Video Editing on 13in Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by NavySEAL6, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. NavySEAL6 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2006
    I know that the screen is too small and theres no video card, but the portability and lower price are a big selling point for me as I'm also a student. Will this computer be able to handle editing 720P footage? Will I just end up waiting longer, or will it physically not be able to do it?
  2. Macnoviz macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    Roeselare, Belgium
    I edit 720p footage on a first generation white macbook. (2gb ram, 2 GHz Core -not 2- Duo) And I get by fine.

    Granted, the screen gets a bit cramped, but it's not too bad, and you can always add another screen.

    I shouldn't worry too much if you get a 13" MBP, which is a lot faster and has better graphics
  3. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007

    You''d be happier with an iMac. Do you really need a 'laptop' or just something that you can bring to and from college. You also need to budget for a decent RAID firewire drive (for 720P, USB really isn't enough). You also have to get enough RAM.

    Also, what about a Windows laptop running Avid?

  4. bsamcash macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2008
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I do it all the time. It works great with iMovie and Final Cut Pro, but gets some hick ups whilst using Adobe Premiere Pro. Just make sure you have at least 4 GB of memory.
  5. XxEjGxX macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2009
    its more then fine, on a speed scale its not too jumpy but the screen can get cramped, but in times like those i just hook up to a nice 30" monitor [​IMG]
  6. Habitus macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2009
    Where ever my life takes me...
    The 13" MBP does have a video card, actually. Also, a iMac may suit your needs better.

    Habitus :apple:
  7. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2008
    No it doesn't it has integrated graphics. You have to get a 15" to get a video card:cool:
  8. danimal99 macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2008
    Mine works just fine editing video using Final cut Express and/or iMovie 09. 480p DV, 720p H.264 .mov's and 1080p AVCHD (although FCE transcodes it to a fatter format). I'm assuming FCE 5 will add native AVCHD editing.

    Either way, you'll have no difficulties. It will only take a little longer than a Mac Pro or newer iMac to render when you pile on a lot of effects.
  9. napzero macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2009
    its fine

    I get by doing home movies with 1080i AVCHD in iMovie 09 on my 1st Gen Intel Mini. Just a few specs: 24" LCD, GMA950 integrated gfx, 2GHz C2D, 2GB ram, external FW400 drives. Granted, I would be far far happier with a current 13" MBP. I have outgrown 2GB of ram, and I never liked the GMA950.

    One thing to watch for is the next iLife. If Snow Leopard taught me anything, its that 64-bit uses significantly more RAM, so make sure your next Mac has 4GB, and preferably can be upgraded to 8 for future-proofing.
  10. tri3limited macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    Edit with lower resolution captures and then reconform them to full resolution at the end.

    Edit faster with just one big render at the end. Easy.
  11. NavySEAL6 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2006
    I do need the laptop, as I need it for school and I'm trying to not buy 2 computers. At what point with video editing would I really need a 9600GT model? It seems the general consensus is that its not needed...

    And tri3limited, what do you mean?
  12. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2008
    For just editing you'll be fine with a MB. I've seen people run it on it, and others here can testify to that. If you're going to do a lot of special effects, use Motion....After effects, then a dedicated graphics card will help make your work flow faster.

    Check out:
    for more about conforming.
  13. quadG5guy macrumors member

    Jan 26, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Can you dig an olympic sized swimming pool in your back yard using a teaspoon? Sure. It'll be tremendously slow and painful, but it can be done. As with everything, just because you can, doesn't mean it's a good idea.

    Get the proper equipment for the job and you will be much MUCH happier.
  14. TaKashMoney macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2005
    That analogy is pretty ridiculous. Comparing a 13MBP to digging a pool with a spoon? I dont care how much experience you have in video editing (do you have any?), that is atrociously misleading.

    Speaking from experience (I have edited a feature length indie narrative (HDV1080i) and a feature-length docu (HDV1080i, Apple ProRes 1080p, EXCAM 1080p) on a 2007 Macbook 2GHZ C2d as well as countless shorter pieces (ProRes1080p) on a 2008 quad-core Mac Pro using FCP), I have to admit I would of course rather edit on a MacPro... but the difference is closer than you may think.

    Take a look at this article from a few years back...

    They did tests using 720p footage and compared a then-new Macbook to the then-top of the line dual G5s. While it is in no way, comparing apples to apples now, things have only gotten much faster since then. And the OP is using the same res footage! You should also note how little they have found the GPU to be a factor.

    If you are planning to do a lot of 3d animation (GPU is huge then) or use the machine professionally (where time is literally money), then I would never look at the 13MBP. You should get a MacPro plain and simple. However, as a college student who needs a laptop, and can probably let the computer render throughout the night while you are at a bar, the issue is murkier. Just make sure you get your facts straight before making a decision, and please make sure that you are not swayed by gross exaggerations common on internet forums.
  15. bsamcash macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2008
    Santa Cruz, CA
    When you need the extra resolution and you're more pressed for time.
  16. NavySEAL6 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2006
    Looks like I'll be leaning closer to a 13 inch MBP...just because it's better all around for being a student (15" barely fits on a desk). I dont mind waiting for things to render, it's not a big issue. Just as long as I'll be able to get the job done I'll be happy with it. Also I have an external monitor so that's no issue either
  17. emittan macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2004
    Lincoln Nebraska
    Considering Final Cut Pro itself doesn't have native AVCHD editing, I seriously doubt that Final Cut Express will have it anytime soon. FC Pro lists a misleading new feature of native AVCHD editing, but what they really mean is AVCIntra, a variation of AVCHD that is all I-frame based, and has a much higher bitrate (so bigger file sizes). The kind of AVCHD in most common use is NOT I-frame based and will be forcibly converted by any of the Apple editing programs (imovie, FC Express, and FC Pro). At least with Final Cut Pro, you have the option of using a flavor of Pro Res, which will be smaller in file size than the intermediate codecs used by iMovie and FCE.

    I have a 13" white MacBook (one of the last with a firewire port) that has an Nvidia integrated graphics chipset instead of the early intel chipsets used in the MacBooks. I'm running the latest version of Final Cut Studio on it. Since Final Cut Pro relies on the graphics card only up to a point, I have no problems editing video. I work in news rather than film, so I rarely need any effects beyond Color Corrector 3-way, but it works fine for me, is rarely sluggish, and gets the job done. I know that Motion and Color are much more reliant on the graphics card to get things done, but while they both protest when I open them about the lack of a decent graphics card, they both still run and can perform basic functions I use on occasion. I suppose I should reveal that I also have an iMac for more advanced work and have access to close to a dozen Mac Pro's at my job - but the MacBook is often my workplace of choice if it fits the piece I'm working on.

    I think you can look at it two ways: save yourself some money now, and get a cheap Mac that you'll replace when you enter the job market (and likely replace it with a more up-to-date machine anyway) OR acknowledge that you probably won't have any MORE money to spend when you graduate than you do now and get one that will last you longer now. It's a game of pros and cons.


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