Help Me Spec a MBP for new Video Editing Job

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ahheck01, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. Ahheck01 macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2006
    Hey gentlemen (and ladies), I just landed a great job where I've been commissioned to set up a home video editing studio. I've been discussing general equipment needs over at Arstechnica here:

    As for the laptop specifically, I have three big questions for the guru's here at Macrumors based on the usage described in the above thread:

    1) Would it be worth paying an extra $200 to go from the 15" to a same-spec'd 17"?

    2) Most of the work is going to be done in a home office. Should I go anti-glare or glossy, and why?

    3) With cost being a not-insignificant issue, what should I do about hard drive selection? I've got three different ideas:

    -a) Buy the 7200rpm 500gb drive - speed should be decent enough for now.

    -b) Pay $100 more to buy the 128gb SSD drive and work with raw SD footage off a 1TB 7200rpm FW800 external, then do most the editing off the internal SSD.

    -c) Pay $100 more to buy the 128gb SSD drive, sell it on eBay for about $250-$300, then use that to buy a 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 (highest performing) SSD for $500, for a total net upgrade of $300-$350 for 240GB SDD vs a $500 upgrade for Apple's 256gb SSD.

    Those are my primary Mac Spec related questions. If you have any input on the rest, I'll quote the existing questions I have below for discussion here:

  2. TheFarmer macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2011
    If that's the case, time is money!! Buy yourself the best of everything feel good about it and be done with it. If you doubt yourself, so will your employer.
  3. Ahheck01 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2006
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Garbage In - Garbage Out.

    No fancy equipment can help that.

    Anyway, what kind of footage do you get from what camera?
    What editing application will you use?
    What is the destination of the finished edit?

    Btw, one should not use the same HDD/SSD, where the OS and application is stored on, as the drive where the footage is stored on. Therefore a 60GB SSD might fully suffice.
    And if you can get Thunderbolt RAID enclosures, you will have much better speed, depending on the footage.

    As for the audio monitors, look into "Genelec", they have powered speakers which can blow the hell out.
  5. euphoria47 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2006
    Yes. You will be doing video editing and working with (i assume) 1080p. You will want a display that is higher in resolution that that of the media
    Your preference. I personally hate the glossy display. I know people that do graphic design and video editing with glossy and some with antiglare.
    "B" or "C"

    You don't want your HDD being a bottleneck in your productivity.

    This is just my advice based on the information you have provided. You know the details of what type of work you will be doing, you have been charged by your employer to set up the workshop because they feel that you will make the right decision. Go with your instinct, and use the knowledge that landed you the job.
  6. Ahheck01 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2006
    - I believe it'll be high def footage recorded from a hard drive based camera.
    - Most likely we'll stick with final cut.
    - it will be mass produced on standard def DVD. They are coaching training DVDs for college and high school coaches.

    Thanks for the input!

    So probably will do Apples 128gb SSD, in a 17" (will need to think about glossy vs antiglare) but still need to figure out storage. Looking for a reasonably priced FW800 external setup for now, as it will also occasionally hook up to a computer without Thunderbolt. 1-2 tb at a time should be more than sufficient. Open to suggestions.

    On a side note, any issues hooking the MBP up to a 42" panasonic plasma for the realtime preview monitor?
  7. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    No more info on that?

    Express or Pro? FCP has ProRes as codec and it eats 100GB for 1 hour of 1080p footage.

    Final Cut Studio is obviously involved then.

    Anyway, how much footage do you get per DVD and do you edit on one project at a time, then delete the ProRes or AIC footage after you finished everything, and then start a new DVD? Or do you edit several projects concurrently?

    Get a SoHo RAID enclosure for two S-ATA 3.5" HDDs and buy the HDDs yourself, thus you can even keep the footage if you ever decide to go back.

    An MBP will handle 2560 x 1600 pixel on an external monitor, it will do 1920 x 1080 pixel quite fine, regardless of how big the TV is.
    Do you plan on getting any external card like the AJA products ( is currently down) to connect that TV to?
  8. Ahheck01 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2006
    Unfortunately not yet, no.

    Yes, Final Cut Studio. When the new veresion comes out in April-June timeframe, we'll make a decision to either stick with it or use Premiere.

    What sort of costs am I looking at? Any specific recommendations? What is the argument for that setup vs. two FW800 external 2TB drives? I'm putting together an equipment proposal, so I need to be able to justify the cost.

    If I'm honest, this is where things go over my head. I'm not sure if there's a need for that? While the quality of the productions is important, it's not theatrically important, keeping in mind the audience is high-school and college level coaches, and potentially athletes. I figured I'd get the $35 HDMI adapter and plug it right in. I'm here to learn though, so if I should be considering what you're suggesting, learn me!

  9. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Sorry, forgot to add prices.
    The enclosure did cost 150 €, two 1TB 7200RPM HDDs cost 150€. The advantage is you only need to buy additional HDDs if you decide to keep the footage, which is sometimes cheaper (75 € for 1TB of data compared to the time one has to re-capture or re-import the footage).
    And even if you would use two separate FW800 HDDs, you would not get double the speed anyway, as you have to daisy chain the FW HDDs.

    The 17" display is big, but sometimes you want to have a bigger screen to work with, as even 1920 x 1200 pixel can feel crowded with an editing application and lots of bins.
    As you also mentioned you would be getting an iMac down the line as rendering machine and external display, you would have already used up the MDP port and needed something else to properly watch the footage on an external TV, thus such external video out options.

    I once edited a 20 minute image video on my 17" MBP, and it was okay, but lots of times I wished I had a bigger screen or another display to drag bins to.
  10. Ahheck01 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2006
    So I don't need to worry about the secondary external video outputs until I add yet another screen, correct? For now, a $600 plasma attached by HDMI will work just fine?

    So the advantage of spending $420 USD on the enclosure and two 1TB HDD's vs $200 on two external 1TB disks by themselves is that a raid configuration offers double the speed? Wouldn't FW800 be the bottleneck anyway? I can't imagine needing to use more than 1TB at a time for the footage we'll have, so daisy chaining wouldn't seem to be a problem. I just want to make sure I understand what the benefit of that enclosure would be to me above hooking up one 1TB 7200RPM HDD via FW800?

    I know I'm slow to catch on. Bear with me.

  11. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010

    An enclosure is more expensive in the first run, but if you have to add additional HDDs, but don't need them at the same time, buying additional bare HDDs is cheaper in the long run, as you can just swap the HDDs out of the enclosure.
    And yes, the FW800 speed would not get you any RAID speeds with two S-ATA HDDs. Maybe I should have left out the RAID part.
    If you don't mind, then just get the normal external FW800 HDDs you can get. I had good experiences with WD MyBook Studio HDDs, we have a dozen of them and none failed in the last two years.
  12. Ahheck01 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2006
    You've been amazingly helpful. I can't thank you enough.

    The only things I really still have questions on are things like whether I should just get a Magic Mouse or something different for editing, and what good quality headphones would be a good solution for editing on the fly or when I don't want to disturb my wife when she's home?

  13. davmcn macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2011
    I'm in this sort of business. I use a Mac Pro. Tho for my Mac Pro as some listed above, that I have separate Hard drives for content and OS also a 1TB backup drive. and 2 hard drives in my Mac Pro which ='s 1.5TB.
  14. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    The Magic Mouse is not really a good mouse for editing, but you may have different views on that. I use an old Logitech mouse for all my intensive work.
    Acceptable headphones can be head for 50 €. I have these:
  15. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    The Magic Mouse DOES take some time to get used to. It is the best mouse I have used, but that is just me. I am on the computer all the time, but my editing is limited to photos, not videos; so that may make a difference.
  16. davmcn macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2011
    For editing, I wouldn't get an Apple keyboard or mouse. They are nice, I just don't find they work well for editing. Get a Logitech or something along those lines.
  17. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    I'm not a pro but more of an advanced amateur and I just completed my latest work on FCP and After Effects. Total editing time was about 50 hours with me and my co producer.

    Basically my 17" Worked fine, hooked up to a sony bravia (via hdmi) for 'client' side preview as well as a logitech z-5500 5.1 sound via optical (and a pair of Ultimate Ears UE-10 Pro universal for fine tuning the audio cuts).

    I also used a g-tech g-raid mini and a wacom bamboo touch tablet which works great while interacting with the time line (and it's how the big guys using Autodesk solutions operate).

    Final cut was in 1080i HDV however we captured @ AIC then downconverted to OfflineRT which made things about 1.3 billion times easier to pull off especially under the tight deadline.

    Render time and burning to blu ray using Encore CS4 took about 3 hours total for a 14 minute flick.

    If I could do it all again i'd definitely do it one the recent most MBP (not the i7 2.66 dual core I have now).

    I'd also get a matrox MXO so I could preview in better quality on a cinema display. I think with the MXO and a decent display (oh, and some fast disks) that's probably all you need; I could be wrong though.
  18. loungecorps, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011

    loungecorps macrumors member

    Aug 25, 2010
    why are you getting a laptop? If it's going to be sitting on a desk connected to a raid enclosure & external display & most likely a full sized keyboard & mouse.

    reasons to get a mac pro instead of macbook pro

    1) you would not have to buy an extra raid enclosure, You can get an ssd in the optical drive for boot/applications and fit 4 hdd's for raid all in one box.

    2) fan noise- you're editing environment will be much quieter with a mac pro

    3) expandability - you can add more ram - better gpu's

    4) heat- the mac pro is much better equipped to handle long hours of rendering with out getting excessively hot or over heating.

    5) way more power

    I noticed you said "mobile workstation" but you have to ask your self is taking your laptop and your raid enclosure and all your monitors really mobile

    6) buying a laptop to be chained to a desk is pointless

    7) unless you buy a 17" macbook pro you will not be able to attach a video i/o device

    8) basically way more bang for your buck

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