Which Mac is the best for editing raw DSLR footage without any problems?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by anthroposii, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    #1
    I'm using my 2009 macbook pro 13' to edit raw video footage from my DSLR Canon 60D. When I edit them in Adobe PRemiere CS5, when I play the editing portion, the video not only lags, it stops, it plays like a still images, stops and then plays, like a strobe images would play, not the smooth playback that allows you to see your edited work.

    I have to export the edited portion to see my edited work to make sure I've done it right, if nto I have to edit again adn export again to see if I've edited right.

    So I want to buy a new mac that is only for professional film editing, not too expensive. I'm split between the cheapest models of Mac Mini, iMac and Macbook pro 15' (or whichever is the best for video editing).

    I'd appreciate your help and suggestions.

    Thanks.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    You could try using a dedicated video editing codec like Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) first, as the DSLR footage is very compressed and it takes a lot of CPU power to decode the footage, thus the lag and such you experience.
    Even if Premiere Pro has such wonderful thing as a Mercury Playback Engine (MPE), the GPU in your MBP is not supported by this.

    Therefore you either transcode the footage correctly via iMovie or MPEG Streamclip to a format, that is editing friendly.

    There are dozens of guides for this available to have a look into.
     
  3. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    #3
    simsaladimbamba is right. Basically you need to edit in an editing format so that there is not a lot decoding done when the video plays. One thing that helps is if you render the footage in the timeline the little bar on top will be green. Fortunately, you can move and it still be rendered, FCP does not do this well.

    one of the things that is misunderstood about the mercury playback engine is that even with a powerful GPU the decoding is handled by the CPU, so if your using DSLR footage you will needed the fastest cpu that you can afford, because using DSLR's native h.264 codec is extremely processor intensive. which is why people recommend trans coding to another codec. [URL="http://www.studio1productio...udio1productions.com/Articles/PremiereCS5.htm

    On the mac i use apple pro rez, but you wont have access to those codecs if you don't have a copy of final cut studio. I believe the Apple intermediate codec is available without fCS, so you may want to try that out or you may want to see what others are using for editing purposes.

    Finally, when choosing a codec also look at the bit rates of the codec. I've seen people say use animation, and lets just say i dont know of a single mechanical based hard drive that can cope with its bitrate, plus the files are massive!

    I typically run premiere on my PC. it is a 3.4ghz core i5 quad core. sandy bridge, with 16gb of ram. I also have a geforce gtx 560 video card, And i have pretty good success with running DSLR footage naively.


    As far as specs, that is a tough one, because all the macs come with only come with ati cards. with very little option to upgrade.

    So you may want to come to the dark side and put something together.

    Sorry, I cant be of more help.
     
  4. macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    NY State
    #4
    Convert all the clips to Apple ProRes 422 LT (HQ is like 200Mbps and is overkill IMO, LT I usually have 108 or 145Mbps when I transcode from H.264). Final Cut Pro X or iMovie can usually do this in the background and if you use that I'd recommend you wait before its done transcoding. Adobe Premiere supports ProRes I think...?..someone help me out here, lol I have it too which is sad...just can't afford to kill my CPU at the moment as its close to 100%.
     
  5. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #5
    If the OP only has iMovie and Premiere Pro on his/her system, then there will be no ProRes codec to transcode to, thus only Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) or maybe some Premiere Pro codec will work. Or does Premiere Pro come with the ProRes codec nowadays?
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    #6
    That still holds true. You need Final Cut installed for the ProRes codecs (at least for encode). But AFAIK, you can still download the ProRes playback-only components for free.
     
  7. macrumors demi-god

    Zwhaler

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    #7
    If you want to do professional video editing I wouldn't seriously consider anything slower than the 2.8GHz i7 model iMac. With 8GB of RAM it should be pretty good actually. For editing with Final Cut Pro this is a good low budget machine. It is closer to the 3.4GHz 27" model in CPU performance than you would expect, 64bit Geekbench scores 10,731 for the 2.8 vs 12,524 for the 3.4 model. Complete list here
     
  8. Kevin Monahan, Oct 19, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011

    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    #8
    If you're going to use Premiere Pro CS5.5, want to playback DSLR footage natively, and are looking at the cheapest models of Mac, you're going to continue to be disappointed at the performance. A 13" MacBook is not the way to go.

    Mac Mini, iMac or MacBook Pro are not the best choices. These models limit the amount of RAM, HD size and no option for CUDA processing on NVIDIA. A MacPro with an NVIDIA card (like the Quadro 4000) and plenty of RAM (like 16GB or more) is what you should be looking at.

    While operating on underpowered Macs, you do have a couple of options.
    • Transcode to a lighter weight codec, as others have mentioned.
    • Right-click on the Program monitor and choose Playback Resolution>1/2
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Tempe, AZ
    #9
    I think a lot of people are a bit misinformed on how MPE in Premiere CS5/5.5 actually uses CUDA. Hardware-enabled MPE (CUDA mode) is mostly for rendering effects. But actual video transcoding with AVC and H.264 codecs is still entirely CPU based. There's actually a really good write-up on this here. The article also explains how to hack non-Adobe supported CUDA cards to work with MPE.

    But with that in mind, I would venture to say that hardware MPE would make very little real world difference in the OP's situation. CPU cores and RAM would make a much bigger difference than buying an $800 graphics card.

    iMacs can go up to 16GB of RAM and the i7 models are actually quite fast, so I wouldn't totally count them out. The 2011 MBPs also have a 16GB RAM ceiling and available quad-core i7s. Yes, these are not Mac Pros and they will have limited expansion, but they're also a heck of a lot cheaper, and the OP might not even need a Mac Pro.
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    #10
    You're right, it could be a workable situation for the OP.

    If you go that route, certainly pack it full of RAM. :)
     
  11. nateo200, Oct 21, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011

    macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    NY State
    #11
    +1. A Mac Pro is nice but is seriously overkill for allot if you think about it...Side note I just upgraded my 2010 MBP 13" to 6GB's of RAM about 4 hours ago and holy crap what a difference! Video encoding seams a bit slower, most likely from the loss of dual channel (which I will get back when I go with a full and even 4x4 8GB's of memory, wish I could go higher than 8 as bigger is better with RAM) but FCP X doesn't freeze up, multitasking is a breeze and it doesn't eat my CPU up like crazy like it did with 4GB...My MBP is a Core 2 Duo too so its nothing crazy. As for the iMac's..yeah they are very nice. Working on a 27" iMac i7 with 8GB's of RAM editing some <10minute DSLR 1080p footage is pretty straight forward with little glitches here and there but nothing too bad. I don't have much experience with video editing but I can say the iMac is a great computer...allot of people (at least what I've seen outside of the forums around here) act as if the Mac Pro is like a regular old desktop but very powerful instead of a tool for serious power users who most likely need the machine for a job or what not.

    EDIT: Screenshot of my activity monitor (exporting H.264 1080p to ProRes, while compressing a separate HD H.264 file)...I'm still browsing safari with multiple tabs open...very pleased.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #12
    Nate, rendering is more of a CPU than RAM job. YOu should have showed a screen grab from your CPU load.
    But you are right, FCP X seems to put less strain on the CPU while rendering compared to FCP Classic. Seems the involvement of the GPU helps a lot in this case***.

    ***In FCP Classic I had short clips (20 to 30 seconds) rendered out in Motion. 'twas faster than Final Cut or Compressor, due to the GPU use.

    ----------

    That 27" iMac seems to be a beast.
    I had budgeted for a Mac Pro for next year, but I think I'll go the iMac plus a TB cluster route. Much cheaper with no big speed difference.
     
  13. nateo200, Oct 21, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011

    macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    NY State
    #13
    Yeah I took a screenshot of that as well dunno why I didn't post that. The attached (see below this post) shows my CPU while beginning to export H.264...usually my CPU usage would be in the 96% range while in there its in the low 80's..Also multitasking isn't severely slowed. Opening Safari with my 4gigs in meant keeping one tab open and not going to a site chalked full of flash and even more H.264 (aka YouTube)!. Overall though I would say keep the RAM even...I just grabbed a 4GB stick because I was willing to sacrifice dual channel, curious about the obscure numbers performance and because I know I'll grab another 4GB stick down the road but for the time being FCP X isn't a pain in the butt and everything seams to be enhanced for the time being. I really like seeing >1GB of free RAM available too.

    EDIT: If your Mac uses integrated graphics like the 320M (or even worse the Intel 3000 :O) the memory is shared so would overall RAM increase help the GPU?
     

    Attached Files:

  14. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #14
    When rendering from FCP X, I rarely get the CPU in my i7 MBP beyond 50-60% (no other apps open), and it still is blazingly fast - some 20% faster than Classic with the same CPU load.
     
  15. macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    NY State
    #15
    Damn! That's impressive! I'll have to see if I can get my CPU usage lower though...I was encoding with Handbrake at the same time as well. Do you edit with other programs open or do you let FCP X use everything?
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #16
    That's your problem I'd assume.

    I might have the one or the other program open, but mostly dormant. Some light browsing or email, no heavy load.

    I have a 24" C2D iMac that is delegated to do office work. Not sufficient for editing anymore since I have the MBP.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    #17


    Which do you think would be more ideal for professional level editing, like music videos, special effects editing, using action essentials and playing back without any glitches in the mercury playback:

    Mac Pro with One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Nehalem” , 3GB (3x1GB) , ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB

    OR

    27' iMac with 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB GDDR5


    Thank you for helping in my selection. I'm not an expert in these matters, all I know is that I want to edit raw, native DSLR footage without any problem during playback in mercury playback in Adobe premiere while having applied Action Essentials or special effects. Which ever machine gives me the most flexible editing would do, if the iMAC can deliver that than it would be great saving the money from buying the Mac Pro.

    ----------




    Which do you think would be more ideal for professional level editing, like music videos, special effects editing, using action essentials and playing back without any glitches in the mercury playback:

    Mac Pro with One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Nehalem” , 3GB (3x1GB) , ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB

    OR

    27' iMac with 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB GDDR5


    Thank you for helping in my selection. I'm not an expert in these matters, all I know is that I want to edit raw, native DSLR footage without any problem during playback in mercury playback in Adobe premiere while having applied Action Essentials or special effects and be able to use Final Cut pro. Which ever machine gives me the most flexible editing would do, if the iMAC can deliver that than it would be great saving the money from buying the Mac Pro.

    ----------



    Which do you think would be more ideal for professional level editing, like music videos, special effects editing, using action essentials and playing back without any glitches in the mercury playback:

    Mac Pro with One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Nehalem” , 3GB (3x1GB) , ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB

    OR

    27' iMac with 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB GDDR5


    Thank you for helping in my selection. I'm not an expert in these matters, all I know is that I want to edit raw, native DSLR footage without any problem during playback in mercury playback in Adobe premiere while having applied Action Essentials or special effects and be able to use Final Cut pro. Which ever machine gives me the most flexible editing would do, if the iMAC can deliver that than it would be great saving the money from buying the Mac Pro.

    ----------



    Which do you think would be more ideal for professional level editing, like music videos, special effects editing, using action essentials and playing back without any glitches in the mercury playback:

    Mac Pro with One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Nehalem” , 3GB (3x1GB) , ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB

    OR

    27' iMac with 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB GDDR5


    Thank you for helping in my selection. I'm not an expert in these matters, all I know is that I want to edit raw, native DSLR footage without any problem during playback in mercury playback in Adobe premiere while having applied Action Essentials or special effects and be able to use Final Cut pro. Which ever machine gives me the most flexible editing would do, if the iMAC can deliver that than it would be great saving the money from buying the Mac Pro.

    ----------



    Which do you think would be more ideal for professional level editing, like music videos, special effects editing, using action essentials and playing back without any glitches in the mercury playback:

    Mac Pro with One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Nehalem” , 3GB (3x1GB) , ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB

    OR

    27' iMac with 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB GDDR5


    Thank you for helping in my selection. I'm not an expert in these matters, all I know is that I want to edit raw, native DSLR footage without any problem during playback in mercury playback in Adobe premiere while having applied Action Essentials or special effects and be able to use Final Cut pro. Which ever machine gives me the most flexible editing would do, if the iMAC can deliver that than it would be great saving the money from buying the Mac Pro.
     
  18. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #18
    Did you consider using an editing codec? Apple Intermediate Codec is included with every Mac, CineForm can be had for free and works with Premiere Pro.

    Video Compression
    Why It Matters & How To Make The Most Of It


    I just ask, as I already mentioned, H.264 is NOT an editing codec and if you want to do all the things you mentioned, an editing codec would be much, much better. Then the iMac would be very good for that.
    Have you considered refurbs in the Refurbished Mac section in the Apple Online Store?
     
  19. macrumors demi-god

    Zwhaler

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    #19
    Out of those two the iMac would be a better choice overall, the processor is faster on the iMac and you'll save money. I would consider upgrading to 2GB VRAM for maximum performance editing RAW footage. Editing RAW footage would push that system close to its limit but it would perform better than option 2.
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #20
    The iMac runs circles around the Quadcore Pro. If you can afford get an SSD as system drive and use the internal HD for editing. Later beef it up with a Thunderbolt array.
    However, if you want to use Adobe, you should get a Pro and add an nVidia Quadro. The iMac's ATI cards are perfect for FCP X, but don't support Mercury.

    If you plan on "special effects", you should edit in ProRes or any other intraframe codec. Long GOP codecs are fine for delivery, but not really for heavy editing.
     
  21. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    #21

    So, Mac Pro it is. By the way, should I wait for the updated 2012 Mac Pro or the current one should be fine?

    ----------



    Thanks and I like your suggestion but I'm looking for a machine for long term, something I can upgrade from time to time for years, since iMacs are limited in that department, I think Mac Pros would be great, but if iMacs can give me excellent performance for editing some heavy stuff by confinguring it to the max, then I suppose iMacs would be cheaper and ideal
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #22
    I'd assume that you'll get a lot more bang for the buck out of a new, upcoming Mac Pro (if you can believe Intel's spec sheets. However, I don't see it come before June this year - dunno if you can/want wait that long.

    ----------

    I'm editing HDV on a 5 year old iMac... the latest i7 iMacs are faster with FCP X than eight core Mac Pro. However, if you are keen on the Mercury engine....
     
  23. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    #23
    Thanks for the reply. I just have one last question, a simple yes or no will help. Is the current entry level Mac Pro faster, stronger, much better than the maximum configured 27' iMAC? Thank you.

    ----------

    Thanks for the reply. I just have one last question, a simple yes or no will help. Is the current entry level Mac Pro faster, stronger, much better than the maximum configured 27' iMAC? Thank you.

    ----------



    Thanks for the reply. I just have one last question, a simple yes or no will help. Is the current entry level Mac Pro faster, stronger, much better than the maximum configured 27' iMAC? Thank you.

    ----------



    Thanks for the reply. I just have one last question, a simple yes or no will help. Is the current entry level Mac Pro faster, stronger, much better than the maximum configured 27' iMAC? Thank you.

    ----------

    Thanks for the reply. I just have one last question, a simple yes or no will help. Is the current entry level Mac Pro faster, stronger, much better than the maximum configured 27' iMAC? Thank you.

    ----------



    Thanks for the reply. I just have one last question, a simple yes or no will help. Is the current entry level Mac Pro faster, stronger, much better than the maximum configured 27' iMAC? Thank you.
     
  24. simsaladimbamba, Apr 2, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012

    simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #24
    Why do you quote almost every one and repeat your question that often? A simple reply should suffice.

    Mac Benchmarks by Geekbench should help, as the entry level MP is not on par with the top BTO iMac.
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #25
    You want to hear my honest opinion? The only advantage you'd get with an entry level MP is that you can add a GPU and some internal drives. Speedwise, the i7 iMac beats the MP. For rare power, the four core MP is absolutely over priced.

    With FCP X even a colleague's 27" i5 seems to be more fluid.
     

Share This Page