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Minimum editing platform for FCPX

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Fabrizio D'Agnano
Minimum editing platform for FCPX
on Sep 9, 2013 at 9:15:03 pm

Hello. I am considering replacing/adding a new basic editing machine to my set. What do you think would be the minimum specs, for either a MBPR or an iMac running FCPX, for a smooth documentary style plain editing (not much color correction, not much compositing, a limited amount of effects)? Most, if not all media would be 1080i or 1080p coming from AVCHD Canon camcorders. The machine should be able of running a two display set (it's own plus a second one for the iMac, two 25" for the MBPR), with HDMI RT output and one raid set connected to the TB port. What would be the minimum processor and the minimum amount of RAM and graphic cards to get the work done? Usually rendering and exporting times are not a terrible concern for me, while stability is. I have found many posts stating that the more power the better, and I might eventually decide to go for a not so basic machine, but I'd like to know what would be the starting point. I think I'd rather go for a MBPR (I am using my current 2011 MBP for on site media checking and rough cuts and it works fine) but I don't know if a laptop can handle more intensive use.
Thank you.

Fabrizio D'Agnano
Rome, Italy
early 2008 MacPro, BM Intensity Pro, early 2008 iMac, 2011 MacBook Pro, FCP7, FCPX, OSX 10.8.3


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Craig Seeman
Re: Minimum editing platform for FCPX
on Sep 10, 2013 at 12:52:19 am

Everything you mention is well above the minimum.
15" rMBP is good. Make sure to max the RAM since you can't do it later. 27" iMac is good get Quad i7 rather than Quad i5.



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Paul Neumann
Re: Minimum editing platform for FCPX
on Sep 10, 2013 at 3:08:11 am

Yes, get a quad core i7 (i5 doesn't hyperthread), NVIDIA card with at leas 1GB of RAM & at least 16GB of system RAM (the most you can do in MBPr).

I have a maxed out Early 2013 MBPr with all that and a 512 gig SSD and I don't like running FCPX on it. It's just too inconsistent. Much more consistent on the iMac. I use SSD's through a Thunderbolt adapter so I'm getting great read/write speeds, but I'm disappointed in the FCPX experience on this machine.


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Fabrizio D'Agnano
Re: Minimum editing platform for FCPX
on Sep 10, 2013 at 5:47:49 am

Paul,
what do you mean exactly by "inconsistent"? Buggy, slow or both?

Fabrizio D'Agnano
Rome, Italy
early 2008 MacPro, BM Intensity Pro, early 2008 iMac, 2011 MacBook Pro, FCP7, FCPX, OSX 10.8.3


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Mathieu Ghekiere
Re: Minimum editing platform for FCPX
on Sep 10, 2013 at 7:52:51 am

That's strange Paul, we are running FCPX on maxed out Retina's since january 2013, together with Pegasus Promise Raids connected to a Mac Mini Server, going trough a Ethernet Switch, and we have been very pleased with performance. Sometimes FCPX's performance lags, but this does not happen often, and from what I read, it's the software's fault, not really the hardware.


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Fabrizio D'Agnano
Re: Minimum editing platform for FCPX
on Sep 10, 2013 at 9:18:42 am

Mathieu,
maybe I'll get a new MP after it's out and tested, but what will always be present in my tool set is a MBP to gather media and card copies while I'm two weeks shooting in some remote field, so I'd rather go for one of those, upgrading my current early 2011 one. I might need to use it as a main machine for a while, since my 2008 MP is showing some problem. What display/RT HD output set are you using?. Have you experienced overheating/stability issues?

thank you

Fabrizio D'Agnano
Rome, Italy
early 2008 MacPro, BM Intensity Pro, early 2008 iMac, 2011 MacBook Pro, FCP7, FCPX, OSX 10.8.3


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Mathieu Ghekiere
Re: Minimum editing platform for FCPX
on Sep 10, 2013 at 11:39:15 am

In the FCPX preferences we always put it on Better Performance, except when we edit in 3D, and have the stream going to a 3D plasma with an Aja T-Tap, then we put it on Higher Quality.

Often we just use computer monitors to work with, except for the 3D work. We use Apple Cinema Displays, at this point still the older matte ones. We produce a lot of medical videos, and stuff for medical congresses.

No, I haven't noticed overheating issues. Yes, sometimes they can run very hot, but this is always the case with any kind of laptop that's doing heavy duty work. They run long hours here, and if we don't use them, we let them cool down, but we've never really had stability or overheating issues.

Again, FCPX can sometimes act a bit weird, but it very rarely happens at our facility, and sometimes it's expected (going trough 4 streams of Prores with a couple of image effects on all of them). But I think the Retina Macbook Pro's and the new iMacs are at this point (before the new Mac Pro comes out) the best computers to handle FCPX. And from what I've read, there isn't that much of a difference between the iMac and the Retina except maybe for certain specific tasks.


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Paul Neumann
Re: Minimum editing platform for FCPX
on Sep 10, 2013 at 11:42:43 am

Probably is the software for the most part. But more than occasionally I'll get a lock up while browsing for import. Mostly in thumbnail view. And I have to fight the ADD to make sure I start a task and finish it without interruption as FCPX doesn't appreciate my multi-tasking abilities...tab out of the program to answer an email and come back and it locks up.

Don't know how much of it is machine and how much of it is program. And it doesn't happen all the time. Just as often it's a great editor on a wonderful machine. Like I said "inconsistent".


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Mathieu Ghekiere
Re: Minimum editing platform for FCPX
on Sep 10, 2013 at 3:04:11 pm

One thing that I have to notice is that we get good performance because we use a flavor of Prores for most of what we edit.

I have noticed that the performance of XDCAM material in FCPX is less then stellar, resulting in longer import times etc. (no it's not converting, it just takes a lot longer to 'validate', draw waveforms, etc. ...)
It's one of the reasons we switched to a 90percent Prores recording workflow, coming from XDCAM and FCP7.


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Jim Giberti
Re: Minimum editing platform for FCPX
on Sep 10, 2013 at 4:51:13 pm

FWIW, I've done all of my FCPX editing on a pair of maxed out 27" i7s.
This summer, heading into a pair of long term location projects, I picked up a 15" Retina that was available but with only 8 GB RAM. I wanted it for field backup and review primarily and it was a great deal.

As it turns out, I edit on it daily because it's so fast and renders even faster than the iMacs.
What's more, the two OWC portable USB3 drives that I got for backup work perfectly for editing.

I haven't done any serious compositing or multi-layer work, but both of these series of films are graded as I go along due to time constraints. Every clip starts out with a Filmconvert treatment, a good deal of primary and secondary CC in FCPX and often MB looks as well.

Very impressed with how the Retina chugs through these renders and handles the playback of everything with just the 8 GB RAM.


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Fabrizio D'Agnano
Re: Minimum editing platform for FCPX
on Sep 10, 2013 at 5:33:13 pm

[Jim Giberti] "Very impressed with how the Retina chugs through these renders and handles the playback of everything with just the 8 GB RAM.
"


Jim, does your rMBP have the 2.7Ghz i7 installed? How many displays can you hook? I am wondering if one cab bypass the 15" screen and set up a two x 25" external LCD plus one HD RT output using the two TB ports.

Fabrizio D'Agnano
Rome, Italy
early 2008 MacPro, BM Intensity Pro, early 2008 iMac, 2011 MacBook Pro, FCP7, FCPX, OSX 10.8.3


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