Production Sound & Video

Winter 2021

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 41 of 43

42 PRODUCTION SOUND & VIDEO – Winter 2021 to embrace another proprietary solution from Apple. DIY enthusiasts have decried the expected loss of personalization and customization options, a common criticism of Apple products in the last two decades. User advocacy groups such as the Hackintosh community (a group of users who seek to modify the macOS operating system in order to run on similar Intel-based Windows machines) mourned the announcement as the beginning of the end for their practice. It should be noted that Hackintosh practices both violate the Apple-user license agreement and are not endorsed by Local 695. But more enthusiastically, some users welcomed the announcement with open arms, citing the impressive abilities of existing ARM processor devices such as the iPad Pro and the ability to download any existing mobile device app onto a laptop or desktop. After months of speculation, the company fi nally released three computers outfi tted with brand-new ARM architecture chipsets: the Macbook Air, Macbook Pro 13", and the Mac Mini. All three come outfi tted with an 8-core M1 processor and are confi gurable with either eight or sixteen gigabytes of RAM and up to two terabytes of storage. While these three lines of products are generally considered to be entry- level computers in the Apple hierarchy, the company made impressive claims as to the performance capabilities of each of these machines. The Macbook Air, widely considered to be the least powerful machine in Apple's product lineup, boasts the ability to decode and playback 8K resolution ProRes video fi les in real time. Real-time 4K video editing is possible in both ARM optimized applications such as Apple's Final Cut Pro X and Intel-based programs like Adobe Premiere Pro. Similar results were achieved on the M1 Mac Mini, possibly making it one of the most affordable editing solutions out there. But no debut is without its drawbacks. At launch, native M1 application support is largely limited to iOS applications and software developed and distributed directly by Apple, meaning third-party solutions will not perform at their best until their respective developers learn how to optimize them for both x86 and ARM architecture. At present, no third-party nonlinear editing platform or digital audio workstation has been optimized for use, meaning Avid, Adobe, and DaVinci users will have to be patient if they wish to take full advantage of their new computers. Most notably, Apple has remained silent on the future of their professional grade lines of products. The Macbook Pro 16", iMac, and Mac Pro systems continue to be manufactured using Intel-based processors, meaning power users will also have to wait before machines optimized for their needs become available. In practical terms, the fi rst generation of ARM products represents an exciting glimpse into the future. These entry- level machines perform far and above the performance of their pre-2020 predecessors and dramatically shift Apple's price to power ratio in favor of consumers. For low to moderate processor intensive tasks like word processing, web browsing, image processing, media management, streamlined offl ine editing, light transcoding, and live session recording, the Macbook Pro 13" and Mac Mini could represent a low-cost workstation solution. For more labor-intensive tasks such as high-resolution transcoding, online editing, color-correction, and audio mastering, we're going to have to see what news emerges in the coming days. Intel-powered Macs have been a staple of our industry for nearly fi fteen years. The Local 695 Audio Technician has harnessed their power to record and mix some of the industry's greatest hits using the power that they've offered. The 695 Video Engineer has recorded, played back, keyed, and transcoded everything from commercial spots to major blockbuster motion pictures with them. And while they will continue to live on in Windows- based machines, it appears that the sun is setting on the x86 architecture Mac. As it does, I believe a moment of appreciation for all that we have accomplished during this time seems appropriate… Great, now onto the new.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Production Sound & Video - Winter 2021