Mistika Boutique is a software product for Windows and macOS based on a pay-per-use subscription model.
As a difference to Mistika Ultima turnkey systems, no hardware or storage connectivity software is included with Mistika Boutique by default.
For this product, the use of Mistika Workstations or Mistika Storage provided by SGO is fully optional and can be discussed on request. Mistika workstations and Mistika Storage are still recommended because they are the result of multiple collaborations with hardware manufacturers such as NVIDIA, Hp, Supermicro, Atto, Aja, Tangent, and others for which SGO maintains direct contact with their engineering teams. This permits to maintain the integrity of the support chain with all component manufacturers and to offer future proof compatibility and maximum optimizations, as they are also the same models used by our developers and support team.
However, no specific computers are enforced to be used with Mistika Boutique, clients are free to provide their own hardware and our support services will also do their best to help them to get the maximum performance and stability from their hardware.
Below you will find recommendations for installing Mistika Boutique in your own hardware (for the case of Linux based turnkey systems that are available please read the Mistika Ultima configurations document instead).
SGO can not provide any real-time guarantee for computers and storage volumes that are not provided by SGO. However, Mistika Boutique is agnostic in terms of component brands. Therefore, if your system is fast and stable, then Mistika Boutique should typically behave in a similar way.
MISTIKA BOUTIQUE CONFIGURATIONS
- Windows 10 (64 bit). Windows 11(64 bit)
- macOS: Monterrey, Big Sur, Catalina, High Sierra and Mojave (Versions older than Mojave are unsupported and will not work).
- Linux: Linux is not supported for Mistika Boutique (instead, Mistika Ultima Turnkey systems are supported on Linux, which provide similar functionality but with a different formula)
IMAGE FORMAT CONSIDERATIONS:
All Mistika Boutique processing is made in the GPU, with the exception of decoding and encoding of some media codecs which may need intensive use of CPUs and/or fast storage volumes (depending on the codec).
The following are the typical recommendations. Please note that both playback and render speeds will be limited by the slowest component in the system. This mainly depends on the particular image format:
Compressed codecs (ie Apple ProRes, EXR compressed, XAVC, J2K, mp4 …):
They mainly depend on the CPUs of the system. For these formats it is recommended to use CPUs that are as fast as possible. Mistika provides good parallel processing and in general it can use many CPU cores in parallel both for playback and rendering.
GPU based formats:
* RED R3D decoding: It can be decoded in three different ways
- CPU only: This mode only uses the CPUs.
- Cuda (legacy): An old implementation where both the CPU and GPU are used. Faster than the CPU mode but not as fast as the mode below. Compatible with old GPU models in general.
- The "Cuda" decoder (RECOMMENDED) is fully based on GPU and it is much faster than the others. Requires a modern NVidia GPU with more than 3GB of memory.
* H264/H265 encoding: These particular formats can be rendered with the NVIDIA GPU "nvenc" encoder which is much faster than using CPU. This requires a modern NVidia GPU (typically Pascal series or RTX). However each GPU model has different capabilities, you can get all the details in the Nvidia nvenc support matrix.
Note: Currently, the NVIDIA decoders and encoders for the above formats only work on Windows and Linux, because at the date of this document Apple does not support NVidia encoders and decoders.
* Arri raw (.ari, .arx). Mistika supports Arri official GPU decoding.
Uncompressed formats (ie DPX, EXR uncompressed, Tiff16, Mistika .js, ... ):
Performance using uncompressed formats mainly depends on the storage speed (GPU and CPU does not matter) so it is highly recommended to use, for example, fast NVMe drives or a disk array.
These components mainly depend on the image formats, as per the previous point.
Note: For Apple computers, only Intel computers from late 2013 or newer are supported. M1 & M2 CPUs are not yet supported
On Windows, both AMD and Intel CPUs are supported (all models as long as they are 64bit, not 32bit).
When comparing CPUs for Mistika usage, a good (but only approximate) reference is to use this formula:
Number of CPUs x Number of CPU threads x All-core clock frequency.
Systems with the highest total value in that formula will be faster for these formats. However, this is only true for systems with up to 32 cores, past this mark the speed gains decay pretty fast and are not worth the investment (if there is extra budget adding a second computer can be a much better idea...). And in general it is more recommended to prioritize CPUs with higher All-core clock speeds rather than extra cores.
Note: In the above comparison formula it is important to use the "All core" frequency and not the "Base" frequency. This is because modern CPU models have base clocks designed to save energy when idle, which is not an indicator about the performance under high loads at all. Also it is important to use the number of "CPU threads" and not "CPU cores", as in some models performance cores can offer two threads while efficiency cores only one.
CPUs with two types of cores (performance cores and efficient cores) are supported but are not very predictable and can be inefficient for parallel processing in some circumstances. This may improve in the future with better CPU schedulers, but meanwhile we recommend to use CPUs with all cores of the same type. (However it is not a strict recommendation, the cost is also an important variable and sometimes it may be justified to use CPUs with the two types of cores)
GPU (Graphics board):
The GPU is the most important component for most Mistika Boutique functionality except for the decoding and decoding of some formats (as explained above).
A modern GPU is necessary (any model from 2012 or later should work, but the newer the better). However, please note that once the GPU drivers are discontinued they may fail to support hardware decoding and encoding in new versions of of codec SDKs.
- Currently NVIDIA is the only GPU brand officially supported for Mistika products on Windows (AMD is only supported on Mac). This is because NVIDIA is the only brand providing test units and direct professional support to our developers and to our support team.
In particular we recommend Pascal generation and later . (NVidia discontinued support for Kepler generation on August 2021, please note that other functionality may stop working when using newer versions and GPUs with discontinued drivers without being documented anywhere...).
- At the date of this document AMD GPUs are the only supported GPUs on this platform for Mistika products (since Apple discontinued NVIDIA support for macOS) . M1 and M2 integrated GPUs are not supported yet (although we are working on it).
GPU RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NVIDIA GPU BOARDS:
The amount of GPU memory is important. For 4K production we recommend GPUs with at least 8GB.
Mistika Boutique does not currently support multi-GPU (multi-GPU is only available with Mistika Ultima on Linux). However, in some cases you can use third party render managers like Uberware Smedge for background rendering (by launching Uberware Smedge in the second GPU...).
In the Amper generation these NVidia models are specially recommended (at the date of this document Ada generation testing is just starting, they are expected to work great but no reliable feedback is yet available ):
- PCs: RTX 3060, RTX 3070, RTX 3080, RTX 3090 (and "ti" variants)
- Workstations: RTX A2000-12GB, RTX A4000, RTX A5000, RTX A6000.
Average benchmarks show around 35% extra performance in Mistika when compared to their equivalents of the previous generation (RTX Turing series), but logically this is only true when the other components (CPUs, RAM, disks, PCIe bus...) are not acting as a bottleneck in some way.
- In the PC range, the 3090 provides much more memory than the 3080 (24GB vs 10GB) so it is the recommended GPU for complex cases.
- In the workstation range, the A5000 and A6000 provide the maximum amount of memory and these models are also more consistent, efficient, and robust than GeForce models, so they are the recommended option in the high end. Specially for client attended sessions and when full stability is wanted. These models provide more stability under heavy loads for long periods of time, so they are recommended for workstations populated with several PCIe cards tightly packed in their slots alongside with the GPU, such as SDI video boards, SAS boards, Fibre channel, NVMe storage, High speed network boards, etc. In these systems the A5000 & A6000 provide a dual-slot solution with a thermal design well engineered to support those situations. With the A5000 being the current sweet spot in terms of cost / performance (by far).
NOTE: Having extra graphics memory in the GPU does not always mean more performance. When it is not needed the performance is identical, but when it is needed the performance can be several times faster (and it is also the difference between being able to do the job or crashing). When the GPU does not have enough graphics memory then it is forced to swap between graphics memory and RAM, which is a much slower process. We recommend to check in the task manager or activity monitor what is the GPU memory usage during your most complex workflows, if you see it over 95% or if it shows significant usage of the "Shared Memory" it means you would really benefit from a GPU with more memory, and not otherwise.
Note that high end workstation configurations will benefit from modern architectures such as faster memory, additional memory channels, etc. For example, a system with a single CPU 32 core and 8-channel memory will perform significantly faster than a dual CPU 2x16 core with 6-channel memory, even if the total number of cores, the GPU, and everything else is the same. If you have a high end workstation and you have upgraded to a faster GPU but you do not see significant performance gains then you should also check this aspect.
Recommended GPU models from previous generations and custom setups:
If you are building your own system these are our recommendations.
Mac: For the case of Mac it is unusual to build custom systems, so we could only say "Get the Mac with the fastest AMD GPU as possible and as much memory as possible".
Windows: Given that the latest GPU models can be difficult to find in stock (or be too expensive) we have decided to include a list of models from old generations. The fact is that some old models were great machines and are still very fast for Mistika.
As a reference, the performance difference between the first and last model in the list below is typically around double to triple performance in average projects, but much less when the GPU is not the bottleneck. In terms of performance the A6000 and the 3090 are currently the top performers, while in terms of costs the sweet spot is probably the venerable GeForce 1080ti, if you can get a refurbished unit.
Here are some recommended GPU models from previous generations, in subjective value order from top to bottom:
RTX A6000 / RTX A8000 (very expensive but top class performance and maximum memory)
RTX A5000 (Currently the best value for money, probably the sweet spot)
GeForce RTX 3090 (good value for money, mainly because of the 24GB memory)
Quadro RTX 6000
Quadro RTX 5000
GeForce RTX 3060 12GB
GeForce RTX 3070
GeForce RTX 3080
RTX A2000 12GB
GeForce 1080ti (aging, but still great value for money)
GeForce RTX 2080ti
Please note that only the models that were considered to have the best performance/cost ratios for Mistika from each generation (Titan and "ti" models are in general not included because they had a higher cost / performance ratio for the particular case of Mistika), but they also work fine if you find one at a good price.
The classification criteria in that list is very subjective and includes not only the raw performance but also other aspects like the amount of graphics memory, robustness, and specially the average cost in the open market at the date of this document (refurbished units). But other high end models of previous generations not in the list can still be a great option if you find a good offer for them.
8 GB for learning/training systems and working on simple HD projects. Also, permits basic HD workflows on laptops or computers which have few CPU cores.
16 GB for HD/2K production on systems with up to 8 CPU cores / 16 threads.
64 GB for normal 4K production with medium complexity. More RAM for complex many-layer workflows and also on workstations with 16 to 24 cores.
128 GB for complex multi-layer 4K workflows or 8K production, or having 32 or more cores.
256 GB or more for very complex 4K, complex UHD 8K production, and VR 16K and 32K.
Note: The above resolution examples are approximate and provided for guidance only, as resolution is only one aspect to be considered. For example the term "8K" does not mean too much in itself, basic 8K VR projects typically do not need too much RAM as most often each input camera is only 4K and the effect stack is just one stitch effect and little more. In comparison, typical UHD 8K production generally involves several 8K source layers, more complex effect combinations and codecs and require more RAM. Systems with more cores also need more RAM to take advantage of them, because they will be processing more frames in parallel.
This aspect mainly depends on the image format. In general compressed formats are ok with any modern storage, while uncompressed formats or lightly compressed (EXR, mistika js, DPX) are much more demanding and require NVMe drives or disk arrays for realtime performance at high resolutions.
Also note that a render process requires both reading all the source layers and writing the rendered file at the same time, so not only the image format is important. Having the source files in one drive and writing to a different destination may help with performance.
For the case of SSDs we recommend "NVMe TLC" type drives. In general, data center class SSDs are not needed, instead "enthusiast" or "gaming" drives are perfectly fine (as long as they are TLC type) because most of the Mistika processing is sequential IO and not random. But QLC drives (quad cell) drives are not recommended (at least at the date of this document) as they are known to wear too fast on intensive render processes and with degraded performance over the time.
Currently, Mistika Boutique is specifically designed to playback through professional video boards provided by AJA or Blackmagic, and it is a highly recommended component (and this is true not only for SDI outputs but also strongly recommended for HMDI outputs, as only the HDMI port on those boards provides buffering and frame accuracy for professional video formats). The AJA and Blackmagic boards provide:
- Images: SDI or HDMI outputs (both are always active). In Mistika Boutique, SDI is supported up to 2 x 4K/UHD 60p
- Audio: Digital AES output or SDI/HDMI embedded audio. (converters to analogue audio are also available)
There are plenty of options so it is difficult to offer a general recommendation. In general, Blackmagic boards are more cost effective but in Mistika they are only supported for YUV422 outputs, while AJA boards are more expensive but also support RGB444, and are the only ones supported for VTR control in Mistika (lay on tape and capture).
- If your system does not have an AJA or Blackmagic video board then playback to graphics is still possible through the GPU to GUI Monitors, also using the motherboard (or other devices) for the audio output. However, these signals are not considered to be professional, and there will be an impact in several aspects:
- The real-time performance will be reduced and importantly will not be as stable as using a dedicated video board. Also, GPUs do not have native video buffering to provide additional playback stability (ie processing ahead).
- In general, most GPUs can have a frame rate error of 1 fps which can lead to slight visual artefacts during playback. If you need to work in this manner it is recommended to select a refresh rate for your monitor that is the same or at least a multiple of the playback format. For example, for 25 fps playbacks set your monitor to 50Hz, 75Hz, or 100Hz. For 30fps set it to 30Hz, 60Hz, 120Hz, etc.
- The audio can easily go a bit out of sync as the images and audio will follow different hardware paths. Meanwhile a dedicated Aja or Blackmagic video board board takes care of both paths and they are really the only way to ensure the audio is always perfectly in sync with the corresponding images.
- Another difference is the maximum cable distances. SDI cables can be virtually unlimited, while GPU cables (DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI) can only be a few meters long (extenders exist, but the good ones are more expensive than using SDI anyway).
Note: If you don’t have an AJA or Blackmagic video board it is highly recommended to at least have two GUI monitors, mainly for using the second one as a full screen display for the output image. Working with only one monitor and no video output is still possible (for example in a laptop), but it has significant interface limitations.
- Supported AJA video board models for Mistika Boutique:
In general, these are the Aja supported modes on Mistika Boutique (Windows and Mac):
- Quad SDI 3G - Supports up to 2 x 2K (2K Stereo3D) or 1 x 4K / UHD (4K RGB 10bit up to 24p, UHD YUV422 10 bit up to 60p ).
- HDMI connector - Supports up to 4K / UHD 60p, depending on the display model.
Note: Some HDMI displays do not work with UHD/4K modes over AJA HDMI output (AJA boards using HDMI 1.4+ output can be refused by some HDMI displays that only accept HDMI 2.0 ). If you need UltraHD or 4K trough HDMI and your display does not support it correctly, the alternative method is to add an Aja Hi5+ 4K converter (or similar converter from Quad SDI to HDMI 2.0).
Now in more detail:
AJA KONA 4. 4 x SDI 3G connectors and one HDMI connector. Up to 4K / UHD 60p (over Quad SDI or HDMI). Stereo3D dual link is supported for HD formats.
AJA Corvid88: 8 x SDI 3G. This model permits up to 2 x 4K/UHD 60p Quad SDI.
AJA Kona5 12G. This model permits up to 2 x 4K/UHD 60p 12G.
Note: Currently, (AJA KONA 5 quad 12G ) are not supported on Mistika Boutique (only on Mistika Ultima for Linux with 8K specialised hardware ). Ask support for more details.
AJA IO 4K: 4 x SDI 3G connectors and one HDMI connector. Up to 4K / UHD 60p over QUAD SDI). Stereo3D dual link is supported for HD formats.
AJA IO 4K Plus: 4 X SDI 3G connectors and one HDMI connector. Up to 4K / UHD 60p (over Quad SDI or HDMI). Stereo3D dual link is supported for HD formats.
AJA T-Tap: One SDI 1.5G BNC and one HDMI v1.3 connector. Up to 2K 25p.
AJA T-Tap Pro**: One SDI 12G BNC and one HDMI v2.0 connector. Up to 4K 60p. RGB output only via HDMI.
AJA IO 4K: 4 x SDI 3G connectors and one HDMI connector. Up to 4K / UHD 60p. Stereo3D dual link is supported for HD formats.
AJA IO 4K Plus: 4 x SDI 3G connectors and one HDMI connector. Up to 4K / UHD 60p. Stereo3D dual link is supported for HD formats.
AJA T-Tap: One SDI 1.5G BNC and one HDMI v1.3 connector. Up to 2K 25p.
AJA T-Tap Pro**: One SDI 12G BNC and one HDMI v2.0 connector. Up to 4K 60p. RGB output only via HDMI.
AJA Drivers and Firmware:
Driver: Aja driver 15.0 or later
**Required Aja driver 16.1 or later and Mistika Boutique version 10.4 or later for T-Tap Pro.
Firmware: The firmware installed needs to be the "Io4K (4K Mode)" and not the "Io4K (UFC Mode)". You can check it in the AJA control panel.
- Supported Blackmagic video board models for Mistika Boutique:
The support for Blackmagic video boards was introduced in Mistika V8.10. To this date these boards use all the same driver, so all Blackmagic models are expected to work
The Blackmagic driver is embedded within the Mistika software, so no driver installation is required.
Support YUV422 YUV 10bit up to 4K/UHD resolutions.
Blackmagic boards do not currently support RGB modes in Mistika (This could change in future versions)
SUPPORTED COLOR CONTROL PANELS:
Tangent CP200 (legacy)
Tangent Wave and Wave2
Tangent Elements (set of six panels are recommended)
Note: The Tangent driver (TangentHub / Tangent Synapse) is not provided with Mistika Boutique. Please download the drivers from www.tangentwave.co.uk
Digital Vision Precision panel (supported on Windows, not supported on macOS )
Absolute minimum: One display at 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Recommended: two monitors with 1920 x 1200 resolution (plus an output reference display connected to an AJA or Blackmagic video board). For a dual monitor GUI select MistikaConfig->Interface->TwoMonitors
Higher resolution monitors are also supported for the Mistika GUI (from 2K to 8K...). The GUI elements may appear too small or too big by default, but you can adjust their size in MistikaConfig->Interface->Interface Scaling.
Ultra wide / Super wide monitors with 4K or higher resolution can have the dual Mistika GUI (Timeline + Visual Editor) in a single physical display. But please note that having a dual GUI in a single Ultra Wide display requires manual tweaking
WACOM TABLET / PEN:
Any model supported in your operating system.