Thoughts on Security

The current issue of MacWorld (Oct. 2008 – has a lengthy article on computer security. While I agree with it, in general, one recommendation will cause problems for video editors.

First, the section on virus protection recommends that if you are running Windows on your Mac, you install and maintain virus protection software.  While if you are just running Mac OS X, virus software is not necessary.  I agree with this. In fact, running virus software on a video editing system will almost always cause dropped frames and other playback problems. 

Apple support documents recommend turning off any virus software before installing an application, as well as leaving it off for the duration of your video editing.

In another portion of the article, however, the author suggests using password encryption (Apple calls it “FileVault”) to protect the data in your Home directory. While keeping data secure is always a good idea, password-protecting your Home directory will cause problems with video editing, even if you set your Final Cut Pro scratch disks to a drive other than your boot disk.

The reason is that many applications write temporary files to your Home directory. However, when it is password-protected, the computer has to work harder to encrypt an decrypt these files. This slows everything down so that video doesn’t play smoothly in real-time.  

To avoid these problems, don’t use FileVault.

5 Responses to Thoughts on Security

  1. Good tips for video editing. Thanks!

  2. Paul Kubera says:

    Hi Larry,

    Jump ahead a few years 😉 I have large companies making security requirements for our mac via audits. Do you have any recommendations for virus protection?

    Thank you,

  3. Tom says:


    do you think the latest MBP would have this problem when using FCP or Premiere given its high-performance SSD, or is it still much better to turn off File Vault?


    – tom –

    • Larry says:


      I’m not a big fan of File Vault in operation, though it sounds wonderful in theory.

      However, I did not test performance with FileVault turned on. I should have, but I didn’t think of it.


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