Thursday, December 31, 2009
As this year draws to a close, I am taking this opportunity to once again thank all of you who make this a group effort.
2009 will be remembered as a very tough year for most of us. Many changes in our industry, combined with a painful recession combined to create a challenging environment to say the least. Those who have survived, are stronger for it. And to those who have left this industry, I wish you well.
2010 promises to be another challenging year that will present both hardship and opportunity. I hope for all of you to find the latter and prosper in new and interesting ways.
It will be interesting to see what hardships and opportunities arise in 2010...
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Smoke requires native 64-bit OS whereas RED Rocket drivers works in 32-bit space. So, if you install Smoke and boot in 64-bit, RED Rocket will not work since the drivers will be unable to load.
There is no solution to this for now besides using one or the other at a time.
Tip: if you want to boot in 32-bit, hold down 3+2 on your Mac when booting. If you need to boot in 64-bit, then hold down 6+4. Otherwise, your operating system will make the choice for you when you boot up--either 64 or 32.
If you've installed Smoke and now you can't see your Rocket, simply reboot holding down 3+2.
(Hey Tyler, you can thank me later...)
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
SCRATCH v5.0 and SCRATCH CINE v5.0 are released! SCRATCH owners with access can visit the Assimilate support site for detailed documentation on this release.
As of v5.0, SCRATCH and SCRATCH CINE are released as native 64-bit applications only and will NOT run on a 32-bit operating system. The target OS for v5.0 is Windows 7 64-bit (any edition). Be aware that NOT all graphics cards are fully functional with Windows 7. Assimilate urge you to plan your upgrade to v 5.0 and READ CAREFULLY the article on the support site for ‘SCRATCH v5.0 Drivers and Installation issues’. This covers NVIDIA graphics card support, downloading a suitable driver for Windows 7 and additional hardware issues you need to be aware of.
What is new in SCRATCH v5.0? Here is a just a teaser of the exciting tools now available and more fixes and workflow improvements are detailed on the support site.
- New 64 bit means more memory support and larger memory address space supported equals better support for 4k workflow and beyond!
- New RED Rocket support
- FAST playback of FULL resolution RED media!
- New Implementation of NVIDIA’s CUDA Technology*
- New Real time 32 bit Full Histogram*
- New Real time32 bit Waveform Monitor*
- New Real time32 bit Vector Scope*
- New XML Scripting capabilities
More information here:
Assimilate SCRATCH 5.0
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Raising money in 2009: Are banks lending to small business?
In the ongoing attempts to establish funding, we submitted an application to Five Star Bank...and it was turned down because the personal score for the submitter was not high enough.
That was it. That was the sole reason listed.
Folks--we're going on 8 years old as a company. Our expansion project will take us to three new metro areas and quadruple the size of our company. SBA is covering 90% of the risk on these new loans.
It doesn't matter--its exactly what I have said before: banks are not lending to small businesses. When you have a mature company--not a startup--with a significant growth initiative that can't get funding, the banks are just hoarding cash...
As I mentioned in the last blog post--we have three positions we could hire for immediately, but the funding for the growth project needs to be there first. Banks are squatting on billions in federal dollars and the government has otherwise failed to allocate funding to anything worthwhile, yet they are still pushing forward with "health care reform" and raising the debt limit to an amount so big, we couldn't pay it back for 100 years.
Do you know anyone who got an SBA loan lately?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
If you are angry at the way things are being handled by Washington--please read this over and sound off below.
President Obama's dispersal of stimulus funds has been a total joke so far. If you look at the actual jobs created, the expense of the program has been monstrous:
American Prospect associate editor Ezra Klein wrote in November 2008 "The stimulus package cannot be understood as spending divided by jobs...The envisioned stimulus is much bigger than simple job creation. It's infrastructure construction and aid to states and the preservation of the safety net..."
Please--tell that to someone out of work who is about to lose their "safety net."
The dispersal of federal funds by the feds and the banks should end. Immediately. The banks aren't loaning to small businesses and the feds waste the money. Give it to small businesses instead with the requirement that the funds are used to hire the unemployed.
In November, the "official" unemployment numbers was 15.4 million people and the rate was 10%. Small business owners could right this ship overnight by implementing the following program:
1. Provide direct employment loans to small businesses who promise to hire 1-2 currently unemployed personnel
2. Defer repayment of this loan to 2011.
3. Cap the interest at 5%
If you hired 7,500,000 million people this way at $45,000 per year, the unemployment rate would go to 5%. The cost of this would be $337,500,000,000. I don't know what the default rate would be, but if you assumed 85% of businesses repaid the loan with 5% interest, the real federal cost would be $36,281,250,000. This is significantly lower than the untold hundreds of billions that are being wasted by Washington right now.
If you had a 95% repayment rate, there would be no net cost to the government and this would not require a cent in tax hikes.
As a small business owner, I can tell you right now I would hire three people overnight if this program was available. I already know who they are--the job offers would go out before the ink was dry on the loan paperwork.
But I'm not a politician, so what do I know...
President & CEO - Silverado Systems, Inc.
(916) 760-0032 • FAX (916) 404-5258
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
BMD created a gorgeous full featured product in the UltraScope. And they tried to make it as inexpensive as possible by making it a card you can drop into a spare system laying around.
However, most people who have a spare system like this don't realize the specs required. You need at least two PCIe slots--one of which needs to be a x16 PCIe slot for the graphics card. Spare systems might be an older system laying around from a previous system--and they may be PCI-X, not PCIe.
And there are few graphics cards that are officially supported, so now you are having to run out and but a new card to replace in that spare system.
AND...this would be very beneficial to all editors--Mac users included--since the system requires HD-SDI, but otherwise doesn't care about the type of platform where its coming from. However, many Mac users (not all of you...no flames please) wouldn't have a spare system like this laying around, nor would they know how to build one from the ground up (again...I know you people are smart...so no flames please...I am talking about those OTHER Mac-based editors...)
One more thing--who wants another tower on the ground? This system is in a low profile compact 2U rack which can be put on a shelf nearby, or away from the main editing system altogether in another room with a long SDI run.
So...we decided to build a companion product for the UltraScope. It will be a ready-to-use product--just rack it up, plug in a monitor, turn it on, and boot up the software. Aside from that, you don't have to tinker, install, configure or do anything else.
We've already tested it with the 24" Apple Cinema LED display. Its gorgeous. I'll post a picture later on REDuser and on this blog.
We'll have it up on the site for ordering with pricing tomorrow. The engineering is done--the product works fine, but we are recasing them since aesthetically the current 2U system looks...um...generic.
If you have a monitor that supports 1920 x 1200, you can buy it without a monitor. We'll also bundle it with a 24" display and the Gefen adapter for those who want that, too.
We still need a name for it. I was thinking about ColoRig, but I am open to suggestions. I don't think "The Mullet" will make the final list.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Larry Applegate of Rivergate Software will teach an all-day Blu-ray Authoring Class at Silverado Systems, the premiere Apple VAR in Northern California, on Nov. 16, 2009.
In this class Larry will cover the three options for a Macintosh-only workflow for creating Blu-ray recordable media for playback, and how you can distribute or publish your work by duplication and replication.
Much of the material for these classes is taken from the book Fast Path to Blu-ray for Mac with the blessing of its author Bruce Nazarian, who is also President of the IDMA (International Digital Media Alliance). Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the classes.
Here is the class schedule:
10 a.m. Making Blu-ray in Final Cut Pro 7
11 a.m. Blu-ray Video with Toast 10.4
12 a.m. Lunch offsite nearby
1 p.m. Making Blu-ray in Adobe Encore CS4
2 p.m. Publishing Blu-ray with BluStreak Premaster
3 p.m. Wrap up and general discussion
Saturday, October 31, 2009
"SacStarts dinners are informal get-togethers where the best and brightest technologists and entrepreneurs connect. Grab a seat and some food and meet other locals involved in Sacramento’s technology community."
Friday, October 23, 2009
I wasn't surprised when he called yesterday without positive news.
He said that the underwriter reviewed our information and that our expansion wasn't in line with "historical growth needs" but rather based on "accelerated needs" which the bank wasn't comfortable with. He indicated that our new opportunity for expansion was great for our business, but something that otherwise scares a lending institution because of the rapid and dramatic rise in the need for capital.
Rather than being open to $750-$850k in financing, he said the bank couldn't approach anything beyond $250k and that would have to be fully secured with collateral. He indicated even this would be a stretch for them. This was different than what he originally wrote in his email:
"We are often much more flexible than our larger counterparts. When we need outside guarantees we can turn to the SBA 504 program, or California Capital (like an SBA for the state of California)."
When I asked about these guarantees, none were volunteered or offered.
To be fair--he was very nice the entire time and I appreciated him coming to the office and sitting down with us the week prior.
I talked with an associate and she said she didn't think the story would be different with any of the other banks. "In this economy, you almost have to prove you don't need the money to actually get the money..."
Thursday, October 1, 2009
We're an example of that. I've run Silverado since 2003 as a fairly organic organization--we've generally bootstrapped most of what we do from the very beginning. We do a number of very high-profile things--and we do them very well.
Because of that, we've been restricted in growth to what we could accommodate on our own. In spite of those restrictions, we've been awarded the following accolades along the way:
2007 "100 Fastest Growing Companies in Sacramento" - Sacramento Business Journal
2008 "100 Fastest Growing Companies in Sacramento" - Sacramento Business Journal
2009 "100 Fastest Growing Companies in Sacramento" - Sacramento Business Journal
2008 "Top 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America" - Inc. Magazine
2009 "Top 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America" - Inc. Magazine
With that in mind, I need a loan. But are banks lending?
My position is that they are not lending. But rather than hem-and-haw about the situation, I intend to determine for myself if banks aren't lending to small business.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I thought I would answer all the questions in one doc. Its 28 pages long and I am pretty sure it covers everything--including equipping your system for 3D stereoscopic.
You can download it here:
This is a 1.0 doc, so if you have suggestions I am happy to incorporate them into the next revision.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
- Replace items that have worn out due to normal use and repair items that no longer function such as ports, logic boards, and cables.
- Alternatively, if a repair is not available then Silverado can opt to replace the system with a brand new equivalent system.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
- All KONAs support new Apple ProRes 422 (LT), Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy), and Apple ProRes 4444
- In addition, KONA 3 supports 10bit RGB/Dual Link capture and playback path using Apple ProRes 4444
- Display of timecode in the Control Panel (near the LTC input icon)
- HDMI/DVI detection of colorspace/protocol
- Downstream Keyer added (DSK)
- LTC input implemented
- Analog audio output monitoring selection implemented
- HDMI audio input channel selection
- HDMI input/output auto-detection
- 8 Channel HDMI audio output
Friday, July 24, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Folks like to get out to NAB to see demos by major manufacturers before making purchasing decisions. Shows like this are a great way to check out gear prior to investing a lot of money in new workflows.
However, sometimes a shoot or edit session will come up and prior travel arrangements get tossed in deference to a job at hand.
We're going to solve this challenge once-and-for-all on high-end systems and rentals with the Silverado Demo Travel Program. Fly or drive to Silverado to see a demo on your own time and on your own schedule--and when you purchase or rent one of the following systems or services you'll receive a 100% reimbursement of your flight or fuel:
Assimilate SCRATCH Systems
Silverado Blackpowder DI Systems
Cine-Tal Color Correction Displays
Sony 4K Projectors
RED Rocket-based Mac Pro Systems
Edit Suite Rentals (multi-day)
4K theater rentals (multi-day)
RED ONE camera rentals (multi-day)
Essentially, just let us know what kind of system or rental you want and we'll provide a quote ahead of your trip. After you've made the trip out here to review for yourself, you'll be reimbursed 100% of your flight or fuel upon purchase of the quoted system or rental.
We want to make an investment in any of these systems or rentals as painless as possible--and for some folks getting to a demo like NAB is just not do-able sometimes. With the new reimbursement program, we're trying to take some of the uncertainty out of making these decisions.
There are a few guidelines we need to follow (no first class flights!) so for information on travel reimbursement contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Some of the new features are:
Major Speed improvements for Media Encoder (new support for RED)
New RED R3D workflow & Raw setting panel
Avid Import & Export (We are currently testing FCP Export)
DVD/VOB support (edit directly off the DVD !)
Faster/smooth AVCHD playback
Faster project loading
New Frame Export
We also showed several things at NAB 2009 that we have cooking in the Adobe Labs and we are planning to beta test a few of these new features this summer. The plan is to make these available on the http://labs.adobe.com site:
Finalcut Pro Export
You can catch a new video here which shows all of the new CS4 updates and features in action on Adobe TV.
The 3 updates are:
After Effects 9.02
Premiere Pro 4.1
Media Encoder 4.1
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Here is what I think is likely happening this year at WWDC:
- Snow Leopard--released? I'd have to say no. But release date announced? Yes--I'd call this at 100%. Apple recently froze the API's for Snow Leopard, so there shouldn't be much more under-the-hood work to do there.
- iPhone OS 3.0--I'd have to say this is 80% yes. Why not 100% There has been a lot of chatter about background apps--and whether the policies that will govern the behavior of those applications has been decided upon by Apple.
- New iPhone hardware--I'd say 100% yes on announcement. 50/50 on shipping. If OS 3.0 is delayed, you can guarantee the new phone will be delayed as well.
- New iTablet or iPad?--Maybe... I'd give this a 25% shot
- No new Pro Apps (no Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Server, Aperture, Logic, Color, etc...)
First--WWDC has never been a creative show--its a development show. Correct me if I am wrong, but no Apple Pro App has ever debuted at WWDC. This is totally the wrong crowd for this type of introduction.
Second, the most logical prior opportunity for Final Cut Studio to debut would have been NAB last month. However, that didn't happen. I think that is because the new pro software is based much more heavily on Snow Leopard than people think. And 10.6 hadn't deployed yet, so there is no use in hyping features based on other software that can't be discussed yet.
Finally, why do two major launches at the same time? Snow Leopard is big enough, why complicate the mix with doing two simultaneous introductions? Remember the Mobile Me launch? One fumbled product release was bad enough. However, doing two at the same time--one to a hypercritical professional audience and the other to dozens of millions of customers--is a potential PR blunder if one or the other should stumble.
Last--will Steve Jobs show up to do "one last thing." No clue one way or the other, but I'd like to think so.
Friday, May 15, 2009
QUESTION Setup: About the new movie starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.
QUESTION 1 of 5 - Name of Jennifer Love Hewitt's current feature (Cafe)
QUESTION 2 of 5 - Name a co-star (Jamie Kennedy)
QUESTION 3 of 5 - City of shoot (Philadelphia)
QUESTION 4 of 5 - Name a producer (Chris Wyatt, Sean Covel, or J. Andrew Greenblatt)
QUESTION 5 of 5 - Name the famous movie the producers shot prior to this project
For #5 we were looking for "Napoleon Dynamite", but "Twelve" was submitted and that technically counts.
Winner is Tim Schultz! BTW...most of the answers for this could be found here [LINK]
Cafe is being shot on two RED ONE cameras from Silverado. We're also handling data wrangling, assembly editorial, and final color correction.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
If you have an iPhone, turn it off. Go into a pitch black room (I mean PITCH black--no light leaks--totally sealed).
Then, turn on your iPhone. The Apple logo comes up--you can just cover that with your thumb.
The bright gray glow you see emitting from your iPhone? That is "black" on an LCD. But it turns out its not really that black is it?
In fact, its such a bright gray, a fully "black" iPhone display can illuminate a dark room.
This is the problem with using generic LCD's for color correction. Their black level isn't black enough, so your colors get washed out and muddied.
Try it sometime...
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
AJA KI PRO PRE-ORDERS
The AJA Ki Pro is a tapeless video recording device that records high-quality Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime files onto computer-friendly media. Because it features SD/HD-SDI, HDMI, and analog inputs, you can interface with virtually any type of camera you might own or rent.
AJA's new Ki Pro was a hit at NAB. If you haven't seen the Ki Pro in action yet, take a look at this video: http://www.aja.com/products/ki-pro/
This new device is definitely going to streamline the time from production-to-post. I think of some new application for the device on a daily basis.
The Ki Pro is $3995 and AJA is already accepting reseller orders for this unit to ship this summer. Like other vendors, we're accepting pre-orders, too. However, we're making a Silverado order a little more worth your while.
With every Ki Pro pre-order between now and 5/15/09, Silverado will add a 250 Gb Ki Module at no charge--a $265 value.
You can place your AJA Ki Pro pre-orders here:
GEARNEX GEARED HEADS A HIT AT NAB
You know you have an awesome product when Jarred Land walks up to it and says "This thing is badass..."
We showed the Gearnex Geared Head at NAB to rave reviews at FCPUG and REDUser. The units also got plenty of play at the AJA and Panasonic booths.
While the NAB special of $3995 is now over, we have a post-NAB window where the price is $4995. That is a $1000 savings over the $5995 retail price.
Use the code GEARNEXRED (in the checkout notes section) through 5/3/09 for a free swivel/tilt arm.
MOVE UP TO 800GB TAPE WITH CACHE-A PRIME-CACHE LTO-4
We showed the new Cache-A LTO-4 product at REDUser 2009 last week in Las Vegas to a lot of very interested data managers.
One of the neatest things about this product is backwards compatibility with current LTO-3A archives. If you have a library of LTO-3A material, then the new Cache-A LTO-4 is the perfect way to move up to 800 GB tape, while retaining compatibility with your existing archives.
Units ship in mid-May. Pre-order your Prime-Cache today and we'll throw in 4.0 Tb in free LTO-4 tapes and a Pelican travel case at no charge.
SILVERADO TWITTER CONTESTS
We'll be building up our Twitter followers over the next few months with some fun contests. When we get to 500 followers, we're going to give away a free Blackmagic UltraScope.
But! In the meantime, we'll be doing fun giveaways at random. We got a copy of Shake v4.0 that we're itching to give away. So, follow our tweets and you might just get lucky:
Silverado Twitter [Link]
SILVERADO PRODUCTION UPDATE
We think its more important than ever to stay involved in production and post. There are a lot of vendors you can buy from, but how many of them are just order takers?
At Silverado, we support projects as small as music videos all the way up to feature films. We recently completed editorial and color correction on a RED video that involved a Gulfstream jet, two Lamborghinis--all for a budget that would shock the senses.
We're scheduled as the RED rental house for a feature project in Philadelphia along with assembly editorial and color correction, and in June we have a feature starting work right here in Folsom which we are going to support with cameras and editorial.
What does this mean for you? If we sell it at Silverado, its generally because we've tested it in the field and feel confident about the products capabilities. If you ever wander through our webstore and wonder why we don't sell something--its because we aren't the Wal-Mart of professional video.
We don't want to sell everything--just the best products that work. We think that the best place to determine that is in actual use in the field and the edit suite doing real work.
If you ever want to stop by and see the suite and our reel, please let me know at email@example.com and we be thrilled to accommodate a private showing.
More updates on NAB releases--too much stuff there to put into one update.
Also--WWDC is around the corner so we should start to hear rumblings about Final Cut Studio 3 updates.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Fast forward to today. Untold thousands of Apple Xserve RAID's have been deployed and are in use across the world today. And many facilities still rely on these machines to safely store their critical data and archives.
Its our opinion these devices should be replaced as soon as possible.
One of the most important aspects of using any RAID device is the ability to replace a failed hard drive and restore a RAID 5 volume to full status. You can lose one hard drive in a RAID 5 and have a degraded volume, but if you lose another you have lost all your data. It is not recoverable.
Our recent checks have determined there are no further Apple Drive Modules being manufactured. Further, there are essentially zero remaining drives available as "stock" within the distribution channel (meaning there are none sitting "on a shelf" which can be overnighted to clients...)
Additionally, anecdotal checks have also determined that stocks of Apple Drive Modules available for warranty replacement via AppleCare are fully depleted. If you have an Xserve RAID covered under an AppleCare agreement, there is no guarantee that you can get a replacement drive if you have a failure.
We've talked to a few clients that are still relying heavily on Xserve RAID's and have stocked up on Apple Drive Modules over the last year in order to extend the life of their direct-attached and Xsan-based systems. However, if you don't have multiple spare drives on hand, there will come a time when your drives will begin to fail and you won't have an option for data recovery.
One of our contacts has indicated they have seen failure rates of one drive per week in some of their oldest Xserve RAID systems. These folks are actively looking to migrate to a new storage platform.
What are the best options for replacing these older systems?
We really like the new Active Storage XRAID™ and XRAID™ ES platform. We've highlighted the XRAID platform before, but the XRAID ES is a new product recently released and it has some very compelling features.
The XRAID™ ES is available in 4TB and 16TB configurations, with the 16TB configuration offering $ .67 cents per GB cost. This new, affordable, high-performance storage solution is ideal for business-critical, science, and education use in Apple-based infrastructures, and complements Active’s existing product line with a really low entry cost with future expandability.
The new Active Storage XRAID™ ES employs the same level of per-port performance, reliability and ease of management (using the native Mac OS X storage management suite found in the original Active Storage XRAID™), yet offers a lower-cost configuration taking advantage of a single high-throughput RAID controller and business-class hard drives with smaller read/write cache.
Performance of the Active Storage XRAID™ ES is also impressive — offering up to 744MB/s in a RAID 5 configuration. The Active Storage XRAID™ ES provides redundant power, triple-redundant cooling and redundant Fibre Channel connections and is managed using the same powerful, yet easy to use management tools of the original Active Storage XRAID™. The ES differs from the original Active Storage XRAID™ by utilizing a single high throughput RAID controller and business-class hard drives using a smaller cache size. These changes result in a very cost-effective and robust RAID solution ideal for business-class applications starting at a ground-breaking $6,999 US MSRP.
The Active Storage XRAID™ ES is also available in 16TB configuration providing unmatched value at $9,999 US MSRP.
You can get Active Storage XRAID™ and XRAID™ ES products at Silverado's store here:
Active Storage XRAID™ and XRAID™ ES at Silverado [LINK]
Thursday, April 9, 2009
In the midst of an economic crisis, they are simultaneously raising people's taxes while proposing to take away some of the best tools of a retailers livelihood:
California to consider ban on large TV's [LINK]
What does the consumer get in return? Less choice and poorer quality.
Sales of high-end products such as large sets drive revenue. Revenue pays taxes. Taxes fund projects. However, I don't think that politicians see this equation very clearly.
It should be mandatory that these people spend a modicum of time in some sort of business entity before being elected. Lack of understanding about where revenue comes from is currently destroying California state government.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Apple Pro Apps 4-Seat Xsan [PDF]
However, the tech is pretty old, so we thought we'd take a stab at adding some new tech and including a few things that weren't available when the 2006 doc was released:
Pro Apps 4-Seat Update for 2009 [PDF]
Curious to what else you might want to see in a system like this...
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Exhibitor ID: 524
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
We were fairly shocked. I've never seen a single internal boot volume working at over 700 MB/s (not megabits...megaBYTES). Ever.
I was so impressed that I set out to conduct another experiment. This would be a real-world experiment: moving my entire MacBook Pro from a regular 2.5" SATA hard drive to an SSD.
Would it be worth the trouble in time and money to make the move? Could someone justify the expense of an SSD now versus waiting till later when the prices fell more?
I had to wait a little while until the 160 Gb SSD's came out from Intel. There was just too much stuff I kept on my laptop to pare down to less than 130 Gb of critical info--so in the meantime I read up on my friend Lloyd Chambers' excellent technical primer on using Intel SSD's in both MacBook Pro and Mac Pro.
I received my 160 Gb Intel SSD earlier this week. I copied off the boot drive to the SSD with Mike Bombich's fantastic tool Carbon Copy Cloner. Then I set about conducting tests with the primary drive before I moved over the the SSD.
Rather than re-invent the wheel with Lloyd's technical analysis, these are my anecdotal thoughts on my own experience with running an Intel SSD in a MacBook Pro.
The test system is my 2.5 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo-equipped MacBook Pro with 2 Gb of RAM running Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.6.
I was tempted to do the tests from a clean installation, but this is a real world test. I didn't have time to un-license and deauthorize all my apps and then reauthorize fresh builds on the new system. I figured most other folks wouldn't have the time to do that either--so I opted to do a clone of my hard drive.
These were essentially boot-time tests. I didn't want to make any major file changes to docs or anything else on the old drive since I was going to start using the SSD permanently--so I only tested the boot times along with conducting some other interesting tests. Here are the apps I booted:
Apple Final Cut Pro
I also tested system boot time and shutdown. Finally, I ran AJA System Test to determine drive performance.
Here is the chart of the raw performance I got between my old hard drive and the new SSD. Time is in seconds.
To say that this workflow is fast is a complete understatement. Everything is fast--my Mac finally feels like it works as fast as I think.
Response is instantaneous. Boot times on some of these applications is nothing short of ridiculous (Booting iCal and Numbers in 1-2 seconds?)
However, what really surprised me was the performance tests I ran with the help of AJA System Test.
With the hard drive installed, I ran System Test on a standard 1.0 Gb test using SD sized frames. With nothing else running. I got writes of 43.6 MB/s and reads of 52.2 MB/s. Very respectable all around. I then loaded up iTunes and let it start playing a track. I reran the tests with results of 38.9 MB/s and 41.2 MB/s. A drop of around 20% in performance, but still not horrible.
However, I then started Safari and did a 15-tab load--then I ran the same AJA test. On the hard drive the writes plummeted to 12 MB/s and the reads went to 12.8 MB/s. I thought I did the test wrong because an 80% performance hit didn't sound right. I reran the test--with the same results.
With more apps running, I got the performance down to around 4.2 MB/s sec for reads and writes.
Yuck. No more hard drives for me--that kind of performance sucks.
I swapped the HD for the SSD and performed the same tests.
With nothing loaded, we got writes of 62.2 MB/s and reads of 120.8 MB/s. With this test alone, we had already increased writes by 20% and doubled the read performance. The next test took me by surprise and I had to run it three times.
Performance went up when I did the iTunes test! I expected a performance hit when I launched and played iTunes, but the writes went to 68.7 MB/s and the reads went to 122.1 MB/s. I tried it three times--the reads and writes were all higher while iTunes was running versus when there were absolutely no apps running in the background.
I can't explain it--and I doubt it has anything to do with iTunes--but it was very strange to see drive performance actually increase when placed under increased load.
Finally, I ran the 15-tab Safari test and expected performance to fall apart. It didn't.
While iTunes was playing and Safari was loading 15 tabs, SSD writes were at 63.2 MB/s and reads pegged 121 MB/s. If there is an engineer out there who can explain why the SSD works faster when under load, I am all ears...
I figured all those time savings netted me an additional 3-4 minutes daily. At our lowest hourly bill rate, I figure on recouping nearly $2000 per year on the time I reclaimed.
Okay...okay...that is kind of ridiculous, isn't it?
It would be if the time savings was just from booting apps. However, the kind of performance achieved with this new SSD has added a level of productivity that I haven't had before. I can switch back-and-forth between windows and apps with zero lag time. Opening files is nearly instantaneous. Accessing websites is about twice as fast since the disk caching is way faster. Reading my mail and synchronizing my mailbox between the laptop and my SMTP servers is much faster than it was before.
And the dreaded Spinning Beach Ball has totally vanished.
I conservatively estimate I'll be working 10-20% faster than I was before. That alone is worth the price of the drive for me. Is the speed worth it to you? You have to be the judge of that.
Here are my new recommendations for the fastest possible system (either MacBook Pro or Mac Pro)
1. Get as much RAM as your budget will allow
2. Get the fastest processor possible, too.
3. Equip your system with an SSD-based boot drive (make sure its an Intel X-25...) If you can afford to, put in two or three in the Mac Pro.
These three recommendations will get you the fastest available Mac.
One more note--you can't get it from Apple. They don't have the Intel X-25 drives in their systems. If you want yours X-25 equipped, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Each model is fully refurbished, and carries the full Sony warranty and service options available with new A-stock models. B-stock accessories are also available to configure full 4K systems at a great value -- now priced at 10% below MSRP.
If you have considered purchasing a Sony 4K projection system, now's the time. Systems can be purchased outright or leased over time. Here are the available models:
Sony SRX-R105 SXRD 4k Projector
Sale Price $34,000.00
Lease as low as $789 over 60 mos.
Sony SRX-R110 SXRD 4k Projector
Sale Price $49,275.00
Lease as low as $1145 over 60 mos.
Sony SRX-S105 SXRD 4k Projector
5,000 Lumen W/DVI
Sale Price $39,000.00
Lease as low as $905 over 60 mos.
Sony SRX-S110 SXRD 4k Projector
10,000 Lumen W/DVI
Sale Price $51,000.00
Lease as low as $1160 over 60 mos.
Members of Silverado's StudioBuilder list are also eligible for the following rebates when ordered before February 13th.
Sony SRX-R105: $1,000
Sony SRX-R110: $2,000
Sony SRX-S105: $1,500
Sony SRX-S110: $2,500
We are able to provide a free replacement Xenon lamp ($1675 for 5,000 lumens and $2100 for 10,000 lumens) for the first two projectors ordered.
These systems require accessories like lamps and lenses which are based on your facility. We'll need to determine which items are needed for your installation, but the discounts on those items are huge, too.
Please contact us directly at email@example.com for ordering information. More details on each machine can be found below:
Sony SXRD projectors at Silverado
We've been told by Sony that all projectors in this class will be gone by March. There may never again be another opportunity to own Sony 4k gear at such reduced cost.
President & CEO - Silverado Systems, Inc.
Outfitter to the World's Foremost Apple Professionals
2600 East Bidwell Street, Suite 280
Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 760-0032 • FAX (916) 404-5258
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
With that in mind, its reasonable to think that Final Cut Studio 3 could be released any time between now and NAB. I think it would be silly for them to release it after NAB, but Apple definitely doesn't play by anyone else's rulebook...
So...with that in mind--what do you want to see in the new Final Cut Studio 3?
Please opine gratuitously in the comments below.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Check out this awesome new monitor from Panasonic: the BT-LH2550
Panasonic BT-LH2550 25.5 Multi-Format Color LCD Production Monitor with native 1920 x 1200 IPS Panel
Its got a color gamut larger than 709, so its going to be awesome for HD-color work. Plus, native 1920 x 1200 resolution for 1:1 reproduction of detail without scaling.
Here is all the nitty gritty:
* 1920 x 1200 resolution (WUXGA)
* Six color space settings for use in print to digital graphics to HD video: SMPTE, EBU, ITU-R BT.709, Adobe 2.2, Adobe 1.8, D-Cinema
* Wider color space than CRT models with two new color space modes Adobe gamma 1.8, Adobe gamma 2.2 and D-Cinema gamma 2.6
* Wide 178 horizontal and vertical viewing angles
* New split-screen function plays dual live pictures (1 each: SDI, DVI, Component or Video)
* Calibration hardware interface for chroma and luma (with built-in Application Software)
* Built-in waveform monitor and vectorscope functions from SDI (HD/SD) input (representing all picture lines)
* Exceptionally accurate color reproduction and improved contrast and black levels
* Three-dimensional 10-bit 3D LUT offering virtually the same color
* Offers a variety of professional functions including split-screen/freeze frame (live input vs. freeze frame), marker and blue-only, and cross hatch overlay display
* Time code and closed caption capable (closed caption on video input only)
* Embedded audio decoder on board (via Headphone Jack)
* 8 Channel audio level meters
* Cine-gamma Film-Rec compensation function for use with cameras such as the Panasonic AJ-HDC27 VariCam HD Cinema Camera and the new AJ-HPX3700 and
AJ-HPX2700 P2 HD VariCam camcorders
* Inputs/outputs include: DVI-D input and two HD-SDI/SDI Auto switching inputs with switched output, component video (Y/Pb/Pr), RGB, PC RGB, external sync, RS-232C/GPI remote control terminals, speaker and headphone jack
* Five programmable user buttons for easy access to functions
* Desk stand included; compatible with VESA mounts (100mm x 100mm or 200mm)
* Separate 24 Volt AC Adapter supplied; AC cord (5.58 ft.) and 4-pin XLR DC cord (6.56 ft.) included
* One-year warranty (parts & labor)
However, in 2009 we're going to take the growth to a completely new level. We've defined a massive core market--the professional broadcast and digital cinema industry--and our vendor relationships are second-to-none. We're going to take that momentum and redouble our growth efforts over the next 18 months.
We're going to be expanding our local presence to upwards of 25 different markets across the country. To do that, we'll need a lot of help. We aren't looking for employees, but people who want to run an entire wing of Silverado in their market.
This will take someone who--by profession--is a broadcast or digital cinema pro. You'll not only need experience, but you'll need to be a savvy marketer and be able to effectively network with the media community in your region.
If you are that type of person--and you are looking for a change of pace from production and editorial to trusted advisor--we want to talk to you. It will be your shop and your territory.
Here are the markets we are working towards in our initial roll-out:
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
If you are interested in joining Silverado not as an employee--but as a partner--please send me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll forward more information your way.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
ADVOCACY AND INCENTIVES FOR THE FILMMAKING INDUSTRY
Tuesday, January 20th at 7:00 PM
Art Institute of Sacramento
2850 Gateway Oaks Dr.
Sacramento (I-5 to west El Camino)
Free for all
Capital Film Arts Alliance