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Old December 16th, 2002, 11:57 AM   #16
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This is a continuation of an earlier posting I made on this subject. I'm negotiating with my IT people and the budget for a machine on which I can edit (minimal special effects, but not a simple project), and burn to DVD. The G4 route seems to be squeezing the budget a bit hard: a base level G4 is possible, but no superdrive, etc. An alternative is an iMac 17", which does come with the superdrive.

Here are my questions, if anyone has any thoughts & the time to share thema;

1) Other than the expandability, the big difference between these two systems is the dual processor. Earlier posts I have read here, and parts of this thread seem to suggest that for FCP3, that is no huge deal. But any sense of whether dual processors are likely to play a more significant (or essential) role in FCP4?

2) A second difference is dual minitor support. This one stumps me a bit, since the video card in the iMac very clearly does support dual monitors. Is this just Apple defining its product line by not providing access to the video card features (a jack?), or is it possible to activate this feature?

3) Another cost issue is DVD Studio Pro. I know iDVD now supports a 90 minute, more compressed format (anyone know what the higher compression is)? Is it now pretty functional for longer projects with menuing? Are there aftermarket DVD programs available for Apple that are more functional, but cheaper than DVD SP?

To tell you the truth, with the apparent budget crunch, I'm close to bailing for a PC and Vegas Video. The open architecture and cheaper base components are really attractive, but all the labs I and my students have access to are Mac.

THanks for any help.
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Old December 16th, 2002, 12:19 PM   #17
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Linc,
I gather that you're trying to outfit a workstation for a school setting? And that the real issue is initial cost, or is it a platform issue? (I.e. are the IT people afraid of a Mac?)

If these are the true foundations of conflict you'll need to first equalize the cost issue, which is probably being used as a shield against platform phobias. (IT people can always seem to find extra money for what they want, eh?) My two tips in that regard are:

1. Look at www.promax.com for recondtioned G4 1Ghz DP's. They've been innundated with them during the past few months since the 1.25GHz models came out.

2. Make sure you take full advantage of Apple's educational discounts for software like Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro.

Get your best pricing together and then let us know what the differences are between the two platforms. All other platform advantage arguments will wither against the ever-present "budget crunch" (soft) wall.
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Old December 16th, 2002, 01:05 PM   #18
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ken Tanaka :
- A Contour ShuttlePRO. http://www.contouravs.com/cav_shuttlepro_info.html. It's a handy little gizmo for Final Cut Pro. -->>>

I would have to agree on the Contour ShuttlePRO. It makes life so much better. Now I want a FCP keyboard and life would get even better!
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Old December 16th, 2002, 04:16 PM   #19
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<<<-- Originally posted by Paul Sedillo : <<<-- Originally posted by Ken Tanaka :
- A Contour ShuttlePRO. http://www.contouravs.com/cav_shuttlepro_info.html. It's a handy little gizmo for Final Cut Pro. -->>>

I would have to agree on the Contour ShuttlePRO. It makes life so much better. Now I want a FCP keyboard and life would get even better! -->>>

Whilst I agree with your choices for the ShuttlePro I would have to put forward as *the* most important accessory for a Mac is a 2-button mouse with scroll wheel. The Apple mouse may look good but once you start using a 2-button mouse you become far more productive, especially FCP even if you don't use a ShuttlePro.
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Old December 16th, 2002, 04:54 PM   #20
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<<<-- Originally posted by Simon - X :
Whilst I agree with your choices for the ShuttlePro I would have to put forward as *the* most important accessory for a Mac is a 2-button mouse with scroll wheel. The Apple mouse may look good but once you start using a 2-button mouse you become far more productive, especially FCP even if you don't use a ShuttlePro. -->>>

I would have to agree with you. Each day that I use the Apple mouse, I curse it.
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Old December 16th, 2002, 05:34 PM   #21
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Oh baby, do I second that motion! I almost forgot about that. I use a Wacom Intuos tablet which comes with a stylus as well as a 2-button scroll wheel mouse. Best money I've ever spent. In fact, it's even handier than the Shuttle Pro particularly for Final Cut Pro, After Effects and PhotoShop work. Gotta have that.
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Old December 16th, 2002, 08:05 PM   #22
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I really LUST after the Wacom tablet. That is one piece of gear that would help me out in short order. I keep tracking them on eBay.
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Old December 16th, 2002, 08:14 PM   #23
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Paul,
I use a Wacom Graphire tablet with my PowerBook. Less $ but basically same functionality, slightly smaller and lighter, easy to schlep if need be. Ask Santa for one!
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Old December 16th, 2002, 08:18 PM   #24
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Ken,

I wish I could. Problem is I have been "requesting" a Panasonic AG-DVX100. Not that I expect to get one mind you. :)

Went to Pro Tape today with Mark Austin and we had serious toy lust going on. It is a crippling affliction that is a tough to battle. Some days it almost gets the best of me. Poor Mark had to be drug out of the store kicking and screaming. Something about wanting to mate a GL2 and a PD-150.
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Old December 16th, 2002, 08:20 PM   #25
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If you really want to improve your speed as an editor then get the custom FCP keyboard. If you could sit in and watch the fast (best?) editors they use the keyboard with their left hand and a mouse (or trackball) with the right hand. Then sit back and watch the keys fly. But I would urge anyone who wants to become a better editor, to use the keyboard. It is much faster than any other method of editing.

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Old December 16th, 2002, 09:49 PM   #26
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Hey Ken, thanks for your reply. In fact, the IT guy would prefer I go for a Mac. He considers them more stable and less hassle, and esp likes X.2. I've been following the PC forum, and it sounds like a year ago, the PC platform compatibility and crashing issues were pretty serious. People do seem a lot happier with the 1394 cards and general stability of Win 2000 and Vegas Video now, though. The issue really does seem to be cost. I'm tempted by Vegas Video given that its sound editing features seem to be much more robust than FCP3, and by my familiarity with the PC platform (I once even did assembler level programming there), and by the cost factors, but compatibility with the labs is a real issue if I have students doing work there.

Here's something else experienced Mac users might tell me. When I'm not video editing, I'm writing, and hour per hour, I'm writing more. It seems to me the way the Mac renders text is similar to the way Windows renders text in .PDF files (as a graphic)--which is to say, pretty fuzzy, compared to the sharp edged text of the native Windows text. When I was using the big flat panel screen on the video editor in the lab I've been using, reading text just about drove me crazy, as my eyes have never been great and now have only one focal length (the years are not kind). Is this pretty much the way it is in the Mac world?

The good news is this decision will be history in a day or two, and I won't bother anyone with questions (about that) any more!

One more though: in Mac land, given the choice between a base-level G4 with whatever monitor I could scrounge, and an iMac with the 17" screen, which would you take?

Thanks again for any advice,
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Old December 16th, 2002, 10:07 PM   #27
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Linc,
Now that you mentioned it there is a bit of difference in text redering between the Mac and Windows. I have a digital SGI 1600 flat panel monitor on my desktop Dell PC which is razor-sharp. The Mac's text has become better (to my eyes) with the advent of OS-X and the associated Quartz rendering engine. When composing a doc on Word I feel perfectly comfortable (on my 22" Cine monitor). But your eyes are really the judge.

Hmm..a 17" iMac -vs- a G4 with whatever. Ideally I'd choose a G4 with a 17" monitor. But, failing that, I suppose I'd still choose the G4 desktop and then whine persistently for a better monitor <g>. Seriously, though, I think the 17" iMac is a reasonably good value particularly with the availability of good Firewire drives. You should definitely be able to do some good editing with it.

Is this for a school and, if so, how do you market the class(es) that will use this workstation?
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Old December 17th, 2002, 11:05 AM   #28
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It's for use in a university, Ken. I'm currently doing a research project recording oral histories surrounding some major political and social events in American Indian communities in Oregon. My new home will be in British Columbia, where part of my job will be developing a framework for similar projects with First Nations communities there, quite likely with undergraduate interns (some of whom, I hope, will go on to become graduate students). Your suggestion about the G4 seems like a good one. Thanks for all your advice.

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Old December 18th, 2002, 12:39 AM   #29
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<<<-- Originally posted by Paul Sedillo :
... Went to Pro Tape today with Mark Austin and we had serious toy lust going on. It is a crippling affliction that is a tough to battle. Some days it almost gets the best of me. Poor Mark had to be drug out of the store kicking and screaming. Something about wanting to mate a GL2 and a PD-150. -->>>

Oish...don't I know it. I think I've got it bad. I just bought the 16x manual lens for my XL1s. That means I now have every available lens and accessory (except the 3D lens which is mercifully out of production) for the XL1s. We need to start a support group here.
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Old December 18th, 2002, 03:22 AM   #30
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Oh man Ken, that is *exactly* why I don't want to buy an XL1S. I'd go crazy with all the extra stuff and end up broke in about a month.
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