2012 Mac Pro in a 2015 World

Coming from a QUO computer Hackintosh it feels really nice to be back home in a legit Mac. For about a Year and a Half I ran my little G4 Mod Hack on just about any job you could think of….Alexa, Red Dragon, F55, BMCC, C300 etc.


It’s a robust little unit, has 4 USB 3.0 ports and 2 Thunderbolt 1.0, so you can handle almost all the drives out there.  On the occasion I’ve lost drives where it can no longer find the directory.


The main reason I left my Hack was due to the PCI Bandwith. When running a Rocket-X and a GPU the board bumps down to 8x per Lane, I need the ability to run a Rocket with Resolve which requires 2 full 16x lanes. The case and board aren’t built for that kinda load. I’ve been looking at the Mac Pro through iPowerResale and found a good deal for a 2012 Hex-Core Mac Pro. I was on a Pampers Commercial doing an easy download job and my Hack would not boot, took until after lunch along with a disk error on one of the Master Drives.

No Mount


At that moment I had realized I needed a legit system, my G4 Hack had given me problems through out all of February… I was unhappy. I did some tests running a 10.10 OSX Drive with H3C BIOS and then going back to 10.8 Drive with H2B, since then it’s been stable. They say a Flash will solve most issues but at the heat of the moment it didn’t occur to me until after the shoot. I still needed a 2nd system, I figured this is the best decision I can make given what we know today.

There’s been a lot of people who need a system right now and don’t know what to get. The main reason I went with a Hackintosh was the challenge and plain ignorance. I should have bought a 6-Core in 2012 but it would have cost me $2999 with base specs. My buddy CJ ran a Hackintosh which gave me the confidence to take a stab… “IT CAN BE DONE!” I think everyone should at least have one Hack, the basic computer knowledge you learn is priceless. Using one in a professional environment can lead to be troublesome, having a good back up system is key if not you’ll be in trouble when things go down. There’s been days when I had candles lit on my cart, you would find me on my knees praying for it to boot and load all drives lol. With my new system that won’t be a problem.

The best case scenario for a Hackintosh is a personal system or an at home/office set-up. On the field is a different story, like I said make sure you have a back up system that will finish the day. I have biddies who use their Hack at home for ColorGrading and love it does everything they need for about half the cost give or take.

Pros/Cons of the 2012 Mac Pro

Draw Backs

  • Slower PCIe 2.0 & SATA II ports
  • No Thunderbolt Support
  • Power Issues when running High End GPU
  • PC GPU must be Flashed to run PCIe 2.0 along with Boot Menu ($200 SetBack)



  • Up to 48GB RAM on Single Chip or more on Dual Chip
  • Dual PCIe x16 Lanes (Run a Rocket and GPU at the same time)
  • USB 3.0 & eSATA PCIe Options
  • Run up to 3 GTX Cards through a Cubix Expander


Graphics Card



Graphics Cards for the Tower Mac Pro can get a little confusing. It’s not so much about the drivers or proprietary cards like it use to be back in the day, but more so about power restrictions, boot up Icon, and enabling PCIe 2.0. Macvidcards has been around for some time now, they’re based out of LA and with a team of two they manage to Flash majority of the PC Graphics Cards to be compatible with the Mac Pro. You can send your own card or buy one from them. Flashing is around $200 if you provide a card, email them for compatibility and time frame.

What Are The Benefits of Buying a Flashed Card?

Some people may question why they should install a card flashed with a Mac BIOS as opposed to an official Apple released card or a stock PC graphics card (GPU). Here are a few of the benefits:

  1. Apple releases very few GPU options and they are often out of date compared to what is available for a PC.
  2. A Mac BIOS enables you to see the gray boot screen at startup (where you see the Apple logo and hear the iconic boot chime). This is very helpful for users who regularly need to switch boot drives and operating systems.
  3. When installed in a Mac Pro a stock PC GPU will only be able to utilize the outdated PCIe 1.0 format. A card flashed with a Mac BIOS will be able to work at PCIe 2.0 speeds, supporting twice the data rate.
  4. Cards with our Mac BIOS are able to run their full monitor arrangement (unless specifically noted) and make use of the most up to date technologies, including 4K monitor support and CUDA, OpenCL and OpenGL support.



The best card on the Market is the GTX 980 (Standard Version not Superclocked) until we see newer cards Summer 2015. The only downside to this card is the RAM size but everything else checks in.  Available for under $600, flashed will be at $780. This card will run with the Two 6-Pin Power Ports on your Motherboard without exceeding the power limit. The 980 GTX pulls a total of 165W which is perfect. Barefeats did some amazing tests which you can see the benchmarks below.

BF 980.1BF 980.2

They’ve also done tests with Dual 980 which is a great way to go if speed is what you need while still conserving on cost. A single Titan Black will run you about the same as two 980. If you decide to run Dual 980’s be sure to use external power.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 10.34.21 AM


Titan in a Mac Pro

The legend of the Titan has brought us here….To the point that we want to stuff it in a Mac Pro cause its such a fast card. My system has a Superclocked Titan which is awesome but there are some precautions that must be taken.

1. A separate PSU is needed to power the Titan. The 5.25 Bay PSU are hard to come by now a days since they’re all sold out; luckily I tracked some down through VisionTek for a nifty $50. If you run a separate PSU make sure to get a (M) SATA to (F) MOLEX Adapter to trigger the 2nd PSU. Otherwise you wont get an image on your monitor after the computer boots. The adapter will run from your Optical Bay SATA Power to the Adapter to the MOLEX on the PSU. Be sure to trim the sleeves on the SATA  Male part of the adapter to make fit as show on the pic below. To run Dual cards or a Titan you will have to leave the door open unless you plan on drilling and modding your case.


2.Titan Cards needs to be flashed to run at PCIe 2.0 along with a Power Clamp to run internal power. It seems that people run the Titan off the two Mini 6-Pin after flashed, adding a Rocket-X would be risking it which is a $300 cost if your blow your circuits. So if you decide to go internal power get is Flashed and don’t run another power hungry cards or drives. I’m still paranoid so I’m sticking to my External PSU, rig at your own risk and tests. If you decide to go internal you will need a Mini 6-Pin to 8Pin Adapter. Our Friend over at MacRumors did some tests for us check his post for more details.

Titan MP


I hope this clears up some grey space for all the Mac Pro owners out there so they can make the best decision on their system. By the end of the year I will be building a new Xeon computer but this Mac Pro should hold me over until then. If you still own a Mac Pro I wanna say you can squeeze another year or so depending on what loads your handling. At some point you’ll have to consider getting a trash can or build a PC system.

Please ask questions in the comments if I left any details out.

GoPro 4 ViewFactor Mod Pre-Orders

During the last release of the GoPro our friends over at ViewFactor did an interesting modification for the GoPro Hero 3 called the Novo. Unfortunately when the original Novo was announced it was only available for rent through Radiant Images Camera House here in California. We’ll today all that changes since View Factor has been hard at work with a new Novo Model that is a Modification Kit for your Hero 4 which gives you the benefits of the Original Novo but available for purchase. Pre-Orders are available on View Factors page with an estimated availability date of December 1st 2014.


The Novo was a great way to allow the use of threaded C-Mount Lenses on a GoPro camera. This opened up the freedom to use different focal lengths while keeping the same max resolution.

One of the main set backs and complains with the Hero 4 is the lack of a Medium and Narrow option at 4K resolution. With the View Factor Novo H4 Mod you can shoot 4K resolution with various focal lengths as opposed to only Wide and SuperView with the stock fixed lens. If you decide to use Medium or Narrow you have to bump down to 2.7K or even 1080p which some users aren’t very happy with.

There are two versions of the modification with a $100 price difference. The Mod alone will run you $199 and $299 with the Mod plus Cage.


The only downside to this Mod is it does void the warranty of your camera so mod at your own risk. There will be straight forward instructions and video tutorials to execute the mod which will be a tremendous help.

Pictures above are still Prototype renders so we may see subtle differences once these bad boys are finalized and shipping.

Stay tuned for more info and Novo H4 Pointers.


SOURCE – ViewFactor Store – Instagram

Zacuto EVF Review



EVF History & Introduction

The HDSLR revolution changed the way we shoot video forever which lead to a huge demand for camera support. We’ve seen many inventions in the past two years but a decent EVF for the Canon 5D MkII and 7D cameras has yet to exist until now.  A few companies announced rumors claiming they have EVF’s in production but only a few have actually put out a product on the market. That’d be Cineroid EVF ($750), Zacuto EVF ($650-$1k), and SmallHD DP4 EVF ($750).

I’ve been fortunate enough to test out the Zacuto EVF Flip-Pro Prototype on a 25-Day feature (R1 MX) and a 3-Day PSA shoot (5D/7D). I really enjoyed testing it in two very different applications. The feature being very harsh and demanding on build quality and the PSA was quick-n-short relying on ease of use. I put this little bad boy through the ultimate test.


The front face is the LCD screen which is very elegant and sharp. I much prefer this screen over some of Marshall’s monitors and Canon’s Camera LCD.


There are two models a Snap-On ($640) and a Flip-Up ($740). Which one do I buy? Well depends, I like the Flip-Up it’s a very handy and worth the $100 in my opinion. If you’re on a budget crunch or don’t care for EVF mode then go the Snap-On route. Just be ready to have a place to put your Z finder when you don’t need it (Some people like the lanyard but I can’t stand them, if you have a belt then you can use the CineBag, again personal preference). On the back end we have the LP-E6 Battery Slot for quick access. I was very skeptical about all the new monitors supporting LP-E6 batteries, the more and more I used them, slowly I began to love it. Over the course of a 12hr period if I powered down the EVF in-between takes I could get through a days worth of shooting on one Canon Brand battery. Sometimes if I left it on all day then I would get 10hrs per battery, with 3rd party batteries I would get 4-8hrs depending on manufacture, I tried 3 brands.


All the first generation Monitors that were designed for DSLR use only one HDMI port, this caused all sorts of problems! Dealing with converter boxes, HDMI Splitters, having to power the darn things, a true headache for producers and camera department. So now that we learned the hard way, everything coming out this year has HDMI Loop thank god. For all the cameras that aren’t DSLR they still offer an HDMI port so you end up keeping your HD-SDI free for more important things. Recently Zacuto put out an update that allows the option to monitor sound, this is great if you’re a one man army. Checking audio levels and operating at the same time couldn’t be any easier.


  • Available NOW
  • Made in USA
  • HDMI-Loop
  • LP-E6 Battery Compatible (10Hrs w/Canon Brand Battery)
  • False Colors & 1:1 Ratio
  • Custom Settings for any Camera


  • Z-Finder tends to fall off (Solution: I get 1/4” Strip of Gaffer tape and run it along the border of the Frame and Z-Finder)
  • No lock for EVF when in Flip Mode (Pic Above)
  • Only 1 Mounting Point
  • No Red One MX Camera Setting
  • Takes about 15-30 Min to Color Calibrate the Monitor


Being one of the first and few EVF out there, Zacuto seems to meet every demand.  Being smaller than the DP4 it’s more logical for use in EVF mode when attaching it to a shoulder rig, the screen is still big enough to fit the needs when using no eye loop (which reminds me of the LCD I grew up with on my Canon GL1). The HDMI-Loop is key and the fact that I can use one battery for a full 12hr shoot makes all the difference. It’s unfortunate that you have to either own a Z-Finder or buy one (You should own one if you don’t already). The Menu and UI is very respectable, it’s good to go straight outta the box and if you want to dig deep for functions there’s plenty of depth to work with. Typically I use Flip-Mode 60% of the time and 40% in EVF; everyone has their preference not to mention every shoot will determine how it’s used. I consider it more of a hybrid since you can decide between two modes and its more flexible when it comes to run-n-gun shooting style. This is a great product and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who needs an EVF/Monitor. You can wait for other brands to release their version but I wouldn’t hold my breathe for too long, you might end up choking.

Mac Pro Thunderbolt 2.0 Bus


Little by little the New MacPro’s are hitting the streets giving us a hands on report of how these machines work.

“so everyone knows, you have 3x thunderbolt busses, and this is how they’re split up. NOTE- the HDMI port shares bus 0! Keep TB2 and TB1 separate for 20Gb/Sec operation”

Part of the appeal is it’s Thunderbolt 2.0 & USB 3.0 Interface. StrawberryDIT posted the Mac Pro Bus Map on his Instagram account.

StrawberryDIT StrawberryDIT2

Depending on the devices you use will determine your port path to maximize the speed of each Thunderbolt attachment. If push comes to shove the HDMI can be freed up with the use of an 15” ASUS Portable Monitor, it uses USB 3.0 for Power and Display….as seen  in the video bellow.



Pimp Your Element Technica Mantis Shoulder Rig

Over the years with much use and time your Hand Grips begin to lose their density. The acids in palm sweat brake down the rubber and causes the grips to slip. The look of the rig turns sloppy and under maintained. Since the grips become softer it’s harder to keep a firm grip over long takes so your hands have to constantly re-adjust which effects movement in camera.

A great way to facelift your Element Technica Mantis is by ordering a set of ODI Lock-On HandGrips which are available in fun colours to best suit your personality. The bottom caps protect the Mantis Handle from getting scratches.

 photo IMG_20140129_174439_zpsuwhw1dkt.jpg

To remove the old grips I’d recommend a compressor with a point tip for the easiest removal if not canned air will do with a few twist and turns.

 photo IMG_20140129_174854_zpshs81qulm.jpg

Keep in mind if you have an older style rig like mine with the Shorter Grip Post w/Remote Stop  you’ll have to order a smaller 90mm handgrip to compensate. The newer models use a pair of traditional 130mm length Grips.

 photo IMG_20140129_180028_zps0kt613yy.jpg

You can see the olds grips do no justice to the Lock-Ons!

 photo IMG_20140129_173731_zpsls6lt4t2.jpg

SOURCE: Element Technica MantisElement Technica Grips – ODI Lock Rings – ODI Grips 130mm/90mm

Red Dragon w/ New Fans

Making everyone happy on set is key to establish peace with a crew. Over the years since Epic was released in 2011, the main complaint was the fans high dB count during a take. Sound department hates it and tends to sum up more work for post in the sound mix.

We had the same issue years ago when films went from silent to talkies in the early 30’s, it’s very cool to stand next to a Panavision Gold camera during a take to hear it’s subtle purr. Inside that box is years of perfection where all the magic is being made. Still to this day even 75mm IMAX cameras are so loud the whole scene needs ADR.

Below is an image of the a Dragon Epic with new 6K sensor, New Top Fan and New Top Plate.

RedFan Dragon

RedFan DragonECU


It appears Red went with dual fans for ultimate performance so they’re offering a Top Plate Trade-In program to help with the modifications due to the fans new form factor, this is very cool for current Red Top Plate Owners. Some 3rd party Top Plates may not clear so you’ll have to wait until manufactures can confirm compatibility.



The kit above retails for $450 or if you like to take it slow then you can order one at a time for $250 each. The fans should be shipping within the week and the Top Plates are still in the works. Along with Fans shipping a new FirmWare has dropped with all new heat/fan algorithms.


Please contact your Red Sales Rep for further details and can be ordered on the SOURCE link below.

SOURCE Red.comStore, RedUser1, RedUser2_Firmware

CES 2013 Review

The new year has dawned upon us, the world didn’t end … yes we’re still here which is a wonderful thing. So now what?

CES thats what! Its an electronic trade show that takes place in Vegas, almost like Christmas after Christmas. For us camera junkies there’s about four conventions worth keeping an eye on which can give you insight of what to expect in the near future.  I just wanna highlight the current technological challenges and how the industry will fight back with super products.


First it was Black and White then Color, about ten years ago we had the HD movement and today it’s Ultra-HD (four times the resolution of any conventional HD screen). Last CES we saw prototype 4K screens but nothing like this year which has made  trade floor dominance. You can now  buy a 4K TV for a shinny quater but there’s practically no content available to consume at such resolution. Every major TV Manufacter has a line of 4K screens along with OLED 1080p screens. There’s nothing wrong if you just jumped into the HD world cause we still have sometime before 4K has it roots locked down.

For this to happen 4K Standards need to be made before you can take advantage of this new technology. Since your information has quadrupled it’s hard to get content to consumers although there are a few solutions. Netflix surprised us with “coming soon” booth streaming 4k to a UHD screen made by Samsung, most reviews stated it had a ways to go due to compression artifacts. Sony has 4K content with a media player but still in prototype phases, if you happened to purchase a XBR-84X900 84” for $24,000 then you get a 4K player along with a few movie titles. Aside from Sony the only other avalable content is that from Red who released the worlds first 4K Media Player, this allows you to share content via ODE MAX, distribute or playback videos you shot with Red products.

2013 has broken the ice for 4K, we are seeing an expansion of screens in conventional sizes for consumers who aren’t stupid rich that will be priced at a slight premium than normal HD sets. Not really sure what that means my guess is anywhere from $6-$10k+.


Uusally most Photo announcements are made at Photokina but every now and then some cameras get lost in their own refresh cycle and end up at CES kinda like Fuji this year updating their popular X-Series.

Fuji X20 & X100s


I’ve been DSLR-less since my 5D MkII got stolen and I haven’t looked back once I bought a Scarlet. At the moment I’ve been using my Galaxy Nexus for pictures but I’m always disappointed with the results. So I’ve begun the search for a camera thats “the one”. It’s really hard to find something that you want to shoot on everyday  thats affordable, has style, creates a promising RAW image, and analog controls . Everything I came across was from Leica and way out of my budget then I found FujiFilm. Fuji is pretty much the only other camera manufacture that is making a good Leica knock off. Granted their new X100s will run you $1300 but it’s in reach for many photo enthusiasts compared to a $2000 Leica X2. On the Premium Compact Camera end Fuji has the X20 which is the 2nd revision of it’s current model the X10. It’s no ordinary point and shoot since it has RAW capabilities a new 12 megapixel 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II sensor that is larger than it’s predecessor. A nifty x4  zoom lens (28-112mm equivalent to 35mm) sporting f/2.0 – f/2.8 variable aperture and manual barrel. The Fuji X20 also gains an Advanced Optical ViewFinder, record Lamborghini start up time and auto-focus. It will retail for $600 and ships sometime in March. Personally I will keep an eye on this guy, looks very promising.

Fuji X20 Spec Link


During an interview with Sony CEO Kaz Hirai the last question asked was “Share any detail you’d like about the next Play Station”. This is a big year for Microsoft since rumors have it a next-gen XBOX is due for  this Christmas to compete with the WiiU that was released last year. PS4 rumors have become more popular also claiming 2013 release but nothing concrete until now. Kaz responds with “We are on a 10 year Cycle” much like the PS2 which was discontinued Q4 2012 after 13 years of retail.”Very aggressive growth in PS3 business” was another response by Kaz, to me that says Sony is waiting until Microsoft lays its cards down and continue with good PS3 profits since a third Super Slim PS3 revision has been released a few months ago. What I get from this is by 2016 we can expect 4K standards that will finalize Ultra-HD content distribution, so yes I believe when PS4 decides to be released, it will be 4K ready.


Nvidia gave us a grand surprise with Project Shield, a handheld controller with a 5” Retina screen running Android UI. Under the hood is a Tegra4 chip for snappy gaming on the go, or stream via WiFi with your computer and play PC Titles at full settings, pause the game, take it to the living room TV for when your friends show up and have them join the gameplay… For travel this is a win, play all your games, watch movies saved on a microSD card, spare the battery on your phone or tablet. It’s the ultimate entertainment gadget. TegraZone offers the ability to shop at a curated Game App store that works best with Tegra processors.

Impressive Specs

  • -State of the Art Speakers (Comparable to Beat Pill Speakers)
  • -Can be used as a portable set-top
  • -4K Output & Playback
  • -microSD slot
  • – 5-10Hr GamePlay, 24Hr HD Video PlayBack
  • -Pure Stock Android

No info on price but it definitely seems like a great solution for us avid on-the-go gamers that want the supreme experience. Who knows it could become a new standard.

Check out the video Below with the Press Conference

All in all a pretty solid year, the introduction of 4K screens for consumers is finally here, hopefully with enough units being sold we can begin to see the interest in making 4k an industry standard sooner than later. The gaming industry is transforming from two seprate markets; handheld & TV set tops, to now a hybrid ecosystem of gaming offering a unique experience at every tier. Very cool, CES has set the tone for the months to follow can’t wait!