13 Inch MBP for FCP?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by fishcough, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. fishcough macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    #1
    Wow! This forum is great. I've spent the last couple of hours going through all this information and will continue to do so but I'm wondering if I can get a couple of quick responses.

    We are going to be shooting a documentary in Europe over the summer and want to be able to look at HD footage while on the road (either on an SD card or import via firewire), and then when we get back to the states, put together a basic capture timeline in FCP and hand that over to our editor to make into something good. The program will end up being an hour (or, 56 minutes if broadcast).

    I'm wondering if I have a basic premise correct:
    The latest 13-inch, 2.4 MBP can handle this.

    A guy I spoke with on the phone at Apple said we would need to look at a 15" at a minimum because the core2 and NVIDIA GeForce 320m would not work with this.

    Now, I'm of the understanding that it won't be as quick as it would with an i7 and a video card with its own memory, but, assuming FCP is about the only thing running, all footage is saved on an external drive (and SD card or tape), the 13 inch should be able to handle it, right?

    Don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish, but the several hundred dollars we save by not going to a 15 inch could be well used on more shooting locations, etc.

    Thanks.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    FCP will run very okay and smooth on that 13" MBP, just Motion and Color might be a bit troublesome, as they would like to have a dedicated GPU, but FCP does not really need one, especially for your needs.

    Btw, what cameras and format will you be using, as FCP can't edit AVCHD natively and will convert it to whatever you want during Log & Transfer, ProRes being the best option.
     
  3. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    Feb 13, 2009
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    United Kingdom
    #3
    1) Motion will probably refuse to run, and if it does, it will be unusable (heck, it slows down occasionally on my 2010 Mac Pro).
    2) You wont achieve anything useful in Color at 1280*800
    3) If your just creating a Rough Timeline Cut, then the 13" Pro should be fine (I wouldnt want to edit a feature film on it thats for sure).
     
  4. simsaladimbamba

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    located
    #4
    1. It runs on my 2008 white MacBook with the Quadro like X3100 IGP.
    2. That's true, I never really got the hang of it, especially with its small preview. Combustion is much better for my brain anyway, though Color offers lots and lots of options.
    3. Why not? Ignoring the abysmal resolution, considering one has transcoded the footage into the right format and does not edit multi-cam, the 13" Po is quite good. But as the resolution is that small (I have a 17" MBP and even that can be too small for editing), I wouldn't consider a 13" laptop for editing anyway, unless there would be an external display.

    Further reading: http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xd...am-transfers-new-macbook-air-ex1-success.html
     
  5. yoak macrumors 65816

    yoak

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    #5
    Check out my thread where I link to a post from a guy running final cut and xdcam hd on a MBA 11,6. A 13 Mbp will be fine for your intended purpose
     
  6. nfable macrumors regular

    nfable

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    #6
    Consider springing the extra $ to get a 15" refurbished from Apple.

    Mac refurbs

    They come with same warranty as originals, but you'll save 15-20%; they update the refurb page often so if you plan on buying, stake out the site 3x a day or so until a 15" pops up in your price range.

    Coupla reasons for this:
    -You Mac will be with you for many years (barring physical accidents)

    -The 15" is a wonderful mix of screen resolution, portability, and screen real-estate (when working with FCP) or any application with many sub windows you'll be grateful for this

    -You get the i5 so you will be able to utilize other aspects of FC Studio aside from just the editor

    -You get the GPU (see above) Also render times will be greatly decreased (when exporting, etc.)

    For your consideration,
    nf
     
  7. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    Feb 13, 2009
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    United Kingdom
    #7
    1) Odd, wouldnt run on my White MacBook 2008 - maybe thats just Motion 4 being pernickety over something or other I havent configured right.
    3) Simple, Id just find it slow to render, slow to use and a real pain if I had to ever export a cut for someone, as it would take forever. (This is why I use my unis dedicated Render Cluster of G5s to render stuff - it takes a long time even on my Pro for very long projects).
     
  8. fishcough thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    #8
    All, thanks very much. Still leaning toward the 13 inch (any actual editing, even just the assembly cut, would be done hooked to a larger monitor).

    This next bit should probably be posted in another forum, but I'll ask anyway: we'll be wanting to review footage just shot while we're on location. I'll either be shooting on a canon XH A1 (tape) or possibly invest in a solid state camera (perhaps one of the new Canons or a panasonic). I see simsaladimbamba's caution about AVCHD, but is that only for editing?

    Meaning, would I likely be able to import and view footage either via firewire (if sticking to tape) or SD card (if moving to solid state) without a long transfer process? Or does anything played on an Apple (in quicktime, I assume) have to be transfered to another format?

    Thanks
     
  9. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #9
    okay, so... Perhaps the new 13" Macbook's cannot run Final Cut Studio, but we run FCS on G5's at my uni, and my 2006 era MBP runs the latest Final Cut Studio (3?) well enough. But then again the tools from Apple were telling an elderly couple that a mac mini cannot run photoshop.

    If you're looking at the 13", you know you won't be doing any major editing on it. At best you'll either use it to hold your stuff and drag everything onto a timeline, or you'll have to hook it up to a larger monitor to edit with it.

    So if you've accepted that you're not using the computer for hardcore work, and just as a staging area, have you considered taking one of the airs instead? They're smaller and lighter = easier to pack and travel with, and will work just as well as a 13" MBP for the non-editing in FCP. Just make sure you take an external HDD that's usb powered.

    Having said all that, I've seen pros using a Macbook with the old intel graphics cards for final cut and they worked just fine for simple stuff. Really, anything is going to be overkill if you're not doing hardcore editing/creating.
     
  10. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #10
    If you're importing off of tape, you need to log and capture, which involves rewinding the dv tape to the beginning hitting play while it's plugged in, and letting the computer capture each frame, as it's played back. It will be realtime capture, about an hour per tape import. If you use a fully digital setup with an SD card, p2, or firestore drive, it will be significantly faster to log and transfer, as the files are already digitalized and you're just moving them via USB to the laptop HDD.

    Once it's on the computer you can view it straight away (you may need to install a codec, which should come with the camera), convert it to another format for editing (if necessary) etc. Getting it on the computer should be the same no matter what format it's in (it'll only differ by media type - tape vs solid state).
     
  11. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #11
    And its the transcoding that will be where a 13" MBP is about equivalent to a Dual 2.0 G5 for (Its surprising how-much the loss of Alti-Vec can slow down transcoding). The 15" i5/i7 performs a lot better for transcoding if its required.
     
  12. SatyMahajan macrumors regular

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    #12
    FCP requires transcoding to ProRes from AVCHD. But an alternative is to use Premiere Pro CS5 on-site to view dailies. You can view AVCHD and numerous other formats without transcoding in CS5. I view stuff shot from my Canon HF10 on my 13" MacBook Pro all the time. I have both Production Premium CS5 and Final Cut Studio 3. I prefer the familiarity of Final Cut. And the output is always very crisp. But Premiere Pro CS5 is no joke. It breathes new life into hardware like a MBP 13. After Effects CS5 also runs fine, whereas Motion chokes for anything more complex.

    Then you have two options, edit in PPCS5 or transcode the original AVCHD files into ProRes via FCP once you're ready to cut.
     
  13. hiphopsuperman macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    #13
    I thought that the 13 inch Macbook Pro's screen resolution (1280x800) didnt meet Adobe's minimum specs for running Premiere Pro CS5??? Adobe states that 1280x900 is the minimum.

    I am VERY interested in getting the baseline, 13 inch MBP for running ppro CS5 but I thought this was a road block. Have you had any issues using Premiere Pro on this machine? What type of footage are you editing?
     
  14. cupcakes2000 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    #14
    My back up 2007 white macbook (950gma-bad integrated graphics 10.6, 3gb, 7200 hhd, core2duo 2.16) runs all of CS5. It has some difficulty with After Effects mainly, heavy Photoshop and stuff. But it works okay.
    It runs FCP no probs really, but not any of the rest of the suite. It won't load at all, demanding a decent gpu. I would imagine that the newer 13"ers could run it though.
    I can't tell you about importing/log and capturing from anything other than a cf card via usb, and that works fine, and relatively quickly.
     
  15. hiphopsuperman macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    #15
    Thank you very much for the confirmation. Im running CS4 on a 14 inch screen right now so Im not TOO worried about the screen real estate. At home I can use an external monitor, but I want to be able to do some editing on the road.

    Just to be sure, you did not receive any error messages when running Premiere Pro, related to screen size? Ive heard a few people say that they could not launch premiere pro because of this.
     
  16. cupcakes2000 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 13, 2010
    #16
    No not at all. I don't use Premiere Pro that much because I prefer FCP, but I have used it plenty and without any error messages. Like I said, the only apps that wouldn't launch were the parts of FCS that require a dedicated GPU. I'm sure there is a workaround even for that though.

    Obviously [the machine I have] is by no means anything compared to my main 17" i5 mbp with 8 gb, but it does work, and is fine for on the road stuff.

    The new 2011 versions are really loads better, and I don't think you will encounter any problems.
     
  17. hiphopsuperman macrumors member

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    May 27, 2011
    #17
    Awesome, you rock. Of course one of the 15 inch models would be better suited but I don't have the budget for it. Thanks again for your help!
     

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