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


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Old July 28th, 2005, 02:19 AM   #1
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Laptops?

I have been looking into buying a laptop computer - probably a pwerbook or ibook.

Will I be able to edit movies on these things? I mean as far as space and power goes, will this be efficent for editing, or should I consider a desktop computer?

How long of a movie will i be able to edit and still have my laptop running pretty quickly?
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Old July 28th, 2005, 05:01 AM   #2
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The length of the movie really has nothing to do with the speed, power or space. You'll want an external drive for any serious editing. The internal drives are slow and of limited capacity. It's also a bad idea to edit video on the startup drive of any computer; there are thousands of small system files there which eventually lead to fragmentation, not desirable for video. The operating system and other applications also read and write to the startup drive constantly. So plan on at least one external firewire drive - FW 400 is fine, just be sure it's a 7200 RPM drive.

Of course the real issue with the current Mac laptops is that they are single processor G4's, so you will be stuck at speeds which are two or three years behind the current dual processor G5's. This isn't likely to change significantly until Apple completes the transition to Intel which is one to two years away.

My main machine is a dual 2.5ghz G5, but I just spent several weeks out of the country editing on my 15" powerbook G4/1ghz with FCP 4.5. After tuning the realtime settings I was pretty happy with the performance actually, which is a real tribute to the software design. Certainly not as nice as the big machine but quite workable.

The iBook speeds are getting comparable to the powerbook, but the screens aren't as nice, they only support a single display (although there's a hack to get around that) and they don't have a PC card slot. Actually I find this last thing one of the biggest limitations personally. I use a PC firewire card (cost $30) to provide a second independent bus to connect my camera. Some people report problems when connecting both a camera and external drive, others don't.

However Powerbook speeds are substantially slower than the dual G5's, and even the iMacs will run circles around them. If you want to run high end 3d or effects software this will also be a big issue. Unfortunately, if you need both performance and portability you're looking at two computers... or maybe a 2 year wait for the Intel Macs.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 05:58 AM   #3
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I've both a new g5 dual 2.7gz 3gig ram Powermac and a 17 Inch Powerbook. This was my biggest investment so far in years. What do I have to say? The Powerbook is, indeed a viable option for on the field Editing. There was this major conference over here ( PATA) and I needed to do a respectable video overview for the last day of the conference. My new powerbook served the need. I did a25P video coverage of the conference, edited it in fcp 4.5 and exported a dvd in toast. The video projected on a huge projection screen looked fantastic. Everyone was impressed. Note that I did this entirely on the field. The real deal is that the powerbooks are indeed, nowadays, slower than PC laptops. However, no pc laptop runs FCP. ANd with fcp, you can uprez, convert and deal with almost any media possible. Add to that the ease of doing your own royalty free soundtrack in soundtrack, and you have a really viable editing solution. And, to conclude- the speed is slow (but acceptable), but hardly ever crashes.
For SD, you get almost everything in realtime. Bottom line: Great for dv sd on the field production, even on a professional level. However, for hdv- better wait 2 more years (or get a PC laptop- they are more viable for hdv due to processor performance).

Now my studio g5 2.7... That's a different ballgame all together... I invested in this and I see it working for me and my business for the next 4 years- in the HD world!
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Old July 28th, 2005, 07:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sergio Perez
For SD, you get almost everything in realtime. Bottom line: Great for dv sd on the field production, even on a professional level
This is pretty much true, but there are a few caveats. I was in Argentina for two weeks putting together a complex opera production that involved three different video feeds; a 4:3 10,000 lumen projector, a 16:9 10,000 lumen projector and a 54" 4:3 screen. As I said, the powerbook came through remarkably well (and it's two years old so the new ones are faster).

The caveat is rendering however. FCP's realtime features are great for screen previews, but the sort of stuff I was doing (multiple layers, slow motion with frame blending, motion blur, color correction) all required a render for final output. So things which would take 5 minutes on my dual G5 might take 40 minutes on the powerbook. This can be a real annoyance if you've gotten used to a faster machine, but if you only work on the powerbook it might not seem so bad.

I also missed my big monitors, but of course I could have lugged one of them along if I really wanted it. The 17" powerbook would definitely help with screen real estate.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 08:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
This is pretty much true, but there are a few caveats. I was in Argentina for two weeks putting together a complex opera production that involved three different video feeds; a 4:3 10,000 lumen projector, a 16:9 10,000 lumen projector and a 54" 4:3 screen. As I said, the powerbook came through remarkably well (and it's two years old so the new ones are faster).

The caveat is rendering however. FCP's realtime features are great for screen previews, but the sort of stuff I was doing (multiple layers, slow motion with frame blending, motion blur, color correction) all required a render for final output. So things which would take 5 minutes on my dual G5 might take 40 minutes on the powerbook. This can be a real annoyance if you've gotten used to a faster machine, but if you only work on the powerbook it might not seem so bad.

I also missed my big monitors, but of course I could have lugged one of them along if I really wanted it. The 17" powerbook would definitely help with screen real estate.

Agreed. Rendering is slow- but (at least for me) never crashes while doing so- which was my main frustration on PC editing.
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