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Old June 11th, 2008, 06:11 AM   #16
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The iMac and the Macbook Pro are a bit comparable in speed and power. Differences?

- iMac is cheaper for the same power.
- Macbook Pro is mobile.
- Macbook Pro in available in matte and glossy screen, iMac only in glossy.
- The Macbook Pro has an expresscard 34 slot (I have an EX1, so this is important for me, may not be important for you).
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Old June 11th, 2008, 03:07 PM   #17
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After having both...

Go straight for the Mac pro, you and your wallet will be happier(maybe not right now)but down the road.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 06:24 PM   #18
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Yeah i think your right Adam. I'm allways trying to find a cheaper way but long term the Mac Pro seems to be the path for the future.

Or go with Avid.At least this way in dont have the expense in an upgrade to FCS, Mac.

Cheers
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Old June 21st, 2008, 02:38 AM   #19
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I recently went this route but with a REGULAR 13" MacBook (not a Pro). You'd be surprised how much "pro stuff" they can manage even though it's not in their name.

I use it as my "main editing machine," but I got it because for the next year or so I plan to do a lot of traveling.
(I did read this entire thread, and I'm not really saying too much that hasn't been said, but I do want to mention my personal main concerns/gripes as I know this kind of decision requires as many different view-points as possible:)


#1 - Upgrade your RAM. I upgraded mine to 4 GB, which was very inexpensive--I got it third party for around $80. And unless money grows on trees for you, NEVER pay the heavily inflated fees for Mac to install RAM at the factory. Though you may want to just to "play it safe," Apple really isn't going to turn you away if you have a problem with your third party RAM--and even if you do, you could buy it over again around 4 times before it equals the jacked up cost that Apple charges you.

#2 - You'll need a lot of external hardware. If you're working in HD, you know it's going to take up space, and you're best getting external hard drives (I recommend firewire in case you need to "daisy-chain"), another screen (yes, color perfecting is impossible and you definitely realize how little 15 inches is when compared your ability to work on much larger screens), definitely an additional keyboard and mouse, as well as an external DVD burner if you're going that route. --But, I'd recommend an external disc drive if you're getting anything BUT a Mac Pro. I don't find built in disc drives reliable--which I take as obvious, considering that packing the most stuff into a small space is going to be more flawed than those pieces of hardware which, on their own, require to be sometimes half the size of the laptop itself. People have disagreed greatly with me on that matter, but as an owner of a MacBook and iMac with DVD burners that couldn't live up to external burners (or internal burners in my G5) I really have to stand by that point.

#3 - Question WHY you want it. I got mine because I was sick of mailing my iMac back and forth between Louisiana and the east coast every few months. Having a MacBook has been wonderfully convenient, but really only because of the mobility issue. When I'm in my offices at either of my two homes, I have it set up with all my external hardware. You'll find yourself very frustrated if you try editing on a trackpad with a condensed keyboard.
If you're just trying to save money in avoiding something like a MacPro, I would recommend an iMac. Those are wonderful machines at a price comparable to the iMac. It requires everything to be external anyway, but offers a larger screen and at least 2x the disk space for the base model.
*** I know many readers may disagree with me, but I don't find that the MacBook PRO is an essential value when compared to the regular MacBooks if used for video editing. I have done work on the Pros, and I'm very thankful I saved $1000+ and opted with the "lesser" model, considering how Apple releases new builds so often. Of course, the extra 2" - 4" you'll get just in screen size can be nice, but my regular MacBook runs FINE for complex editing. If you want to get the absolute best value for your money (and don't need a mobile computer) go with a Mac Pro--seriously. I got a G5 four years ago, and it still runs flawlessly. Two years later I put two 750 HDs in it, and finally had to replace the optical a few days ago after burning close to 2000 DVDs. I've used the new Mac Pros and they are amazing.

#4 - To answer your main question: It works; it can certainly be a main editing machine, even for HD. Certainly, you may encounter some slowdown on big HD projects--my 4-year-old G5 still lets me work more smoothly with HD footage, despite how the "specs" of my current MacBook would suggest this to be otherwise. But, it's not even a matter of being manageable as much as it's simply noticeable. I don't sit here thinking "jeez, this would be so much easier on my G5." The processor power is not a setback at all--especially when compared to the SCREEN SIZE--you can simply work so much more efficiently on a larger screen. I couldn't tell you how many times I'd wished I'd got the 15" instead of the 13". In my opinion, that's the thing that will makes a difference.


The Bottom Line: If mobility is not a major issue, I would say there's no reason to get a MacBook Pro, and not just spend the extra money for a Mac Pro (even if you will need to spend a few hundred extra on a screen). But, since you mentioned you would like to take the laptop path, I don't think a MacBook Pro is an essential purchase. Since you'll most likely need to go external with hard drives and a monitor, you'd be surprised how efficient the regular MacBooks are.
If it's a matter of convenience for video editing, MacBooks and MacBook Pros offer the same in my opinion. If you actually are looking for the "long-term solution," the Mac Pro is the way to go. The reliability of a laptop is lacking when compared to a desktop--given the intended function and use, this makes practical sense. If you go with a laptop, you immediately limit yourself to "upgrading," and you will most likely find that in two years you'll be in the market for a new model anyway. As former student with many friends in the video editing field, I've never known someone to keep the pro-level Apple laptops for more than two years; I have numerous friends who sold their MacBook Pros (then called iBooks) after less than two years simply to get a new regular MacBook which, for half the price, was already a better computer than their previous ones.

I'd still be using my 2004 G5 as a primary computer if I didn't require a mobile computer. In terms of value and longevity, the Mac Pro is the best, hands down, period.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 06:37 AM   #20
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I just upgraded to FCS 2 and have it installed on my 2.4ghz/4GB MacBook Pro with the stock 5400RPM 160GB drive. Also have an Apple 23" Cinema display hooked up as a second screen and currently trying a 500GB iomega Firewire 800 drive for media. This drive also has an eSATA interface, so I could add an expresscard later if it seems needed.

Have been using a dual G5/2.5 ghz PowerMac with FCP 5 as my main machine for the past few years, so now I'll have to see how practical the laptop solution really is. Actually I just installed the software yesterday, so I can't offer much feedback yet, but everything seems to work smoothly. I threw a recent 1-hour HDV Project on the drive to play with and so far so good. Color is really impressive application, but it's gonna take some time to learn!

Do you think the 5400 RPM internal drive really matters if you have your scratch disk and media on the external disk? Guess I'll probably find that out the hard way :-) One thing to consider - the full install of FCS 2 is about 52GB! That was more than I could handle since I also have a Boot Camp partition on the internal drive. I didn't install soundtrack or DVD studio pro for the time being since they aren't things I've used in the past, and that reduced the disk needs to a reasonable 9GB. But if I stick with this setup I suspect a larger and faster internal drive may be in my future...

There is one ergonomics issue I'm having with this setup, but maybe it's just me? I'm using an external keyboard and mouse which means the laptop has to be out of the way, and that puts the screen farther from me than I'd like. The laptop screen is fine when typing on the builtin keyboard, because it's closer to my face. But when I move it far enough away to make room for the mouse and external keyboard, it's about a foot too far away and that makes it look very small next to the 23" Cinema display (which also has a larger dot pitch). I have the laptop sitting on a box at the moment so it can overhang my mouse pad. There's probably a better solution with some kind of stand or shelf, will have to think about that. Or maybe I'd be happier just using the builtin laptop keyboard?

Samuel, can you run Motion or Color on your Macbook? I thought they wouldn't work with the onboard graphics hardware on those machines.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 09:42 AM   #21
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There's probably a better solution with some kind of stand or shelf, will have to think about that. Or maybe I'd be happier just using the builtin laptop keyboard?
Hey Boyd, you may want to look into the Ergotron Neo-Flex Combo Lift. Looks like it might be perfect for your set-up.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 12:28 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Adam Slaght View Post
After having both...

Go straight for the Mac pro, you and your wallet will be happier(maybe not right now)but down the road.
Checking prices: MacBook + iMac < MacBook Pro. For similar specs iMac/MacBook Pro.

It seems the economically wise choice to pick a MacBook or iMac and then add the other once you need either mobility or power. And btw, similar specs does not include screen, the iMac at 24" full HD.

I use a MacBook with 4GB ram, it works fine with patience, I still got > 500 MB free when converting.

BR, Erik
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 03:05 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff View Post
Samuel, can you run Motion or Color on your Macbook? I thought they wouldn't work with the onboard graphics hardware on those machines.
I I can run Motion with no problems on my Macbook. I've never bothered with Color because I have proper grading monitors on my main desktop suite.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 12:51 AM   #24
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Perfect with my MBP

I'm not a heavy hitter with my projects- they're certainly not "serious editing", as I'm using HDV in small projects, & I'm still learning it all, but I'm using FCS II on my prior-gen 2.33GHz Mac Book Pro with 3GB ram. I use a G-Raid 500GB external HDD using FW-800 as my scratch disk. I edit with FCP, (obviously) and use Color and Motion on it, and it runs flawlessly. The only limit that I see with using the MBP, is with rendering in FCP, (it can be slow, & some heat builds up, quickly) and when using an emitter or particle generator in Motion, with a high birth rate, before saving it as a QT movie, while it's still living in RAM.
Other than that, it's flawless, and I really enjoy using the whole FCS II suite on the MacBook Pro. I would say if you need portability, then, do it, for sure. If you think you'll need scalability in the next 2 or 3 years, then maybe the Mac Pro is for you.
I'm also using a quad core, 3.0 GHz Mac Pro at home, and for my needs, it hasn't even started to breathe hard, let alone have to WORK at processing my projects. It's over-kill for my needs at this point. Honestly, I've done more work on the MBP than the Mac Pro, since I travel ALOT.
Lastly, forget Avid and the whole PC world when editing video. There's a reason why Mac-based software is the industry standard, whether you're using Final Cut or not.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 08:50 AM   #25
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Lastly, forget Avid and the whole PC world when editing video. There's a reason why Mac-based software is the industry standard, whether you're using Final Cut or not.
I don't want to start a big argument here, but I do feel compelled to point out the erroneous nature of that comment. I have worked on both Final Cut Pro and Avid; they are both incredible tools, especially at the finger tips of good editors who know how to use them. To be blunt, anyone who makes a blanket statement that one is outright superior to the other is coming from a place of ignorance. But that isn't the issue with the statement above…

It is hard to support the statement that Mac is the "industry standard." FCP has been gaining much ground in the past few years, however Avid still has a bigger piece of the market. More major news broadcasters are using Avid; more Hollywood movies are being cut on Avid.

Anyway, it doesn't matter what is the so-called industry standard. Some tools work best for some, other tools work better for others. If FCP on a Mac works for you, then that's great. If not, Avid is a damn fine tool, too. Your skills as an editor are far more important to what software you are using. Not to sound arrogant, but I can cut a better narrative in iMovie than some people I know who download FCP and hack together a bunch of clips. A fancy, expensive hammer isn't going to save the carpenter who can't hit the nail on the head.

Ending rant… now.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 05:50 AM   #26
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Ending rant… now.
OK... please let's just leave it there so we don't have to start deleting posts from what has otherwise been a very helpful thread. Matt, since you're new here you may not realize that we have zero tolerance for platform wars at DVinfo.

Enough said... thanks.
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