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Editing on a MBP - minimum specs for smooth playback?

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Brent Critchfield
Editing on a MBP - minimum specs for smooth playback?
on Jan 5, 2010 at 7:15:52 pm

I'm editing on an early 2008-model MacBook Pro: 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo with 4 GB RAM. On SD it screams, on XDCAM-EX (even SP modes) it can't play back even a single stream of video smoothly. I've used the firewire out for monitoring, and also tried the DVI port. I'm not sure if the poor performance is caused by the computer having to scale video for these non-native outputs, or if it's just inherent to the speed of the computer.

My question is, will adding a video-out box like the Matrox MXO2 reduce the workload on the processor, or do I need a faster computer for reliable playback, or both?

If I need a new computer, I'm also torn on whether the newer MBPs will handle it, or if I should get a Mac Pro instead. I love having the laptop to be able to edit on location (which I have to do often), but the expandability is so restricted I'm not sure that it's a good solution long-term.

Give me some input!


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Ron Pestes
Re: Editing on a MBP - minimum specs for smooth playback?
on Jan 5, 2010 at 7:25:44 pm

It sounds like you have the same setup as I have. I am able to playback 2-3 streams smoothly from an external firewire drive. Are your playback settings set to "unlimited" or "dynamic"? That could make a difference. Also, make sure all rendering is done in the timeline or you can get very slow playback.

Apple Certified Master Pro FCS 2
Sony EX-3
MacBook Pro


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Brent Critchfield
Re: Editing on a MBP - minimum specs for smooth playback?
on Jan 5, 2010 at 8:21:40 pm

I should have mentioned I'm editing in Premiere CS4. Using G-Raid drives connected on FW800. And while it's not perfect playback anytime, it definitely degrades significantly when playing through an un-rendered section of timeline. I can live with that, I just need good performance when I'm playing sections that don't require renders.


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Ed Kukla
Re: Editing on a MBP - minimum specs for smooth playback?
on Jan 10, 2010 at 11:13:47 pm

Ron

Are you using CS4? I get a lot of stuttering with my MBP17 & Premiere CS4 even with simple video clips. It's motion in the clips that causes stuttering



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Allen Sullivan
Re: Editing on a MBP - minimum specs for smooth playback?
on Jan 5, 2010 at 11:38:11 pm

I edit XDCAM-EX HD footage on a MacBook Pro bought in April 2009. In the energy saving mode, it can be jumpy at times. In the high performance mode, no problems at all and relatively easy to work with. It is maxed out with memory, though; I'm not sure about the performance with all configurations.

Allen Sullivan


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Brent Critchfield
Re: Editing on a MBP - minimum specs for smooth playback?
on Jan 8, 2010 at 3:48:35 am

Allen, are you editing on Premiere or FCP?


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Allen Sullivan
Re: Editing on a MBP - minimum specs for smooth playback?
on Jan 8, 2010 at 11:34:52 am

Brent, I'm using FCP 7. Of course, also using a fast external scratch disk.


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Jeremy Wilker
Re: Editing on a MBP - minimum specs for smooth playback?
on Jan 11, 2010 at 6:31:09 am

FWIW, MacBook Pro 15" 2007 2.4 Ghz Core 2 Duo with 4 gigs of RAM and Final Cut Studio 3 is no problem for XDCAM EX, 720 AND 1080p. I get very smooth playback in my timeline and I'm usually using 7200 rpm drives over Firewire 800.


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Brent Critchfield
Re: Editing on a MBP - minimum specs for smooth playback?
on Jan 11, 2010 at 5:24:19 pm

So it seems like the consensus is FCP runs fine, but CS4 doesn't. For you guys on FCP, how are you monitoring?


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Allen Sullivan
Re: Editing on a MBP - minimum specs for smooth playback?
on Jan 12, 2010 at 3:14:00 pm

I'm currently monitoring on a 23" Apple Cinema Display; most of my stuff is for the Web. May be adding a Matrox MXO soon, or may bite the bullet and get a true dedicated monitor.

Allen


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