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Old November 29th, 2001, 01:42 AM   #1
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Mac Users

I'm getting ready to upgrade my desktop Mac now. Any advice from you Mac users on the best setup for DV?

I'm looking at this setup...

Dual 800MHz PowerPC G4
256K L2 & 2MB L3 per processor
256MB SDRAM memory (plus add one more for 512 MB)
80GB Ultra ATA drive (plus one more for 160 GB)
DVD-R/CD-RW SuperDrive
NVIDIA GeForce2 MX w/TwinView
Gigabit Ethernet
56K internal modem

Plus these extras:
Formac Studio for inputing analogue video and audio into DV
Matrox RTMac card
Contour Design ShuttlePRO controller

Any comments or ideas? Too much of something, not enough of another? Overlooking something helpful? Please let me know.
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Old November 29th, 2001, 01:54 AM   #2
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Hmmmm.... I'm not sure if that will be powerful enough to handle DV. It does come with that 56k modem, so that'll help out quite a bit. I don't know who would need gigabit ethernet when 56k is waaaay too fast as it is. In fact I have a web server farm where all machines are hooked up to a single 56k modem dialed up to an AOL account. Ethernet is a fad. I'm also not sure if you'll have enough hard drive space. That's only a little over 6 hours of DV footage (by my guess). Everyone knows that even the smallest projects take AT LEAST 14 terabytes of drive space, so you may need a RAID array. And DVD is just a fad like ethernet so you don't need one of those drives at all. VHS is almost too crisp and clean as it is anyway. Especially if you have VHS with HQ.

Tell you what: You buy that system and send it to me and I will send you my Mac (single 450mhz G4 yadda yadda) that works perfectly with DV FOR FREE! That's a good trade. You'll be getting a system that you KNOW will work with DV (I should know, I even turned on the computer once to find out) and I'll take that system that you're not too sure about off of your hands and take the risk myself. You pay shipping.

:)
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Old November 29th, 2001, 04:22 AM   #3
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Gigabit ethernet sound like too much, eh? Actually, except for the added hard drive space and extra memory, all that stuff is "standard" on the new Mac G4 "Ultimate" package. 56 K dial up modem? Haven't used one of those in a Mac's age. But what the heck...it's part of the package. It's the extras I'm mainly wondering about. Mainly, what do I need for real-time editing, without needing to stop and render constantly.

You'd be surprised at how fast the hard drive storage goes for me. I'm a web designer by occupation, and musician, photographer, videographer by hobby. Just the web design stuff has already filled up the 27 GB drive on my Mac and a 10 GB external drive.

Everyone who has used Final Cut Pro knows that by the time you've loaded your media into the computer and edited it, creating scratch files automatically, even a small project can take up a huge amount of space until you finish the project and clean house.

Also 512 MB memory is needed since I usually work all day with the system software, GoLive, Photoshop, Acrobat, and MS Office all running all the time, plus other programs off and on during the day. They all run concurrently because I'm using them concurrently. Constant back and forth.

Anyway, may sound like overkill in some aspects...but I'm going for the big guns cuz I gots big plans.
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Old November 29th, 2001, 07:34 AM   #4
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Sounds Great

Good luck on your endevours. Wish I had a couple extra dollars (read couple thousand +) to upgrade my old Mac. Still banging away on my 8600, which by the way does work for DV. I am green with envy. Love the new systems!

Ended up buying a Canopus DVStorm system for my main editing station. Best bang for the buck right now, though the Storm edit and Adobe Premiere programs, well, suck compared to FCP. FCP just fits my editing style and work flow better.

It really is kinda funny that 56k modems are still included in "high end" systems. Rest look fine. If you have the cash buy as much RAM and drive space as you can afford. Like you said, you run several apps at one time and you've already used and will continue to use huge amounts of drive space. I have 1 gig of RAM and that's more than needed, but I have 160 gig of drive space and that gets thin at times, especially when I have 3 or 4 shows, a couple commercials, and several composition projects going at once.

Again, good luck.
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Old November 29th, 2001, 06:25 PM   #5
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In all honesty I would get rid of the 56k modem (Apple lets you delete that from the order, saving you a few bucks) and add more than 512 Megs of RAM. In fact, I'd order the Mac with as little RAM as humanly possible because Apple really rapes you on RAM prices. When buying Micron RAM locally you can get much better prices. I'd put in about a GIG, which would cost you about $180 or less locally. No matter how much RAM you have though, OS 9 will still crash when you have too much going on at once since it cannot truly multitask (everything on the computer will freeze while you have a drop down menu opened for more than a couple of seconds, etc)
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Old November 29th, 2001, 09:09 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, guys. All of it taken to heart. Especially the need for more memory. I'm looking forward to that day when all my main software has become OSX compatible and can avoid the constant old system crashes. Right now, like most Mac users, I'm in "back and forth" system hell.

That's also a good idea to order the computer without the modem. But I've been wondering about getting a program called "Hot Message Center Pro" which would allow me to take phone calls and messages through the computer while working. That sounds pretty handy, and the software is dirt cheap. That's one area where the modem would come in handy. Anybody have any experience with "phone" software? I wonder if that would just be a "fatal crash" waiting to happen!
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Old November 30th, 2001, 01:06 AM   #7
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Max out RAM and use an ATA RAID

Hello!

Here are my suggestions:

- Max out RAM to 1.5 GB. You'll get great deals now (less than $ 250.-- for 1.5 GB). Don't buy ANY RAM at Apple! They have rediculous prices!! Check out www.macsales.com. Also, you'll want to use CL2-modules, they're about 5 to 10 % faster than CL3.

- Use an ATA RAID 0 (stiping) controller and add two (or four) instead of one disk. You'll get almost twice the performance (peak read/write: 100-120 MB/s; sustained read/write: 60-80 MB/s). Makes a big difference when dealing with large files. Acard makes excelent controllers. No drivers needed, bootable (in OS X, too), and inexpensive. I have the Acard AHARD RAID 66, but a an ATA 100 version is out now. Two caveats: 1.) No partitioning is possible - the smallest partition is 2 x drive size. You can use up to 4 drives to create a maximum of 2 partitions. Use IDENTICAL drives (same firmware/ROM) 2.) if one drive in the array goes, the data on its partner-drive is gone, too. Solution: have a good, high-capacity backup-solution (e.g. DLT, Ecrix VXA, etc.), and do backups religiously. For additional safety, replace drives after 2 years.

- Lastly: the Matrox RT Mac comes with a break-out box with analog I/O which is of very decent quality, I hear (I am NOT speaking of experience here!). Why do you need an additional analog I/O solution?

Hope this helps. If you need addl. info, please don't hesistate to contact me.

Cheers,

Ron
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Old November 30th, 2001, 01:30 AM   #8
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About the built-in modem taking phone calls:

I wanted to do something like this as well, only have my computer be an answering machine since it is on 24/7 (I only turn the monitor off when I am not using it). But I have been told that the Apple modem cannot handle voice communications. I am not 100% sure on this, since I can hear the dialtone and all that when the modem dials up (back when I was using a modem). Maybe it can't answer the phone, I dunno. Anyone have info about this?
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Old November 30th, 2001, 11:46 AM   #9
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The factory installed modem can't handle voice transmission...but there are other modem options out there that do. Best thing to do is pick the software you like, go to their web site, and then search the technical Q&A section or send them a message.

I found the right modem for Hot Message Center software through their web site. Problem is, can't get it in Korea. Planned on picking it up on my next trip home. That's the only reason I haven't tried it out already.

Bottom line...they DO exist.
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Old December 4th, 2001, 05:47 PM   #10
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I completed very recently a full documentary on a very similar system. No need for a Raid, you have more than enough memory (unless you are planning to shoot Shoal, seven hours of Holocaust). Ram, as you know, is a different story, the more, the merrier.
And I have the same question someone asked before. If you have a Matrox, why another analog input?
BTW. do not dare to blame Apple and its cohorts. They make it possible, for us the downtrodden of the Earth, to shoot on affordable basis. Who can buy or rent a BetaCam machine and edit on Avid?
My Final Cut 2 did only crash once or twice and always in connection with Adobe Photoshop. An exemplary perfomance if you take into account the cost of the software. Once we added Matrox, things became almost unbelievable. Fast and smooth like never before.
Go for it, happy shooting.
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Old December 4th, 2001, 06:16 PM   #11
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Wow Final Cut Pro has NEVER crashed on me. Interesting.

I have a question: Can the Mac create files larger than 2 Gig? I was capturing with MotoDV (my prefered capture app since it is so quick and easy unlike FCP) I get cut off when the file gets to 2GB. I thought the Mac was supposed to be better than this? Hopefully the problem is just with MotoDV.
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Old December 4th, 2001, 09:12 PM   #12
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for hygienic reasons we never ever ever went beyond modest limits in our sequences. I advice you to do the same. 2 gig limit was the frontier in old FC. Not sure what has happened since April 24th in which I stopped postproduction and started shooting a new thing.
Check with the manual. Hope you are in version 2 anyway. But if you want piece of advice contain your files within the limits of reason and prudence. It pays.
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Old December 5th, 2001, 02:38 AM   #13
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Just received notice that Final Cut Pro 3 for OSX is available. Looks like they've added some pretty nice features.
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Old December 6th, 2001, 02:49 AM   #14
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Jose:

Yes I agree. I usually only capture a single shot per Quicktime when I capture. I am indeed using Final Cut Pro 2. But what if I want to capture an episode of a TV show or something to my hard drive while I'm away, come back later, edit out all of the commercials than export to tape? I may never do that, but I certainly want the option to. The Mac is not known for having limits. Remember when Windows users were bitching up a storm because of the 3GB limit? The Mac is even WORSE (unless the problem has been resolved).

Just for fun I'm going to capture until FCP2 cuts me off and check out what he size of the resulting file is, just so I know. :)
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