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Mac Pro VS MacBook Pro as a mobile edit worksation

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Jay MossMac Pro VS MacBook Pro as a mobile edit worksation
by on Mar 8, 2016 at 10:32:04 am


I also posted this question in the "art of the edit" forum but it applies better here I think (I guess we need an "edit equipment/hardware" forum for this kind of thing).

I'm shortly going to have to upgrade my hardware after trying to hold off for as long as possible. For many years I have had a Mac pro for working from my own office and a Macbook pro for mobile gigs. Ideally I would like to just have one system from now on however.

My question is weather a macbook pro is powerful/future proof enough to be a main system, or if a MacPro could realistically work as a portable solution?

If I need to edit remotely, most productions are happy to provide a monitor (they usually provide one as an external even if I bring a laptop), so that shouldn't effect the portability of the MacPro for my purposes.

I work with both Premier and Avid, and would really appreciate any thoughts you all might have, especially if anyone has experience of running the MacPro in place of a laptop!



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Chris EvansRe: Mac Pro VS MacBook Pro as a mobile edit worksation
by on Mar 8, 2016 at 3:47:28 pm

I mainly edit on a PC, but I'll give you my thoughts . I'd go with a Macbook Pro. Go all out, get the best one you can and it should be able to handle almost anything you throw at it, they are pretty beastly computers. A MacPro is obviously more powerful and may give you less dropped frames in some situations and faster rendering, but if you're moving around, the ability to sit down at a desk and be working in less than a minute or two is invaluable.

Unless you never work at a place very long, always sitting down and not having to move your computer for a whole day at least, then I think a laptop will be much easier to use. And if you're just doing HD video editing and not heavily editing hour long pieces in one place often, then I don't think the power of the MacPro will really help speed up your work enough to justify the other times you've got to move it around.

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Jay MossRe: Mac Pro VS MacBook Pro as a mobile edit worksation
by on Mar 8, 2016 at 5:00:21 pm

Thanks for the reply Chris.

I'm a commercials editor primarily, so each gig is between 3 and 5 days on average, during which time I don't need to move my kit about. Even if i'm working on set (which is not very often) It's not a problem to plug a tower in to a drive/monitor once per day; I'd have to do that with a laptop anyway. As I mentioned: last time I upgraded hardware I just bought both, but i've often wondered (now that the MacPro is so small) if I could get by with just one or the other...

I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of each and my concern is mostly about the actual portability of a MacPro. With the laptop, I only need a client to provide one extra monitor, whereas with the MacPro I would need two. There is probably not much difference between them in terms of physical space required to carry them about (once you discount having to take a monitor with you for the MacPro). The limited connectivity and upgradability of the laptop would mean it would likely need upgrading sooner than a "proper" Mac... but then of course it's cheaper to begin with.

Decisions decisions...



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Matthieu LaclauRe: Mac Pro VS MacBook Pro as a mobile edit worksation
by on Mar 9, 2016 at 8:57:17 am


I bought a Mac Pro a year and a half ago and I often move from one place to another.
I have my main editing room in Taipei, but I often go to Beijing. For the last feature film I cut, I was editing on set, so I've also been to different place in China, in Australia and in France.
I carry a quite complete setup in a backpack and a Rimowa luggage and I feel convenient about it.

In the backpack, I put the Mac Pro (that is inside the Waterfield Mac Pro bag), a Lacie 2Big thunderbolt 2 and a iPad mini. With the app Duet, I can use the iPad as a monitor: it's a bit small, but when I really need to do something and I don't have a monitor, it's ok. I actually used this system from a airport, because I really needed to do something fast.

In the luggage, I have a Samsung U28E590, which fit exactly my luggage. I just need to remove the stands (which is very easy) and I wrap the monitor in a light duvet.
I also put 2 Genelec 8010A speakers and a bag full of cables, chargers, and an extender with 5 plugs.
Then, I still have enough space to put my clothes. My luggage is often around 23kg which is ok for most flight.

With this setup, I can go almost anywhere and I have a complete setup. If I cut in a hotel, I will connect the Mac Pro to the TV through HDMI.
Then, if I go to a office where I know there is a monitor, I just have to take the backpack. It makes a heavy backpack, but I got used to it.

I'm not sure what is the more suitable for you, but in my situation, I wouldn't exchange my Mac Pro with a Macbook Pro.

Hope my post can help.


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Jay MossRe: Mac Pro VS MacBook Pro as a mobile edit worksation
by on Mar 13, 2016 at 7:03:01 pm

Hi Matthieu,

Glad to hear someone is managing to work mobile with the MacPro; I was beginning to feel crazy for even asking about it!

I must admit I hadn't considered the lack of speakers : /

I had planned to be mostly using it with headphones when on location. But I could easily add a splitter for a second pair for the director, or a bluetooth soundlink type thing when there are producers/agency present, and that should still keep the overall weight down.



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Matthieu LaclauRe: Mac Pro VS MacBook Pro as a mobile edit worksation
by on Mar 13, 2016 at 7:13:27 pm

As soon as the Macpro was announced, I was very excited with the possibility to use it as a mobile workstation.
It seems not too many people are using it like this.

For the sound, it would be similar problem with a macbookpro actually. If you want to have good sound, you need good headphone or good speakers.
I like the Genelec 8010A, because they're very good quality and they're extremely small. The only inconvenient is that the input is XLR, so I had to do a custom cable: double XLR / mini jack.

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