Editing in Final Cut Pro X on a Mid-2013 MacBook Air

I never imagined I would be editing Final Cut Pro X videos on a Mid-2013 MacBook Air. At the time, I was upgrading from a Late-2009 MacBook and was primarily looking for a MacBook to take with me when I travel but also one that would offer a balance between portability, performance and price. I elected to go with the Mid-2013 MacBook Air with a 1.7GHz Intel Core i7 Processor, a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. Along with AppleCare and tax, the total cost came in under $2,000 which was within my budget and reasonable. It was well worth the investment given that I’ve gotten over five years from it and it still performs relatively well running on Apple’s latest operating system - macOS Mojave.

Over the past few years, I’ve been creating and producing more digital content including making videos and while I can certainly edit videos on the MacBook Air, it’s clear that my MacBook Air is under-powered and overtaxed for this purpose. Editing short videos isn’t too bad provided you’re taking a minimalistic approach in terms of transitions, effects, color grading, enhancements and so forth. The rendering times are somewhat bearable.

However, when you start editing longer videos, especially with high quality footage (ex: 1080p at 30 fps or better), it’s a different story. You’re dealing with large file sizes and the process of transcoding and rendering all the video footage that make up your final video takes an enormous amount of time. You need processing power (CPU), memory (RAM) and a good GPU to handle these tasks and unfortunately, a Mid-2013 MacBook Air with these specs just isn’t going to make the cut. I should also mention that the lack of a Retina Display makes quite a difference in the overall viewing experience.

While working on some recent videos, Final Cut crashed numerous times and the transcoding and rendering times for the videos were substantial. Fortunately, I’m not producing and releasing a large volume of videos right now because I would almost certainly be backlogged.

I have been looking into upgrading to the 15-inch MacBook Pro since the 2018 refresh but held off following last year’s issue with the throttling of the i9 processors (later resolved via a software update) and the ongoing issues with the butterfly keyboard. Apple recently announced updates to the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro lines with faster eighth and ninth-generation Intel processors; respectively, and improvements to the third-generation butterfly keyboard. The 15-inch MacBook Pro is also available with 8-core Intel Core i9 processors.

Investing in a new 15-inch MacBook Pro would certainly improve my workflow and the preliminary reviews on performance of the updated MacBook Pros are looking quite promising so it is something I am strongly considering. In the meantime, I’ll make do with my MacBook Air.

 

LINKS:

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Camera Gear & Accessories

Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2HQLMyF

Sony A6400 with 16-50mm Kit Lens - https://amzn.to/2Ii6feP

Sony A6400 with 18-135mm Kit Lens - https://amzn.to/2Mzbgoq

Sony Shooting Grip - https://amzn.to/2W8Mnzq

Sony NP-BX1 Lithium Ion Battery for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2QDvHPL

Sony BC-TRX Battery Charger for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2WjHKaN

Sony Travel Battery Charger for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2HQu3ao

Sony NP-FW50 Lithium Ion Battery for Sony A6400 - https://amzn.to/2EQUL0R

Sony BC-TRW Battery Charger for Sony A6400 - https://amzn.to/2JUP46j

JOBY GorillaPod 3K - https://amzn.to/312jPvo

JOBY GripTight ONE Mount for Smartphones - https://amzn.to/312omOr

Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC 128GB - https://amzn.to/2EOxJaK

 

External Storage

Samsung T5 Portable SSD 500GB - https://amzn.to/2QCjASU

Samsung T5 Portable SSD 1TB - https://amzn.to/2HP0GoV

Samsung T5 Portable SSD 2 TB - https://amzn.to/2IhvsG4

What Cameras Do You Use For Photography And Filming?

I currently use a combination of cameras for both photography and filming.

My always on-hand “camera” is my iPhone X. I always have it with me and it has a pretty good built-in camera for taking photos and recording video. It’s perfect for the spur of the moment situations when you have an opportunity to take a photo, record a video, capture an important or rare moment and don’t have a digital camera readily available. The iPhone X camera does have its limitations but in relatively ideal conditions, it does a pretty good job. I’ve taken some incredible photos while traveling and created videos using footage filmed entirely from the iPhone X.

Here are a few videos shot entirely on iPhone X:

A Trip To Hudson Yards - https://youtu.be/gU6VWXjaQbo

A Trip to Hoboken for the Waterfront View - https://youtu.be/dfKmGWakwmw

The Seaport District & New Pier 17 (NYC) - https://youtu.be/1AQWdXFUKdU

My small form factor camera of choice is the Sony RX100 VI. Previously, I was using the Canon PowerShot S120 for photos and videos, but it was time to really step up. The Sony RX100 VI has worked well. I like the quality of the photos and videos that come from this camera. The Sony RX100 VI supports both RAW and JPEG formats for still photography. The quality of recorded video on the Sony RX100 VI is crisper and cleaner even in low light situations with no adjustments to the camera settings. I did get the Sony Shooting Grip (sold separately) for the Sony RX100 VI which works great for filming and helps with stability. In addition, the grip doubles as a tripod. The flip screen is extremely useful when you’re trying to get a shot and need to position the camera in an awkward or inconvenient position yet still be able to see what your capturing or filming. The ability to flip the screen backwards for selfie-mode is great for those solo and group shots when you don’t have someone around to take a photo or video for you.

While the Sony RX100 VI has great features, there are some areas for improvement including better image stabilization, external mic support for improved audio, built-in support for interval shooting/time lapse videos and a longer-life battery (you should get spare batteries and an external battery charger).

Here are a few videos shot on the Sony RX100 VI:

2019 New York International Auto Show – Part 1 - https://youtu.be/1zcxuAWHsCA

2019 New York International Auto Show – Part 2 - https://youtu.be/uqO_quQV2Sw

Take Me Out To Cooperstown - https://youtu.be/jvHYm6GvyLY (includes iPhone X footage)

The most recent addition to my camera gear is the Sony A6400 mirrorless APS-C camera. I did extensive research into the various options and it came down to balancing size, features and price. I did get both kit lenses (the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 and the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6) which serve as a good starting point though I may eventually need to get additional lenses. The Sony A6400 has a lot of similar features to the Sony RX100 VI but also includes external mic support and interval shooting/time lapse videos. The A6400 does not have in body image stabilization but both lenses do have Optical Steadyshot. I do recommend getting spare batteries and an external battery charger for this camera. I’ve only begun to test the camera but so far, I’m happy with the investment. I’m looking forward to field testing the Sony A6400 over the next few months.

 

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2HQLMyF

Sony A6400 with 16-50mm Kit Lens - https://amzn.to/2Ii6feP

Sony A6400 with 18-135mm Kit Lens - https://amzn.to/2Mzbgoq

Sony Shooting Grip - https://amzn.to/2W8Mnzq

Sony NP-BX1 Lithium Ion Battery for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2QDvHPL

Sony BC-TRX Battery Charger for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2WjHKaN

Sony Travel Battery Charger for Sony RX100 VI - https://amzn.to/2HQu3ao

Sony NP-FW50 Lithium Ion Battery for Sony A6400 - https://amzn.to/2EQUL0R

Sony BC-TRW Battery Charger for Sony A6400 - https://amzn.to/2JUP46j

JOBY GorillaPod 3K - https://amzn.to/312jPvo

JOBY GripTight ONE Mount for Smartphones - https://amzn.to/312omOr

Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC 128GB - https://amzn.to/2EOxJaK