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You Can Edit 4K Video on a MacBook Air (With a Red Rocket)

By - Source: Adobe | B 49 comments

Since you can't even play 4K video on any PC, most of us would not automatically come up with an idea to edit 12-megapixel resolution video on a Macbook Air.

However, a demo published by Dave Helmly, in charge of tech sales of Adobe's pro audio and video products, shows that it is possible.

Helmly used a flagship Macbook Air with an Intel 1.8 GHz i7-2677M processor, which retails for $1700. The 4K video quickly overwhelmed the dual-core processor and its four threads. However, the video, apparently recorded with a Red One camera, ran in real-time via a Thunderbolt-connected Red Rocket accelerator and transcoder card. The Red Rocket card is key to getting 4K video to be played at 30 fps on a PC and can be purchased for $4,750.

It's important to note that Helmly went with the Apple hardware, but on the OS side it's running Windows 7 in boot camp. Helmly explained to Gizmodo on his choice:

No real reason I chose to show it running under Windows 7 other than I've been surprised that we haven't seen any demos of Windows running TB before now. It actually works pretty good in it's current beta state. That said the Mac OS kicks @ss running the same config. Please keep in mind that half the battle is getting alpha/beta Windows 7 64bit drivers for each TB device. All TB devices need drivers at some level. All necessary Mac OS driver are already shipping.

The Mac + TB is really last years news and we all want more TB peripherals to start shipping and to start showing Intel and PC makers that there is lots of interest on both sides and it will benefit all TB users. I have no preference on OS and use both everyday.

4K video is still an emerging standard and out of reach for mainstream customers. The Red One camera, which supports recording formats up to 4.5K at 4480x1920 pixels, is currently sold for $25,000. YouTube began supporting 4K videos in mid-2010. An example can be seen below (but you'll have to blow it up to original size if you want to see it in all its glory).

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  • 22 Hide
    back_by_demand , January 30, 2012 2:32 PM
    JasonAkkermanBecause of the available Thunderbolt connection?

    So the hard work was done by an external device, the hardware is basically an Intel based ultrabook, regardless of the manufacturer the only thing that makes it Mac is the OS, and that was replaced with Windows 7

    Well done, nice job
  • 11 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , January 30, 2012 2:14 PM
    Can't read the article. All I see in my head is Cartman and that poor dog.
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , January 30, 2012 3:00 PM
    1700$ Air + 4750$ Red rocket box/card. Now its not porterbel any more. For the 6450$ i can buy a PC that can run it. So what the point. I fail to see it.
Other Comments
  • -3 Hide
    jacobdrj , January 30, 2012 2:07 PM
    Excellent tool. Were I to pursue video editing, the Red Rocket seems like the way to go...
  • 11 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , January 30, 2012 2:14 PM
    Can't read the article. All I see in my head is Cartman and that poor dog.
  • 4 Hide
    sinfulpotato , January 30, 2012 2:24 PM
    Why?? Who can fully display a 4480x1920 video in all its glory anyways??? Multi-monitor set ups be damned with your black bars.
  • 7 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , January 30, 2012 2:26 PM
    greghomeMacBook Air, Win 7 Ultimate? What's the point of getting a Mac then ?.....

    Because of the available Thunderbolt connection?
  • 22 Hide
    back_by_demand , January 30, 2012 2:32 PM
    JasonAkkermanBecause of the available Thunderbolt connection?

    So the hard work was done by an external device, the hardware is basically an Intel based ultrabook, regardless of the manufacturer the only thing that makes it Mac is the OS, and that was replaced with Windows 7

    Well done, nice job
  • -2 Hide
    mcd023 , January 30, 2012 2:41 PM
    Wonder how many 7970s you need to game at that res. haha. Maybe an octo-core to go with it (and based on toms sub $200 gaming CPU, I'm not referring to the fx line!)
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , January 30, 2012 2:52 PM
    Or you could buy a $4000 computer and really be able to do editing... But it's a neat (although expensive) way to do on-site dailys and quick edits.
  • 0 Hide
    madooo12 , January 30, 2012 2:55 PM
    mcd023Wonder how many 7970s you need to game at that res. haha. Maybe an octo-core to go with it (and based on toms sub $200 gaming CPU, I'm not referring to the fx line!)

    one, I remember the 6970 was quite OK with 3x1080P, I think the 7970 will be the same with 4x1080P
    The 7990 would be excellent as the 6990 was excellent with the 3x1080P so the 7990 should be excellent with 4x1080P

    read the benchmarks

    Quote:
    Since you can't even play 4K video on any PC, most of us would not automatically come up with an idea to edit 12-megapixel resolution video on a Macbook Air.

    actually the 7970 can play it (don't know about editing)
  • 11 Hide
    Anonymous , January 30, 2012 3:00 PM
    1700$ Air + 4750$ Red rocket box/card. Now its not porterbel any more. For the 6450$ i can buy a PC that can run it. So what the point. I fail to see it.
  • -1 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , January 30, 2012 3:02 PM
    back_by_demandSo the hard work was done by an external device, the hardware is basically an Intel based ultrabook, regardless of the manufacturer the only thing that makes it Mac is the OS, and that was replaced with Windows 7Well done, nice job

    To my knowledge there is no option for a Thunderbolt connection on a PC. That was my point.
  • 0 Hide
    molo9000 , January 30, 2012 3:06 PM
    Salumar1700$ Air + 4750$ Red rocket box/card. Now its not porterbel any more. For the 6450$ i can buy a PC that can run it. So what the point. I fail to see it.


    The point is mobility.
    You can't take a big workstation with you. This thing you can travel with.
  • 10 Hide
    wizloa , January 30, 2012 3:13 PM
    why is 1920x1080 called 1080p but 4480x1920 called 4.5k. misleading much?
  • 0 Hide
    DjEaZy , January 30, 2012 3:16 PM
    ... that's may prove, that thunderboult is a nice tech, but it proves too, that intel haz s#!ty GPU to accelerate video...
  • -1 Hide
    dimar , January 30, 2012 3:24 PM
    Hope they get it at 60fps.
  • 0 Hide
    freggo , January 30, 2012 3:26 PM
    sinfulpotatoWhy?? Who can fully display a 4480x1920 video in all its glory anyways??? Multi-monitor set ups be damned with your black bars.


    Very simple; in a few years 4K will come to the consumer market. And it would be nice if you can watch Baby's fist steps in 4K then.

    Look at all the teenagers running around, when Dad gets out their digital Baby pics in (then) 640x480 they cringe. Oh Dad... nice memory, but what a crappy resolution.

    In other words, even if we can not VIEW the resolution yet (within our budget, as monitors that can ARE available); it would be smart to record in as much resolution as we can. The displays will catch up !


  • -2 Hide
    freggo , January 30, 2012 3:32 PM
    wizloawhy is 1920x1080 called 1080p but 4480x1920 called 4.5k. misleading much?


    The terminology (4k) comes from the Video world, not the computer world.
    IT folk count lines, Video folk used to count lines in the analog days and switched to vertical resolution when going digital. Nothing misleading, simply another way at looking at thing.

    Like Europeans drive in km/h and liters and Yanks in miles and Gallons :-)


  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , January 30, 2012 4:10 PM
    "Since you can't even play 4K video on any PC, most of us would not automatically come up with an idea to edit 12-megapixel resolution video on a Macbook Air."

    My calculator says 4480*1920 = 8.6MP, not 12.
  • 6 Hide
    deanjo , January 30, 2012 4:40 PM
    Quote:
    Since you can't even play 4K video on any PC


    Not true. The Nvidia GT 520's video engine can playback 4k video, the output however is limited to 1080p.
  • 6 Hide
    ohim , January 30, 2012 5:07 PM
    so technically the laptop is only a terminal .. the hard work is still managed by a super duper powerfull unit. The title is so misleading ... better present it as Red Rocket able to work with the new Thunderbold enabled computers , not Mac Book air doing wonders in the pc industry with windows installed on it.
  • 0 Hide
    tuch92 , January 30, 2012 5:27 PM
    Why 4480x1920? That's such a weird resolution. 7:5?
    Why not 4096x2160? It's about the same amount of pixels (slightly more) and it makes more sense.
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