I’ve finally had a chance to spend some time with Final Cut Studio (5.1) on my Macbook. A reminder, my Macbook is the black 2ghz with 1 gig of ram. I’ve also poked in Aperture a bit, but I haven’t had a chance to actually use it to process a whole shoot.
Final Cut Studio installed without complaining, and all the applications launch just fine. Aperture complains about the screen resolution but then continues and seems to load alright.
More after the jump…
In terms of general, straight cuts editing with a few fades and basic tweaks, Final Cut Pro is plenty usable. I’m still primarily working with DV content, though it behaved similarly when working with HDV content as well. I’ve run into a few glitches when selecting items on the timeline, though they may be 5.1 related, rather than Macbook related. I also experience a few dropped frames during playback from the timeline at transition points, but they seemed more related to disk speed than anything else. Normally I’d be cutting from an external disk, or else I’d look in to a faster internal disk.
Similarly, Motion loads and runs just fine for basic compositing operations. I did a fairly simple keyframed moving mask and everything performed in real time. A basic color correction filter didn’t hurt performance too much either.
Things all went a bit fishy when I started adding particle effects. These are the sorts of things that rely heavily on the GPU to do the compositing. Since the Macbook has comparatively underpowered graphics processing, things got fairly lagged and painful. I didn’t experience any crashes or actual loses of functionality, but when roundtripping to Final Cut Pro, things got very slow. After a render of course, everything was back to acceptable.
My verdict is that, for basic rough-cut editing, the Macbook is plenty acceptable. I wouldn’t want to do serious finishing on it, but nothing precludes one from doing that. The most important thing, in my opinion, is that it seems to be stable and all the features appear to be intact. This was my biggest concern, seeing as the computer isn’t officially a support Final Cut Studio platform. If anyone has particular questions, let me know.