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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old March 24th, 2007, 06:03 AM   #1
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Macbook Pro FCE and A1 - good combo?

I am thinking of the following combo for editing mainly 4:3 SD Downconverted from 16:9 HDV from my A1, but also to have the option to edit HDV directly

Macbook Pro 17 inch 100 GB 7200 rpm, or 15,4 inch - more portable.

Final Cut Express to start with - I don't do that fancy stuff - mainly newsgathering and FCE is only $100 or something.

Anyone working with this combo that want to share their thoughts?

Thanks Erik
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Old March 24th, 2007, 06:17 AM   #2
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Erik,

A couple of quick thoughts (I have a MBP 17 w/ the full version of FCP):

1. If you will be doing the majority of your editing on the road, get the 17"- you can never have enough screen real estate; if the majority is at your desk, go with the 15 and an external monitor.

2. Get an external hard drive (at least FW800, eSATA if you can). Even for mobile editing, I would stay away from the internal for your footage.

There are plenty of additional items as you get into it, but that's a start. Keep your eyes on mid-April to see what NAB brings.

Bill
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Old March 24th, 2007, 06:59 AM   #3
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Thanks Bill. What is NAB?
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Old March 24th, 2007, 01:05 PM   #4
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ERIK,

NAB - National Association of Broadcasters I believe.

Sound advice from Bill.

Actually, you could get away with a smaller macbook if you wanted to spend the money saved on a nice monitor, though i'm not sure the smaller books come with a 7200 HD option. Definitely get an external HD (G-tech are good)
Put your projects folder (called Final Cut Pro Projects) on your boot drive, and everything else on the external folder named Final Cut Pro Documents.

If i was you i'd get a USB keyboard and Mouse (perferably a FCP one or at least the keys that you can switch) as Laptops can be a PITA when you've got a decent sized project to cut.

All the Best.

Dom
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Old March 24th, 2007, 02:18 PM   #5
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I use the setup you listed more of Less. I have the 15inch and use an external Hard drive for the data. And possibly more importantly, 1GB of Ram. I got a hard drive with USB 2.0 and Firewire. I use the USB most of the time because the camera is using the firewire. I have had some issues with the machine not keeping up during capture but it only seems to happen when I have been using the machine for a while. With a clean boot and nothing else opened capturing to the external works great and editing is smooth. I do mainly HDV so if it handles that the DV should work out as well. I think I would recomend the most ram you can get and you probably wont have my issue with capturing.
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Old March 24th, 2007, 03:32 PM   #6
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i have a 15" 2ghz macbook pro hooked up to a 24" benq monitor and an external esata drive. I edit native hd and it handles it fine so far, though I haven't got into any heavy rendering yet...
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Old March 24th, 2007, 05:00 PM   #7
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Keep in mind that Final Cut Express and Final Cut Pro handle HDV differently. I believe that FCE uses an intermediate CODEC instead of native HDV as is the case with FCP. You may want to confirm with whom ever you are supplying your material about what formats they accept. For news gathering it really shouldn't be an issue.

FCE is surprisingly powerful, and the present price point (with rebates), probably without rivals. I teach it to news gathering crews in Africa who work exclusively with DVCam. The learning curve is also nowhere as daunting as Final Cut Studio. I think it is a very under-rated product and an alternative a lot of people should consider.

I found Lisa Brenneis' "Final Cut Express HD for Mac OS X" (Visual Quickstart Guide) every useful to get you up and running quickly.

best of luck
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Old March 25th, 2007, 06:15 AM   #8
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Thanks for the advice

I guess I wait until mid April and see what new Macbooks might turn up. And I will start with FCE. Perhaps it is better to have a cheaper 15 inch MacBook plus a 22-24 inch display. That is about the same price as a 17 inch. Then I have a better solution at my desk and a more portable solution on the field.

Is it necessary with a display that can be color calibrated or can I go with a cheaper one like Samsung or Benq?

Thanks Erik
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Old March 25th, 2007, 09:12 AM   #9
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FCE can't handle 24P or 24F can it?
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Old March 25th, 2007, 09:32 AM   #10
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Is it necessary with a display that can be color calibrated or can I go with a cheape

The Samsung 24 costs more than the Apple Cinema 23 monitor so you wont save much there. Benq is probably cheaper.
None of these monitors are considered accurate for colour correcting if thats your question? Most Pro's use expensive CRT monitors for this. Having said that, i find it hard to tell the difference between the 20 inch apple monitors we have at work, and the Sony CRT sitting next to them.
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Old March 25th, 2007, 09:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Palm View Post
Is it necessary with a display that can be color calibrated or can I go with a cheaper one like Samsung or Benq?
You might want to look at the Matrox MXO if you want accurate monitoring on a Macbook/Powerbook. See the following: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=83917
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Old March 25th, 2007, 02:39 PM   #12
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I also feel that the 17" is kind big to be truly portable (unless by portable one means something to take to a hotel room, and even then I'd go for an iMac and a travel bag). I use a 15" MacBookPro and think it's just the right size, plus the back lit keyboard is neat, although at times i've wished for the smaller Black MacBook. Doing the math, a MacBook + a 24" iMac is just a tad over the cost of a 17" MacBookPro... and in my opinion, a lot more usefull.

Also, if you are basically doing news gathering, than color correcting is not a major concern. Still FCE does have some color correcting capability, probably as much as you'd need to sort out simple issues like impropoer white balance.

Much more usefull for news gathering is FCE's much simpler interface and it's handy voice-over function. I plug a microphone into the camcorder's XLR input, and the camcorder into the laptop via firewire and record narration directly into the computer's drive and onto FCE's timeline.

There are cheaper solution for monitoring video such as the Sony MFM-HT75W and the Samsung TFT SyncMaster 940MW which are basucally LCD computer monitors with video inputs. Although they require AC power, for under $400 these monitors very usefull in that they are relatively small and portable (specially the Sony which can be mounted inside a pelican case). You can monitor your HDV camera (RGB) and they can double as an extra computer monitor (DVI - extended desktop) as well as a video monitor if you are editing in DV (composite video), or both at the same time (Picture in Picture).

I've found my Samsung to be fairly accurate for non critical color correction with basic calibration. Clearly the Matrox MXO and a 23" Apple monitor will give you a more accuratecolor reference, but then you wouldn't be editing in Final Cut Express.

best of luck
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Old March 26th, 2007, 03:27 PM   #13
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Thanks

The only advantage of the 17 inch is the faster hard drive 7200 rpm compared to 5400 rpm on the 15 inch - except for the 2 inches larger display. What difference does this make when I also have an external hard drive that is 7200 rpm?

/Erik
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Old March 28th, 2007, 05:05 PM   #14
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It is true, FCE cant do 24f/25f. You need FCP for that! So might not be the best choice for the A1. FCP is a lot more dosh though - so you may want to take a good long think about it! And the annoying thing is there is no upgrade path from FCE to FCP.

FCE HD is a great little package though if you are shooting 60i/50i.

Jim
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Old March 29th, 2007, 12:40 PM   #15
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XH-A1 and FCE Not a Match?

I had issues with getting FCE to see the XH-A1. In fact, my understanding is that it is not supported, or at least was not in February. I went to FCP and it imports beautifully off of the XH-A1.

If I am incorrect, please advise, as they may have corrected it in FCE since I tried last.
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