When it comes to editing 8K RED RAW footage, it’s a common misconception that you need an extremely powerful editing workstation equipped with 8 or more cores, 64GB of RAM, the fastest and largest capacity SSDs as well as a top-of-the-line graphics processor to get the job done.
Even though this might be the case on most occasions, there are certain exceptions. With the evolution of computing technology and the advancements of hardware and software applications, Apple has proven that efficiency and optimization are key factors in regard to squeezing processing power and getting the most out of a modest computer configuration such as the 27-inch 5K iMac (Mid 2017) with basic specs.
In the next video, Will of BubVisuals reveals how does the workstation in question manage to handle 8K RED Raw in a real-world situation.
As Will suggests, you don’t need a $4,000 beast of an editing rig to tackle this task. Instead, it’s more than possible to edit 8K RED RAW footage on a sub-$2000 machine like the baseline iMac 5K (27-inch) that comes equipped with a 3.4GHz 7th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM (upgraded by Will to 32GB after purchasing the machine), 1TB Fusion drive, and a Radeon Pro 570 with 4GB VRAM.
The first editing test was completed in Final Cut Pro X. Surprisingly, cutting clips and scrubbing through the 8K timeline provided quite pleasant experience with to no lag while editing. Even with color grading applied, there was still barely any dropped frames or timeline delay found.
The most surprising aspect of working with the 8K r3d.files, though, was the export time, wherein a 50-second edit was rendered in 2 minutes and 32 seconds. While professionals may scoff at this result, it’s incredible to see that despite exporting such a high-resolution project took only a few minutes to complete.
A similar editing experience was also found when the same process was repeated inside of Premiere Pro CC. Again, importing, editing, modifying, and grading the clips was a breeze with very little lag – quite an unusual outcome since Premiere Pro CC is infamous for its lack of optimization on Macs as a rule.
The only caveat with editing 8K RED Raw in Adobe’s NLE was the fact that the same 50-second timeline took much longer to export than in Final Cut Pro X, clocking in with a render time of whopping 16 minutes and 52 seconds.
Long story short, while the baseline 27-inch iMac 5K is not by any means a post-production powerhouse for video, it’s consumer-grade specs prove that the machine is more than capable to handle even the most demanding workloads, such as working with processor-intensive 8K RED RAW footage in real-time.
However, don’t expect to see a post-production studio kitted out with rows of baseline 27-inch iMac 5Ks anytime soon as the Windows-based workstations in this price range still come with an unbeaten price-performance ratio that’s favored by many folks in the world of professional content creation.