By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
Apple may be assuring professionals that it hasn’t abandoned them, and but some are making the switch to PC because their aging Mac Pros are simply too slow in a 4K world. That’s what Filmmaker Philip Bloom is one such filmmaker, and he wants to share his journey moving to the PC.
Editing, for me, is the biggest vacuum of time in my life. It just sucks it up. Takes so long. I much prefer shooting. – Philip Bloom
Bloom isn’t angry with Apple’s Final Cut Pro X 10.4 update that recently dropped. For him, software isn’t even a factor since he cuts on Adobe Premiere Pro in Creative Cloud. Blooms disaffection with the Mac platform is all about how Apple’s dated platforms are simply too slow to perform in a 4K world.
Apple still sells the 2013 Mac Pro, which Bloom has used for nearly four years. The problem is, that when it comes to cutting on 4K, Bloom complains that the Mac Pro takes far too long to render video. His latest 9 1/2 hour 4K master class course took 3 months to produce, and Bloom says most of that time was waiting for the Mac Pro to complete video rendering. “A lot of the time was spent rendering and dealing with the processing of the footage,” Bloom says. “My main editing system is the trash can Mac Pro, and while it’s the most powerful editing system I’ve owned, but now, it’s kind of underwhelming.”
The problem is my MacPro looks great but is getting on and not update-able and the iMac Pro is seriously expensive. The idea of trying a Windows PC is something I have been toying with for a while now.
The latest MacBook Pro isn’t much help either, since it’s not as fast as his current MacPro. That doesn’t stop him from using them, mind you, just that they’re slow when rendering out 4K video. Bloom doesn’t think the iMac Pro for him, since it can’t be upgraded. With a $13,000 plus price tag for a similar setup, that’s a pricey investment to make every few years.
So after thinking about switching to PC for quite some time, Bloom has built a new system that’s a third of the cost of the iMac Pro and almost twice as fast. Built around MSI’s X299 SLI plus motherboard and the Intel’s Cadillac processor, the i9-7900X, Bloom spent just $4,000, which included a new copy of Windows 10 Pro. He also added a 1TB Crucial SSD and an array of Western Digital 6TB spinning drives. That’s quite a high performance beast if you ask me.
“How did it feel compared to the Mac Pro? Well, it felt the same. And that made the transition rather easily.”
How did it perform? Well, Bloom’s homebrew PC took to his Premiere workflow straight away, transferring his Creative Cloud settings and workflow directly from Creative Cloud. “Because whether you’re editing Premiere from a Mac or PC, everything is set up the same because the settings are all in Creative Cloud,” Bloom says. “The last thing you want is to learn a new edit system. So it’s the same, with just a different operating system.”
The lack of ProRes is still a huge pain especially for any stock footage exports. All my clients want ProRes. Some have mentioned ways to get ProRes on the PC, but none have panned out from my searching.
Bloom says the only chief beef with his new PC is that he can’t cut a project natively in ProRes. Apple simply won’t license it out for Windows’ based exporting. “There is one flavor of ProRes on Windows,” Bloom says, “and that’s the Animation Codec.” Bloom says that you can watch in ProRes, but you can’t export it that way. “For now I still have to take my export from the PC and bring it into my mac for a ProRes transcode… it’s a very clunky workaround that I have.”
As for performance, Bloom says that everything seems faster. Twice as fast. “The amount of time I spent waiting for that (Mac Pro) render bar to complete … it was painful,” Bloom laments. But in Windows, “it was quicker. MUCH quicker. It ate it up.” But with his new i9 Windows system, there was a demonstrable speed increase, and Bloom’s numbers below show it.
Bloom plans to continue to use his old Macs when necessary, but says the PC saves him a massive amount of time savings without having to make any radical adjustments in his workflow. He spends more time shooting, and less time in the editing bay, and he couldn’t be happier. “Overall, I have a machine that can be upgraded if I need it to,” Bloom concludes.”And it’s fantastic. A massive speed improvement.”
You can check out Bloom’s blog on making “The Switch,” here.