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Old November 28th, 2010, 01:08 AM   #1
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Want to get a Mac, and FCP. Imac or Mac book pro?

I'm sure this is a very simple question, but hope I might get some direction. Was a hobbyist in video editing, a while back. (wish I had a little more direction coming out of high school, this is something I would have loved to get into 20 years ago). Any ways, I've decided I want to pick it up again, mess around doing this for myself, shot and edit some shorts, possibly move into some music videos, things of that nature. Eventual goal, write, shoot and edit a full length indie. Back when I was messing around (did a few, not so great music videos, for some friends, was a lot of fun though), I was using PC based system, I still have a copy of Vegas 5.0 some where.

A couple weeks back, a friend asked me if I would look at a wedding video she was working, for her brother, and wanted me to help her with ideas to make it better. So I got to playing around with FCP, on her 17' Mac Book Pro. Since then I've been watch online tutorials, and reading what I can about FCP.

Since I don't really have much of any prior skill set, on any other programs, I've decided I wanted to go with a mac, and fcp software. Since I can't afford the Mac Pro tower, that I'd really love to have, Would a 15, or 17 inch mac book pro, with max ram, and I7 processor be acceptable, or would I be better off with one of the 27 inch IMacs?, with the 1 gig video card, same 8 gigs of ram, and I7 processor? I like the idea of having the portable mac book, and be able to take with my, when I travel, and do daily edits of things I may shoot. But also love the size of the 27 inch desk top mac screen. Eventually, If I became good enough at what I want to do, and the money became free, I would get the pro tower. Then if I had the mac book, I'd get the best of both words, monster desk top, at home, and portable book to take with.

Any thoughts would be welcome.
Thanks,
Jeff

On a side note, I'd been reading some threads about macs, and blu ray authoring. My stand alone blu ray player has a usb port. Would it be possible to save a copy of an edit, to a thumb drive, and plug into that usb port, and view in HD on through my blu ray, and HD tv?
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Old November 28th, 2010, 01:27 AM   #2
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I started editing on FCP with a G5 Mac Pro (used Vegas and Premiere on a PC before that, fwiw). Sold that and bought a new Macbook pro when the new HD updates stopped supporting PowerPC architecture. For the past few years that means I've been editing professionally on that same 15-in Macbook pro with 4GB of RAM and a Matrox MX02 breakout with an Express/34 adaptor. (plus stacks of external drives.) Often, plugged into a 27-in editing monitor.

Only recently I picked up a new quad-core Mac Pro tower. It is, not surprisingly, significantly faster. And, yes, I still have the Macbook for mobile editing (I spend a lot of time editing while traveling, so it will still get a lot of use) So, yup, it's definitely do-able. However, keep in mind that while the tower is upgradable with future GPU upgrades, larger, faster, drives, major RAM increases etc. The notebook is what it is. Unless, you really need the mobility feature, even the $1900 2009 Quad Core Mac Pro from B+H might be a better long-term workhorse.
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Old November 28th, 2010, 05:19 AM   #3
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Hi Jeff I would get the macbook pro first and then add on a mac pro if you need it in the future.

This is how I started but had an i-mac after my macbook pro but found it didn't do much more, I now have my five year old macbook pro for location editing and a macpro for the serious number crunching stuff.

What are you going to be shooting on as this may affect what you need, I am on high end panasonic P2 at AVC Intra 100 so have to use the mac pro for full pro res HQ but if I need to do any quick location jobs (or holiday videos from the HF11 AVCHD cam) the macbook pro is OK in pro res LT.

It is also easier to add an external breakout box to the macbook pro as the imac only has firewire and that can be limiting in some set-ups. My five year old 17" macbook pro 2.16 dual core has an express slot and firewire 400/800 so it is easy to hook up external drives and third party interfaces.
You can also hook up an LCD monitor or TV via DVI for dual screen set-up.

As for the mac pro it is a full HD edit system with 3tb of raid storage, 8-core processing with 8gb ram and a black magic HD extreme interface card.

I sold the imac as I quickly found out its limitations.
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Old November 28th, 2010, 08:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
What are you going to be shooting on as this may affect what you need, I am on high end panasonic P2 at AVC Intra 100 so have to use the mac pro for full pro res HQ but if I need to do any quick location jobs (or holiday videos from the HF11 AVCHD cam) the macbook pro is OK in pro res LT.
I'm going to be starting out with an HD DSLR. I'm leaning towards the D5mkII right now. Its going just after the 1st of the year, before I have the money for the camera. I've been doing a lot of general reading, on all things video, and for the time being, think this is my best route. It will get me up and running for video, and will also give me another skill I've always wanted to practice and learn, and that's "stills". Since I think I've decided on the DSLR, I've started reading about other things of interest, that I can do with them (time lapse, and HDR) My camera choice isn't 100%, but I like the idea of full frame sensor too. But when I get the money together, I will definitely go with the best I can afford. I started looking into HD camcorders, with a 35mm adapter, and realized, once I bought the camera, adapter (before even spending a dollar on lenses), I would be north of 10k. But with the DSLR, I can get a camera, and start a collection of lenses, but a smaller cost then what I had been looking at as far as cameras go (I was looking at the Sony 1/4 cameras).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
As for the mac pro it is a full HD edit system with 3tb of raid storage, 8-core processing with 8gb ram and a black magic HD extreme interface card
Are Mac book pro's not not able to edit in HD? I'm doing the research now. I plan to shoot a lot of stuff, for posting on the web, but would still like to burn to blu ray (I under stand that Mac doesn't support playing BD on their systems, but you can still create and author BD disk, is that correct?? For the cost of a high end, non upgradeable mac book, I can get a lower end Quad core Mac Pro tower (with out monitor, of course). If I went the 2nd route, which is something that can be upgraded, can I use a 19 inch lcd monitor I have, that was used for a pc? (has dvi and regular monitor outs, thats the RGB I believe?)

I was also wondering. With the cost of FC studio being about 1k, and the upgrade being $300, is it possible to get an older copy from someone, and then just get the upgrade? Or since that older copy might have already been registered to someone else, apple wouldn't allow the upgrade to install? If its possible to do that, where do you go about looking for a used copy? Also what might someone expect to pay for a used copy? If someone was to charge $500 for a used copy, I might as well just spend the 1k and skip the process. But if an older copy could be had for $100 or so, might be worth the effort. (I hope that isn't against the rules to ask that question, I'm sorry if it is)

Thanks again for all the replies,
Jeff
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Old November 29th, 2010, 10:11 AM   #5
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Yes macbook pro's can edit HD but it all depends what HD you are talking about as not all HD is the same codec and bit rate. They are OK for HDV AVCHD level but my P2 AVCintra at 1920x1080i 100mbs once at pro res HQ is a problem.

Yes you can buy a second hand FCS and get the upgrade, this is what I did.

I personally don't rate DSLR's as I shoot for broadcast and they can produce some problematic pictures if you pan the camera or shoot anything with huge detail. Sound can also be a problem with DSLR's but some people love them.
I also don't like shallow DOF on every shot as it distracts having every shot 90% out of focus but that is just me, my canon HF11 is my small camera of choice as it shoots 1920x1080i 50i at 24mbs and once at pro res LT it looks very good, I would add a DOF adaptor and use my Nikon primes if I were wanting filmic look but as my HPX301 camera does cine look far better that is what I use.
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