Tag Archives: Trim Editing

First Impressions: Apple’s new iMac Pro

This London-based video editor gives it a ride

By Thomas Carter

Over the last few days I’ve had the chance to play with the new iMac Pro from Apple. I’m a professional editor at Trim Editing in London, where I cut high-end commercials, music videos and films. I was really excited to see how this new machine, and the upcoming version of Final Cut Pro X (10.4) NLE, could benefit us here and what sorts of things it might be able to achieve.

The Design
This thing looks like an iMac, no doubt about it. It’s the same all-in-one form factor we’ve become accustomed to, but in space grey. I love this design, and I’m a sucker for anything that nears a matte black finish. It’s pretty incredible to have a machine this powerful essentially living inside a display, and it looks great in the edit suite, especially as it comes paired with a space grey keyboard, mouse and trackpad.

Space grey aside, the only external tweaks are around the back — there are four USB 3 ports, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, a 10GB Ethernet port and large “Vader-like” vents to help cool the eager internals. While those Thunderbolt ports can support two additional 5K displays, what I’m most excited about here is the 10GB Ethernet port. We can now directly attach our LumaForge Jellyfish shared storage without the need for Thunderbolt conversion.

One last point, because I know I’d be asking this question. Can you buy the keyboard, mouse and trackpad separately? Sadly, apparently you cannot. But if you can somehow justify spending $4,999 on a space grey keyboard, mouse and trackpad, at least you’ll get a free iMac Pro!

The Performance
As I said, I’ve only had my hands on the machine for a couple of days, so I haven’t had the chance to run a full-blown editing job through it yet. But it’s abundantly clear to me that this thing is a beast. It’s by far the fastest Mac I’ve ever used, and according to Apple the most powerful they’ve ever built.

Thermal cooling

The machine I had access to featured a 10-core 3GHz processor, 128GB memory, 2TB SSD and Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics with 16GB memory. The internal SSD is ridiculously fast. When I tested the speed I got 3021MB/s write and 2465MB/s read. And for anyone who knows what it means (not me) the GeekBench 4 score on the processors was 37003.

But let’s forget the paper specs for a moment. Here are a few real-world editing tests I ran:

A feature film has been cutting here at Trim over the past few months, so I took the opportunity to hijack the project to see what the export speeds were like. A ProRes HD file took 2 minutes 34 seconds, which is pretty great for a 90-minute timeline. But compressed H.264s are far more common for me as an editor when dealing with upload and review of my cuts. My biggest frustration with all previous Mac Pro machines was that their H.264 export speeds always seemed terrible. This is due to the fact that “workstation-class chips” don’t have the hardware-acceleration necessary for these tasks. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that Apple seem to be bypassing these limitations somehow, and the iMac Pro is also delivering fast H.264 exports. I have no idea what they are doing behind the scenes to achieve this, but it works and will save me hours in encoding time.

Next I decided to push the resolution right up and see how it might handle a ludicrous 8K timeline with footage shot on the Panavision Millennium DXL. With 8K ProRes 4:4:4:4 files, the iMac Pro played the sequence back perfectly. Even after adding a couple of color corrections and a blur to the clips it still didn’t drop a frame. I should add that this was playing back at better quality and without rendering. I’ll repeat that once more. 8K. Color correction. Blur. No Rendering. No “1/4 quality” BS. No frames dropped.

Yes, 8K is an impressive number, but I was also interested to see how it might handle a less friendly codec like R3D, a notoriously heavy codec for computers to decode/debayer and playback at full quality. The maximum I managed to test here was 5K Red RAW footage in a 5K timeline. Again, best quality and unrendered. Adding color correction, resizes and titles didn’t cause the machine to drop frames. The sequence played through smoothly, which is nuts.

Trim Editing

While this last test is really impressive, there aren’t many real-world jobs where I’ll be storing an entire film shoot of Red RAW rushes on my internal SSD. So I also checked how this played out on external storage. I’m happy to report that loading the same media onto our Jellyfish shared storage and accessing it over direct-attached 10Gb Ethernet gave me the same results.

These tests really blew me away. They aren’t necessarily going to be everyday scenarios for most people, or even me, but they make it possible to imagine editing workflows in which you’re working at close to the highest quality possible throughout the entire process… on a desktop computer. A space grey one. It’s going to be really interesting to see how the rest of the company reacts to this computer moving forward. While we mainly deal in offline workflows, we have begun to look at possibly taking on more conforming, online, grading work in-house. It’s not hard to conceive that the iMac Pro could be the tool to bring all these elements together for us in a streamlined way.

The Bottom Line
While I really haven’t had enough time to do a deep dive, it’s clearly the best Mac I’ve ever used — it’s stupidly powerful and great to work on.

Thomas Grove Carter

But who is it actually for? Clearly not everyone. It’s quite obviously a pro machine and it comes with a price tag to fit — $4,999. If you’re a pro user who needs a Pro Mac, it’s probably for you (and you can get your hands on one starting December 14). If you’re already an iMac user but you need more power, it’s probably for you too. If I had to make a wildly uninformed guess, I’d say this will be more than enough computer for 90% of pros.

There will still understandably be a number of places where this machine will not be enough, and I don’t mean it’s lacking in power — if you’re someone who needs rack-mountable, user-expandable hardware, this may not be for you.

For me, if an equally powerful Mac Pro existed, I’d still chose this iMac Pro over it, because I love the all-in-one compact design and the way it sits in my edit suite. I can’t wait to use the iMac Pro for genuine work and really put it through its paces. I’m excited and slightly dizzied by its power, and the potential that power has for delivering amazing work.

Also, did I mention that it’s space grey…

Thomas Grove Carter is an editor at Trim Editing in London, where they cut commercials, music videos and films. Follow him on Twitter @thomasgcarter.

Blog: Undoing a Revert Trim Session in Premiere Pro

By Premiere Bro

What is a Trim Session? This blog postulates that Trim Session is a newly enhanced and highly nuanced approach to trim editing in Premiere Pro CC 2015. I’m suggesting three feature requests that will further establish Trim Session editing as an efficient editing workflow in Premiere Pro… I’ve even included a video demonstration of the requests.

When it comes to NLE updates, the hope of every editor is two-fold: improved media management and faster editing. Additional features are just a bonus. So, let’s ignore the Lumetri color panel for a moment and look at an enhancement in Premiere Pro CC 2015 that improves editing. This feature is hidden in the terminology of the Revert Trim Session button.

Revert Trim Session
In a previous post, I hinted that a Revert Trim Session has deeper implications beyond its own functionality. Here’s the Revert Trim Session feature description in the CC 2015 release notes: “A Revert Trim Session button can be added to the Program Monitor to enable an edit point to be returned to its original position before Trim Mode was entered (Premiere Pro Blog).”


But what is a Trim Session? There is no documentation for it, other than it can be reverted. You won’t find either “trim” or “session” anywhere in the Premiere Pro CC 2014 press release. Perhaps it’s an expanded capability of Trim Mode? Then why not call it Reset Trim Mode? No, Trim Session feels more nuanced than just editing in Trim Mode. So what is it besides semantics?

Trim Session Defined
This video defines Trim Session and how it can be improved with three feature requests.

It’s logical to infer that a Trim Session includes all trim activity between the time Trim Mode was entered and exited. In other words, a Trim Session is a series of Trim Mode edits that Premiere Pro treats as one event. Keep in mind, editing in Trim Mode supports continuous loop playback. Now, apply this to editing a radio edit or finessing a rough cut in the timeline. Suddenly, Trim Session begins to look and feel different than other timeline editing methods. Instead of click-and-drag trimming or in-and-out-point editing — both of which require playback to be stopped and manually reset to review changes — Trim Session enables continuous, uninterrupted trim editing, which can be collectively undone in one command. Dynamite.

revert_trim_session_shortcut_SCALED copy


An Enhanced Trim Editing Workflow
Through the Revert Trim Session feature, Adobe has, knowingly or unknowingly, introduced a new term for an enhanced trim editing workflow. However, it’s as if Trim Session has been teased out without fully delivering on its obvious strengths. Certain functionality is still needed in order to establish Trim Session as its own editing workflow in Premiere Pro. The absence of three features in particular, prevent Trim Session from achieving its full potential.

Trim Session Feature Requests
1. The ability to jump between edit points during loop playback in a Trim Session.
2. The ability to Toggle Trim Type during loop playback in a Trim Session.
3. The ability to toggle target audio/video tracks during loop playback in a Trim Session.

Trim Session editing will truly come into its own when given the capability to switch trim type, jump between edit points and toggle target audio/video tracks without having to stop loop playback. This will enable Premiere Pro editors to work down the timeline, trimming edit points on specific tracks more quickly, and all as one collective event. This ability to continuously adjust and collectively undo without interrupting playback will make Trim Session a very attractive editing method to all Premiere Pro editors.

Note, continuous loop playback is an advantage of Trim Session editing, not a requirement. Loop playback can be paused for fine-tuned edits and still be contained within a Trim Session.

The key message of this post is not about reinventing the wheel or adopting new terminology, but improving Premiere Pro functionality for its users and satisfying the desire for faster editing workflows. Whether or not it’s called “Trim Session” is beside the point. Call it whatever you want; these three feature requests provide the functionality Revert Trim Session inherently suggests, but Premiere Pro does not yet provide. Not to mention, they also give editing in Trim Mode the appeal it never really had.

If you would like to support these three feature requests, simply copy the feature request text above and paste it into Adobe’s Feature Request form.

I realize feature requests are largely opinionated and, if you read this far, I want to thank you for investing your time in something I feel passionate about.

Premiere Bro is the alias for Sean Schools. Sean is the video editor for JK Design. He is a Full Sail University graduate who did time in Brooklyn. You can email Sean at premierebro@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @premierebro. You will also find this blog on his website www.premierebro.com.