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Old June 17th, 2005, 10:26 AM   #1
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Good first impression

I do in-house corporate work, taking direction from marketers (clients), and while I'm looking to upgrade to HD, I'd need to give careful consideration to the clients impression as well.

If I were to have sit-ins with clients, taking their direction, what system would be the most impressive, and give me the greatest tactile response?

Let's say a budget of $10K for at least DVCPRO HD or equivalent. Although content is king, I'd want the client to be equally impressed with the look and feel of the edit session, and that means the ergonomics and hardware.

Any ideas, experiences, or suggestions you'd like to share? Thanks in advance.

Pete
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Old June 17th, 2005, 11:39 AM   #2
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i'm sure you'll hear a lot of different ideas from folks, and i'm curious to see what people say.

for me, a nice dual 2.7ghz g5 with dual 23" apple monitors would make a nice impression. or get the single 30". your choice. there are plenty enough good reasons to use a mac and final cut for editing anyhow, but you have to admit the towers look cool. design has always been a big part of apple's thing, and i think they definitely got it right with the g5 (and the monitors.) normally this is a secondary consideration, but we're talking about the superficial side of things here, so i think it's appropriate. course, i have no idea what platform and software you're comfortable with, but i will tell you that if you're fairly adept at any nle, you can pick up final cut very quickly. my history was premiere, then media 100, then a brief stint with avid. i switched to final cut probably about 2 years ago, never took a lesson, never did a tutorial, and i was editing right away.

also (this is arguably the most important part,) a very good production video monitor. if these sit-in situations are going to be very frequent, you might want to consider one monitor for you when editing, and a second, bigger one in a nice position to look at from the couch/client seating. (a nice couch for clients really helps. typically, high-end post houses have very swank and comfy seating for producer types to sit in while the editor does the work.) and good sound. get some decent studio monitors. for the video monitors, you might need to think about some that can handle hd, although this will have serious budget ramifications. i don't have any specific recommendations for hd monitors, since for me, that is still quite a ways down the road. but if you do get 2, you could probably get away with a production monitor for you and a high-quality tv for the clients.

and if you're not broke yet, nice incandescent lighting on dimmers. and a plant or two.

that's about it. that's the environment that would say "quality" to me, from the perspective of someone who knows how to use this stuff, or someone who is totally superficial.
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Old June 18th, 2005, 11:09 PM   #3
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Thanks Nate, all very good information. I'm curious why you dropped avid, as their selling point is being the most tactile and fluid response for cases of client direction.

I agree the mac hardware is the most pleasing, and the monitors are second to none. I've been eyeing the new Dell 24" LCD, but after following Mike Curtis' experience on HDforindies.com, I'm not so sure. Sony apparently now has LCD's that are graded for CC, which is interesting.

Again, it must be true that most folks think of mac as being the "standard", while PPro or windows applications play second fiddle. I'm the only PC guy in my dept using PPro, and gather that from the Mac folks, the PC's are more or less suited for office applications. I have a dual xeon 3.06GHz, and until the G5's was king of the hill. Speed doesn't matter if you have to recover from crashes and do things twice over. The mac to intel switch has got me bugged though.

I'm not surprised other folks have pitched in. (Maybe due to another this vs. that software thread). In my case, I have no preference to which app I use. I just want something impressive without having to spend $100K on a Quantel. I'll have to get my hands on a demo of FCP, and see if one my buddies will lend me time on their G5's. Thanks again.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 02:05 PM   #4
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Look at the Canopus HD systems.

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Old June 19th, 2005, 05:18 PM   #5
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Audio, don't forget audio.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 08:48 PM   #6
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avid is fine too. i didn't suggest avid because you're not talking about hollywood stuff, and these days fcp is as common as avid in that middle ground area (corporate work, etc.) and i find fcp to be plenty fluid/responsive for me when i need to show someone footage. i'm not sure i see any real difference there, but it comes down to personal preference.

as far as the mac bias goes, one of the reasons for that is that you could edit video on macs before windows os's even existed. apple got video down first and they did it well. don't get me wrong. i teach college video production and i often teach on ppro systems in an all pc school. it seems to me like adobe have finally gotten it right with ppro. the earlier versions of premiere were simply not comparable to final cut or avid, but pro is nice. although, back to the superficial considerations, the high-end dells that i'm used to teaching ppro on look like garbage. i can't tell you the model nos off the top of my head, but a year ago they were the most expensive towers dell were offering. they're this ugly blue color and all of the front-accessible ports are hidden behind this horrible cheap hinged plastic door. the processors are fast and they seem stable enough but they look like toys.

i can't speak to the canopus recommendation because i've only used their very cheap analog- to- firewire boxes. those certainly didn't scream "gold standard" to me, but i haven't played with their higher end systems.

i will add a hearty "second that motion" to bob's audio reminder. audio means everything in this kind of work. like i said before, good studio monitors are a must. don't know so much about the pc end, but on macs, final cut works very well both with protools and logic. protools, like avid, (same company) requires their proprietary hardware to work. logic doesn't. to people who think they know about this stuff, protools is the audio gold standard. recording studios with hourly rates equivalent to your monthly salary that recorded the last avril levine record use protools. logic is nice, and no easier or harder to use, once you learn it. and logic (as well as final cut) can export multitrack files that can be brought into protools if you are doing what they do in hollywood and having a separate sound mixer mix your audio. (conventional wisdom being that one person can only do one thing well and you need a mixer to do your sound.) (if you suspect that the aforementioned conventional wisdom is directly related to the union politics that dictate the division of labor in the professional film/tv world, then you win a cigar.) i haven't used it yet, but the "soundtrack pro" app that is part of the final cut studio bundle looks like it can handle every audio task you'll ever need to deal with. then again, i quite like audition, which used to be cool edit pro before adobe took it over, and is part of the "adobe pro video bundle." i have found that the stock mac soundcard is totally decent, whereas most pc's will probably need an upgraded soundcard. not a big deal. i'm assuming/hoping that you're not trying to mix surround sound. that's a whole new can of worms.

anyhow, these are just some spur of the moment thoughts after seeing the replies left by yourself and others.

one more thing is that switching from ppro to final cut is very easy. at least i assume it is since i found myself able to edit immediately in ppro after a couple years' experience in final cut, avid, and media 100. with ppro, adobe basically copied final cut. many keyboard shortcuts are the same, as is the general layout, etc.

anyhow, holler if you have any questions or anything, and good luck.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 12:28 PM   #7
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Give me a cigar! (I found that comment very funny). It's not that hollywood needs several people to do the job. Just that technology is up enough to allow many of the tasks to be done while in the edit suite, rather than a dedicated tech. One click fixes means more time to focus on the content and message, and less time to worry about technique.

I do have both the adobe creative suite and video collections, and love the interactive between PPro/AE/Audition. I also have a Dell 650 and two used 21" CRTs. If I were going for the industrial look, I already have that. However, this stuff has already realized ROI many times over, and is beginning to fail. So, in my upgrades HD, I can afford to consider all aspects of a switch, etc.

Seems to me that FPC suite is mirror copy of the Adobe suite in features and funcationality? But with the stability of OSX and mac hardware. Hmmmm.

I've also looked at different PC cases, and most them are either plain vanilla, or go right into toy land as over-rated game machines. Lights and all. Just too cheesy. I'd more likey hide the CPU away and have a clean desk with just wireless or discrete looking periferals and killer monitors.

I wonder if I could use some Bose shelf speakers, I like the 301's. Wall mount them. Use a few fabric panels to kill sound reflection. Simple track lighting with small cone lights.

Anyway, that's for the additonal info.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 02:02 PM   #8
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i wouldn't say that the fcp suite replaces the adobe one. for sound and video editing, yes. but you'll still want photoshop if you'll be doing any stills stuff. and i wouldn't want to be without after effects. (motion is not a replacement, though it seems to allow you to do much of the same stuff with that easy/sometimes annoying apple interface.) i've used after effects for a long time, and i think i'll continue to do so.
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