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Old March 19th, 2008, 11:21 AM   #1
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Recommended Configuration for Mac Pro?

Our corporate company has asked me to research an editing system and cameras to do corporate production in house. If you had a wishlist, what would it be? I'd like to use the Mac Pro, with either HDV or Sony's XDCAM EX because we want to use compact professional cameras. On the computer side of it, I know to get the fastest processors, but what about RAM, graphics cards, and hard drives. I figure it is cheaper to just get one internal hard drive from apple and buy the others via aftermarket to save some money on the drives. Please give me some general guidance on what we would need!

All post roduction will be in SD at this time, but I recommend an HD camera so they can transfer to HD in the near future. They also want to be able to do audio/video podcasting, and webcasting with the system.

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Old March 19th, 2008, 12:06 PM   #2
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Kurt,

The problem with such a wide-ranging and open-ended question is that you'll get tons of responses with opinions from both ends of the spectrum.

The best thing to do in your situation is to pull up the list of sponsors on this site and have them consult with you directly. This way you'll get clear, concise information and be able to discern the difference between what you think you want and what you really need. You'll also start a relationship with a company that will supply your hardware/software and be able to provide technical support when needed - and you will need it.

I can personally vouch for Omega Broadcast and Abel Cine LA.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 12:54 PM   #3
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I kind of figured that. I wish we had some that were closer to us here in southern Indiana!

The only company I know that is close to us is Duncan Video in Indianapolis. Has anyone had any experience with them?
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Old March 19th, 2008, 03:12 PM   #4
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Kurt,

My wish list would be different to yours but here is my recommendation for your company.

Get a 24 inch iMac, final cut studio2, A couple of external FW drives and any one of the JVC, Canon or Sony HDV prosumer cameras. Oh, and a couple of lights!
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Old March 19th, 2008, 03:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt Heim View Post
If you had a wishlist, what would it be? I'd like to use the Mac Pro, with either HDV or Sony's XDCAM EX because we want to use compact professional cameras. On the computer side of it, I know to get the fastest processors, but what about RAM, graphics cards, and hard drives.
I'll start with the editing suite:

Certainly a Mac Pro 2.8 GHz quad-core, get minimum RAM from Apple and buy more from third-party vendor (much cheaper, however make sure it has Apple certified heatsinks). I would recommend starting with 2-4 Gigs of RAM. Personally, I wouldn't consider an iMac for an editing suite if you are going to be doing regular work on it. iMacs are fine for amateurs and their home movies or YouTube blogs, but not for serious video production. I would go with the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 card if you plan to go HD in the future.

For the camera, that's more subjective. Are you are going for web delivery, exclusively? If so, I don't see much advantage in using HDV for the web. An SD miniDV cam would do just fine. But if you want the option of HDV as well, I would recommend a Sony cam that offers both HDV and DVCAM (which I believe the Z1U offers, IIRC).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt Heim View Post
I figure it is cheaper to just get one internal hard drive from apple and buy the others via aftermarket to save some money on the drives. Please give me some general guidance on what we would need!
You will want drives with a speed of 7200 rpm not 5400.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 06:02 PM   #6
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I wouldn't consider an iMac for an editing suite if you are going to be doing regular work on it. iMacs are fine for amateurs and their home movies or YouTube blogs, but not for serious video production.

For the camera... (edit) An SD miniDV cam would do just fine.
You see what you did there?
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Old March 20th, 2008, 03:51 AM   #7
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I wouldn't consider an iMac for an editing suite if you are going to be doing regular work on it. iMacs are fine for amateurs and their home movies or YouTube blogs, but not for serious video production.
I recently edited a full HD commercial on a iMac 24'', native hdv on a fw800 external drive. Playback realtime with colorcorrection. Made a lot of money.
iMac for amateurs? Hm....
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Old March 20th, 2008, 10:33 AM   #8
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Guys, don't take it as a personal dig or anything...

iMacs and Mac Pros are two different classes of machines, you can't argue that. While the former may be able to "do the job," the latter is the best tool for the job. And if you are looking at buying one or the other, if you have the budget the Mac Pro is wisest over the iMac in the long view.

I certainly didn't mean any offence. I should have better worded my post.

@Kurt: I just noticed something you said in your initial post:

Quote:
On the computer side of it, I know to get the fastest processors, but what about RAM
The absolute fastest is not necessarily the way to go. Check out my thread for more info about "processor power:cost effectiveness" ratio.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 11:19 AM   #9
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Guys, don't take it as a personal dig or anything...

iMacs and Mac Pros are two different classes of machines, you can't argue that. While the former may be able to "do the job," the latter is the best tool for the job. And if you are looking at buying one or the other, if you have the budget the Mac Pro is wisest over the iMac in the long view.

I certainly didn't mean any offence. I should have better worded my post.

@Kurt: I just noticed something you said in your initial post:



The absolute fastest is not necessarily the way to go. Check out my thread for more info about "processor power:cost effectiveness" ratio.
No problem Mike. I've been making films for too long to get offended.

No one would argue that if you can afford it, the Mac Pro is the way to go. My point is that for an average in-house corporate production set-up you may not need all of the bells and whistles on your system that some of the rest of us do and that you will be better off spending the money on a better camera, some lights or a decent microphone. With the type of camera you suggest no amount of processor power will deliver anything other than an amateurish looking video.

Indeed, there is a significant difference in perceived quality on HD capture for SD delivery as opposed to SD capture and for web delivery in particular a progressive scan HDV camera will knock the socks off an interlaced SD camera.

I guess, you pays your money, you make your choice.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 02:04 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=Liam Hall;845631]No problem Mike. I've been making films for too long to get offended.[QUOTE=Liam Hall;845631]

:-) I'd hate for anyone here to think I was being condescending. I have nothing but love and respect for my peers here in these forums.

I see your point(s). Where I'm coming from is that an extra $1,750 (USD) to step up from the top iMac to a Mac Pro (~ half of that extra $1,750 is in an Apple 23" Cinema HD Display) gives you horsepower and scalability down the road that you can't necessarily get from an iMac.

I really have no idea what his budget is or what he would be producing with it. I guess for all I know all he really does need is an iMac with FCE and a Z1U with some simple lights and mics. But it did sound to me like he was looking to go along the upper echelon, though ICBW.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 02:09 PM   #11
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:-) I'd hate for anyone here to think I was being condescending. I have nothing but love and respect for my peers here in these forums.
You not being condescending. I think you've made that clear:)

If the OP could give us more details of what he needs to do and how much they can afford to spend, I'm sure between us on here we'll be able to give him some decent advice.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 06:57 PM   #12
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I think their budget is anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 for everything. I'm recommending they go with a two camera setup and I want to be able to do HD or HDV so that in the near future, we can produce some company literature and guides on blue ray discs for our sales teams. We will also be producing a lot of CD-R's and DVD's for our North American operations. The reason I want to do webcasting is that our facilities and plants are spread out all over the country and in Canada, so I thought certain videos can be distributed this way. I am a Corporate Pilot for the company so I know how everything is spread out and they have to ship dvd's all over the place when it comes to certain videos.

Hope the budget helps! At that rate, I think we better go with the Mac Pro.
I also have one of the sponsors helping me out design a system. One thing I really want in a camera stabilization system. Anybody have any experience with one and/or recommend one over the other.

Thanks
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Old March 20th, 2008, 07:04 PM   #13
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Here are some of our preliminary plans.

IN-HOUSE VIDEO PRODUCTION FACILITY for corporate type videos
WEBCASTING
AUDIO PODCASTING
VIDEO PODCASTING
DVD PRODUCTION IN-HOUSE (Hundreds if not over 1000 dvd's/year)
INSTRUCTIONAL AND TRAINING VIDEOS
TRADE SHOW PRESENTATIONS for digital signage and marketing
SHOWROOM Point Of Purchase VIDEOS
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Old March 20th, 2008, 08:02 PM   #14
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I think their budget is anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 for everything. I'm recommending they go with a two camera setup and I want to be able to do HD or HDV so that in the near future, we can produce some company literature and guides on blue ray discs for our sales teams.
With that, I say Mac Pro and the Sony EX1. For external media drive space, G-Tech or CalDigit are good choices.

I don't have any experience with stabilizer systems, so I can't help you there.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 06:17 AM   #15
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With that, I say Mac Pro and the Sony EX1. For external media drive space, G-Tech or CalDigit are good choices.

I don't have any experience with stabilizer systems, so I can't help you there.
Yep, I agree with Mike. I'd also add a decent set of legs, like a Sachtler System 6 SB/2D, a bag of lights, possibly Lowel DV creator and a decent lav mike.

As for stabilizers, you'd better post that in the Steadicam forum - I don't know two people who agree on the most cost-effective solution!
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