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Time to put my M1 Max MacBook Pro where my mouth is – a 1st!

The M1 Max MacBook Pro is reported to have a legendary battery life. Today, I will attempt to edit an entire video for my channel without a power brick in sight!

M1 Max MacBook Pro

I have written, recently, about how my new M1 MacBook Pro has amazed me day-to-day with its power and productivity. So today, I thought I would put that to an extreme test, and edit a video for my YouTube channel, 100% from the battery. I am a little nervous, but I am optimistic at the same time.

Why stress myself?

It was only this morning that this daft idea crossed my mind. I, along with many others, have banged on and on about the absolutely amazing battery life of these Apple Silicon machines. So far, I have not tested it fully – but today I will. In using this MacBook Pro over the last month or so, it has impressed me hugely, and I have come to trust its capabilities. I have spent odd snatches of time on it without be being plugged in, doing various things, including creative work, but always with a power brick somewhere nearby…just in case.

I wrote yesterday, that one of the most startlingly striking differences between this MBP and the Intel machine, is the lack of heat and fan noise. It is surprising how that fan noise catches up to you during the day. The constant whirring, can really get to you, when you are trying to keep a clear head for some particular creative purpose. For instance, I typically write these blogs either in total silence, or with just some quiet lo-fi, ambient, chilled music playing….but that is so different to the insistent whir of white noise and a fan. It just cuts through to the core.

And so to the test!

What is in store then?

Peeling back the layers for you, I work in one of two spaces. I have a full studio set up, which is sound treated and has the mics, tripods, and gizmos I need to make videos. That is at home, and also has the Studio Display in it, which you may have either read about or seen in my videos. I generally edit there as a force of habit more than anything else…oh, and my nearly 18-year-old cat, Alice, loves the company as well!

I also have an office space about 5 miles from home. I have a couple of Macs here, but I see this more as a base for my graphic design work and business hub (sounds terribly affected, but you know what I mean)! I have not edited video here – until today.

I am not good at change, or letting my hair down enough. But, that is something I am working on, and was part of the reason for buying in to the portability of a MacBook Pro. I want to get into the habit, and lifestyle of working from anywhere, be it video, audio, or graphic. I see today as the first step of breaking free! If I can edit my next video, here, at the office today, with no power back-up, in my heart, I will know I am set for the future. Is today the start of a new beginning?

Here’s the plan…

So, I shot the video last night, at home in my studio. It was about 35 minutes of 4K video, which I transferred from my phone (via Image Capture – I am longing for USB-C…or an actual camera). The audio, which was recorded in Audition, has been run through my normal effects rack. But, apart from that, it is as raw as can be. So, currently, on the MacBook desktop, I have a folder with the audio and a large video file. There are a few B-roll shots, some graphics and top-and-tail audio I use on the video.

The moment I finish this blog, and have posted it to my website, and here on Medium too, I will be cracking open the laptop, with a full charge, and seeing how it fares. I will plug in some headphones to the 3.5mm jack, which will automatically detect I have some high-impedance ‘cans’ plugged in. I would normally edit audio on studio monitors, but hey – if I am going to be free, then this is the future…me and my BeyerDynamic studio headphones!

I have no dongles in sight either. If you have been with me on this Mac journey, then you’ll know this MacBook has 4TB of storage on it. That means I was able to keep everything on the desktop, and will edit direct from the Mac’s SSD. Loaded with 32GB of unified memory and awesome read speeds, editing should prove a doddle.

I will, clearly, be working on the gorgeous 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR panel on the MacBook. By far the best monitor, and most colour accurate I have ever used, but equally smaller than I would normally edit on. At home, in my studio, I generally edit and work on the timeline on the Studio Display, then finally colour grade on the 16-inch screen. Today, though, it’s the 16-inch all the way.

A day in the life

To be fair to the MBP, I am writing this blog on my 27-inch iMac to preserve every drop of battery power before the battering that it is about to receive. My videos typically tend to be around 8-10 minutes long. I’d expect the cutting and slicing to take about 2-4 hours, depending on how smoothly it goes, and allowing for any hiccups I may encounter. I will doubtless have to take some more B-roll shots, and edit those in Photoshop as well.

Of course, when all that is done, is when the Mac will be asked to work at its hardest…the render and export. The final video will probably be around 8GB. In olden times (pre-Apple Silicon), that would take heat, fans and around 40 minutes. Even with a very high-grade export pre-set that I have saved in Premiere, I think that will be down to around 12-15 minutes now, though.

I am not going to expect the earth

I will still have the thumbnail to create at the end of all that, but I am not expecting that of the MacBook too. If it can get the video exported, on a single charge, then I will be impressed enough.

Wrapping up

So, the gauntlet is laid down – the edit is about to start. I am hoping to get the video up on my channel tomorrow. Through no fault of the Mac, I may run out of time today, but hopefully not.

If you see the video about the Intel versus Apple Silicon video on there, you’ll know that the M1 Max MacBook Pro came through with flying colours. Wish me luck!

Lights, camera, action!

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