This $700 computer can edit 8K RED RAW

Tips & Techniques

There’s been a lot of talk about the new Apple Silicon M1 computers, both for and against. Now that they’re starting to get into the hands of a few people and companies like Blackmagic and Adobe are starting to release software optimised for Apple’s new ARM-based systems – even if they are just betas – they’re actually starting to look quite impressive.

In this video, Alex at Learn Color Grading took Apple’s bottom-of-the-line M1 Mac Mini, costing a mere $699, and installed the latest DaVinci Resolve 17.1 Beta on it. One question he’s been asked a lot is how well it handles 8K RAW footage and, well, he was happy to play. And… Well, it does shockingly well, actually. It even manages to motion track 4K footage in real-time!

Alex tests a number of different resolutions of footage in the video, including 4K, 5K, 6K and 8K RED RAW clips, to see exactly where things start to fall over. 4K, 5K and 6K are extremely smooth, even offering the ability to track elements in real-time with several nodes, colour adjustments and power windows applied.

Even the 8K RED RAW footage works very well, although it’s not totally smooth. But this is being done with no optimisation whatsoever. Just the RAW clip dragged straight onto the timeline. If you drop the preview quality down to half resolution, though (which is still going to let you see 4K while retaining the original resolution or render), things are perfectly smooth again.

Frankly, this is pretty ridiculous and impressive for a machine at this price point. And bear in mind, this is the cheapest of Apple’s new Mac Minis, with a mere 8GB of RAM. To go up to 16GB RAM takes an extra $200.

I expect the performance will only get better as software becomes more refined and optimised (and gets out of beta) for the new ARM chips. It will be very interesting to see how Intel and AMD respond to this one over the next couple of years. I haven’t owned an Apple computer since the Apple IIe, but I’m kinda tempted to add one of these into the collective, even if just for editing!

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