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  • Cupertino, we’ve got a problem!

  • Mark Raudonis

    March 22, 2020 at 12:10 am

    Much like Apollo 13 faced a serious threat to their mission, we in the post production community are facing an existential threat to our industry with the need to isolate and work remotely. And much like those astronauts in peril, the solutions for remote editing so far seem like a combination of gaffer’s tape, paper clips, and cardboard. Sure, we’ll try anything we can to land safely, but in the long term, we really have to have a better plan.

    I single out Cupertino for two reasons. One, like many people working in post, I’m a die hard Mac fan boy. I like working on Macs, our entire post production fleet is all Macs. (My first Mac was a “MacIIvx” which cost as much as a Toyota, and had about as much power as your iPhone today!). The real reason I’m calling out Cupertino during this crisis, is as I’m scrambling to find solutions for remote editing, I’m finding that the PC world if MUCH FARTHER AHEAD in this area. My Mac “myopia” has blinded me to developments like these from HP:

    https://www8.hp.com/us/en/workstations/zcentral-remote-boost.html

    So if anybody from Cupertino is listening, what are you doing to match this kind of feature from HP?

    Asking for a friend who was thinking about upgrading to those new Cheese-graters, but in the new normal of remote editing… not so sure.

  • Oliver Peters

    March 22, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Right now, I think macOS is the roadblock. For example, you cannot virtualize the OS. And yes, we are hostages to our own preferences for Apple.

    OTOH, an Apple solution might easily take a completely different form than you expect in order for Apple to maximize its product line. Imagine the ability to use iPadOS (like on the new iPad Pro) to drilling into your new Mac Pro back at home base, in order to run a virtual copy of FCPX. I could easily see this being applied to something like a Mac Mini, as well.

    For all intents and purposes – a step back in time. When corporate computing installations were “thin” clients on your desk connected to the mainframe system in the bowels of the building. Welcome your IT overlords again. ☺

    – Oliver

    Oliver Peters – oliverpeters.com

  • Jeremy Garchow

    March 22, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    It’s says this on the tin:

    “ Our software is compatible with most desktop operating systems including Windows, MacOS and Linux®. No need to install any extra drivers or app updates for supported operating systems.”

    Doesn’t that mean this works with macOS even if the central server is HP?

  • Morten Carlsen

    March 22, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Should have post this here instead of old thread

    Cupertino has a LOT of problems in the Pro Sector – Speed would be one where Windows blow macOS out the water. Since Apple began doing their iOS must be included in macOS-Thing… Things started to go bad for Pro Users on Mac.

    With Catalina and its obvious slowness compared with even macOS Sierra I am looking more and more to the windows side of things. And I have been using Macs since 1994. I would hate to switch but if Apple doesn’t do something I will !

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  • Oliver Peters

    March 22, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    [Jeremy Garchow] “Doesn’t that mean this works with macOS even if the central server is HP?”

    I think what Mark is saying is that Apple doesn’t offer a machine that can provide the services of the HP server. There is no equivalent end-to-end Apple solution. Therefore, why should he buy new Mac Pros.

    – Oliver

    Oliver Peters – oliverpeters.com

  • Oliver Peters

    March 22, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    [Morten Carlsen] ” Speed would be one where Windows blow macOS out the water.”

    Would you elaborate? Specifically, what sort of speed are you referring to?

    – Oliver

    Oliver Peters – oliverpeters.com

  • Eric Santiago

    March 23, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    [Oliver Peters] “Would you elaborate? Specifically, what sort of speed are you referring to?”

    I can only say that in Maya as far as blazing speed.
    My experiences with 2013 Mac Pros vs HPZ840 using Premiere, After Effects and Resolve…meh 😛
    However, between my D700 vs 2019….wowza!!

  • Tim Wilson

    March 23, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    [Eric Santiago] “However, between my D700 vs 2019….wowza!!”

    Can you elucidate on that? Assuming that they’re similarly spec’d of course….and of course, which is the wowza, and is this good or bad? ????

  • Morten Carlsen

    March 23, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    [Oliver Peters] “Would you elaborate? Specifically, what sort of speed are you referring to?”

    Hi Oliver,

    Premiere Pro on an iMac Pro is X fast. Premiere Pro on a Fast PC is X*3

    Metal is still wearing child-shoes and graphic wise Apple can nothing (Cant say about new MacPro) against a PC with a fast NVIDIA card..

    In Fact macOS has become SO SLOW that when you try to move a color corrector control while playback is running, playback stops and THAT per design.

    The plug-in I am writing for FCPx (used to be OpenCL) was so fast that I could enter fullscreen on 4K material and adjust controls while playing back at full quality. Since the latests releases playback stops per design. Reason being that Apple doesn’t want to show stuttering Video Performance during control movement and playback.

    One can move controls till one gets dizzy in PPRO without a hiccup as long as the plug is Mercury Capable.

    Catalina Finder is so slow that it literally at times takes seconds to even move a file to the trash bin. This is due to Apple’s not-so-great-and-full-of-bugs-file-system APFS.

    Apple in general and macOS is IMO much greater than Windows but the machines are yet to catch up speed wise and the software schedule that Apple follows makes sure that NO BUGs get fixed and are just carried from macOS to the next macOS. Catalina is IMO (And Timely Spoken)the worst OS Apple has ever released.

    If I released an App to the Appstore as buggy as Catalina Apple Staff would reject it and ask me to fix the bugs before presenting it to their users.

    Go Figure 🙂

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  • Tim Wilson

    March 23, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    The VES Tech Committee has released a Working From Home Best Practices document, along with invitations to comment. There’s a bunch of great stuff for both editing and VFX, pertaining to remote creation, collaboration, review, rendering, and much more.

    I mean, it gets into “Wacom tablet pressure sensitivity is only supported on Linux” levels of detail, but the broad strokes are informative, and even just plain interesting if you’re generally curious about the state of things at the highest reaches of our market. Check it out!

    Here’s how they summarize their top-ranked solution, Teradici PCoIP:

    • Server / Workstation: hardware solution (Remote Workstation Card) on Linux or Windows, can be used on Mac with external PCIe cardcage (see solution from Amulet Hotkey). Software solution for Windows and Linux: Cloud Access Software Graphics Edition (needed for GPU support), bundled as Teradici All Access Cloud Access + subscription.
    • Client: ZeroClient hardware solution (multiple vendors), connect monitors and peripherals directly to ZeroClient hardware. Software Client (no charge) for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
    • Teradici’s data stream is encrypted (if enabled). Check with the clients if they would authorize its use without having to have a VPN connection on top (which hinders performance). Depending on your network topology this may be secure enough for them.

    Teradici have a dedicated page for Media & Entertainment, featuring this quote:

    Because the Teradici innovations focus on pixel-level transmissions, our artists can achieve 100-percent color matching and take advantage of full-HD, lossless imaging over affordable IP networks.

    Kevin Clark
    Director of Engineering at Industrial Light & Magic – a division of Lucasfilm Ltd.

    Dude. If that’s the quote, I’m looking at the word “affordable” as referring to the IP infrastructure, and NOT as referring to this service. I can’t imagine that “affordable” is in the mix for most of us for this….but I honestly don’t know. Do any of you?

    But you can see that, like HP’s Remote Graphics Server, clients can be Macs, but not the server.

    The issue for Apple is that something like this is the definition of “edge case”, and they’re really not in that business. Apple will likely say, “Okay Mark, buy one HP, and use it with a hundred or a thousand Cheese Grater Macs. Problem solved.” Heck, if you go with Teradici and Unix, your Mac IT whizzes can probably set up the Linux server themselves.

    HP workstations otoh, edge case are the ONLY business they’re in, and they have an insanely deep commitment to M&E. (Their messaging to science, architecture, and other fields is very different, because they’re in the business of THOSE edge cases too.)

    It shows in bunches of aspects of their development, including RGS. Whereas it’s the M&E community that’s insanely deeply committed to Macs, with insanity amplified by Apple’s LACK of commitment to M&E needs, apart from a small dev team that may or may not be working on new releases of FCPX.

    This new Mac is a course correction, to be sure, because of how many former Mac-lifers Apple knows they lost with the Trash Can, and for whom the iMac Pro wasn’t getting it done for some folks. You can see in the COW that some people who left Apple altogether, or who haven’t given a new Mac the time of day for nearly a decade are excited again….

    ….but the OS limitations remain, starting with lack of support for virtualization. Oliver’s right that Apple CAN solve this problem without emulating HP’s solution or anyone else’s. There’s no shortage of brains or imagination there.

    But I’m not convinced that OUR problem is ever going to seem like THEIR problem to Apple, if the problem can be solved with one PC server and all the Mac clients you care to attach.

    You’re the one who’s been testing it, Mark. Do you have a sense yet if Mac clients are somehow lesser-abled on the network?

    And goodness knows that I’d love to be wrong about Apple dismissing this out of hand. I WANT them to apply their brains to this, and come up with a solution that really shows how committed they are to the needs of M&E customers to adapt to how the world is changing, because I really do think that’s what this is. Not an event to be passed through and forgotten, but a potentially epochal change agent for most areas of our lives and work.

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