Your Mac Pro 4K workflow

When it comes to 4K workflows, the big talking point around Apple’s new Mac Pro is those six Thunderbolt 2 ports. This kind of infrastructure is perfect for anyone looking to move to 4K, and is going to help make the transition from HD and 2K to 4K far easier than the move from to HD was – this time round, you don’t have to wait while hardware manufacturers play catch up.

Each Thunderbolt 2 port offers you 20GBps of bi-directional throughput, and with each on its own bus there’s no need for you to risk maxing out the bandwidth of a single port by daisy chaining six devices from it – you can spread them around and enjoy blazingly fast performance from all your peripherals. On the other hand, the fact that Apple say you can chain up to 36 devices from the new Mac Pro means this is the perfect workstation to connect devices like the UltraStudio 4k 2 for 6GBs SDI capture, 10GbE connectivity from ATTO and 4K-capable storage such as GB Labs’ Space SSD.

One workflow we’ve been looking into is teaming the Atomos Shogun with one of our favourite 4K cameras to allow capture of 4K RAW to a fast storage drive like the PROMISE Pegasus.  This ability to capture straight from the source footage is a great way to speed up the time it takes your DIT to turn around media (a good thing, as having so much 4K footage flying around is going to eat through media cards and memory like nobody’s business) and secure footage on LTO tape to keep insurers happy.

If you’re using a Blackmagic 4K Production Camera, you could use their MultiDock to ingest from four different cards at once and then put the files straight through to working Thunderbolt storage such as a Pegasus drive, using the MultiDock as a sort of glorified (but very fast) and minimising the time you have to spend on ingest.

Ingest aside, the fact that you can run three 4K displays from your Mac Pro is pretty exciting in and of itself, especially for those of us who deal with 4K in post, or anyone who wants to see full-res footage on set. Sony’s PVM-300 or Eizo’s new 4K range are perfect.

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