RED raw .r3d footage has always been kind of tricky to play. It requires a lot of CPU power, and even then, it was slow to transcode and stuttery to playback, since it requires a higher level of decoding than a traditional video file. You could buy a pricy RED Rocket card, but that wouldn't help with anything except RED footage, making it the right decision only for certain facilities and very RED focused individuals.
RED and NVIDIA have been working together, however, to move .r3d processing over to the GPU by taking advantage of CUDA processing, meaning far more affordable real-time RED playback on cards that will also benefit other video post processes.
Right now, the benefits are only in RedCine-X, RED's proprietary playback and transcoding software. However, by releasing the SDK at the same time we should see the improvements roll out in other software platforms with upcoming updates, meaning that your editing, transcoding and playback software of choice should see better .r3d playback on NVIDIA cards in the near future.
The biggest improvements will be seen with the new RTX cards, but GeForce, Titan and Quattro cards should see improvements as well. Of course, Apple users, and even Blackmagic eGPU users, are left out in the cold since both of those run on AMD platforms, and this is NVIDIA only. The only way to get this on a Mac would be to run an old cheese grater style Mac Pro with an NVIDIA card inside or a PCI-based GPU expander like a Cubix or a thunderbolt box like the Sonnet. In fact, right now the announcement only mentions the Windows version of REDCINE-X (V. 51.0.47404 of REDCINE-X for Windows), meaning it could show up in third-party application support on Mac before we see it in the native REDCINE-X app.
Here is Jarred Land of RED talking about the collaboration with NVIDIA back in October:
All the Changes in this Build
- Added: Windows accelerated R3D decompression on supported NVIDIA CUDA GPUs
- Added: Chroma Noise Reduction in IPP2 (On/Off)
- Added: Flashing Pixels (Off, Mild, Medium, Strong)
- Added: Image: Noise Reduction Panel
- NOTE: Image Noise Reduction features are only available in Full Debayer for the Viewer Window and in Full and Half Premium Debayer for Export
- NOTE: To add/remove panels, right-click in a panel and select a panel from the drop-down menu.
- Added: New half resolution premium debayering in IPP2
- Added: HDR support for select AJA and Blackmagic Design devices
- Added: Viewer Window IPP2 / Primary Development Only view toggle
- Added: REDline CDL export
- Added: REDline Primary Development Only export
- Added: Monitor Out preferences page
- Added: Left and Right frame cropping
- Added: Startup splash screen
- Enhanced: Cleaned up the default REDCINE-X Pro Home Page
- Enhanced: ProRes 4444 XQ no longer restricted to just log output
- Enhanced: ProRes encoder now sets Rec.2020 and HDR-2084 metadata
- Enhanced: Creative 3D LUT ALT-key Preview mode lock
- Fixed: RMD file Creative 3D LUT fixes
- Fixed: Marker loading issues