Best for 4k editing

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by nph, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. nph macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 9, 2005
    #1
    I am trying to decide between:
    2015 MBP (i7 but with or without Discreet GPU need advice)
    iMac 21" 4k with i7, SSD ad 16 Gig RAM

    iMac 27" late 2015 with discreet GPU

    Since I think the iMac 2y7 is too big that is the least desired option if you think the other are decent for 4k editing.
    Thanks
     
  2. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    Sep 3, 2013
    #2
    I'm a professional video editor and I have a 2015 top-spec 15" MBP and top-spec 2015 iMac 27. I do a lot of 4k editing and strongly prefer the iMac for this. Editing H264 4k is very challenging on any computer or any editing software. If you don't absolutely need the portability of the MBP, I suggest the iMac.

    The MBP is OK but the fans spin up quickly upon any stress and it's just not as fast as the iMac.

    In general H264 4k requires transcoding to proxy for smoothest editing performance -- whether on Premiere CC or FCPX. This takes considerable disk space and time, so you'll also need a good disk subsystem and another one to back everything up on.

    The iMac will probably be refreshed early next year. If you can wait until then, that might be wise. If you cannot and want the lowest-cost decent machine for 4k editing, I would suggest a used or factory refurbished top-spec 2013 iMac 27. It does not have the retina screen but it's pretty fast and would be OK for interim use until the 2017 iMacs are released.
     
  3. JamesPDX Suspended

    JamesPDX

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    #3
    What would you recommend if I wanted to go all-Avid? I'm already on Pro Tools 12.6.x.
     
  4. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    #4
    Sorry, while I use both Premiere CC and FCPX, I don't have any experience with Avid. However for 4k editing you generally need the most powerful machine you can afford.
     
  5. Hashtag Douchetag, Nov 11, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016

    Hashtag Douchetag macrumors newbie

    Hashtag Douchetag

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    Nov 11, 2016
    #5
    Talking about needed Workstation specs for 1080p and 4k editing/grading….

    Anybody of you use the entry model of an 27“ 5k iMac of the current lineup (late 2015) to edit 1080p/UHD/4k footage from his Sony FS700R and maybe A7S? Wondering if the CPU/GPU specs are good enough without getting headache?
    I usually use my Systems for longer periods, and i don't need to earn money with my editing, or cameras - it's just an intense hobby.

    I need to order a new Workstation cause my current is too ancient. It's just a 15" 2010 i5 MacBook Pro. My budget is somewhat limited to max. 1800€ so that i can’t get the actual lineup with i7/bigger GPU and 4GB VRAM. Yeah i know an i7 an it’s HT capabilities would give a boost compared to the i5, but i’ve to compensate this. I mean is an i7 really needed?

    Actual (late 2015) 27“ 5k iMac / quad i5 3,2GHz/ Radeon R9 M380 2GB/1 TB HDD

    I know missing RAM and a HDD could be the bottleneck, but at least i could upgrade systems memory every time.
    What are your thoughts cause i don't know what to do?
     
  6. JamesPDX Suspended

    JamesPDX

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    #6
    I've read that the thinness of the 5k, etc. iMacs cause of the overheating CPU/GPU-throttling-before-cooking issues on these machines makes them heavy-use-inadequate for RAW video work. That's one reason people want fatter machines and serviceability/upgradability, etc. And two internal slots for two internal SSDs.
     
  7. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    #7
    This is mostly not true. For one thing few people shoot uncompressed RAW video, so how an iMac handles this is generally a non issue. People shooting RAW video don't usually want internal slots for SSDs, because RAW is so big it would rapidly fill up internal storage. 4k 10-bit raw at 24 fps from a Sony FS5 is 333 megabytes/sec. Recording 4k RAW requires an external Odyssey 7Q+ recorder, and each 1TB SSD card can only hold about 50 min of RAW video: https://www.convergent-design.com/sony-pxw-fs5

    Even 1080p RAW video from a Canon 5D Mark III using Magic Lantern firmware is 83 megabytes/sec.

    RAW video must be transcoded before editing, similar to RAW stills. This takes a lot of time and space, and internal SSD is not nearly big enough. It's true you want a powerful CPU for this with many cores but in general GPUs are less useful for transcoding.

    I really don't understand the statement about RAW video and relevance to the iMac design. Anyone shooting significant amounts of this will not be using an iMac anyway, but the highest-end workstation they can obtain. They don't need a thicker improved iMac, they need something faster than a Mac Pro.

    For regular non-RAW H264 4k video I edit large amounts of this regularly on my 2015 top-spec iMac 27, and it does OK. It does not overheat or throttle the CPU or GPU. The Will Smith feature film Focus was edited in 2k largely on iMacs: http://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/in-action/focus/

    FCPX is very efficient but both FCPX and Premiere CC really require transcoding to proxy for good performance when editing H264 4K -- even on the fastest available iMac and with a large Thunderbolt disk array. This is mostly not an IO problem and SSD does not really help and they are too small or too expensive for serious 4k work. It is also mostly not a GPU problem, since GPUs cannot generally accelerate encode/decode of long GOP formats like H264. It is largely a CPU issue, and a slightly thicker iMac would not help very much. You'd need a true workstation-class machine to make a real difference.

    That said, if the 2017 iMac 27 has a 4.2Ghz Kaby Lake i7-7700K and an AMD Polaris GPU like the E9550 would be a significant and useful upgrade over the previous top-spec iMac. But even that would likely not make editing smooth on large amounts of H264 4k video without transcoding, much less RAW video: http://hothardware.com/news/amd-announces-embedded-radeon-e9260-and-e9550-gpus
     
  8. Hashtag Douchetag, Nov 12, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016

    Hashtag Douchetag macrumors newbie

    Hashtag Douchetag

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    #8
    I see.
    In the mean time i went over to used/refurbished machines to probably gamble a bit and match my slim budget somehow.

    What do you think about this machines...
    2014 iMac 27" Retina 5K Quad i7 4,0 GHz 32GB RAM 512GB PCIe SSD M295X 4GB
    2014 iMac 27" Retina 5K Quad i7 4,0 GHz 32GB RAM 3TB Fusion Drive M295X 4GB
    2015 iMac 27" Retina 5K Quad i7 4,0 GHz 32GB RAM 2TB Fusion Drive AMD M390 2GB

    I mean yeah the FS5 has XAVC like my A7S (internal), but AFAIK with more mbps.
    My FS700RH shoots AVCHD internal. I think any '14/'15 iMac should handle their 1080p footage in an NLE fluently. Probably there's some UHD stuff from time to time of a GoPro4 Black from my drone.
    Currently this is my main usage.

    I just want to make sure not to buy a ew system again when i decide to buy an Atomos Inferno or used q7+ for the A7S and FS700RH in future to get 2k and 4k footage and suddenly realize the system cannot handle it properly, even with proxies, like my ancient '10 MBP currently with 1080p.
     
  9. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    #9
    Your least expensive choice would be a top-spec 2013 iMac 27. It does not have the retina screen but is pretty fast. I don't see any on the Apple refurbished store with a 3.5Ghz i7, SSD or Fusion Drive and M295X, but they are probably available other places. OTOH after having both retina and non-retina iMacs, I wouldn't really want a non-retina. The crispness of text is especially obvious.

    Ideally you want a 2017 iMac 27 when they are updated. The updates will hopefully be significant.

    Out of the ones you mentioned I guess the 2014 iMacs would be OK but there were apparently some thermal improvements between 2014 and 2015, so I'd hate to miss that. The 2015 is OK but it has a lower-end GPU, and even the top-end M395X is borderline IMO.
     
  10. pat500000 macrumors 604

    pat500000

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  11. Hashtag Douchetag macrumors newbie

    Hashtag Douchetag

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    #11
    Oh it's from a local dealer in Germany. Yeah also my thought. Thats why min. the 2014 comes in.
    No that wouldn't make sense since the 2017 would be less payable than the current ones.

    Btw. since Apple switched to Intel back in 2006, they follow Intels "tick-tack" principle. -> Major release -> Thermal update release. Since Apple never used to integrate desktop CPU and GPU neither I/O ASICs, rather then mobile versions to slimfit their enclosures - they would never have a significant speed bump, especially not because they would inherit with their so called "pro-sumer" line called "mac-pro" aka "trashcan" ;)

    Yeah because of my budget it'll be a compromise. Overall it'll feel like a new universe compared to my current 2010 MBP ;)
    --- Post Merged, Nov 12, 2016 ---
    Because they're too expensive (my budget is only 1800€ max.) and i'd also need a new high res monitor which adds additional costs aso. So an iMac would be the best choice IMHO.
     
  12. pat500000 macrumors 604

    pat500000

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    #12
    Even at 5,1 model?
     
  13. Hashtag Douchetag macrumors newbie

    Hashtag Douchetag

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    #13
    Wouldn't make sense to spend money into this in terms of power consumption (expensive in Germany) and future proofness (Software support). I tend to use my systems more than 2-3 years.
     
  14. pat500000 macrumors 604

    pat500000

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    #14
    Oh...in Germany. I see.
     
  15. JamesPDX Suspended

    JamesPDX

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    #15
    Does the Magic Lantern hack change the Canon codec? Is the 5D MkIII still H264? You may not need to transcode. IDK. My 5D MkII shoots H264 native.

    If you're working with proxies, then sure, the iMac is fine. It's the rendering that's going to heat it up. You could buy a desk fan and point it at the back of the iMac when you're doing your final render, which will require access to your video files. The OP (and anyone shooting and editing digital video) needs this.
     
  16. Hashtag Douchetag macrumors newbie

    Hashtag Douchetag

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    #16
    I'd rather buy a 5 or 8 port qnap dual or quadro TB2 NAS cause of it's comprehensive versatility and more.
    Sure much more expensive but better for my preference IMHO
     
  17. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    #17
    If Magic Lantern is used to record RAW video, yes that changes the codec. The definition of RAW is it's straight from the sensor. It is similar to shooting RAW stills -- in that case .JPG encoding is not used but the sensor data is recorded directly.
     

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