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MACBOOK PRO 2011 - Extremely slow rendering (even on shoddy codecs)

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Hayden Martin
MACBOOK PRO 2011 - Extremely slow rendering (even on shoddy codecs)
on Jun 28, 2011 at 7:33:15 pm

I've been editing for 3 years now. The computer I used to work on was a standard iMac from 2007. The render time was pretty average I'd say, but I'd be editing in codecs like H264 and exporting in maximum HD, so overall, great performance. I'm now off to university and have invested in a standard MacBook Pro (2011) with a 2.7GHz Core i7, 4GB memory and Intel HD Graphics 3000. I got FCP with it, and as soon as I tried to render very simple material with minimal FX the time was drastically slower. I did a lot of research. I've uninstalled and reinstalled FCP many times, worked with various settings and still the performance is very poor. My friend bought a MacBook (not Pro) a year ago and it renders even faster than my previous computer - I don't understand why my lovely MacBook Pro is so slow... I've even resorted to editing in extinct codecs like Mpeg and TIFF (with the resolutions bought down to 256 colours), disguising the quality as an intentional 'vintage' feel. This is worrying at the moment as I'm a very busy music video director and editor and need my gear as speedy as possible.

I store all my FCP renders/autosave/etc. on an external 1TB hard-drive connected by a USB. People have said that the slow render rates could be caused by the USB 'bottlenecking' but it's the same device I used before and back then everything was fine...

PLEASE HELP ME GUYS! I'LL BE SO GRATEFUL!


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Chris Tompkins
Re: MACBOOK PRO 2011 - Extremely slow rendering (even on shoddy codecs)
on Jun 28, 2011 at 8:02:53 pm

Wow, well first off, you need to make sure you are working with media FCP likes to work with.

You didn't mention HD OR SD...

Are you using codecs like DV or DVCPRO50 or Prores?

FCP does not work well with .h264 files. Convert all media to prores and edit with that.

Make sure you clips are standard sizes.

Make sure your sequence settings match you clips
Try an easy setup preset.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Andrew Rendell
Re: MACBOOK PRO 2011 - Extremely slow rendering (even on shoddy codecs)
on Jun 28, 2011 at 9:40:04 pm

USB rings big alarm bells, so I'd look there first - have you got plenty of headroom on the drive (they slow down when they get low on space)? Try a new high quality cable (the interface will slow down if the signal down the wire is poor). Try each USB port on the computer (they're not always the same, one that's on a shared bus with something else going on may not be working at full speed). I have cut some stuff using a USB drive and it was ok for SD in DV codec (not fast but it did work) but I wouldn't consider it for anything HD. Any long GOP format (e.g., h264) is a bit of a risk with FCP - it can manage a few cuts but it slows down drastically as soon as you start doing anything clever.


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Hayden Martin
Re: MACBOOK PRO 2011 - Extremely slow rendering (even on shoddy codecs)
on Jun 29, 2011 at 6:49:48 am

hmmmm ok i'll look into this. i've arranged a visit to the mac store to get a diagnosis from one of their many FCP guys. If the problem isn't solved, they recommend I try and talk to somebody over the phone from their AppleCare service... You guys have proved to be a fantastic help though. Thank you. But I'm still confused as to how on earth my previous Imac from 2007 could handle H246 as a standard compressor for rendering?? It wasn't even at a snail-pace. This confused the Apple guys last time I spoke and it has prompted them to actually check my mac for faults as they believe the performance should be vastly
greater on my MacBook Pro...


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Jason Jenkins
Re: MACBOOK PRO 2011 - Extremely slow rendering (even on shoddy codecs)
on Jun 28, 2011 at 9:40:13 pm

[Hayden Martin] "
I store all my FCP renders/autosave/etc. on an external 1TB hard-drive connected by a USB. People have said that the slow render rates could be caused by the USB 'bottlenecking' but it's the same device I used before and back then everything was fine..."


If USB worked for you before, then you got lucky. Your luck has run out now, so upgrade to a Firewire 800 connection. You'll be much happier. FYI, you should store your autosave files on the system drive and your media/renders on the external.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!


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