How Does Apple Mac Notebook Compare to PC for Editing?

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    • #77566

      I am one of those who has used a PC for almost 25 years and am leaning towards making the switch to Mac.  I am told they are far more stable and less prone to viruses vs. PCs.  But, they are about 50% more expensive than comparable ones.


      What do you think?  Is it worth the extra $300-$400 bucks to get an Apple Notebook for video editing?

    • #210468

      Wow are you asking to open a can of worms!  The web is full of evangelists proclaiming the superiority of their hardware and software.  Good news is that many of today's programs run under both Windows and OSX.

      I am not qualified to dissuade you from buying a modern Windows computer.  It's been nine years since I've owned one, and I haven't used Windows8.  But I am qualified to tell you that Apple offers reasonable alternatives that might work for you.  


      I used PC's with DOS and Windows until 2005, and had to develop pretty good diagnostic skills.  (There were lots of crashes when editing with that old version of Premiere on WindowsXP.)

      Then I bought a PowerMac tower; it took a couple of weeks to adjust to the Apple interface, but it was easy to transition into Final Cut Pro 5.  I now use an iMac to edit with Final Cut ProX.  There are occasional problems, but my computer diagnostic skills have become rusty.  


      FCPX has received mixed reviews; I happen to enjoy editing with its non-tradional magnetic storyline.  Apple has certainly priced it competitively.  

      But if you long for a traditional timeline, you can license Premiere or buy other software.


      So my suggestion is to borrow someone's Mac and see how you like it!  Then you'll be able to make an educated decision about what software you want to edit with, and which machines will run it dependably.


      Note, I'm also not keen on editing with a notebook computer.  Nothing beats dual monitors on a desktop!  If you don't need portability, an iMac or Windows desktop machine can also give you a lot more bang for the buck!  Perhaps you have an older notebook that can be repurposed just for video data acquisitiion, then do the real work at "home".



    • #210471

      Hi George, thanks for the input.  I really do need the portability, as my outside job allows me time for shooting and editing video and I aim to produce 2-3 short videos per day (so I can edit at work and at home/ Starbucks).


      What intrigues me is that flash storage in MacBook Air is up to 9x faster than a 5400-rpm notebook hard drive.  Seems like it is a videographer's dream.   How can a Mac not be better for video editing with these specs?

    • #210488

      I don't edit on a portable computer, but I've mostly read about editors who use the MacBook Pro.  MacBook Air is a sweet notebook, but screensize is pretty small for editing.  Also its RAM memory cannot be expanded, and the graphics chip is less powerful.  On the plus side, it has Thunderbolt connector … so your media can find a home on fast external drives, and you can plug it into a larger monitor or flatscreen TV at home.


    • #210492

      Thanks George.


    • #210530

      I have Adobe CC so have it on my macbook pro and my new whizzy PC – I prefer editing on the PC, and as long as you don't fill the PC with software, the PC is perfectly stable. Windows 8 is as most people say, horrible without a touch screen, so I bought a big touch screen and can say it's just a horrible with it! You get used to the quirks though and it's no big deal. The Mac is nice, and can do most things – but the thing I really hate is the lack of socketry – two USBs is simply not enough nowadays. You can buy one of the flash in/out boxes to give you more connectabilty, but it's very expensive. I prefer editing on the PC, with three monitors. However, I can edit on the MAC quite happily when portability is needed, but I'd rather have a proper machine.

    • #210540

      I've used both and I truly don't have much of a preference either way.  I tend to use alot of resources running After Effects and Premiere, so I have had the enjoyment of crashing those programs on both a mac and a windows machines!


      I think macs have some of the best monitors I have seen, but they can be a bit pricey.  If you are editing on a portable, you may want to consider having a docking station with an additional monitor.  Editing with 2 monitors when you can saves so much time and really gives you a bigger area to see everything at a glance.


      So, my advice is to get whichever makes you feel more comfortable, but don't get swayed by people who state that you must run a mac to do decent video editing.  It simply isn't true.  But, if you prefer final cut, or the apple interface/hardware support, that might be a good direction to go.

    • #210542

      It depends on your Mac's and PC's configurations. And different editors' speed is also different.

    • #210546

      I bought an 'almost new' MacBook Pro on Ebay in 2008, edited/uploaded over 500 vids since then and only switched this year to iMovie '11 but even from day 1 could've hardly been happier.


      My suggestion would only be to get the best that you can afford and stick with it and learn all the neat little tricks that most give up on and buy the next new thing instead. Other than green screen and CG effects, nearly all you need is in iMovie. To me, everything else needed for a convincing edit is pretty much a passing fad(i.e. spinning titles laid over a crappy video).


      2nd monitor? I might like it but don't see me using one. I have 2 eyes but they only see in 1 place. I think a 2nd monitor would only slow me down, as I've gotten pretty good in iMovie just by editing many terrabytes of video in the last several years and only need to see what is in front of me as I run. My downfall is in being stuck with 4 gigs of Ram when I need 8, and my model can't do that. A faster(7200 rpm) drive didn't seem to do improve over a 5400rpm, so don't be impressed by that in your decision, so look for at least 8g of Ram and that will serve you well for a spell.


      What I am finding right now so far in iMovie '11 is that for one it's so much easier than before to experiment with speeds of clips, whereas before I had to take them into FinalCut Express4, which to me was not near as user friendly in any respect. Doing it now in seconds as opposed to minutes opens up another creative door, as you don't feel so bad about tossing it aside and trying another clip in the same spot.I started on a PC but it was older and making the comparison wouldn't be fair to the pro-PC crowd, but regardless, I'm sticking with my Mac. Love it, love it, love it!

    • #210547

      Like George I started editing on PCs about 10 years ago. constant crashes, custom boards configuration hassles, spent way too much on tech issues. Switched to a Mac and that pain went went away. There was some effort to learn a different OS, but after buying the 1 year of training for $100 (GREAT deal) I went into the apple store once a week for a month and was able to get expert advice from people very capable at video editing including not just tutoring but advice on project work. Completely different experience from the BB "Geek Squad". 


      Yes I know PCs are much better now, but I really love editing on my 15" Macbook Pro including the related software available for sound, graphics, and color grading. I bring it to my shoots and immediately start transfering once i am done shooting. Definitely recommend the I/O, flash storage and RAM capacity of the Pro series over the MBA. Well worth the money when you consider the thousands of hours you will spend editing of the years. Bought a Mac Pro this year for my son who is an editor – it is insanely fast, and greatly shortens transfer and rendering times. It supports 4K editing if you plan to go that route.


      Here is how I think about the cost: I spend 10x as much time in front of my computer than driving my car, yet people spend 20-30x on their car vs. computer. If you are going to spend 10 hrs day in front of a computer, why not spend an extra $2k on the right computer/monitor combination to get a high end experience 10 hours every day. It really is a no brainer IMHO.

    • #210581

      I wont beat around the bush….If you are going to be editing 2 or 3 vids a day, you will need the best machine and editing program and hands down regardless of what anyone may say here, FCPX and a Macbook Pro with no less than 16g's of Ram is what you need. I have used editing programs from Sony to Avid to Adobe, and none is as fast as FCPX for turing videos quickly with great results and less crashes….many less crashes.


      Some may say all you need to run FCPX is 4g's or ram but I have found 16g of Ram for any serious editior is optimal. Only the 13 & 15 inch "Retina" display models offer 16gb's of Ram and up to 1tb Flash Drives. No serious Video Editor, (which you) are uses drives less than 7200rpm for editing video.  And as far as ports go, this is a point that is exagerated as the Macs not having enough to accomodate.


      This is just not true! Thunderbolt technology is very robust and on one TB Port you can hook a Access Port that you can hook pretty much anything up to. But will you need it???  On a Macbook Pro, you can use the embedded SD Card reader to upload files if your camera records to such. If not, 2 USB Ports are available to attach a card reader. If you have a Jogg Shuttle like the beautifuly designed Avid Transport, which connects via ethernet, one of the TB ports along with an adapter will accomodate. Almost all Video Cameras have some kind of HDMI output for uploading files, the Macbook Pro is ready there too!


      Still using Firewire, again there are adapters that the TB Port can used to connect almost anything to.   So while your gut feeling is correct that a Mac will be better for editing, you are off in that it will cost you significantly more than 2 or 3 hundred to get the machine that will take you 5 years down the road. More like 6 or 7 hundred or more.


      As one post correctly stated, you can save some cash early and just use the single best editior under a  three hundred bucks….iMovie! Its very very powerful and fast with no rendering. But do purchase a copy of FCPX when you can, because it is simply….Fantastic!!…..for on the go editors. 


      Good luck my friend and do not cut corners on your machine….borrow from Grandma if you have to and get a machne that you wont have to worry about for some time. And here is a thought. A 21 inch iMac is much more portable than one would think. With i7 processor, half a TB of Flash drive, and 16GB of Ram it only costs $2399 and comes with a gorgeous screen!  Something to think about as your bag for buck is better. True portability is the sacrifice.

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