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For the First Time in 20 Years, I've Downsized My Apple MacBook Pro

Disaster has struck. After 8 years of hard use, my faithful original retina screen 15 inch MacBook Pro decided it had had enough. What will replace it? 

It raised the computer equivalent of a white flag, a folder with the question mark on it. Yeup, the screen really is that bad!

folder with questionmark macbook pro

No amount of restarting, safe rebooting, SSD first aiding, or indeed swearing at it managed to bring it back to life. Well, not 100% true. To annoy me even more, after a few days on the flat battery naughty step, it seems to be working perfectly tonight!

It has been said that the Mid 2012 Retina was one of the greatest MacBook Pro models Apple produced. I'd agree. Free from the next generation butterfly keyboard problems, it was built to last. Apple possibly didn't bank on the likes of me running it in to the ground over eight years. A good innings for any device with a plug.

Isn't the move to Apple silicon just around the corner?

Sourcing a replacement would have been easier before this year's WWDC when Apple announced that Macs were going to transition from Intel to Apple Silicon. The Amex card would have been straight out to get the latest and greatest MacBook Pro there is. That really would have done nicely.

But under the shadow of a possible 'new silicon' lineup of MacBook Pros coming out in under 12 months, £3500 is a lot to pay for a computer that will be 'frozen' in the Intel ecosystem and eventually miss out on updates. We know Apple has pledged to support both, but we all remember the PowerPC/Intel move that gave users a few year's overlap. The move happened faster than anybody had predicted.

So the big question- I need a laptop right now, what do I buy?

The answer? A new 13 inch MacBook Pro. For the first time in 20 years, I have downsized from a 15 inch portable. Another little bending of the truth as I was a proud owner of a shiny Titanium G4 PowerBook in 2001. The headline wouldn't have been so clickable if I had said only 19!

I have tested the 13 inch before with loaners, but I've always had a 15 inch model as my main portable work computer.  The key word here is portable.

When I'm editing, all the heavy lifting is done with an iMac Pro at the office. I don't do much editing anymore on my MBP. A powerful GPU and slightly more screen real estate isn't needed. I want something that is smaller, lighter and has a longer battery life. Just have to say here that the battery life on the old version MBP is an astonishing 13 minutes before demanding to be plugged in. (Makes note of a good idea for an article on trying to replace a MBP battery)

Why not an iPad Pro? I need to run Final Cut Pro X and Motion and just at the moment they don't run on iOS devices. I need the ability to fire up the Pro Apps to tweak a plugin, tinker with XML or checkout some forgotten keystroke or menu heading.

So I need a Mac and the 13 inch seemed a good fit. It has an Achilles' heel, the GPU which isn't separate to the CPU like its bigger brother.

Am I going to be sitting in the poolside stand rendering an FCPX timeline whilst my daughter does swimming training? Of course not, but the 13 inch buys me more time to do emails, writing, browsing and Wikipedia rabbit-holing. Without having to resort to my iPhone.

13 inch macbook pro

I have to say I'm rather liking the 13 inch MacBook Pro, it fits on an edit desk better and eventually when I don't have to carry around two laptops, I'm going to downsize the bag. That's had a good innings as well as I bought it to house the Powerbook G4! Unlike the many different 15 inch Macs it has carried, the Crumpler bag has been in the washing machine three times.

 A Week Editing with the New MacBook Pros and Final Cut Pro X 

Bill Davis' First Week with the New 16 Inch Macbook Pro

Apple Announces New 16 Inch MacBook Pro With Bigger Screen, Better GPUs, More RAM and More SSD Storage

 


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.

 

BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.

FCP.co

Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!

 

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