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Making a Movie? These 6 Laptops Are Perfect for Student Filmmakers

From Dell laptops to Macbook Pros, there's something here to fit your editing needs.

Person using/typing on laptop

Rostislav Sedlacek - stock.adobe.com

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With so many laptops on the market, filmmakers and film students might find themselves confused about which brand or model to purchase. Thankfully, there are a lot of high-quality laptops available that are great for film editing and other needs.

Regardless of whether you’re a student or a more experienced filmmaker, you’ll be multi-tasking more often than not — which means that you’ll need a laptop that is capable of performing multiple tasks such as audio and video rendering, without overheating or the battery dying too fast. To help you get started on your search, we rounded up a handful of the best laptops for filmmakers from Dell, HP, Apple, and other top brands. Some of the notebooks listed can be used for gaming as well, and obviously other potentially more mundane tasks like streaming videos and checking social media.

Below, find our list of laptops that filmmakers should buy. And if you want more computer-related content read our selection of the best laptop bags for filmmakers, best editing software, and best books for first-time filmmakers.

HP Elitebook 850 G6 Customizable Notebook 

The HP Elitebook 850 G6 is a customizable notebook, and a solid option for student filmmaking. This durable notebook weighs under four pounds and offers a long battery life, making it perfect for your editing needs. It also features anywhere from 128GB to 2TB of SSD storage, along with an Intel HD Graphics 620 or 850 discrete graphics card. The notebook has 64GB of memory and four cores of processing capabilities, which is great for advanced software. You can also purchase the HP Elitebook 850 model with a touch screen.

Writes user Josh H, “We really like this laptop. It boots extremely quickly with the SSD. I did however have to get a 256gb slim USB since the included SSD was only 256gb which is pretty small. The aluminum design is rugged and comparable to our old MacBook Pro. The screen is really impressive with its HDR capabilities. Overall great laptop so far. Loving it!”

Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop

Gaming laptops are useful for filmmaking, namely because of power, durability, and exceptional graphics. The Razer Blade 15 laptop is great for student filmmakers, and highly recommended among gamers. The slender laptop features a 15.6” 120Hz Full HD display, and a 10th generation Intel i7 6 core processor with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics.

Writes user Nick, “This laptop is amazing. From the looks to how it performs. The keyboard doesn’t travel as deep when you push the keys compared to other laptops I have used. However they feel nice to type on. Also I really like the color profiles in synapse. I’m getting great battery life with power saving settings. I’m getting around 5-6 hours. When I’m plugged into the wall and I have the fans all the way up and the cpu and gpu are on high. I was getting around 130-150 FPS in death stranding, With the settings all the way up in the game. It looked amazing and performed great. Overall, I’m happy I got this laptop.”

2021 Apple Macbook Pro 16”

Apple computers are pretty reliable and good for a variety of uses — video editing being one of them. This Macbook Pro features a 16″ retina display with 10-core CPU and up to 32-core GPU for faster performance when you’re running graphic-related applications. Other features include up to 64GB of unified memory, 512GB of RAM, and a lightening-fast processor powered by the M1 chip. The laptop has 21 hours of battery life, a 1080p Facetime HD camera, and six-speaker sound system with studio-grade mics.

Writes user Anon, “Here are the temperature results for the new cool MacBooks compared to the old overheating intel ones. 91 degrees for the old one near the processor, and 74 degrees on the new ones. Both had been running for hours transferring files nonstop. Amazing. I have been editing video, transferring large files and not once have the fans kicked on. Makes me want to cry.”

Dell XPS 15 9500 Laptop

Equipped with Adobe RGB and a 94 percent DCI-P3 color gamut, this notebook boasts a stunning display with vivid picturing and an optional 4K Ultra HD+ display (3840 x 2400), which will help make your film creations that much more brilliant. And if you want seamless productivity, the camera has a 16:10 display with a stunning edge-to-edge view updated with 921K more pixels on UHD+,  along with carefully crafted backlighting and a UV resistant and stain-resistant coating to prevent yellowing and other stains.

Writes one user Dina Jadallah, “My New XPS 15 laptop is phenomenal! Better than I imagined it would be. I’m highly impressed with the incredible power of its processor, the speed with which it boots up, the comfortable keyboard, the amazing colors, precision, and functionality of the monitor, the remarkable clarity and power of the speakers, and so many other things besides. In addition, the ease of setting up the machine and its personalization was nothing short of amazing. So very easy! Connecting with my other devices, apps, etc.. was practically a snap! Furthermore, it is super sleek and light and just beautiful to look at. I would recommend it to anyone!”

Dell Alienware M15 R3 Laptop

Dell’s M15 R3 laptop is mostly good for graphics, but you can, of course, use it for video editing as well. The notebook features 12-phase graphics voltage regulation on configurations featuring the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti or higher and a 50 percent increase in voltage regulation phases, making it one of Dell’s most efficient 15″ Alienware designs. It also has built-in blue light reduction capabilities, weighs just under five pounds, and includes premium magnesium alloy materials, which is a bit of an improvement on the surface coating designed to reduce fingerprints and other stains without changing the hue or color.

Writes user Alvin, “I wanted a [laptop] that can do anything wherever I go. I mainly bought it for work to edit videos and to play some games if I wanted to. I have the 16gb ram version and I was worried. I had YouTube playing a [high-quality] video with discord video chat going on [and “Call of Duty Warzone”] playing at the same time. I was very impressed with its performance! Played for 3 hours straight No problems whatsoever! My ram was hovering around 3 to 4GB. Still plenty of room to do other things. I ended up buying the matching mouse and headset which is a MUST if you’re going to play. I’m thinking about getting the monitor next! If you don’t go this route make sure you purchase a cooling pad. It makes a night and day difference! This computer will run hot. You can adjust settings to cool it down a little but the cooling pad will take care of the heating. Overall I highly recommend this computer to anyone! It’s [super-fast] and the screen is amazing! If you are worried about 16 gigs of ram. Don’t. IT WILL HANDLE IT EASY!”

Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop

Anyone who has shopped for laptops before knows that Acer remains one of the more affordable and reliable brands. The Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop is a budget-friendly option that was designed to handle video editing and 3D animation. Ultra-thin, and super light, the versatile Spin 3 laptop functions like a traditional laptop but with a 360-degree dual torque hinge offering the hands-on, tactile user experience of a tablet. It fully rotates to easily convert from laptop to display, tent or tablet in seconds, and features an AMD Ryzen 3 3250U Mobile Processor, AMD Radeon Graphics, 4GB of memory, a 14” HD display, and up to 12 hours of battery life. Another option from Acer that’s suitable for filmmaking: the Nitro 5 gaming laptop with 15.6″ display.

Writes user Sky, “I’m not a laptop aficionado, so get ready for the perspective of an average buyer. When I got my laptop, it was very sleek and stylish. After setting it up, it booted up in a few seconds and transfers files really fast. Like, 15 GB in [eight] minutes; around 30mb/s. The 360 hinge makes it great for watching videos. The display takes up a lot of the space and has nice colors and graphics. And the battery can last around 10 hours if you’re just browsing the internet or doing basic tasks. If you do run out, it doesn’t take very long to recharge. It’s also got a microSD slot instead of the standard SD, so transferring files between my phone and my laptop is a breeze. All-in-all, this is a great computer for homework, browsing, or some light gaming.”

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