New MacBook Pro - Best Configuration for Video/Movie Making

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JPM05, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. JPM05 macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2008
    The new Macbook Pro's are finally out and the time has come for me to upgrade my old G4 powerbook.

    I recently bought a Sony HDR SR7 which records in AVCHD format. I understand that you need an Intel based Mac to run the necessary software for editing. One of my good friends has asked that I video her wedding at the end of the year and, in addition, I really want to make some cool movies myself.

    So here is the big question:confused:: What configuration of the new 15 inch MacBook Pro should I be buying to allow for future movie making?
    And the little questions (which inform the big question):

    Am I okay with the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor with dual-link DVI support 256MB of GDDR3 memory on 2.4GHz configuration; or should I be paying the extra for the 512MB of GDDR3 memory on 2.5GHz?

    Hard drive
    When video editing is it better to have the extra hard drive space of the 250GB 5400-rpm or would it be better to have the faster 200GB 7200-rpm?

    Is 2GB sufficient? If not, am I right to assume its better to add your own extra SDRAM than pay Apple?

    Extra info
    Is there anything else I really should know before buying the new MacBook Pro?

    All constructive advice gratefully received.

    James :)
  2. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    1. you might want to think about the 512 vram option..might be better for you
    2. i would go with the 7200 200Gb and then get a big external for all your videos and Time machine
    3. i would seriously consider upping the ram to will thank yourself in the long run if you do this!
    4. yes, you are getting an incredible computer and what ever you get, enjoy it and congrats on the future purchase!
  3. greeneggs28 macrumors newbie


    Feb 3, 2008
    San Angelo
    If having a carry around a big laptop is no problem for you, Maybe consider the 17" MBP. I've heard great reviews about the 17" being used for video editing. And if the budget allows, go with the high resolution screen too.
  4. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Video editing doesn't use your graphics card unless you're doing complex effects/color correction.

    Get the 7200rpm for overall better system performance, but you'll have to use an external firewire drive (7200rpm FW800 3.5'' if possible) for editing AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec, the codec that FC and iMovie convert AVCHD to for editing).

    It will work fine, but 4GB will give you better performance. Get it from a 3rd party retailer like newegg (PC2 5300/DDR2 667 200-pin SODIMM).

    Get a matte screen for better color accuracy when video editing.

    I'm a film student with a 2.2 SR MBP (4GB of ram) and I use it extensively for editing (some AIC). Like I said, you'll want an external drive for editing videos. The internal drive is slow as balls, plus having projects, media, apps, etc all on the same drive is not an ideal solution.

    What you want to do is get a external FW800 drive (I have a WD My Book Studio, G-Technology also makes good drives which many people in the industry use). When you set it up, you'll install Final Cut (which I'm assuming you're going to use if you're serious about editing, FCE is $199.) on the internal drive. Then, store your Final Cut project files on the internal drive (make sure you back these up!), and set up your external to be used as the capture scratch and render drive.

    The 15'' screen is definitely fine for editing. While a high-res 1920x1200 screen is nice, you definitely don't need it.
  5. thepandamancan macrumors member


    Jul 24, 2007
    Burbank, CA
    I am an Avid editor and I am going for the middle 15' MBP configuration with a 200GB 7200rpm HDD.
  6. vanbarman macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2008
    Zioxide, thanks for a great reply.

    "Video editing doesn't use your graphics card unless you're doing complex effects/color correction."

    My question is: How is the video card utilized during the act of editing with FC? And how is it utilized during the rendering process if at all?

    As an addendum, what would be considered "complex effects"?

    I'm going to buy the older gen MBP with video editing as a focus. However, do you foresee any major differences between the 128MB and 256MB cards?

    I know the price difference is minimal, and in the long run, more is always better.


  7. milesdavis macrumors regular


    Nov 17, 2007
    What do you think of the MyBook Studio? I was looking at that, it's a better value than the G-Tech drive, tho -- that drive looks more solid. I've read some questionable reviews about the MyBook Studio, but have used other MyBook drives w/ no problem.

    Thanks - MD
  8. JPM05 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2008
    Hey lots of thanks for the posts:) Particularly Zioxide and basesloaded190.

    My thinking is, if the video card isn't essential and is more to do with gaming, then maybe the MBP 15 inch with extra SDRAM and the faster hard drive is the way to go.

    After that I clearly need some external storage and Final Cut Studio or may starting with Final Cut Express.

    Cheers again for the tips.

  9. chinarider macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2008
    Are you going to run Xpress or MC?

    I, too, am an Avid Editor but bought the new MBP to learn Final Cut Studio.
  10. stadtstudio macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2008
    I recommend the 2.5 Ghz Version (6mb cache)
    - 4GB Ram
    - 250GB Harddrive (you dont need the fast internal HD, better get an external harddrive with Firewire 800 and Raid) The fast harddrive can overheat if you give it a hard render job, and then your system shuts down.

    I had that many times with my first MBP, in there was the 100GB 7200rpm HD, it often shut down while using eyetv (because it creates huge files)

    Cutting in FC

    Cutting clips usually doesn`t require rendering. Rendering complex effects like Magic Bullet, color correction etc. does require a good Videocard.
  11. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    By complex effects, I mean stylized effects like "light rays" or "line art" (watch the quick tour to see what i'm talking about). FC will use the video card for playing these effects back in real time (Unlimited RT).

    Simple effects/transitions like cross dissolves, wipes, etc just use the CPU afaik.

    The difference is small. I'd say if the price difference is $250 or less, go for the 256MB. If it's more, then I wouldn't. I couldn't justify paying that much more just for video ram.

    It's great. I have the Studio (500GB) and I also have the last generation Pro (250GB). Both are FW800 and extremely fast. G-Tech is great but I wouldn't pay the extra $50 or so for the single G-Tech drive. If you were looking for a RAID (which will help performance but isn't necessary for DV/HDV or AVCHD) then I'd say get the G-RAID.
  12. vanbarman macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2008
  13. thepandamancan macrumors member


    Jul 24, 2007
    Burbank, CA
    I edit on Avid MC (software only on my 2.4 iMac w 2GB). It's only 300 bucks for students FYI. It runs smoothly on that...I don't do HD so it runs smoothly. I don't think HD would give me a problem anyway.

    I'm gonna pick up the 2.6Ghz model with the 200GB 7200rpm drive in it and 2GB. I just said screw waiting for ordering online, I want the instant gratification and since I'm gonna have it for a while...might as well have the maxed out processor. It'll bump up my rendering times, etc.

    Unfortunately, Avid won't work on Leopard yet. FCP is fairly easy to learn and use...just gotta remember it's not Avid which can be difficult at first.
  14. ahlavac macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2008
    Best Configuration for Graphics, Video Editing, Visual Effects

    I've been working on Windows PC for the last 12 years now and I'm almost financially ready to finally make the smart move from PC to MAC.

    I'm very much into graphic design, video editing, visual effects, etc.

    What would be my ideal configuration? Budget: $10,000

    Programs I use
    Adobe Master Collection CS3

    Programs I'd want
    Final Cut Studio
  15. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    Base model is great for you
    If you are doing video editing, it is unlikely you will use the built in hard drive for long (eventually you will have to move to externals), so, I would favor speed over space. However, the speed difference isn't THAT extreme, so maybe space over speed is better.

    Get 4gbs of ram, buy it 3rd party.

    You don't need to know anything else. Go for it!

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