AVCHD Dual core i5/i7?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by gnomeisland, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. gnomeisland macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2008
    Are the dual core i7 or i5 Airs or 13" MBP fast enough to natively edit AVCHD 2.0 files in FCX? My wife shoots short documentaries and even "short" documentaries are generating a lot of huge ProRes files in FC7 that are starting to add up to a lot of space on my server. Her 2008 MB and even my 2009 MBP won't even play the native AVCHD files without converting them to AIC or ProRes.

    I know that editing in AVCHD is less "efficient" but it would be great to be able to cut the film in its native format and then convert it to ProRes if we need to grade the footage or do anything more fancy than basic cuts and titles.

    Aside from basic video editing she doesn't do anything else (like motion graphics, photoshop, or video games) that taxes her 2008 MB so we'd rather not drop the money for quad-core laptop--plus she doesn't want anything bigger than 13".
  2. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    AVCHD/H.264 is NOT a nice codec to edit. Its more of a delivery format but thats what every non-pro camera shoots at these days. Its compressed down and it really just wants to stay compressed and not get unraveled in my experience. Transcoding to ProRes LT is what I do...its just so much less frustrating...After your done just delete all the ProRes files...unless you don't have the disc space to begin with (like me!) luckily with an apple formatted external drive you can let all those giant files seemingly reproduce and double on there away from your main disc (its actually better too).
  3. gnomeisland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2008
    Thanks, I'm well aware of this workflow, I have used it for years. However, as you pointed out there are space considerations. Right now these are more important. So, putting aside your opinion about what you think my workflow should be the original question still stands: is the dual core i5 or i7 fast enough to edit native AVCHD footage?
  4. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    Regardless of the computer specs, FCP7 won't act nice with AVCHD. I've seen 12 cores struggle sometimes !

    You'll probably be better off with FCP X to edit native footage. Why not get the free trial from the Apple site and see if the camera is supported under the latest version ? Your wife will have to learn the new software, but it's very efficient. For short/simple editing projects you probably won't even have to change computers (maybe add RAM if that's not done yet).
  5. coldsweat macrumors 6502


    Aug 18, 2009
    Grimsby, UK
    I have a 2.4 i5 13" MBP & native AVCHD works fine in FCPX. You'll find it's a little laggy & lumpy compared to an i7 Quad with a good graphics chip, but it will run OK! (I used 1080/50i by the way). Multicam is quite stuttery with a low FPS if you have anything more than couple of streams in the angle viewer.
  6. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    On FCPX and H.264, the hardware accelation of the Core-i-CPUs and in particular the newer GPUs will do wonders in comparison to your older MBPs.

    I am editing in FCPX, and often times I do quick edits in the original H.264 codec. I own an iMac with an i5 CPU and a newer MBP with an i7. And I usually edit on the iMac with the significantly slower CPU, not just for the nicer LCD, but also because of the more powerful graphics chip. I monitor my CPU usage, and the CPU hardly ever gets used more than 10% on a normal edit (not very effects heavy). On the other hand, the final rendering and encoding is faster on the MBP, because it uses the CPU.

    What I want to say: While the Dual Core i5 is probably enough to do some basic video editing in H.264, I don't think the GPU can handle it on the MacBook Air. My advice is (as much as I hate doing this myself): Go into an Apple Store and try it! Unless someone shows up here and says "Yeah, I do this all the time and it works"...

    Oh: And I would recommend you to wait about another 2 weeks! Apple is rumoured to reveal several new models on the WWDC, and those might be very interesting for you. The MacBook Air is supposed to upgrade to a retina display, and that would imply a more powerful graphics chip, which is exactly what you need. And even if the new model is not worth the upgrade for you, you will be able to get the previous models way cheaper once the new ones are there (refurbished etc.)...
  7. gnomeisland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2008
    Perfect! This is what I wanted to know. We/she usually just edits a single stream (occasionally I do multicam stuff for training videos) and it sounds like for her stuff, which is where saving space would be most important, the i-Core dual chips will work.


    Also good to know, although plans changed yesterday when my beloved MBP died (again!). I finally had to fess up that what I had was a lemon (this is the fourth visit to Apple this year) and when I called in the Applecare I asked for a replacement--thinking they'd give me another refurbed Core2 13". Well, after spending most of the morning making my case to tech support and customer service they decided to replace my computer with a brand new i7 13" MBP! I was floored. So sure, if I was *buying* a new computer I would have waited a week but since Apple is offering this upgrade I think I'll be sticking to the dual core for now. A retina display would be nice but I'll wait for the next upgrade cycle.

    Thanks for all the help!
  8. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Ooh, I feel your pain. My last MBP (Core2Duo 15") broke down in February. I bought a brand new one and it also broke down once already after just 3 weeks of use. They replaced the whole logic board, so hopefully that was the end of it... Admittedly, I really use the thing, for physics simulations at work and for HD video editing at home. :)

    That is awesome news for you. It might actually be that they want to get rid of the "old" series before they present the new one soon. It worked out very well for you, no matter what the reason.

    And I actually think that a 13" MBP is way better suited, even for simple editing, mostly because the graphics chip is significantly better than the one in the MacBook Air.

    Congrats on your successful fight with the customer service and enjoy your new Mac!
  9. gnomeisland thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2008
    Ha! Yeah, this is my "problem" too but then I really think my outgoing MBP was a lemon.

    Yeah, I think that probably factored into their decision and, while it means NOT buying one of the super-fancy retina models, I'm really OK with how it turned out. So they unloaded a machine that was about to be a clearance model and in exchange kept a vocal 20+ year fan of their brand very happy.

    I'm excited to see how this thing handles my photos and video. Plus it works with my existing firewire Duet thus saving me from a $600 upgrade there...

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