Skip to main content

Thunderbolt technology could revolutionize field editing

The arrival of Thunderbolt, a new data transfer and HD personal computer connection that runs at 10Gb/s brings new possibilities for ENG crews editing video with Apple’s Final Cut Pro in the field.

Developed in Intel’s labs with the help of Apple, under the name Light Peak, the technology was instantly available in Apple’s updated lineup of MacBook Pros. The 10Gb/s speeds, outperforming even USB 3.0 speeds, is a boon to video editors working with Apple laptops in the field.

Intel’s vision is to have Thunderbolt replace the myriad specialty ports on laptops and desktop machines with one that can do just about everything while scaling its bandwidth potential to support future computing needs.

In its line of 13in, 15in and 17in MacBook Pros recently introduced, Apple said Thunderbolt is 12 times faster than FireWire 800 and up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0.

“It offers unprecedented expansion capabilities,” according to Apple. “It changes what you can do with a notebook.”

The Thunderbolt port offers plug-and-play performance with a new generation of peripherals, including the Apple LED Cinema Display and other Mini DisplayPort peripherals, the company said. Users can daisy-chain as many as six devices, including a display. And with support for video and eight-channel audio, it’s easy to connect HDMI-compatible devices, including TV receivers, using an HDMI adapter. Current VGA, DVI and DisplayPort adapters are also supported.

Apple said Thunderbolt is based on two fundamental technologies: PCIe and DisplayPort. That means external devices like RAID arrays and video capture solutions can be connected directly to MacBook Pros and get PCIe performance.

It has been widely rumored that Apple will introduce an entirely updated and new version of Final Cut Pro at the 2011 NAB Show. If that happens, the new laptops would be a powerful force for Apple.