Mac Mini for Video Editing!

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by The Bronx Bull, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. The Bronx Bull macrumors member

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    Jul 3, 2010
    #1
    So I currently have a 2011 MacBook Air, the 13" model with the i5. It's excellent for basically everything I've ever needed it for; however, I'm looking to get into some somewhat-intensive video editing, where I can take the HD video shot on my GoPro Hero 2 (720p at 30fps, 60fps, 1080p at 30fps) and alter it using the Adobe software bundle - Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects. Clearly, the MacBook air is not intended for very intensive software like this, not to mention my MBA HDD is only 128GB (although I have a 1TB external), which doesn't leave much after these hefty software installs.

    My original plan was to pick up a relatively cheap, but spec'd out Windows laptop, and do my thing. That being said, I wasn't able to find anything decent for under say ~$600. This got me thinking that I may just be better off with a Mac Mini, since I already have an Apple keyboard and mouse, and I can plug it directly into my HDTV for usage.

    My question is this: will the $762 Mac Mini (as per Best Buy) with the AMD dedicated graphics card (256MB), 4GB of RAM, and the i5 processor be sufficient for doing what I need to do? I would probably be editing 5-10 minute videos, possible 20-30 at best. Additionally, I saw 8GB of Kingston RAM for the Mac Mini on Amazon yesterday, so I would probably upgrade that as well.

    Would this machine perform well for me? Much better than the MacBook Air (which simply takes a lot of time to render, encode, and import the movies into iMovie)?
     
  2. WRP macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I was forced to cut 3 full HD tv episodes on a mini 3 years ago. I had to do all color correction, motion graphics, lower 3rds and editing on it. The footage was higher bit-rate than a gopro.

    Get an external drive for your scratch disk and up the ram and you should be fine. Editing isn't processor intensive like motion graphics are. The increased RAM and speed of the external drive on the FW800 bus will help you more than the proc.
     
  3. The Bronx Bull thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Excellent - thank you for your input. Does anyone else have experience with this type of work?
     
  4. Liquinn Suspended

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    Apr 10, 2011
    #4
    I have only the base model fine, I do not use video editing software much but it runs Photoshop quite fine, This is why I'm getting a Macbook Pro at the next refresh to then use Photoshop on the road with a Mac laptop.

    I hope this helped.
     
  5. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

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    #5
    H.264 video *is* processor intensive. Complex codecs like AVCHD and H.264 require much stronger CPUs than a simple one like you get in P2 MXF files, for example... despite being 1080 instead of 720. You might benefit from transcoding via something like CineForm or ProRes, but you should really test your workflow first. It will reveal the reality of the experience for you first-hand. Depending on how fancy you get, it will be both CPU and data throughput (disk read/write) intensive.

    Check out this link from GoPro's website. They straight up say it's "not designed for editing." I can edit it natively on my Mac Pro, but it should give you an idea of what it takes to edit H.264 footage.
     
  6. WRP macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Like he said... those are DELIVERY CODECS which are never to be used for editing. Just because your computer CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD be doing it.
     
  7. The Bronx Bull thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    Fair enough - I never knew that about MPEG!

    The question still stands - assuming I take these GoPro videos, convert them to the GoPro/Cineform format, will the aforementioned Mac Mini be sufficient for editing in Adobe Premiere/After Effects - let alone running these intensive programs fully?
     
  8. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

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    #8
    Here's an interesting read on editing H.264 with Premiere / After Effects CS5.

    I can't answer with firsthand knowledge about editing GoPro on a Mini, but I've edited a great deal of GoPro, DSLR and other HD footage. I can tell you that when I edited a movie shot on P2, I had no problems at all playing back multiple layers with effects on a single quad core, 16GB RAM and three internal disks in a RAID 0 stripe.

    However, as soon as I tried to edit H.264 from Canon 5D, 7D, Nikon D7000 and GoPro cameras, playback of straight footage on the same system was all choppy and unpleasant. I could have transcoded it all, but I chose to upgrade instead. Sometimes, it's better to edit native footage straight away instead of spending a lot of time transcoding first. The info linked above will help, but really, you need to test, research and determine how your individual workflow will run on the systems and tools you plan to use.

    My offhand thought on editing GoPro on a Mini is that it will be on a level of frustrating. Whether that level is mild or extreme, I don't know. I hope it works well for you, and good luck! :)
     
  9. The Bronx Bull thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 3, 2010
    #9
    Thanks man! I figured it would be something like what you're describing: not optimal, but do-able. Perhaps I'll look at other options as well, maybe a cheaper Windows desktop that is spec'd out.
     
  10. WRP macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I can't agree. It isn't ever better to edit native h264 from a DSLR, GoPro, etc.

    Here's the deal. Everyone thinks that since footage is digital it should just be available right now. Sure, you can but it is wrong. If I shoot a few hours of footage on my 7D I need to do a few hours of transcoding to edit it properly (and my computer can absolutely smoke it). Same as when I was editing HDV back in the day. I didn't take out the tape from the case and cut it with a knife. Why, because that isn't the proper workflow. Just as downloading h264 from your camera and putting it in your timeline isn't the proper workflow.

    I have been doing this for a long time and as time and technology change you have to think of things in a new way. Not one single person I know who gets paid for this DOES NOT transcode DSLR, gopro, etc footage. Buying a system that can handle it when your old system would do pro res or something just fine is not a remarkably brilliant idea.

    Besides, after a day of shooting you pop the card in your reader and let it transcode while you are taking a shower or making dinner or god forbid, sleeping. And if you are making money at this you do realize these are billable hours while you are doing nothing.

    Again, just because your system can handle editing a an acquisition and delivery codec doesn't mean you should ever do it. But go ahead and you'll get burned eventually and I'll be sipping a martini, getting paid while you are pulling your hair out.

    And if you don't get this simple idea, you are obviously not even logging your footage.
     
  11. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

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    #11
    We're on a tangent, WRP. I've only been doing this since 1996 myself, and haven't been burned yet. I'm always getting better at what I do, and don't always believe everything I hear, but I do learn from the experience of others and do my own tests. When my clients see my work and gasp that it looks beautiful, or they drop other vendors because my product is better, I consider that a good benchmark of my workflow.

    You don't need to attack my methods, and I certainly won't attack yours. I know about billable hours and logging footage, and I'm doing very well running my own company. I'm sorry if my assessment offended you somehow, and I'm glad you have a method that works for you. I don't understand why you've taken it personally, but it's really not personal. Sounds like we both make enough to drink martinis every day, so what's the problem? :)
     
  12. slitherjef macrumors 6502

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    #12
    So, the bottom line is: If I wan to edit my 5DmkII video files, I must convert the files to something else first?

    If this is true, then that explains a major headache I had trying to edit the files on my PC. I thought I needed some high end software to make the edits (I was just putting clips together with simple transitions) and my PC would choke, I tried windows movie maker (it failed) Adobe premiere elements (had issues) and I was running a quad core i7 at 2.8ghz :eek:
     
  13. WRP, Feb 23, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012

    WRP macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I was running a quad core 2.8 Mac Pro and was able to live edit 16 multiclipped shots of footage shot on RED simultaneously (yes, all 16 clips playing at once live) using open-sync after transcoding to ProRes proxy because that is how you do it. After the final edit is done you go back to full res. But I guess I don't know what I am doing as per others in this thread. Want to bet I could get the same edit done in half the time ans still bill the same hours while drinking martini's? :rolleyes:

    But what do I know...

    [​IMG]

    I could NEVER do that with 16 streams of h.264 no matter how fast my computer was and the RED codec is FAR harder to deal with.

    transcode people.
     
  14. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

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    #14
    Still off topic, but if you have to move twenty boxes from point A to point B, and the boxes are loaded in a perfectly good truck already, why would you unload them into another truck just to move them? That's what your asking someone to do in every case, regardless of need. RED footage, sure. I change my workflow when it makes sense, such as when editing 4.5K.

    In the meantime, when one is able to simply drop footage into a timeline and edit, even with multiple layers and effects on them to boot, using proxies wastes time. I shouldn't have to tell you that while you're drinking martinis, others like myself might be editing already. Your bet that you can get work done in half the time by drinking martinis while transcoding makes exactly zero sense when the other side is already working without any problems. On the other hand, I give you thumbs up for your concept of using a knife to cut HDV footage... that was amusing!

    Re-read the first post. The OP is asking if the Mini will work better than the Air, which he'd like to also use for his television. Answer: Yes, it will. He further asks if after transcoding the footage, will the Mini work with Premiere and After Effects? Answer: It will work, but my definition of "sufficient" and "running these intensive programs fully" may not be the same as his or yours.
     

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