IBC 2023 News

Mike McCarthy   September 13, 2023   No Comments on IBC 2023 News

The International Broadcasting Convention is this week in Amsterdam, so we have a number of new product announcements which are relevant to editors and other post professionals.

First off, AJA announced their newest PCIe I/O card, the KONA-X.  At the surface level, the card is a straightforward option, sitting below the existing Kona-5 but far above the T-Tap Pro, with 12G SDI and HDMI 2.0 inputs and outputs, compatible with any of the tools that already support the long standing Kona line of products.  What makes the card unique is its DMA support for lowering input to output latency, for faster turnaround of AR graphics and AI driven video overlays, or virtual production backgrounds, being generated on the fly by game engines. Continue reading

NAB 2023

Mike McCarthy   April 19, 2023   No Comments on NAB 2023

NAB was happening in Las Vegas this week.  I did not make it to last year’s event, which was the first NAB I have missed in over a decade.  And this is also my first in person trade show or convention since 2019.  But it appears that we are returning to business as usual, as I joined 65,000 of my closest friends in the industry, to wander the halls and booths of the recently expanded Las Vegas Convention Center.  The addition of West Hall, and the closing of South Hall for renovations has led to a reshuffling of booth locations.  Most of the post-production related vendors were moved to the North Hall, which also housed the “main stage,” full of programming for a large audience.

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Introduction to High Bandwidth Fiber Networking

As networking bandwidth needs increase for users processing high resolution media files, especially past 10GbE, it is pushing more and more users from copper twisted pair (Cat6, etc.) toward fiber connections.  Fiber optic cable offers a lot more possibilities, making it far more complicated than copper wiring.  There is a whole new vocabulary of acronyms to keep all of the options straight, and various methods to multiply the data rates, which can be combined in numerous ways.  This article is intended to orient the reader to many of the concepts and terms used in fiber networking, and lay the groundwork for understanding the various ways to move data around faster than 10Gb/s.  While there is technically a standard for 25GbE over Cat8 copper cabling, if you have to replace your wiring for that speed, you might as well go to fiber.  Plus twisted pair encoding adds latency and heat.  So fiber is usually the best choice beyond 10GbE.
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GTC 2023 – New GPUs and AI Acceleration

This week was NVidia’s GTC conference, and they had a number of interesting announcements.  Most relevant in the M&E space, are the new Ada Lovelace based GPUs.  To accompany the existing RTX 6000, there is now a new RTX4000 small form factor, as well as 5 new mobile GPUs offering various levels of performance and power usage.
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Intel’s Sapphire Rapids is coming to Workstations

After many years without a significant update to most major workstation offerings, we are finally seeing new technology about to hit the workstation market.  Intel’s recently released Sapphire Rapids server CPU technology, built on the ‘Intel 7’ process, forms the basis for their new Sapphire Rapids workstation platform.  These processors come in two tiers, the Xeon W-2400 processors with quad channel DDR5 memory and up to 24 cores, and the Xeon W-3400 processors, with 8-channel DDR5 memory and up to 56 cores.
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The GeForce 4090 is a Monster of a GPU

As the first product coming to market featuring NVidia’s new Ada Lovelace architecture, the GeForce 4090 graphics card has a host of new features to test out.  With DLSS3 for gaming, AV1 encoding for video editors and streamers, and ray tracing and AI rendering for 3D animators, there are new options available for a variety of different potential users.  While the GeForce line of video cards has historically been targeted towards computer gaming, NVidia knows that they are also valuable tools for content creators, and a number of new features are designed especially for those users.
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NVidia’s Ada Lovelace Architecture Announced

NVidia announced their next generation of GPU architecture, named after Ada Lovelace, who is an interesting figure in early computer programming.  NVidia’s newest Ada Lovelace chips have up to 18,432 CUDA cores, and up to 76 Billion transistors, at 4nm sizes.  This will of course lead to increased processing performance at lower prices and power usage.
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Pushing the Envelope with Premiere Pro

I have been working on a series of advanced tutorial videos I call “Pushing the Envelope with Premiere Pro.”  Originally conceived as an Adobe MAX session topic, I have instead posted them on YouTube, free to anyone who wants to view them.  They assume you are familiar with the application, and explore some of the more advanced and creative ways that you can utilize the unique functionality available within Premiere.
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Professional Ampere GPUs from NVidia

NVidia has quite a long selection of professional GPUs available based on the Ampere generation chips.  While this offers users finer gradations in pricing and performance, it can be more confusing than previous generations, especially since they have dropped the “Quadro” branding.  My understanding is that one of the main reasons there are so many options is not just the binning of chips, but supply chain issues with the rest of the parts on the board.  Unlike gaming cards where a source part can be swapped and a new revision of the card can be produced without much issue, the professional cards that have been certified by software vendors with very precise conditions, need to maintain those exact specifications.  So different versions are created using easier to source parts, and certified again, allowing both cards to be produced as separate options.  The main additions to the series are the A4500 and the A5500, which fit as expected between the existing A4000, A5000, and A6000 cards.  The A4500 which I have been testing, sits nearly dead center between the A4000 and A5000 on all paper specs (cores, memory, teraflops, etc.), while the A5500 nearly matches the A6000 in processing power, but with the same memory limits as the A5000.  While these new cards were announced in the spring, I am finally getting the chance to test one out now.
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Boxx’s Apexx S3 – Intel’s Alder Lake Maxxed Out

I have spent the last few weeks using Boxx’s newest iteration of their Apexx S3 Workstation, and it is quite impressive. Based on Intel’s “Alder Lake” CPUs, with DDR5, it is technically a workstation built from gaming class hardware, but this just makes it more power efficient and budget friendly. And with a 5Ghz Core i9 CPU and 64GB of RAM, it doesn’t lack in performance.
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