May 27, 2017 at 1:38PM

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MAC Pro for NLE editing

I have been using an Imac with the creative cloud suite and it has been "OK." But I'm getting into more animation/graphics with Apple Motion, and anticipate editing 4K footage. I'm a fairly experienced indie filmmaker and although semi-retired I depend on this to support my commercial and noncommercial projects.

I'm finding that the iMac is insufficient...anything more than a few layers in Motion and it's beginning to grind to a halt! And I can't add any more to it to increase speed.

Would the current MacPro (fully loaded) be sufficient....does anyone have experience with it for this type of work? I hear that Apple will have a new Mac Pro in the Fall. BUt it will be much more expensive, and with it's release the current MacPro is sure to drop in price.

I'd appreciate any thoughts. BTW - I'm loath to move to a PC since I've invested so uch time in learning Apple Motion!
Thanks,
Andrew

8 Comments

Honestly, if you are working on the adobe suite i'd opt for a windows based system. The cost is lower, and the final speed/power will be much higher. Apple's software is optimized for the hardware, hence the speed of FCPX on those systems, but Adobe products get more out of the raw power a custom built windows machine can provide. Unless there is some other reason you need to stick to the Apple systems, id say a custom windows machine will get you WAY better performance for much less. Even when money is no issue, you will still have a much faster machine for the same budget. A no-brainer for me...

June 6, 2017 at 10:03AM, Edited June 6, 10:04AM

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Jeroen Rommelaars
Animator - Videographer - Motion Tracking
989

I personally would never go the windows route myself -- but only because I too have way to many hours invested in mac software and 4 macs in the house already. I did go the Mac Pro route last December and had to take the thing back after about 30 days. It is still very buggy. If you need to move now a maxed out BTO iMac should do. I ended up with top of the line pre-built and I am not happy with it. My previous 3yo BTO iMAc was much faster. If you can wait they did announced the iMac Pro on June 5 -- though do wait for a few weeks or months after release considering what a hot mess the Mac Pro never stopped being.

June 6, 2017 at 1:15PM

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Interesting to read - one of the most heard arguments why to choose for apple is 'it just works'. As someone who has worked on imacs for a year and found nothing but trouble people often say im lying when im saying it was incredibly buggy for me. Apparently im not the only one having problems ;)

In the meantime my win10 computers have never crashed...although im kinda a nerd so i guess i know what im doing or something like that :P

Jeroen Rommelaars

June 6, 2017 at 1:43PM

Thanks Jeroen - I'm inclined to agree with you....except....like Bill, I too have too much invested in Apple...and I want to use Motion which won't play on the pc. I am anxious to see what the ni iMac will do, and even the new iMAC PRO they just announced for release 6 months from now. I guess it'll give me time to save my pennies!!

June 6, 2017 at 3:34PM

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Andrew Neighbour
Filmmaker
99

No hard feelings :P (Although investing more into that eco system now will make it even harder when the next computer replacement comes along :P)
Anyways, if you are gonna wait to see what the iMac Pro's are gonna do it still might be a good idea to wait for the actual new Mac pro. I know its gonna be expensive, but as you dont get the screen etc it might even be on par with the imac pros. What you get there is ofcourse more freedom in part-upgrades, newer parts and more flexibility when it comes to screens and such (or storing it/its external drives neatly under your desk or something) - might be worth the wait :)

Jeroen Rommelaars

June 7, 2017 at 3:51AM, Edited June 7, 3:51AM

Andrew, for work I use a Mac Pro the "trash can" version at it is lovingly called. It is awesome and it is powerful but I can't help but feel like it should be better. Just so you have a clear picture we work with the Adobe suite and this is what's in the computer: late 2013, 3.5 GHz 6 core Xeon E5, 32 GB RAM, AMD FirePro D700 6144MB graphics. Don't get me wrong, it is a fantastic machine that can export fast, render fast, and give real time playback even with a lot of effects piled on top of a clip. 4K is a dream once you give everything the time to import fully. Even in After Effects (similar to Apple Motion I assume? It's animation at least) the timeline rarely has preview issues with as much as I've used it for simple animations that include motion, motion blur, rotations, scaling effects and little color (so no character animation or anything like that).

What I mean by it should be better are the little things. Random crashes are more frequent than they should be. Sometimes things just DON'T work and it can be frustrating such as switching from headphone to display audio (the audio just cuts out we have to attach an external speaker just for preview purposes). These little things just add up and I could see how they can evolve from little annoyances to bigger problems later down the line.

So is it sufficient? A fully loaded Mac Pro gets the job done, yes. But don't expect the dream machine where everything works all of the time as seamlessly as Apple wants you to think. It is still a super powerful machine whether or not you are running FCPX or not.

My advice? Maybe be weary of Windows. I have had some bad experiences. It just seems like so many things can go wrong and there are work arounds for it, but I largely say what other people told me before I went Apple, "It just works". With Windows there are so many things that tell you to update your drivers, check your security, go into cmd.exe and type in a lot of things. Eventually you'll get your due result, but with Macs, 'it just works' up until the point where it doesn't at which point, its probably a good time to just get a new computer anyway.

June 8, 2017 at 9:46AM, Edited June 8, 9:46AM

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Thanks Tavis - a very helpful post. I guess a lot will change in the coming months with a new iMac Pro in the Fall and rumors of a new modular Mac Pro next year. The challenge, I guess, is when to bite the bullet and make a purchase!

Andrew Neighbour

June 27, 2017 at 7:06PM, Edited June 27, 7:06PM

December 29, 2017 at 2:37AM

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