Does anyone edit video on the MBA 13-inch ultimate?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Pete A, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. Pete A, Dec 3, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010

    Pete A macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2010
    Hi everyone. I've learned a lot from you folks, and really appreciate it.

    I'm considering whether to buy a 13" base model (except 4gb RAM)... or a 13" ultimate (2.13/4/256), which is stocked by my local Apple Store.

    The base model would be fine for what I do now (Pages, Safari, Mail, Skype, Netflix streaming). But I'm thinking of getting into video editing in the next year.

    A reviewer on Amazon wrote this about the 13" base model with 2gb RAM:

    "I've edited HD video on the unit (no problems), (though exporting is obviously much slower than on my imac, as to be expected, but editing and working on the footage was pretty much the same, it's only in exporting where you realize the machine is slower)....

    If you do a lot of video work, or you render out animations a lot, you can use this machine to do your work, and your desktop to handle the heavy processing. Just store your files on a usb flash drive and xfer to your desktop to handle the render....

    I plan [more tests with] iphoto and imovie, (I want to try out the new features) as well as my regular workflow (lightroom / cs5) and final cut."

    So this gentleman seems to be saying he runs Final Cut (whether Pro or Express is unspecified) on a MBA with good efficiency while editing, and does his exporting/rendering overnight or on a faster machine. That would be fine for me. I don't care how long the export takes if I'm asleep.

    But when I asked an Apple Store Specialist if a MBA will run Final Cut Pro, he laughed at me and said no (but admitted he never tried it). Also, the manager told me emphatically: Don't buy a MBA if you want to run Final Cut Studio!

    So here's what I'm thinking:

    1) If running Final Cut Studio on a MBA is a joke (as the Specialist said), then I'll buy the cheaper MBA now, and later trade up to a MacBook Pro or buy an iMac for video editing.

    2) But if the only limitation of the MBA for running Final Cut Studio is slower exporting/rendering of the finished project (as the reviewer said), then I'll buy the ultimate MBA now, and avoid the hassle/expense of trading-up/buying-more later.

    What do you think? Are there other tasks in video editing (besides exporting/rendering) that are impossible or painfully slow on a 13" MBA ultimate?

    I'd love to hear from people who have actually tried it, rather than armchair warriors like that Specialist.

    Thanks very much,
  2. The Samurai macrumors 68000

    The Samurai

    Dec 29, 2007
    Hi Peter

    I edit videos on my MBA 13". You may want to see the video series I done on the MBA (speed, gaming, CS5 tests). May be worth a look (see sig).

  3. miata macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2010
    Silicon Valley, Earth
    I also had an Apple Store specialist steer me clear of the MBA. I think they have been programmed to do this because:

    1) no firewire means that you cannot import from many videocams
    2) USB only means slow transfers
    3) lack of a faster ix CPU means slow video encoding
    4) small SSD means limited capacity for storing large files

    Or maybe they just want to sell us a more expensive MBP:cool:
  4. Artofilm macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2005
    I use my new MBA 13" with 4GB to work with FCP and 1080P files with no issues. I use the Canon T2i which uses an SD card to store the files. The compressing is a little bit slow but I just leave it running during the night, no biggie!

    I'm also used to using a MacPro and I don't think it's that slow.
    I love my MBA!
  5. Pete A thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2010
    Thanks, everyone. I would think more videocams will be using SD cards in the future, since 64gb cards are now available and higher capacities are coming.

    Really interesting to hear that someone accustomed to a Mac Pro finds a MBA (1.86/4) not so bad for Final Cut Pro.

    For Artofilm and anyone: Do other apps in Final Cut Studio require more processing power than FCP? I read somewhere that Logic actually does better than Garageband on a MBA. Is anyone using the whole Final Cut Studio on a MBA?
  6. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    I can tell you that FCP runs just fine on the MBA 13" maxed out. That's the only one I've tried it on so can't comment about the lower-end configs. And yes, you can do your actual editing on the machine just fine, assuming you can get your video on there onto the device in the first place.

    For my business, we utilize a very slick sales demonstration. We do high-end custom woodworking for offices. Most of my clients want something that gives them a facelift and in a hurry. Think "Re-bath" but with wood for offices instead of bathrooms and you get the gist of our services.

    We go in and during the initial sales presentation snap a crapton of high-res digital pictures and grab some HD video footage of the facility. Then we use a large library of pre-drawn stencils, import the video and the still pictures, and do some down and dirty rendering to show them the "as-is" and the "will-be." Most of this is done during the actual sales presentation itself. My team even gets pictures of me standing up and presenting our services against a wall (the as-is) and then superimposes the "will be" behind me to give them an instant image. It helps us sell our services quickly since the whole nature of our business is to convince them we can finish the job very fast and with minimal disruption to their business.

    To do this in the past, we've used MBP's, and in particular, a recent-gen i7 MBP. With all the graphics work and rendering we have to do on-the-fly, the bottleneck was always rendering the final product.

    I'm finding that the MBA, even if I dial down the process to just the basics and stick with non-HD video, just can't cut it. I love the machine, we can do all the editing necessary on it, but the lack of speed for rendering just kills the deal for me. I didn't expect that it COULD do it, by the way, was just hoping it MIGHT. No dice.

    As posters above have indicated, if you can live with slow renders, or can wait to offload that task to your big box later -AND- your media is either SD based or you can get it onto the MBA without Firewire, then doing editing on the MBA shouldn't pose an issue for you.

    Otherwise, this is not the machines forte. YMMV of course.
  7. joejoejoe macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2006
    Hi everyone,

    My 2007 MBP just died (boo) and now I think I'm in the market for a MBA (I have a 27'' iMac at home as my editing machine).

    I'm torn between the 11 inch and the 13 inch. Can the 11 handle video editing as smoothly as the 13 (I'm not talking about rendering, I know that's going to take forever on both machine's)?

    I'm just curious to know if the 11 can handle FCP, and I'm especially interested to hear if the 11 inch will heat up/crazy fans/slow down if I'm playing an HD netflix movie or skyping for a while. My MBP would burn up and move at 2mph if I tried to netflix or skype for longer than 20 minutes.

    Thanks all, any help is appreciated!
  8. joejoejoe macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2006
    sorry to bump but does anyone have any experience with FCP on an 11inch?
  9. gameface macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2010
    Boston, MA
    I hate it on a 15" so I assume the 11" would be horrible. But that's my opinion.
  10. joejoejoe macrumors 65816

    Sep 13, 2006
    I have a 24inch dell monitor I can hook up to it, so the size of the screen really isn't in an issue.

    The configurations I'm looking at are an 11 inch ultimate or 13 inch 4gb 128gb - both of which are the same exact price. I like the 11 inch because of portability but am curious to see if FCP is impossible on the 11 because of it's teeny tiny processor.

    Thanks all.
  11. Veyron407 macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2011
    i laugh when someone suggests that a mba can't run final cut. Seriously, the current final cut is four years old now, and i remember when people were running final cut brilliantly on their now ancient 2006 macbook pro. A macbook air form 2010 or 2011 is massively faster than the ancient pro, so you would imagine that the air would run better too. ANd I have also tried final cut on a pretty old macbook aluminium with 2 gb ram, and it runs it okay ish.

    So basically, would an air run final cut, hell YES!!!!!!!!!!!!
  12. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3


    Feb 10, 2011
    I laugh when people claim that encoding HD video with a 1.4 GHz processor is pretty fast.
  13. aniketroxx macrumors member


    Feb 10, 2011
    I want to know if 2GB ram really sucks while doing some imovie editing :eek:
  14. gameface macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2010
    Boston, MA
    I want to tell you that imovie editing sucks when imovie editing. :p

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