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Warning: Only for extreme computer nerds...

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Sexy as hell. What distro are you running? Debian? Or maybe Arch? (I use arch btw)? Or something else completely?

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9 hours ago, mikutothe3rd said:

Sexy as hell. What distro are you running? Debian? Or maybe Arch? (I use arch btw)? Or something else completely?

I'm running Ubuntu Server on the webserver.  I used to run CentOS, but found I had more difficulty finding specific answers.  The size of the user community around Ubuntu Server has been a huge asset.

There is also a pfSense box in the rack, which of course runs on FreeBSD.

Some more details- I have dual gigabit fiber from two different ISPs coming into the office for redundancy.  Both are connected to WAN interfaces on the pfSense box which handles load balancing, and will seamlessly use just one WAN should the other go down.  The Netgear switch in the rack is separated into two VLANs, one for my internal office gear with private IP addresses, then a separate VLAN for servers with public IPs.  Each of these LANs enjoys its own dedicated connection to the pfSense box, with an appropriate set of firewall rules for each.

The building has a backup propane powered generator, but there can be a minute or two after a power failure before the generator is fully up and running, so I do have a small UPS in the rack as well, at the very bottom, to keep things running.

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Impressive, both your use of CentOS and your use of FreeBSD. A powerful beast to be sure. What do you use to do upkeep? Is it completely headless or do you have a way of interaction?

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Just now, mikutothe3rd said:

Impressive, both your use of CentOS and your use of FreeBSD. A powerful beast to be sure. What do you use to do upkeep? Is it completely headless or do you have a way of interaction?

Well, pfSense is built on FreeBSD- So I am only using FreeBSD as far as it runs the pfSense firewall/router software.  My direct fiber lines come in through a Layer 2 network switch, but to interface with that and operate on these networks I have very specific requirements for traffic shaping, packet tagging, and frame sizes.  pfSense can handle all that, so that is why I am using a pfSense box.  pfSense, of course, has its own web based interface.

In regards to the web server, the OS is headless, but I am using Virtualmin/Webmin as a web based control panel.  I was doing this with CentOS and am going to keep doing it with Ubuntu Server as it saves time.  I want to be spending my time creating new content, not being a system admin, so even though I know it would be more efficient to just do everything via SSH, the time savings of using a control panel are worthwile to me.

On the topic of CentOS, however, my main video editing system is based on CentOS.  This is on an air-gapped system that is just used for video post.

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I've never used webmin before, but kinda want to. What is it like, if you don't mind my asking. Also will we get to see your editing rig too? I love me some good tech porn. Especially linux tech porn. Especially especially if your DE has a good rice to go with it.

Sorry for so many questions--I run linux myself for a VMs server along with because I like it.

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11 hours ago, mikutothe3rd said:

I've never used webmin before, but kinda want to. What is it like, if you don't mind my asking. Also will we get to see your editing rig too? I love me some good tech porn. Especially linux tech porn. Especially especially if your DE has a good rice to go with it.

Sorry for so many questions--I run linux myself for a VMs server along with because I like it.

I'll post a picture of my editing rig once I have my desk cleaned up a little bit- Right now its kind of a mess.  However, you're probably going to be disappointed.

I'm using DaVinci Resolve for my editing and post production needs on this system.  Resolve runs on Windows, MacOS, and kind of on linux.  I say "kind of" as it is targeted specifically to CentOS, and even then it is designed for a custom configuration of CentOS that is distributed with Resolve.  There are people who have had some luck getting it partially running on other distros, but to have it just work on linux you really need to install it with its pre-configured CentOS.

Doing this, however, doesn't really give you much of a DE.  It simply loads straight into Resolve, which has an identical UI, regardless of the OS, and all the work can be done from there.  Technically, it is possible to exit Resolve and just have a very basic CentOS desktop, but there is almost no reason to ever do this.

Here is a picture of the Resolve UI as it appears on a single monitor system-

interface.png

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I see. Have you considered other editing software, like Kdenlive? If so, what made you go with Resolve? Also what other linux-y things do you have?

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12 hours ago, mikutothe3rd said:

I see. Have you considered other editing software, like Kdenlive? If so, what made you go with Resolve? Also what other linux-y things do you have?

I definitely considered other Linux video editing software.  For years, the only reason I had a Windows license at all was for video editing, so I was very much on the lookout for some kind of alternative video editor that would let me switch to Linux.

However, I don't just make videos for HD Wetting.  I do mainstream professional production work, and my clients are major broadcast networks and fortune 500 companies.  Often, this kind of work involves having the client/producer/director sitting directly behind me on the client sofa, watching me edit, color grade, and do effects and graphics on their project in real time.

To fulfill the needs of this environment I need an editing system that is compatible with the RAW camera codecs I am being handed.  Many of these camera codecs are proprietary and closed source, and not supported by open source editors like Kdenlive.  I also need it to be fully compatible with industry standard EDL files.  For whatever reason this is something Linux editing software has really struggled with- I don't know why, as the files are just XML, but I don't think EDL support has been a huge priority on these open source projects.  If a client comes in with a stack of hard drives of RAW footage and an EDL as an XML file, I need to be able to mount those drives, import the EDL, and instantly have the project conform to exactly what it is supposed to be.  If there are missing transitions because the EDL isn't fully supported, or offline footage because the RAW camera codec must be transcoded first, this creates an unacceptable situation when the client is sitting right there and expecting to get to work.

Another big issue is speed and stability.  DaVinci has proven to be rock solid, and it takes full advantage of my Threadripper 3970X and multiple GPUs in order to give outstanding performance.  This lets me do advance color grading and compositing, without having to render anything, as the client watches.  With Kdenlive, and other open source editors I've tried, like Cinelerra, they simply don't leverage the available hardware in the same way, restricting how many CPU cores they will use and having limited support for GPU acceleration.

The final issue is one of workflow.  Most pro editing software has an established workflow that has emerged from the old analog workflow of tape based editing systems and film editing tables.  These include things like source-program editing and multi-track timelines, among other things.  Many open source video editing programs just don't work the way you would expect them to, at least not if you are coming from the world of profession video.  True source-program editing is absent in almost everything, except Cinelerra, and the way the timelines operate feel unnecessarily cumbersome and restrictive.  Things like the graphics layer of the timeline in kdenlive are not typically found in modern pro video editors.  While such things were common in the early generation of software based video editing, things have improved a lot back then.  Using software like Kdenlive or Cinellera today is reminiscent of computer video editing in the 1990's, which isn't a good thing.

DaVinci Resolve is also an industry standard.  Since 'O Brother Where Art Thou?' almost every major Hollywood movie has been finished in DaVinci.  The software suite also incorporates Fusion, which is the standard for high-end compositing work and used in projects like Star Wars and Game of Thrones as well as Fairlight, for audio, which powers the console mixers for doing the final mix on films at Skywalker Ranch.

You also asked about other linuxy stuff I have going-

The most interesting things I'm probably doing with Linux is my live production system, for doing multi-camera live productions for things like conferences, sports, and esports.  It is a mobile system, housed in flight cases, that I can take out to a client location and setup.  It has four cameras and 8 total video inputs.  Each camera is paired with a little Raspberry Pi box that handles intercom, allowing the director (me) to talk to the camera operators during the show, as well as reads the state of the video mixer to show a tally light to the camera operator.  The video mixer is all hardware, a Blackmagic ATEM mixer, but it is controlled by a Linux PC (linux mint) sending the switcher commands via its network interface.  I put together a custom video switcher control panel from the panel components at Pi Engineering that lets me control the switcher, with familiar switcher controls.  The control software also gives me backlight cueing on the control panel buttons.  The video output from the switcher is looped through a video deck for recording, but then back into the Linux PC which is running OBS studio for live streaming.  This PC is also running a webserver, just locally, but I have a little web app on it that generates a slate page that can show even schedules and a count down to the next event.  I can use this as a video source in OBS, to bring up a slate letting stream viewers know when the next stream is going to start, and it is visible to the camera operators via the video return.

Besides that, my personal laptop and home desktop computer both run Linux Mint.

I do have two Windows machines still in use- A modern one at my office for doing graphics stuff; I still use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.  And I have an older machine running Vista.  This Vista box is driving a robotic bulk disc production system, that can bulk burn, print graphics, and package CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs.

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IIRC Kden can view RAW drives and their contents, you just have to install the proper codexes and enable them under settings, similar to installing NVidia drivers, but I digress. The lack of support for the threadripper (dear god that flex must have hurt you) and multi-GPU (how is he not dead), however, is a good reason to stick with your current software. Workflow is something I also agree with--as someone who does the odd video edit here and there, it can be a little cumbersome. That said, what distro are the pis running, and what type of pi are they? 

As for your desktops, mint is a strong choice for wanting everything to just work, which given your job, you probably need. For my Linux-y projects, I have various pis (0, 3b, and 4b) all doing little projects that I've made over the years, like a smartmirror, a few controlers for lights and thermostats, and other smart-home like improvements. For my desktop, I have Debian, Arch, and Windows running in a triple boot (each on their own drive of course). Debian acts as a recovery enviorment in case I screw something up majorly but still need to continue work anyways, Arch is my main driver, and Windows is for any weird hardware that would come my way.

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Sorry, I didn't mean to say that Kdenlive and other open source editors can't view the drives and their contents, only that some of camera specific codecs are closed source and can't be read by open source editors.  And that the codecs required are not available.  Specifically I have had issues with the proprietary Arri Film compressed codec, the Canon RAW lite codec, and the Blackmagic RAW codec.

And, for what its worth, I really didn't mean the mention of the TR processor or multiple GPUs to be some kind of flex- My home system is quite modest, running a Ryzen 3 and an RX570 graphics card.  The TR and multiple GPU system is only in my video editing rig, at my office, and is only used for post work.  It isn't even connected to the internet, as the security agreements I have with some of my clients require the work be done on an air-gapped system.  To compete in the post production marketplace I have to be able to provide real time color grading and compositing, as the clients are sitting right there, supervising the edit, and they expect it to all be in real time, without any rendering.  The only way to do this is to throw a ton of hardware at it, and use software that can take advantage of that hardware.  But this is not at all what I am using for my personal use or home computing.

As for the Pis, they are all 3bs, and just running the basic Raspian OS that was out at the time I purchased them.  The software for handling the tally lights and intercom on them is just a basic Pyton script that polls the switcher control for tally light status and activates the correct GPIO pin based on the response.  The intercom audio is just a basic audio stream that is all handled by ffmpeg, with the pyton script controlling things like muting.

Doing a smartmirror sounds like a very cool project.  I have thought about doing something like that, or some kind of smart panel, for my office to help keep track of schedules, projects, and progress.  I'd love to hear more about your smartmirror and if you have any advice for me in doing such a project.

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Sorry for my misunderstanding--I thought you were talking about the drives specifically. My fault, englishing with me is a 50/50 shot.

As for the TR processor, flex away. I'd love to see your system's specs, in terms of things other than the Threadripper? Are you running two (or more) quadros or consumer GPUs? If so, in what configuration? Also, and this is something I see a lot, have you had to deal with instability with the multi-gpu setup? I've heard that Linux, even with the nonfree drivers, can be unstable with two or more GPUs.

In terms of your pis, how many times a year (or less, if you haven't had them that long) do you have to replace the SD cards? Mine has been burning through them as of late, and I want to make sure I don't need to find a replacement.

As for the smart mirror, I'd recommend using a mirror you have no care about for your first try (like a hand mirror you don't mind gutting) and looking up a good, written tutorial. Other than that, you kinda have to figure it out and jury-rig it to your use case. I use a simple bash script and the TTY for mine that pulls the current time, date, and temp (using the aptly named weather package) from the web. 

Sorry about asking so many questions. I'm a computer nerd who enjoys computery things and talking with people about said things. Which is ironic given how well water and electronics mix.

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20 hours ago, mikutothe3rd said:

Sorry for my misunderstanding--I thought you were talking about the drives specifically. My fault, englishing with me is a 50/50 shot.

As for the TR processor, flex away. I'd love to see your system's specs, in terms of things other than the Threadripper? Are you running two (or more) quadros or consumer GPUs? If so, in what configuration? Also, and this is something I see a lot, have you had to deal with instability with the multi-gpu setup? I've heard that Linux, even with the nonfree drivers, can be unstable with two or more GPUs.

In terms of your pis, how many times a year (or less, if you haven't had them that long) do you have to replace the SD cards? Mine has been burning through them as of late, and I want to make sure I don't need to find a replacement.

As for the smart mirror, I'd recommend using a mirror you have no care about for your first try (like a hand mirror you don't mind gutting) and looking up a good, written tutorial. Other than that, you kinda have to figure it out and jury-rig it to your use case. I use a simple bash script and the TTY for mine that pulls the current time, date, and temp (using the aptly named weather package) from the web. 

Sorry about asking so many questions. I'm a computer nerd who enjoys computery things and talking with people about said things. Which is ironic given how well water and electronics mix.

Well, as I said, my main video production rig is based on a Ryzen Threadripper 3970x processor.  It has 128 gigs of RAM, which if I remember correction is running at 3200mHz, quad channel, all ECC.  The GPUs are GTX 1070s, as these tended to hit a sweet spot for performance/cost when used with DaVinci Resolve.  Using higher end consumer cards or quadros wouldn't really end up giving me that much more performance.  For the most part, for basic editing and color grading, Resolve is getting the most benefit from the hardware video encoders and decoders on these cards, as well as the amount of VRAM.  Going with something like the RTX 2080 uses the same dedicated video encoding hardware, so in this use case it would just be spending a lot more money without much benefit.

I am running three of the 1070 cards, each with 8 gigs of VRAM.  Resolve can use more than 3 GPUs, but after the first three you loose much in the way of performance gains.  These cards are not in any kind of SLI configuration, as Resolve will only take full advantage of independent GPU cards and going SLI would actually decrease performance.

The system uses two nVME drives, one 500 gig drive for the OS and software, then a second 1TB drive that works as a video cache.  Long term video storage is on a 10 gigabit NAS.  I also have an external rackmount SSD dock that accommodates four drives simultaneously, which is how I handle client projects- Simply plug their drives into the dock.

I haven't had any issues with stability with this sytem, even with the multiple GPUs.  But, I am running the pre-configured version of CentOS that Blackmagic put out just for running DaVinci Resolve, so it is already tailored for these kind of setups.

In regards to my raspberry pis, I'm not sure how long I have been using them now.  It has been a few years.  But I have never had one of the memory cards go bad and have to replace it.  It could be that I only do a handful of live events a year with this setup, so maybe they aren't just getting enough use, but I also buy memory cards designed for the rigors of professional video use, so that might be part of it too.

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I use mine just about every day, so that's probably what is killing it. Doesn't help that SD doesn't support trim, and it isn't like I could just boot off an M.2 to USB device, since you're stuck with SD for the main OS. Anyways, thank you for indulging me in a few... er.. lot of questions, haha. If you do make that smartmirror, do let me know--I'd love to see it.

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