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Trek of Joy

Premiere alternatives for FCPx/Mac user looking at Surface Pro4 for mobile workstation

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Hello all, I'm going to be doing a lot of extended traveling in the next year and I want to keep my kit as light as possible - so on the camera side I'm downsizing from Sony FF to Fuji with the XT2. Now I'm looking at portable editing solutions lighter than the most recent 13" MacBook Pro Retina's that still has the SD card slot. If the MacBook Air had the retina screen it'd be a no-brainer, but it doesn't and I don't want to spend that kind of jack on a low rez screen. My other lightweight option is a loaded 12' MacBook, but then I need dongles as its down to a single USB-c port. I'll be carrying my whole life in a backpack for months on end, so less is better.

That has me considering a Surface Pro 4 to use for the next year and something other than Premiere - because Premiere is so clunky and I'm not paying for CC anything. Not planning on doing any heavy grading, just want to edit travel videos on the road with a quick/efficient NLE. I know very little about Vegas and Hitfilm, any others? Any experiences with other editing platforms and thoughts on using them with a scaled down machine like the Surface?

Thanks in advance.

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35 minutes ago, DPC said:

Resolve Lite perhaps? Is your 13" MBP Retina really too heavy?Why would the lack of a retina screen on the MBA be a deal breaker? Just curious...

This. 

There has been a few discussions over the past year or so about using a surface for editing and I don't remember if there was any resolution on how effective it is...

I think @Mat Mayer was researching a Surface for editing. So he may be the guy to ask. 

I have a 2015 Air and it works pretty good with FCPX. And since you're already used to Final Cut, I'm not sure why you'd want to change and invest in a new editing program.

With that being said, I haven't used Vegas, but my friend had it for a little while when he was in between Macs and he really liked it... He thought it was the closest to Final Cut/iMovie.

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Hitfilm works reeally similar to premiere. You may want a couple paid add ons for the free version though, and you're restricted to 1080p export, but I'm a big fan. Blender and Shotcut are probably the other best free ones (besides Resolve), but less intuitive, and some different restrictions. Hard to cover it all, I love Hitfilm. Hitfilm, Blender, and Shotcut also run perfectly fine on my i5/8gb ram laptop

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3 hours ago, DPC said:

Resolve Lite perhaps? Is your 13" MBP Retina really too heavy?Why would the lack of a retina screen on the MBA be a deal breaker? Just curious...

The screen resolution is terrible on the MBA, 1440x900, not even HD. I tested one out and its just not sharp at all. The 13" Retina with charger is over 5 pounds, that's about double the Surface or MacBook Retina weight. Every gram adds up when you're going to be living out of a carry-on size backpack for a few months.

Resolve is a bit of a resource hog, that's why I didn't mention it. Its slow, really slow compared to FCPx. I may just buy a MacBook to test.

1 hour ago, Liam said:

Hitfilm works reeally similar to premiere. You may want a couple paid add ons for the free version though, and you're restricted to 1080p export, but I'm a big fan. Blender and Shotcut are probably the other best free ones (besides Resolve), but less intuitive, and some different restrictions. Hard to cover it all, I love Hitfilm. Hitfilm, Blender, and Shotcut also run perfectly fine on my i5/8gb ram laptop

I have no problem paying for software, just want to avoid the CC and Premiere. Will check out the others, haven't heard of Blender or Shotcut.

3 hours ago, mercer said:

This. 

There has been a few discussions over the past year or so about using a surface for editing and I don't remember if there was any resolution on how effective it is...

I think @Mat Mayer was researching a Surface for editing. So he may be the guy to ask. 

I have a 2015 Air and it works pretty good with FCPX. And since you're already used to Final Cut, I'm not sure why you'd want to change and invest in a new editing program.

With that being said, I haven't used Vegas, but my friend had it for a little while when he was in between Macs and he really liked it... He thought it was the closest to Final Cut/iMovie.

At the moment I'm just exploring my options. I've already invested in FCPx so my preference is to stay Mac and just move what I use to a laptop. I was ready to buy a MBA as the rumors had it getting a retina screen with the newest MBP refresh, but that never materialized.

I have a friend that uses a 12" retina MacBook and he gets by fine. Until two years ago my whole setup was a 2009 2ghz dual core MBP with 8gb ram, 512mb Vram and a 5400rpm HD. Benchmarks show the new MacBook easily topping my old machine. I've never used Vegas, will watch some demos.

Thanks

1 hour ago, Franz Schuier said:

I travelled and worked in india 4 weeks with a 12inch retina I bought specifically for this trip (and sold afterwards). The speed of the internal HD made editing 4K h264 with fcpx possible. I used a USB-C SD card reader and one external USB C HD. So LIGHT!!! A surface pro wont be much ligther, check it out before you switch.

Esp. with the power adaptor being a ipad one / most people dont factor the size and weight of the power adaptor / Whats a light laptop worth if the power adaptor weights 500g?

One of the projects I shoot and started to edit there (A7sii and loxia lenses / I had my whole kit and clothes in a carry on backpack)

 

That looks really good, can you talk a little more about working with a 12" Retina? My preference is to stay Mac. PCIe 3.0 makes for some insanely fast SSD speeds, it makes my new 5k iMac crazy fast. I've watched a few videos and it looks more capable than my old laptop at a fraction of the weight. I'm counting every gram so if I can make it work - and I'm patient enough to be slow and methodical when scrubbing and letting things render overnight and such.

Thanks

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I have a Surface Pro 3 and the 4 has somewhat a better graphic card. I don't use it for video editing but mostly photo editing on the road where the performance is ok.

I use Resolve as my main NLE and is already at the limit on a beefy notebook so I'm not even trying on surface but here an article on using Resolve on the Surface Pro 4: http://www.provideocoalition.com/davinci-resolve-surface-pro-4/

Forget any 4k editing on a Surface Pro with Resolve because is too GPU dependent.

A better option would be the new Surface Book with Performance Base with the Nvidia GTX 965M, it is a super machine still super light and compact. Problem for video editing is that it has only 2 GB of VRAM so for serious 4k grading in Resolve it can be problematic, but for sure it is way better than the Iris graphics card of the Pro 4 (around 3x the gpu perf). Full HD editing and basic grading should work fine in this machine. Afaik there is no other lightweight notebook ~13'' with such "powerful" GPU. Unfortunately it is quite expensive starting at 2399 usd...

In my experience for minimum 4k editing in Resolve a Notebook with a 4 core i7 and at least a 4GB vram 970M or above is needed. For example on a 4k timeline you cannot use optical flow retiming with a 2GB vram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, gt3rs said:

Forget any 4k editing on a Surface Pro with Resolve because is too GPU dependent.

Thanks, Resolve definitely isn't going to work for me.

18 minutes ago, Antonis said:

It really is hard to beat the performance of a Mac & FCPX. It's just much more optimised, even on the "slow" Macbook 12" 

I think I'm going to take a 12" Retina for a test drive, thanks!

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