Can I Play/Edit 4k Videos on My Older iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by wardzach2007, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. wardzach2007 macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2010
    I bought my iMac around 4-5 years ago and now I'm trying to edit and play 4k videos from the DJI Phantom.

    I tried recording in 1080p 30fps and that seems to be my limit and even that is a little choppy while doing production work.

    Am I able to upgrade something for my iMac to be able to play and edit these high quality videos or is my machine to old for this?
  2. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    I edit a lot of 4k video from Sony A7RII, Panasonic GH4 and DJI Phantom Vision 3 Pro. It can be very taxing even on a late-model computer. DJI or GoPro video seems worse because it may be more highly compressed. Whatever the reason it can be slow and clunky to edit. This is using FCP X on a top-spec 2013 iMac 27.

    On FCP X, one solution is picking the display option "Better Performance" which sacrifices playback quality for frame rate. Although FCP X normally handles well editing of camera native files, for highly compressed files like GoPro/DJI it may be better to transcode on import to optimized ProRes material.

    Another solution is generate proxy files and edit those. Those are lower-resolution files which an older PC can better handle. Then when editing is finished, FCP X can seamlessly apply all those edits to the full res file for export.

    Beyond just editing, applying effects are a lot slower on 4k material, some worse than others. Very compute-bound effects like stabilization, de-flicker, etc can be extremely slow. For this reason it's a good idea for anybody working with 4k seriously to consider a new machine.

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