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Old April 29th, 2005, 10:56 PM   #1
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I have a few questions---> New to Mac/FCP

I am a life long PC user/editor and I do my editing on Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5.

I want to make the move to FCP and Mac computers, so I have been looking at some of the new dual 2.3/2.7 Mac's.

I am a little nervous about the switch to a completely different operating system and editing suite. Is the learning curve steep? Someone told me that
FCP and Premiere are quite similar, but I just wanted to know what you guys thought.

Plus when I do buy my system, which monitor setup do you recommend for FCP? Dual 20, single 23? or 30? Just curious, and if I am going to be editing some stuff in HD in the near future should I make sure I stick with the 23" or 30" because they are HD? or are the 20" ok for that also.

Any advise would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old April 30th, 2005, 12:07 AM   #2
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Hey Steve, welcome to the world of Mac.

Yes, it is a little different and takes a couple days to adjust, but not in the way you'd expect. As far as graphical interface goes, OS X (Mac's operating system) isn't too much different than Windows. The only hassle is going to be with "muscle memory." A good example would be closing a program by clicking the X box in the upper right corner in Windows, but in OS X you have to click File > Quit or push Command-Q. Or instead of clicking the Start button and browsing to your program, you click the application in your dock. You'll find yourself clicking in places that don't do anything just because you're so used to the Windows interface. There are a handful of little differences that will take you a little while to adjust to, but other than that, the switch is comfortable. If you're super concerned, you may consider a .Mac account. Its a $99 one year subscription to all kinds of stuff - personal email, webpage, virus protection, online storage, etc. - that includes video tutorials on making the switch easier and how to get to know the basic OS X applications (by the way, "applications" is the same as "programs").

As far as your jump to Final Cut, that will be the same sort of switch. If you're familiar with Premier, you will be able to click around and find your way around Final Cut right away. Again, muscle memory comes into play here, but also the terminology will be slightly different. You'll find all the same functions in Final Cut, but they may be located in a different area or called something different (example: the "Program" window is call "Canvas" in Final Cut). Of course, a good manual like Apple's Pro Training Series can alway help refine your skills no matter what level you've achieved.

As far as the monitors, or displays as Apple calls them (I think they get off on naming stuff differently just because they can) that's totally up to the user. Personally, I feel the 20" is too small, 30" is awesome but way too big, and the 23" is just right. Two 23" would be even better... but I'll take what I can get ;).

If you haven't already, I highly recommend going to an Apple retailer and browsing around on one of their machines. I'm pretty sure there aren't any Apple Stores in Louisiana, but CompUSA and other big name computer stores have Macs out for you to demo. Those places are even better for browsing because most of the employees avoid Macs at all cost and you're free to play to your heart's content.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 12:25 AM   #3
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I think you'll find the transition refreshingly pleasant. I was a Premiere user on the Mac for awhile, and switching to FCP was a great experience (although hopefully the current version of Premiere is better from the old Mac version :-) There are plenty of books on FCP and you might want to pick one up to ease the way.

I have been using Macs since the beginning, but occasionally need to do things on Windows machines. A few months ago I helped a friend setup her DSL connection using her Windows XP laptop. Even though it was a pretty speedy machine I quickly became frustrated by XP which seemed very sluggish doing everyday system tasks (like changing control panel settings), not to mention frequent crashes. The G5's run really well under OS X (and even slow G4's - like the Mac mini - are surprisingly responsive). Yes, any change involves some adaptation, but it will be a pleasant transition for you.

Regarding screens, I haven't gotten one of the new Apple LCD's. I still use my old 21" Trinitron CRT at 1600x1200 as a primary screen. I have a couple widescreen HD LCD panels that I sometimes use. After various periods of using multiple monitors I always end up back with a single screen. For one thing, applications like Motion don't seem especially happy with dual screens because it splits your video memory in half. I suppose the other part is just personal preference, I never like dragging things between screens or having to mouse to the other screen to access menus, etc.

The 30" screen is very impressive and since I do a lot of CAD and 3d modeling it would probably be great for me. I have only played with them at the computer store, but they are SO big they seem a little intimidating (but I'm sure I could get used to that :-) The 23" Apple screens do seem really nice.

If you're uncertain then you can simply continue to use the same screens from your existing PC. Apple includes a DVI to VGA adaptor with the Power Macs, and I picked up an ADC to VGA adaptor which I use sometimes with my LCD panel for about $20.

Let us know what you end up getting and how it all works out!
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Old April 30th, 2005, 12:36 AM   #4
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Steve, this may be sort of the same thing I said on your monitor thread, but here goes. Two 23" monitors gets my vote.

I'm making the same transition right now. I never touched a Mac until two weeks ago. I found enough similarities between the computers and the NLE programs to keep from being completely lost. Like Nicholi mentioned, the terminology used is a hurdle that gets easier to clear with each new day.

The learning curve to switch to Final Cut is one thing that really worried me. Though I'm not an expert with Premiere, I was very comfortable with it and learning new things every day. The speed and scope of understanding I've shown thus far using Final Cut has surprised the guys I'm working with and they are eager to get me up to speed quickly so that I can participate in some huge projects they have coming up.

I know one thing I've learned so far...I wish I would have made the leap years ago. Final Cut is a superior NLE in my opinion, though I have to say that I feel Windows is light years ahead of OS X in features and user friendliness. I'll have a G5 humming in my office by August and never look back.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 01:34 AM   #5
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I have been using Premiere for 3 years now and recently had to edit some stuff for a client on a Mac. It took me less than an hour to get comfortable with the FCP interface.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 02:42 AM   #6
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Premiere Pro is a lot more similar to Final Cut than previous versions of Premiere (i.e. 6.5 and below). Macs have some nice things about them such as:
-Hard to screw up. You don't have to worry about viruses, spyware
-Easier to use, arguably.
-Pretty. :P
-Arguably less configuration issues than PC (especially hardware acceleration cards for Premiere Pro).

Honestly though, both Premiere Pro and Final Cut are decent systems. If you have a fast Premiere Pro system (i.e. one with a Matrox RTX100) I would stick with it for another 2 years or so before you upgrade.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 09:21 AM   #7
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Take a careful look at the new .H264 codec built into the new Quicktime 7 as you make this decision (http://www.apple.com/quicktime/technologies/h264/). The quality is astounding.

I have been compressing clips from my XL2 this morning (you don't get the pro edition when you download quicktime 7, but if you have FCP you get access to the codec) and I have been very impressed. If you do work for delivery to the internet QT7 and .H264 should be a selling point.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 11:47 AM   #8
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Thank you for the helpful replys, I feel more comfortable about the switch. I do have a question for Glenn Chan though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
Honestly though, both Premiere Pro and Final Cut are decent systems. If you have a fast Premiere Pro system (i.e. one with a Matrox RTX100) I would stick with it for another 2 years or so before you upgrade.

I do have a 3Ghz Premiere Pro system with a Matrox RTX100 that I edit on right now. Why do you suggest to stick with it a couple more years before the switch?

Thank you,

Steve
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Old April 30th, 2005, 02:13 PM   #9
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If your system is working right now, you won't get that much out of switching to Mac/FCP. Both do the job well and should be roughly the same in terms of speed. The QT demos are kind of misleading... Final Cut is only fast with Apple-optimized filters (3rd-party filters often need rendering) and Final Cut is only fast with filters on their basic settings (use the blur/defocus option in the 3-way Color Corrector and it loses real-time). I personally wouldn't switch unless there was some compelling reason to switch. Both systems can more or less do the same thing.

In a couple of years I would switch because computers will be a lot faster. If Moore's Law holds true, computers should be twice as fast as they are now.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 05:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
If your system is working right now, you won't get that much out of switching to Mac/FCP. Both do the job well and should be roughly the same in terms of speed. The QT demos are kind of misleading... Final Cut is only fast with Apple-optimized filters (3rd-party filters often need rendering) and Final Cut is only fast with filters on their basic settings (use the blur/defocus option in the 3-way Color Corrector and it loses real-time). I personally wouldn't switch unless there was some compelling reason to switch. Both systems can more or less do the same thing.

In a couple of years I would switch because computers will be a lot faster. If Moore's Law holds true, computers should be twice as fast as they are now.

Anyone else have input on what Glenn is saying?

I am a little dissapointed to know that I wouldn't gain much over my current single processor system running windows xp. The Apple site on FCP is quite impressive and I was getting excited about the switch, but now Im not sure if the $4500+ is going to be worth it. I am looking at the whole package FCP/Motion ect. not just FCP.

So you are saying my single processor win xp system with matrox rtx 100 is just as fast as a dual processor Apple machine?

Thanks,

Steve
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Old April 30th, 2005, 08:12 PM   #11
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Go put your hands on one and decide for yourself. I would be more apt to compare a Dual Xeon to a Dual G5 because there are definitely differences between a single and dual processor system on either platform.
I would never consider leaving the Mac platform, I've got a few Windoze machines and they are nothing but trouble and have always been so. BUT... If you have a system that works for you, it's stable, reliable and moderately speedy then why specifically are you looking to switch? Have you ever noticed that businesses don't just buy equipment because it's new, there has to be a need to justify the expense (for a sound business decision). I would completely recommend you make the switch but I'm not your business manager or accountant, I just know it's a more stable and secure system and for my money, I'm a Mac user. If you want to switch because you like what it offers AND you can afford it, go ahead. Apple has a lot to offer and FCP is a wonderful app, I don't think you would be disappointed at all.
And stop worrying so much about the super-duper fastest sounding machine you can get because stability is MUUUUUCH more important, you'll come to believe this about 14 seconds after you're machine crashes and corrupts every bit of work you've done on that very important project with a looming deadline (it cured me!). My Macs haven't crashed since I've been on OSX (over 4 years now!) and my ISP whines because I have left my computers on for hundreds of days in a row and they would like you to restart your modem now and then.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 08:25 PM   #12
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Steve, the only advice I could give you about making the switch is this:
Imediately pitch the mouse that comes with the Mac and get a standard pc optical mouse. OSX and later support the two-button mouse with scroll wheels, which is great. I got a dual 1.8GHz G5 last year to replace the absolutely horrible dual 400MHz G4 I was using when I started at my job. The difference between those two are night and day.

The G5 is a nice system, but I was expecting a little more performance out of it. For FCP it works fine, but with Motion....that's another story.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 08:31 PM   #13
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The dual 1.8 has some limitations like slower PCI slots, less RAM slots, inferior graphics card... I recently upgraded from a G4 1.25ghz single processor to a dual G5 2.5ghz. The speed increase is pretty impressive in this case. Depending on the application and whether it is dual processor aware I have seen improvements in the range of 2x to 4x typically.

If you want to use Motion then get the fastest machine possible, with the fastest graphics card and lots of memory. It is a really demanding application...
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