January 14, 2019

NVIDIA and RED Are Working to Make 8K Raw Post Affordable

Editing large resolution media is a pain, but NVIDIA and RED are working together to make post for 8K less painful (and without specialized hardware).

8K is a lot for any machine to process. It's four times the resolution of 4K, which means it's four times the data to crunch, and that's a huge problem when dealing with processor intensive raw images.

RED, creators of the dominant 8K RAW camera, are working closely with NVIDIA to enable its hardware graphics cards to have the power to efficiently process 8K RED RAW files for real-time playback of up to 60 frames per second. Considering the massive horsepower required for a system to process 6K, seeing 8K processing out of a single graphics card is something all filmmakers should be excited about.

Of course, RED has long sold its own, specialized single card hardware for such tasks under the "RED Rocket" branding, with the last revision being the Rocket-X from 2013. That device still retails for $6,750, which is slightly more than the $6,300 list price for the Quadro RTX 6000 that NVIDIA is using for demonstration purposes.

The key here, however, is that RTX6000 can be used by other software (not just RED) to accelerate other things. When decoding RED RAW, you'll get real-time 8K. However, it will also speed up your other GPU intensive tasks, like noise correction, and we bet it will even create amazing graphics in Red Dead Redemption 2 while on your lunch break to boot!

While the demonstrations have all been on top of the line 6000 graphics card, the underlying technology that is allowing for real-time process of the RED files will be rolling out across the CUDA line, with NVIDIA stating that we should see 8K playback working all the way down to the relatively affordable $1,200 NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX™ 2080 TI cards. Of course, that won't leave much overhead on top for other processing.

With the lower end cards, you might get playback, but as soon as you apply a color grade or a plugin, it will crawl, whereas the full power card should have the bandwidth to handle 8K and layers of correction at the same time. However, savvy users might consider putting a few 2080 TIs together in something like a Cubix Xpander for an affordable, flexible system for 8K real-time performance.

According to NVIDIA: "Released RED R3D SDK and REDCINE-X PRO software are planned to be available at the end Q1 2019.  Beta versions of the SDK have been made available to major third parties to support integration," meaning third party vendors like Blackmagic and Adobe are surely working on integrating this into its platforms for near future releases. This is sure to be another grumble for Apple users who are mostly stuck with the AMD cards that Apple has been using universally since 2013, leaving this NVIDIA CUDA based technology only available to them through complicated setups.

If you can get your hands on the right card (which will be easy for PC users), affordable 8K 60P playback should be real in 2019.

Tech Specs GTX6000:

  • 4608 CUDA Cores
  • 576 Tensor Cores
  • 72 RT Cores
  • 24 GB GDDR6 of VRAM
  • 295 W power draw
  • PCI Express 3.0 x 16 graphics bus
  • Dimensions:4.4" (H) x 10.5" (L) Dual Slot

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I've heard reports from a year ago that FCPX can edit 8k RED footage using a Macbook Pro without any problems. This announcement seems a little gimmicky of NVIDIA and RED, kind of like they are trying to get suckers to buy new graphics cards to do what they could already do if they were a bit smart about workflow. That sounds great if you have buckets of money and love having the most powerful machine in the neighbourhood. Maybe I'm missing something here. Also, the less compressed the data is (such as a RAW format) the easier for a processor to handle, and the bottleneck becomes disk speed, so I would be surprised if you have to have a monster machine to edit this stuff. Maybe with Premiere, but probably not with FCPX.

January 14, 2019 at 6:41PM

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Noah Leon
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