fcp.co logo transparent
fcp clapperboard

Day Two From WWDC 2019 - More Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR News

The day after the announcement of the new Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR, we take another look at both new products and report the new information and new third party products for each.

By now, we are sure that you are more than aware of the new hardware announcements from Apple at WWDC 2019. We published a first look at the new Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR yesterday right after the Keynote.

24 hours on and we have new information on both to share.

new mac pro fcpdotco 012

Mac Pro

It has been named the cheese grater by some, who maybe never owned an 'original cheese grater' 5.1 Mac Pro. But why the pattern?

As we know from previous Macs, thermal management is very important to stop CPUs throttling their speed. The hole pattern on the Mac Pro has been made by machining the front and the back areas of the end panels. This produces the stepped 'cheese grater' pattern that actually lets in more air through the unit than if it just had simple plain holes.

The design also started two years ago from a blank piece of paper, not a relook at the 5.1 Mac Pro as some people have suggested. Design, flexibility and modularity were the keywords. 

The Afterburner accelerator module was originally designed for one purpose, to process ProRes RAW footage, taking the decode/encode strain off the GPUs so they can concentrate on image processing/rendering and of course supporting the GUI. The goal was to eliminate the need for proxies. Afterburner is made up of reprogrammable chips which brings us nicely on to the reaction from the industry to the Mac Pro.

“Apple’s new hardware will bring a mind-blowing level of performance to Metal-accelerated, proxy-free R3D workflows in Final Cut Pro X that editors truly have never seen before. We are very excited to bring a Metal-optimized version of R3D in September.” — Jarred Land, president, Red Digital Cinema

The old argument that Apple has failed to support Nvidia cards is going away. Not only will RED support the new machine and/or Afterburner, take a look at the industry comments that have been released.

Pro app developers react to the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR

new mac pro fcpdotco 013

One of the other arguments for Nvidia cards was the renderer Redshift. Maxon has announced that they should have an optimised version by the end of the year for the Mac Pro. They were lucky to get early access to a machine and have never seen performance like it. Metal looks like it will be the most important API for image processing in the future. We can see why.

If that hasn't quashed your desire for an Nvidia card, they can be installed in the Mac Pro, but will only run under Bootcamp.

Although we can see a lot of users connecting via 10GigE, installing extra connectivity such as fibre channel won't be a problem with a PCI card installed. GBIC or SFP, it's now your choice and that means you can connect with existing network topology. The whole of the video editing demo room (the area we took the photos in yesterday) was connected via fibre channel.

apple mac pro display pro mac pro internal 060319 big.jpg.large 2x

Why did Apple put a 1.4 kW power supply in? Because it is the largest power supply they could get in, that a single 13 amp cable can supply without tripping a breaker. If you max the box out, it is going to be like having a kettle on permanently!

On the form factor, a rack mount variant was announced, but one for the OB companies here, the tower version will also fit into a 19 inch rack. You won't be able to screw it in though! It also means (just like the 6.1 trashcan) that the Mac Pro is qualified to work on its side.

We really like the dual sided logic board, which makes tasks like adding RAM very easy as the slots are on the case side. One problem we can see however is the need to remove all the cables before lifting the lid off. The 6.1 trashcan Mac Pro was the same, but surely a switch that wouldn't allow the machine to run with the cover off could have been easier? Constant plugging and unplugging isn't fast, there is a risk of mixing cables up and there is also the problem of wear on sensitive connectors.

We really like the MPX (Mac Pro Expansion) modules. Interesting looking at the Mac Pro page, it quotes benchmark tests of a pre-release version of Final Cut Pro X running on a Mac Pro with Dual Radeon Pro Vega II with Infinity Fabric Link. Add another MPX unit and you will have four GPUs running in the box. As long as FCPX can address them all, (we are pretty sure multiple GPU support is there) this will render & export projects fast. Very fast.

new mac pro fcpdotco 014

Although a new version of FCPX wasn't released, that pre-release version has popped up on demo machines and Apple product images.

Kudos to Charles Coleman over on the FCPX Facebook page for spotting the new colour mask features in the Inspector.

new mac pro fcpdotco 015

 

We also have news of the first third-party 'modules' for the Mac Pro. Although not in the Keynote, we saw one of the first available, an internal RAID for the Mac Pro and yes it was in the same matte-black finish as the Apple modules.

Pegasus R4i: 4-bay PCIe RAID Storage for the new Mac Pro (Up to 32TB)

  • Elegant and rugged chassis designed uniquely to fit into the new Mac Pro’s PCIe slot
  • Four swappable modules with 8TB 7200rpm SATA HDDs- pre-formatted and pre-installed
  • Best-in-class Pegasus hardware RAID5 for an optimal combination of performance, capacity and redundancy
  • Use the latest Promise Pegasus Utility for simple-to-use but powerful storage management and monitoring

PegasusA

Promise Pegasus J2i: 2-bay Internal Storage Enclosure for the new Mac Pro

  • One 8TB 7200 rpm SATA HDD pre-installed, pre-formatted
  • Bay for an optional additional HDD (to be installed by customers)
  • Custom internal cable assembly

PegasusB

No word on the price for either of the products yet. We expect to see a lot more custom modules for the Mac Pro in the future, hopefully multiple SSD variants.

Neon 8K

The demo footage looked amazing. It was of course 8K ProRes RAW from the new Canon camera we showed yesterday. The Atmos unit used was the  new Neon 8K that recorded the output from the Canon. You will need to connect them together with 4 x 12G-SDI cables!

“We love delivering innovative, disruptive solutions for today’s progressive filmmakers and creators who demand high quality content. And to that end, we’ve once again collaborated with camera and computer ecosystem partners to deliver ProRes RAW at 8K resolution, which is built for the amazing new Mac Pro.” Said Jeromy Young, Atomos CEO. 

We will watch Atomos with interest as 8K ProRes RAW could be very disruptive for the film industry. 

If you need a quick roundup of the Mac Pro news from WWDC, take a look at Patrick Southern's 11 minute YouTube review. Some of the B-roll shots might look familiar!

 

new mac pro fcpdotco 011 

Pro Display XDR

In many ways, this might be more of a 'game changer' than the new Mac Pro. Why? Because there are no monitors out there that can compete on the image quality or price.

The Pro Display XDR blows away the competition when viewed side by side with its competitors. Forget the HDR offering of the likes of Dell, the only monitor that comes close is a Sony BVM that sells at $43,000. Even that struggles with the blacks in HDR. With 1,600 nits of peak brightness and an amazing 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, make sure you test out one of these before buying a monitor, especially if you do HDR. When displaying normal dynamic range video, the monitor has an output of 500 nits.

Traditionally because these monitors have been so expensive, facilities could only afford one, which would probably sit in the grader's suite. Now as the Pro Display XDR is priced $4,999, everyone in the production chain can have one and monitor the footage correctly. 

We also like the nano-texture that reduces reflections, it is a very clever use of technology. On viewing two monitors, one with the texture and one without, the difference is easy to see. Gone are the reflections that have compromised previous flat screens. Also the advanced polariser gives the displays a large viewing angle. The monitors from other manufactures have noticeable warming of colours and a large light drop-off at similar angles. Remember, they are 4K as well, not the 6K 6016 x 3384 from Apple.

We can't talk about the display without mentioning the Pro stand. If you want that anglepoise functionality (including rotating the screen) then yes, you will need the pro stand. Or of course, you can buy the $200 VESA adaptor and connect it to your own desktop or wall monitor mountings.

Also yesterday, although it got a bit buried in the Mac Pro news, Blackmagic announced a Teranex SDI to 8K HDR Display Port converter.

We would imagine a lot of Pro Display XDRs will be connected with a single Thunderbolt cable to Mac Pros. If you want to view other 8K HDR sources, then this new box from Blackmagic will do the conversion.

"We are excited to announce the new Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR for customers working with the new Pro Display XDR," said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. "It provides advanced HDR and color critical monitoring features such as built in scopes, 33 point 3D LUT support, automatic probe based calibration and native 8K for the latest customer workflows!"

Teranex 8K HDR

  • Includes support for HDR via SDI and DisplayPort.
  • 2 built in scopes live overlaid on monitor.
  • Film industry quality 33 point 3D LUTs.
  • Supports automatic monitor calibration using color probes.
  • Advanced Quad Link 12G-SDI inputs for 8K.
  • Scales input video to the native monitor resolution.
  • Includes LCD for monitoring and menu settings.
  • Utility software included for Mac and Windows.
  • Supports latest 8K DisplayPort monitors and displays.
  • Can be used on a desktop or rack mounted.

Teranex 8K HDR2 

That's it for out time at WWDC. It has been busy, but we have seen the launch of some amazing products from Apple with major commitments and products from third parties.

It looks like the next six months will be very interesting. However, it is now time for some sleep!

new mac pro fcpdotco 010 


Written by
Top Blogger Thought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. 

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.

 

BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.

FCP.co

Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!

 

Log in to comment