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Mac Pro, Final Cut Pro X 10.1, and five streams of native R3D

I decided to take a video of the Mac Pro’s amazing performance with native Red R3D 4K files. Watch five streams, with composite modes, scale, rotation and more play without rendering.

Final Cut Pro X with the new Mac Pro playing five simultaneous streams of RED RAW (.r3d) native off the internal SSD. The background layer is scaled to fill the 16:9 aspect ratio. The four overlays are scaled, rotated randomly and positioned randomly. They have different composite modes applied, and two have drop shadows. There are various short and long fades added. The aerial shot is a GoPro shot scaled up. The opening time lapse is a ProRes 4444 scaled. The interview shot has a Color Board correction applied. The slow motion footage was shot that way and is playing at normal speed.

Final Cut Pro X 10.1 was set to Best Performance (which I believe is an adaptive deBayer) and Background Rendering was off. You can see from the orange bars that this was not pre-rendered. I chose to shoot with my iPhone simply because I didn’t want to do a screen capture that might affect performance.

In times past as soon as you moved out of “normal” composite mode (a.k.a. blend mode) real time performance stopped. Rotate an image and real time performance stopped. Add a soft drop shadow: ditto. Put all those together at the same time and use a heavy-to-decode codec like Red R3D native at 4K really does shock me more than a little.

Benchmarks, schmenchmarks: this is the performance I care about. Bottom line: multiple stream native RED 4K editing without proxies is practical if you have the storage speed.

I assure you I have no intention of putting anything like that composite out in my name other than for testing purposes: it’s a rater ugly composite onto what was originally a very beautiful edit. It is demo material I have been loaned by Apple for the Digital Cinema Society event at Keycode back in December.

BTW, Final Cut Pro X 10.1 on my MacBook Pro Retina 2012 encoded the 37 second video in under five seconds.







8 responses to “Mac Pro, Final Cut Pro X 10.1, and five streams of native R3D”

  1. Robert De Saeger

    pretty impressive

  2. Ramos

    I would really like you to do this same test on Premiere. Everyone is saying Premiere is not optimized yet, but over on Reduser, Steve H the Adobe guy says this:

    12-27-2013, 10:22 AM
    Premiere Pro has been certified for the FirePro cards in the new Mac Pros as of our 7.2 release. Given the new OpenCL optimizations in this release and multiple GPU export support we are well suited to take advantage of this hardware.

    Any chance you could give it a spin and post the results.


    1. Philip

      The Adobe guy is right.

    2. Philip

      I am aware that Premiere Pro has been optimized and expect to test it today.

  3. rd

    TB2 over Ethernet suppose to be substitute for 10 Gbit Ethernet
    on the cheap.

    Would be curious if you used Mac Pro as a node
    to fire of compressor (perhaps) from your TB1 laptop.
    probably best to get TB2 Laptop to get the full effect.

  4. sam j

    Awesome test! I am trying to import my .r3d files in FCPX 10.1 and my .r3d clips are grayed out and cannot be imported?? Have you heard of this happening?

    1. Philip

      You need to install the RED plug-in. The lack of it is mostly likely why you can’t see the files in FCP X. Free download from in the support area.

      1. sam j

        Thanks I was going to go that route but when i read the term “native” support I assumed it didn’t need the plugin. Even the apple RED workflow doesnt mention the plugin

        I am going to try it now. Thanks again for the reply!