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Old August 22nd, 2005, 07:57 AM   #16
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Good to see you're getting some good feedback Jeanette,

A few things I wanted to mention if you're budget shopping:

First, seriously consider the 12" ibook over the 14", it's a few hundred dollars cheaper and from a "functional" perspective they are almost identical. They both have the same resolution (1024x768) on the screen, even though the 14" is larger. The 12" is of course smaller and lighter, so if portability is key then it might be worth taking a second look. The 12" is slightly slower from a CPU perpsective but I'm not sure that you'd notice a .1Gzh speed difference in this application...it's only a three hundred dollar difference, but that can get you alot of RAM or a much bigger external drive...

Boyd mentioned having trouble with the one firewire port on the iBook when using a camera and an external firewire disk at the same time and I've heard that as well. I haven't experienced it yet, although I recently bought a Canon camera so we'll see what happens :) At least with my previous camera I was able to daisy-chain the external disk and my camera and capture an hour long tape without dropping any frames. I've also used an external USB disk for capture without trouble if you can believe that, but I wouldn't recommend it. If all else fails you can capture to the internal drive and then move it to the external drive later if you have trouble using both at the same time.

I didn't notice why you needed to stick with Final Cut 3. If you go with the 12" ibook you could spend the $300 you save on Final Cut Express HD. I'm not sure exactly what you're working on but the differences between Express and Pro are subtle while the price difference is substantial. I was able to get my FCE HD by buying an older copy (legit) off Ebay and then upgrading it for $99.00.

If you're just starting I can definately recommend this setup. The nice thing is that if you outgrow it the iBooks retain their value well and are durable enough that you can haul it around without worrying about cosmetic damage. If you need more horsepower down the road you can buy a big desktop system and you still have the iBook to take on the plane and write your next script on :)
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 10:56 AM   #17
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follow up questions

hi boyd thanks for your feedback once again
and everyone else's too.
i will indeed get the applecare warranty, thanks for the tip.


PC card slot: not a necissity, just nice to have. You're going to need an external firewire drive to store and edit your projects - you really can't use the internal drive for that. You will also need to plug your camera into a firewire port to capture video to the external drive. Many people can do this without problems, but depending on your exact hardware, you *may* have difficulties using both devices at the same time.

how is it possible to use both, do they not both fit into the firewire plug?
i will import footage using a sony pd150. how then to plug both the external hard drive and the camera in at the same time?
would i need to buy the pc card as an extra, is this possible?


But honestly - I think it's a big mistake to use FCP 3. It's much less responsive than the newer versions and you will spend hours and hours more rendering everything just to see a preview. I'd really suggest you budget $400 and upgrade your copy of FCP 3 to FCP 5. You will need your original FCP 3 disks for the FCP 5 upgrade to work, and an academic copy of FCP 3 won't be upgradeable.

what is an academic copy??


But since this is your first experience on the Mac and you're new to editing, you would be handicapping yourself to start out with 4 year old software. Get the current version and you'll have a much better experience.

Good luck... let us know how everything works out![/QUOTE]

youre probably right. if i buy the ibook, then i could spend the difference on newer software. makes sense.
thanks so much again
best
jeanette
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 11:12 AM   #18
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thanks jason... now about fcp vs fce and upgrading??

hi jason
thanks a lot for your mail.
it seems the more i ask the more i need to ask.. great stuff.
this is all seeming very expensive, so i think the ibook will make the most sense, especially considering id need to get an external drive and probably new software.
ive seen the 12" powerbook and it feels very small to me for editing. not sure if the 12" ibook is any bigger, probably not. but i think i can manage the 14" budget wise.

Boyd mentioned having trouble with the one firewire port on the iBook when using a camera and an external firewire disk at the same time and I've heard that as well.

how is this possible, if there is one firewire port? how do you connect the 3 bits of machinery?

I didn't notice why you needed to stick with Final Cut 3.

because ive got it already.

If you go with the 12" ibook you could spend the $300 you save on Final Cut Express HD. I'm not sure exactly what you're working on but the differences between Express and Pro are subtle while the price difference is substantial. I was able to get my FCE HD by buying an older copy (legit) off Ebay and then upgrading it for $99.00.

yes, just saw a new posting today from a chap whose working on fce, and i wanted to ask about this. are the differences that major between fcp and fce?
im not working on anything at the moment, waiting to make up my mind and get a machine so i can start**
if fce hd is ok for my purposes.. and at the moment i want to start sorting and cutting a 90 minute documentary, nothing fancy really. just working with loads of tapes. i dont need all the fancy tricks.
what do you mean, did you upgrade your fce hd to fcp hd for 99dollars?
(this really is not my terrain.) how do you do this?

yes, it seems to make more sense to go with an ibook.
but im a bit uneasy about it, because im getting such opposite opinions. for instance, a mac service guy in south africa mailed me this morning to say theres no way an ibook can handle fcp, that a powerbook is the way to go.
i think actually either would work.
but maybe better to start out with something simpler.
so im glad you find this set up works for you.
thanks again and i wish you many good hours of cutting and creativity
jeanette
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 02:08 PM   #19
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If your budget allows, get the best power book G4 that you can comfortably afford for short and long term happiness. Just my opinion.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 03:50 PM   #20
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Jeanette, there are several ways to handle more than one firewire device through a single port. Almost all firewire drives have two ports. Plug one into the computer, then plug your camera into the disk drive.

The other solution is a firewire hub which lets you plug maybe 4 devices into one port. These can be more problematic from what I've read. As I said, many of the trouble reports about multiple firewire devices have been related to Canon camcorders.

FCE is a great value, and may be all you need. But there are a couple things you might also miss. Off the top of my head, the 3-way color corrector is one thing and a bigger issue might be the lack of batch capturing (this lets you mark the beginning and end of each clip you want, then turn the computer loose to locate and capture them automatically). With FCE you either need to capture the whole tape or to manually start, stop and fast forward between them. May not sound like a big deal, but it's a real timesaver. I'm sure there are other differences (I don't think FCE works with 24p, does it?). If you want to work with HDV then I've heard that FCE is much slower and doesn't do this natively like FCP 5 - you have to convert to edit it which reduces the quality somewhat and will also be very slow on a G4.

Since the FCP upgrade is $400 and FCE costs $300, I think it's a no-brainer. You would be getting MUCH more powerful software for the extra $100 with the FCP upgrade.

I bought my firewire PC card for $30 at Best Buy, so cost for that really isn't an issue. You might try using USB for a hard drive - I never have. On paper it would appear that USB2 is as fast or even faster than firewire, but the reality is very different. The "wisdom" I've read on Apple's site is not to use USB for video. Your mileage may vary....
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 04:14 PM   #21
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Sorry, I meant to answer your question about Academic versions. These are sold to full time students and faculty members at a big discount and are completely functional versions of FCP and the other pro applications.

They cannot be upgraded to the newer version however; if you buy the upgrade version of FCP it will not accept an Academic serial number as valid. So if you bought an Academic version it gives you the full capabilites as the regular one, but it's a dead end when a new version comes out. If you're still a student you can buy a new Academic version for about the same price as an upgrade to the regular version. But if you've graduated from school and want to upgrade then you need to buy the full version of the software.

This is something which students in their final year should consider when purchasing FCP. If you plan to upgrade it may be more cost effective to buy the full version instead of the academic one.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 06:22 PM   #22
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thanks

hi boyd
thanks again..
is it possible to get an academic version of fcp 5??
the batch capturing function is a bit deal.. mmm. need to think about this.
otherwise, do you reckon that an ibook would handle fcp5 alright.. of course along with an external hard drive. would this be all i would need for a complete kit?
thanks all for your insight and support
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 06:38 PM   #23
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Are you a full time student/faculty/staff member? If so then someone at your school should be able to tell you how to purchase. If not then you won't be eligible. I don't know very much about these programs since I'm no longer any of the above, and I don't know if they are even available outside the US. See the following for starters:

http://store.apple.com/Catalog/US/Im...utingpage.html

I think the bare minimum would be the computer, a current version of FCP or FCE, a fast (7200RPM) firewire 400 drive and a 6-pin to 4-pin firewire cable to connect to your PD-150. There are plenty of other things which would be nice to have, but that would get you started and you could always add them later. You might also want a 3rd party book about FCP if you haven't used it.

There's a lot of information in this thread already, so why not take a few minutes to read through it again? Then you're gonna just have to give it your best shot. Good luck, and let us know what you get!
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 09:11 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanette Jegger
ive seen the 12" powerbook and it feels very small to me for editing. not sure if the 12" ibook is any bigger, probably not. but i think i can manage the 14" budget wise.
When you say it "feels small", are you talking about the amount of screen space (meaning the amount of things that fit on the screen), or are you talking about the physical size of the laptop itself (meaning working with the keyboard, trackpad, screen, etc)??? If you mean the first (amount of screen space) then you might as well get the 12" version instead of the 14" because, unlike PowerBooks, both iBook models share the EXACT SAME screen resolution....meaning the EXACT SAME amount of things will fit on the screen, regardless of the physical SIZE of the screen.

In other words, don't assume the 14" screen shows more stuff than the 12", because it absolutely DOES NOT.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanette Jegger
yes, it seems to make more sense to go with an ibook.
but im a bit uneasy about it, because im getting such opposite opinions. for instance, a mac service guy in south africa mailed me this morning to say theres no way an ibook can handle fcp, that a powerbook is the way to go.
In case you haven't figured it out already, the "Mac service guy" you spoke to doesn't know he's talking about. Either that, or he isn't telling you the truth (perhaps in order to upsell you to a more profitable sale?).

The iBook will technically operate FCP just fine. It won't be anywhere near as expandable and/or flexiable to work with as a PowerBook, and working in the tiny 1024x768 resolution is going to be painful to say the least. But there's no reason an iBook can't "handle" FCP.

Good luck with your endeavors!
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 09:17 PM   #25
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Good points Duane - absolutely true, the 12" and 14" powerbooks have the same number of dots on the screen; they're just bigger dots on the 14". The 12" is a better value.

Also have another look at my earlier post:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....75&postcount=5

Aside from the CPU speed, just about everything on the iBook is "dumbed down" just a little from the powerbooks which results in a less performance. Agreed however, it all falls within Apple's specs for running FCP.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 07:57 AM   #26
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Good morning Jeanette, I'll try to be more concise this time :)

I just spent about 30 minutes writing a HUGE response to you and after reading it realized that what you need to know is what system is appropriate for you, based on what you've told us so far. Here's my suggestions, if you want a detailed explanation please feel free to contact me off-list.

If it is at all possible to go with a desktop system, buy an eMac. For $999 you'll have almost all the hardware you will need (I would recommend upgrading the RAM from 512MB to 2GB, but that's not a requirement, and add an external firewire hard disk, again not required unless you have allot of footage).

If you REQUIRE a portable system, then the 12" iBook is the way to go. It's the least expensive and the only functional difference between the 12" and the 14" is a slight difference in CPU speed. The 14" is physically larger, but I'm not sure what advantage that provides. The only significant quantifiable difference between the 12" iBook and the 12" PowerBooks is hard disk speed, which is more-or-less moot if you are editing on an external firewire disk.

As you can see you get more bang-for-the-buck with the desktop system, but if you need to be portable then you have to make that trade-off. I can tell you from personal experience that I went with the portable option and I should have went the other way.

As far as software goes, I have to agree with the other posters that for your project it might be worth the premium price to go with Final Cut Pro over Final Cut Express. The ability to batch-log tapes will probably save you allot of time. Other than that I think the differences, especially for your sort of work are negligible, but the logging facility would be a great time-saver (it's the only thing I miss). There are numerous ways to save money on Apple software, especially if you are a student, and if you want to know more about that feel free to drop me a line (it's a long, boring conversation :).

Hopefully this is useful to you. Having an technology background, I know how easy it is to get caught up into techno-lust when researching this type of gear, and also how nerve-wracking it can be gathering opinions on a major purchase. Remember that Apple does have a return policy :)

One other point I wanted to mention, if you are really trying to save money, be sure to check out the "recertified" merchandise on Apple's site. They give a decent discount on these items and they have a warranty as well.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 08:27 AM   #27
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Jason, you make some good points, but I have to quibble with a few of them. There are some other significant differences between the iBook and Powerbooks. They may not matter a lot depending on what you're doing, but they do exist. Compared to an iBook, the powerbooks have:

* faster disk drives (as you note)
* gigabit ethernet
* PC card slots
* builtin support for extended desktop on an external screen
* greater RAM capacity (2 gb vs 1.5gb)
* better graphics cards
* firewire 800

No argument that the 12" iBook is a lot of bang for the buck however. We have an eMac at work and it's really a great value. I wouldn't buy one today personally though unless every last penny is a big issue. It's big and very heavy. If you want a desktop spend a few hundred bucks more and get the G5 iMac which will run circles around both the iBook and eMac as well as a powerbook. But I think we've already established that Jeanette needs a laptop...

One important point needs to be made regarding the following statement however "Remember that Apple does have a return policy". Caveat Emptor. Be sure to READ and UNDERSTAND Apple's return policy before you assume anything. I've seen some pretty upset people both here and also in Apple's own forums. If you order anything customized on your Mac (let's say you add some RAM, or an airport card) then the computer is not returnable. Generally speaking, it's very foolish to buy any expensive thing casually on the assumption you can return it if you don't like it. A lot of things can bite you this way. As soon as you enter your credit card number you should assume that the computer is yours, and they have your money. Realize that a credit card is like holding a loaded gun in your hands. The Apple Store sales and return policy is here. Please read it very carefully before making a purchase:

http://store.apple.com/Catalog/US/Im...spolicies.html

If you buy your mac from another vendor then you need to read their return policy very carefully.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 09:40 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Jason, you make some good points, but I have to quibble with a few of them. There are some other significant differences between the iBook and Powerbooks. They may not matter a lot depending on what you're doing, but they do exist. Compared to an iBook, the powerbooks have:

* faster disk drives (as you note)
* gigabit ethernet
* PC card slots
* builtin support for extended desktop on an external screen
* greater RAM capacity (2 gb vs 1.5gb)
* better graphics cards
* firewire 800
I know what you're getting at, however I was comparing the 12" models, which the 12" PowerBook does not have Gigabit, PC card slot, FW800, etc. It may have a faster disk and better graphics card, but I'm questioning if these items are worth the $500.00 premium, for an editing system. To be fair, the systems that contain the above features are $1000.00 more than the 12" iBook.

Thanks for pointing out the details of the return policy. I meant it more as a joke but I probably should have been more illustrative of that.

As far as the weight of the eMac, like the size of the 14" iBook, I'm not sure what bearing that has on editing capabilities. One could argue that the weight is an advantage as it is added theft-protection (yes I am kidding :).

On a serious note I would recommend AGAINST spending a few hundred more on the iMac because there have been tests that demonstrate it to perform WORSE than the eMac for video editing (largely due to it's shared IDE bus).

My point overall is that quantitative analysis should prevail over guesswork or media hype when every penny counts.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 10:38 AM   #29
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Any thouights on one of the iMacs with a superdrive. I am working out of a new G-4 power book and may not wait for the payday to buy a G-5. I like what I see in the iMac. What do you guys and gals think?

btw: so if FCP is incompatable with Tiger -- what now?
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 12:22 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
I wonder if it's the iMac, your mix of applications, or Tiger? I don't think I've ever experienced a crash that serious under OS X in the 2 years that I've used it (currently using Panther). Of course I can't disagree with the idea of having a backup disk, but not sure that partitioning the system drive is the way to go...
I kept the iMac clear of anything not being used for editing from the start to reduce the risks.

I think the cause is my work pattern. I work nights as an emergency vet, and edit when there's a gap between cases. This resulted in walking away from the machine at short notice, leaving lots of things open....then it "going to sleep" before I got back.

I guess there is some conflict between FCP and the "go to sleep" function, maybe FCP takes too long putting its toys away and gets cut off. I haven't had a problem since getting into the habbit of closing everything myself.
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