Mac Pro vs. IMac for Video Editing...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ravencr, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. ravencr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #1
    I currently own the latest edition of the Macbook Pro 17" that I've fully max'd out for ram after purchasing it. I use Adobe Premier CS4 for editing 1080p and 720p video. The Macbook Pro really can't keep up, making my editing hard to accomplish quickly, especially when rendering a video. It plays the video choppy when editing, which makes editing really hard to accomplish, obviously. It will do it, otherwise, with no problems, other than being slow as molasses when rendering.

    My question is should I get a IMac 27" fully loaded or a comparable Mac Pro, and what would be the benefits of one or the other for my application/use? I usually have PhotoShop, Premier, Mail, & Chrome open nearly all the time, and I want something that will smoothly play 1080p video when editing the movie and can render the video much quicker than my MBP.

    Your help is greatly appreciated...

    Chris
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    What kind of footage do you edit? Do you edit AVCHD natively? If that is the case, then transcoding the footage to a proper editing codec would solve you problem, and even an iMac would satisfy your needs.
     
  3. ravencr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #3
    I currently copy the files directly from the Sd card to my harddrive, then import them into Premier. When setting up my sequence, I match the sequence specs to the imported video, which is all AVCHD. When exporting the video I export using H.264. Does that help?

    Chris
     
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #4
    AVCHD is very CPU intensive, even a Mac Pro would get to its knees doing that. Editing is best done using an editing codec like ProRes or DNxHD (FCP and AMC), I do not know, what Premiere uses. Maybe take a look at the help of Premiere. But know, that a proper editing codec will take up much more HDD space than that AVCHD footage.
     
  5. ravencr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #5
    So does that mean I'd be better off using FCP for editing? Could I use either of those codecs within premier?

    Chris
     
  6. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #6
    Premiere has obviously its own native codec, ProRes is tied to Final Cut Pro and DNxHD is tied to Avid Media Composer.

    Didn't you get a help menu when you installed Premiere and can look, what a proper editing codec for Premiere (the "e" is not voluntary) is? I don't use Premiere anymore (got rid of it when version 6 came out), but then I used the DV PAL codec Premiere offered, but for HD footage there should be something similar.
     
  7. ravencr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #7
    I'm confused. I can export using either of those codecs, but if I want to edit using those codecs so they play easier on my computer, how do I do that? Nothing is help brings anything up.

    Chris
     
  8. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #8
    Do you have FCP or Avid MC installed?
     
  9. ravencr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
  10. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #10
    Unless you're doing something batnuts insane like using tempgaussmc to deinterlace 1080i video, you should be fine with either the high end iMac or mac pros for general purpose hd video editing.
     
  11. mediacomposer macrumors newbie

    mediacomposer

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #11
    Get it

    I have a fully maxed out 2010 27" iMac and use it primarily for video editing with Avid Media Composer, codecs aside I would HIGHLY recommend getting it. It's such a beast of a machine and for the price beats the hell out of a Mac Pro. You can't beat the integrated LED screen and included wireless peripherals. The graphics card brings the noise too. I can't imagine editing anything on a mobile set-up, so you'll love the move to a real desktop.
     
  12. ravencr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #12
    Thanks for the help...glad to hear it's working for you as I had planned. What type of footage are your editing with Avid on your iMac?

    Chris
     
  13. aki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #13
    I have done video editing mostly in FCP for a few years on a series of high-end iMacs.

    First, don't be distracted by the AVCHD issue. No one really edits in that format, and FCP and other software have their own high-efficiency codecs to enable editing - in the case of FCP, ProRes as already noted. It's not something you need to think about at the hardware purchase stage.

    Second, a modern iMac is more than a perfectly capable FCP machine (I can't speak to the Adobe products but I presume the same). For basic editing it works as fast as I can think. The only area where it gets a little "time to make a cup of coffee" is when you are creating particularly complex animations and the like in Motion, and exporting/transcoding - both of which take time on any hardware. I consider the iMac a very good "mid-range" video editing option.

    Third, I have one qualification, something that has really only come up for me in the past year and over which there is some argument, so understand I'm only giving my personal view/experience. The iMac is a compact machine. It runs hot (especially under Apple default fan settings - they value silence as much as a svelte look it seems). If you are doing a lot of intensive video work - and by this I mean CPU/GPU-intensive, ie. a lot of Motion work or a lot of transcoding - your temperatures will be high for sustained periods. This has caused issues for me in two of the iMacs I have worked on in the past few years. For this reason, next time round, I am seriously going to consider whether I can afford to pony up for a Mac Pro (I mean, a "tower" model).

    With this caveat aside, I consider the iMac a very reasonable choice. It is certainly capable enough.

    Good luck!
     
  14. ravencr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #14
    Well, it sounds like FCP edits AVCHD differently than Premier...am I correct?
    Are you editing HD footage with yours? AVCHD?
    When you say issues, what has it caused exactly? Have you found a reasonable way to cool it down? External Fans? SMSFanControl?
    Thanks for all your comments. I really appreciate it.

    Chris
     
  15. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #15
    FCP transcodes AVCHD to ProRes or AIC (if you want to), thus bigger file sizes and less CPU use.
    Premiere does edit AVHCD natively (though it should be able to transcode it properly to another format and codec), therefore the CPU is used much more to properly decode every frame during usage in an editing application like Premiere.
     
  16. ravencr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #16
    I have no idea how to get it to work to edit non-natively in Premier using ProRes or the Avid Codec...anyone know how to change what Premier uses during editing?

    Chris
     
  17. aki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #17
    I think the AVCHD thing is a red herring, but to answer your question - I don't know what Premier does specifically, but AVCHD is not an editing format, and contemporary desktop machines generally don't have the power to edit them comfortably. Just because your camera hardware produces AVCHD files doesn't mean you have to shop around for AVCHD-capable hardware. Instead, all video-editing packages have some sort of intermediate format option/s you will use. In the case of FCP, which is the only system I know well, when you connect your camera and import your footage, FCP will transcode your raw clumsy AVCHD into clean, editable ProRes (or, presumably, any other codec you might like to edit it - ProRes seems the best choice though). Usually transcoding is bad, as you lose quality. In this case though it's the Right Thing To Do. ProRes is still extremely high quality but is much more managable.

    (If this is still confusing, think MPEG2. No one edited in that, it was a destination format. AVCHD is a camera format, not what you want or need to be editing in.)

    I edited both SD and HD footage and the iMacs worked well with both.

    Heat related issues. One (older) mac suffered from random shutdowns due to heat. A more recent iMac developed the "grey smudge" issue which you can see mentioned on various threads in these forums - I'm reliably informed this is heat related. Lastly, although I haven't experienced this myself because my iMacs end up being cycled fairly often, people say high temperatures reduce HD lifespan - so you wouldn't want to be not backing up your footage, if you are storing it on your internal.

    I have used temperature monitor and smcfancontrol for a long time, because I also use intensive apps under bootcamp Windows, which requires heat management. Although I'm sure this helps with HD longevity, I must sadly report my i7 27" 2010 iMac has developed the grey smudge issue in the top right of the screen - despite fairly high fan speeds (generally - occasionally I forget to set them higher and temps soar, I guess that's what did it).

    It seems that Apple will replace these "smudge" screens if you are under warranty, which I am at present. But it's this sort of thing which is making me consider a "tower" option next time round. (I may have considered a tower before this actually but my workspace was very limited and I needed the iMac form factor.)

    EDIT: Ok, I had no idea Premiere edited AVCHD natively. That sounds sort of weird to me but then maybe I'm just too used to the FCP/ProRes set up. Anyway, I should say in that case, IF you want to use Premiere, AND you want to or have to edit in AVCHD - then I can't give you any info on the iMac's performance.
     
  18. ravencr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #18
    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 now...it's not jumpy skipping multiple frames, etc. So, now the question is do I need to upgrade...lol? 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!!

    Chris
     
  19. ravencr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #19
    The rest of the vids will be uploaded here, but I've determined that importing footage using iMovie and then editing in Premiere or iMovie is a cinch on my laptop now. I've uploaded some videos in reference to how to maximize video quality and minimize file size, resulting in faster upload times, and quicker viewing experience when watching on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/hmc40videos?feature=mhum

    I've found this to be the best encoder and the one I'll be using from now on, both for Premiere and iMovie: http://www003.upp.so-net.ne.jp/mycometg3/ It's the x264Encoder listed at the top of the page. For the best settings, watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RVKfn7JW-c

    Hope this helps...it sure has helped me save a ton of time, computer resources, money, rendering time, editing time, etc. I appreciate all the help,

    Chris

    It's not uploaded yet, but I've got a side by side comparison video between the x264Encoder and H264 rendering now and will soon be uploaded. You'll notice the difference right away.
     
  20. ravencr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #20
    Here's the rest of the videos I uploaded yesterday testing ClipWrap and 1080/60p output from the TM700. I'm most interested to hear if you guys can tell which side is better of the side by side comparisons I did, because you'll be amazed at the file size difference.

    But, I'm still perplexed with my stupid MBP...still jittery, yet even when I play these videos on my iphone they're silky smooth. Very weird and annoying...guess an upgrade is needed still.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/hmc40videos?feature=mhum#p/p

    Chris
     
  21. xpipe macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
  22. ravencr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #22
    Really? By how much you think? Can you tell a difference at the regular size or just full screen?

    Chris
     
  23. xpipe macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    #23
    I'm not sure how to quantify it...I noticed the difference at regular size, and confirmed it at fullscreen. The left is a bit clearer on the fine details, I think. The right isn't bad though.

    You see how the satellite dish is a nice circle on the left, but kind of jagged on the right? Those sort of differences...
     

    Attached Files:

  24. ravencr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #24
    How well does it play on your computer? Does it stutter or appear to skip frames at all, jittery, etc? Or does it play silky smooth like it should? And, if you don't mind me asking, what's your computer setup?

    I did this on my 17" MBP, and even though it plays somewhat smooth in iMovie while editing, which is good, it still plays jittery in both QT and on YouTube, which is so annoying. My freakin' iphone plays it silky smooth and my stupid $3K+ MBP can't???

    Chris
     
  25. xpipe macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    #25
    I just played it on a 2008 3.06GHz iMac, a 2009 2.53GHz MacBook Pro, current i7 iMac, an iPhone, and an iPad. I watched the 1080p version on the iMacs, 720p on the laptop, and whatever the iPad and iPhone show by default. It plays pretty smoothly on the iMacs and laptop, with occasional jerks you see on flash videos. I then compared the html 5 presentation of the videos; these played the same as the flash versions. It played the same on the iPad and iPhone.
     

Share This Page