Smooth 8K Video Editing on a Mid 2017 12″ MacBook?

How is that even possible, you may ask? Honestly, I don’t know, but I should admit that I’m really excited by the fact that you can edit 8K footage in real-time seamlessly on an ultra-portable laptop with such modest specs. Considering that smooth video editing of 8K RED Helium footage is still a serious challenge even for some top-spec PC workstations, the ability to edit 8K footage on this particular machine is mind-blowing, to say the least.

If you are still skeptical about the true performance of the latest Macbook, though, you should definitely check out the video produced by InfinityLabs below that showcases what you can achieve with a laptop that features an Intel Core 1.2GHz m3-7Y30 processor, Intel HD 615 Graphics and just 8GB of RAM. You’ll need to see to believe it, that’s for sure.

Apparently, the exquisite complexity of the hardware and software optimization of the 12-inch Macbook has a lot to do with the results of these real-world tests. We can see that you can easily edit and scrub through a 4K, 6K and even 8K timeline in Final Cut X without a hitch. Meanwhile, here are some of the render times achieved in these tests.

The latest 12″ Macbook managed to process a 2-minute 4K timeline in just 1 minute and 20 seconds. The 5K edit with the same duration rendered in 1 minute and 43 seconds, whereas the 6K project needed 2 minutes and 28 seconds to complete. As expected, the 8K files took the longest time, yet the fact that rendering of 8K footage happened in less than five minutes is still very impressive, indeed.

On the other hand, we should admit that cutting together a bunch of clips has nothing to do with professional video editing where typically you’ll need to deal with thousands of clips per project while mixing multiple codecs and formats along with loads of system-intensive filters and effects applied in between. Let’s not forget that we are talking about an entry-level laptop that’s not even supposed to be used for any complex professional work.

Nevertheless, it seems that the Apple 12″ MacBook is already good enough for certain situations where throwing a bunch of high-resolution clips in Final Cut X timeline shouldn’t be an issue at all. Long story short, it’s great that we have such horsepower in this small and ultra-compact laptop that could compete with some of the high-end video editing workstations currently available on the market and shouldn’t be underestimated by any means IMHO.

Apple 12″ MacBook (Mid 2017, Space Gray) Specifications

  • 1.2 GHz Intel Core m3 Dual-Core
  • 8GB of 1866MHz LPDDR3 RAM | 256GB SSD
  • Integrated Intel HD Graphics 615
  • 12″ 2304 x 1440 IPS Display
  • USB 3.0 Type-C Port
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi | Bluetooth 4.2
  • Force Touch Trackpad
  • Stereo Speakers | Dual Mics
  • Slim, Compact Design
  • macOS Sierra

What do you guys think about the real-world performance regarding video editing capabilities of the latest 12″ Macbook in conjunction with Final Cut X? Let us know in the comments below.

[source: InfinityLabs]

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Apple 12″ MacBook (Mid 2017, Space Gray)

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  • Ross Finnie

    Shame that while the performance is pretty decent with Final Cut, it’ll likely be rotten with Premiere 🙁

  • Goff

    I am reading your article on the island of Elba (that is off Tuscany, Italy for our American friends). In Elba I am filming colour patterns in the water at 4K (yawn!). But, wait for it, my new MacBook Pro didn’t arrive in time, so I’m editing the 4K video clips with FCPX and Colour Finale on my 2016 12 inch MacBook. And, yes, it works. Not fast, but it works. Occasionally the MacBook crashes, but when restarted it picks up where it left off. I am impressed.

  • Get a PC.

  • BS… Now, try to color correct clips, de-noise them work with real videos, you know something coming straight from a real 4k, 6k and 8k camera and we will see how this MacBook handle video editing.

    • SpecialMan

      I think that’s the point. It won’t. To me what this seems like is the perfect computer for commercial shooters working out in the field who have to put together simple pieces quickly and get them up onto Facebook during trade shows, product launches, and other big events.

    • Maarten Spoek

      Well he used 8k helium Raw footage. That needs debayering and color correction.

  • Dale Ryan Leckie

    Thanks for this! I work with FCPX for several TV series and docs. It’s great to see this little beast work its magic. We’re rocking a fleet of iMacs right now, and a few 2010 Mac pros. They kick ass, but portability is very persuasive.

  • Alan Jones

    Is this good enough for stitching together 1080 30fps holiday vids in a reasonable amount of time without overheating in imovie?