Working with PremierePro CC & the New Mac Pro
by David Helmly
I’ll start off by saying that this New Mac Pro is pretty amazing given it’s size. If there is an award for a size to workflow power ratio this machine would wins hands down. Only to be followed only by the Gigabyte Brix Pro w/Iris Pro5200 which measures 5” – but that’s another story. I’ve been reading various blog articles on the performance of this New Mac Pro and decided I should share some of my findings and do a quick video blog showing what I’m seeing and testing.
[UPDATE July 1st]
We are aware of an issue affecting users of Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Adobe Media Encoder CC on Mac OS X 10.9.3, as of today, Apple has released OS X 10.9.4 which addresses the issue.
Link to Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yZsUWV_8mI&feature=youtu.be As many of you know, I tend live on the high-end of tech working closely with our various vendors and partners and their hardware prototypes giving feedback on early hardware as it relates to new high-end workflows for our Pro Video customers. I also try to pick add-on components that truly enhance the user experience and to expose those technologies that will tend to make a make a difference. I mention this because this New Mac Pro has inspired a whole new set of add-ons . Take the new LG 21:9 UltraWide QHD (http://www.lg.com/uk/ultrawide/UM95.m ) for example – which at first glance might not seem like a big deal – but this is actually a very well thought out display. (Take it from me, I used to work for Radius/Supermac back in the early days used to live and breathe high quality monitors and graphics cards). This display has Thunderbolt 2 (two ports) , USB 3, two USB 2 ports, Displayport, HDMI, and a headphone jack. This means, I can connect more than 1 computer to it and use the monitors built in controls to switch from computer to computer. It is missing an Ethernet port ( the Apple 27”has a built in GiGe port) but it was easily solved by buying a GiGe USB to Ethernet adapter for 29.00 on Amazon which keeps my Thunderbolt ports open for the mac . This monitor is also a must have for any RED Dragon 6K user as it gives you the closest a edge to edge picture at 21:9 that I’ve seen yet and colors are excellent. Other devices like the Promise Pegasus 2 are continuing to do well in the Mac Thunderbolt space as I see them everywhere and customers are telling me that they are very happy with the performance and reliability. Lacie has done a great job with their portable Thunderbolt 2 raid with fastest speeds I’ve seen yet on a portable drive. I’m also looking forward to seeing more from companies like G-tech as I do use and rely on their EV Docks and drive packs quite a bit. No doubt they have a Thunderbolt 2 roadmap…. The system used in the video is a 12 core Xeon, 16GB ram (still waiting on my 64GB kit) , 1TB internal boot drive, Dual AMD D700. This video is mainly centered around the AMD D700 ‘s and OpenCL . Anyone looking for info on whether to buy a 6, 8, or 12 core can clearly see that the D700’s , 32 or 64GB RAM, 1TB boot drive, Processor is how I personally rate the $$ spend priority (in that order) for this config. I tend to always buy high-end so I can be a better informer. **note** I always recommend higher amounts of RAM for longer projects. Since my tests were short, the 16GB worked fine. The first test was to stack on 9 layers of 1080p video with 12 GPU effects on each clip. Yes, I could have done more layers and GPU effects, but I tried to quickly create a scene opener that was more real-world and would give a good sense of day to day user experience. This first demo was to show that you can select video clips and effects and make changes to those effects while the video is still playing. Adjusting effects parameters while the video is playing adds a whole dimension to creative workflow. I usually look at my external display (use Preferences>Playback to turn on external displays via Transmit) set up a loop point and make adjustments as you see in the video. As you watch the video, keep an eye on the drop frame indicator (Green dot ) and note that at all times we are previewing in Full quality on this New Mac Pro, not a fractional resolution. **Note** You turn on the Green Dot from the Side Wing Menu on the Program monitor. The next test is the 4K test. Here again I tried to show a real world 4K workflow using different cameras on the same timeline. I’ve been a RED user for a longtime and can tell you that adding cameras like the Canon 1DC, and BMD Cinema 4K, and the new Panasonic GH4 to your 4K workflow gives you a ton of options when shooting. I spent some time using the new GH4 4K camera and can say it is an amazing 4K camera for the price and it will find a place in my camera bag for sure. Even the BMD 4K camera (I borrowed one a few weeks ago – thanks Sonny) is amazing ProRes422 HQ camera for the $ 2,995.00 price. This will show a mixed 4K timeline with GH4 , 1DC, XAVC, ProRes422, and Sony RAW running on the LG 21:9 (3440×1440) and the Sharp 4K display (3840×2160) at Full 4K resolution. I also added and adjustment layer and 3 way corrector and adjusted the properties while the video was playing at Full 4K resolution- Honestly, I was stunned to see how this New Mac Pro performed. It did not skip a beat….. The next test was the biggest eye opener for me: The EXPORT test. Here I export the above mentioned 4K timeline where every frame needs to be recreated. The results with the Dual AMD D700 were 15 seconds vs software only (12 core CPU) were 2 minutes 30 seconds. This was a fairly simple test showing our 64 bit pipeline and GPU work in action. To be fair, If you added non accelerated effects with GPU effects (redline) , the CPU and GPU would be working together in a more real-world scenario. It’s important to note at that if you ever need to render the timeline , we do use all CPUs and all GPUs to complete the render while working in Premiere. The render tests I did were also impressive to say the least. I did not show those as I was trying to keep the demo around 10 minutes – Easy enough to test yourself. I know I’ll get questions on why I did not show Single GPU vs Dual GPU and simple answer is that we have special builds of Premiere Pro CC where we can turn off certain options and it’s something a user can’t really test. Remember , the New Mac Pro comes with 2 GPUs in all configs. I saved the best for last …. As many of our users know, Adobe and RED have worked closely together since the very first days of real 4K editing and I think everyone can agree that RED set a lot of this 4K momentum in to motion. Adobe engineering has been working with RED on using new GPU technologies to allow for full debayering of R3D media. On the New Mac Pro , current tests show that it can handle 4K R3D files at Full Debayer while both 5K and 6K Debayering are dramatically improved with the use of the dual GPU. Keep your eye on your Creative Cloud app for updates. More cool stuff in the works.