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.



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.

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

My Favorite Music From The YouTube Audio Library

Music is an important element in the videos that I create and a crucial part of the storytelling. It helps set the mood, tone, tempo and atmosphere. It keeps the story on pace and moving, helps with transitions and keeps the content entertaining and interesting. Music also helps establish an emotional connection with viewers.

While there are many resources for music available to creators, if you create content on YouTube, the YouTube Audio Library is a good resource and starting point. The YouTube Audio Library is a convenient way to access royalty-free music (with and without required attribution) for videos published on YouTube. Though I primarily use music from the YouTube Audio Library that does not require attribution, I do include the name of the track, artist and indicate that the music comes from the YouTube Audio Library in the description below each video.

Before editing a video, I’ll typically go through the process of selecting appropriate music for the video. The process can be quick or lengthy depending on whether I can find the right music that I’m looking for. Sometimes, the beginning of a track may not be what I’m looking for so I’ll scrub through the track to determine if any part of the track might work for the video. When appropriate, I’ll use the entire track (and usually, several tracks are required for most videos) but on occasion, I may just want or need to use a portion of a track for a particular part of the video.

I’ve found and used a lot of great music from the YouTube Audio Library for my videos. Here are ten of my favorites so far . . .

Vibe Tracks – “Over Time”

Vibe Tracks – “Take You Home Tonight”

Vibe Tracks – “Deep Hat”

Vibe Tracks – “Faith”

Vibe Tracks – “Universal”

Vibe Tracks – “Undeniable”

Text Me Records / Leviathe – “Yummu”

Vibe Tracks – “TFB9”

Jimmy Fontanez/Media Right Productions – “Follow Me”

Gunnar Olsen – “First To Last”

Check out these videos to watch and listen to how these tracks accompany the storytelling:


YouTube Audio Library (requires YouTube sign-in) - https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music