I recently did a video comparing Adobe Premiere render speeds on three of the top laptops out right now: the new Macbook Pro 15″ with Touchbar, Surface Book w/ Performance Base, and a gaming laptop by the company Razer called the Razer Blade 2016. Again, this wasn’t meant to be a laptop comparison, but instead a way of showing how these top performing laptops all handled a task that I, personally, have to do every day.
In that video it was pretty apparent that the Razer Blade – the laptop with the most powerful GPU – managed to get the fastest time while doing this very GPU-intensive task (no surprise there). The Macbook Pro, probably the laptop most commonly thought of for editing video (but has the least powerful GPU) performed the slowest. Now, you’d think that would be pretty definitive, but, well, it’s not.
While it is true that if you are using Premiere as your editing program and are focusing on the sheer speed of rendering and working with the footage then the other laptops might be a better bet for you than say the Macbook Pro. But, as I mentioned briefly in that other video, as soon as you use Final Cut, all of that goes out the window. Let me show you what I mean.
Here are the times from the original video:
Now here is the Macbook Pro running the same four minutes of 4.6K footage from my Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K out at the same codec and resolution of the Premiere test (4K YouTube Preset):
27 mins in Premiere becomes about 5 mins in Final Cut (and is even less than half the time of the winning Razer Blade 2016). Crazy, right?
As far as I could find out through talking to a ton of editors that work on feature films, TV shows, at production houses, etc. It comes down to optimization. Apple makes the software (Final Cut Pro) and the hardware in such a way that it takes better advantage of the frankly lesser hardware specs to get the job done in a faster, more efficient way.
So why do people use Premiere if FCP is just so much faster? Besides simple personal preference, there are a few differences every editor tends to mention with their preference being one way or the other. Here is what answers I kept hearing from editors that I interviewed.
So render times? Eh, Final Cut Pro sort of wins, its optimization being built as software to run on specific hardware is insane. Premiere on the other hand loses out on sheer performance for the benefit of larger compatibility of codecs, formats, machines to be able to run on and, depending on your specific workflow more integration and a faster workflow.
At the end of the day, like most equipment used by professional editors, filmmakers, etc. the editing program you use is simply another tool to use to help make your film a reality. Same as you might use one camera or lens for a specific project, there isn’t a “best editing program”, just a “best editing program for that particular project’s needs”.
Hope that clears some things up and I’m sure you guys have some serious thoughts on the matter so please let me know in the comments below what your preferences of editing software are an why. As always, thanks for reading!
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