Will a MBP be truly enough for HD editing?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by iCheddar, May 4, 2007.

  1. iCheddar macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2007
    South Dakota
    So I'm wanting to buy a Mac here pretty soon so I can start to do some more advanced video work. Not only that, but the appeal of the Mac OS is reason enough to make the switch.

    In any case, aside from general 'normal people' tasks, how well can you guys honestly say a Macbook Pro will suit me for HD video editing? I'd love a Mac Pro, but I definitely need a computer I can use to edit and do things with in the field, as opposed to a 'back at the studio' computer, which is what a Mac Pro is. Not only that, but having a Mac Pro and a MBP is a little out of my budget at the moment.

    I essentially plan to be using a Canon XH A1 High Def camcorder, I'll be doing mostly documentary style shooting. Interviews, behind the scenes shooting for school productions and such, things like that. Not hobbyist work, but not full blown professional work either.

    My question is, will a MBP really give me the amount of power I'll need to do a feature length documentary efficiently? Or will I need to actually bite the bullet and buy a Mac Pro to go with it?

    This isn't one of those 'Should I get a Mac Pro or an iMac' style questions, I'm asking because I honestly need a portable machine, but don't want to spend the money on a stay at home machine to go with it.:p

    What do you guys think?
  2. ordinaryworld macrumors newbie


    Apr 22, 2007
    No, not at all

    It's even hard to play Full-HD Video with MBP.
  3. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    I've got the low end 15.4" C2D 2.16Ghz MBP, 128mb VRAM, and 2Gb RAM.

    It doesn't have any problems editing stuff from the XL H1...

    I would say, go for the 17" MBP though.. the extra resolution is useful when editing.
  4. sturigdson macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2006
    I fall in the middle of the previous 2 comments. I disagree with ordinaryworld in that I have a 15 CD MBP, not a C2D, and I edit footage from the Panasonic HVX regularly- and don't have too many problems.

    And the screen resolution is helpful, as bigandy recommends.

    But here's the thing: you really can not use a MBP as your sole editing solution with HD and get away with it for too long unless you really consider some of the problems and limitations of having a portable machine.

    1. Disk space: you should NOT be editing footage from your boot drive- and with HD footage, your requirements for storage are significant. If you're cutting "in the field," you'll have some pretty dubious issues here with storage. How are you going to power an external HD? how long can you get away with storing and cutting footage from your MBP's internal drive? [which I do, and regret each time I do it.]

    2. Screen real estate. Even a 17" screen isn't quite enough to get what you need with HD footage in any deep way. Plus, the 17" is not yet an HD screen. So, unless you can truck an HD field monitor out with you to check the true resolution, you can't see what you're editing in HD.

    3. Color. Doing color correction, effects, filters, etc in the field will be really difficult with only a MPB. Hopefully you've got a plan to do the post production finishing somewhere else...

    Okay. Those are the reasons I've got to avoid this situation.
    All that said and done: you can actually, in my opinion and experience, cut HD on your MBP, and it makes for a great solution for in the field rough cuts, duplications, immediate backups, etc. So long as you think about some of the issues you may have before hand, and figure out work-arounds, I'd say you can pretty easily get away with the MPB.
  5. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    Storage will be a problem. Assuming you have access to electricity then an external HD drive is an easy solution. A nice thing about the 17" MBP is that it has two FW ports. You can run the camera off the FW400 port and put a large HD on the FW800 port.

    If you needed battery power I think I'd look for a UPS with a good size battery. That should give you several hours of work time.
  6. iCheddar thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2007
    South Dakota
    1) Storage shouldn't be too much of a problem, I'm planning upon getting 1 or 2TBs in external storage.

    2) By 'field work', I didn't literally mean, in a field,:p . I'll definitely have access to power so I can access my external drives.

    3) I'm also thinking of getting a nice 30 in monitor, which'll give me enough resolution, combined with the MBP's monitor as well, to do the editing I'll be doing. I'm actually not going to fret too much about color correction and such, I'm not going for Hollywood quality here. I want to create content that grandma and Mr. college recruiter will like, not the stuff a 1080i connoisseur will be examining;)

    By the way, what I'm thinking of getting is the mid end MBP and running the 200gig HDD in it. I don't want the 17 as thats too large for me, this won't only be an editing machine, so I want it as something I can actually use for everyday work as well.

    Overall, I don't need to accomplish truly professional results here, just something prosumerish:rolleyes:

    Any further recommendations for what I might want to alter in my plan?:)
  7. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    It's definitely more than adequate. I can edit 720p HDV on my iBook, so the MBP will have no problems at all with 1080p HDV/DVCProHD. FCS2 is shipping soon, so you'll also be able to use ProRes 422. At NAB, Apple had 4k ProRes 422 from the Red being edited on the MBP iirc.

    I'd recommend you get a drive such as a 500GB MyBook Pro. It's a great drive with FW800, and only 200 bucks at newegg. You could get a couple of them daisychained for at least 1TB of storage.

    Or you could get an enclosure and put in a 1TB Seagate (they should be out soon).
  8. JHacker macrumors 6502


    Aug 27, 2006
    East Coast
    Seriously? I don't know what you're talking about. Full-HD videos play with ease on my MBP. I also have absolutely no problems editing and playing video from my Canon HV-10 1080i camera.

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