The MacBook Air has been turning heads since the very beginning. And now, with the M1 chip behind the driving seat, the star performer is more capable than ever before. The machine seems to dominate every day-to-day task you might throw at it.
But what if you want to push the Air to the next level and see if it’s more than a casual daily driver. Is MacBook Air good for video editing? Can you depend on it to build a career in editing? Let’s have a look at the editing capabilities of the MacBook Air and see if it is built for rocky roads.
A Brief Intro Into Video Editing
Video Editing is one of the most sought-after skills at present. It’s a skill that blends in technology, creativity, and artistic beauty in a manner that is nothing less than fascinating.
What’s more amazing is the fact that you can get into editing videos as a hobby and later make a full-time career out of it. Be it for films, tv commercials, YouTube videos, or tutorials; the skill plays a crucial role at the very root level.
Due to the never-ending demand for both hobby and professional video editors, the field has seen massive improvements over the decade. This includes the camera, lighting, software as well as devices used for editing captured moments.
Though desktop PC is considered the ideal workhorse for editing videos, laptops offer unbeatable flexibility on the go. Besides, the improvements carried out to enhance the performance of portable PCs have done wonders for the industry.
It’s due to these improvements, high-end video editors nowadays can rely on laptops being their main workhorse. The MacBook series has been one of those few devices both loved and respected by users for what they offer. Though the MacBook Pro has proven its worth by delivering breathtaking performance while editing, the question remains regarding the Apple MacBook Air.
What Makes PC Ideal for Video Editing?
Not all machines are built the same. The PC that you will be using for browsing dresses for your wedding may not be at all capable of rendering videos of the function afterward. In simple terms, video editing is a demanding task for PCs.
Below are a few of the factors that affect the overall experience while editing videos on portable PCs.
The Processor is the heart of your device that will be running the Video editing software. Thus, it can be considered the fundamental aspect that will power the bulky software you will be making use of.
The software makes use of the cores available with the CPU efficiently for better performance. Improved CPUs come with a greater number of cores to facilitate multitasking. This is necessary as you will be throwing video, audio, and various effects at your system while editing. Thus the wise pick here would be to go with the latest Processor with the most multitasking capability and improved processing power.
Well, you can’t think of any graphics-intensive tasks without powerful graphics cards, can you? Thus a dedicated graphics card always comes in handy. A well-equipped graphics card will allow you to work with high-definition videos such as 4k resolution and above.
The much-celebrated graphic cards include the Nvidia Geforce GTX and the AMD Radeon series as well. All that being said, integrated graphics nowadays packs a lot of punch. These integrated graphics and new-gen processors can offer beginner to somewhat intermediary performance in video editing.
RAM, aka Random Access Memory, offers the speed needed in executing large-size files. As video editing software is well known for its RAM consumption, it’s wise to have plenty at hand. For a buttery smooth experience, it’s recommended to go with at least 16 GB of RAM.
The one factor that is never enough in terms of video editing is storage. With higher resolution videos comes the need for extended storage space. The videos alone can take a major portion of your storage, let alone the music and pictures used.
Thus it’s never enough space that you can confidently say is enough for the purpose. What you also need to keep in mind is the type of storage your system will be using. While an HDD will keep the overall cost down, they lack the speed you will need for faster data processing. An SSD will come in use under such demands. You can opt for SSDs ranging anywhere from 512GB to a few TB of storage. They will speed up your editing game to a lot of extents and thus will increase your productivity.
Better displays come with better color accuracy and hence ensures accuracy while editing videos. There are lots of presets and color combinations that can be applied. To get a better understanding of the finished product, the high-resolution display plays a significant role.
If you take video editing as a profession, it’s necessary to use displays that can show 4k videos with accuracy. This will allow you to take total control regarding the output of the video you will be working with.
After all the discussion about specs, it’s finally time for the hero of the show. It’s the editing software that does the magic of creating amazing clips out of the moments you captured. Each software comes with pros and cons. A detailed discussion on software has been provided later on in this article.
Is MacBook Air The Ideal Workhorse For Video Editing?
The MacBook series has always been a fan favorite due to its stylish look, durable build quality, and reliable performance. While the MacBook Pro has been a clear performer in every aspect, there are still some doubts regarding its budget counterpart, the MacBook Air.
Despite being termed as the less capable laptop out of the two, the newly released MacBook Air is nothing short of fascinating. It’s an excellent machine for day-to-day tasks such as browsing, content watching, office works, and so on. But can it handle intensive workloads or, in this case, video editing?
Let’s look at the features the new MacBook Air comes with and find out how it will perform while editing videos.
What you will notice first hand is the eye-soothing display of the MacBook Air. The 13.3-inch retina display has a max resolution of 2560 x 1600 and a pixel density of 277 PPI. Thus the display is well capable of shooting true-to-life colors. Its true tone technology also aids the process and brings perfection to your editing works.
You won’t be making any sacrifices in terms of aesthetics as well. The device features thin bezels, which offer a modern look to your video editing setup. Its 400 nit brightness display isn’t the most but is certainly enough to portray clear pictures in daylight. In short, you won’t be having any major complaints regarding the display of the Apple MacBook Air.
The Apple M1 chip has been praised by both users and enthusiasts so far. It’s an 8 core CPU, out of which 4 are performance core, and the other 4 are efficiency cores. The chip is powerful enough to handle demanding apps like editing, rendering, light gaming, and so on.
It’s no doubt the M1 chip will be able to run video editing software with zero issues. The abundance of cores comes in handy while tackling high-resolution videos. Softwares like Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro run with almost no lags and thus offers a buttery smooth video editing experience.
With the base model coming with 8 GB of RAM and options to upgrade up to 16 GB, it’s safe to say the MacBook Air packs a punch. Well, obviously, you can’t expect wonders to happen; the 16 GB config will get you through past filters and tweakings at a pretty fast pace. Thus its is ideal if you are not looking for anything high-end but something that will get the job done.
You get to choose between two models coming with 256 GB and 512 GB of SSD storage, respectively. Both the models can be configured up to a max of 2TB. This leaves you with enough space to store high-resolution project files for clients.
The storage is based on SSD. Thus, you also get a blazing fast performance in day-to-day usage. You get to enjoy faster copy speeds which make receiving large video files less of a hassle. The good thing here is that you have all the flexibility to crank up your storage up to a whopping 2TB.
Not So Power-packed Graphics
For many, dedicated graphics is a must for graphics editing. Well, the fact is true to a huge extent. Having a powerful graphics card will enable you to edit high-resolution videos of up to 4k or 8k with ease.
Nevertheless, it’s not the end of the world in case your laptop doesn’t have one. The same goes for the MacBook Air. It comes with integrated graphics with options of 7 and 8 core GPU, respectively. While you can’t expect anything extraordinary but the GPU performs damn well for both beginner and intermediate level editors. You can also throw in some high-end professional videos only if you are ready to comprise with the high resolution.
Our Experience With The MacBook Air
Our team of expert reviewers also had their say about the newly released MacBook Air. We went on with the base model having the base config to offer an in-depth review for the masses.
It’s safe to say the MacBook Air delivers as it should. From our day-to-day usage along with few intensive works, we hardly faced any issues. As far as video editing is concerned, we were pretty happy with the video editing performance.
The machine can run editing software with almost zero lags. We hooked up our device to an external monitor, so it felt like a professional setup as well. As far as video resolution is concerned, everything went fluent as we tried to edit a few commercial clips of 1080p resolution.
There were few lags here and there as we started using some 4k clips, but that was expected. The only noticeable difference you might find with the MacBook Air compared to MacBook Pro is the export time. You may have to give ten to fifteen minutes more for the export in terms of high-definition videos, but other than that, the experience was pretty good.
Video Editing Softwares Ideal For the MacBook Air
As mentioned before, it’s up to the software the does the magic happen, turning raw footage into pure gold. Below is a brief description of a few of the editing software that you can run on your MacBook Air.
Final Cut Pro X
First up on the list is the Final Cut Pro X. It’s a well-polished video editing software that has been developed to work flawlessly on all Mac PCs. It comes with handy features such as proxy footage that allows you to work with high-resolution videos, even on low-end systems.
The MacBook Air has been tested to edit videos flawlessly with the Final Cut Pro X. You can expect satisfactory performance editing videos up to 1080p. Thus it’s a fun-to-use software that you can expect to get good results with your mid-tier laptop.
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro is probably the most recognized software for video editing. It comes with tons of features and is adored by professional editors all across the globe. Though an enriched software, the Premiere Pro isn’t as fluent on Mac Devices as on windows laptops. Thus you may face little lags here and there.
On top of that, the MacBook Air not being a stellar performer may make things worse than they should have been. Nevertheless, the software can still create masterpieces if the video resolution is kept within the convenient territory.
iMovie is editing software that comes loaded with every Mac. It’s by no means a primary arsenal for a developer. If you are looking to make some quick and simple edits on the go for fun, the software will serve you well. Besides being creative enough, you can also make some pretty good videos to put on social media and YouTube.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Final Cut free on MacBook?
Answer: You can get a free 90-day trial version of the Final Cut though it’s not free.
Is 8GB RAM enough for video editing?
Answer: 8 GB RAM is enough to get through basic video editing, but it’s recommended to upgrade to a higher RAM for professional usage.
Can MacBook Air 2020 run after-effects?
Answer: Yes, the MacBook Air 2020 can run after-effects as well as other programs present in Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
Is Premiere Pro free?
Answer: You can download and use the Premiere Pro for 7 days and then decide about the purchase.
So is MacBook Air a good laptop for video editing? The answer is yes if you are looking for an affordable option. Mac Mini is another option that comes at an affordable price. They are good for most video editing tasks and can run almost all video editing apps. But keep in mind that you might be forced to make some compromises here and there. The MacBook Pro is the more suitable pick if you are looking for a complete video editing package. Nevertheless, the multitasking capability shown by the Air is really worth appreciating.