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We embark on testing Apple's new 13 inch MacBook Air

macbook air fcpx

A nice surprise for us yesterday when we managed to get our hands on a brand new MacBook Air. Only announced at the World Wide Developers Conference 4 days ago, it's still in the wrapper!

The MacBook Air is a machine that we wouldn't normally be interested in as traditionally a MacBook Pro has always been needed when editing video. Well at least in the FCP7 days. So we were very pleased when the new MacBook Air turned up in the office on Thursday as it will give us the opportunity to see how the Pro Apps manage on the new thin machine.

macbook air fcpx 2

We must admit to not knowing much about the Air, but this one is the most powerful model available without having to resort to the BTO path.

This 13 inch model has the same processor as all the other three MacBook Airs, a 1.3GHz Dual Core Intel Core i5 Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz. An extra $150 will upgrade to a 1.7GHz Dual Core Intel Core i7.

RAM is 4GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM, but 8GB is available as an option for an extra $100. Likewise, the supplied 256GB flash storage is upgradable to 512GB for an extra $300.

A couple of thoughts even before we take the clear wrapper off the box. First of all there is no retina screen on an Air yet, the resolution is 1440 x 900. Secondly, we will have to stock up on the adaptors. A Thunderbolt to Ethernet adaptor is needed to get online via a wire to the Internet. There is only one Thunderbolt connection too, so we are going to have to avoid multiple end of chain devices. The USB port (with another adaptor) or WiFi could be used to connect to a network.

So what are we going to do with it? Get it out of the box obviously, but what would make a good test?

The first new apps on the machine will be Final Cut Pro X, Motion and Compressor. It will be interesting to see how the built-in graphics card shapes up to heavy Motion effects on the FCPX timeline. Media will be stored on an external Thunderbolt drive and we will probably power an external monitor in the chain too.

We are open to suggestions on how we can benchmark this model against a Mac Book Pro Retina for example. With the release of the new Mac Pro later in the year, it would be good to have a test which would specifically measure the performance of a machine for the Apple Pro Video Applications.

Our thoughts:

Speed of import and conversion of media

Speed of rendering on the timeline

Speed of export

Anything else such as using the apps on the screen, battery life, portability e.t.c.

It is going to be an interesting few weeks with the Air. Now where are some scissors? We love the smell of a new laptop in the morning!  

 

 


Written by
Top Blogger Thought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. 

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.

 

BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.

FCP.co

Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!

 

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