Author Topic: I tried a Mac for video editing...  (Read 25088 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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I tried a Mac for video editing...
« on: April 08, 2013, 01:36:21 PM »
Well, I did it, I bravely entered an Apple store today  :o
Me: "Where's your Mac Pro, I want to try Final Cut Pro"
Dude: "Over there Sir"
Me: "No, that's the notebook, I want the desktop"
Dude: "Oh, I think we might have one right over there in the back"
Me: "Ok, so how do I use Final Cut Pro"
Dude: "What's that?"
Me: "It's video editing software"
Dude: "I'll have to see if a technology training specialist can help you with that."
Me: "Ok, thanks. I'll have a go myself while I wait. Now, how do I copy these files from my USB stick to the hard drive"
Dude: "You just drag and drop"
Me: "I can't use a copy command?"
Dude: "I have no idea, you just drag and drop"

New specialist dude arrives.

Dude: "I highly recommend you don't get the Mac Pro desktop"
Me: "Why?"
Dude: "It hasn't been updated in a long time, and it's just not recommended as a new system"
Me: "But I need to install a PCI accelerator card"
Dude: (has actually heard of the matrox card, impressive) "Ah, ok, that's the only reason you'd want one.
Me: "So how do a I copy these .MTS video files from my camera into Final Cut"
Dude: "You can't do that, it has be in the original card format"
Me: "You're kidding right? I can't just copy and drop a .MTS file onto the timeline"
Dude: "Nope, it's always been that way, it's silly"
Me: "That's almost a show stopper. How about this .MP4 file?"

and to cut it short, the MP4 file worked, Final Cut Pro edited stuff like I expected it to, and Compressor did seem to have a Constant Quality H.264 render option.

So we started rendering my 10 minute H.264 MP4 file (with no edits, just a single clip on the timeline) with same specs as the input file and default "High" for constant quality setting. And we watched the progress bar creep up and up I gave up at the 30 min mark when it still wasn't half way, and it said 39min left.

Me: "This is your top of the line Mac Pro right?"
Dude: "Yep, fully optioned up"
Me: "Is it always this slow to render"?
Dude: "Yep."

Holy crap.
No wonder the Matrox CompressHD card boasts that it takes Final Cut Pro up to "real time" rendering, it had bloody well want to!

For reference, to render and transcode the same 10 minute video on my current system, would take <20min total, for both steps in the process.
And I have a nothing special i7 notebook.

So it looks like, at best, a $3000+ Mac Pro with $330 Final Cut pro and a $500 Compress HD card would probably come out the same speed as a relatively high power cheap i7 system running $80 Vegas + free Handbrake.

Fail.
Sorry sorry all you Mac and FinalCut Pro fanboys.  :--

Offline LapTop006

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2013, 01:42:20 PM »
So...

The current gen "Retina" MacBook Pro's are actually faster then the current Mac Pro's (which are horribly out of date and long overdue for replacement).

As for performance there's a whole mess there, it shouldn't be anything like that slow. The best thing to do would be find someone who already uses FCP and sit down with them for a while.

Offline EEVblog

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2013, 01:50:16 PM »
The current gen "Retina" MacBook Pro's are actually faster then the current Mac Pro's (which are horribly out of date and long overdue for replacement).

How much faster on rendering? I'm betting not a huge amount.
Thing is, I'd want to get a full workflow improvement of at least say 400% to make it worthwhile switching, as I can likely double my current speed with just a PC hardware upgrade, which is half the price of a new Mac.

Offline nitro2k01

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2013, 02:18:54 PM »
Dude: "You just drag and drop"
Me: "I can't use a copy command?"
Dude: "I have no idea, you just drag and drop"
What is this copy command you speak of? I believe you can select multiple files and press cmd+C/cmd+V to copy the files. (Similar to ctrl+C/ctrl+V in the Windows file explorer.) Or right click (or, lacking a right mouse button, ctrl-click or double finger tap) and choose copy, if I recall correctly.

Hmm, I wonder. Did the version of FCP on that Mac even support multicore video encoding? That's going to make all the difference for encoding. Like someone said, without the accelerator card, you should have tried the MacBook instead as it probably has a faster CPU. And also, encoding is just one aspect, which depends mostly on CPU power. There might be other aspects, like application response time and similar which might be better because of the underlying OS design. Or not. I haven't compared how OSX and Windows compare when it comes to video editing, I'm just saying.
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Offline DeRaaf

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2013, 02:23:21 PM »
I didn't try it myself.

But an new generation iMac is most probably what you want. There is no need for internal PCI slots no more.

Thunderbolt isn't just the faster "FireWire"!! -> http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpresschassis.html (Matrox is a partner for the thing, so should work)

Don't become a Mac hater because you tried a very old (I know it's new from the shop) Mac Pro. Here in Europe the thing is even banned from the market.

Don't buy a retina MacBook. That's overpriced hype. I just got a new MacBook (bottom of the range 13 inch, i5 cpu, just the internal INTEL hd4000 gpu, 16GB ram (way overkill, but fun! I can make a temporary RAM HDD which blows even the fastest SDD out of the water), normal 5400 RPM HDD). Got it for around €1000.

I render a 10 minute full HD .mp4 fill (from camera (.mp4 format), edited in Premiere Pro) in about 20 minutes with Adobe Media Encoder. That is with normal HDD and no ThunderBolt PCI expansion. Plenty fast for me.

Online Strada916

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2013, 02:29:01 PM »
Mac are running intel chips now days? I'm guessing the hardware would not be too far from a generic PC?
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Offline free_electron

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2013, 02:32:02 PM »
I render a 10 minute full HD .mp4 fill (from camera (.mp4 format), edited in Premiere Pro) in about 20 minutes with Adobe Media Encoder.

and that is still bloody slow !

I never understood why this encoding is so slow on computers .... come on, the simplest camera that can shoot AVCHD costs well under 300$ and encodes in real time after all....
I have a matrox RTx-2 and that thing flies through encoding... provided you capture the source video end let it decompress while capturing... computers aren't up to decoding , manipulating re-encoding on the fly apprently... that RTx is basically a virtex FPGA from Xilinx with an embedded PowerPC processor in it... all bolted onto a PICx card.

The same goes for that Matrox card that dave is talking about. its a small card with merely 1 chip on it. : poof realtime H264 encoding... and here you have quadcore cpu's racing at 3 GHz and they can't cope...
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Offline cwalex

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2013, 02:36:02 PM »
I didn't try it myself.

But an new generation iMac is most probably what you want. There is no need for internal PCI slots no more.

Thunderbolt isn't just the faster "FireWire"!! -> http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpresschassis.html (Matrox is a partner for the thing, so should work)

Don't become a Mac hater because you tried a very old (I know it's new from the shop) Mac Pro. Here in Europe the thing is even banned from the market.

Don't buy a retina MacBook. That's overpriced hype. I just got a new MacBook (bottom of the range 13 inch, i5 cpu, just the internal INTEL hd4000 gpu, 16GB ram (way overkill, but fun! I can make a temporary RAM HDD which blows even the fastest SDD out of the water), normal 5400 RPM HDD). Got it for around €1000.

I render a 10 minute full HD .mp4 fill (from camera (.mp4 format), edited in Premiere Pro) in about 20 minutes with Adobe Media Encoder. That is with normal HDD and no ThunderBolt PCI expansion. Plenty fast for me.


Wow those things look awesome! They are pretty darn expensive though, the Pro version is $799 and the cheaper ones about 500bucks... Hopefully some other companies will make equivalent products for a bit more reasonable price.
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Offline DeRaaf

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2013, 02:44:08 PM »
Mac are running intel chips now days? I'm guessing the hardware would not be too far from a generic PC?

Yes (it's been 8(?) years till they start using Intel inside) and yes.

And yes I believe the Premium price for Apple is justified. Been using Macs and "normal" PC's. Apple build quality is exceptional good, I find the OS a lot easier to work with than Windows (or Linux). And they keep there value more than a "normal" PC. Just sold my old White MacBook (2006 model, Intel core2duo 2.2ghz, 4GB ram) for €250 (a little on the low side compared to other MacBooks on the market here).

Offline DeRaaf

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2013, 02:53:50 PM »
I render a 10 minute full HD .mp4 fill (from camera (.mp4 format), edited in Premiere Pro) in about 20 minutes with Adobe Media Encoder.

and that is still bloody slow !

I never understood why this encoding is so slow on computers .... come on, the simplest camera that can shoot AVCHD costs well under 300$ and encodes in real time after all....
I have a matrox RTx-2 and that thing flies through encoding... provided you capture the source video end let it decompress while capturing... computers aren't up to decoding , manipulating re-encoding on the fly apprently... that RTx is basically a virtex FPGA from Xilinx with an embedded PowerPC processor in it... all bolted onto a PICx card.

The same goes for that Matrox card that dave is talking about. its a small card with merely 1 chip on it. : poof realtime H264 encoding... and here you have quadcore cpu's racing at 3 GHz and they can't cope...

Don't know why it's so slow. But dedicated hardware should make a difference, otherwise why does it exits?

By the way my MacBook (13 inch) is bottom of the range. So 2.5Ghz, dual core i5 (quad in hyper threading). So a 15 inch MacBook pro i7 (real quadcore and dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M gpu) should be a lot faster. 

Offline DeRaaf

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2013, 03:02:39 PM »
I didn't try it myself.

But an new generation iMac is most probably what you want. There is no need for internal PCI slots no more.

Thunderbolt isn't just the faster "FireWire"!! -> http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpresschassis.html (Matrox is a partner for the thing, so should work)

Don't become a Mac hater because you tried a very old (I know it's new from the shop) Mac Pro. Here in Europe the thing is even banned from the market.

Don't buy a retina MacBook. That's overpriced hype. I just got a new MacBook (bottom of the range 13 inch, i5 cpu, just the internal INTEL hd4000 gpu, 16GB ram (way overkill, but fun! I can make a temporary RAM HDD which blows even the fastest SDD out of the water), normal 5400 RPM HDD). Got it for around €1000.

I render a 10 minute full HD .mp4 fill (from camera (.mp4 format), edited in Premiere Pro) in about 20 minutes with Adobe Media Encoder. That is with normal HDD and no ThunderBolt PCI expansion. Plenty fast for me.


Wow those things look awesome! They are pretty darn expensive though, the Pro version is $799 and the cheaper ones about 500bucks... Hopefully some other companies will make equivalent products for a bit more reasonable price.


I agree a little to pricey for my wallet at the moment. I believe there are some other developers working on it at the moment. Hope this makes the prices drop a bit in the near future.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 03:14:25 PM by DeRaaf »

Offline ddavidebor

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I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2013, 03:15:46 PM »
Well, I did it, I bravely entered an Apple store today  :o
Me: "Where's your Mac Pro, I want to try Final Cut Pro"
Dude: "Over there Sir"
Me: "No, that's the notebook, I want the desktop"
Dude: "Oh, I think we might have one right over there in the back"
Me: "Ok, so how do I use Final Cut Pro"
Dude: "What's that?"
Me: "It's video editing software"
Dude: "I'll have to see if a technology training specialist can help you with that."
Me: "Ok, thanks. I'll have a go myself while I wait. Now, how do I copy these files from my USB stick to the hard drive"
Dude: "You just drag and drop"
Me: "I can't use a copy command?"
Dude: "I have no idea, you just drag and drop"

New specialist dude arrives.

Dude: "I highly recommend you don't get the Mac Pro desktop"
Me: "Why?"
Dude: "It hasn't been updated in a long time, and it's just not recommended as a new system"
Me: "But I need to install a PCI accelerator card"
Dude: (has actually heard of the matrox card, impressive) "Ah, ok, that's the only reason you'd want one.
Me: "So how do a I copy these .MTS video files from my camera into Final Cut"
Dude: "You can't do that, it has be in the original card format"
Me: "You're kidding right? I can't just copy and drop a .MTS file onto the timeline"
Dude: "Nope, it's always been that way, it's silly"
Me: "That's almost a show stopper. How about this .MP4 file?"

and to cut it short, the MP4 file worked, Final Cut Pro edited stuff like I expected it to, and Compressor did seem to have a Constant Quality H.264 render option.

So we started rendering my 10 minute H.264 MP4 file (with no edits, just a single clip on the timeline) with same specs as the input file and default "High" for constant quality setting. And we watched the progress bar creep up and up I gave up at the 30 min mark when it still wasn't half way, and it said 39min left.

Me: "This is your top of the line Mac Pro right?"
Dude: "Yep, fully optioned up"
Me: "Is it always this slow to render"?
Dude: "Yep."

Holy crap.
No wonder the Matrox CompressHD card boasts that it takes Final Cut Pro up to "real time" rendering, it had bloody well want to!

For reference, to render and transcode the same 10 minute video on my current system, would take <20min total, for both steps in the process.
And I have a nothing special i7 notebook.

So it looks like, at best, a $3000+ Mac Pro with $330 Final Cut pro and a $500 Compress HD card would probably come out the same speed as a relatively high power cheap i7 system running $80 Vegas + free Handbrake.

Fail.
Sorry sorry all you Mac and FinalCut Pro fanboys.  :--

Dave, please send me in some way this raw video.

I think the one you tried has the  hardware acceleration not enabled, maybe for sw or hw reason. Let me try on my imac.


Offline EEVblog

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2013, 03:21:36 PM »
Don't know why it's so slow. But dedicated hardware should make a difference, otherwise why does it exits?

Of course they make a difference.
The fact is, Matrox themselves advertise the CompressHD card as bringing the Mac up to "real time" encoding speed.
So that tells me the Mac (any Mac) is simply not a viable solution to my problem.
I'm sure I can get a the same or better from an existing cheaper PC solution I'm already familiar with.

I have an existing work flow that works for me. Changing any part of that will require very significant savings in workflow time to justify changing.

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2013, 03:24:23 PM »
Mac are running intel chips now days? I'm guessing the hardware would not be too far from a generic PC?


Yes (it's been 8(?) years till they start using Intel inside) and yes.

And yes I believe the Premium price for Apple is justified. Been using Macs and "normal" PC's. Apple build quality is exceptional good, I find the OS a lot easier to work with than Windows (or Linux). And they keep there value more than a "normal" PC. Just sold my old White MacBook (2006 model, Intel core2duo 2.2ghz, 4GB ram) for €250 (a little on the low side compared to other MacBooks on the market here).


Build quality is certainly there in the notebooks, however, competitors are certainly catching up, eg, Asus Zenbooks and samsung series 9s, but as far as their desktops are concerned, the increase in build quality isn't sufficient to justify it. What build quality on a desktop is of concern? Keyboard, mouse, monitor, thats about it, all of which you could use apple versions of, on your PC. What is in the box is built just like all the others, and since you don't interface with it, provided it works, and doesn't break, it does it's job.

If you want the OS, no problems, go into an apple store, buy the disc (legit), and install it on your PC with DSDT.

I didn't try it myself.

But an new generation iMac is most probably what you want. There is no need for internal PCI slots no more.

Thunderbolt isn't just the faster "FireWire"!! -> http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpresschassis.html (Matrox is a partner for the thing, so should work)

Don't become a Mac hater because you tried a very old (I know it's new from the shop) Mac Pro. Here in Europe the thing is even banned from the market.

Don't buy a retina MacBook. That's overpriced hype. I just got a new MacBook (bottom of the range 13 inch, i5 cpu, just the internal INTEL hd4000 gpu, 16GB ram (way overkill, but fun! I can make a temporary RAM HDD which blows even the fastest SDD out of the water), normal 5400 RPM HDD). Got it for around €1000.

I render a 10 minute full HD .mp4 fill (from camera (.mp4 format), edited in Premiere Pro) in about 20 minutes with Adobe Media Encoder. That is with normal HDD and no ThunderBolt PCI expansion. Plenty fast for me.


Wow those things look awesome! They are pretty darn expensive though, the Pro version is $799 and the cheaper ones about 500bucks... Hopefully some other companies will make equivalent products for a bit more reasonable price.


I agree a little to pricey for my wallet at the moment. I believe there are some other developers working on it at the moment. Hope this makes the prices drop a bit in the near future.


Unfortunately, at 1000 euro + $500 for the external box + $500 for the matrox card, it is more expensive than just building a PC and throwing raw CPU power at it; to which if is still too slow, then you could throw in the matrox card.

Offline Skimask

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Re: I tried a Mac for video editing...
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2013, 03:25:01 PM »
Dave, please send me in some way this raw video.

Better yet, post the raw video of Dave in the Apple store talking to a store employee that seems to know what they're talking about!!!
Now THAT would be a rare find...
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