Apple vs. Microsoft: Who Wants Filmmakers More? [PODCAST]

In this episode of Indie Film Weeklywe compare the releases of the new Macbook Pro and Microsoft Surface Studio to a high school popularity contest.

Outside of the hardware battle for filmmaker allegiance, co-hosts Jon FuscoEmily Buder, and yours truly, Liz Nord go to the front lines of the Dakota Access oil pipeline protests to find out why police are targeting journalists and shooting down drones. We also discuss the death of Vine, the birth of Kickstarter Live, and, in our Ask No Film School segment, what you should expect to pay for a short film screenplay. Tech writer Charles Haine joins us to bring the latest gear news, and as always, we update you on upcoming grant and festival deadlines, this week’s indie film releases, and other notable things you might have missed while you were busy making films.

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This episode of Indie Film Weekly was produced and edited by Jon Fusco.

Your Comment


I've been wanting to sell my iMac and get a laptop to make myself more mobile. After the new MBP announcement, I'm officially switching to PC after 12 years of using only Macs for editing. Soon I will be the proud owner of a Precision 7510 that is specced better than a brand new iMac, and cheaper by quite a bit.

November 3, 2016 at 8:48AM

Joe O

Trader... Get em... Mac 4 LIFE

November 3, 2016 at 8:58AM

Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP

So slow and expensive for life with an inferior OS, why put yourself through so much pain? Join the rest of us that have switched.

November 3, 2016 at 3:18PM


Inferior OS? You must be kidding right?

I use to like Windows more, but that was back with 95 and 98 when the expectations from an OS was really low. Drivers had to be installed manually, software had to be installed manually, and the OS had no extra features that could possibly break.

As much people don't like OS X ascetics, the thing is that its has been so much more stable and effective than Windows. Heck last week there was a rushed update on Windows 10 that made my PC forget how to use Ethernet... Which I totally get is kind of a new technology... in like 90s... There should never be a reason why that should not work.

Where is with OS X, I never have had to set up Ethernet. I have never had a glitch that kept me from using Ethernet.

I am pretty sure if I was in a house that uses a cloud, the Windows computers would seem to be the worse thing ever as we would be restarting them constantly trying to make sure that the drivers loaded correctly that time. Which is terribly inconvenient and pretty much shows off how much of a beta test Windows 10 is and not a professional tool.

November 5, 2016 at 1:47PM

Kyle Dockum
Videographer and Editor

Let us know how it goes once you get started with it, Joe O. Whether or not to switch is a constant discussion over here.

November 3, 2016 at 9:32AM

Liz Nord
Documentary Filmmaker/Multi-platform Producer

One thing that people don't always consider is the resale value of hardware once you're done with it. Apple hardware is often more expensive up front, but I've found that the "total cost of ownership" is often less with a Mac, since you can still get good resale value 24mnths later. I always try and sell my Macbooks before they are 3 yrs old and within the Applecare period. This will definitely depend on your local market, but here in New Zealand the resale value for second hand Macbooks is very good.

That being said - get the tool that is best for your workflow. I was very disappointed not to see a Macbook with 32Gb RAM. But for me, my laptop tends to be for personal use and only occasional post/editing work. At work and home I use much more powerful Dell Workstations. I prefer OSX to windows. But do what gets the job done efficiently.

November 3, 2016 at 5:03PM

Richard Lewis
3D Specialist

ZOMG, new Macbook Pro has cooling fans!

November 3, 2016 at 2:17PM

Chris Santucci

If I was graphic designer I would be all over The Surface Pro but since I'm an editor, the throughput of the new Mac Book Pros is a far more attractive feature for my line of work.

November 3, 2016 at 2:21PM

Brad Jones

That is laughable the Mac Book Pro (any model for that matter) is based on the same hardware that any bottom of the line Laptop has and does not any more throughput. Notice I said bottom of the line, unfortunately the GPU power is complete lacking in all Apple products so really the throughput is just sad, and the price is through the roof. The sooner you dump it for something far better, and far cheaper with a far superior OS the more productive you will be.

And why would anyone edit on a tiny little MacBook screen - far too limiting.

November 3, 2016 at 3:17PM, Edited November 3, 3:20PM


Uh dude, it has USB C/Thunderbolt 3 ports. That means more throughput than your average laptop (40 gbps). Also, everything I've read is that those new Polaris cards can process 1.85 teraflops on the high end so for a laptop that's not too shabby.

Also, there are not a lot of benchmarks out yet as only the 13 inch model without the touchbar is available but they have confirmed the SSD is quite a bit faster than the previous models.

Sorry you're wrong. Sucks to be wrong.

November 3, 2016 at 4:57PM

Brad Jones

Unfortunately it appears that for pcie on thunderbolt 3, at least on the new 2016 MBP and PC TB3 laptops, bandwidth is limited to 20Gbps. This is with the full speed ports. Thus eGPUs benchmark at only 3-5% faster over TB3 VS TB2.

FYI, this deviation in TB for pcie bandwidth is not new. TB2 limited pcie bandwidth to 16Gbps. Based on draft proposals, some speculate when TB4 80Gbps emerges it will either offer 32Gbps of pcie bandwidth, or remain the same 20Gbps with more streams of it - 4 for TB4 vs 2 for TB3.

The plus side: as noted above, TB3 offers two separate 20Gbps streams, so in theory, one may be able to run two eGPU boxes daisy-chained off one TB3 port for super revved up CUDA compute acceleration - But CUDA can only go so far.

The downside: Current Macs are still locked at quad core consumer CPU options with current tech. And Unfortunately nVidia's support for macOS appears to be waning - Pascal is still not yet supported on Macs some 6 months since launch and Sierra support for Maxwell has been buggy in my experience.

Word from the RED camp fire chief is the future is not more powerful rocket cards, but rather, dual socket CPU setups with 40-50 cores and CUDA compute for real-time and better 8K+ Redcode playback/edit/grading/finishing.

As Apple is not interested in dual CPU sockets, and considering there is code in Sierra to support Apple's own ARM based CPU "Hurricane" family, factored with Apple's past legal woes and feud with nVidia, the possibility of Apple shipping an Intel based high core count system with CUDA support in the future is non-existent.

Based on all of the above, even as a once staunch supporter of Apple, I can no longer recommend the use of Macs for serious work.

The future may be a return to the past, a locked down workstation with no direct internet connection (to avoid the annoying Win10 auto updates, among other things), that has bash, and can run unix like binaries. See Win10ae native support for ubuntu w/in windows:

On a side note about the new 2016 MBP SSD, sure the local volume bandwidth is nice, but many full scale film productions have RAID systems setup with half that bandwidth and spread it out among multiple editors.

On an additional note, Apple is expected to release an upgraded iMac next year to include a "Pro" version (to replace the Mac Pro). The 2017 "Pro" iMac w/ dual Vega GPUs and 10-core Skylake-X CPU options may be the last Mac Apple releases focused on the small market (compared to iOS devices) of pro/indie moving picture folks.

November 3, 2016 at 6:22PM, Edited November 3, 7:00PM

Daniel Reed
Hat Collector

The shorter cables give 40 gbps,2817,2486078,00.asp

OS X is utilizing open cl framework at this point so Cuda would not be the best option for the Mac ecosystem. Open CL and Cuda give the same results for most applications at this point in regards to parallel processing. Not to mention, Apple and AMD have made an alliance of sorts. I think everyone needs to wait for the benchmarks for the 450/460 cards before we pass judgement on the quality of the video cards.

November 3, 2016 at 7:40PM, Edited November 3, 7:41PM

Brad Jones

The pcie bandwidth figure I gave above WAS with short 0.5m cables. The issue is pcie allocated bandwidth in TB3, not total logical bandwidth. You'll only get full 40Gbps on TB3 if its pure data (nothing that requires pcie), and as you mentioned, if only using a short one foot and a half cable. An active optical will get you most of the way there at longer ranges, but will lose about 10% due to latency introduced with the optical conversion.

The best card in the latest MBP offers 1.8 TFlops. Thats less power then even an nVidia 960 (2.3TFlops). Speaking of the nVidia 960, that card in real world performance is nearly the same or better as the dual D700s on a nMP. While I disagree about OpenCL, as I have seen and made my own direct performance comparisons with 8K footage, the bigger problem is Apple doesn't have a single GPU offering that can best an nVidia 960 - Think about that.

Yes, the new new iMac "Pro" with dual vega will be pretty awesome, but its a last drop in the bucket thing for Apple before they drop intel, switch to their own processors, and eventually discontinue the entire Mac lineup.

November 4, 2016 at 10:19AM

Daniel Reed
Hat Collector

Actually there are active 40Gbps TB3 cables, I just bought one two days ago (Belkin, 6ft, TB3, 40Gbps).

December 26, 2016 at 11:42AM

Tyler McCool
One Man Show

great interview with one of the new MacBook Pro designers:

November 5, 2016 at 11:39AM, Edited November 5, 11:39AM

Jon Fusco
Senior Producer

Does removing ports count as design?

November 7, 2016 at 12:43PM


Before Apple released the "new" macbooks I was perfectly happy with all our macs.

Hadn't used windows in 10 years.

I'm writing this on a new Microsoft Surface Pro 4. That's really saying something. In that 10 years I've purchased 2 MacPro towers, 2 iMacs, 4 Macbooks, 2 Mac Minis and 3 iPads. And love the Mac OS.

In Apples release all I see is cost cutting, saving money on ports, not having to support peripherals. Very disappointing. Nothing pro about mackbooks anymore.

The writing has been on the wall for years. When apple killed Final Cut Studio, killed Final Cut Server, killed Aperture, killed their RAID hardware, stopped releasing Mac Pros only to eventually release the trashcan..

Ever since the iPhone Macs have suffered.

I believe it started when they had to take pretty much all their programmers off Mac to write for the iPhone whenever that needed it and then iPad and many of them ended up stuck there. Mac computers I've read is only 10% of apples income these days.

Apple what happens when they world eventually realises other phones are much the same and suddenly you don't have 70% market share or whatever it is?

Anyhow I never imagined I'd consider a Windows machine again, never imagined I'd need to. I looked at the competition and noticed the Surface Pro desktop which looks nice then noticed the Surface Book and Surface Pro and that's when I really realised Apple haven't innovated in years. I don't consider the touchbar innovation and Lenovo did it first a couple of years ago anyhow.

So right now I'm trialling windows 10, Love the Surface Pro so far. I use Adobe Creative Suite and Cinema 4D so switching with those is easy.

I really like and am used to Apples Numbers for spreadsheets so not looking forward to learning Excel. Also use Merlin for project management which isn't available on PC :( But loosing only 2 apps isn't so bad.



November 7, 2016 at 1:10PM