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Old August 19th, 2007, 07:00 AM   #1
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Bunch of questions about FCS 2 by a Mac-newbie...

Hi,

at this moment I'm using a PC with Premiere Pro 2.0 for editing. I've done long
SD projects and even one pretty long project in HDV (2.5 hours of rushes, final edit one hour long) with it, without problems.
My PC setup is this currently:

Intel Pentium 4, 3.2 GHz
ASUS P5GDC Deluxe
1024 MB RAM
NVIDIA Geforce 6200 (128 MB or 256MB don't know for sure)
Monitor Samsung 713N
Dual Layer 16x Burner

Now, I'm not a computer geek. I know my NLE, I know my camera, but I don't know so much about computer specs.
I currently don't have the budget to upgrade to a mac, but I'm very interested in it, as I love the possibilities of Final Cut Studio 2 and the design and workflow of the apple-editing. It seems also much more supported in the industry then Premiere Pro.
I want to know some things more about Mac, and then, later on, when I have the budget, I can maybe upgrade to a mac. (I know the computer business changes constantly, but I want to know some things *now*)

If I would get a MAC, I would use it primarily for editing, maybe for home use too (music, internet,...) but I'm not sure of that last, primarily for editing.
Editing SD and HDV. Maybe other HD codecs, but I don't really think so at this moment. I don't think I will come near a RED camera in the coming 2 years, but hypothetically, could I edit REDCODE RAW on all these 3 setups, even if I have to work with 1k proxies or something (I don't mind that)? just curious.
I also always use (and would do the same at a MACsetup) external HDD's for my rushes and raw footage and projects and stuff, so all my 'project media'.

So, many questions coming up, I hope I can pose them in a bit understandable order:

-I could get a Macbook Pro, iMac or Mac Pro. I don't need portability really, so a Macbook Pro isn't really a favorite. What will run Final Cut Studio 2 best? I know a Mac Pro is the strongest contender, but in Belgium prices are this:
*standard 2.8 GHz 24" iMAC configuration: 2218 euros
*standard Macbook Pro with 2.4Ghz and 17": 2700 euros
*standard Mac pro dual core Intel processors 2.66 Ghz and 2gb RAM and
a 24inch Cinema Display: 3737 euros.

- Big price difference in the Mac Pro and the iMAC, how much difference in performance? Will the Macbook Pro be better then the iMAC in performance, or not a chance? How different are the performances on these setups, looking at my needs (video editing, SD and HD(V))? Is a MAC Pro so much better in performance, or is it for the more upgrade-options that you pay that big premium? How stupid is it to go for an iMAC, looking at the fact that you can't upgrade as much as with a Mac Pro?

- How good is the standard videocard in the Mac Pro (NVIDIA Geforce 7300 256 MB) in relation with that one from the iMAC (ATI Radion 2600 Pro)?

- How much difference does the 4GB RAM option in the Mac Pro make with the 2GB RAM? Price difference is 380 euros extra.
(or, if you can choose the 4GB RAM option in the iMAC - don't know the price difference of that one - how much difference would it make in performance, and in which areas?)

-When I worked with FCP I loved it, but it was at school with old G4 emacs or iMac, don't know anymore, and I hated it that for many simple effects (dissolves, color correction, 16/9 mattes...) everything had to be rendered before you could preview it. In Premiere Pro 2.0 I can almost see everything real time in the preview window (color correction, dissolves, widescreen masks,...), even in HDV. Only when I use Magic Bullet, it did work in the preview window, but it would go jerky. But I could see results immediately. Comparing with that with Final Cut Studio 2 and any of the above mentioned ways (iMAC, Mac Pro, Macbook Pro), am I in for any surprises?
My computer now is 3 years old, costed my 1500 euros at the time for everyting included (screen, sound, printer+scanner, DVD burner,...) so if I'm gonna put 2200 - 3700 euros in a new setup, 3 years later, I hope I don't have to render to see a preview in the window within FCP.
Also, how fast are renders?

- Can you convert to all other options (I take it you use 'compressor' for this? sorry, really don't know so much about mac at this stage) for instance, HDV to Apple Prores 422, DVCProHD, SD,... with either of the 3 above mentioned setups, and how long does it take?

- How does Final Cut Studio react to MP3's? When I worked with it at school (see my above mentioned notes) it really couldn't handle mp3's good, while I didn't had any problem with that ever in Premiere Pro.

- Can you hang a second monitor to the iMAC? And could i hang my Samsung monitor to it as second monitor?

- The CHEAPEST iMAC... oaky for my needs? or subpar?

- Now I'm having a great compatibility and interconnection between Premiere Pro 2.0 and Premiere Encore and Photoshop. I make menu's and titles in photoshop, use that without a problem in Premiere or Encore, change them again in Photoshop, they are automatically changed in Premiere or Encore,... Is that all the same with Final Cut Studio? Is there a program like photoshop IN Final Cut Studio, or is Photoshop easily available for Mac and does it work well integrated with Final Cut Studio?

I think that's about it...
I know I'm asking A LOT of Questions, and I really would like to get answers to all of them, because now I feel a bit lost. I also want honest neutral answers, no 'PC is always better', 'Mac is always better' answers, only real answers, even if it means that the performance of any of these mac setups would mean that I would get slower performance then on my current PC.
And I know that whoever all answers these questions, I will take a LOT of their time, so I really would like to thank anyone that gives advice in advance.

Best regards,

Last edited by Mathieu Ghekiere; August 19th, 2007 at 09:31 AM.
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Old August 20th, 2007, 02:28 AM   #2
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No one?
Am I asking too much/too difficult questions?
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Old August 20th, 2007, 03:47 AM   #3
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Kinda.

You're asking us to take our time to understand your very specific and complex situation. and then to make informed, intellegent recommendations on how OUR systems might meet YOUR needs.

That's silly.

It's like asking us to taste ice cream for you to help you determine what flavor YOU'LL like best.

The truth is FCP is a great video editing system. Premier is a great video editing system. Avid is a great video editing system. Vegas is a great video editing system. And there are a dozen others competent video editing systems people use successfully every day.

And nobody but YOU can ever have a ghost of a chance at guessing which one is "best" for you, or which one will drive you nuts.

Really.

Stop worrying about the "best" editing system and spend your time becoming the "best" editor you can. On WHATEVER system you can.

NLE button pushers are a dime a dozen out there today.

EXCELLENT EDITORS are still pretty rare and valuable.

FWIW.
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Old August 20th, 2007, 04:26 AM   #4
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Some great advice from Bill Davis

Stop worrying about the "best" editing system and spend your time becoming the "best" editor you can. On WHATEVER system you can.

Dont worry about what others are using. I too have gone down the same road your going and decided that Vegas is great for me vs FCP.
I thought if i did'nt have FCP i was never going to produce anything of worth.
How wrong had i been....
So i went and re learnt my NLE and i tell ya my next product came up looking the best yet.

Whats that old saying.......... the grass is not allways greener on the otherside.
Have fun
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Old August 20th, 2007, 10:23 AM   #5
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Just get to work;
most of your questions will be answered
by your own experiences.

Bill is right.
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Old August 20th, 2007, 10:47 AM   #6
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Okay, there seems to be a misunderstanding that I would think that FCP is going to get me be a better editor. I don't think so.

I used FCP once, when I went back to Premiere afterwards (FCP wasn't my system), I had the feeling I could edit a bit quicker and 'smoother' on FCP.
I also like the big format support of FCP standard, in comparison with Premiere Pro.
Also, because FCP is a bit more supported in the industry, that could have some things going for it as well.

But I don't know that much about mac systems in general, so I'm trying to learn more. C'mmon, this place has never let me down in asking information, and the answers seem a bit hostile.
I'm not asking which NLE will make me a better editor, I'm not asking if FCP is BETTER then Premiere, I already made it up for myself, I'm just asking some TECHNICAL questions about Mac and final Cut that I don't know.
I used Final Cut about a big year ago on older systems. Some things bugged me, but in general I had a good feeling about it, and felt a bit dissapointed when working with Premiere again afterwards, because I noticed because of small workflow differences, it went a bit smoother and faster.
I want to know how Final Cut evolved, how it's today, which HDV and all, and which Mac would perform the best with it, under which circumstances, and so forth...
Where did I say that I would think that Premiere is making me worse editor then I am right now? Where am I saying in my previous post that I think by editing on FCP I will make better video's? No, I'm only thinking that it will get me some acces to more formats, more industry support, and my own experience has been that the workflow itself let me work a bit faster.

Don't want to sound rude, but people seem to focus on a completely wrong part of my initial post...
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Old August 20th, 2007, 10:49 AM   #7
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if you're happy with the adobe products, you might as well use them on a mac. i really don't see a reason to switch your NLE if you are skilled with one already. the file output is what matters, not the pathway.

the tower will be your best performer but more expensive. these newly-retooled iMacs look very nice for editing HDV. i'm sure you will get very good performance for the type of environment that you are describing. at the low end of my business computers, we have a Macbook Pro 2.17 ghz notebook, and it is mighty slow. i edit on the road a lot, so i use it the most. but i look forward to upgrading. if i was looking to balance price versus performance, i'd get a shiny new iMac with a 24'' screen. but buy more if you can afford more, and get the tower. and as much RAM as you can afford.

the bottom line is, you will get what you're willing to pay for....

personally, i am doing my best not to upgrade any mac systems until the new OS is released, because my feeling is that the hardware will go through a concurrent upgrade shortly after. so even though these new releases are tempting, i think it will be worthwhile to wait and see what Leopard introduces...
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Old August 20th, 2007, 10:56 AM   #8
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Hi Meryem, thanks for the answer.

The thing is, I'm pretty happy with Premiere, but some things bug me in it that I don't have in FCP. Small things, but things that are important for me.
Now, it's not that I think Premiere is bad, I just think I would like FCP more, and I already edited some short films on it, so I'm not talking about something I don't know, it's just that I would like to know even more.
So it's not really that MAC is my primary goall, it's FCS, but then I should have to make the switch to MAC, which I would like to learn more about.

And my apologies if I was making a wrong impression with my first post...

And, to update my initial post: maybe there will come some budget free in a while for a decent mac because MAYBE I'm going into some videography business with someone I know (who also works completely with mac, so compatibility would be a bit better too).
Another advantage of the tower is much more upgrading options, of course...

Your advice for Leopard is also very good, thanks, I'll keep it in mind.
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Old August 21st, 2007, 10:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
Kinda.

You're asking us to take our time to understand your very specific and complex situation. and then to make informed, intellegent recommendations on how OUR systems might meet YOUR needs.

That's silly.

It's like asking us to taste ice cream for you to help you determine what flavor YOU'LL like best.

The truth is FCP is a great video editing system. Premier is a great video editing system. Avid is a great video editing system. Vegas is a great video editing system. And there are a dozen others competent video editing systems people use successfully every day.

And nobody but YOU can ever have a ghost of a chance at guessing which one is "best" for you, or which one will drive you nuts.

Really.

Stop worrying about the "best" editing system and spend your time becoming the "best" editor you can. On WHATEVER system you can.

NLE button pushers are a dime a dozen out there today.

EXCELLENT EDITORS are still pretty rare and valuable.

FWIW.
That is excellent advice, way better than any of the kind words I'm paying my professors at school to give me.
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Old August 21st, 2007, 08:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
Kinda.
NLE button pushers are a dime a dozen out there today.

EXCELLENT EDITORS are still pretty rare and valuable.
Amen, I can teach anybody to push the buttons, but finding someone who understands things like timing and pacing are a different matter all together.

K
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 01:25 PM   #11
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Again, I'm getting a bit annoyed by this thread:

I KNOW ABOUT PACING. I KNOW ABOUT RYTHM.
To make it clear: a good pacing is the most important thing that I think of when I edit. People really haven't been reading my posts well.
I have a BIT of experience with FCP which made me conclude I could work a bit FASTER on it, pure by workflow and little (minor) changes between the program. Next to that, FCP is a bit more excepted in the industry and with some people with who I work.

People don't seem to be reading my posts.
I KNOW PREMIERE IS GOOD. I KNOW FCP IS GOOD. I KNOW THE EMOTIONS AND QUALITY OF THE EDITING DOESN'T HAVE TO DO WITH YOUR NLE.

But with some programs you can work a bit faster than with others! Other programs have other advantages. Again, I just opened this thread to know more about Mac's, because I don't have that much knowledge about Mac's and other details about FCP at this moment.

Instead, I get constant posts of: IT WON'T MAKE YOU A BETTER EDITOR!
... ... ...
This is the second or third time I'm posting that I KNOW THAT!
Just give me the advice on the technical questions of my post...
If people want some links to my work, I'll gladly give it to them.
Then they can put the whole "you have to learn pacing and stuff" first, to a rest, and concentrate on my real questions!
Again, I have been editing on Premiere Pro for four years. Yes, it's a very decent program, it's good, but there are some minor differences that I like better in FCP, that would make my work a bit easier.
After editing for four years, I know about pacing! I know about rythm!
Now I only want to learn some things about the change to mac...

The only one untill know who has given a bit of useful advice was Meryem.
Hey, thanks for the concern about me maybe not knowing anything about pacing, and me maybe not knowing anything about rythm.
But after I made clear in my second post that I already know for a long time about these issues, and my questions really went about something completely different, I hoped that people would say : " aaaah, okay, that's your reasons for asking this, well, then these are some (maybe) useful answers..."
But no... again 2 posts about how FCP will not make me a better editor, something I already myself said a couple of posts ago.

Now, it would be very cool, if people NOW would care to give some answers on my real questions...
And for the doubters who think I just can't edit, and need the brand name of FCP to feel good about myself, here are some links to some work of mine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVPKSi7UTEE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tb6uRPCnwT8

(above are narrative film I directed)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b04zF0YF_n0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFy0UjAOh24

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwqeiV-CunQ

(that last 3 are reports I have to make, everyday, about a theater project with young people. A daily video-report for a pretty big theatre in Belgium).

Now please, ... could I get some answers on my original questions, or do I just have to consider this thread useless?
I don't want to sound unthankfull, but I thought I already cleared this issue up, and 2 new posts with no new information, disregarding my other posts, is a bit... annoying.

Thanks,
Best regards,
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 01:46 PM   #12
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I didn't know it was cranky day in Belgium, but I'll answer your 'technical questions'.

Buy a mac pro config with bumped up RAM, maybe to 4 gigs.
get as many external drives as you need.
get the 24 inch screen, why the heck not.

I mean if you want to spend as much money as posisble just go with the mac pro, its the easiest to upgrade.

But judging from the videos you posted you seem to be doing just fine on the system you're on, so I really don't see the need to rush into this and get snippy with people who are taking time out of their production/editing time to tell you what mac to buy.

There's a wonderful website that should tell you all the information you need on configuring your mac and what specs you should get.
the link is:
www.apple.com
enjoy, cheers!
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 02:01 PM   #13
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har de har. sorry, mathieu, for having a chuckle at your expense, but i've had this same experience, where i'm trying to get specific info, and everyone wanders off into philosophy. it's the web! everyone in their own head!

so here's a few more answers, just to keep things on track.

photoshop integrates pretty well into FCS. there is no separate program to replace it. you also get livetype and motion, which can also do some of the things you may be doing in photoshop, like titling and adding objects.

FCS handles mp3s fine. you can either render them in the timeline or save the render time by converting them into AIFF using itunes and then importing the AIFF file into FCP.

you should really go to apple.com and check out the specs on the newly-revamped iMac...they pretty much enabled it for editing video, i believe. the old iMacs did not accept a 2nd monitor, but they may have enabled that feature as well. i really think it is good value for the money.

i think of extra RAM as a necessity, not a luxury, if you're working in HDV. for DV, you can get by with 2 gigs. but 4 gb is best (i'm thinking the iMac here, which i believe maxes at 4 gb--i have a tower with 10GB which maxes at 16), 2 works ok, 1 works, but sloooooowly.....

while it is easy to convert among file formats, it takes time and speed (see RAM above). and i still haven't figured out why i would want ProRes--they say it renders faster, but with 10gb of RAM, i don't have complaints about rendering times, so until someone else gives me a better workflow, i'm sticking to editing to native HDV capture and edit.

hope you find someone else to chime in....
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 02:11 PM   #14
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Thank you Nate and Meryem.

Nate, believe me, I visited the applewebsite for the last days A LOT.
I learned a lot, but asking many questions here, I hoped to get a more of a neutral answer, more specific, and more... not-biased.
And I am doing fine on the system I'm working on, but I'm annoyed by some little things on premiere, and if I have the budget, I would like to upgrade to a mac with FCP for above mentioned reasons.
I only want some more information to be... more informed ;-)
And believe, I AM thankfull for people giving their time to give advice, but the posts weren't helping me a lot, and I hoped after my second and third post in this thread, I had some things cleared up. Then reading those comments again made me annoyed, and I actually had a pretty good day in Belgium ;-). The posts just seemed a bit... disrespectful.

Meryem, thanks for the answers!
ps: 10 gb of RAM? Damn...
I've read about the PRORES last days. It seemed great at first, but then I read that they meant that files were as large as UNCOMPRESSED SD Files. Following the video's from FCP on the Applewebsite (Nate ;-)) this wasn't clear.
They only specified "SD Filesize"... When I'm thinking SD, I'm thinking Minidv, but that's probably my fault.
Pps: Also heard buying RAM from Apple is pretty expensive... correct?

Thanks for the answers anyhow, if people have time and care too, keep it coming!
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 04:22 PM   #15
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Mathieu, you have gotten some good advice on Mac specs and all. I am in the midst of transfering NLE's myself from long time PC Sony Vegas editor to MacPro Final Cut Studio editor.

First off I know how to use the Mac OS already as I am a graphic designer during the day working on an Intel mac running OSX. You won't really have any problems with the max OS interface and getting around, as I find getting around in Windows XP and Mac OSX, similar in navigational point and click feel.

I am personally switching NLE's mainly due to the operating system. I needed to upgrade my edit system due to my upcoming move to HD. That said the NLE switch was entirely due to an OS switch. XP is fine, but I hate, let em say it again, hate Vista for multimedia work. And since XP will eventually go away and I would be stuck with Vista, I decided to make the OS switch now and decided that the new Final Cut Studio2 was teh best option at this time.

RAM is key for FCP as was said. I am running 8 GB of RAM on a Quad Core 2.66 MAC PRO and 2.5 TB of storage. I have tested editing HD media in FCP and decided to either edit naitive HDV or captured on the fly DVCProHD for editing and delivery.

As far as learning FCP and the suite, I am self teaching myself with some good tutorial DVD's.

First I would recommend registering at www.lynda.com and do some online tutorials, which got me going pretty good.

Next, check out www.rippletraining.com for some great instructional DVD's. And lastly http://dvcreators.net/final-cut-pro-foundations/ have some very good tutorial DVD's as well.

Also, you may want to check to see if there is FCP training in yor area.
I am probably going to take an intense week long course in my area to get me up and running quickly.

Training is my big thing for me, especially hands on which I do best at. So in reality, I knew that my system would be good enough to edit and deliver HD (and smoke through SD) content. So the only thing left was to get me as much trining and hands on time as I could to make my switch. Curently I am still editing in Sony Vegas (running XP and Bootcamp) in order to get caught up in my edit backlog. But I have done some small coorperate jobs here and there to get my feet wet. Once I get caught up to where I'm confortable in my backlog, I will dive in head first and do every edit in FCP only.

It will be tough at first, but after a while liek anything it will become second nature.
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