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Old February 6th, 2010, 02:23 PM   #1
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Thinking of Moving to Mac and FC

I'm really over Adobe and their "upgrades" Now with CS5 coming out and requiring a brand new super computer to run it, it seems like a good time to make the switch. If I have to buy another computer anyway I might as well get a Mac. So for those of you who have made the switch, how hard is it to get up to speed on Final Cut and Motion? Was it like learning a new language or just a different dialect? And what kind of specs on a Mac do I need to make it sing??? And can I use my current monitors or do I need a Mac specific monitor?
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Old February 6th, 2010, 03:19 PM   #2
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Have you used Mac OSX before? Any previous knowledge with the environment helps.
All NLE share commonalities, such as, timeline based editing, source/record monitors, rendering, ect. So, the short answer is it will not be like learning a new language but using that same example, the best way to learn is total immersion.

As for monitors, are they 1920x1080? I ask because monitors have fallen so greatly in price these days it is worth it to have at least that type of pixel ratio. I use apple's 30" - although that is almost overkill and the refresh rate is slow (as apposed to ACD).

If I were in your boat, I would look at eBay and getting a used MacPro. Nothing too fancy or new - these older late 2008 systems are more than sufficient for heavy duty editing plus you'll save some money.

There are so many great books and resources for learning this system. Also, hanging around forums is a great way to pick up chops when you are switching platforms.

Good Luck,
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Old February 6th, 2010, 04:16 PM   #3
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The first NLE I ever used was Premiere. I had crashes and frustrations with it. Pretty much like any complex applcaition :)

I switched to FCS because of clients that wanted FCS centric assets. I have had crashes and frustrations with Final Cut as well. It's the nature of the beast with these things. All of that being said, I have no regrets switching to FCS and the Mac platform. I think the value of the FCS product for $1K is unmatched:

A robust NLE (FCP), an incredible audio application (STP), a slick motion graphics / compositing app (Motion), an incredible color correction application (Color), a networkable batch compression app (Compressor) and an OK DVD mastering app (DVDSP).

The only Adobe apps I use now are After Effects and Photoshop.

If you are just starting out on FC, there are a TON of great resources on the net for learning it:

Final Cut Pro (All Versions) Tutorials & Training
Final Cut Studio Tutorials, Final Cut Pro Tips, Seminars and Training
Ken Stone's Final Cut Pro

And many others. Larry Jordan has a great free newsletter for FCP that I highly recommend.

And finally, bear in mind that switching to a Mac is not some panacea that solves all of your problems. The Mac has one overriding failure and it will always have this issue: It's a computer.

HTH
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Old February 6th, 2010, 05:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Drews View Post
Have you used Mac OSX before? Any previous knowledge with the environment helps.
All NLE share commonalities, such as, timeline based editing, source/record monitors, rendering, ect. So, the short answer is it will not be like learning a new language but using that same example, the best way to learn is total immersion.

As for monitors, are they 1920x1080? I ask because monitors have fallen so greatly in price these days it is worth it to have at least that type of pixel ratio. I use apple's 30" - although that is almost overkill and the refresh rate is slow (as apposed to ACD).

If I were in your boat, I would look at eBay and getting a used MacPro. Nothing too fancy or new - these older late 2008 systems are more than sufficient for heavy duty editing plus you'll save some money.

There are so many great books and resources for learning this system. Also, hanging around forums is a great way to pick up chops when you are switching platforms.

Good Luck,
-C
Thanks for the advice and I have used a Mac a grand total of 1 time and it was last week when a guy I work with had his laptop with him. He has a copy of CS4 on it and I was able to go just about as fast on it as I am on a PC. Not to worried about the OS learning curve, but I am concerned about the editor. I downloaded Avid Media Composer's free trial and man that thing is not user friendly to me. About the monitors that I have, they are 24 inch Samsungs with HDMI, they are 1920 and only about 6 months old.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 05:33 PM   #5
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Again thanks for the advice and yea I know that they all have bugs, but have you seen the specs that Adobe is quoting for CS5???? They are crazy and although I have a Nividia 3800 card already it seems pretty ridiculous to require a $1,000.00 dollar (and up) video card to run a NLE... on top of a computer that is outrageous.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 05:50 PM   #6
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Any advice on what I should be looking for in a Mac to edit with FC? My workflow is 7D to cineform to NLE.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 06:12 PM   #7
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Yeah I am aware of the sys reqs for CS5 as my company has been doing stuff with closed beta. What is your budget for the new setup? Do you have a preference for desktop or laptop?
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Old February 6th, 2010, 06:49 PM   #8
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Jerry,

Right now is a tad early to consider jumping platforms. Apple is on the cusp of releasing what they claim to be "next-gen" hardware both in laptop and tower configurations; Adobe's final version of CS5 has yet to go gold so final requirements are subject to change.

Also, the debate as to whether or not to switch from PC to Mac or the reverse has been covered in multiple threads with relevant threads that started less than a month ago. I'd use the search feature and read up on what's being exchanged before recycling what is now very reused information.

Unless Apple brings much required updates and bug fixes to both the FC suite and their hardware there *currently* is no compelling reason to invest in the time and money required to switch platforms. In fact you can get more done for a lot less money on a PC platform than currently possible on a Mac. In many instances - not just BR authoring - it's common for Mac-based editors to have to switch over to a PC platform, either stand-alone or via Boot Camp to finish a job. Seems ludicrous that having a Mac would ever require investing in PC-based assets to complete any work but that's the reality currently.

Lastly: 99% of people who make the switch either direction are never fully prepared for the hidden "gotchas" of migrating their entire library of programs and media over to the new platform, taking much longer and or costing more money than they had imagined. Spend extra time doing your due-diligence before pulling out the wallet; time spent now could save you hours and or hundreds if not thousands of dollars later in mistakenly putting money where it's not required.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 07:07 PM   #9
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Thanks Robert,
Sage advice from the resident expert! Maybe I should just deal with what I have until it simply will not work anymore. That's what I did in the past when money was SUPER tight and I always seemed to pull through. This stuff is just moving so fast these days and (I always seem to crave the latest and greatest when the older stuff worked just fine.) Maybe CS6 and a new computer in a two years is really what I should be thinking of.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 07:38 PM   #10
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In many instances - not just BR authoring - it's common for Mac-based editors to have to switch over to a PC platform, either stand-alone or via Boot Camp to finish a job. Seems ludicrous that having a Mac would ever require investing in PC-based assets to complete any work but that's the reality currently.
So, outside of BR authoring, what are they having to switch to Windows to do?
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Old February 6th, 2010, 07:49 PM   #11
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I have to say that I have been a Windows user for years before switching to Mac & FCS.
I love the Mac way and FCS in every way other than no Blur-Ray.

I occasional have to use Windows and man it's so buggy. I now have Windows XP on my Mac and run VMWare which is fantastic and so easy to use.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 09:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Porter View Post
Any advice on what I should be looking for in a Mac to edit with FC? My workflow is 7D to cineform to NLE.
First check about transfering the video files from the 7D camera to a Mac. Some people had problems with this last year although I heard that using a card reader instead of a direct USB connection with the camera avoided this.

You might investigate using Apple's Pro Res codec instead of CineForm. It works really well for most situations and it comes with FCS. If you have a chance, get to an Apple store and play around with FCP and Motion. Switching from Premier to FCP isn't that much of a leap although I did that a long time ago for 24f projects. Motion is a different beast and while I know a number of people who quickly became quite proficient with it, I haven't been able to make the leap from AE for anything.

If your workflow is as simple as you describe it should be a painless switch-over. I have guided dozens of clients with no Mac experience into their first Final Cut set-up and none have really had any problems outside of the initial learning curve. Just two days ago a long time PC centric IT friend (who sneered at Macs) just got his first MacPro with FCS and all he could say was that he was in heaven.

I know many people and production facilities with FCP stations and none switch over to PC for anything. Edit and finish in Macs. Now there are situations where a PC might be needed but outside of complex BluRay authoring, these are situations that are usually in the very high-end production environment.

I would also recommend waiting a little, unless your sanity is under immediate attack. You can edit easily HD ProRes files with a 2-core iMac and an external FireWire800 drive. If you are in the habit of applying lots of filters, you might want to look into the 27" 4-core iMac or a quad-core MacPro. The rumor is that Apple is preparing to release 6-core and 12-core MacPros in the next few months so waiting is a good idea.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 10:06 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jerry Porter View Post
Thanks Robert,
Sage advice from the resident expert! Maybe I should just deal with what I have until it simply will not work anymore. That's what I did in the past when money was SUPER tight and I always seemed to pull through. This stuff is just moving so fast these days and (I always seem to crave the latest and greatest when the older stuff worked just fine.) Maybe CS6 and a new computer in a two years is really what I should be thinking of.
One quick method of clarification as to whether or not making the shift makes fiscal sense is this: Take up a general snapshot of the entire cost of switching, both hardware and software. Then figure out how long it will take you to recoup those costs, in other words, the new stuff has to be able to pay for itself in a reasonable timeframe, usually less than 6 months. And "paying for itself" means that the new equipment is able to help you make *more* money than the old, not just keep the status-quo of your current profitability.

The rule for our industry is that there's generally no reason to purchase new hardware/software until things are either so outdated that you're no longer competitive or, you have a massive failure in hardware requiring a large cash sum to replace what's broken. Outside of that, simply getting the "latest and greatest" or worse, totally switching over platforms could not only be expensive but could easily take away your profits without replenishing them.

As I'm fond of saying in this weakened economy: More than ever before it's wise to take a serious look at your business need and step away from the emotional drive to get the new toy.

This spring promises to showcase plenty of truly new updates in everything from cameras to NLE plug-in's by the time NAB hits. Unlike the past 2 years which were dismal in the lack of new offerings or significant updates logic dictates it would be both fiscally and pragmatically smart to see what's coming down the pike and determine if the "new" will give you better capabilities or, just take money out of your bank account. Until that information is fully disclosed it would be foolish to consider opening the wallet.

If you've got a hole burning in your pocket right now, train those dollars on spiffing-up your skill-set; more knowledge is vastly more powerful than more equipment.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 10:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
I know many people and production facilities with FCP stations and none switch over to PC for anything. Edit and finish in Macs. Now there are situations where a PC might be needed but outside of complex BluRay authoring, these are situations that are usually in the very high-end production environment.
My wife has edited feature films, shorts, TV shows for ESPN and Home and Garden TV. All in FCP. She has never gone over to a Windows environment to fill a gap here. I am still curious about Robert's statement here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
In many instances - not just BR authoring - it's common for Mac-based editors to have to switch over to a PC platform, either stand-alone or via Boot Camp to finish a job. Seems ludicrous that having a Mac would ever require investing in PC-based assets to complete any work but that's the reality currently.
What gap are these people filling in a Windows environment, Robert?
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Old February 7th, 2010, 12:21 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Shaughan Flynn View Post
My wife has edited feature films, shorts, TV shows for ESPN and Home and Garden TV. All in FCP. She has never gone over to a Windows environment to fill a gap here. I am still curious about Robert's statement here:

What gap are these people filling in a Windows environment, Robert?
Just because one person on the FC suite has a specific workflow doesn't mean the rest of the community follows lock-step.

Aside from the obvious missing Blu-Ray options here's just a few:

- P2 MXF is easier to handle on the PC side (the distinction is less so now that third parties have stepped in to add functionality); all PC-based NLE's don't require transcoding, it's all drag-n-drop. FCP to this day still requires Log & Transfer or a third-party plug-in. Mac OSX will attempt to write Spotlight data to P2 cards when inserted (unless they're write protected first), to my knowledge no version of Windows makes that attempt (Win 7 might change that).

- Some audio workflows can *only* be done on a PC because the requisite Pro Tools hardware still doesn't talk to OSX. (this is supposedly being fixed this year)

- All hardware-based MPEG2 stream and program encoders are PC-controlled only and to date, no software-based encoder, not even the Omni-Cinemacraft plug-in for Compressor can compare to the top-notch quality of a hardware encode.

This is just a small sampling of some of the gaps in pro workflows but the point being, there are a few key areas that Apple has fallen way behind from it's PC brethren. It's not that it can't be done in OSX it's just that many of the developers for the technologies simply don't get support from Apple to make it happen. It's one reason Flash, for example, has always been an issue for Mac; Steve Jobs is very outspoken about his discontent for anything Adobe.
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