Apple FCP and Compressor vs. Adobe CC, Timeline-to-Transcode Workflows, Part 2: Test Results--UPDATED WITH LINK TO TEST FILES

Streaming Media Producer by Tim Siglin

You can now view our project files, encoder presets, and output files to compare the quality and specs for yourself at this link.

“Better late than never” is often a good excuse, but in our case, it was a necessity. Two areas we didn’t anticipate—distance and a newer R3D workflow—conspired to delay our testing an extra two weeks.

Tim Siglin, who co-wrote the initial article about the testing methodology, ended up in India on a very limited data connection, meaning it was difficult to move test and project files back and forth to our office. In addition, this meant he couldn’t get to key Adobe and Apple software updates to Final Cut, Compressor, Premiere Pro, and Adobe Adobe Media Encoder.

Once we solved the distance problem, we waited a bit more to see if Apple would respond to a few key questions about the Compressor application, and subsequently found an issue with using R3D files within the Apple ecosystem.

About Our Gear
As a quick recap from the last article, we used two machines to test: an Apple MacBook Air (11”, 2013) and an Apple MacBook Pro (15”, 2013).

The MacBook Pro we chose (ME249LL/A) is a 2013-era laptop with a 2.3 GHz Intel Core-i7 (quad-core) processor and 512 GB of PCIe-based flash storage drive. In addition, this MacBook Pro has 16GB of 1.35V (low-voltage or DDR3L) RAM running at 1600MHz and an NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. It’s priced at approximately $2540 at Amazon.

This flash-based storage, connected directly to the PCIe bus rather than via M-SATA or the slower SATA, means that we’ll eliminate any bottlenecks in disk I/O for our testing. The only other two Macs to have the PCIe-based flash storage drive are the new Mac Pro, which we will talk about below, and the 2013-era MacBook Air laptops.

So to make it a fair comparison, we chose the MacBook Air 11” laptop (MD712LL/A) with a 1.3 Ghz Intel Core-i5 (dual-core) processor and 256 GB of PCIe-based flash storage drive. This MacBook Air has 4 GB of 1.5v (DDR3) RAM running at 1600MHz and an integrated GPU called the Intel HD Graphics, which uses 1 GB of built-in memory. It’s priced at approximately $1140 at Amazon.

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