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As you can probably imagine, a real-time color correction and grading application that can work with RAW and Log video, as well as every format in between, has some requirements when it comes to equipment. In this movie, we'll take a look at some of those requirements and talk about some of the other pieces of kit that you might want to consider. As I mentioned in a previous movie, Adobe SpeedGrade is a cross platform application. In either case, you'll need a 64-bit OS, meaning either Windows 7 or Mac OS 10.6.8 or 10.7.
And I've actually been testing SpeedGrade on Mac OS 10.8, Mountain Lion, and so far so good. But as of this recording, it's not officially supported. Like with other applications, fast processors and RAM speed things along. 4GB of RAM is a minimum requirement for SpeedGrade. 8 or more gigabytes of RAM is really recommended. For monitors, you'll need a screen resolution of at least 1650x1050, and a second monitor is really recommended, but it's not an absolute necessity. We'll talk more about GPUs in just a moment, but whatever GPU you use, it needs to have at least 1GB of the VRAM and be OpenGL 2.0 capable.
Finally, you also need to have the latest version of QuickTime installed to get QuickTime features like Apple ProRes Decoder. Like many modern applications, especially color grading applications, the GPU or Graphics Processing Unit is a key component to your system. For Adobe SpeedGrade, you'll need an OpenGL 2.0 capable card. NVIDIA Quadro Cards really are preferred because of their CUDA processing. On Windows, this means a Quadro 4000, 5000 or 6000, and on the Mac your best bet is a Quadro 4000.
Does this mean that other cards won't work? Absolutely not, but for battle tested super level performance, these cards are your best bet. Now here is the thing. For SDI output the only way currently as of this recording to get SDI output is by using a PC that has the Quadro SDI daughter card installed. This Windows only card is pricey, but it does provide a direct to GPU connection and performs great on Windows machines. If you're like me and you're a Mac geek, there currently is no SDI output option.
But I would hope that the SpeedGrade team is working on a solution. To give them credit, they did port the app to the Mac extremely quickly. So I can only hope that they are working on SDI output on the Mac as a priority in their development cycle. When it comes to a preview monitor, there is nothing saying that you can't use your primary computer monitor to view your footage. That's actually how I've recorded this entire title. However, you can also use a secondary computer monitor to have a nice full-screen view. You just set this up in Preferences, however, for the most accurate preview, you'll want to use a calibrated and dedicated SDI output monitor that allows for switchable gamma, color spaces and allows you to tweak various settings. Just keep in mind, you'll need a monitor with HD -SDI or 3G SDI connections.
Have no fear though. These connections also support SD video if you're still working with standard definition footage. Now this is going to sound a little funny, but you'll want a nice keyboard and mouse to run SpeedGrade. Why? Well, let's take the keyboard first. Many keyboard shortcuts rely on having an extended keyboard with a dedicated number pad. In terms of a mouse, having a three button mouse gives you the most control over various aspects of SpeedGrade. Now here is one really cool thing in regards to using a mouse in SpeedGrade. If you right-click on any of the Color Balance controls and we'll take a look at this of course throughout this title, and you have the option selected in Preferences, you turn the Color Balance control into a virtual color wheel.
So if you use the scroll wheel on your mouse, you can quickly make contrast corrections, simply moving the mouse around allows you to adjust hue and saturation. This is a very, very cool feature in SpeedGrade that I'm excited to show you. And many companies like Kensington made trackball type mouses that are particularly useful as a virtual color wheel controller. Finally, if you want the most control over Adobe SpeedGrade, consider a dedicated color control surface. A color control surface allows you to take tactile control over nearly every parameter of the application and lets you make simultaneous adjustments, which quickly speeds up your workflow.
SpeedGrade currently supports the Tangent Wave and the older Tangent CP 200. I'm personally hoping that the SpeedGrade team will support the new tangent element in the future as well. So there you have it, some essential equipment things to keep in mind. Remember, it's always a good idea to check the SpeedGrade web page at adobe.com/products/speedgrade, for the latest details on equipment and requirements.
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