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Old August 14th, 2008, 11:18 AM   #1546
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There is little difference between a 5 year old G4 and a 4 year old P4. The G4 can easily be updated to SATA drives if necessary or use external Firewire 800 drives for HD. The real limitation will be the software. The current versions of Final Cut Studio, iMovie and Final Cut Express all require a G5 of faster and OS 10.4.11 Newer cameras may not be supported by the "old" software so you're in a Catch-22.

Updating old machines may be a case of throwing good money after bad. Upgrading drives, video cards, old software etc. can easily cost hundreds and dollars. If the machine has electrical issues you may not be able to get the parts etc. for an older G4. So ultimately you'd be best served by getting the least expensive iMac (currently $1199). You would also get the necessary software for newer cameras. Apple offers discounts to students and employees of most larger corporations, city, county, state, federal employees etc.

Just as a test I edited a video for a local Country Club/Yacht Club using iMovie '06 HD and it had no problem with the footage from a Sony HDR-HC1. Many people are not aware that the G4's had better FireWire implementations until the last of the G5's.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 08:04 PM   #1547
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Wow -- I had fallen out of touch with this discussion for a while, in the heat of getting ready for the new school year -- and now I find I have quite a lot to think about! Thank you all for your considered advice -- the next time I will really need to get excellent footage is in the spring, so I will be thinking during the fall about whether I'm ready to go ahead and upgrade to a new Mac, and then get the AVCHD camera...

(just by the way to Alexander, I'm not a "gentleman" -- watch out for those assumptions when you find a name you haven't seen before!)

thanks again,
Avilee
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Old September 1st, 2008, 05:16 PM   #1548
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Donald View Post
There is little difference between a 5 year old G4 and a 4 year old P4. The G4 can easily be updated to ... Many people are not aware that the G4's had better FireWire implementations until the last of the G5's.
I disagree that the G4 is easily updated, mostly because of parts availability.

While its technically true that the Firewire implementation was better on G4's than early G5's... the difference is moot in my experience. I've never encountered a flaw on any of my G5 machines with any firewire device on any port. How do you beat that?

This however is all irrelevant because I agree with Jeff's point that the cost of any upgrades to make the machine serviceable will be sufficient to purchase an Intel Mac of some sort with far superior performance. Also no upgrade will ever gain you the software compatibility Jeff rightly brings up.

Avilee,

I apologize for my confusion and for any offense to your dignity caused by my error.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 11:35 PM   #1549
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Okay, looking in on this again after another long break, and re-read the specifics about the OS & Final Cut. I did have my computer in to the shop over the summer (on account of an optical drive problem), and had them install OS 10.4.11, specifically so I could upgrade to the newest version of FCE. So the software would not be a problem, it seems to be working just fine on my machine so far (with footage from my old Sony, of course).

So, here's my dilemma -- I'm really attracted by the idea of the solid-state camera, it just seems to me that the fewer moving parts to go wrong the better... but on the other hand, trashing a perfectly good computer goes completely against my basic ethical system (that's a big part of how the world got in the mess we're in, but that's another story). I was also told by one of the techs at our local Mac place that he thought the AVCHD cameras were a little too new and maybe not quite ready for prime time, and if it were him he would go with the equivalent DV camera... but of course his specialty is Macs, not cameras, so I don't know how trustworthy that might be.

So here's my latest thought -- it might be handy to have a really functional laptop anyway (my iBook is from the fruit-colored clamshell era, going on nine years old, I think, and I haven't really used it in years) -- so i might consider getting a nice Intel MacBook (with enough memory etc.) just to work with video, and keep the desktop for everything else. But before I take that plunge, I'd like to know if what the Mac guy said had any basis in fact -- are the AVCHD cameras still too new, would I be better off gong for the well-reviewed DV model? Or is my thinking about the virtues of solid-state technology closer to the mark?

thanks much,
Avilee

ps. to Alexander -- no offense taken, I've been called lots worse by my (teenage) students, as I'm sure you can imagine!
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Old October 5th, 2008, 04:10 PM   #1550
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My AVCHD Canon is flat out impressive - I pop the card into a small USB adaptor and iMovie picks it right up. In FCE I do a transfer and log - no issues.

Work flow is fairly fast on my MacPro Quad.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 01:45 PM   #1551
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Beginner Camera

Hi, I am currently a film student, and I am starting to get interested in purchasing my first camera. I'm still slightly new to all the technical aspects but I know I'm looking for something that can shoot in at least full HD and that records onto SD cards (or some other digital format that isn't tape or film). I have been looking at the RED Scarlett and am very intrigued but am curious as to what else is out there. I'm looking for a price range around $3000 - $6000 and probably won't actually purchase a camera for at least a year.

What i really want is to know what i should be looking for in a camera, and the strengths and weaknesses of cameras in my price range. I want to use this camera to make independent films primarily, but I am really just looking for knowledge right now, so please enlighten me.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 03:25 PM   #1552
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Why not tape? I'm just curious, because digital formats take a lot of space to archive the footage, and tape is way cheaper than a few terabytes of hard drives. Not to dissuade you, but something to consider.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 10:29 PM   #1553
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Well, I went tapeless mainly to get away from the potential for mechanical problems with the tape transport mechanism. I've had a few tape and tape/transport problems at very inopportune times and when Canon came out with an AVCHD flash media cam I could live with, I made the change.

So far I haven't seen the need for "a few terabytes of hard drives. A pair of 500GB external USB drives with one "mirroring" the other works just fine, when those get about 75% full I'll pick up another pair (maybe 1TB drives will come down to the price I paid for the other two by then.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 12:07 AM   #1554
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because tape is becoming more and more obsolete. The cost of digital storage goes down each day. I just don't like tape for capturing purposes as well as defectability. I would just rather assume to keep it digital from the start, seeing as its all going to end up on my hard drive one way or another. cut out the middle man.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 07:20 AM   #1555
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Currently the best bang for bucks is the EX1 or EX3, but if you're not thinking of buying for a year, I'd hold off and look that what's around then.

I wouldn't call tape obsolete for a few years yet, even tapeless production can be required to be backed up by production insurance onto a tape format designed for recording data.

You can get frame drops and other errors using hard drives on shots, so I'd never say defects will never exist whatever means you record on. Although, the larger VT formats are a lot less likely to have problems than the smaller DV tapes.

I think you're referring to data storage rather than digital storage, since all the main tape video formats are now digital.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 10:42 PM   #1556
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Hi Peter.............

I would suggest you go out now and buy yourself an el cheapo HD "dinky cam" (any flavour you like) and learn first hand how to work a camera.

Want to know which one? Search the DVinfo forums.

Want to know why so and so doesn't work? Search the DVinfo forums.

Want to know why your editing sucks? Search..................

When you can stitch together something that people can watch for more than 2 minutes without running from the room or throwing up, THEN ask about a "big boys toy".

You have a whole year to learn before that day arrives, use it wisely.


CS
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Old October 28th, 2008, 11:00 PM   #1557
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Chris makes an excellent point, better to have a 700-1000 paperweight than a 3000-6000 paperweight.

There's no sense in spending big $ for a camera when you are starting out - the camera does not grant you talent or skill, and you won't develop skill or find out if you have talent unless you HAVE A CAMERA, and use the blooming thing every chance you get. The bigger better gear will likely come to you if you show promise...

Get one of the HF series Canons or a Sony CX12 or better yet an SR11/12 (at least it has a viewfinder...), and start shooting/editing/practicing. You're looking at a 700-1000 investment in a camera that shoots great HD under most situations, and most of the guys around here have one or more of these little critters running around for B cam or crash cam or whatever. You're not waiting around trying to figure out which camera to get (which can be an infinite quest...), and you've got something to start honing your skills without breaking the bank. Worst case you decide you'd rather be a banker doctor or lawyer or something a year from now, and you can sell the cam for most of what you paid for it... or take video of the kids or whatever!
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Old October 29th, 2008, 12:26 AM   #1558
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Well i'm not exactly new to the field. I just don't own my own camera yet. I took 3 years of video in high school and i'm currently a sophmore in university. I bought an Aiptek action HD this summer to hold me over until i buy my real camera. I also currently have access to a sony xd cam which is a friend of mines. I'm familiar with basic camera form, and operations and whatnot, as well as editing (I have adobe premiere pro, after effects, and final cut pro 6.0.4) What i'm currently lacking, is all the up to date latest and greatest of the tech talk. What new features are being built into cameras, what should i have my eyes open for. I know that there is no way of actually getting a solid answer as to what camera i will want in a year, but i'm not asking for a clear cut answer, rather just a general fill me in. Perhaps i will need to spend more time lurking this site, however i have done that for awhile, and just have not been able to get it all summed up, i might find a little bit here and there, but no unifying info. So please, educate me in the ways of digital cinema.
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Old October 29th, 2008, 01:09 AM   #1559
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Hi again, Peter.............

Well, I have some bad news for you.

The breadth of the video market is such that any single responder here on DVinfo would require about 5,000 pages to bring you up to date with everything that is going on out there.

DVinfo houses a good deal of that 5,000 pages, but, guess what?

Yep, you have to read it.

Not that any one person here will, or would want to, write said 5,000 pages.

Start at the top and work your way down, my friend.

There is no easy way to do this unless you want "Do this, Do that, Stop whining"

If you cannot fathom an answer having digested said 5,000 pages, you're either never going to "get it" or just ain't asking the right questions.

Bottom line however, is this:

Cinema is NOT ABOUT THE GEAR!

The first movies were made with equipment not far removed from a Box Brownie.

Stunning movies have been made, and still are, with the most basic stuff you could possibly imagine.

Knowing what the latest bells and whistles are bolted onto/ into the latest video cameras WILL NOT enhance anything you make, if you can make anything worth watching at all.

I strongly suggest you educate yourself and not require others to do it for you.


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Old October 29th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #1560
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Peter, you OWN a camera, probably not the best, but you should already know its limitations. There are better "consumer" HD cameras than what you've got, so the upgrade itch has got to be pretty strong...

The problem is that the tech is moving very fast, there has been a BIG jump from SD to HD tha's exploded in the last couple years. New cameras come onto the market every couple months, with new "features" (most probably marketing, but some are "real").

Maybe a methodology for ingesting the info here might help...

Start with the model #'s of the cameras currently available in your price range, read and follow the threads on those cameras for a while - the structure of DVi is very well set up to do that, with logical divisions to price range and brand/model. I guarantee that when something new comes around, if you are reading here, you'll be one of the first to know about it - typically well before anyone else. By the time your projected purchase comes around, there WILL be new choices, either available or maybe worth waiting for.

Spend the time to learn about sensor size and type, lenses, storage formats, and whatever manual controls each camera offers, plus any "special" proprietary features of specific cameras.

Bottom line, there's not a LOT beyond the basics, how each camera performs those basic functions, and the end results. The tech gets better, the images get better, but you can still make drek with it if the nut on the back of the camera is not properly adjusted... try to keep in mind, it's not the camera, it's the operator, and don't get too caught up in WHAT you are shooting with.

It's a hammer, build something with the one you've got. If a brighter shinier hammer comes along and will help you work faster or get a better end result, and you can afford it or otherwise justify the purchase, get it...

Hope that analogy will make some sense and rip away some of the technobabble.
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