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Hardware: Live HD mixing, Macbook Pro 17" or m-ATX?

May 19 2010 | 12:49 pm

Hi, I have checked around the forum to see if I could find answers, but I didn’t quite find the answers I needed, so here is a question I hope some of you could help me with.

I am upgrading a touring live video video system for a stage production from DV quality to HD quality. Behind/above the stage is one large screen where the video is displayed.

I need to make a portable system that is capable of projecting:
1. Live HD video from the stage.
2. Mix with two HD videos from the harddisk(s).
3. Text on top of the video.

Importance is put on:
1. Stability.
2. Realtime video from the stage, as syncronized as possible.
3. Heat/noise. This is a production with many acoustic instruments.

I am looking at two options:
1. MacBook Pro 17" with SSD, MATROX MXO2 or MOTU HDX-SDI Expresscard/34
– Video out through the port on the machine.

2. m-ATX based box running Windows:
– Intel Core™ i7 Quad Processor i7-960 Quad Core, 3,2Ghz
– PCIe-capture through BlackMagic Decklink SDI, MATRIX MXO2 PCIe or AJA KONA LHi
– GeForce GTX 470
This graphic card might be noisy? I wonder if a fanless card like GeForce 9500GT will be capable of the framerate?

Both systems wll have a RAID disk array connected through Firewire 800 (Mac) and internal/external Sata (PC).

What system should I choose, or are there even better/smarter/cheaper solutions?

Jørgen Larsson

May 19 2010 | 7:24 pm

Hello Jørgen:
I am not really familiar with the hardware running windows system. In the case of the mac I would rather get the 15 inch computer with an intel core i7 and a faster hard drive(7200 rpm).
In the case of the visual data base, I have a good experience with apple prores using HD material. This codec can be used with different qualities so if you are not so worried about keeping your alpha channels you can try the ProRes 422 LQ or the ProRes 422 Proxy. With a correct system design you can manage to fulfill your technical requirements:
What do you mean with ‘syncronized as possible’?, are you using remote servers or another computer?. I think that if you are only using one computer sync wouldn’t be a problem.


May 19 2010 | 9:32 pm

Thank you, Emmanuel,
‘as syncronized as possible’ was a bad wording, I should have said "as real time as possible", meaning in sync with the live actor on stage.
I will look into the ProRes, it seems very promising!
Alpha: I need the alpha channel for the text layering.
I also need live HD input (SDI), how could I get it into the 15"? Is there a Firewire 800 SDI capture card?


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