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Is a 21" iMac i7 OK for editing 4K ProRes?

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Kevin McKeever
Is a 21" iMac i7 OK for editing 4K ProRes?
on Oct 16, 2014 at 9:18:12 pm
Last Edited By Kevin McKeever on Oct 16, 2014 at 10:20:16 pm

I bought a 27" iMac, but my eyes are very light-sensitive and I couldn't hack staring at that huge display, so I returned it. Question, if I buy a maxed-out 21" iMac, will I be able to edit 4K ProRes files without going to Proxy (eating up more storage)?

SPECS ON BEST 21" iMAC:
3.1GHz i7
16GB RAM
1TB Fusion Drive
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 1GB VRAM
Editing from a OWC 12TB RAID 5 Thunderbay Thunderbolt drive

Does anyone have experience editing 4K ProRes on a system similar to (or slower than) this? Concerned that 1GB limit on graphics may be a problem. On my 2011 MBP with 1GB graphics, I can't even play a 4K ProRes clip in FCP X, it drops frames after 3 seconds. Worse case scenario, I could edit Proxy on an iMac, but I have to at least be able to play the final 4K video (reduced size) to quality check it.


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Neil Goodman
Re: Is a 21" iMac i7 OK for editing 4K ProRes?
on Oct 16, 2014 at 10:31:34 pm

Depends on the storage mostly, and if you bump up the GFX card to the highest one (4GB) thatll help too, but i wouldnt go Imac if the majority of work is in 4k.


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Kevin McKeever
Re: Is a 21" iMac i7 OK for editing 4K ProRes?
on Oct 16, 2014 at 10:39:23 pm

Unfortunately on the 21" iMac, 1GB is the limit allowed. Most of what I'll do in 4K is stock video, so just 1 shot at a time with color correction. My regular editing jobs will remain mainly HD. I'm just wondering if that set-up will even play 4K and do simple edits without dropping frames.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Is a 21" iMac i7 OK for editing 4K ProRes?
on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:50:09 am

You could always walk into an Apple Store with example files on a hard drive and check your desired workflow for yourself. Apple just revved the iMac and the 5K Retina display is relatively kind of a bargain...

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
Call Box Training


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Alexander Wolf
Re: Is a 21" iMac i7 OK for editing 4K ProRes?
on Oct 17, 2014 at 8:23:08 pm

I was about to buy the new Mac Pro (because I want easy 4K editing, USB 3.0 and I can still get decent money for my 2011 Mac Pro) but now I can have a new editing machine PLUS a 5K screen for a decent price.
I shoot with an EX3, GH4 and will probably upgrade my EX3 to a Sony FS7.

Will the new iMac be more than enough for editing in FCP X or should I go the Mac Pro route? I'm a doc and stock filmer and do basic (corporate) films and assignments. No crazy effects or heavy filtering for me...


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Kevin McKeever
Re: Is a 21" iMac i7 OK for editing 4K ProRes?
on Oct 17, 2014 at 9:04:35 pm
Last Edited By Kevin McKeever on Oct 17, 2014 at 9:06:02 pm

A maxed out i7 27" iMac with 32GB RAM, 4GB graphics card would likely be fine for basic 4K editing. However, my question is if anyone has had experience - success or failure - trying 4K editing on a 21" iMac, which has lesser specs.


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Alexander Wolf
Re: Is a 21" iMac i7 OK for editing 4K ProRes?
on Oct 17, 2014 at 9:10:20 pm

Will FCP X really use all that RAM for 4K? I am trying to figure out the least expensive configuration that will have no problem with basic 4K editing. (don't mean to hijack your thread, by the way! but since Noah started it...)


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David McClellan
Re: Is a 21" iMac i7 OK for editing 4K ProRes?
on Oct 19, 2014 at 7:35:24 pm

I have a decked out Mac Pro here (3.5 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 64Gb Ram & AMD FirePro D500 3072 MB) and I recently finished posting and delivered a feature that we sold. Started roughs in 7 - finished everything in X - all ProRes 1080 HD footage (RED Epic transcoded to ProRes HQ mostly). We are about to shoot a feature in 4K that I will start posting next month and I can only tell you the challenges that I had towards the end of the process with my top of the line decked out MP. All of the reviews you tend to see are people posting very short projects/timelines - and of course they all work with tons of effects and layers upon layers and rip it up on the NMP no problem. It all seems very impressive. That is all fine and dandy for programs under about 20 minutes and there should be no real issues other than the obvious (things can/will get corrupt, fast thunderbolt backups are absolutely needed, and yada yada yada...). However - when you get to around 80 - 90+ minutes and are assembling all of your finals into one master project and getting towards that last month or so of minutia... on a deadline - that is where you really test your system's ability. And I can say that I was able to bring the MacPro to its knees a few times towards the end of this project with the amount of compound clips and effects that were needed to get the film out. Of course I was very happy to be on a machine that made all of that POSSIBLE - but still - to bring it back to the OP's question - is the new iMac going to be up to the task of editing 4K - I would say probably - if you are doing basic stuff... but expect it to be less efficient and snappy as your program gets more layered, complex and LONGER. Length of program and complexity of all the needed elements toward the end of the process was the big factor - and at the end of the day the Mac Pro was great and allowed me to do things i could NEVER do on my old system or even my late 2013 MBP retina. I'd still be waiting for renders... Those last few months or so of work - the final push to finish and get it all out and accommodate all of the myriad of changes -- that is most likely when you will wish you had the full on decked out Mac Pro. I do wish they would come out with a new screen for us in 4K. The new iMac looks great but 16Gb Ram has me scratching my head. When I was kicking out project files for people to check on BluRay or master videos - you could watch on the menu meters all of the ram being sucked up by FCP X.


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Kevin McKeever
Re: Is a 21" iMac i7 OK for editing 4K ProRes?
on Oct 20, 2014 at 3:56:18 am

Yes, I would expect as much for that type of project. Mine are rarely longer than 5 minutes, and most of my 4K clips will be simple stock shots. I did find an Apple Store with a 21" iMac, I'll check it out next week and test some 4K clips on it. I have not found anyone on the internet who has edited 4K on a 21" iMac, just the 27".


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Craig Alan
Re: Is a 21" iMac i7 OK for editing 4K ProRes?
on Oct 21, 2014 at 1:47:48 pm

The 21 inch has less glare than the 27??? Why not control your room light and turn down the brightness or buy a film to put over the monitor? Less real estAte sHould not be easier on the eyes?

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Kevin McKeever
Re: Is a 21" iMac i7 OK for editing 4K ProRes?
on Oct 22, 2014 at 12:27:09 pm

Less real estate is indeed easier on the eyes, it's a lot smaller, thus less overall light. I turned down the brightness on the 27" all the way, still too much. Am looking into anti-glare screen covers, open to recommendations from users.


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