View Full Version : 13" MBA and video editing

Mar 11, 2012, 09:16 AM
I am trying to decide between a refurb 13" MBA with 256SSD and a refurb entry level 15" MBP. How does the MBA handle video editing? I have a Canon T3i that I use for making YouTube videos and like 30 min short films with my group of friends. I would really like to be able to get the MBA for its light design, but if it's going to take twice as long to do those tasks I will have to go with the 15" MBP

Mar 11, 2012, 09:27 AM
What editing application will you use?
Do you want to transcode the footage to a proper editing codec?

While the MBA will handle all those tasks, the 15" MBP will be faster during imports and exports, when the transcoding happens.

Mac Benchmarks by Geekbench (http://www.primatelabs.ca/geekbench/mac-benchmarks/)

For transcoding from Canon footage, I recently used the following application, which gave me better results than MPEG Streamclip (http://www.squared5.com/):

5DtoRGB (http://rarevision.com/5dtorgb/) - The original 5DtoRGB is still free!
5dtorgb-batch v1.5b (http://www.noside.fr/5dtorgb-batch/) - a batch process Terminal script

Mar 11, 2012, 09:32 AM
One of my concerns when replacing my 2008 15" MBP with a 13" MBA was whether I could use my old copy of Final Cut Pro 6. I found conflicting opinions on this in the forums, but I went for it anyway.

I simply connected my time machine backup when setting up the MBA and it imported all my old apps correctly, including Final Cut Pro. All I had to do was enter my serial number again and I was up and running.

I haven't done any full projects yet on the MBA, but have played around and everything seems to work fine - and very fast if you put your files on the SSD. I shoot full HD with an XDCAM EX, and the clips all open up with no problem. I tried exporting a HD clip to a 852x480 h.264 file and it was almost twice as fast as my old MBP.

The MBA is not going to give you top performance for video, but it's a big upgrade compared to what I was using before, and the portability is fantastic. I use my old 23" Cinema Display as an external monitor. It would be nice if the MBA supported two external monitors, but it doesn't. I will also miss the firewire port, but it looks like Thunderbolt adaptors are starting to come onto the market, so that should help.

Mar 11, 2012, 10:56 AM
I just import the 1080p footage from my DSLR, edit it in iMovie, and export it to h.264.

Mar 11, 2012, 11:10 AM
I just import the 1080p footage from my DSLR, edit it in iMovie, and export it to h.264.

Depending on the amount of footage you have to import regularly, the MBP might be faster, if it is an hour footage per day for instance.
iMovie has to transcode the footage during import, that is what takes a long time, and the export takes a long time too, especially with 30 min videos.