WWDC and The New MacPro

OK,

Now that everyone you know has chimed in on the New MacPro, lets take a breath and look at reality, if you have been following Apple for any time at all, you know that they rarely if ever do what people think they will do.

Apple hardware has consistently gotten more unified, compact, and more refined. The iPhone has become a standard for all handsets, the Macbook Air stole the netbook market right out from underneath the PC world, then Apple finished it’s assault on the low end PC market by releasing the iPad, and even more than with the iPhone changed how we interface with devices, for the tablet was born and my computing was changed forever.

mac_pro_new

Apple’s sleek design
once more alienates.

Yes this is a radical departure from the existing product design, however some of the most Iconic of Apple’s hardware designs, The Cube, LUXO, the Candy Colored IMacs as well as the 20th Anniversary model all gave users iconic design, why does this Tube scare everyone so?

Because its different? Is that not what Apple has been about for a very long time?  Get over it.

The New MacPro offers some stunning specs, albeit in a new way. Look Apple once again defined how users will interact with hardware, if you did not seem it wise to start embracing Thunderbolt, with this new MacPro, it is abundantly clear that it is and will be the future of device connectivity, with PC companies like HP fully behind Thunderbolt, the TB2 specs on this box ( Ok TUBE) blow me out the of the water.

The 6 fully independent 20Gbps Thunderbolt v2 ports can maintain an aggregate data rate of 15 Gigabytes per second.  PERIOD!!! 

Those TB2 ports can handle up to 36 peripheral devices, that can include storage,  I/O to Firewire, Fibre or 10gE or SAS externally and the “3-4K Displays” Apple has been touting in the marketing

inline storage module on the new MacPro

Inline storage module
on the new MacPro

Memory Questions: The internal storage is defined as PCIe Flash, now for the unknowing, this is by a wide margin the fastest possible. This is accessing  your main storage at the speed of a RAM disk. One interesting thing to note in the Apple approved photos is that they are only showing 1 storage module.

The funny thing I see is that both of those fixed AMD graphics cards appear to have a place to allow for a second PCIe Flash module. I am wondering about the price and volumes for that storage, today it’s very expensive. Current PCIe Flash storage is available from companies like Fusion Io and even online retailers like Other World Computing and it’s fairly expensive for all but power users. My guess is that since Apple is changing the marketplace once again, the cost for PCIe Flash modules will reduce as the demand increases.

Note the inline PCIeFlash module in the middle of the right side Graphics card and space for the same type of module on the left is mysteriously open. When did Apple ever leave wasted space in a machine this compact

Note the place for the inline PCIeFlash module in the middle of the right side Graphics card and space for the same type of module on the left is mysteriously open. When did Apple ever leave wasted space in a machine this compact

What’s Possible 

One other thing to note is the mysteriously missing PCIe memory module that could / should be in the same location on the left side graphics card in all of the Apple PR images.

From personal experience there is never a lot of free space to waste internally on an Apple device I have opened in the last few years, so I am wondering if that “open space” might be useable as part of the yet unannounced “Build-To-Order possibilities?

The Form Factor Matters

  I am stunned by the small size, because at roughly 10″x 7″ this thing small, geez 8 of them fit in the same space as the previous tower form factor, I am just not comfortable with a rolly-poly,  tube shaped computer when a good deal of my workstation level projects happen onset or on the road and that cylindrical shape is fraught with desperation for anyone needed to physically mount the machine for portability. Rack mounted computers have become the norm for DIT’s and Loaders, yet the new form factor does nothing to solve issues for that specific market.

Cuda vs OpenCL

The Open CL vs Cuda debate is a separate issue to me completely. Adobe’s backbone  based in the Nvidia’s “Cuda” processes  is only a minor advantage over the current OpenCL code being utilized for Apple processors, now if we can add Nvidia back into the mix as part of the BTO options, this might actually keep many of those power users from finally jumping off the MacPro wagon and onto an HP workstation.

I for one am keeping my HP Z800 right where it’s at, it’s the most powerful workhorse in my office and offers me power and performance unrivaled. That does not mean I am giving up my Mac’s. It means I have to live in a performance based world and much like with my retina laptop, it may take a little time to get the New MacPro and all of the associated peripherals to make it out to be the workstation it wants to be.

Processor

Finally.

This machine can’t possible be anything more for most user, It will have the fastest internal architecture possible, the fastest external connectivity and a lot of it, while the user configurable options  will be more limited that in the past, the future upgradability is undeniable. Lost in the design debate so far is that most “power” users never add or remove parts from their MacPro’s once they are configured, the only difference with the new Apple is they want to control that at the manufacturing stage for the highest quality possible.

Apple has once again broken new ground, even if I don’t initially like what it looks like. I am thinking I will start a new biz doing skins for the New MacPro.

Free Webinar – Thunderbolt, Changing the future of Production and Post, April 16th at Moviola.com

Tuesday April 16th from 11:30am – 1pm PST http://bit.ly/14tmn4x<a

Please join world renown Data Manager and Workflow Specialist, Gary Adcock, Host Michael Horton, in association with Moviola :

Thunderbolt, Changing the future of Production and Post
A 90 minute discussion on how Intel’s Thunderbolt Technology is changing the future of moving and handling data both onset and in post.

In a medium where moving massive amounts of data is an everyday occurrence, Intel’s Thunderbolt technology stands to change how data is handled. Utilizing Thunderbolt in your workflow means meeting or exceeding data transfer speeds on portable computers that rival the fastest desktop systems.

Gary will be highlighting many of the tools and techniques for proper data handling and how the fast evolving Thunderbolt landscape is smashing most of preconceived ideas people have about this groundbreaking technology and what it means for your current and future usage, whether you are on location or alone in your studio.

Register here for the Free Webinar:
http://moviola.com/webinars/thunderbolt-changing-the-future-of-production-and-post/#.UWrlVb9tAn0

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 12.43.56 PM

NAB Day 2, HP Shows Thunderbolt Laptops, BMCC versions, PL Lens Extenders, Dinner

The second day of the show is over, after 5 days I am officially tired and there are still 3 more days of show, Info is still pouring out into the desert. 

Big news for me is that HP is publicly showing the SpectreXT laptop that is equipped with Thunderbolt, HP is not the biggest PC MFG to embrace the media rich pipeline that Thunderbolt enables.  http://cnet.co/Yas5BF

Image

Spectre Thunderbolt Laptop in the HP Booth

Black Magic Design offers 2 new versions of the BMCC Camera The Pocket Cinema  (URLCamera $1000 features a magnesium alloy chassis, 13 stops of dynamic range, Super 16 sensor size, high quality Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) and lossless compressed CinemaDNG RAW recording, as well as interchangeable optics with an active Micro Four Thirds lens mount, all packed into an incredibly tiny size.http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/press/pressdetails?releaseID=38108

AND  Blackmagic Production Camera 4K: $3995 (URLThe Production Camera 4K is a new high resolution 4K digital film camera with an innovative large Super 35 size sensor with professional global shutter, combined with precision EF mount optics and high quality Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) file recording.

The 4K model that has more than a few RedScarlet Users whining online.http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?97945-Scarlet-owners-and-their-reactions-this-week

ARRI and AbelCine both are showing PL lens Extenders.

Mathew Dulcos posted Arri 1.4x & 2x tele-extenders, perfect for Alura zooms. http://duclos.tv/nab  http://fb.me/1pRg1qP5s

@abelcine 2X PL Doubler. It fits ALL the @FujifilmOptical Cabrio zooms! $5800 pic.twitter.com/Adtt7JTjUb

Lastly, My day ended last night after a meeting of the minds with ArtAdams (PVC and DVinfo.net), Bob Monaghan(GlueTools), Dave Stump A.S.C (Knowledge Geek),  AJA’s Steve  Barsky, and of course DP’s Christian Seel and Kevan Barsky.

 

NAB is here, Sony revises XAVC Codec, Monitoring Tech from Fujinon, and glass lots of glass.

So as the big dance gets closer, more info is coming out, more secrets are being held back and the announcements fill my mail box.

Sony announces a change to the XAVC 4K codec  today, adding a both 4:2:0 8bit and HD4:2:2 8bit versions to the existing structure, but then buries the content of the press release on their website you can find most of it under a post by PeterC. http://community.sony.com/#  

It now brings 4K into the100Mbps range for TV workflows

  “4K imaging bandwidth can be reduced to under 100Mbps depending on GOP structure, frame rate, and color sampling.”    I am NOT sure I want to look at 4K running at 100Mbps.

 

Image

FujifilmUSA is going to be showing the first true LUT converter in their booth at NAB, built around Fuji’s  CCBox OnSet color correction tools and around the IS-100, The IS-Mini converter allows for direct inline color correction via 1D viewing LUT’s and full support for post production standard 3D LUT formats.  This is a really big deal for me, as I have been begging for a tool like this in the OnSet world for nearly 7years and have had to rely on BMD’s HDLink converters ever since Cine-tal stopped manufacturing hardware.

CCBox info here http://bit.ly/12cHSm       IS-Mini info here  http://bit.ly/17bdVH7

 

A rumble started this morning online that Angenieux and Cooke are teaming up for a big announcement that is coming next week. 

 

It’s a 4K NABShow, a new blog on Zacuto.com and other things

So buckle up, it’s going to be a 4K ride this NAB, so be prepared for a barrage of 4K every where you go.

The Hollywood Reporter posted yesterday about Barco showing their 4K Projector designed specifically for Post Production use, but a small blurb in that article also noted that Sony has announced that it will shoot and produce some of it’s pilot’s for next season in 4K.
http://bit.ly/YEfklP

An award winning A.S.C. Cinematographer posted that Dobly might be showing a new reference monitor behind closed doors at the show. (no link I am not going to out him)

Convergent Design released info on their new Odyssey Monitor/Recorder. It’s a 1280×800,10bit, OLED panel that doubles as an HD/2k/4K recorder that will be able to do CanonRaw, ARRIRAW and 2K up to 60fps as well as DNX and ProRes. http://bit.ly/ZvZIQJ

Lastly for today, one of my new ventures for 2013 was to spread the tech word farther than I have been and to that I have started a new Tech Blog for my friends at Zacuto.com. I will have posts there every couple of weeks and once it gets going, I am hoping that the questions that come in from readers will allow me to help explain the some of the more popular issues and questions that filmmakers run into. Take a look at the first of will be many posts over the next few months. http://bit.ly/ZpKPvO

Other Show news
Mole Richardson is showing LED Fresnels at the show http://t.co/Jl6JtAllgJ

Be Prepared for the HEVC revolution. http://bit.ly/10PssW5

And FujiFilmUK posted this message after announcing that they were clearing out 2Million feet of stock http://www.filmstockclearance.com

For many years Fujifilm UK has been very proud and privileged to have supported the most talented filmmakers that Britain has produced. From the camera to the screen, from film school shorts to Oscar winning features, it has been an honour working with you all and may we wish you all the very best for the future. Long live film!

Farewell,
Fujifilm Motion Picture

More to come.