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Macbook Pro 13 or 15 for video editing

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
>hat "if it isn't the fastest, biggest, latest, most expensive ... it isn't useful at all."

True. But the OP plans to buy a new MBP anyway. Also video is very performance hungry or you wait a lot.
Important point: I've been using the cheapest, slowest Mac Minis for years now, and while that hasn't been a problem for stock photography and similar work, it's a severe limitation when working on volume jobs and indeed with video. I was aiming for a MB Air to start with, to save weight and space, but since an increasing volume of my work is commercial with tight deadlines, I've come to the conclusion that having a faster computer will save me time that I can put to good use elsewhere, or simply finish my work earlier, so that I get more time to spare (or hanging out on forums like this :loco: ).

My ultimate aim is to have a completely portable photo/video system that will fit into a smallish bag and can be taken as carry-on luggage when flying, enabling me to edit photos as well as footage wherever I happen to be. These are individual needs, and some may consider this more or less unreachable goals, but I seem to be getting there, slowly.

So while my colleagues hurry back to the big city after "getting the images they need", I stay where I am, getting the photos that are not needed but may be desirable anyhow, and edit what I have at the hotel in the evening, having some local food as an added bonus. The young monks that I posted recently on the Nikon thread is a direct result of this "stay behind" attitude. All the other photographers had left when that happened.
 

Terry

New member
Guy is a good barometer on the 15" MBP. He had the last version and upgraded to the new quad core 15". His laptop is his primary machine and he has to pump out a lot of MF files. With his new MBP his processing speeds in C1 are remarkably better. I mention C1 because it is a core intensive application. The 13" MBP is not available in a quad core version.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Important point: I've been using the cheapest, slowest Mac Minis for years now, and while that hasn't been a problem for stock photography and similar work, it's a severe limitation when working on volume jobs and indeed with video. I was aiming for a MB Air to start with, to save weight and space, but since an increasing volume of my work is commercial with tight deadlines, I've come to the conclusion that having a faster computer will save me time that I can put to good use elsewhere, or simply finish my work earlier, so that I get more time to spare (or hanging out on forums like this :loco: ).

My ultimate aim is to have a completely portable photo/video system that will fit into a smallish bag and can be taken as carry-on luggage when flying, enabling me to edit photos as well as footage wherever I happen to be. These are individual needs, and some may consider this more or less unreachable goals, but I seem to be getting there, slowly.

So while my colleagues hurry back to the big city after "getting the images they need", I stay where I am, getting the photos that are not needed but may be desirable anyhow, and edit what I have at the hotel in the evening, having some local food as an added bonus. The young monks that I posted recently on the Nikon thread is a direct result of this "stay behind" attitude. All the other photographers had left when that happened.
In which case, for your needs, the additional $800-1000 hit and the persistent hit on size/weight/power/etc may well be the right solution, even for your still work.

And Guy wants to work with 40-50-etc Mpixel still work, of course you need more processing power for that than you do for piddly little 12-16 Mpixel still work if you want the same level of throughput and flexibility.

Happily, I have my 'completely portable photo/video system' now, and I'm happy enough with its capabilities for the work I'm presently doing. When and if I need more performance, I'll buy it. I don't have to have it before then, although it's always nice to have if I can afford the price tag and am willing to carry the additional weight.
 

Ralph Eisenberg

New member
Guy is a good barometer on the 15" MBP. He had the last version and upgraded to the new quad core 15". His laptop is his primary machine and he has to pump out a lot of MF files. With his new MBP his processing speeds in C1 are remarkably better. I mention C1 because it is a core intensive application. The 13" MBP is not available in a quad core version.
Do you know whether he uses the high resolution matte screen, which I would assume he does, and whether he finds it taxing on his eyes, particularly while using some of the tool tabs in C1?
 

Guy Mancuso

Administrator, Instructor
Morning Ralph . I use the new 2011 Quad core 15 inch with the high res. matte screen. But i also use a 30 in NEC wide Gamut monitor attached to it when in the office. The 15 inch can be taxing on the eyes if your sitting there for quite sometime working on it. In a lot of cases like safari I have made my fonts bigger as well. Now if your not mobile than treat yourself to a REAL monitor . I highly recommend the NEC 24 or 30 inch wide gamut with the spectro meter for color calibration. Or if your feeling rich the Eizo monitors. They are both wide gamuts and you can see almost all of the Adobe RBG color space. I love working with the NEC as i can SEE exactly what my files should be in the correct color space I use for printing and output to clients.

Now going back to laptops . It is my only machine so i needed to ramp it up. So here is what i have today but i need to add more ram as well. 2011 15 inch 2.3 Quad cores with 8gb of Ram and soon OWC 240 gb 6g Sata III drive, today I am running a Intel 510 which will get moved over to the optical bay once the OWC comes in. So in short the OS will be on the OWC and the second drive will hold backup OS and storage but 2 SSD drives. Now the Ram can go as high as 16gb but the price on that right now is 1600 so waiting for price to drop. But I may just go for 12 at 879 soon here. Pushing CS5 the ram would help but C1 being core dependent i have increased my processing times 2 fold over my older duo core. So just the quad cores alone i am screaming 53 percent faster than before. That is a great increase in processing speeds.
 

kit laughlin

Subscriber Member
Ralph,

I have the identical machine to Guy, but with the OWC 120GB SSD drive in place of the Apple original, and 8GB RAM also (I agree: $1,600 is way over the top). SSDs are far and away the best performance 'bang for the buck" improvement you can do to a laptop, and the OWC ones are "over-provisioned', meaning that their performance will stay high over time. Go over to macperformance.com, run by our friend Lloyd Chambers, for a detailed explanation of the whys and wherefores. And mine drives a 30" HD display when at home too. I use 7,200 rpm FireWire drives for source and output files; Guy's will be set up to have two SSDs set up in his optical bay for this, but I prefer to have this work as the factory built it. I will buy a pair of SSDs in a single Thunderbolt-coupled unit when these become available later this year.

Using the 'geekbench.com' tests, my new quad-core laptop outperforms my MacPro tower quad-core, by 2.5 to 1, yielding a measure of 11,500 on those tests. It outperforms last year's 15" MBP by over 2 to 1.

And I also recommend getting the hi-rez anti-glare screen. I was so impressed with this machine's performance I sold the desktop unit: first time since PCs were invented!
 

kit laughlin

Subscriber Member
Jorgen, the MacBook Air is useless for photo processing work, too, BTW. I have one of these too (typing on it right now!), but it is a toy, for email, surfing the net, and photo forums! Even though I have sold the desktop, I always have a second machine, and this is (IMHO) the best second machine out there. The reason is that I can do various net-based tasks while the MBP is (for example) processing video or stills, something it does most days.

The MacBook Air (MBA) only has a dual-core 1.6GB processor and 4GB RAM, and that was the top specs available when I bought it in Canada late last year. I have left this one standard, because I travel all the time and it is v. handy for that. If I am travelling for a photo job, though, I would not leave home without the 15", though it is over twice the weight.

Reasons: the MBA has no option for the matt screen (tho' it is high rez version) and in the field, shiny screens are simply unusable. On my last John Deere shoot, the art director and I were huddled inside the car to look at images... it was not possible outside to see the older shiny screen that the previous model featured. As well, when the MBA is doing any processing, rather than what I am doing now, it is slow.

And the MBA only has two USB connectors. It can drive an external screen, but I never have, so do not know its limits in this regard. HTH
 

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
Kit,
I have already decided on the MBP 15, more or less maxed out (but within Apple's own specs). There's a growing pile of nickels and dimes on my desk. Hopefully, it will be tall enough some time during May.
 

Ralph Eisenberg

New member
Thank you for the helpful feedback, particularly in regard to the eye strain of the high resolution MacBook Pro screen. For future trips of several months duration I certainly regret that they do not make a standard resolution matte screen.
I've long been familiar with Lloyd Chambers' fine site and the useful information obtainable there. Indeed, I just got an OWC 240 GB SSD, which unfortunately failed after a few days usage. OWC customer and technical service is excellent, but the problems of sending the disk in for a replacement from abroad (postal service and Customs) are dissuasive enough to make this a write-off.
 

arild

New member
I´m actually getting the base 15" version with a high rez matte screen myself, but I´m going to add a 640GB 7200rpm HDD, 8GB RAM, and an external WD 1TB HDD. Couldn´t justify getting the next in the food chain, as I never play games, won´t touch video editing (it frightens me!), and funds are limited.

Good informative thread!
 

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
I went to have a look at the MBP 15" today. Earlier, I've only kind of looked in that general direction, but things look different when I'm planning to buy it. Very different. It's biiiiiig, and heavy too :wtf: and in a year or two, there will probably be an MBA with the same kind of performance. Think, think, think.... :confused:
 

arild

New member
Heh, had to go back to the Apple Store today, got out of there with a 21.5" iMac, as I decided I need a bigger screen more than I need four cores. It´s amazing to work with!

Got out with the same impression as you, Jørgen. The 15" is pretty big and heavy, and the screen has less than great viewing angles.
 

dick

New member
I have the 17" mac book pro, and I am about to setup the external eSATA as a scratch disc... ¿I could get a considerable boot in performance but replacing the HD with a SSD, but with reduced capacity?
 
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