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Discussing the editing of all formats with FCS, FCP, FCE


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Old October 2nd, 2009, 03:50 AM   #1
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Considering a Mac and need advice!

I'm a PC user and have very little experience with Mac. I'm going to finally break down and buy a MacBook Pro and FCP. I will not be a power user, but should be doing basic editing of some of my pet projects that have no editing budget. I'll also be using the MacBook to check footage before formatting the CF cards.

Here are my thoughts from the research I've done so far. Please advise if you think this is the wrong direction.

I'm planning to buy a 15" MacBook Pro with the anti-glare screen. I have heard it is actually better than the glossy screen from a colorimetry standpoint and true black level standpoint. It appears that the middle version sold by Apple would be good for me... 320 GB HD and two video cards.

I would probably buy FCP 7, although someone I know has a friend who apparently has a copy of FCP 6 he isn't using and wants to sell for a "few hundred bucks". If I buy that (assuming it isn't a bootleg copy), I should be able to upgrade it if I want to, right? I understand the upgrade is also a few hundred bucks.

Any advice from you seasoned Mac/FCP users?
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 04:28 AM   #2
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You won't regret it!

I was a die hard PC user for many years editing on top end multi-core PC's. 3 Years ago I switch from PC's to Macs, simply because it was easier to add a decklink card to a MacPro to create an instant HD edit suite that could handle just about anything. I now have 5 Macs on a Network with distributed rendering etc. At the end of the day I have found that if I buy an upgrade or new piece of software for a Mac it will work. It will be stable and I won't have to spend hours trying to sort out drivers or other stuff. Something I can't say about PC's

You may want to look at a Refurbished MacBook Pro from the previous generation as these have Express Card slots. The Express Card slot allows you to use SxS cards with Sony EX cameras, it also allows you to add 3rd party Express card adapters for e-sata drives and other devices. Why Apple dropped this from everything but the 17" MBP I don't know. You should be able to go the upgrade path with FCP without any problems and it is a lot cheaper than buying a fresh license.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 07:09 AM   #3
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Even the cheapest 15" Macbook Pro will serve your needs. The anti-glare screen is a personal choice. I would not reccomend it as the glossy screen is much better in bright light. If you use SDHC cards (like I do for my HMC151) these can be directly inserted in the new Macbook version.

An upgrade to Studio 7 is 300 dollar, but be sure to have the original disks and serial number.

Final cut is not to difficult to use, but you may want to follow some courses (I can recommend Lynda.com).
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 08:23 AM   #4
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I'm about to sell off a couple of Mac edit suites to purchase a Macbook Pro, but I've gone back to an older one - last gen 15 inch.

As Alister said the current Macbook Pro's have dropped the express card slot in favour of SD (appeals to more consumers I guess). That's why I hunted down one model ago to get a machine pretty similarily spec'd but with the express card slot for SxS. But also you can buy lots of things that will work in an express card slot that will make your life easier and editing faster.

If you're getting a laptop also factor in you're going to want a big external drive for video (esata or firewire 800) and probably an extra monitor as well.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 08:37 AM   #5
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I have no idea why this was originally posted to the Convergent Design Flash XDR forum... moved to NLE / Mac where it belongs.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 10:02 AM   #6
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Steve,

I often see newcomers over-spend on their initial requirements only to learn they've not only gotten way over their head but don't have the need for all the pro-tools in a full-on pro NLE.

Since you didn't mention which camera you plan to use, I'd first see if that camera's format is compatible with iMovie, here's the list of compatible cameras:

iMovie ?09: Camcorder Support

iMovie is extremely powerful with features built-in that even FCP couldn't do on it's own just a year ago.

If you buy a new Mac iLife/iMovie comes with it free of charge or, if buying an older system a copy of iLife is far less costly than any pro NLE package.

Get your head around actually shooting footage, importing and then editing first. Then if you feel you've outgrown iMovie or need things it can't do then consider moving up to a pro app.

Also, if you're a first-timer into the world of editing you should definitely consider Premiere Pro (not the Production Premium bundle). Currently PP does it's work more efficiently than FCP, has a few features FCP doesn't offer and has a less harsh learning curve in that the user interface is more intuitive for first-time editors.

Either way, be prepared for a long learning curve; video editing is by far one of the most complex tasks to master so you'll spend more than half your time asking "how to" do various things before you get really comfortable with the environment.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 10:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Brown View Post
I would probably buy FCP 7, although someone I know has a friend who apparently has a copy of FCP 6 he isn't using and wants to sell for a "few hundred bucks". If I buy that (assuming it isn't a bootleg copy), I should be able to upgrade it if I want to, right?
Just be sure you understand what you are buying. If he upgraded from FCP 6 tp FCP 7 then he cannot legally sell (or give) you his old copy. The FCP license states that an upgrade completely replaces the previous version which may no longer be used. Also note that FCP is part of the Final Cut Studio package. It is legal to sell your copy of the full FCS Suite, but not individual components such as FCP by itself.

Both of these factors would affect your ability to upgrade the software. He would need to sell the full Final Cut Studio suite which has not been replaced by an upgrade. More info on this topic here: http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/non-line...3-another.html
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Old October 3rd, 2009, 08:41 PM   #8
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Hey everyone... thanks for all of the help. I didn't realize there were replies because I forgot to "subscribe" to the thread.

Alister, I don't think I'll be using SxS cards. I don't have anything that records on them and probably wouldn't use them if I could output to nanoFlash. As always, your input is great though.

Chris, I originally posted this in the Flash XDR forum because I will be using the MBP to support my nanoFlash recorder.

Bob, I doubt I will be using iMovie. I will be buying the Mac in order to view nanoFlash Mov files, which require a Mac with QT and FCP. FYI, I'm using Panasonic HDX900s, which are tape based cameras, but I'll be using my nanoFlash almost exclusively, unless a CF cards fails. In the case of a CF card failure, I'll be capturing from tape... the old fashioned way.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 11:46 AM   #9
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(Who's Bob?)

If you're shooting the HDX900 (one of my favorite cams) then obviously you'll need FCP to handle DVCPRO-HD anyway regardless if it's from the NanoFlash (another great Convergent product) or tape.

But unless you're planning on purchasing an older MBP then it's the 17" inch you want since only it has the ExpressCard slot, which would allow you to connect fast external HDD enclosures via an eSATA adapter. However if all you plan to do is transfer files from the NanoFlash to another HDD then any MBP will do.

I've been using an older 15" inch (previous generation to the unibody) and cut everything from ProRes to full-raster DVCPRO on FCP, Premiere Pro and Avid MC with no issues.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 06:24 PM   #10
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Hey Robert. Sorry, I know another Robert Lane and everyone calls him Bob... just did that out of habit :-)

I guess I don't understand what my limitations would be without the express card slot. I don't really want to be heavily into the editing business at this point, but I would like to do some editing of my own projects. Yes, I would be using the MBP to check nanoFlash files before handing them over to a client, but I can do the transfer on a PC. I just can't check files that are mov files on a PC.

So, are you saying it will just take longer to import and export if I don't have the express card slot? Or are you saying the MBP will cough and hiccup during playback without the higher speed IO?

As long as I can burn a DVD (and eventually Blu Ray), I suppose I could tolerate a burp here and there. I don't want to spend more money than necessary for something that isn't an important part of my business. Of course, I don't want to spend $2K, when I should have spent $3K to get acceptable results.

Thanks for your input... this is already more complicated than I imagined it would be. I'm really glad I asked the question before plunking down my money!
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Old October 5th, 2009, 08:54 PM   #11
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If you're not editing on the MacBook Pro then there's no need to concern yourself with an ExpressCard slot or the various adapters. Pick whichever MBP fits your budget and screen-size requirements and enjoy; you'll be very surprised at how fast it does it work compared to the previous non-unibody generation. That 1066Mhz bus speed really pushed performance way up for the Mac laptops.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 10:08 AM   #12
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Thanks, Robert... and everyone else for their input!
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