Minimum apple specs for video editing

PVDHell

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Original poster
Sep 4, 2018
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PVD
hey everyone,

Perhaps a noob question, but I’m a noob when it comes to digital video.

What’s the minimum current iMac or MacBook recommendable for basic to slightly more than basic digital video.

I run an action cam when mountain biking and doing other activities, haven’t gotten into editing more than what can be done from the iPhone app that my camera supports (it’s a GoPro...I know).

I shoot mostly 1080p 60fps; occasional 4K stuff but find it mostly overkill.

This spring/summer I’d like to get more into editing, have room in the budget for a computer and wonder which I should be targeting. Easy answer is the best I can afford, but This computer will see video editing (sharpening, color correction, clip stitching etc) as the hardest work it does. Don’t want to spend more than is necessary to get the job done in a reasonable time frame.

I’m interested in the board’s opinion on the matter.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
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New Jersey Pine Barrens
I don't think you need much for that. Final Cut Pro runs OK on my 2013 i7 MacBook Air, it also ran on my 2012 base i5 Mini. I am currently using a 2012 quad core i7 Mini server and it meets my needs. I work mostly with 1080p30, but have some projects with a lot of effects.

What kind of computer do you have now? Try it with iMovie or Final Cut Pro and see how it does.
 

PVDHell

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 4, 2018
79
59
PVD
I don't think you need much for that. Final Cut Pro runs OK on my 2013 i7 MacBook Air, it also ran on my 2012 base i5 Mini. I am currently using a 2012 quad core i7 Mini server and it meets my needs. I work mostly with 1080p30, but have some projects with a lot of effects.

What kind of computer do you have now? Try it with iMovie or Final Cut Pro and see how it does.
I’m running a 2012 IMac, forget the specs. I downloaded devinci and it barely launches but I admittedly haven’t given it a try with any footage yet.

I’ll try to run some stuff through, see how it goes. Assuming it’s not adequate, which current model would you select at a minimum?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
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"Assuming it’s not adequate, which current model would you select at a minimum?"

Questions like this can't be answered without the additional question:
What's your budget?
 
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Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
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For 1080p even a tiny, fanless 12" MacBook can do it at a push (it does stutter a little with 4K). For a comfortable experience, probably the nTB MacBook Pro or any retina iMac as a baseline.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
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New Jersey Pine Barrens
You haven't really posted the specs, but I suspect you can run Final Cut Pro on your iMac. Apple is pretty good at supporting their older hardware with FCPX. Try the free trial and see what happens: https://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/trial/

If it works.... just use it. After you get some experience you will have a better idea of what kind of system would be a reasonable upgrade.

If you want to run DaVinci, that's another matter. I installed it on my base 2012 mini and played around with it a few years ago. It worked. I have no experience with DaVinci, but if that was my software choice, I'd have to ask myself whether the Mac is the correct platform since it also runs on Windows and Linux.
 

PVDHell

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 4, 2018
79
59
PVD
"Assuming it’s not adequate, which current model would you select at a minimum?"

Questions like this can't be answered without the additional question:
What's your budget?
Let’s just say that I could afford anything in Apple’s lineup. But I’m looking for exactly what I asked, the minimum acceptable specs currently available. I.e. save the most money while getting a workable machine.
 

fhturner

macrumors 6502
Nov 7, 2007
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Birmingham, AL & Atlanta, GA
Let’s just say that I could afford anything in Apple’s lineup. But I’m looking for exactly what I asked, the minimum acceptable specs currently available. I.e. save the most money while getting a workable machine.
That's tough to recommend w/o narrowing down some of the criteria, such as form-factor or budget. If you use Final Cut Pro X with it, then pretty much any current system will work fairly well— FCPX is nicely optimized for whatever Mac hardware that it happens to be on. Even substantially older and lower-powered machines like a 2012 MacBook Air can get the job done w/ FCPX if you don't go overboard w/ what you throw at it. So anything in the current lineup will work well for basic 1080p stuff and occasional 4K like you're talking about.

But that doesn't necessarily mean "saving the most money" and getting the lowest end MacBook or Mac mini will give you the best experience for that money. A slightly up-configured iMac 27" 5K in the low $2000s would probably be a more productive machine but still reflect a good value, especially given how much screen real-estate you'd have in that case. Or if you'd rather have portability, maybe a 13" MacBook Pro paired with an external display at your office. Again, it really does depend on what budget, form factor, etc., you need or want. Because the "minimum apple specs" that would work would probably just be the cheapest Mac you could buy right now.

So, if you have any inkling about what sort of budget or type of machine you're leaning toward, we can help you zero in from there... Alternately, depending on your 2012 iMac's configuration, you might be able to make more use of it for editing w/ some well-chosen upgrades. RAM + SSD can really help out those "middle-aged" to older systems...
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
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OP wrote:
"Let’s just say that I could afford anything in Apple’s lineup. But I’m looking for exactly what I asked, the minimum acceptable specs currently available. I.e. save the most money while getting a workable machine."

Well, ok.

In that case, I'd recommend either the 2017 5k 27" "midrange" (3.5ghz) iMac, or the 2017 5k 27" i7 iMac.
Be aware that there have been numerous complaints about "fan noise" with the i7 version.
The 3.5ghz 7600 CPU runs quieter, so they say.
 

PVDHell

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 4, 2018
79
59
PVD
OP wrote:
"Let’s just say that I could afford anything in Apple’s lineup. But I’m looking for exactly what I asked, the minimum acceptable specs currently available. I.e. save the most money while getting a workable machine."

Well, ok.

In that case, I'd recommend either the 2017 5k 27" "midrange" (3.5ghz) iMac, or the 2017 5k 27" i7 iMac.
Be aware that there have been numerous complaints about "fan noise" with the i7 version.
The 3.5ghz 7600 CPU runs quieter, so they say.
Perfect, thanks for that! I can look for a used machine, a few local retailers deal in used Apple computers.

Follow-up, is there any real (or better stated, any significant) loss of performance or functionality in selecting a MacBook Pro over an iMac? I’m setting up my home office, so an iMac makes a lot of sense; and having a larger screen would be great! But I also imagine having the portability of a laptop computer might be nice when I take biking trips etc.
 

PVDHell

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 4, 2018
79
59
PVD
Ok so I’ve settled in on 2 models I think. I want new so they’re both in Apple’s current lineup.

What’s the forums general take on MacBook Pro 15” vs iMac 5k.

The MacBook Pro: would be the current top end model in 15”, I’d pick it up as specc’d (no upgrades)

The iMac would be the current top end 5k 27” model, similarly bone stock.

It seems like the iMac has the far better graphics card; but the MBP is portable.

I can get 200gb miniSD’s for my action cams for like $50-60 so maybe the portability is not that important?

What say Ye?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
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"The iMac would be the current top end 5k 27” model, similarly bone stock."

THIS is "the choice" but again ... get one with an SSD inside (you have to order these through Apple's "build to order" pages online).