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How Mac Pro fits into teaching media workflows: a guide for higher education

If you’re a university or college looking to modernise your M&E studios, there’s a great product that offers flexibility, customisability, reliability and longevity: Mac Pro. With the release of last year’s new, completely redesigned model, Apple have pulled out all the stops to ensure Mac Pro is the perfect workstation for media and entertainment workflows. But how can it fit into your offering for media students?

 

Conal Siddall

Return of the king

The reasons Mac Pro is back as the industry standard tool for media and entertainment are simple: a modular design, powerful components, rackmountability, and compatibility with standard tools. Its design suits the needs of the industry, so it's safe to say it suits institutions preparing students for the industry, too. 

With high performance, flexibility and massive scope for configuration, it’s the ultimate workstation for tackling the most demanding tasks, transforming 8K video editing, music composition, 3D animation, and games and app design workflows. For any institution teaching these subjects, you’ll want to make sure you’re offering students a chance to use Mac Pro.

Mac Pro is customisable to suit your budget. You may have heard about the high costs of the upper-end models, but the mid-range models you can create to suit audio and video workflows are comparable in price to other workstations from the likes of HP. There are also various financing models your institution can take advantage of the spread the cost.

 

Mac for audio

Upgrading your computer labs to offer Mac Pro means your students will be able to complete audio projects quicker and more efficiently. It integrates well with the mixing desks you’re probably already using.

Mac Pro can only run on macOS Catalina, but many of the best audio software tools work perfectly with the new OS. Our team have conducted in-house tests on many of the top tools with good results. Logic Pro X runs great on Mac Pro, as do versions 10.1.2 of Ableton Live and 10.2 of Nuendo respectively. PreSonus Studio One also works well, with Catalina support for version 4.5.4 and above.

We can also confirm from experience that Euphonix’s EuControl runs just fine with Mac Pro – we’ve operated it with an Avid S1 running with Logic Pro X, and it’s stable with the Avid S4 and S6, too. 

 

Mac for video

It’s not just great for audio, Mac Pro offers power and customisability that make it perfect for a range of video and post production workflows your institution may be teaching. You can pair its incredible processing power with the colour-accurate monitors you need, all the while enjoying blistering graphics performance courtesy of two Radeon Pro Vega II Duo MPX Modules.

Powerful technology such as the optional Afterburner card means you can go straight from camera to timeline and work natively with 4K and even 8K files from the start. No more time-consuming transcoding, storage overhead or errors during output.

The Afterburner card is a great option for video workflows, as it will greatly accelerate system performance by offloading ProRes decoding and free the CPU for other work. Mac Pro with Afterburner supports workflows for Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve support, QuickTime Player X, and other media applications.

 

Putting Mac Pro to the test

We tested a Mac Pro that had a 16-core Intel W3245 processor and just one Pro Vega II Duo module, which racked up a multicore passmark score of 55,294 and a Cinebench score of 6806 during testing, meaning it could happily chomp through high-resolution editing and grading tasks.

And that’s before we even consider the addition of the Afterburner card. It houses over a million logic cells, which can process up to 6.3 billion pixels per second, so you can add even more effects and handle even more streams (up to six of 8K ProRes RAW or 23 streams of 4K ProRes RAW).

 

How we can help you

Our dedicated M&E and education teams have nearly 30 years’ experience and are here to support your next studio build. We have technicians qualified with Apple, Avid, Adobe and more, so can help you create a workflow that matches those in real productions studios.

We are here to help your institution make the right decisions when configuring your Mac Pro, so we use our industry expertise to inform your team about what you need and what works best, in consultation with your teaching staff to ensure any build is focused on what is taught in the classroom.

We can also help you get your infrastructure up to scratch, whether it’s improving your shared storage offering, optimising your network or helping you integrate Mac Pro into a hybrid Windows/Mac environment. Get in touch with us today to find out more about what Mac Pro can offer you.

 

Get in touch with the team on education@Jigsaw24.com or call 03332 409 290. For the latest news, follow us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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