How About 4K Editing on an Entry-Level 12-inch MacBook?

Native 4K video editing on a 12-inch MacBook with a 1.1Ghz Core M processor, Intel HD 5300 and 8GB of RAM might seem an impossible task for some, but is it such indeed?

Hi-tech vlogger and filmmaker Jonathan Morrison provides the answer in the next video while explaining why he relies on FCPX for his video editing workflow on a daily basis instead of opting for other popular NLEs or more powerful Windows-based machines.

As you might guess, Jonathan also tries to destroy the myth that one will need as much computing power as possible to edit natively 4K video on an ultra portable laptop, a statement that should be entirely re-evaluated considering the following examples. And, here’s why.

To start off, Morrison simply throws a bunch of Sony FS7 clips directly on the FCPX timeline and even though the playback was a bit choppy at times, it was certainly workable, he says. Once the FCPX transcoded those files to ProRes, the underpowered MacBook was capable not only to playback the edit smoothly and flawlessly but also made switching between full-screen playback and timeline playback seamless, without skipping a single frame.

Regarding export times, the entry-level 12-inch MacBook yield fairly decent results as well. It managed to render almost 4-minute long timeline of 4K clips for slightly above six minutes. When the background rendering was off, FCPX managed to complete the very same task for just under 13 minutes or roughly twice as slow.

Finally, the same 4K timeline was cut to 2 minutes as the render time was just 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Because the recent 12-inch MacBooks come equipped with a USB 3.0 Type-C Port port, you can easily attach an external 4K monitor by using only a single USB-C cable. This workflow will allow you to create an ultra-portable mobile video editing studio on the go that is certainly a viable option, especially when you can get a similar notebook for less than $1,200.

Ultimately, it’ll be interesting to share your results based on similar criteria, regardless of the workstation and operating system you currently use. How long does it take to export a 4-minute 4K timeline in your experience? Feel free to share your best results in the comments below.

[source: Jonathan Morrison]

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One Response

  1. Lord Volt October 24, 2016

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