30/4 Park Rushes

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 8.49.54 PMIt’s been too long since I’ve posted any new videos, so here’s a peek at the first minute and-a-half of a mini-documentary I’m working on about young people in and around 30/4 Park in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. One thing I discovered is that when converting the ProRes 422 files to QuickTime H.264 using MPEG Streamclip, the video becomes noticeably darker and warmer. I hope I can figure this one out. My assistant bailed out on me the other week, so if you know anyone who can handle a boom mic, let me know. By the way, I’m really loving my new Seagate 4TB Backup Plus Fast portable drive, which is not only (relatively) fast* and bus-powered, but also allows me to switch painlessly between editing on my laptop and desktop computers. Only minor color corrections were made to the clips.

UPDATE [10.06.2014]: I decided to go ahead and finish the project without any additional interviews. I think I’ve got enough material for now, and more talking heads would probably only make the video tedious. I think my co-worker has deserted me too, so now I’m relying on my best friend, who just went away on his honeymoon, to help with the translation. Why, oh why, does filmmaking have to be a collaborative venture? To my great dismay, I also learned that 16GB doesn’t cut it for adding LUTs to your project. That’s something like 24GB of RAM altogether, including virtual memory! Last night, I got my very first message on my brand new iMac, saying I was completely out of memory after rendering only a few minutes of the timeline in Final Cut Pro. A little strange, since I’ve rendered much larger files on my 8GB rMBP, and even though I was running on next to no memory, I never got any warnings like that.

And finally, I thought this was pretty amusing: I contacted an Apple authorized reseller here in Vietnam, asking about the availability of the new LaCie 1TB Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2. The manager got back in touch with me, saying that it might be a little wait and suggested buying the WD 4TB My Passport Pro portable drive instead. You see, the LaCie will most likely retail here for upwards of $1,500, while the WD is practically a bargain at $430 and is ready for pickup today. But with read speeds of 1,385 MB/s, the LaCie is nearly seven times faster. When hooked up to the Thunderbolt 2 port of a late 2013 rMBP, the LBDT2 should attain almost double the speed of the laptop’s internal drive. And that’s something I’m willing to wait for.

Camera: Lumix GH3
Lenses: Vario 12-35mm f/2.8, 35-100mm f/2.8
Settings: -4, -4, -3, -5

* Hard drive speeds, just like RAM requirements, assume you are only performing one task at a time. So, for example, when Apple recommends 8GB RAM for best performance in Final Cut Pro, that figure presumes no other applications are open at the same time you are editing. Yet, just having a few tabs running in Safari can eat up as much as half of your system’s memory. Furthermore, NLEs like DaVinci Resolve and plug-ins like Neat Video and LUTs are even greedier. Therefore, 16GB should be considered the bare minimum for video editing. Likewise, quoted speeds for hard drives refer to one operation at a time. When multi-tasking, those numbers can drop dramatically – from one-half to a mere few percent of the stated transfer rates. So, for example, if you want to copy some large files while working in FCPX using something like a generic WD portable drive, it is highly likely you will experience dropped frames. For this reason, it is always better to get the fastest storage you can afford, whether you plan to shoot 4K or not. To sum up, if you are investing in a new editing suite, it makes much more sense to invest in extra RAM and fast external storage than CPUs.

WD My Passport Pro

1174563_BB_00_FB.EPS_1000I’ve been going back and forth from one storage solution to another ever since deciding to purchase Panasonic’s Lumix GH4. Not only will the 4K files require far more storage capacity than HD, they will also demand faster transfer speeds. The iMac I ordered last month will be equipped with Apple’s Fusion drive, which, according to reviewers, has write speeds of around 320MB/s and read speeds (the numbers that matter for video editing) approaching 680MB/s, which should be plenty fast for offline editing in 4K. As for what external drive to pair up with the iMac, my heart started to race when I read about LaCie’s stylish new Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2, a portable drive housing two Samsung SSDs and capable of speeds exceeding 1,100MB/s when connected to a Thunderbolt 2 port. Since the 2013 iMac only sports the original Thunderbolt, speeds would be somewhere in the 800MB/s range: not too shabby! But the 1TB drive will retail for a whopping $1,299. So when I learned about the WD My Passport Pro with Thunderbolt interface, my ears perked up. First of all, the unit is the fastest portable disk drive to date, reaching speeds upwards of 200MB/s – sufficient for doing offline editing of 4K, but a far cry from saturating the protocol. Moreover, the drive comes in two flavors: 2TB and 4TB, the former costing $300, the latter, $430 – a roughly $900 savings over the LaCie. And best of all, the WD drive is bus powered, making it truly compatible with rMBP laptops. The WD My Passport Pro chassis is constructed of aluminum and is supplied with an attached Thunderbolt cable.