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Movies and Video For people making movies and editing video with their Mac.

Is the standard iMac enough to edit AVCHD?


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MacWindows

 
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Hey guys,

I have probably a rather noobish question concerning AVCHD and the standard $1200 iMac. Do you think that the iMac will have enough horsepower to edit AVCHD video shot at native 24p with a resolution of 1280x720? I would think a dual-core 3.33Ghz processor would be enough, but I've heard a lot of people say that you need a lot of power to edit AVCHD video. Does anybody have any hands-on experience with editing AVCHD video on the standard iMac?

Thanks to any and all who respond!

-MacWindows
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dr dave

 
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Dunno why not. I am using AVCHD on my MacBook Pro using Final Cut Express 4. Works like a champ.

"The government has no money except what is confiscated from the people." M. Freidman
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Nethfel

 
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I use a lesser machine to edit AVCHD footage many times (a 2.0GHz '09 mini and a 2.4GHz unibody macbook) when I'm not around my Mac Pro.

What you have to understand with Mac editing of AVCHD video in iMovie, FCE or FCP you are not editing native AVCHD footage - it gets transcoded at import to a different, more edit friendly format that takes less CPU horsepower to work with. In iMovie and FCE the codec used is AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) and in FCP it's ProRES 4:2:2 or ProRES 4:4:4 (depending on version of FCP and which codec you choose to use).

AIC and ProRES takes a LOT more space then AVCHD, you need to figure 3-6x space requirements for AVCHD->AIC and 6-10x space for ProRES. The upside is of course, you don't need to do a lot of decompression/recompression on the fly and so it requires a fraction of the horsepower necessary to edit compared to AVCHD native (which is highly compressed).

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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MacWindows

 
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Okay, thanks guys! That's excellent information.

-MacWindows
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MacWindows

 
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Just in case anybody is interested...

This is the camera I intend to buy. The quality it can produce is absolutely stunning for a consumer product. Here's an example video of a talented person's work with it.

That's the kind of work I want to do, and I'm glad to know the standard $1200 iMac can handle it.

-MacWindows
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True Bassist

 
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Ooooo...you're going to have some fun with that.
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Nethfel

 
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BTW - one thing that wasn't discussed, that you should be warned about, you'll want to get an external firewire 800 drive to hook into that Mac to use as your scratch drive - especially when using FCE or FCP, Premiere, etc.. I don't know if you're going to use Final Cut or if you're planning on using iMovie. I'm sure there is a way to move where iMovie uses its temporary/capture space to, but I couldn't tell you how to save my life (I use FCE and FCP)

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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MacWindows

 
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Quote:
BTW - one thing that wasn't discussed, that you should be warned about, you'll want to get an external firewire 800 drive to hook into that Mac to use as your scratch drive - especially when using FCE or FCP, Premiere, etc.. I don't know if you're going to use Final Cut or if you're planning on using iMovie. I'm sure there is a way to move where iMovie uses its temporary/capture space to, but I couldn't tell you how to save my life (I use FCE and FCP)
Thanks for the info! Yeah, I'll be shopping around for an external HDD soon as well, since all of the HD footage I'll be shooting will take up a LOT of space. It's amazing how much HDD space a video clip can take up.

Oh, and I'll likely be using FCE for editing. I'd like to be able to afford Final Cut Studio, but that's not gonna happen. I'll get by through the use of another special effects/color grading program called EffectsLab Pro. Sure, it's not Color or Motion, but I gotta do what I can afford! Lol.

-MacWindows
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