View Full Version : Getting ready to buy!!!

03-04-2004, 04:18 PM

My name is Allan Leslie and I am a video production teacher at Saline High School, MI. We are currently finishing work on a brand new high school set to open this fall. Within the new school is a new video production classroom. We are buying VT3 system as our main switching platform. After reading some of the posts for the past week I am excited about the prospects of new equipment and the VT3 system. The forum is great. As a potential new user I am hoping that I could get some basic questions answered. My biggest concern is with the Windows/Mac platform issues. We use Macs for all of our editing, and CG work. PhotoShop and Final Cut Pro. I was hoping to stay in DV format (we use 3ccd mini DV cameras).

How user freindly is the VT3 system with Final Cut Pro?

I was thinking of a G5 or Xserver (apple) as a video server. Connecting our six G5 editing stations running final cut pro. Will I be able to connect the VT3 to the Video Server ?

Also we run a educational access cable channel and was wondering how this component can fit in with the VT3. We currently are using VCR's and a scheduler (software based) to output to our channel at various times.

Can all 4 work together(G5 editing stations, apple Video Server, VT3, and cable access scheduler ?

An Example project might be student works on project in FCP saves onto Xserver/G5 video server. Grab project from Video server and input into VT3 interface as a source?(without having to duplicate project?) for morning announcements shown during 2nd hour (not live but could be). From there we want to use the same project for a slot on the cable access channel later in the eveining at 7pm. could I do this?

Last question, I will be training several high school students on how to use this system. Can the system stand up to multiple users with various skills. Or am I going to spend hour resetting preferences after each user gets done. Students can sometimes tend to change setting just to see what happens. How hard is this to control?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide me with.


03-04-2004, 08:31 PM
Lots of good questions. I can't go down the list of them right now but will give a general reply.

VT3 is Windows based (XP preferred) and optimally run on Intel CPU's. The better your hardware, the better your performance. Dual 3.xx Xeon and Ultra 360 SCSI is highly recommened.

Very few people I found have connected to a SAN. There were a couple of posts about it a year or so ago, so do a search. Connecting Mac and Windows to the same SAN can be complicated and very few companies I know of even try. Copper Ethernet can be done easily at 100 Mb maybe even 1 Gb, but FC, 1 or 2 Gb, can be costly and needs someone who really knows what they are doing. Even if you got it connected your best specs will probably run below 200 Mb/s and real world numbers would be much lower. You may get good real time performance you may not.

I have talked to Rorke and Newtek about certifying VT3 for their SAN solution and Rorke says they are willing to work with Newtek on this but so far have not had good response from them. This situation has remained for more than 2 years now.

FCP's native format is QT. VT3 does not support QT and while it is reqested constantly, it doesn't look like it will any time soon if ever. You will have to convert back and forth to use the two systems together. There is a trick you can use on some QT files to make them play on VT3 without conversion. QT files that are in fact standard DV files can play on VT3 if you change or add the AVI extension. Not sure if that includes files directly created with FCP or not.

VT3 really only performs optimally with RTV files. They are designed for the highest disk to display speeds possible, bypassing any processing by the CPU. Most other file types will require CPU cycles are will not perform as well as the RTVs. Editing and playing DV is possible and done every day, but it has it problems and still some bugs and currently VT3 can not output DV on Firewire.

Sounds like you will mostly use your VT for switching and maybe cue up a few clips or programs. If you get an internal SCSI Raid of a couple hundred GB's you should be fine for that.

Locking down some features for your students is a topic that can be found with a search here. There is a lot that can be screwed up so plan on being able to recover with a full install now and again. With planning, you can re-install cleanly in about 20 minutes. One guy posted an idea of having multiple 'ghosted' system drives with clean installs of VT3 ready to go. Just power down, swap the drive and power up. Not sure if he got that working or not.

I hope everything works out. Post back your experiences.

03-07-2004, 12:46 PM

Thanks for the help. In FCP we usually use a QT.dv so I could use the .aif renaming trick. Locking down the system is a possibility.

thanks for the help I will do the recommended searches to get further information.