MBP Specs for Editing 1080p?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by hazykev, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. hazykev macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2010
    Hi all,

    I'm trying to price up a system that I'll be using to edit 1080p video. In addition, I'll be recording sound at 24Bit/96Khz so I imagine that will need a bit more processing power.

    I know, I know, this quality seems excessive to me too but I do what I'm payed to do!

    Ignoring the considerations of the massive amount of Hard Disc space that this will take (I'll be using externals), what spec of MBP should I be looking at?

    Ideally the MBP would be one of the 15" models for reasons of convenience.

    What graphics card, processor and RAM are going to be needed to make editing these files tolerable. I don't want to be waiting around for hours to export files.

    I understand that there is a new range of MBPs arriving soon(?) but regardless, how much do you think a machine capable of my demands might set me back.

    Thank you all!
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    It depends on what kind of camera you have in mind.

    If it uses AVCHD footage, it has to be converted first, which will take its time.
    There are also two codec variants you can choose if you go the FCP route, AIC and ProRes, the latter allows low-res proxy files, which is less taxing for the CPU and can be batch import/capture the high-res footage after you have finished the editing process.

    Or do you want to use FCE or iMovie or Premiere or even Avid MC?

    I also would advise the 17" MBP due to the higher screen resolution (1920 x 1200 vs 1440 x 900), but the 15" MBP might suffice your needs in that regard.

    Do you plan on doing any more "stuff" with your footage, like compositing or colour correcting it ... ?
  3. hazykev thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2010
    Wow, there's a lot there I just haven't thought about. Thanks.

    As you can tell, I don't really know a great deal about all this. I basically have to shoot some training videos, which for some reason, the client wants stupidly high resolution.

    The camera we're using captures 1080p @ 30fps - H.264, MOV file format, we'll be capturing into final cut pro.

    I think that's pretty standard consumer faire? If the 15" will do the job which spec in particular?

    Do I need the 9400+9600 Graphics card or will less do? Which processor is sufficient?

    You've given me loads to think about, thanks,
  4. matteusclement macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008
    Dual GFX all the way

    Do I need the 9400+9600 Graphics card or will less do? Which processor is sufficient?

    Since this is a laptop, you will never again be able to upgrade your graphics card. If my understanding is correct, the dual gfx will be awesome for FC's COLOR which is GPU heavy. I had FCP suite 2 and never thought i would get into color but the moment i did, my GFX card sucked. I had to wait over night for so much of my stuff. :(

    As far as CPU, same again... you only get one shot.
    For this video which is using a H.264 codec, the CPU is going to be taxed either way. By either way I mean editting in H264 OR when you convert it to AIC or Prores. The more cycles the better for converting.

    BUT... if you get the 17" you get one HUGE advantage... express3/4 slot. This slot will allow you to have an eSata drive and thus a RAID set up. If you can get a raid set up, you will be miles ahead.

    Granted this is pricey, but it sounds like you are getting paid to do this and get this comp.
  5. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    What matteusclement says. Get the best laptop you can afford. Not only will it give you better performance, but it will allow you to use it further into the future. You will be editing HD video, which is one of, if not the, most taxing things you can use your machine for. The extra money now will pay off in the long run.

    Are you certain that you need a laptop? You can get a lot more bang for the buck out of a desktop machine. The Core i7 iMac is really sweet. Can't carry it around with you, though :)
  6. AWalkerStudios macrumors member


    Nov 25, 2007
    Don't edit using h.264 files! Use something like MPEG Streamclip or Compressor to convert your files prior to editing. Use XDCAM EX 1080p30 (35 MB/s VBR) for your 1080p 30p footage.
  7. gødspeed macrumors regular


    Jun 11, 2009
    I'm glad to have a 17" MBP for editing video. Editing at native resolution isn't quite as important as some seem to think; you don't get an accurate picture of what your project will look like on any MBP display, including the 1920x1200 17" screen -- and especially not the glossy version of it. But the extra screen real estate and improved PPI really are nice for any kind of multimedia work, and that alone was worth the extra $$$ for me. If you're doing professional work, regardless of which MBP you go with, you will want a dedicated display to monitor output on.

    As for editing, definitely transcode h.264 footage to ProRes 422 format. Editing h.264 is absurdly slow and system-intensive. Compressor, MPEG Streamclip, and other apps offer this transcoding functionality.

    edit -- not sure why you think ExpressCard 3/4 is so important. eSATA read and write speeds through an ExpressCard port are only marginally faster than FW800, if at all.
  8. matteusclement macrumors 65816


    Jan 26, 2008

    oh, my bad about the eSata. I haven't used it, but I know about the theoretical speeds.

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