iMac i7 HD editing

Discussion in 'iMac' started by tommeliten, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. tommeliten macrumors newbie

    tommeliten

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #1
    I´m planning buying a new camcorder and are not sure which road to go in regard to video file format. I´m planning using Premiere Pro CS5. I know the AVCHD format is very demanding for many consumer setups, but will this HW/SW setup do the job? I have also considered the Canon HV40 that uses the HDV format which is less demanding. Real time editing is of course the main goal. Anyone here who have experience?

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    iMac 27" 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    ATI Radeon HD 5750
    12 GB RAM
    2 TB HD
     
  2. yoak macrumors 65816

    yoak

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    Location:
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    #2
    I don't have a personal experience with your iMac, but I'm pretty sure it sill handle HD Editing with out any problems. I used to use my original 24" iMac for hdv and Sony xdcam ex hd.
    Transcoding is slower than a Mac pro, but still..
    Although the canon hv40 is a great camera. I used to have the 10, the 20 and the 30 as b cameras. I would never go back to tape cameras ever again. Dont go down that route in 2010.
    Just capturing your footage is a pain. You'll end up having tons of tape on your shelf that was never captured.
    Tape less does force you to be more carefull abut back up though
     
  3. tommeliten thread starter macrumors newbie

    tommeliten

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #3
    Yes, I guess you are right. Tape may not be the best option in 2010. I have my shelf full of DV tapes and the struggle with capturing footage in real time is very time consuming. I downloaded some AVCHD 1080i samples from the net and did some basic editing and the Core i7 had no problems at all.


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    iMac 27" 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    ATI Radeon HD 5750
    12 GB RAM
    2 TB HD
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  4. shiseido macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2010
    #4
    I have the Canon HF S20, which is the AVCHD version of the HV40 and I do my editing on Adobe CS5. It all works well! However, it is not instant...I mean it still has to render things, so even though I think the i7 is great, don't expect renders to be lightning...just fast. Also very important is the amount of RAM and hard drive speed. It could be the i7 can handle anything I throw at it, but it's my HDD (I use 2) that bottlenecks performance. Overall though, this is a good performance for my needs. And with 12GB of RAM I can use both After Effects and Premiere Pro.
     
  5. ravencr macrumors member

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    Mar 3, 2009
    #5
    For those of you using Premiere to edit on a iMac, does it play the video within the software while editing without hiccup at all? That's the main problem I have with editing on my MBP 17" loaded. It just can't keep up...upgrading to an iMac if I can get this confirmation.

    Chris
     
  6. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #6
    I do a fair amount of video editing of AVC 1080Hd video on that iMac configuration. As another poster replied, it is not instantaneous, but I find it plenty fast. I import from HD camcorder to a Firewire 2-drive raid, then read it into editing software from there. It's pretty fast for editing. Final renders take a while though, but you can do all the edits, then render in your downtime.
     
  7. ravencr macrumors member

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    Mar 3, 2009
    #7
    What do you mean by not being instantaneous? Does the video stutter as you're editing and viewing it with Premiere?

    Chris
     
  8. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #8
    By not instantaneous I mean that I have to allow the Mac editing software import (transcode) the video out of native AVCHD into Apple's preferred format. There is no stuttering after that conversion, and everything seems fluid.

    In short: budget time to import the video and budget time to render the edited video. In between those events, that iMac will seem near real-time for all the editing chores- even fluid.

    I haven't messed around with Premiere- just Apple editing products. I did switch from a PowerMac (albeit an old G4 tower) to this latest iMac i7, mostly because I tired of how slow the G4 dealt with heavy lifting such as editing HD camcorder video. In that experience, it is a night & day outcome. Head to head with the latest Mac Tower tech though, I would guess the latter would be able to do HD editing even a little faster than the iMac i7, but that perception wasn't enough to motivate me to pay on up (a lot more) for a new Tower over the i7 iMac. Maybe it's just the personal experience of considering things relative to that old G4 tower, but the i7 sure seems crazy fast for this.

    I do perceive the bottleneck is probably more the speed of the hard drive than the horsepower of the system itself. If you go this iMac way, you might want to get an even more robust raid setup, and maybe consider the OWC esata port mod for that raid... if throughput maximization is important to your application.
     
  9. ravencr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #9
    Gotcha...that's fine with me too. I'm actually doing some testing on my MBP based on everyone's comments in iMovie, and so far it handles my AVCHD video from my HMC40 and TM700K way better than Adobe Premiere does. The video so far plays smoothly, and the only problem I'm having is going back to a simpler editing program to do my edits and save myself the $3K or pay the $3K and continue to edit in Premiere.
    I'm wondering if I should just spring for a SSD for my MBP? It sounds like that may be the problem based on your response, not the other hardware in my laptop.

    Chris
     
  10. simsaladimbamba, Dec 16, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010

    simsaladimbamba

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    #10
    That is because iMovie transcodes the AVCHD footage into another format and uses another codec (.mov with AIC), therefore the files get bigger (up to 42 to 49 GB/h - http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2704) and the CPU gets used less.

    Premiere costs 800 USD, the Production Premium costs 1700 USD. But I think you mean the Mac Pro with 3K.
    The MP will be faster in decoding AVCH footage, but it will be still a pain in the arse.

    An SSD will not speed up using AVCHD footage natively, as it has a low data rate (file size / length in seconds >>> KB or MB or GB per second) of less than 5MB/s, even a slow HDD can play that. The hard work is done in the CPU to properly decode the frames, as editing applications need every frame and MPEG-4 (used for AVCHD footage) does not store every frame but interpolates between two stored frames.
    If you use the Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) and have 49GB/h files, the data rate is less than 15MB/s, even a slow HDD will be able to play that.

    Btw, it is not recommended to use the same HDD (internal HDD in your case) for storing and using media files (your footage) as the OS is installed on. Use a dedicated FW800 HDD for storing your footage, be it AVCHD or AIC or ProRes or whatever format Premiere supports.

    I searched a bit and found a solution, which you seem to have found too, but didn't realise the potential.
    http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/403/kb403297.html

    In other words, use iMovie to import the footage from your camera (highest settings you can get - IMPORT 1080i video as FULL - like screenshot below, ignore the red circle).
    [​IMG]

    Then import the properly transcoded files in Premiere and off you go.
     
  11. ravencr macrumors member

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    Mar 3, 2009
    #11
    I think you might have just saved me a ton of time, money, and hassle. I'll let everyone know how it works...I really appreciate it. Why didn't I think of that...lol? :)

    Chris
     
  12. simsaladimbamba

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    Location:
    located
    #12
    I could have thought of that too especially after you mentioned AIC in your other thread. I think it should work without problems.

    Btw, if you use music in your Premiere project, be sure to use uncompressed music, as I have encountered some strange bug in my Premiere days (1998 to 2002) with .mp3 files.
    You can use iTunes or the free Max (http://sbooth.org/Max/) to convert your compressed music (mp3, aac, FLAC, ...) to .wav or .aiff.
     
  13. ravencr macrumors member

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    Mar 3, 2009
    #13
    Will I still setup the project using AVCHD or something else now that the files have been converted by iMovie?

    Chris
     
  14. simsaladimbamba

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    #14
    You mean Premiere? I would use one of the DVCProHD (1080i/p or 720p) settings and go with that. But I am not fluent in Premiere anymore, so don't take my words for granted.
     
  15. ravencr macrumors member

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  16. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #16
    I did buy the imac 27" i7 with the SSD and can confirm what the above poster offered as to speed impact for this application. I love the SSD for how much faster it boots up the system and how fast apps load. I might even say it still seems worth the extra to me for rapid "read" (into memory) use. However, for video editing, I didn't really notice a big difference over the external firewire raid setup. Plus, as I understand SSD, the idea is not to use them for scratch discs, but instead to try to write to them as infrequently as possible (and only the files you want to load into RAM as quickly as possible).

    I suggest that if you go with this iMac, you get yourself a big, fast 2+ disc RAID with firewire 800 and use that for your scratch disc (for video editing). In other words, read in your video files there, edit them there, then render the final to whatever storage you render your final output. I work in the concept of scratch disc for editing and separate disc for long-term storage (final renders). The SSD's role in all of this is solely for booting up the machine quickly, and loading the video editing files quickly.

    If you're a little pinched for cash, you might consider using the external for scratch and the internal for long-term (final render) storage. However, I would strongly encourage you to embrace Time Machine or similar for the internal so that you have at least one other backup in case you lose that inner drive at some point. Time Machine works very well (but exclude your "scratch" disc).

    iMovie is pretty good for a reasonably broad swatch of potential video editing work. You might also consider the relatively cheap Final Cut Express if you need a bit more than iMovie, though I would expect an (long awaited) upgrade of FCE in the mid-to-late Spring.
     
  17. ravencr macrumors member

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    Mar 3, 2009
    #17
    So, does this mean if I got a SSD for my laptop or the imac, I'd use it solely for loading all my applications and OSX onto and using regular HDD for anything else?
    If all the videos and editing and scratch discs are on an external drive, how the SSD help in loading the files quicker?
    Yeah, I'm used to Premiere now, so making the switch back to iMovie is a little annoying and limiting, but for what I do it will probably work. Gonna try using the .mov files imported into Premiere first to see if they play a lot better than raw mts files.

    Chris
     
  18. simsaladimbamba

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    #18
    Yep, the SSD stores the system files and the applications, and if it is big enough all the contents of your Home directory.

    I have a 60GB SSD in my MBP and definitely use several external 2.5" HDDs to store my bigger files.
     
  19. HobeSoundDarryl, Dec 16, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #19
    You can use the SSD however you like, but yes, that appears to be the best use of it (if longevity of the SSD matters to you). Think of the SSD as "rapid read" and the HDD as your frequent write & read device.

    If you use the SSD like I do, the "quicker" is talking about loading the applications (Premiere in your case), not the camcorder video. If you don't use it like I do- that is, you choose to use it as a video scratch disc- then it would probably beat the HDD in loading the video into RAM for editing.

    My advice though is that the gain in that is not worth the threat of wearing out the SSD much sooner than necessary. A fast firewire RAID box seems to be best bet, or maybe a fast esata RAID box plus the esata jack mod from OWC (in terms of net speed, I haven't heard anything about how that fares vs. the stock firewire 800 jack).

    They certainly will. iMac is much more capable with .mov than the raw .mts files. Compression is substantially different, requiring a lot less horsepower in the CPU. With the i7 being a MAX horse(s), it can process all that video a lot faster in a .mov vs. a .mts. The tradeoff is that you'll need more hard drive space for the converted (.mts to .mov) file while you work on it. But massive hard drive space is very cheap.
     
  20. ravencr macrumors member

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    Mar 3, 2009
    #20
    Awesome info guys...I really appreciate all the help. This has been perfect...hope it helps some others too.

    Chris
     
  21. ravencr macrumors member

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    Mar 3, 2009
    #21
    When you say home directory, what do you mean exactly? I don't see a home directoy on my mbp specifically.

    Chris
     
  22. simsaladimbamba

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    #22
    Yes, you have. It is the directory where all your folders (Desktop, Music, Pictures, Downloads, Library, Movies) are located and it resides in Macintosh HD/Users/ and is titled "ravencr" or whatever you chose to name your account.
     
  23. ravencr macrumors member

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    Mar 3, 2009
    #23
    Thanks...trying to calculate what size ssd I'll need for OSX, apps, and home folder.

    OWC is showing that their raid setups are up to 250mb/sec, so why even bother with a ssd then is my question?

    Chris
     
  24. simsaladimbamba

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    #24
    That is probably over an S-ATA 3.0 Gb/s connection, like e-SATA. But you need a Mac Pro or MBP with ExpressCard slot for that.

    Anyway, the access time of SSDs is up to 100x faster than a standard HDD (0.1ms vs. 10ms), which is why SSDs are faster too. SSDs don't need to move the head to a certain place to read a file.
     
  25. ravencr macrumors member

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