What Apple gear works best for video editing? Should you purchase a Mac, iMac, or iPhone? Let’s try to answer this question together.
Which Apple gear should you buy for video editing: an Apple iPhone, a Mac Pro, an iMac Pro, an iMac, a Mac mini, a MacBook Pro, or something else? Choosing Apple gear for video editing is not that straightforward. There are several aspects to consider. The recommended hardware is different depending on whether you are a pro video editor working individually or as part of a studio, or whether you prefer editing home videos. You may be working on a big editing project with gigabytes of content and months of post-production work ahead of you. Or maybe you want to produce videos for a YouTube channel or share them with relatives and friends. Whatever your reasons for looking for Apple gear for video editing, and whatever your requirements are, we have you covered.
Why Do Video Editors Choose Macs?
There’s a bit of an elephant in the room that we need to address first. There was a time when video editors adored Macs and Apple apps for creating videos. Apple gear had a couple of significant advantages over PCs in the early days that benefited creatives, and Apple has not lost the hearts of many of those who work on video editing and production. It is for this reason that the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max is so popular today. And there are a couple of reasons for that:
- There is a lot of popular video editing software designed for iOS only;
- The 5K iMac has a screen with a high color gamut;
- AVFoundation multimedia layer is built into the OS;
- Previews are available in real-time, without waiting for rendering.
Let’s look into some of the Apple hardware options that work best for video making.
#1 – MacBook Pro 16-inch
We believe MacBook Pro 16, with its M1 Pro or M1 Max processor, is the greatest MacBook for any video editor. Unless mobility is your primary need, this is the best MacBook outright, and the Apple Silicon provides a significant improvement for video editing. Thus, you can easily run a free video editor with no watermark on the hardware and create an outstanding video in a matter of minutes.
Both processors are capable, but we discovered that the M1 Max performs much better in highly demanding GPU activities like video editing and 3D modeling. The M1 processor first appeared in the 2020 MacBook Pro 13, and the M1 Pro and M1 Max double and triple that performance. In practice, this means that the MacBook Pro 16-inch can edit several streams of 8K video in real time without rendering. The inclusion of a ProRes accelerator also implies that video processing is more efficient and hence less draining on battery life. In terms of battery life, we achieved seventeen hours of ordinary use and eight hours of Final Cut Pro editing.
The mini-LED display is bright, and the color fidelity is great straight out of the box. There are also more connections than on prior MacBooks, and storage can be customized to up to 8 TB. Much of these specs remain unchanged from the smaller MacBook Pro 14. But if you have the budget and portability isn’t a major concern, the large-scale screen of the 16-inch version should make working in your editing interface easier, and you won’t find yourself wishing for an external monitor when you make templated videos.
#2 – MacBook Pro 14-inch
As previously said, the 14-inch MacBook provides options with nearly identical specs to the bigger 2021 MacBook, and our testing revealed that performance was a factor. Again, choose between the M1 Pro and M1 Max for remarkable performance from CPUs optimized for working with even ultra-high-resolution video. If you undertake highly demanding work with an online video maker, then go for the Pro Max processor if you can: it’s capable of generating 4K footage in Final Cut Pro a stunning 13.4x quicker than the Mac Pro. So, it basically comes down to priorities.
The MacBook Pro 14 is less expensive and weighs 1.2 pounds less than the 16. The question is if you can live with that tiny screen. It may not be an issue if you intend to connect an extra monitor anyhow. But if you don’t, it makes the editing seem substantially more confined.
#3 – Mac Studio
If you want brute power as well as efficiency to work with a more powerful video editor, you might choose a Mac. According to Apple, the Mac Studio with the M1 Ultra delivers 3.8 times greater CPU capacity compared to the most costly 27-inch iMac and 90% quicker than the 16-core Mac Pro with an Intel Xeon processor. The hardware is also more efficient, beating even the best-end PC GPU while utilizing 200W less.
No one is going to recommend purchasing a Mac Studio to save money, but energy savings are worth consideration given the current cost of power. Testing it out, we found that it was nearly silent in use as it doesn’t need fans to keep it cool. We also appreciate how little it is. It makes incredibly light work of complicated footage with several 8K sources in Final Cut Pro, but even with other non-Apple apps, we were able to have a handful of files running all simultaneously in a single SSD with no evidence of a bottleneck. The Mac Studio is extremely costly, starting at $2,000 for only the base configuration with the M1 Max. However, given the performance it delivers, this may be considered value for money for those that want it.
#4 – Apple MacBook Air
If you’re on a limited budget, Apple’s cheapest MacBook, the MacBook Air, isn’t a horrible choice for video editing, particularly for aficionados and social media content makers. The 2022 model receives a jump in performance owing to Apple’s own M2 processor and has a native Apple video maker in place. Of course, it isn’t as remarkable as MacBook Pros carrying the M1 Pro or Max, but it does exceed the 2020 M1 MacBook Air. In fact, while running the identical configuration of the M2, we found performance to be extremely close to the somewhat more costly 2022 MacBook Pro 13-inch, according to Cinebench R23 test results, albeit it can heat up more rapidly due to its fanless architecture. We also observed that the M2 Neural Engine performed a superb job at handling basic video editing.
The new laptop also boasts a slightly bigger 13.6-inch screen, with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,664. The screen is brighter too at 500nits and supports the P3 color gamut. We looped a 1080p film for 16 hours, which is 5 hours longer than the previous MacBook Air. Overall, if you’re only performing light video editing, or if you’re not an expert who requires consistent performance for all-day sessions of intensive editing, this is the finest MacBook for video editing in terms of performance and pricing.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, Apple offers a variety of options when it comes to hardware for video editors. The above options fit well for both enthusiasts and professionals working in a studio. Regardless of your case, you can always find the best Mac that meets your functional and budget needs. After all, an iPhone for video shooting is a good alternative to go for.
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Angela Yurchenko is a business journalist and content manager. An experienced remote worker, Angela advises business leaders and teams on next-generation collaboration strategies. She covers telecommunications, digital transformation, and interviews with entrepreneurs and tech experts. When not writing about business, she enjoys a good read, writes poetry and arts & culture essays.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, who is solely responsible for its content. Apple Tech Talk may have received a fee for publication of this article.
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