Mac Pro: Complete Solutions to Ace High-End Video Production

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A return to form is what I would call the Mac Pro (Late 2019). Not only does it return to a familiar tower form factor, it also makes a statement as one of the most powerful and beautiful computers on which you can edit. A bounty of configuration options for graphics, memory, storage, and processing means that the new Mac Pro can fit in anywhere, from a freelance videographer/editor's home office to a professional editing studio that handles the latest 8K films from Hollywood. If the Mac Pro belongs in any creative's workflow, professional video production is a definite.

It All Starts at the Processor

Pack up to 28 cores into your next machine if you need the absolute greatest computer in the world. This will handle nearly anything you could possibly throw at it today and it will probably be fine with whatever comes tomorrow. Whether it is advanced motion graphics for 4K cinema or 3D rendering on an animated feature, the Mac Pro will do it with impressive speed.

Don't worry—the base 8-core processor will knock out 4K projects with ease, and the additional graphics options will give a serious boost later on with expansion, a useful possibility if you start to outgrow your setup. The design of the Mac Pro has been well thought out to handle this much power. The processor asks for up to 300W, and with that much power comes a lot of heat. Using a combination of heat sinks and fans, it will stay cool and you can stay in control.

Next Up is Memory

Large video projects mean lots of large files, all needing to be accessed in real time. This takes a great deal of lightning-fast memory to achieve. Able to support up to six channels of 2933 MHz DDR4 ECC memory via 12 physical DIMM slots, the Mac Pro will allow users to configure their computers with an insane 1.5TB of memory. This should take buffering out of the equation in your NLE since you can have everything you need loaded up and ready to go and be able to edit faster and more effectively.

Storage somewhat falls under memory but is a bit simpler to understand. The Mac Pro features all-flash storage and uses SSDs from 256GB all the way up to 4TB.

Modularity

Every editor needs a different configuration. Some need dedicated cards to output clean graphics from their NLE or grading software. Others need to get their multi-camera studio setup all recording straight into their computer. This is when one needs extra expansion slots, of which the Mac Pro has eight. Four double-wide, slots, three single-wide, and one half- length slot should be enough to handle all the graphics cards, capture cards, and any other cards one deems necessary to get the job done.

Core to any video production is a powerful graphics pipeline, and here is where the Mac Pro shows off some of its innovation. The Mac Pro Expansion Module, or MPX Module, will maximize the performance of your graphics cards. This module adds a second connector in addition to the standard PCI Express x16. You can pump up to 500W of power into your cards, benefit from up to 5x faster data transfer due to the Infinity Fabric Link, and get Thunderbolt™ 3 as a bonus.

I/O helps with modularity outside of the machine, meaning all your important hard drives and expansion modules can be plugged in and accessed. Four Thunderbolt™ 3 ports, two USB Type-A ports, and two 10Gb Ethernet ports are the starting point for the Mac Pro and should allow for plenty of attached devices. If you need more the MPX Modules will help you out.

Insane Graphics

Graphics is where it gets fun. You'll need something to put in the MPX Module and there is no better option for video than extreme graphics cards. At the top is the Radeon Pro Vega II Duo, which uses two Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs to provide up to 14 teraflops of computing performance with 32GB of memory, and 1 TB/s bandwidth. This configuration only takes up one of the MPX Module spots, and the Mac Pro supports two. So you can double this setup for unmatched graphical power. Rendering intense graphics, performing particle simulations, and do practically anything else you want with vastly improved speed.

A neat feature of this system is its integration in the Mac Pro's overall design. It works with the computer's natural airflow and built-in cooling to keep your components at comfortable temperatures. No extra fans required, meaning you have a quieter machine for your workspace. This is helpful to avoid distractions as you work on your next film.

If you don't need that much power, or at least don't need it yet, there is the standard Radeon Pro Vega II, which is still extremely capable for many video projects. If even that is too much, the Radeon Pro 580X holds down the baseline.

Apple Afterburner, Made for Video Professionals

One brand-new component that video editors will love is the new Afterburner. A hardware accelerator card with more than a million logic cells, the Afterburner should help eliminate your proxy workflows. It frees up your processor and helps decode your video, including up to three streams of 8K ProRes RAW, 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW, or 16 streams of 4K ProRes 422. You can now ingest your footage straight from the camera and put it in your timeline without any hiccups during playback slowing you down.

And the Rest of the macOS Goodness

Apple has been serious about security for many years and, with many sensitive film and TV projects currently in production, you want your editing station to be safe to prevent unwanted leaks. A Secure Enclave coprocessor helps with maintaining encrypted storage and the T2 Security Chip ensures limited access to low-level software.

macOS is then always optimized to make the most of the individual components of the Mac Pro. This means optimal performance that can do more with less. Less strain on your system should help longevity and will allow you to push the limit even further than before.

A Pro Display to Match

Enough about the Mac Pro, we need to talk about the new Pro Display XDR. This is arguably one of, if not the best computer monitors ever made. Having bright, vivid colors that are accurate is a challenge for even the best display/computer combinations. This 32" Retina 6K display offers all the latest technologies natively, including HDR and the DCI-P3 color space. To achieve this, Apple managed to give it a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and the ability to present more than 1 billion colors via a true 10-bit panel.

XDR stands for eXtreme Dynamic Range and signifies the Pro Display XDR's outstanding HDR support. The display can reach 1000 nits with full-screen sustained brightness or 1600 nits of peak brightness. P3 wide color then provides the accuracy you need to ensure your videos are going to show perfectly everywhere. Built into the display are reference modes that will help match a specific gamut, color space, white point, and more to help optimize your content for any output location. Each display also goes through an intense calibration process to guarantee these modes are showing the right colors.

With an excellent panel, you want other features to make long-term all-day use of the screen to be comfortable. Apple brings True Tone to provide accurate color no matter the ambient lighting conditions. This also helps it perform well as an on-location display, perhaps on a DIT's cart. A slim 9mm bezel doesn't hurt, either. Glare can be a problem, and Apple took care to limit it on the standard model, as well as offer a nano-texture matte glass option for users who find glare to be more of a concern. Oh, and don't forget the stellar Pro Stand.

Complete Solutions for Professional Video Editing

The Mac Pro is designed for production environments and should serve as the core to any serious editing workstation. It's expandability and versatility mean that it can easily be configured with various tools and accessories. There are always some core components and tools for editors using particular software and B&H has put together a couple kits to make the purchasing process simpler.

For editing, there is the Mac Pro with DaVinci Resolve Workstation Video Editing Kit, which features a Mac Pro complete with Afterburner card, a 3.2GHz 16-core processor, 48GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and an AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo graphics card. Alongside this is the beautiful Pro Display XDR, the Blackmagic UltraStudio 4K Mini capture and playback unit, the DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel, the DaVinci Resolve Editor Keyboard, and a G-Technology 48TB 8-bay Thunderbolt 3 RAID array. It's an impressive station and will provide editors with a complete set of tools to start working.

Mac Pro with DaVinci Resolve Workstation Video Editing Kit
Mac Pro with DaVinci Resolve Workstation Video Editing Kit

Color grading requires a slightly different set of tools, and that is served well by the Mac Pro Workstation Color Grading Kit. This kit starts with the Mac Pro equipped with an Afterburner card, the 3.2GHz 12-core processor, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and a Radeon Pro Vega II graphics card—plenty for grading a film. Then, it bundles in the Pro Display XDR with Nano-Texture Glass, a Sony 24" LCD for advanced monitoring functions, the UltraStudio 4K Mini, a Loupedeck Creative Tool for making adjustments to your footage, and a G-Technology 32TB 4-bay RAID array.

Mac Pro Workstation Color Grading Kit
Mac Pro Workstation Color Grading Kit

Mac Pros will be an amazing option for any video editing workstation.

It is nice to see Apple listening to creative professionals and delivering a product that works for them. Video editors, especially, should see a benefit in upgrading to the Mac Pro (Late 2019) and will even be able to add components to their machine over the years to keep operating it at the level needed for high-end workflows.

Are you excited to see what the new Mac Pro is capable of? Think it'll come back as a fixture of post-production facilities? Let us know in the Comments, below!

Stop by the B&H "Mac Pro, Unleashed" Page to learn more about how the Mac Pro can help different types of creative workflows.

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