is iMac 21.5 inch sufficient for HD Video Editing?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by cjhfengphoto, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. cjhfengphoto macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    #1
    I think this might have been asked many times in general, but I guess everyone has their unique situation.

    I am trying to get into videography. I've been doing photography/photoshop type of work on my old laptop. I just placed an order for iMac 21.5 inch, I got the refurb one for $999.99 instead of waiting for the 2012 models. I think $999.99 is a great price for now.

    I wonder is it sufficient to run 1080P video editing on Premiere/Final Cut?

    I am not trying to do very advance graphics like those in After Effects, just some basic clip cutting and putting pieces together and make a short clip video.

    Thanks.
     
  2. arjen92 macrumors 65816

    arjen92

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    #2
    You should be fine. Render times might be a little bit longer though.
     
  3. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

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    Lincoln, UK
    #3
    The 21.5 has the right resolution and enough power, so you should be OK.

    Over time you may want something more powerful, but by then there will be new models out that give you more bang for your buck. Selling your 21.5" then and buying the new equivalent model (which will likely exceed current top end iMacs) will probably be cheaper than buying top end now.
     
  4. cjhfengphoto, Mar 25, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012

    cjhfengphoto thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 24, 2012
    #4
    Mac maintains good resale value?
    Actually will I benefit much from the wait if I decided to wait for 2012 Mac ? I am going for the base line ones.
     
  5. MacStu09 macrumors regular

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    Aug 27, 2009
    #5
    Yes, Macs retain good resale value. And yes, it will be sufficient for what you are needing.

    HD video can technically be played back and edited on a core2duo machine. (Though not edited well in native AVCHD). You will be fine. Though I would advise upgrading the ram from the standard 4 to 8gb.

    I'm assuming you got the 2.5ghz i5 one. It will handle most tasks with ease. Especially if you're just getting into videography, there's no way you'll need more than what you're getting. I've edited 1080p 60p on the exact computer with 8gb of ram - render times were not bad at all, and editing was a breeze...well, I say that in regards to the actual performance of the computer. Using Final Cut Pro X to edit a professional multi-layered video...just...the worst thing ever. Any experienced precision-editors know exactly why. For the first time in my life, I actually requested to switch to Premiere. Nonetheless, you're good. No worries with your new setup.
     
  6. Moonjumper macrumors 68000

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    Lincoln, UK
    #6
    Look at ebay to see second hand values. They are generally much better than Windows PC second hand prices.

    My 24" iMac is over 5 years old and still runs Lion quite nicely. It still has a second hand value higher than many new PCs.
     
  7. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 6, 2005
    #7
    Yes it will work.

    Add your own memory, there are 4 slots. You get 2x2GB standard. Add another 8GB (2x4GB) on your own for a total of 12GB.
     
  8. Zwhaler macrumors 603

    Zwhaler

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    Jun 10, 2006
    #8
    This iMac will work fine for basic to medium editing. Let us know how it is when you get it (FCP X)
     
  9. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #9
    You have to understand a couple details in that regard. On an imac if a hard drive dies, it's quite expensive to replace it. I'd check if the ssd can be reasonably swapped out still. If you can, and you're buying today, larger ssds should be affordable when your warranty runs out. On the 21.5" the cost of Applecare is kind of a lot percentage wise. I'm not sure whether it's worth it.

    With imacs in general, residual value depends on how good the display looks to a large degree. This varies with use and usage patterns, as all displays do degrade over time. Used macs in general fluctuate based on how different the new one is. They tend to lose a lot of value once they're no longer able to run the current OS and are past their supported life. If the display goes, they're worthless. Upgrades like ram or ssds are not likely to add much to residual value because by the time you go to sell it assuming a couple years of use, comparable amounts of ram or equivalent ssd sizes are usually much much cheaper.

    If the machine is in good condition, you will probably get more for it (sometimes significantly more) than you would a used Windows PC of comparable age. It really depends on what is considered desirable at the time, and you should not consider this a guarantee or view residual value as a long term investment.
     
  10. Erendiox macrumors 6502a

    Erendiox

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    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #10
    I've done some serious video editing on iMacs. My thesis film for college was cut on a 20inch 2.4 Core2Duo and I was happy with the performance. The current quad-core iMacs should be much much faster with render times. I expect you'll be fine. Just remember to keep you footage external and connected over FW800.
     
  11. mBox macrumors 68020

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    Jun 26, 2002
    #11
    render times depend on the workflow.
    I teach FCP/FCPX at local college and first thing I push is that base media should be legal as in ProRes and not AVCHD/h.264.
    Reason for this is the on the fly render factor.
    take this away during an overnight (sometimes over coffee/lunch) cpu dance and you should be fine.
    next is to ask yourself whether you need to play with the other evil cpu eaters such as Optical Flow.
    then last, full on footage effects, not transition and not simple text on screen but crazy distort slash color correct slash motion blur on a 20 min clip type.
    get rid of all that and should be able to tell your story with out having to wait forever on that poor iMac.
    the college I teach at (nights) use iMacs with 4GB RAM.
    plus get an external drive.
    dont use the local drive ever and I mean ever!!
     
  12. lJoSquaredl macrumors regular

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    Mar 26, 2012
    #12
    See I was told that you need an SSD or dual 7200rpm or more hard drives to do HD video rendering at all.
     
  13. simsaladimbamba

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    located
    #13
    That is not true, as rendering is CPU intensive and unless you have a very fast CPU, that can outperform read and write speeds from an internal HDD or properly connected external HDD (Firewire 800 or Thunderbolt), rendering will not perform faster significantly with SSDs or RAIDs. We are talking about pro/consumer grade video editing here, as most consumer video footage gets delivered highly compressed and if one is fond of an editing codec, properly transcoded (20 or more MB/s of properly transcoded HD video).
    I recently edited a 1080p film on my 2007 iMac and 2009 MBP and all the rendering that was done to the footage never exceeded 5 MB/s read or write speeds. Nowadays CPUs are faster, up to six times, thus I could get read/write speeds of 30 MB/s. Any current HDD can offer that, even via USB 2.0.
     
  14. mBox macrumors 68020

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    Jun 26, 2002
    #14
    if you can afford to add 7200RPM/SSD drives, go for it.
    most have edited with less.
    its not like Avid where if you dont use the right drives, it would void tech support.
    from my experience Avid has done this in the past where they do a check list of what your running it on.
    the minute your off the required list, they tend to be un-helpful and start to lay blame on the first thing they dont support.
    which is total bs.
    sorry for getting off topic :)
     
  15. simsaladimbamba

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    located
    #15
    That is why I just use the Avid Community Forums for troubleshooting, but I can sometimes understand their harsh regulations, having seen so many configs during my time, that it might be really hard for them to test it all, though I don't know what HDDs have to do with that.
    They also have a much bigger lobby section than Apple and Adobe as far as I have seen, as a friend of mine wrote her diploma about changing the editing environment from Avid to FCP (in 2009) in an international broadcasting house. It would have been cheaper to go from all Windows PCs to Macs and train the editors from Avid to FCP than staying with Avid, even with all the network storage requirements (Unity to FC Server) and all the shebang.
    In the end Avid lobbied so hard, that the station stayed with Avid News Cutter and Media Composer and Symphony, which might have been the better choice in the long run, as FCP X might have been a bit of a downer in that environment (26 editing bays).
    Yeah, off-topic. But mBox is at fault, s/he started it. :p
     
  16. mBox macrumors 68020

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    Jun 26, 2002
    #16
    Haha sorry for that :)
    Im a he just so you know.
    That is way off topic but to get back on, I suggest not spending too much on the software as a beginner.
    As much as what you heard out there, if you plan on doing this on your own and would like to add this to your photography repertoire, then your prime candidate for FCPX.
    A few wedding photo friends have just started adding video to their packaging and have had great results using FCPX.
    The reason, cause they didn't know any better ;)
    LOL!
    For 350 CAD bucks you can run FCPX on 5 different computers.
    Most on a budget like that ;)
     
  17. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
    #17
    That's not exactly unique to Avid and, honestly, if you are using a configuration that they can't verify works what is tech support supposed to do? I'd rather a company issue a recommend hardware list and know those configurations inside and out than attempt to support everything under the sun so tech support calls turn into taking shots in the dark (which I can do just fine on my own).

    I've had experience with companies like Matrox, Blackmagic, JLCooper, Apple, etc., tell me that I was running an unsupported configuration so there's not much they can do for me until that changes. One time a tech support guy said that my issue might be that I was using an network card in slot 3. He should I shouldn't be using his device w/a network card at all but if I did it should be in slot 2 not slot 3. I had to explain to him more than once that the configuration I had couldn't change and I'd just return his product if he couldn't help me. We tried some other things but the caveat of 'since you are using an unsupported configuration this might not work' was never too far away. Ultimately I got it to work but the source of the problem was that their setup utility was a worthless piece of trash not that was using the network card. Ugh.

    Off topic, but mBox started it. ;)


    Lethal
     
  18. mBox macrumors 68020

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    Jun 26, 2002
    #18
    Haha now I feel bad ;) yea I got a bit off Avid hate on right now. Just upgraded to 6 and its been a pain for the last week for me :p
    But back to the hard-drive subject.
    Is it more HD or RAM or CPU as far as HD goes?
    I dont have this experience since all the gear I use are on the tech heavy side.
    I do edit on my 2009 Uni 17" (time to time) but it has 4GB RAM and eSATA.
    Not a fair example right?
     
  19. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
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    Los Angeles
    #19
    Yes. :D

    It really depends. The more compressed the footage the more it will tax the CPU but the less it will tax the hard drives where as less compressed footage will tax the drives more and the CPU less. You could playback uncompressed HD on an '04 G4 tower as long as you had it hooked up to a fast enough disk array but the same machine would just choke if fed HDV.

    RAM starts coming into play w/regards to program responsiveness and how many effects you can playback in real time. The CPU (or GPU if you are using a program that utilizes the GPU) comes into play here as well.

    Video editing is one of the few uses of a computer that can tax every part of the system at the same time and pro quality gear has to be accurate down to 1/60th of a second and reliable enough to continuously capture or output a video stream for hours on end w/o any hiccups. I remember when I built my first PC for editing back in '00/'01 and it was based around the Matrox RT2500 capture card (back when you still needed hardware assistance to playback a single stream of DV reliably) and the specs list for that literally went down to the level of which driver version to use for the south bridge chipset on the mobo and what specific order each component and each component's driver should be installed. It was pretty insane.


    Lethal
     
  20. mBox macrumors 68020

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    Jun 26, 2002
    #20
    Which kills me about Avid.
    You technically dont need the Nitris DX anymore if you have access to other options.
    We got stuck with the pricey DX box and useless since we've gone totally all R3D.
    Sure we can hook up a BetaCamSP....sure :p
    Man I tell yaa my hate is heavy here for Avid :(
    LOL!
     
  21. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
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    Los Angeles
  22. mBox macrumors 68020

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    Jun 26, 2002
    #22
    Maybe Im not that old but please tell me what BSP is :) Okay I lie, Im pretty ancient ;)
     
  23. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #23
    Shorthand for BetaSP. No worries, when I'm your age I'll probably have senior moments too. :D


    Lethal
     
  24. mBox macrumors 68020

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    Jun 26, 2002
    #24
    LOL! Ive never heard it that way but thanks ;) You know your old when your still aching from a bad snowboard spill back in Jan :p
     
  25. classicaliberal macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #25
    it will work perfectly fine with the iMovie of today.

    With each new version of iMovie, it will get harder and harder to edit with old machines. They add new processor intensive features, so all buying a slower machine today will do is reduce the number of future versions you'll be able to upgrade to without significant loss of speed.
     

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