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Gregormannschaft

Editing 4K on a Macbook Pro

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Look, first off. I'm sorry if this is a repeating a topic from a few months back, I did a quick search and nothing really seemed to answer my question so I thought I'd quickly throw it out here and hope for the best.

I'm in the market for a new editing machine. My spec'd out Macbook Pro from mid-2014 just refuses to work with 4K footage these days and I'm pretty sure any effects nails the GPU. I need an upgrade. I would love to move to a desktop, get an iMac, but I think I need that portability. 

Does anyone here currently edit 4K (Sony XAVC-S files, GH5 files etc) using a 2017 Macbook Pro? And if so, has it been a good experience? Last thing I want to do is invest and return to that chugging feeling a few months down the line. 

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28 minutes ago, Gregormannschaft said:

Does anyone here currently edit 4K (Sony XAVC-S files, GH5 files etc) using a 2017 Macbook Pro? And if so, has it been a good experience? Last thing I want to do is invest and return to that chugging feeling a few months down the line. 

I tested the 2016 13" and 15" extensively with 4K Sony XAVC-S files. 

I ended up staying with the 13" with an eGPU solution:

With Resolve an eGPU makes a BIG difference, but with FCPX you can do without. 

The 2017 allows for hardware decoding of 10bit H265 files but the current version of FCPX does not. For the smoothest editing you will still want to transcode, but it definitely works fine even with the original XAVC-S files. 

I am very happy with the performance, and you should be fine with 2017 15" as long as you stay away from Premiere ;) 

 

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If the files are local on the SSD, you shouldn't have any problems with the 4k. 

Thw worst thing about the new MacBook is the lack of USB ports. Performance is there from my experience. 

What type of editing experience are you expecting? Full quality 4k timeline with effects applied? Do you mind editing at a lower viewing quality? 

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1 hour ago, jonpais said:

@Gregormannschaft What NLE are you using? Which codec are you shooting with the GH5?

Premiere...which I'm starting to think is a massive part of the problem. I started using Resolve and was really impressed, but haven't had the time to really dig in yet and learn Resolve.

1 hour ago, Don Kotlos said:

I tested the 2016 13" and 15" extensively with 4K Sony XAVC-S files. 

I ended up staying with the 13" with an eGPU solution:

With Resolve an eGPU makes a BIG difference, but with FCPX you can do without. 

The 2017 allows for hardware decoding of 10bit H265 files but the current version of FCPX does not. For the smoothest editing you will still want to transcode, but it definitely works fine even with the original XAVC-S files. 

I am very happy with the performance, and you should be fine with 2017 15" as long as you stay away from Premiere ;)

 

Thanks for this! I eGPUs look super interesting and it's definitely something I will look into down the line. But again it looks like I should be moving away from Premiere.

10 minutes ago, BenEricson said:

If the files are local on the SSD, you shouldn't have any problems with the 4k. 

Thw worst thing about the new MacBook is the lack of USB ports. Performance is there from my experience. 

What type of editing experience are you expecting? Full quality 4k timeline with effects applied? Do you mind editing at a lower viewing quality? 

At the moment I am editing light 720p proxies, with stabilisation, 2 x lumetri effects on 1/8 quality and it is killing my 2014 Mac – even though it really shouldn't be. So editing lower video quality is no problem, as long as it works. You're right about the USB situation being absurd, but it's something I'm willing to compromise on.

So, looks like a resounding 'YES' as long as I move away from Premiere. Which I would really like to do ASAP. In the meantime, anyone had any first hand experience using the Adobe CC suite?

I've come to hate it, but I have a few projects I'm in the middle of right now and won't be able to make the switch for some months.

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Just to be sure in Premiere..
Check your setting under File ->Project Settings->Video Rendering and Playback.
You want to select the CUDA option, if available. :) 

This makes a drastic difference on my desktop pc. Should work on a 2013 15 mac pro with Geforce graphics card as well.

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2 hours ago, Gregormannschaft said:

Does anyone here currently edit 4K (Sony XAVC-S files, GH5 files etc) using a 2017 Macbook Pro?...Premiere...which I'm starting to think is a massive part of the problem. I started using Resolve and was really impressed, but haven't had the time to really dig in yet and learn Resolve....Thanks for this! I eGPUs look super interesting and it's definitely something I will look into down the line. But again it looks like I should be moving away from Premiere....At the moment I am editing light 720p proxies, with stabilisation, 2 x lumetri effects on 1/8 quality and it is killing my 2014 Mac – even though it really shouldn't be....anyone had any first hand experience using the Adobe CC suite?

I have done extensive documentary editing using 4K XAVC-S and GH5 files using FCPX on 2015 and 2017 iMac 27 and 2014, 2015 and 2016 MacBook Pro 15. I used Premiere extensively from CS4 through CS6 and have a Premiere CC subscription but mainly use it for testing.

Obtaining smooth editing performance on 4K K264 is difficult on almost any hardware or software. Unlike Premiere, FCPX uses Intel's Quick Sync acceleration for H264 and is much faster on the same Mac hardware -- yet even FCPX can be sluggish without proxies. Using 1080p proxies, FCPX is lightning fast at 4K on any recent Mac, even a 2013 MacBook Air. However compute-intensive effects such as Neat Video or Imagenomic Portraiture can slow down anything, no matter what the hardware or editing software.

Editing 4K H264 using Premiere on a Mac tends to be CPU-bound, not I/O or GPU bound. You can see this yourself by watching the CPU and I/O with Activity Monitor. iStat Menus ver. 6 also allows monitoring the GPU. The I/O data rate for 4K H264 is not very high, and using proxies it's even lower.  Using I/O optimizations like SSD, RAID, etc, tends to not help because you're already bottlenecked on the CPU. This is a generalization -- if you are editing four-angle multicam off a 5400 rpm USB bus-powered portable drive, then you could be I/O bound.

I have done a lot of back-to-back testing of a 2014 vs 2016 top-spec MBP when editing 4K H264 XAVC-S and GH5 material using FCPX. The 2016 is much faster, although I'm not sure how representative this would be for Premiere. On FCPX my 2017 iMac 27 is about 2x faster than the 2015 iMac (both top spec) when transcoding or exporting H264 from FCPX. I think this is due to the improved Kaby Lake Quick Sync, but am not sure. 

A top-spec 2017 MBP might be considerably faster than your 2014 but this depends a lot on the software. Comparing top-spec configurations, the GPU is about 2x faster but the CPU only modestly faster. It might be enough to compensate while staying on Premiere, especially if your problem was GPU. But I'm suspicious why it's so slow if using 720p proxies. In my testing Premiere was very fast on 4K H264 if using proxies. This makes me think it's Warp stabilizer or some effect slowing it down. Can you reproduce the slowdown without any effects? Without effects does the extreme sluggishness only diminish or does it go away entirely?

Resolve performance has been greatly improved in the latest version and in some benchmarks it's as fast as FCPX. You might want to consider that. FCPX is very good but it's a bigger transition from a conceptual standpoint, whereas Resolve is track-oriented like Premiere is.

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54 minutes ago, Antonis said:

Just to be sure in Premiere..
Check your setting under File ->Project Settings->Video Rendering and Playback.
You want to select the CUDA option, if available. :) 

This makes a drastic difference on my desktop pc. Should work on a 2013 15 mac pro with Geforce graphics card as well.

I, stupidly, updated to High Sierra without realising CUDA wasn't yet supported. CUDA has also been at the root of most of the problems I'm having. I figure a 2GB graphics card can't really handle the 4K + effects.

33 minutes ago, joema said:

I have done extensive documentary editing using 4K XAVC-S and GH5 files using FCPX on 2015 and 2017 iMac 27 and 2014, 2015 and 2016 MacBook Pro 15. I used Premiere extensively from CS4 through CS6 and have a Premiere CC subscription but mainly use it for testing.

Obtaining smooth editing performance on 4K K264 is difficult on almost any hardware or software. Unlike Premiere, FCPX uses Intel's Quick Sync acceleration for H264 and is much faster on the same Mac hardware -- yet even FCPX can be sluggish without proxies. Using 1080p proxies, FCPX is lightning fast at 4K on any recent Mac, even a 2013 MacBook Air. However compute-intensive effects such as Neat Video or Imagenomic Portraiture can slow down anything, no matter what the hardware or editing software.

Editing 4K H264 using Premiere on a Mac tends to be CPU-bound, not I/O or GPU bound. You can see this yourself by watching the CPU and I/O with Activity Monitor. iStat Menus ver. 6 also allows monitoring the GPU. The I/O data rate for 4K H264 is not very high, and using proxies it's even lower.  Using I/O optimizations like SSD, RAID, etc, tends to not help because you're already bottlenecked on the CPU. This is a generalization -- if you are editing four-angle multicam off a 5400 rpm USB bus-powered portable drive, then you could be I/O bound.

I have done a lot of back-to-back testing of a 2014 vs 2016 top-spec MBP when editing 4K H264 XAVC-S and GH5 material using FCPX. The 2016 is much faster, although I'm not sure how representative this would be for Premiere. On FCPX my 2017 iMac 27 is about 2x faster than the 2015 iMac (both top spec) when transcoding or exporting H264 from FCPX. I think this is due to the improved Kaby Lake Quick Sync, but am not sure. 

A top-spec 2017 MBP might be considerably faster than your 2014 but this depends a lot on the software. Comparing top-spec configurations, the GPU is about 2x faster but the CPU only modestly faster. It might be enough to compensate while staying on Premiere, especially if your problem was GPU. But I'm suspicious why it's so slow if using 720p proxies. In my testing Premiere was very fast on 4K H264 if using proxies. This makes me think it's Warp stabilizer or some effect slowing it down. Can you reproduce the slowdown without any effects? Without effects does the extreme sluggishness only diminish or does it go away entirely?

Resolve performance has been greatly improved in the latest version and in some benchmarks it's as fast as FCPX. You might want to consider that. FCPX is very good but it's a bigger transition from a conceptual standpoint, whereas Resolve is track-oriented like Premiere is.

Joema, this is a stunning post and I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write it out and contribute to this thread. Again, thank you.

That it could be the CPU is an interesting idea and I'll open Activity Monitor tomorrow when I'm working on the project that is causing me grief and I'll take a look. I have a theory that my latest problems involving crashes have been in part thanks to a buggy new software update from Adobe. The problem is though, I've found that almost every software update from Adobe is buggy, so narrowing down the problem becomes a lot harder. I should have looked into Activity Monitor sooner. I have read up quite a bit on the Adobe forums, and there lies some sort of theory that this 2014 Macbook using both Intel and Nvidia graphic chips can be problematic. I think it was the last Macbook Pro to use Nvidia graphics...? Certainly CUDA problems seem to be common.

720p proxies can work very well while editing 1-2min projects with effects on. Recent problems have been "Unexpected Crashes" during export, and have been fixed by removing matte track masks. This kind of sucks, but I was able to export the video albeit without my skin tones being quite as perfect as I would have liked.

tl;dr plenty of problems, off and on over the past year and a half or so. Premiere doesn't make it easy. And I would imagine the problem is exacerbated on slightly older hardware. Perhaps I'll hold off on an upgrade until I've worked my way through current projects and have dedicated a bit of time towards properly moving to Resolve.

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Works great in FCPX. FCPX is actually fantastic to work with on the new Macs. I tend to edit XAVC on it as it seems to handle it the best of any program I've tried. I also use it for quick edits that I don't want to spend a whole lot of time on.

I'm yet to really try out Resolve as an editor, but FCPX is more attuned fir the new Macs than Resolve anyway

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The macbook pro from 2014 is still a great machine but Egpu will need Thunderbolt 3 support to work natively when it's released. Until then please, I recommend you test and be patient with FCPX, especially with 10.4 it's going to be even better and after a while, you'll be thinking why you didn't try it before. If you liked Resolve, you'll love FCPX and its lightness.

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If you need to stay mobile, yes.
If you would like to keep using Premiere and don't mind switching to Windows desktop, a $1000 well specced pc would be a much cheaper alternative to a new Macbook pro.

That is at least what I did and kept my old macbook for data management on location and light short 1 minute edits on the go.

 

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If you don't absolutely need the portability, I'd also forget about a MacBook Pro entirely and go with a desktop. You'll get way more bang for the buck, greater, upgradeable memory, more GPU, as well as a much larger, beautiful screen, all for less money.

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On 09/11/2017 at 12:06 PM, jonpais said:

If you don't absolutely need the portability, I'd also forget about a MacBook Pro entirely and go with a desktop. You'll get way more bang for the buck, greater, upgradeable memory, more GPU, as well as a much larger, beautiful screen, all for less money.

Yeah, I reeeeaally want to go for the iMac instead, but there's a chance I'll be back to a 2011 Macbook Air instead of my mid-2014 Macbook Pro early next year and I'd love to continue to be able to work out and about next year.

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I'm using a 2013 Macbook Pro loaded with PPro CC 8.2 and 1080 footage for a long hall doc I'm on.

I never used CUDA because it was always so buggy. I tried different drivers with no improvement. It's been OpenCL the whole time. Maybe I'm missing some performance?
Speaking of 'performance', can anyone comment on if I should be using 'Performance' or 'Memory' while editing? 
 

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