In 2019, Apple released the Mac Pro 7.1: the model creative users had been waiting for.
With up to 28 cores (the most ever in a Mac), 64 PCI Express lanes, six channels of super-fast ECC memory and up to 1.5TB of onboard storage, the 2019 Mac Pro can muscle through any task you assign it.
It’s ably assisted by Apple’s new Afterburner hardware accelerator card, which can process up to 6.3 billion pixels per second and is capable of handling up to three streams of 8K ProRes RAW or 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW – and which leaves your cores free for even more effects and processing. And then to top it all off, Apple threw in the world’s most powerful graphics card: the Vega II Duo.
But what does that actually mean in the real world? How are customers using their new Mac Pros, and how is all that power affecting their workflow? We asked a selection of customers from across the UK to share their #MacProStory…
Rental company Salon provide edit suites to some of the UK’s biggest production and post teams. When their clients need performance, precision and flexibility, Managing Director Nick Long relies on Mac Pro to deliver.
“Salon celebrates its 50th year in the industry this year,” Nick told us. “During that time we’ve always ensured we have the very latest technology for our clients. When the new Mac Pro became available we had no hesitation in investing in them for our fleet, and we will continue to add more as we move forward. They are incredibly powerful machines and enable our Avid Media Composer, Adobe Creative Cloud and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve clients to work faster than ever before thanks to incredible processing and huge amounts of RAM!”
From tracklaying, looping and mixing commercials to sourcing VO talent, ADR and podcast production, Edinburgh’s Red Facilities offer an end to end service for audio production and post. The key to providing such a wide range of services? Amazing onsite talent armed with the power of Mac Pro says founding partner Max Howarth…
“As a busy post-production studio we’re always looking to streamline workflows and create deliverables as efficiently as possible. Video podcasts, independent film mixes and 4K video projects were having an impact on the day to day audio post work, so we knew it was time to make the jump to the latest Mac Pros.
“We had high expectations and we haven’t been disappointed. Video rendering and grading have really sped up, as well as large audio project exports. These things free up more time for us to work creatively without impacting our budget, so we’re happy and our clients are happy. The Mac Pros are rock solid, run virtually silently and are a thing of architectural beauty inside and out. It’s just a shame they sit in a cabinet under the desk!”
“Processing a final broadcast master once the grade is complete is 6-10 times faster.”
Brighton’s Online Creative are one of the UK’s busiest grading facilities. Since 1999, they’ve been relying on the power of Mac Pro to produce and finish content for the likes of Sony, Thomson Reuters, wefox, the BBC and ITV. But, as Senior Colourist Darren Mostyn explains, lockdown was a chance to regroup and reload…
“We last refreshed our Macs in 2013. With most jobs coming through the door now requiring grading in 4K, it was time for an upgrade. We chose the Mac Pro 2019 as it’s highly compatible with DaVinci Resolve and the specs are incredible.
“Mac Pro 2019 is silent and so much faster at rendering than our last model. We have to deliver long form broadcast documentary work with tight turnarounds, so the fact that I rarely have to wait for processing time while grading saves hours over the course of a month. I can use noise reduction and film grain without worrying about how it will impact render times. Importantly, my clients see much more in real-time now – previously we had to render out in small sections for preview. And processing a final broadcast master once the grade is complete is 6-10 times faster than on our previous Macs.”
As the facility of choice for audio post-production on hits like This Country, Inside No 9 and the FIFA World Cup, Syncbox need to be sure their setup can handle large sessions without falling over.
“The new Mac Pro has changed the way I work,” Director Rich Evans told us. “When I’m working with Pro Tools Ultimate the track count is unbelievable. I can now have a huge session running hundreds of tracks, each stacked with plug-ins, and my Mac Pro’s not even getting near its capacity. The most I’ve had it running at is 32% capacity.”
"The live playback and render speeds on the heavy de-noising required for these projects has improved enormously since we upgraded, making our work much easier and far more efficient."
Screen composer Dominik Scherrer and his team at Crimson Noise have been working remotely since March, and rely on the power of Mac Pro to pull together work from ten different locations in order to deliver scores for the BBC, Netflix and more.
“I updated to the 2019 Mac Pro this spring, which was much better timing than anticipated – I had to leave my premises when lockdown happened in March, and have been working from home ever since. All recording is happening remotely, and I have audio coming in from ten places. The extra power of the new Mac Pro really comes in handy, as all the external outboard and analogue synths are at the studio. Everything is processed in the box, so the workstation has to handle more.”
Colourist John O’Riordan is best known for his commercial work for brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Kenzo. “Pundersons Gardens is a bespoke production company with our own colour suite,” he explained. “We like to stay within Mac architecture for post – partly to keep our workflows simple and partly because we’ve found macOS to be the most stable operating system, requiring the least amount of maintenance in the long term.
“The 2019 Mac Pro has allowed us to keep the simplicity and efficiency we have come to enjoy but with much better speeds than we've ever been able to achieve before. We regularly shoot and grade on film at 4K and 2K. The live playback and render speeds on the heavy de-noising required for these projects has improved enormously since we upgraded, making our work much easier and far more efficient.”
“I can have a huge session running hundreds of tracks, and my Mac Pro’s not even getting near its capacity. The most I’ve had it running at is 32%.”
The Forge is a London-based facility that focuses on product-based advertising for luxury brands. Founder Jean-Michel Massey explains why Mac Pro is The Forge’s first choice for post-production…
“The 2019 Mac Pro is the ultimate machine for professional post. With it, we’re able to deliver projects faster, work more efficiently, and gain time in each working day. It’s a stunning, silent workhorse – when the lockdown forced staff to work from home, many set up their Mac Pro in their bedroom, and it was quiet enough that they could sleep through the night while their machines churned out the latest renders. And it’s powerful enough to serve our post-production department for years to come.”
Our team are here to help. As an Apple Authorised Enterprise Reseller and Apple Premium Service Provider, we know more about developing a custom spec Mac Pro than just about anyone else in the UK, and as an Avid Elite Reseller, Adobe Certified Service Partner and Resolve Advanced Reseller, we can help you build a machine that’s optimised for your core creative software. And if you need to integrate your machines into existing infrastructure, want advice on virtualisation or need to provide support for remote working, you’ll be pleased to hear we’ve been delivering virtualised workflows for media and broadcast customers for the better part of a decade – it’s even how we run our own offices.
Normally we’d say come in for a demo, but unfortunately our Soho digs are currently in lockdown. However, you can find out more about Mac Pro configuration options here, or download our guide the best audio and video accessories for your Mac Pro workflow.
Want to know more or book a Mac Pro demo? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 210, at broadcast@Jigsaw24.comor by filling in the form below.
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