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Old August 26th, 2006, 11:15 PM   #1
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SOS from an ignurrant(sic)PC user

I'm at my desk looking at a Power Mac G4 that a guy from craig's list wants to sell to me for $395(Specs below)I know very little about Macs but I need to learn the FCP interface for editing work.I use Vegas 6 on my PC but everyone seems to want FCP.Apart from looking at the system profile to make sure the specs are accurate(I'm ignurrant not stupid),what would you look for if you were me ? The guy went off to find a working monitor-the Dell CRT he brought wouldn't fire up...hmmmm,yes I'm getting nervous.I know the specs aren't really good for FCP 5 but I'm looking to run FCP 4 to learn the software and do some basic cutting.
Any ideas ? I've got about an hour before he gets back.I would have researched this more thoroughly myself-I'm notoriously anal-but this came up out of the blue and could be a great deal.thanks for your attention
Richard

Apple Power Mac G4 Tower 733Mhz CD/DVD-ROM 512MB 60GB OS 10.4

733Mhz G4 with 1MB L3 Cache
512 MB SDRAM (expandable to 1.5GB)
60 GB 7200 RPM hard drive
CD-RW

nVidia GeForce2 MX with 32 Mb of VRAM

Fresh install of Mac OS X 10.4.7
Mac OS 9.2.2 (can dual boot)
Adobe CS2
Toast 7
MS Office 2004

Apple USB keyboard & mouse.
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Old August 27th, 2006, 08:06 AM   #2
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Personally I wouldn't buy that machine if you want to run FCP. I had the exact same model and it served me well for a few years. Two years ago I gave it away to a friend so she wouldn't have to use an old Windows 98 machine for web browsing and home stuff.

It should run FCP, but is going to be very slow for anything which needs rendering and you won't get much realtime response. I'd think you could find something with a little better specs for not much more money. That's a 5 year old machine (just looked, and I bought mine in June 2001). I just don't think it makes sense to spend money on something that old if you want to run serious software.

Regarding the software.... is he just leaving a copy on that machine while he continues to use the same programs on another machine? If so then that's obviously not legal. I'd be suspicious if he's giving you almost $1000 worth of software and a computer for $400....
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Old August 27th, 2006, 11:18 AM   #3
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The dealmaking tension builds...

Thanks for the input ,Boyd.No doubt it would be a training-wheeled beater of a bike but ,as you said yourself,it will serve me well for a certain purpose.A gig of RAM and a lot of overnight rendering sessions at a minimum.But labor well worth doing for the long run.The kind of work I'm talking about is short and simple pro-am stuff;actor auditions/reels,made-for-the-net shorts,local band performances,etc.I need to offer as many saleable skills as possible to get the experience and contacts .I find too many people strain for the techno carrot that's always just out of reach rather than learning their craft with the available tools.I want to get clients and,whether fair or not,the average Joe responds to the brand.I have a solid pc-based post set-up:P4 3.0 HT chip laptop with a gig of RAM,Mobility Radeon 9600 video card,DVRack,Vegas 6,lots of external storage but I'd rather be slaving over some asinine magician show project in the real world on a creaky Mac than noodling away aimlessly all night,making all my nowhere plans for nobody in eyepopping style.As a former teacher,I'm all for book-learnin' but
Speaking of reality, back to the tale.The guy shows up with another monitor,machine boots up fine.System profile matches his claim but ,apparently ,that can be doctored/parts swapped out.Long story,slightly shorter,he agrees to leave the monitor on loan while I make up my mind.First alarm goes off when dvd player won't work.Hmmm.Tried to open Adobe CS programs.Re-directed to Apple site to activate.Ethernet connection works ,at least.No answer to my vm left late last night.
I would not use pirated software.Not only unethical but also unappealing from a support perspective.I love the treasure troves of info /tech support that come with serious software that is legit.
Perhaps I'm naive but is it not possible to transfer the registration of software on a computer when that computer's administrative rights are given away or sold.Clearly,if the original guy is still using it on another machine,it's a
violation.Will investigate.Will update.I'm sure you are all on the edge of your seats...
thx again,Boyd,for your two cents.I've lurked for some time on these boards and learned a lot from you and all the other generous souls here.Except maybe for that odd Eastern European guy...Radek,was it?....;)
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Old August 27th, 2006, 11:40 AM   #4
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Will I make the final cut or run ?

Thanks for the input ,Boyd.No doubt it would be a training-wheeled beater of a bike but ,as you said yourself,it will serve me well for a certain purpose.A gig of RAM and a lot of overnight rendering sessions at this price point is a bargain if kosher ..The kind of work I'm talking about is short and simple pro-am stuff;actor auditions/reels,made-for-the-net shorts,local band performances,etc.I need to offer as many saleable skills as possible to get the experience and contacts .I find too many people strain for the techno carrot that's always just out of reach rather than learning their craft with the available tools.I want to get clients and, fairly or not,the average Joe responds to the brand.I have a solid pc-based post set-up:P4 3.0 HT chip laptop with a gig of RAM,Mobility Radeon 9600 video card,DVRack,Vegas 6,lots of external storage but I'd rather be slaving over some asinine magician show project in the real world on a creaky Mac than noodling away aimlessly all night,making all my nowhere plans for nobody, in eyepopping style.As a former teacher,I'm all for book-learnin' but it needs real world application to develop into skill.I don't want to come off as eithertrying to cut corners or uncommitted to getting serious gear.But deals can be had with a judicious eye. I just bought a virtually new 501 head and 3021 BM sticks from a yuppie who didn't know how to release the plate.Spending money doesn't make you competent.BTW,I paid his asking price...$100...I almost ran out the door.Maybe it's asking too much to get that lucky again but ....
So,back to the tale.The guy shows up with another monitor,machine boots up fine.System profile matches his claim but ,apparently ,that can be doctored/parts swapped out.Long story,slightly shorter,It's late.I have a cold,he has to get up early.He agrees to leave the monitor on loan while I make up my mind.Good sign methinks -the parts alone are worth half the asking price.If he's a con,he's a poor one.But then alarm goes off when dvd player won't work.Hmmm.Tried to open Adobe CS programs.Re-directed to Apple site to activate.I have no discs,no codes.Software installed only a few days ago,according to logs.Ethernet connection works ,at least.No answer to my vm left late last night.
I would not use pirated software.Not only unethical but also unappealing from a support perspective.I love the treasure troves of info /tech support that come with serious software that is legit.
Perhaps I'm naive but is it not possible to transfer the registration of software on a computer when that computer's administrative rights are given away or sold? Clearly,if the original guy is still using it on another machine,it's a
violation.Will investigate.Will update.I'm sure you are all on the edge of your seats...
thx again,Boyd,for your two cents.I've lurked for some time on these boards and learned a lot from you and all the other generous souls here.Except maybe for that odd Eastern European guy...Radek,wasn't it?....;)
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Old August 27th, 2006, 12:20 PM   #5
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Well I understand where you're coming from, but I still wouldn't buy that machine. This is going to be your first Mac experience and it will be far from optimal on a 5 year old machine. Everything is going to seem slow. Motion won't run on that machine because of the CPU and graphics cards. It doesn't meet FCP5 specs. Where are you going to get a copy of FCP4, and why? From what I've seen, FCP5 runs faster on the same hardware (it does on my 1ghz G4 PowerBook).

I applaud your desire to avoid unlicensed software. But also be aware that when you upgrade to a new version of a program, you may NOT sell the previous version to someone else. Yes you should be able to transfer a license to someone else, but that means you must remove any copies of it from your own machine, including upgrades to a newer version.

But the main problem with the older machine is that, assuming you want to keep using FCP, you'll get frustrated with it quickly. Then you waste more money buying RAM, graphics cards, hard drives, etc. All of this will be pretty much down the drain when you finally go out and buy the machine you should have bought in the first place. You can get single core Intel Mac Mini's for $500, or maybe still find a new G4 mini. These will run considerably faster than that G4/733. It was a great machine in its day - was the best bang for the buck in Apple's 2001 lineup, which is why I bought one. But it's really way behind what you would want for a Mac today.

Let us know what you decide and how it works out for you. Thanks for the compliments, glad you're finding useful info here at DVinfo!
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Old August 27th, 2006, 07:40 PM   #6
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Sometimes you just have to seize the darned carp...

My situation is both a blessing and a curse.I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world(SF) but also one on the cutting edge of the technology we are talking about.People discard functional computer gear on the street here every day.Finding a a bargain but legitimate copy of either FCP 4 or perhaps even FCE will not be difficult .I know it's hard for you Mac chappies to accept such apostasy but Apple does lose the odd believer.I'm so far from needing the big guns of FCP or even Vegas that it isn't funny.lots of access to the workflow and many hours of learning from y'all's experiences will be a better investment than an extra 500 +bucks that it'll take me weeks of being bogged down in exhausting labor to earn back.i won't have the time or energy to put the extra technical prowess to work.That's the reality of it.
i'm not some reverse-snob Luddite primitivist.There is method to my madness.I even bought a Panny AG-DVC30 to replace my GS200I still use my gs200 more.I'm scared to take that thing outside.A good part of the decision was based on public perception of what a pro cam should look like.All dolled up in it's audio and filter finery,it looks the part.I could have saved a bundle by just renting gear when I needed it but the perception among the cognoscenti is that you need some thing with heft in your arsenal to be taken seriously.you could be an absolute dolt but get work because you have a DVX100A."Well,you have to produce the goods or you'll never get hired again".sure skills are valued but the technology is so good now that with even the most rudimentary skills,a DVX will make a pretty picture more often than not.Pretty enough to impress the bluffers,anyway.the people who post almost daily on cl here for help.They want a 20 page script turned into a 5 minute short.a no budget music video with green screen effects,multiple locations,a boom/sound recordist with his own gear,etc ..multi-camera live footage synched with their homemade cd.All cut and spiffied up with gaudy effects then put up on YouTube,compressed into over-processed cyber-poo.Lunch included...in two days...true story.For every disciplined thoughtful and determined aspirant in the Bay Area there are a score of pretenders who don't know what telecine is but want it desperately anyway..Fortunately I'm too old and cynical to worry about their opinons..unless of course they have buckets of money or a loaded DVX. I am cognizant of the need to baffle with your bullsh@# as well as floor 'em with your footwork.I don't want to be the guy who corners you at a party and tells you his grand plan for life so the short answer to your line of inquiry is money.A $5oo Mini with an integrated video card would certainly work but the gain in speed doesn't justify the extra cost.$105 i.s significant money to me and then there is no upgradeability(is that a word ?) vis a vis the card-a more important criterion in assessing an editing system than processor speed for MY purposesi got plenty of rendering time but a good splashy vfx preview can make a clent melt .There have been at least three or four paying albeit entry level positions on cl in the last month for which a working knowledge of the FCP interface was a key prerequisite.They have the hardware.you just need to be able to tolerate hours of logging footage or watching dvds burn.Aah,the creator's life is tedious in an ironically infinite variety of ways.Books and other training materials for older versions of any software clog the shelves of SF bookstores.I don't need to wow a client with the latest specs or fastest turn around.Half of the stuff I'll do will be paid in trade .Yeah,I'm an enthusiastic bottomfeeder,scuttling across the floors of silent seas.Anyone who catches that reference gets VIP passes to my next" How to maintain a clean work environment "premiere.Real gig.The knife safety piece had them on the edge,I tell ya.I'd put up a clip but they took away all my rights,corporate weasels.I'd love to drop a grand on an Apple-approved training course but it's not realistic.I'm not even sure where my niche is in the process yet.I am a trained theater actor,sometime director,writer.Getting a crew of even half-serious folk for the smallest project while wearing any of those hats is like herding cats.Editing intern/gear tech/wedding video flunky ; these are all real world gold that I can cash in later and train myself,to a considerable extent in the comfort of my overpriced studio apartment. And those three little letters keep popping up and tripping me(FCP).Hell,I live five blocks from the SF Apple Store.I can pay them a c-note for an hour's worth of silly questions one-on-one every week for a year.Plus free lectures-that will go in one non-technically adept ear and out the other if I can't apply them in whatever rudimentary fashion.I'm 42 and a cyber-simpleton but a year of slogging through books,dvds,and endless bizarre experiments with a Vegas trial,then ,Movie Studio,and then the big Kahuna has brought me a measure of confidence and knowledge.I've been a waiter for the last year and a half despite a solid teaching resume so I could have the flexibility to go through this process.I get a little weak in the knees if I spend $20 bucks om my day off.Thousands of very hard earned money spent on painstakingly -researched equipment,software,training,etc.Each choice was a compromise.And I'm sure they will continue to be .all i know is that I can lose myself in a piece of editing or a script or some other aspect of the myriad creative processes that go into presenting these shadow dances we call movies or film or digital content and I emerge at the other end excited and hungry for more.i'm puttin' it out there Boyd.It's not about the specs;it's about passion and persistence.When I was teaching the conditional tenses to gaggles of sleepy exchange students,I would often ask themwhat they would be doing if they had a million dollars.For me ,it wouldn't change in essence.Sure the toys would be better and greater aspirations could be fulfilled but the heart of it would be the same.i'd still be looking for that delightful smile I saw on my buddy Matt's face when he saw the keyframeable magic I worked on his drawings.
i can't nor do I want to argue the relative merits of this system over that.my purpose in posting was to get fired up to ask the questions.yes ,iwant the bang for my buck but i have to reiterate my point about getting caught up in the Next Best Thing phenomenon(see the drool-dripping threads on the HVX cam or Red or the new whateverDon't misinterpret.i love the gadgets too,the promise of new possibilities and the real need to stay abreast of the technology to put more of your skills and passion in the final cut.I'll develop the skills and the technology will come to me.i respect your knowledge and pragmatism and most certainly envy your ability to make a living in the creative arts.i just have to deal with being small fry for the time being and get the most out of the options available to me.
whew,too much coffee.feel free to trim the acerbic rantings
i'm waiting for some follow-up on the Mac.If I can't get a reduction in price or a seriously good discount on a good monitor,I may well walk away.But I've learned alot from the experience.More,I would argue,from gazing at the pretty specs of FCP5 on their website and dreaming of the day I can actually afford it.Of course,it'll be out of date by then...
nothing like putting your hard earned moolah on the line to focus the mind.i appreciate your playing Devil's Advocate.It helps.If I'm ever in Philly,I'll come heckle you from The Gods at the Opry.
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Old August 27th, 2006, 07:55 PM   #7
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Well in that case.... go for it! But, um, I think you need a new keyboard. Your carriage return key seems to be broken...

;-)
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Old August 27th, 2006, 09:18 PM   #8
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A brief (i promise) coda...ok,so I lied

Ouch...a hit a very palpable hit from the dry-witted maestro.I'll actually attempt to rebut your points logically and briefly.
firstly,the cpu speed/graphic card assessment.I had intended to buy a decent monitor to keep me from getting squirrelly on my 15.4 lcd laptop screen when running V6.I drew on Jan Ozer's rendering tests in ,what,PCMag,of a year or two ago for my theory that RAM and a good v-card were more valuable overall than the fastest chipset when all is considered.Anecdotal evidence over the last year on my HP laptop has not changed my mind(ATI Mobility radeon 9600,128 oodgemaflips of VRAM).The GeForce2 MX on the Mac in question certainly isn't state of the art but it supports dual monitors and has a scootch of VRAM.And,being a tower desktop,it is upgradeable(yucky techglish!)
Why an older version of FCP.Money.Any Mac in my paltry range is going to strain under FCP 5's demands.A copy of a relatively current FCE will give me the exposure to it's terrain and be probably even easier on the wallet.Trust me,I'm more frustrated by not being able to buy the little things you need to be ready to roll production -wise.I spent $500 on a plywood pyramid last Halloween.If I had had the difference in price between FCP5 and FCE whatever to spend on a reliable cam operator,I'd have a pretty interesting doc/performance piece to show you.i'm frustrated at being out of the running for paying gigs because I can't talk the FCP talk.I know what Shake and Motion are and would love to play with them at full strength but if I can't take a day off from the food wars to shot a music video for a hundred bucks and beer,what's the point of having them and a machine that will render their magic quickly ?
.There's a wonderful Jack London story about an aging boxer called,I believe,for a piece of steak.Even an over-caffeinated digitally(in the finger sense)-challenged loon like me gotta eat.BTW,mocking my typing skills is beneath you.Worry less about form and and enjoy the substance.Or loathe it.Either way,I would prefer the honest gut response to the snide dig.I can gild the margins with the best of them but it felt more important to get my point across than worry about tabulation.For shame,sir.What is a pure voice without the coloratura,the passion ? I do indeed get frustrated by the limitations of lower end equipment but I think I can honestly say that ego,lack of commitment,and poor preparation have submarined more projects than technical limitations.

While I acknowledge that the most creative tools in the most disciplined and skilled hands will produce the best work most of the time ,i would ask you to concede that all of these toys are insanely powerful and effective in the right context.I don't honestly know if I will want to build a mac machine down the road.Quite frankly,it's a purely pragmatic move.there are far more serious limitations on my meteoric rise to the top of the cinematic world such as getting stuck in self-indulgent rants with the likes of you.I mean no disrespect.You're points are lucid and well-grounded.Long may you gently chide the wackos like me.
"I like to watch,Eve" from one of my favorite films.name it and I'll mention you in my Oscar speech...no,really
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