System Review: Boxx Apexx A3

The new BOXX APEXX A3 workstation is based on AMD’s newest Ryzen CPUs, and the X570 chipset.  BOXX has taken these, added liquid CPU cooling, professional GPUs, and a compact solid case to create an optimal 3rd generation Ryzen system configured for professional users.  It can support dual GPUs and two 3.5″ hard drives, as well as the 3 M.2 slots on the board, and anything that can fit into its 5 PCIe slots.  The system I am reviewing came with AMD’s top CPU, the 12 core 3900X running at 3.8Ghz, as well as 64GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, and a Quadro RTX 4000 GPU.  I also tested it with a 40GbE network card, and a variety of other GPUs.
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New Options for Making DCPs

I wrote an in late 2017 about DCP creation options, in an Adobe environment.  One of the options I examined has released a new update that changes the equation rather significantly, and is worth sharing.  Adobe Media Encoder’s default integrated DCP export option is Quvis’ Wraptor, which I discussed in comparison to Fjord’s JPEG2000 frame exporter.  While exporting frame files solves the 23.976p to 24p issue (if applicable), the amount of time required for the JPEG2000 encode is far longer than the combined time for the retime, XYZ-conversion, encrypting, and MXF wrapping steps.  So increasing the speed of that encoding step enough would justify changing the rest of the workflow.
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Massive Editing Storage on a Low Budget

This year, I oversaw the editing process for a large international film production. This involved setting up a collaborative editing facility at the director’s home, and there was a lot of footage in the project. While there was “only” 6.5 TB of offline DNxHR files, they shot around 150TB of Red footage that we needed to have available for onsite VFX, conform, etc. Once we finished the edit, we were actually using 40TB of that footage in the cut, which we needed at another location for collaboration. So I was in the market for some large storage solutions.
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Using my HP ZBook X2

The HP Z-Book X2 is not your average mobile workstation.  With its detachable keyboard, integrated kickstand, and EMR pen support, it is designed to be the ideal artistic tool for digital illustration and drawing.  But the unique form-factor offers some other interesting possibilities as well, which I have been curious to explore since I first saw a prototype of the device a few years back.  While HP offers a variety of convertible tablets with the X2’s detachable design, the Z-Book version is clearly its most powerful and advanced option available. Continue reading

The Razer Blade with GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q

I am always looking for the most powerful tools in the smallest packages, so the Razer Blade 15″ laptop with a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q was worth checking out. The Max-Q variants are optimized for better thermals and power usage, at the potential expense of performance, in order to allow more powerful GPUs to be utilized in smaller laptops. The RTX 2080 is NVidia’s top end mobile GPU, with 2944 CUDA cores, 8GB of DDR6 Memory, running at 384GB/s and 13.6Billion transistors on the chip.

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NAB 2019

Mike McCarthy   April 12, 2019   No Comments on NAB 2019

I have been to NAB for the last twelve straight years, and it looked like I would break my streak this year, being booked on a travel job through the middle of April. But that phase of the project wrapped early, and so I was headed home a week early, and was able to arrange my layover in Vegas, to make a last minute visit to the NAB Show. Do to the short notice, I didn’t have many scheduled events, and instead just browsed the halls for new products, and crossed paths with people I have met in years past.

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Loupedeck+ Initial Impressions

I am testing out and reviewing the Loupedeck+ edit controller in the Adobe Creative Cloud apps.  This article is Part 1 of 2, where I talk about my initial reactions to trying out the device, and the process of getting it working with my systems.  It will take a while to really get used to the functionality that the device has to offer, so I will be using it on my next big film project.  Then I will write up a follow on piece in a few months detailing my experiences with it once I have setup my custom settings and memorized that the functions, to give me a degree of efficiency with the tactile interface.
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HP ZBook Studio x360 Mobile Workstation

I have had the opportunity to test out HP’s newest mobile workstation over the last few weeks, the ZBook Studio x360.  HP’s ZBook mobile workstation division has really been thinking outside the box recently, with the release of the ZBook X2 tablet, the HP Z-VR backpack mounted system, and now the ZBook Studio x360.   This double hinged cross over unit can be used as a traditional laptop, or folded backward into a tablet, or a few steps in between.
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New Codec and Workflow Options Announced

There were two announcements this week that will impact post-production workflows.  The first was Wednesday night’s celebration of the launch of Red’s new SDK, which leverages NVidia’s GPU accelerated CUDA framework to deliver real-time playback of 8K Red Footage.  NVidia was demonstrating an early version of this technology at Adobe MAX in October, and I have been looking forward to this development, as I am about to start post on a feature film shot on the Red Monstro camera.  This should effectively render the Red Rocket accelerator cards obsolete, replacing them with cheaper, multipurpose hardware that can also accelerate other computational tasks.
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