences. Obviously this is far from ideal. And you would think that the Mac Pro and the G5 running the same versions of FCP and QT should work, but often they don't. The wonderful "the project is unreadable or too new for this version of Final Cut" might rear its ugly head, and you are stuck. It doesn't seem to make any sense...you have the same versions of everything. Well, it could be that one computer is running a different version of the OS than the other computer. And if they are both running the same version of the OS, then it might be the fact that one machine is running a PowerPC processor and the other is Intel processor based. So many factors, and such small ones that you wouldn't think they'd matter. But they do.Why would that matter? Well, I am not an engineer so I can't even fake my way through an explanation. Other than small system enhancements and applications might run some system resource that interferes with FCP or QT in some way. So the need to not have your machine cluttered with applications, and the need for everything to match as exact as possible (even down to the RAM manufacturer) is very important in maintaining a solid shared storage editing solution. This has always been the rule on the Avid editing platform...specific versions of everything, and all the machines running the same version of everything. Big notes on the wall warning against running system updates. Being on a FCP system doesn't change the fact that specificBut what if you aren't in a shared storage environment, as I'll wager 90% or more of you will never find yourself in. Finding and maintaining the perfect balance can be a difficult and time consuming thing. Once you find it, DO NOT MESS WITH IT. Same advice on automatic updates applies. DON'T DO IT. If you are a professional, avoiding the updates and neat widgets and small cute applications might be an easy thing, because your work computer is only for work. If you use the computer professionally, then find your balance, install the applications you need to do your job, then leave your machine alone. This is a bit more difficult for all of you prosumers, semi-pros, independent film makers and hobbyists. You might use your machine for not just editing, but all of your e-mail and web surfing and playing games. So you might need that update to iTunes and Quicktime so that you can rent those movies online like you have been wanting to do forever. Just know that in doing that you might damage your ability to edit. If you can, have the one machine for editing and get a second machine for web surfing and word processing and e-mail. If you simply cannot afford to do that, I understand I've been there myself when I was starting out. I had an iBook that I used for editing and for everything else I did. In this case, before you updated it would be wise to clone your working OS to a firewire drive so in case the updates mess things up, you can always go back to your working OS. I use Carbon Copy Cloner (found at www.versiontracker.com) to clone my hard drive before I perform any updates. And I recommend firewire drives because they are bootable, and you will need the drive to be bootable if you want to clone this system back to your machine. You'll need to wipe the machine drive clean, then clone back the OS on the firewire drive. OK...sorry for the long post. I hope even though I had to be vague with details that the overall general points I make are helpful. I have spent many an hour and day fixing editing machines that have had some small update mess things up...dating back to Avid Media Composers running version 6.5 on NuBus Macs. It isn't fun to fix, and is frustrating to find that one simple extension was the cause for the edit system not working properly. Play it safe, err on the side of caution and never ever mess with a working system, unless the update provides functionality that you need in your workflow (added support for new camera formats). And always cover your ass by cloning your system.

Posted by: Shane Ross on Feb 11, 2008 at 12:34:36 pm editing, hd, television, apple, final cut pro, computers
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Links to full Quicktime package installers

HUGE THANKS goes to Scott Simmons over at the Edit Blog.If you have trouble with ANY recent Quicktime update...specifically QT 7.4 or QT 7.3, The solution is to go back to a previous version of Quicktime. Apple still hosts them, and Scott dug them up. The name of the link has the version number is listed in the link. And if you don't want to do an Archive and Install of the old OS, you can use Pacifist to remove QT before you install the one you want.http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/quicktime731forleopard.html http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/quicktime731fortiger.html http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/quicktime731forpanther.html http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/quicktime72formac.html http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/quicktime716formac.html http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/quicktime652formac.html

Posted by: Shane Ross on Jan 28, 2008 at 2:41:12 pm apple, final cut pro
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Shane's MacWorld 2008 Wrap Up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Steve Jobs was giving his keynote speech for MacWorld 2008, my buddy Jared and I were standing in the CalDigit booth, both of us staring at our iPhones...parked on the MacRumors site and reading the announcements as they came. That's right...we BOTH had our iPhones out. Wy didn't we just look at one and conserve the other's battery? We were excited. WE ARE MAC ADDICTS! And last year the keynote was exciting. But, with each announcement, our excitement faded. iPhone update? OK...cool. Now I can make my icons dance. Now what? Oh, I can find where I am with a new feature...that is cool. And it is VERY close. SDK due soon for it...soon. The iPhone sales numbers excited me...I am a stock holder, I like good sales numbers. Time Capsule. OK, that is neat. Not earth shattering, but helpful. MacBook Air? OK...it's thin, and it's...thin. But other than that....eeeeh. Slow processor, a battery you cannot change yourself. TWO external connections (USB, Mini-DVI). $1800. $1800!?! Who is this for? Sorry, that didn't excite me. And movie rentals on iTunes. BOOOORING. you have 30 days to watch them, and 24 hours once you started it. CRAP! I have Netflix and I can watch it whenever I want...no limit. BETTER QUALITY. Sorry...dumb. Apple TV 2. Eeeh...I like my TiVo. Just ho-hum announcements IMHO. Last year was exciting. Not only for Apple, but for a bunch the other products that were on the floor. There was the iPhone announcement, that was huge. Another company announced a service to modify a MacBook into a tablet Mac. That was cool (they won best in show too).OK, so let's get to this year. If you want to know what Apple released (if you don't already know), go to Apple.com and see for yourself. Don't get too disappointed over the MacBook Air. In the meantime, let me touch upon the things that I saw that caught my eye. MICROSOFT OFFICE 2008. Microsoft has the second biggest presence at MacWorld, next to Apple. Yes, people consider them the evil empire...I consider them a necessary evil. I use Microsoft Office because...well, I have to. I get scripts from producers and I need Word to read them (as opposed to NeoOffice and the iWork suite). Because one of my producers likes to put little notes that only pop up if you have MS Office 2004 or later to see. Microsoft released a new version this year, Office 2008. Apparently is has some really cool features...that I won't use myself...BUT I hear they are cool. A college friend of mine who works for Microsoft, and who was there in the both, told me so. Go to www.microsoft.com to find out what those features are. Just because a product caught my eye doesn't mean I know all about it. I just know it is new and has a lot to offer. Leave me alone...I worked the entire time for Caldigit. Speaking of CalDigit, lemme tell you what they had to offer. CALDIGIT . They have two things. First is their CalDigit Raid Card (at the time of writing this, it is not on their site). If you know about Apple's Raid Card ...this is similar, but different. When you buy a MacPro, the cool thing about it is that you have four internal drive bays to install hard drives. This means that you don't need to get an external drive right away to store your captured media. The advice I always give is "fill up these drives first, then buy an external solution," because internal drives are cheaper than external boxes. If you want to, you can even raid the drives so that you can have faster performance and edit uncompressed standard definition and many formats of high definition. Now, before the Raid cards, the only way you could raid these was to use the Disk Utility and do a software Raid. The problem with this concept is that if your operating system crashes, the software raid goes with it...and thus your media is lost. And you are limited to Raid 0 or Raid 1. With the Raid card, you can now raid the drives as Raid 0, Raid 5, or Raid 0+1 and have the cards manage the raid. They have an onboard CPU, as well as RAM and battery backup. What sets CalDigit's Raid Card apart from Apple are many things. 1. You can install it yourself. The Apple Raid card is really big, and to install it you need to take many of the MacPro components out so that you can get the card in. The CalDigit card is smaller, and is easily installed.2. Expandibility. With the Apple Raid Card, you are limited to the internal drives. That is all that it will control. CalDigit's Raid Card offers expandibility. It has three external mini-SAS connections that you can connect to external 4-drive enclosures (up to three for a total of 16 drives) that CalDigit makes. You can do Raid 0, Raid 1, Raid 5, Raid 6. AND....I love this...AND when you run out of space and need more storage, you simply buy one of these external boxes and ADD IT TO YOUR RAID...no erasing, no loss of data. You just use the software to add it to the raid and boom, more storage. They call it "migration." I like it.3. Speed. The CalDigit Raid Card gets you slightly faster read/write times than the Apple Raid Card. 4. Price. The Apple Raid Card is $800. The CalDigit Raid Card is $550. So you won't break the bank.5. BOOTABLE. That's right...if you Raid all four internal drives and install the OS on that Raid (why would you do that?), that Raid is bootable.CalDigit also announced the HD ONE. This is the "little brother" to the HD PRO. Same capacity, same transfer speeds, less upgradability in terms of RAM...and cheaper. If you don't need to do Uncompressed HD 4:4:4 or 2K and 4K...this might be the box for you.SONNET TECH. Sticking with the hard drive enclosure theme, let's take a look at Sonnet Tech. First off, the D800 Raid 5 series has always been a fully populated drive solution, just like CalDigit's HD Pro and Dulce's ProDQ and a host of others. But, due to popular demand, they are offering the D800E...meaning "expandable." They will sell the case empty and ready for you the consumer to populate with hard drives of your choice. Now, while I find this cool and appealing to many many people (I get people arguing with me about wanting the CalDigit towers to be sold empty) it isn't the best solution. Why? Well, when the companies populate the enclosure with drives, they not only make sure the firmware on the drives is updated and compatible with their controller cards (a big thing if you want good performance)...so if something fails, you have one person to call. That company. They support the whole shibang...and the warranty they offer covers everything. If you buy the enclosure bare, then when a drive fails you'll get the run around as the drive manufacturer and enclosure company will point fingers at the other guy. My advice? Buy them populated

Fusion F2 w/AJA I/O HD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What really caught my eye at the booth was the fact that they had a MacBook Pro hooked up to an AJA I/O HD which was in turn hooked up to a small flat hard drive, called the Fusion F2. A two 2.5" hardware raided BUS POWERED hard drive. But while it was powered by the firewire bus, that wasn't how it was connected. It was connected via eSATA. Because of this, it was a perfect solution to a field capture and edit package that includes the MacBook Pro and AJA I/O HD. The I/O HD connects via firewire 800, so that ties up the firewire bus. Your only option...which is a good option because of the speeds required for ProRes 422...is to connect an eSATA drive. The Fusion F2 is great because it doesn't require separate power. It pulls power from the computer via the firewire 400 port, yet doesn't get all caught up in the firewire bus, so it doesn't conflict with the I/O HD. SWEET! I'll be getting a unit to test and review soon.OK...what else. More iPhone and iPod cases that you can shake a stick at. The usual crowd of laptop bag manufacturers, drive enclosure companies, software vendors. I would mention that KIDPIX is now available for OSX...which is REALLY EXCITING to me, because I have 3 daughters that loved the original version that came with the original iMac, and they were bummed when I lost the disk. But I am sure most of you won't be as excited as I was to find that. So, moving on.

ELGATO. Not really a newly announced product, but one that I finally relented into buying...the Elgato TURBO.264 hardware encoder. This handy little device connects via USB and speeds up the H.264 encoding process enormously. It has software that comes with it with presets for iPhone, iPod video high res, iPod low res, and web streaming. And you can make your own custom presets as well. It is touted to take the bulk of the encoding burden off of your computer, but really I think it simply compliments it. It doesn't take it all on by itself, I am sure, and here is why I think that. When I took a 2 min DVCPRO HD 720p 23.98 file and encoded it for the iPhone on my Powerbook G4 1.67Mhz machine with Compressor...it took 15 min. QT Pro export took the same time, same export settings.. When I used the encoder...it took 5 min. SWEET! But that is an OLD machine, what about a new one? So I took the same file to an Octo Core MacPro. Not the new one, the first version. On that, Compressor took a little over 4 min, as did QT Pro. But the Elgato? Well, on the Octo it did it faster than real time. A little over 1 min. So it was much faster on the speedier machine. This is why I believe it doesn't do all the encoding internally, but shares the burden. That makes this the best purchase I have made in a while.NEC. OK...this brings me to my all time favorite thing at MacWorld 2008. It was the thing that won the MacWorld 2008 Best In Show prize, for good reason too. I was on the way to the restroom when I walked past the NEC booth and glanced at the two monitors they had on display. My glance turned into a long look, one that stopped me in my tracks. On the monitors, a 24" and 30" model, were really vibrant pictures and a demo of Lightroom. What caused me to stop in my tracks was the fact that when i was walking by and looking at the monitors, the colors on the images did not change. Off axis viewing didn't diminish the colors at all. By off axis, I mean viewed at a 45 degree angle or more. So the image I saw looking directly at the monitor was exactly the same color when viewed at 45 degrees, and even more...70 to 75 degrees! THAT IS HUGE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The models on display were the LCD2490WUXi (24") and the LCD2690WUXi (26"). I looked the monitors over and noted that they hand only VGA and DVI connections. I asked the person manning the booth if they had plans to make one of these amazing displays for video editing monitoring, because the current crop of HD LCDs have issues with off axis viewing. Red becomes "salmon," dark rich blues become lighter. Only the high end TVLogic displays have realy good off axis colors, but they start at $8000. The NEC rep said that it was something they were exploring...but was not available at this time. Because the current monitors has a response time of 12ms (milliseconds), and for video it would have to be at 8ms. Plus if they add the appropriate connections...HD SDI, Component...that would increase the price beyond the $1200 for the 24" and $2100 for the 26". I was fine with that. If they are able to make this monitor for $4000, and have the same off axis viewing I saw then...it'd be worth it. But for now, they are FANTASTIC monitors for photographers. Ones that I cannot recommend highly enough. These monitors really did deserve the MacWorld Best In Show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The NEC rep mentioned that a large production house was already using them in their edit bays, but they didn't indicate which company or if they were being used for anything beyond simple client monitoring. I would LOVE to see this monitor in combination with my Matrox MXO....or even AJA Kona LH and AJA HDP.

 


Posted by: Shane Ross on Jan 28, 2008 at 7:29:25 am editing, digital photography, apple, travel, final cut pro, macworld, caldigit
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Macworld 2008

MACWORLD Yup...I'm going. And I will be working for the same company I have been all year...CalDigit. And they will have new and exciting products they will be announcing. Pretty cool ones. I'll talk more about them after the show, or during the show AFTER the announcement. So I'll be at the booth. Not in my NEON ORANGE shirt they made me wear last year. Ugh. Nope...Navy Blue. Whew. Much better. And I'll be giving two demos while working the booth. The P2 workflow with FCP 6 and a field package...and utilizing an I/O HD in a remote workflow. Pretty exciting...considering that I just got the I/O HD on Thursday to test. Before that, the most I had done with it is pick it up at IBC to see how much it weighed. So, if you want to see me, I'll be there all week...Jan 14-18. And I'll also be at the FCPUG Super Meet on Wednesday. I'll be wearing a MEDIA OFFLINE t-shirt (black, Avid MEDIA OFFLINE font).

Posted by: Shane Ross on Jan 14, 2008 at 4:49:01 amComments (2) apple, business, macworld, caldigit
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