Capturing HD: Can my PowerBook Handle It?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by ppc_michael, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. ppc_michael Guest


    Apr 26, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've long been stuck on analog NTSC crap, and I'm considering buying a Sony HDR-FX1, which is a high-definition video camera. However, when I try to play back the 1080i movie trailers from Apple's site, it's slightly choppy. If my PowerBook has a hard time handling HD playback, will I be able to capture HD in FinalCut Pro?

    (1.67GHz 17" PowerBook G4)
  2. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    are you sure the trailers aren't choppy because you're downloading them? Since all macs come with Imovie HD I'd assume they can handle it.
  3. giffut macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2003
    Speaking ...

    ... of capturing - storing - the raw stream of h.264/mpeg2 hd movie data on your harddrive and editing it with any HD capable movie application, I would say yes.

    But playback, no way, if it is 1080i/p material. For that you need a G5 with at least 2GHz just to be on the save side. 720p is possible without framedrops on any G4 faster than 1Ghz, I think, with lots of RAM included.

    Encoding DV into h.264 is taking ages right now with pure processor speed, even in PC land.

    E.g., I myself can capture mpeg2 transport streams from my cable tv via ethernet to my iBook G3 500 Mhz without any problems. I can edit it, store it, transfer it, but playback is always choppy as hell on that machine. Only if I transfer it to DVD, I get perfect playback, but only because Apples DVD player app does use hardware accelerated mpeg decoding from the graphic card.
  4. g0gie macrumors regular

    Jan 31, 2005
    You shoudl be fine "capturing" HD content, after all all your doing is copying a file from your HD camcorder to the hard drive on yo ur computer. That wouldnt be system intensive at all, unless you somhow trying to capture video straight to your computer in its raw format which would be a very heavy task that im not even sure g5's could handle. On the playback side, few people realize just hwo cpu intensive h.264 is, even a 1.67ghz g4 will drop fraims at 720p let alone 1080i/p. You definantly need dual G5 2.0Ghz cpus or better for smooth 1080p playback. Thats part of the reason why there are so many specialized chips used in the industry to decode h.264, like in the ipod which can barley handle its low resolution decoding of h.264
  5. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Yes, this is true, but the original poster was asking about working with the footage with FinalCut Pro.

    I'm not certain, but I don't think the video from the HD Sony camcorder is encoded with h.264. I believe it's HDV, which perhaps is less processor intensive.

    So basically, the question is whether the OP could work with his HDV footage on his 1.67-G4-PB with reasonable system responsiveness?

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