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Hubukai

MAAM Meeting - December 1st

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Hi all,

 

Wait a minute, another mid Atlantic animation master user group meeting already? Yes it's true December 1, 2007 is the next scheduled meeting for the animation master users group. Location has yet to be determined but the date has been set. December 1 is Saturday so everyone has plenty of time to get organized, get some stuff rendered, animated and get some tutorials made for the next meeting.

 

Unfortunately it will probably be chilly out and it won't be a deck party but I'm sure we'll all have some holiday renderings to show and tell.

 

This is a general message for anyone interested in meeting up with us from the New Jersey, Philadelphia and Delaware areas. Check back here for more information on the meeting location. Most probably Don and I will finalize that and post it here.

 

Don't let those rendering skills get rusty! Start firing up all of your engines and start cranking out some cool animations for the December 1, 2007 MAAM meeting.

 

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Hi John,

 

I'll be there in December!

 

I need some advice with some of the video editing items that we talked about at this months meeting.

 

I want to start rendering some frames for my project and I want to do it for HD 720p and edit it on my computer.

 

Now, after doing some research, it seems this can be easily accomplished with an up to date and finely tuned computer.

 

Now here's were I'm a bit lost...

 

I get the impression that setting up a RAID 0 just for the video would be a good way with this.

 

After reading about these kinds systems, it seems that I don't necessarily need to set up RAID. Apparently, using a good SATA drive as a dedicated video drive would be good enough to get it done.

 

Is that true?

 

Also, if I did go the RAID 0 route, would using a motherboard with built-in RAID options be just as good for my purposes as a dedicated RAID controller card?

 

Either way, I'll need to upgrade my system a bit.

 

What kind of system hardware specs would you recommend to me if I'm going to build this system myself?

 

Thanks again for your help.

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Here's my thoughts all on video editing and hardware requirements.

 

You're definitely correct about video editing on your hardware. Most of the high-power single core processors and all of the new dual core processors should not have too much trouble editing video. We're now getting into the realm of editing HD video where the power requirements for I a personal computer are a lot higher to get the same speed in editing results. This is due to the fact that high definition video frames are approximately 4 times the size of your standard video frame.

 

If you have a high powered computer. Let's say an Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or above with 2 GB of RAM you should be in fairly decent shape. I would recommend a dual core processor for video editing. Either an Intel or AMD 2.0 GHz dual core processor or better. The Intel dual core processors are definitely leading the pack when it comes to powerful processing nowadays.

 

If you do very little video editing and then raid is not necessary. Most of the hard drives nowadays are SATA drives or SATA2 drives with eight meg or 16 meg cache. I personally prefer Seagate hard drives over all others because bare-bones Seagate hard drives have a five year warranty and I have had the least amount of issues or problems with Seagate drives.

 

Will talk about raid 0 here for performance purposes. Raid 1 would be when you nearer to drives together for reliability purposes. This is something you do on a server and probably would not want to do on your home machine.

 

If you do a substantial amount of video editing or are a high power user then getting to hard drives and putting them in a raid 0 configuration will definitely make you a happy power user. There are several benefits to having a raid0 set up. One is boot time. Your boot time will be roughly 30% faster or even up to 50% faster with a raid set up than it would be with a non-raid set up. Application start time would also definitely be improved with a raid zero set up. You'll find that if you raid and a minimum of two drives together your applications will launch quite a bit faster then just running off a standard single drive.

 

When you do a lot of video editing on a computer that does not have raid you'll find that jumping through the video clips "scrubbing" and viewing the video is a bit slower and you frequently have to wait for your computer to catch up to what you are editing. When you begin to edit high-definition video the slowdown is more drastic because the frame sizes are so huge and the amount of data coming off of your hard drive is quite a bit more. As an example standard video DVD creation where your video size is about 720 x 480 has a maximum bit rate of 8 Mb per second. That's a decent amount of data for high quality standard video. You can get very good video quality by lowering the rate per second but usually if you are rendering something out you want to get the highest possible quality you can.

 

In my opinion for home computer the easiest option is to purchase a motherboard with a raid already on the motherboard. Having a dedicated raid card would probably give you more performance but for home computer I don't think it is worth the extra cost. If you do full-time video editing or you're running a server, a dedicated raid card is a must buy for a hobbyist or even a power user, animation master user or someone who likes to do video editing for fun, raid on the motherboard will do just fine. As a side note, using software-based raid which is something you can do within Windows XP probably isn't a good idea. If you're going to do anything with raid make sure it's hardware control such as raid on the motherboard.

 

Now moving onto high-definition video, your video resolution size or frame size is 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080. Most video looks extremely good at HDV quality, 1280 x 720. When doing some testing with animation master on a fairly powerful computer, such as a Intel dual core 6700 or dual core Pentium extreme edition I've found that the best resolution to render out to to get the best possible video with an acceptable render time is HDV or 1280 x 720. I have attempted to render out to 1920 by 1080 but it just takes far too long to render such high quality unless you have a larger render farm with a lot of powerful computers.

 

post-652-1188688206_thumb.jpg Here is a sample of standard video frames HDV video frames and HDTV video frames at each resolution so you can get an idea of the size difference between all of them. Taking a look at these different video frames you also see how all rendering out in animation to standard NTSC video would take a lot less time than rendering out to HDV or HDTV resolution. If you're working on a special project and you want it to look great now and in the future I would recommend rendering out to HDV or 1280 by 720. You can always download size the video once the frames are rendered out but upscaling the frames is generally something you don't want to do because you will lose quality.

 

Hardware specifications:

there's been much discussion on which hardware is better, which processors are better and what kind of hard drives are better and so on. Everyone has good and bad experiences with different kinds of hardware but in my experience you want to purchase hardware that will be extremely stable, run as cool as possible and overall be very reliable for the next three to five years.

 

We'll just talk about building a box, not necessarily keyboard mouse or monitor as those things can be chosen at any other time. I used to be in favor of AMD processors but in my experience over the past year, Intel processors have performed far and above what AMD is currently putting out now. The new Intel core duo processors are coming down in price and also perform better than most AMD processors for rendering and video editing.

 

At this point you definitely want to have a multicore processor. Your options are dual core processors or quad core processors. While a quad core processor may seem like a very high priced item I think you'll find that now that prices are coming down they are affordable and will be more of a benefit with multithreaded applications such as rendering and if video editing. We won't get into the discussion now of how many applications are built for both multicore processors. Some people will say it's not worth the price because a lot of applications currently don't support multithreading and but in my opinion if you're going to build a system to render on build the best you can at the time.

 

To give you a short and sweet hardware list and also price, here's what I would spec out.(generally)

We'll go with pricing from newegg.com since they are one of the big players on the market.

 

$319.99 Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail

$199.99 Intel BLKD975XBX2KR LGA 775 Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard - OEM

$129.00 CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800

(PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

$35.99 LITE-ON Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW

12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache

SATA DVD Burner with LightScribe - OEM

$129.99 Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

$69.99 Rosewill RP550V2-D-SL 550W SLI Ready ATX12V v2.01 Power Supply - Retail

$84.99 Seagate SV35 7200.2 ST3320620SV 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

$84.99 Seagate SV35 7200.2 ST3320620SV 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

$149.99 VGA 512-P2-N757-TR GeForce 8600GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16

HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

 

$1,204 Total

 

So the above is a general hardware list and that would allow you to assemble a killer system for a reasonable amount of money that will let you crank out renderings in animation master, work on editing video and even work very well with high definition video editing.

 

Video editing software:

personally I use pinnacle studio 11 for editing on the PC but if I have to choose I prefer to use simple IMovie 08 on the Mac. Since were talking about the PC world here I think that pinnacle studio 11 is your best bet for video editing software on the PC. It'll run you about $100 and has just about everything you need and will also allow you to work with HD video. I do recommend having QuickTime Pro on your system as well. I use QuickTime Pro on the PC to assemble all the TGA's that I render out from animation master and then I export them as a MOV file using H264 codec to produce a high quality, small file size video that I can put on the Internet for people to download and watch. QuickTime Pro is only 29 bucks from Apple and worth it! Other software you may want to consider is using or getting DivX. To fix is fairly easy to use as well and it's pretty inexpensive.

 

Pinnacle studio 11 software is owned by avid systems which are the big boys in the video editing world. You can find online that avid makes a free version of their editing software for you to play with and learn.

 

All of the above is spewed out from my brain from many years of working on the web as a web developer, producing videos for the Web, DVD and also everything I've learned from working on projects in animation master. You can obviously substitute different pieces of hardware in the list above but I just wanted to put up a good general computer set up to give you an idea of price. Obviously you can go up and down from that an increase or decrease your performance. When people tell me that they want to build a PC, my first question is, "how much do you want to spend?". That usually dictates what kind of hardware to get.

 

I hope this helps not only the mid Atlantic animation master user group members but the other members of the animation master forum.

 

Hubukai

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WOW! WOW! WOW!

 

Thank you John for that very detailed response.

 

That answered all of the questions that I asked and even some that I though about asking but did not.

 

Right now I have a 3 GHz Pentium 4.

 

First, I'll try getting an entry level RAID card along with a couple of hard drives and installing that into my current system.

 

If that works out then I can stop right there with the upgrades. If it does not do the trick then I'll go ahead and build the new system.

 

I'll let you know how that works out.

 

One last question came to mind as I read your post.

 

You mentioned that rendering at 1920x1080 in your tests proved to be a bit too slow to be practical for your video needs...

 

I use the Toon renderer exclusively (with no frills switched on) so I don't get any of the really long render times that you and Rich may encounter with TekNu. If I render at 1920x1080 do you think that a system with specs comparable to the one you outlined could handle that frame size in a good video editor?

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Yes, for sure... and if you do render toon, than i DO reccomend cranking it all the way up to the max HD 1920 res... if the render times are toon, then make it high res...

 

as for raid... here is some good starting hardware. also be patient when getting hardware... order online.. always cheaper than in a store.

 

newegg.com

( 2 or more drives.... ) up to 4... depends on wht you want to spend.

these seagate drives ROCK, i have about 10 of them.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822148139

 

Raid card.:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16816102065

 

also one thing i forgot to mention... when building a PC. never use the COOLER that comes with the intel cpu. it really is junk. i have this cooler on ALL my intel CPUs. the Zalmn 9700.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16835118019

 

it will keep your CPU 20 to 30 degrees cooler than the stock cooler... and if you are rendering a lot, cool in important.

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Thanks again John,

 

I'm going to try to pick up the parts this weekend (or I may save for another 2 weeks and just get a quad core...).

 

When I get up and running I'll let you know what I've done.

 

Take care.

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Jeezzz,

You guys really know how to go at it.

John, did you ever think of writing a manual?

Anyway, about the meeting, as far as I know I'm up for it but I can't really say until we're a bit closer to the date.

And as far as a place goes let me see what I can do.

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We do go at it a bit! :- ) i wish I had time to write a manual! With luch more tech tutorials coming. December 1 is on, but the place is up in the air. Don, if you can host, great, if not, i can... but maybe somewhere in philly? Like the old days? We Shall see. we got to have the christmas meeting, it will be just to much fun.

 

here is a suggestion, we all make a "holiday model in AM and we all import it into one scene and render and post it? and we WONT tell one another what we are going to make.... that might be fun... thoughts? we could make anything from a snowflake to a slead to a Christmas robot to an evil christmas robot or whatever anyone likes... even a holiday rock? thoughts?

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We do go at it a bit! :- ) i wish I had time to write a manual! With luch more tech tutorials coming. December 1 is on, but the place is up in the air. Don, if you can host, great, if not, i can... but maybe somewhere in philly? Like the old days? We Shall see. we got to have the christmas meeting, it will be just to much fun.

 

here is a suggestion, we all make a "holiday model in AM and we all import it into one scene and render and post it? and we WONT tell one another what we are going to make.... that might be fun... thoughts? we could make anything from a snowflake to a slead to a Christmas robot to an evil christmas robot or whatever anyone likes... even a holiday rock? thoughts?

 

That sounds like an interesting idea.

 

That reminds me... I forgot to ask you guys for your opinion on something at the last meeting.

 

Would you guys be interested in taking a crack at working on a short Star Wars fan film in A:M?

 

We've all got our own separate projects that we are working on now so I know this could be tough but I've been itching to shift gears out of Mechadelphia for a bit and do something like this for a while now.

 

What do you guys think?

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Hey guys?

 

Isn't December 1st like... on Saturday?

 

Not pushing or anything just curious.

 

-vern

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We do go at it a bit! :- ) i wish I had time to write a manual! With luch more tech tutorials coming. December 1 is on, but the place is up in the air. Don, if you can host, great, if not, i can... but maybe somewhere in philly? Like the old days? We Shall see. we got to have the christmas meeting, it will be just to much fun.

 

here is a suggestion, we all make a "holiday model in AM and we all import it into one scene and render and post it? and we WONT tell one another what we are going to make.... that might be fun... thoughts? we could make anything from a snowflake to a slead to a Christmas robot to an evil christmas robot or whatever anyone likes... even a holiday rock? thoughts?

 

That sounds like an interesting idea.

 

That reminds me... I forgot to ask you guys for your opinion on something at the last meeting.

 

Would you guys be interested in taking a crack at working on a short Star Wars fan film in A:M?

 

We've all got our own separate projects that we are working on now so I know this could be tough but I've been itching to shift gears out of Mechadelphia for a bit and do something like this for a while now.

 

What do you guys think?

Star Wars??????????????? Are you kiding... ???????- I certainly would like to do that! Unfortunately, I hope I'm not the only one. I didn't even see your post in september! I would have answered earlier.

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Rich, you are not the only one....

 

There is ... another...

 

Help me Obonekanobe, you're my only hope.

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