Imac or Mac Pro for AVCHD video editing?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Goodfella2, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. Goodfella2 macrumors newbie

    Apr 23, 2009
    Hi folks. Newbie to the mac world here. I'm debating whether to go with the Imac of the Mac pro to do some amateur photo and video editing with my new Canon HF 11 HD camcorder. I have NEVER worked with video before and I'm a little nervous pulling the trigger after visiting several Apple stores. I've heard some nightmares about editing high definition video in the AVCHD format.

    I guess I'm asking editing with AVCHD possible with an IMAC? Are the new 24inch IMACs going to be power enough? Would you recommend a powerful Mac Pro instead? Do you see any issues with the AVCHD format? Again, I'm a rookie with the video and have no idea what I'm getting into. Thanks for your time!
  2. baypharm macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2007
    Of course the new iMacs are powerful enough. I used a 2.16 iMac for HD editing and processing and it worked great with FCP or Express. So the new iMacs will be even faster.
  3. djc6 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    How long on average are the clips you plan on recording? What is your ultimate destination for the video?

    I'm new to video - I have a Canon HG10 AVCHD camera, and I tend to shoot small clips under 5 minutes in length. I edit them on my 2.4Ghz mid-2007 iMac without too much difficulty. There is nothing for the mac that edits AVCHD directly; everything gets converted to the apple intermediate codec or some other codec first AFAIK.

    I ask about the 'ultimate destination' because after editing I have to take time transcoding into 720p (for or 480p (for DVDs). De-interlacing also takes a little time.
  4. MrENGLISH macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2009
    Can't really compare the current iMacs to the old 2007 iMacs because the newer iMacs have a higher L2 Cache Bus (6MB vs 4MB) which would make an impact on render times.

    Since OP is doing Amateur editing I think a Mac Pro would be overkill. An iMac will be just fine.

    I'm a professional video editor and I plan to order the 2.93GHz iMac 4850 to replace my old PowerMac G5 Quad. I'm temp using a Mac mini until my iMac arrives and even that is fine for basic editing.

    Only benefit of going with a Mac Pro would be to speed-up render times.

    As far as editing in AVCHD, I think you'll be fine. Problem with AVCHD is that the footage is highly compressed and not ideal for editing with. Would be better to convert to a codec better suited for editing.
  5. ravencr macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2009
    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.

  6. ravencr macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2009
    Okay, here's the verdict:

    I imported my AVCHD files from my HMC40 directly into iMovie via usb. Then, I imported the .mov files into Adobe Premiere, and the difference is amazing. Premiere has no problems playing the video's not jumpy skipping multiple frames, etc. So, now the question is do I need to You guys might have saved me a small fortune!

    On a different note, but similar, based on what we discussed above, I found out some interesting things in regards to the imac and mbp I thought I'd share, as well:

    1) The MBP can have a SSD or any other 2.5" HDD installed in place of the existing optical drive if desired.
    2) The iMac can do the same thing, but instead of the optical drive being replaced, the internal card reader is replaced instead, so instead of being able to run 2 drives, one 3.5" and one 2.5" drive, you can run one 3.5" and two 2.5" drives.
    3) Express card esata doesn't tend to work well with optical drives, so fw800 is the preferred connection to an external blu-ray player, for example. It's slower, but plenty fast for the burners apparently.
    4) OWC's two different SSD's basically are the same, but the Raid version has more space allotted for bad sectors to be stored as they go bad, so essentially that's why they last longer and maintain the same speeds longer than the regular ones they offer. It's 4 times that of the regular ones...
    5) In regards to using the SSD as a scratch disk or any use for that matter, OWC says it's totally fine, but the main reason people don't is because of cost.
    6) Apparently if you've seen Raid drives that can read at 250mb/sec, the bottleneck isn't the drive but rather the expresscard esata card that will essentially cut that in half.
    7) If you're looking to upgrade to an external blu-ray writer, Toast Titanium with the blu-ray plug is required on a mac to burn blue ray discs, because mac basically has no support for this natively. I'd imagine if you use Premiere or possibly final cut, they'd do it no problem...not sure, but not through iMovie.

    All I can say is Stephen Lorence at OWC was amazing. After spending 1:30 hours on the chat with him, I got all my questions answered, and now my only concern is do a need to upgrade to the iMac or not? And, if not, should I get a SSD drive to replace my internal optical and run my apps and OSX only off of it, leaving my existing drive in place for my files, etc?? It would definitely be way cheaper, that's for sure.

    I can't say enough how much I appreciate everyone's help on here...I couldn't have figured all this out with you. Many thanks!!


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