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Old October 21st, 2010, 08:32 AM   #1
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MacBook Pro @5400rpms not cutting it?

I'm finding myself unable to edit 1080p HD on my MacBook Pro (with Final Cut Studio 7). I only recently tried editing footage on the MacBook's local hard drive, and it's not cutting it. :-(

I was duped into believing this MacBook could handle it...because I've edited lots of productions (without a hitch) using footage stored on our company's (much faster) video server over a gigabit ethernet connection.

But when I tried editing locally-stored footage, no dice. Looks like this MacBook has a 5400rpm hard disk.

So I guess I'm just posting to confirm—is anyone else able to edit full-res HD from a 5400rpm drive? (I'm guessing not...)

Thanks,
Scott

PS - I haven't done any tests yet...but what about 720p? Will the 5400rpm drive handle that?
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Old October 21st, 2010, 08:47 AM   #2
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Generally 7200 rpm drives are considered the minimum needed for editing video. It's possible at 5400 rpm, but as you discovered, you use it at your own risk. Best to upgrade your system drive.

On my Macbook Pro, I even ditched the CD/DVD drive and added a 2nd 7200rpm drive. Great for on the road video editing.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 01:29 PM   #3
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First, you mention both a MacBook and MacBook Pro - which is it you're actually using? They don't have the same internal bus bandwidth.

If you're cutting full 1080p online (not proxy) then you'll really need two things: As MW points out at a minimum a single 7200rpm drive, but in all honesty you're better off with (2) internal drives: One for the OS and apps to live on and a second to put all your video/audio/still assets onto.

I did a review of the MCE kit that allows you to put a second internal drive into any Mac laptop regardless of age or type:

Grumpy Quail: MCE Optibay Review: A 2nd Internal HDD for Apple laptops!

Get that (or have MCE install it and the drive of your choice) and you'll be cutting at least 2-3 streams of 1080p nicely. NOTE: You cannot expect more than 2 to 3 streams of full 1080HD footage on any laptop, more than that and you'll be skipping frames on playback.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 06:51 PM   #4
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Edit using Proxy then batch capture the sequences (to ProRes 422) and export. This is exactly what Proxy is for and it works very well.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 07:26 PM   #5
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Hard drive speed is about bit rate -- DV for instance is 25Mb/s, and so too are HDV and AVCHD. And 25Mb/s is a dawdle for any contemporary HDD. You could do multiple simultaneous streams at that bit rate with any new 5400 drive -- I've edited DV with an AIrbook's internal drive, a pokey 4200 rpm drive.

This is not to say that 7200 isn't faster -- it is -- but if the problem is CPU then a faster drive won't help you. And if you're HDV has been transcoded to a higher bit rate codec, that's important to know so you can get to the root of your issue, as an AIC file will be 100Mb/s or worse, and will require a drive capable of four times the sustained transfer ability of one capable of DV/HDV/AVCHD.

Cheers,
GB
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 08:21 AM   #6
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Depends on the codec. I've edited with xdcam HD 422 on my laptop. That's a MacBook pro 15" from 2007-2008, 4gb ram, 2.4 intel 2 duo GHz processor, 5400 rpm hard drive. Once you begin with multiple layers, motion or effects, you see it slowing down.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 09:09 AM   #7
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No doubt it slows down ... but it would with a 7200rpm drive in that scenario too. It is not drive speed that slows a 2.4Ghz core2duo when editing multiple layers, motions or effects of XDCAM HD 422 ...

Which is rather the point of this thread.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 09:19 AM   #8
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Yep, That's why i'm surprised everyone acts like It's completely imposible to edit anything on a 5400rpm speed drive. I did it. I wouldn't Call it the fastest system ever, but it worked.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 09:32 AM   #9
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Typically the problem is with CPU speed, or it is in fact HDD speed but because the source footage has been converted to a higher bit-rate intermediate codec ... AIC plays better with a slow CPU, but demands a faster HDD. So it's important to determine where the slow down is happening, before making blanket statements on drive speed.

Cheers,
GB
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 09:50 AM   #10
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Just checking back and reading responses (thanks to all).

I have a MacBook Pro with the same specs Mathieu mentioned below: Core 2 Duo @2.4ghz, 4GB RAM, running Snow Leopard. (And of course the 5400rpm drive.)

I'm shooting with a Canon EOS T2i/550D. The footage I could NOT edit locally on this laptop (e.g. footage on the internal hard drive) was the original Canon footage transcoded using Compressor to Apple ProRes 422 LT.

So maybe the ProRes422LT is my problem? (It plays back with long pauses every few seconds...) Our other video guy told me converting to ProRes422LT was the way to go for all our editing...but sounds like I should either look into another intermediate format and/or start learning to use proxy footage...

Scott
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 08:49 PM   #11
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I found that a 5400rpm Western Digital EARS drive (1.5TB) is not fast enough to edit P2 dvcpro50 footage in Premiere CS3. When I copied the data to a WD Caviar Black Edition 7200rpm hard drive, the playback and editing was just fine (on a 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Win7 x64 computer)

It might be different with other formats, because P2 stores video and audio in different files and folders - that increases hard drive search time a lot.
Also just viewing the material with Panasonic's P2 viewer is going well from the 5400rpm drive, it just wouldn't work well in Premiere CS3.

ProRes422 usually has a data rate of ~60-70mbit/s for SD video, that is even higher than the dvcpro50 data rate and I guess it is much higher for 1080p.
But your video guy is right, ProRes422 is a very good intermediate editing format for highly compressed footage like the mpeg4 from dslr. You should rather invest in a faster hard drive than using another video codec. However I'm not sure if your core2 2.4GHz notebook will be fast enough to perfectly edit 1080p material in ProRes422 even with a really fast hard drive. It also depends on the graphics chip and how much it supports HD playback
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