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Old October 31st, 2005, 09:46 AM   #1
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iMac and Final Cut - The Firewire Bus Issue

i've just finished reading through a number of posts that tout the viability of the imac with FC. which is great to hear, though i had been led to believe that the lack of two fully separate firewire ports creates a problem when it comes to editing on these machines. especially in regards to capturing footage to an external drive without dropping frames like crazy. i've also heard that external drives aren't recommended/supported when it comes down to the work of actually editing.

anyhow, i'm about to buy a new system. was considering the dual core G5, but if i could use the imac, i'd love to save the money.

my project is feature length, mini DV, standard def. i plan to cut it at home, maybe even get it ready to go to festivals at home, but would be willing, ultimately, to take my tapes and EDL somewhere to do a more professional version.

are there really people out there using the new (or newish) imacs and the latest version of FC with next-to-no issues?

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Old October 31st, 2005, 11:17 AM   #2
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Most issues appear when daisy chaining, plugging the camera into the hard drive which is then chained to the iMac. If you use the 2 ports on the iMac, one for the drive and one for the camera, you should be fine for DV editing.
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Old October 31st, 2005, 12:17 PM   #3
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I doubt that this is much of an issue at all. From everything I've read, none of the Macs, including the G5's, have more than one firewire bus. Both the FW 800 and 400 are actually on the same bus.

Some people have reported problems with both a camera and hard drive in use simultaneously - and they generally seem to be using Canon camcorders and powerbooks. I've never had any problems with multiple firewire drives and my camera on either my powerbook, G4 tower or G5 tower. To play it safe I did get a firewire cardbus card for my powerbook recently, but I was just being proactive for a big project I did in South America.

So I don't think you'll really have a problem with capturing or editing on an external drive, although I've never actually done it on an iMac. Just make sure you format the drive with journaling turned off. If anything, printing to video is the tricky thing but that's really an FCP software issue I believe since I've encountered it on my dual 2.5 G5 with a fast internal media drive. Turning off disk journaling fixed that issue for me.
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Old October 31st, 2005, 07:00 PM   #4
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I have an iMac G5 (2GHz, 20"), an OWC external FW400 drive (Oxford 911 chipset), a SONY PDX10 camera, and Apple Final Cut Express...and I have no problems whatsoever working with both the camera and the external FW drive at the same time, with each one plugged directly into the back of the the iMac (no daisychaining).

The iMac is more than powerful enough to edit DV, and I also use LiveType without any performance issues...however if you were wanting to do really complex work with MOTION or other high-end imaging software, then I'd recommend getting as powerful of a PowerMac as you can. But for normal, straightforward DV editing work, the iMac is just fine.

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Old November 2nd, 2005, 03:14 PM   #5
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I'll second the message above, you'll have no problems at all.

I used to edit broadcast programmes in my iMac DV (G3) then on my iBook (DV), now on an new iMac and a Dual G5...
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 03:24 PM   #6
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Finishing up an edit right now. Feature length using IMAC with FCP HD and external drive attached. Guess problem at all. Little slower render time that the dual power macs but it gives me time to eat or sleep. Save the money and by some lights or something........GOOD LUCK!
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 05:37 PM   #7
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In general, it's not an issue. I have 3 devices daisey chained on my Mac Mini with FCP 5 and no issues.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 01:38 AM   #8
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OK this is only vaguely helpful, but I remember reading about a bus issue with iMacs that was not a firewire bus issue a while ago after we got one at work. I cannot find anything about it now, but it was an issue with the motherboard or some kind of systemwide bus and had nothing to do with firewire. I read a bit about them because I found ours (a 1.8 Ghz 20" with 2BGB of RAM) so sluggish compared to either of our PowerMacs (dual 2.0 and dual 2.5 both with 1.5 GB of RAM). Duane is right that it's more than powerful enough to edit DV, but I am way more productive on the PowerMacs because they are so much snappier. If you mostly just do cutting then the iMac is fine, but you would notice a huge difference if you do anything more. I don't do lots of effects, but I do a ton of color correction and simple graphics. I'm at least twice as fast on the PowerMacs as I am on iMac. The video scopes update almost in real time when I'm correcting, there is no lag when I'm making and previewing motion paths and on and on. We ended up giving the iMac to our graphic designer, and it suits her just fine - the LCD display is outstanding, and the case design is so elegant for a desktop. It's a fine machine for print work, but I didn't find it suitable for serious video work. It felt like editing on a laptop.

My last note: the firewire performance on ours is just fine, and I successfully captured an edited a few projects on external drives before I sent it out of my office. That will not be a problem. In fact, on the iMac I could share the bus between a Canon camcorder and a hard drive; both the PowerMacs have that annoying Canon/FW bus conflict.
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