No video editing? Never EVER???

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dukejen04, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. dukejen04 macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008
    OK- I have spent the last several days reading over these forums, and I am still stuck...what I really want to know is: Is video editing really IMPOSSIBLE with the MacBook Air? I know everyone suggests a MB/MBP for people who want to do this, and I realize they do the job better, but CAN it be done with the MBA.

    Here is my situation:
    Currently using a half-dead Powerbook G4. I am in a Master's program abroad, and do a LOT of traveling, both for fun and because I am a high level athlete. Computer always comes with me, it is like a vital appendage. I also carry my computer back and forth between home/class/lab on a daily basis. MBA portability is HUGE for me.

    Uses: 90% of the time- regular stuff like Internet, email, word processing, excel. Stuff like that.

    However, I've really enjoyed being able to occasionally use video editing to post my sports/travel highlight clips on my webpage/blog. Not on a daily basis, but occasionally.

    I really would hate to lose this function completely with the MBA. Even though I KNOW that isn't what it is designed for, it is something I enjoy. I also realize that I don't do it often, so I could "lose" the option of video, it would just make me sad.

    My question- can I do basic video editing? Think short clips, iMovie, no special effects kind of stuff.

    I really want the MBA- I've been stealing my dad's all summer (but sadly do not currently have a video camera capable of inputing via USB, so I can't test drive that aspect), and it is FANTASTIC.

    Has anyone tried basic video editing? Is it impossible, or just slow? I realize it would be better with a MB/MBP, but my question is: do I really have to lose this function forever, or just compromise on how much I can do with it.

    Also- is HD video totally out of the question (seriously, not just slow but impossible), because it looks like that is what the USB videos cameras are doing these days. Plus they are just cooler cameras.


    PS. I am probably going to wait for rev. 2, in case that might be any help. If the Powerbook doesn't die, which it might...any day now.
  2. davidjearly macrumors 68020


    Sep 21, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    You will be able to do this on the MBA just fine.
  3. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    only drawbacks are

    1) slower processor than other notebooks
    2) 4200rpm hd if you go hd route
  4. dukejen04 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008
    Yes- I realize the MBA isn't as "high functioning" and I'm kind of OK with that at this point, given my nomadic lifestyle. I'm considering the SSD, my dad gets really big discounts with his company, so that is a possibility. Do you think it would make a legitimate difference?

    Plus I figure- I am running Mac OS 10.3, with a 1.5Ghz powerpc processer and 512 MB of SDRam. If I can do stuff on this, the MBA is better, right?

    What if the video is HD? In small doses (putting a few 10-30 second clips together), will I be risking meltdown?

    Also- anyone have an idea of "what" would be need to be better in a second revision to make the MBA more capable of this kind of thing?
  5. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    The Macbook Air is faster than any of Apple's Power PC laptops.
  6. anim8or macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2006
    Scotland, UK
    If you are only doing video for uploading to your blog then you do not need to worry about HD video at all.....

    My advice would be to get a video camera that records to a digital flash card like an SD card.

    There are many of these out there and they capture a decent enough video for editing and eventual uploading to a blog. I think there may even be a few that capture at full PAL/NTSC resolution.

    This way you can get a USB card reader to transfer files form the camera's card to the MBA.

    I shouldn't think that what you are trying to acheive be impossible, otherwise Apple would not offer iMovie with MBA or atleast put a minimum requirements directly related to the MBA (correct me if i am wrong people).

    HD video is very processor, memory and HD hungry and i would not advise putting that kind of strain on a MB let alone a MBA, if you really desire HD then a MBP id the way to go.

    Otherwise if the MBA is simply not an option then the MB would suffice and its not a hell of a lot bigger.
  7. dukejen04 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008
    Yeah, I can definitely put the HD camera on the backburner for a few more years (at which point I will probably be upgrading my computer anyway)...

    Too bad I can't find a way to import video from the mini-DVD camcorder I already have...the quality is fine, but it only transfers through firewire. Shame.

    Well, the camera is not my worry at the moment, it is the computer. I am sure I can find solutions for getting the footage onto the computer as long as I can edit basic standard-def video with a MBA...this pleases me :)
  8. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I think people take computing horsepower far too seriously when it comes to video editing.

    My first video editing workstation was built eight years ago. It was a Celeron 400 MHz with a 20 gig main drive and a 60 gig video drive. The most important thing was the Firewire port. That rig ran software like Ulead Media Studio Pro and Adobe Premiere just fine, in fact at the time that was considered a very reasonably powered system.

    People have been editing video (DV, mostly) for years with far less than ANY system you can buy today. If your plan is to edit in HD then yes, that changes things, but for regular miniDV, you'll be just fine.

    I edited DV on my 1 GHz PowerBook for years with Final Cut Express, it worked just fine even with the slower internal hard drive.
  9. Lindigab macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2008
    Quick Fix

    I am away from my macs at home and have just replaced my macbook pro which was stolen from my hotel room with an Air. It was a hasty move with not too much thought after being in Egypt for 3 weeks with no computer to consume the vast amount of pictures and video footage generated!! Now with all this to organise (and my five year old travelling companion champing at my heals) I realise I have no fire wire port! Dah, minor over sight!! Could anyone out there please give me a quick solution on how to get the video footage from my camera onto this little wonder I would be grateful. It is on the cameras internal disk drive. i like what I read above about getting it onto a flash card just not sure how at the mo, it is a jvc hard disk drive cam corder. I have the external disk drive for the air. Could I just get the footage onto a dvd at a shop somewhere then use that to import what I want? Any advice would be hugely appreciated.
  10. Savagestorm macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2008
    I use my air for video editing quite often. When importing clips into iMovie, it does tend to get hot, but it works fine, you won't have any problems.
  11. pezdad macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2007
    Yes you can, but..

    There is no technical limitation to doing video editing on the Air - it is quicker and more powerful than the imac I use for most of my (HD) video editing. The reasons that people say (correctly) that the Air is not a good choice for people who do a lot of editing are (1) hard disk space and (2) firewire. Video takes up a LOT of space - a gig a MINUTE from my Canon HD20 - so good luck editing more than a couple of minutes (and a USB drive will likely be too slow to edit well - I haven't tried). Even normal video takes up a LOT of room - regular DV is only a couple of minutes per gig (and you need extra space to edit, and to output your finished movie). The second thing is that traditionally, most of the good video cameras only connect via firewire (and there is no firewire port on the Air). While there are now some video cameras that don't need firewire, the best still do and all the old ones do, so the Air is a poor choice for someone doing a lot of video.

    That said, if you are doing light editing, particularly for the web, and the files are small and non-firewire (like a flip camera or the video from your still camera) the Air will do just as good a job as any big system. For posting small web videos from small source video (such as you seem to be planning) the Air will work great.
  12. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Yes you can edit videos, but like it's been said most cameras use firewire. Also for a scratch disk you should be using an external firewire drive, again no port.
  13. revenuee macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2003
    A place where i am supreme emporer

    My first video editing rig was a G4 400 mhz with 320 MB ram on OS 9

    I'm sure you'll be fine

    I know I just read a post by someone else that probably echo's the chuckle I got

    As other have posted ---

    firewire maybe your limitation from getting the video in --

    the 4200 rpm is slow, BUT lets not forget that these drives have a better buffer so even though the spin slower, they access information just as fast as the 7200 rpm drives of the past

    the firewire limitation can be avoided by getting a video camera that records on a solid state drive --- someone mentioned an SD card, But the JVC everio series camera's use a build in solid state drive -- i don't know if you can get an non Hidef model ... but you can turn the HiDef off and record in Stand.Def

    the benefit of this camera is that it transfers that data over a USB 2.0 port -- and transfers over in data chunks (much like transfering photo's from memory card)

    that thing could transfer as slow as it wants since it doesn't have to record frame by frame in realtime like firewire recording does.

    think of this as the equivalent to downloading a video off the internet ... you can download a 100 mb video at 10 k/s or 600 k/s --- it will take longer, but once it's on your computer it will play back just the same

  14. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Yeah, sorry guys, I forgot the Air had no Firewire port. Definitely a deal-breaker then.

    If you really needed portability you could always buy a MacBook or even a maxed out 12" PowerBook G4. That has more than enough horsepower to edit video (even on its internal HD -- yes, I've definitely done it) as long as you're not looking for HD editing or multiple streams of real-time effect rendering. To me the major limitation of the 12" PB was the 1024x768 resolution, but it did a dandy job of running Final Cut Express when connected to an external 20" LCD.
  15. iphone2.0 macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2008
    Go on they apple website and click chat now. You will know witch mac to get faster thank looking at each one
  16. ajohnson253 macrumors 68000


    Jun 16, 2008
    if u have any worries about that, just get the macbook.
  17. rustyb99 macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    If you are doing video, i will echo everybodies points here, i would get a small external for hard drive space. And depending on the drive, I know with WD they have several options for how you connect with options to connect your to your computer via firewire or usb, you could always connect your camera directly to the hard drive and transfer your footage. then from there edit your movies. I know you are going for portability but always another option.
  18. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Light video editing is possible, just make sure it doesnt get too hot, or Core Shutdown will occur. Get the MB, it's not that heavy, and it's relatively thin compared to the other laptops out there with 13.3" screens.
  19. winninganthem macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2008

    For your purposes, the MBA will be just fine to lightly edit normal DV video. Don't even think about running HD on that thing :p

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