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Old Jan 17, 2008, 02:08 PM   #1
matthewHUB
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MBA owners: Can the MBA handle basic HD through iMovie?

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hi all. Thinking of getting an MBA. I also want to get the new canon HV30 in feb when it comes out. It's USB 2 so no problems there. I'm upgrading from a PB 12" 1Ghz so although the MBA is not stellar in terms of performance, it'll still be like 6 times faster than mine! (not sure on the exact figures)

Would the MBA be poweful enough to import HD video into iMovie when I'm on the road and I need this feature? I stress it's only every couple of months.

Thanks.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 03:34 PM   #2
jameskohn
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AVCHD to MacBook Air

I'm in a quite similar situation. I shoot HD video in the AVCHD format (Panasonic HDC-SD5). I'm looking to upgrade my G4 PowerBook 12". In addition to a little more screen real estate (13" is perfect), I want to be able to off load HD video via USB from an SDHC card to a new laptop. Not much heavy lifting after that; maybe some iMovie 08 stuff then upload to iWeb. MacPro on my desk handles any editing functions.

So I too am wondering if MBA is a reasonable replacement for my G4 PowerBook, and if the SSD is the way to go. The more I think about it, the more I feel the MBA has what I really need as a second computer, specifically for taking on the road. Other than the above mentioned video as well as some photographic work, it's just Excel, Word, Safari, iChat(video) and email. Might just be the right answer, and it's definitely the perfect size and weight.

My though was to wait until there is one in the local Apple store, then take an SDHC card up there and see how it does. If MBP's get updated in the mean time, I would love to have that decision to make!
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 03:39 PM   #3
Catch
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Well you should obviously be able to temporarily store HD on the MBA without any problems. The only consideration there would be the limitation of that small capacity drive. HD is pretty storage intensive. Editing HD might be limited to the speed of the drive as well as the size of the drive. If you go SSD you will probably struggle with write speed and even less storage...

All in all I would say the MBA is utterly unsuitable for HD work unfortunately. Why not go for a MBPro 15"?

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Old Jan 17, 2008, 03:53 PM   #4
zioxide
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hi all. Thinking of getting an MBA. I also want to get the new canon HV30 in feb when it comes out. It's USB 2 so no problems there.
No.

You can't use USB to import video. The USB port is only used for importing photos off the SD card. You must use firewire to import video.

Therefore, you can't edit video on the Macbook Air.

The other alternative is to buy an AVCHD cam that stores on hard drives, where you can import from USB. But AVCHD is a pain for numerous reasons (including lower quality than HDV, if your cam hard drive fills up you're screwed, no easy backup solution, etc).

Plus the 4200rpm drive in the Air is fast enough to be able to play back Apple Intermediate Codec (the codec iMovie converts HDV and AVCHD to for editing). You would need an external firewire drive.


In conclusion, just get a Macbook.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 03:54 PM   #5
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If a you use a G4 for HD video then a core 2 duo is more than up to the task. The only limitation is the size of the hard drive which is 80 Gb.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:01 PM   #6
Catch
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You can't use USB to import video. The USB port is only used for importing photos off the SD card. You must use firewire to import video.
While I agree you cannot "capture" over USB afaik, you can certainly move HD footage over usb ie. the captured files.

I do agree that for any meaningful video work you would really want a FW port.

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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:02 PM   #7
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While I agree you cannot "capture" over USB afaik, you can certainly move HD footage over usb ie. the captured files.

I do agree that for any meaningful video work you would really want a FW port.

C
err, what?

how are you going to get captured files to move then?
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:05 PM   #8
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err, what?

how are you going to get captured files to move then?
Capture the files on your Workstation... transfer them via USB and work on them on the go...

I agree that would not make much sense which is why the MBA is not suited for even SD video work...

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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:07 PM   #9
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Capture the files on your Workstation... transfer them via USB and work on them on the go...

I agree that would not make much sense which is why the MBA is not suited for even SD video work...

C
True, but I don't think the OP has a workstation from his post and sig.

Plus, the hard drive in the Air is way too slow for video editing.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:12 PM   #10
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I'm in a quite similar situation. I shoot HD video in the AVCHD format (Panasonic HDC-SD5). I'm looking to upgrade my G4 PowerBook 12". In addition to a little more screen real estate (13" is perfect), I want to be able to off load HD video via USB from an SDHC card to a new laptop. Not much heavy lifting after that; maybe some iMovie 08 stuff then upload to iWeb. MacPro on my desk handles any editing functions.

So I too am wondering if MBA is a reasonable replacement for my G4 PowerBook, and if the SSD is the way to go. The more I think about it, the more I feel the MBA has what I really need as a second computer, specifically for taking on the road. Other than the above mentioned video as well as some photographic work, it's just Excel, Word, Safari, iChat(video) and email. Might just be the right answer, and it's definitely the perfect size and weight.

My though was to wait until there is one in the local Apple store, then take an SDHC card up there and see how it does. If MBP's get updated in the mean time, I would love to have that decision to make!

will 80gigs be enough?
i think you might need a macBook or macBook Pro.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:32 PM   #11
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SSD drive is multiple times the speed of fast 10K Desktop Raptors.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:36 PM   #12
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1. I use AVCHD, so video is always transferred from the SDHC card to my computer via USB

2. We're talking about temporary storage of a max of 8-10GB, NOT editing, but possibly uploading to iWeb.

3. If I'm going into the 5 pound range, I'd go for the 15" MBP. That indeed may be the correct answer if they would only update them!

Otherwise I'm guessing MBA would be fine for internet, Word, Excel, iChat (video), email and only occasionally dumping the video or photo contents of an SD card while I'm on the road. MacPro does all the heavy processor work. It's the perfect form factor. Perfect.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:45 PM   #13
matthewHUB
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Thanks everyone for their kind help.

I don't have another machine as yet as i use my PB for everything. It was not clear to me that you cannot import via USB on the camcorders. This is a pain. May i ask why you can't? i thought USB2 is the same speed as firewire.

Basically, i'm going to be using the new laptop every day for BASIC things like Word, dreamweaver, iPhoto, and safari. Plus a teeny tiny bit of putting some vids taken with my new camcorder every 4 months or so. Really not high demanding tasks. How much space does one need on the SSD in order to do basic editing with iMovie? Can i run vids off an external HD?
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:51 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone for their kind help.

I don't have another machine as yet as i use my PB for everything. It was not clear to me that you cannot import via USB on the camcorders. This is a pain. May i ask why you can't? i thought USB2 is the same speed as firewire.

Basically, i'm going to be using the new laptop every day for BASIC things like Word, dreamweaver, iPhoto, and safari. Plus a teeny tiny bit of putting some vids taken with my new camcorder every 4 months or so. Really not high demanding tasks. How much space does one need on the SSD in order to do basic editing with iMovie? Can i run vids off an external HD?
Firewire is faster than USB. Cameras do not support transferring video from a tape to the computer via USB. You must use firewire. That's how it works.

DV takes up 13GB/hr. AIC takes up even more than this.

The bottom line is that you can not realistically edit video on the MB Air.

I don't see why you want it anyways. Just get a Macbook and save yourself a bunch of money. Seems like the only reason you would want to get an air would be for bragging or something.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:52 PM   #15
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Otherwise I'm guessing MBA would be fine for internet, Word, Excel, iChat (video), email and only occasionally dumping the video or photo contents of an SD card while I'm on the road. MacPro does all the heavy processor work. It's the perfect form factor. Perfect.
In that case it should be perfect for your use. I am a heavy Excel user and my main reason for a laptop is taking it mobile. I have already ordered my MBA to use with the programs you listed

Good Luck,

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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:54 PM   #16
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Firewire is faster than USB. Cameras do not support transferring video from a tape to the computer via USB. You must use firewire. That's how it works.

DV takes up 13GB/hr. AIC takes up even more than this.

The bottom line is that you can not realistically edit video on the MB Air.

I don't see why you want it anyways. Just get a Macbook and save yourself a bunch of money. Seems like the only reason you would want to get an air would be for bragging or something.
I travel a lot. lots of plane journeys. i carry my notebook 24/7 and have had physical problems due to the weight of my shoulder bag. i want to go as light as possible, but still have the ability there if i need it.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:57 PM   #17
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Thanks everyone for their kind help.

I don't have another machine as yet as i use my PB for everything. It was not clear to me that you cannot import via USB on the camcorders. This is a pain. May i ask why you can't? i thought USB2 is the same speed as firewire.

Basically, i'm going to be using the new laptop every day for BASIC things like Word, dreamweaver, iPhoto, and safari. Plus a teeny tiny bit of putting some vids taken with my new camcorder every 4 months or so. Really not high demanding tasks. How much space does one need on the SSD in order to do basic editing with iMovie? Can i run vids off an external HD?
I'm sorry to say that I really think the MBA is going to be utterly useless for meaningful video editing. I wish I could give you some hope, but I cannot see it. The other tasks should be ok. Although for design work in Dreamweaver and presumably Photoshop as well then, 13" would feel small to me...

Best of luck with your choice,

C
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:57 PM   #18
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I travel a lot. lots of plane journeys. i carry my notebook 24/7 and have had physical problems due to the weight of my shoulder bag. i want to go as light as possible, but still have the ability there if i need it.
Well I can guarantee you that it's not going to work. You won't be able to edit on an Air.

So you either have to decide to get the air knowing you won't be able to edit video, or get a Macbook and a better bag that will spread out the weight better.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 04:58 PM   #19
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I travel a lot. lots of plane journeys. i carry my notebook 24/7 and have had physical problems due to the weight of my shoulder bag. i want to go as light as possible, but still have the ability there if i need it.
Can't you keep the old computer for editing? as you do it so infrequently that should be the best bet. Then save your back with the MBA when traveling

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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:30 PM   #20
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Can't you keep the old computer for editing? as you do it so infrequently that should be the best bet. Then save your back with the MBA when traveling

C
NO. my PB can't even play HD. it crashes.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:43 PM   #21
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Also, let me clarify what i mean by editing.

I'm a classical musician, and sometimes i need to record performances for one reason or another. the 'editing' i'd have to do is to cut out audience applause etc. that's about it.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 05:55 PM   #22
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hi all. Thinking of getting an MBA. I also want to get the new canon HV30 in feb when it comes out. It's USB 2 so no problems there. I'm upgrading from a PB 12" 1Ghz so although the MBA is not stellar in terms of performance, it'll still be like 6 times faster than mine! (not sure on the exact figures)

Would the MBA be poweful enough to import HD video into iMovie when I'm on the road and I need this feature? I stress it's only every couple of months.

Thanks.
Do you mean uncompressed HD? If that is the case, it is most definitely a large resounding no.


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SSD drive is multiple times the speed of fast 10K Desktop Raptors.
This is unfortunately not true. There are circumstances where a Solid State Drive is much faster than a mechanical drive but the mechanical drive is faster in random write speed.

But they are working on that. Perhaps sometime later in 2008 we will get Solid State Drives that outperform the mechanical drives in everything. Oh, and at cheaper prices as well (one can also hope)
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 06:45 PM   #23
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Also, let me clarify what i mean by editing.

I'm a classical musician, and sometimes i need to record performances for one reason or another. the 'editing' i'd have to do is to cut out audience applause etc. that's about it.

The problem is that even cutting out some parts of a video, SD or HD, would mean actually capturing the footage in full and then manipulating it in your editing software of choice. Therefore, even mild editing will be a problem. You could possibly get away with SD if its just one video stream and one audio stream. I am not sure how fast that tiny drive will be though. You would still have to capture the video on a different machine however,

I think the drive in the MBA is the same as in the iPod Classic. Thats not going to be much good for video...

Adding the SSD will change read speed dramatically, but not write speed as the poster above mentioned.

I think this is one of those times you need to really think hard about what you will need to use the machine for before buying.

Regards,

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Old Jan 17, 2008, 07:00 PM   #24
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i don't know anything about HD video editing or anything like that, but from reading the post it seems like the question would be best asked at an apple store when the MBA is available. there seems to be lots of 'i can't imagine such a small drive being able to go that quick' and 'i think this' or 'i think that'. you should really ask an expert.
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Old Jan 17, 2008, 07:31 PM   #25
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The problem is that even cutting out some parts of a video, SD or HD, would mean actually capturing the footage in full and then manipulating it in your editing software of choice. Therefore, even mild editing will be a problem. You could possibly get away with SD if its just one video stream and one audio stream. I am not sure how fast that tiny drive will be though. You would still have to capture the video on a different machine however,
Couldn't you just use an external USB2 7200rpm drive to capture footage to ? Therefore more than acceptable.
Admittedly then you might need a usb2 hub too.

I have edited and captured video on a powerbook 1.67ghz G4. I assume the CoreDuo2 1.6 or 1.8 should be fine powerwise too.


oh and just in regards generally to photoshop and other apps.

Plus all those people saying you can't do photoshop stuff on the MBA, tell that to all the Powerbook G4 users as this machine is more powerful than any of them, and people were quite happy working with photoshop on those.
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