Best video editing software for different Mac generations (a guide by me)

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by dandeco, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. dandeco macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008
    Since I am interested in older Macs (i.e. the PowerPC G3/4/5 crowd), I thought I would make up something like this, if anyone is looking to edit video on a used/refurbished older Mac, since video editing would require quite a bit of horsepower and memory. Here is what I recommend...

    Any G3 or pre-2004 G4 should have at least 512 MB of RAM or greater, and a hard drive bigger than 20 GB.
    The 2004-2006 G4s and any G5 should have at least 1 GB of RAM for smoother performance.

    For video editing on any G3 that has at least 400 MHz and is running Mac OS 9 (like the iMac DVs or the PowerMac G3 B&W models), iMovie 2 and Final Cut Pro 1 are the best choices, obviously. I have worked with both, and they are pretty good.
    On a G3 that is higher than 500 MHz and running Mac OS X, iMovie 2 or 3 are the best choices, but on some of the much later G3s (like the 800MHz iBook G3s or something), iMovie 4 would work, though it would lag a bit. Final Cut Express 1 would also be a good choice, if you have enough memory and hard disk space. Adobe Premiere 6 is also a good choice.

    The older Power Mac G4s, like the SawTooth and Gigabit Ethernet models, would also be good for the previously mentioned programs on OS 9 and OS X, and would perform even better than a G3 ever would.
    On any iMac/eMac/laptop G4s that run under 1 GHz, I would recommend Final Cut Express 2.0, or if you are up for it, Final Cut Pro 3. On the consumer side, iMovie HD 5 is probably the best, if you only edit in standard definition. All of these are for running on OS X. Likewise for the digital audio and 733 MHz PowerMac G4 QuickSilvers.

    On the later PowerMac G4 QuickSilver and MDD models, and on the iMac G5s, later eMacs and iMac G4s and PowerBook G4s, I recommend iMovie HD 6 for consumer editing. It runs REALLY WELL on G4s, and was the last version optimized for that sort of processor. It also works really well on the PowerMac G5s. For advanced editing, Final Cut Express 3 is good (though version 4 is more recommended for the G5 users), and Final Cut Pro 5 should run on most of them.
    If you have a later PowerMac or iMac G5, iMovie '08 and '09 would work on them (I would recommend '09, as it has better features than iMovie '08 had.) On higher-end G4s that have CoreImage-compatible graphics cards, iMovie '09 can be run on them (using the appropriate hack of course), but will operate rather slowly when it comes to exporting.

    Any Intel Mac made since 2006 should run iMovie '11 just fine, as long as they have at least 2 GB of RAM. They will also run iMovie HD 6 and Final Cut Express 4 pretty well. For Final Cut Studio, you would need a non-Intel GMA iMac, or a MacBook Pro or Mac Pro to run it, though just about any other Intel Mac that doesn't use Intel's crummy GMA graphics should run it just fine.
    Final Cut Pro X will work just fine on any Mac that is capable of running Lion and doesn't have the Intel GMA graphics (it even works on my early 2009 MacBook without much hassle!)

    Adobe Premiere Elements 10 also runs pretty well on most Intel Macs that exceed the system requirements, though you would need more horsepower for Premiere Pro obviously (I can run Premiere Pro CS5 on my early 2009 MacBook pretty well, to.)
  2. glaseryaniv macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2012
    Tel Aviv, Israel
    Im a pro video editor, working mainly with AVID , on a windows PC. The day i decided to move to mac was the day i saw an iBook G4 run FCP7, editing over 6 hours of full hd prores 422 LT material. It wasnt the best tool for the job (to say the least), but just the fact that it ran and finished the job was amazing to me. A PC that old would have exploded. Literally. EXPLODED.
  3. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011
    Why do this to yourself, unless its for the novelty factor?

    If you just want to cut n dissolve edit family films/iPhone clips/quicktime clips, try cloud editor or an iPad running iMovie or Avid app,which would be the same cost or less than a second hand G5/G4 tower worth your time.

    Going back more than a few generations of OS/APP/Hardware seems needless when the costs of even second hand Intel macs isn't that bad.

    Ideally, your media should be on a different drive to the os/application drive. On these old macs, your i/o will be a bottleneck unless you have a tower with multiple drives. Firewire 800 would be minimum speed connection.

    Also, codecs change over time, if you are more than a few generations out of date you will face issues with support for some modern codecs/framerates.

    Transcoding/rendering on one of these vintage boxes might qualify as torture under the Geneva Conventions.
  4. iampaulb macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2012
    HAHAHA!!! brilliant! The apps for iPad seem to be pretty aweasome, although i havent had the chance to use any

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