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Old March 27th, 2006, 11:56 AM   #1
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Video editing platform question

Hi, I am trying to do a survey to find out what would be the best computer for me to buy, so I'd like to ask a few questions.


What kind of computer do you use? (mac, pc/ Prossesor speed/RAM...)

What software do you use:

Why did you choose this system:

How has your overall experience been with this system:

What are some problems you have had:

What Would you recomend to anyone:



Thanks in advance for your help,

William.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 12:12 PM   #2
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I think you are going about it the wrong way. State your budget and your requirements, and perhaps we can recommend a solution.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 01:21 PM   #3
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I agree, I think you'll find different people use different systems depending on what they're doing. For the record, I use a dual 2.0 ghz PowerMac G5 with 2 gb of ram and I'm using Final Cut Pro 5 to edit. I actually got this last August and I've been thrilled with it, no problems at all except some minor ones Apple was able to fix within a few minutes.

I would recommend you look at what you want to do before deciding on a system. Also, the cost of software also needs to be factored in. I'm kind of biased, but I would recommend a mac to you simply because I've had a much more positive experience and I like their software a lot better than what's available for Windows, but again, it depends a lot on what you want to do and the budget you have.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #4
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Like Emre said, it's better if you approach the problem from what you want to do and what your budget is.

i.e. You would like to get your feet wet in making films or video, and you're on a tight budget.

I would recommend a PC with Sony Vegas. Vegas is very powerful and is very, very good value. It has the best audio tools of any editing program available, good compositing tools, very good color correction tools, etc. Other editing programs need another program to do the same thing (i.e. Avid / Pro Tools, Final Cut Pro / Soundtrack / Motion, Premiere Pro / Audition / After Effects).

With PCs, the cheapest cheapest route would be to get a base system from Dell and throw in your own upgrades (it's like building your own computer). This I believe is slightly cheaper than building a computer from scratch... it works because Dell prices their base models very low. The disadvantage to that route is that you may not get good support, and Dell parts can be proprietary (which means you replace the computer instead of upgrading).

Next cheapest routes are:
assemble your own computer
get a company to assemble a computer for you (i.e. monarchcomputers.com); like above, but with a $50/$80 build fee
buy a pre-built OEM computer from eMachines, HP, Sony, Dell, etc. Not sure what the pricing on these are- they may be cheap if you can find a deal on these. You may not get good support and the parts may be proprietary. The OS on OEM computers may be loaded with junk.

If you want something simple and doesn't waste your time messing around with computers, I suggest a Mac. With PCs, you have to watch out that you don't screw up your computer with viruses and spyware. The best way to deal with that on PCs is:
A- Just don't connect to the Internet. Or
B- Install:
Antivirus program to deal with viruses. Disable real-time protection if it gives you problems. AVG and Avast are good free programs. NOD32 is a good commercial antivirus that scans faster. Avoid anything Norton (in my opinion; their products aren't very good anymore).
Microsoft Antispyware Beta to deal with spyware.
Spyware Blaster (optional; more spyware protection)
Make sure window's firewall is turned on, and that your machine gets regular updates.

Anyways, the combination of Mac and Final Cut Pro means less messing around with computers. You might want to wait a little bit though, because the Mac platform is moving over to Intel processors and I don't believe FCP runs on it yet.

2- The reason I wouldn't spend much on computer hardware is:
A- A better computer doesn't improve the quality of your videos.
B- Computers lose value very fast. Computers get 2X faster about every 18-24 months for the same price.
C- You pay exponentially more for increases in performance. Once you have an entry-level dual core processor, the cost/performance ratio gets worse as the speeds get higher.

If you spend lots of time on your computer however, a faster computer will save you time (and hence money).
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Old March 27th, 2006, 03:19 PM   #5
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other thing about Mac is it will come with basic software to do anything you want for free. you get iMovie for editing, iDVD for authoring and garageband for audio. It isn't anywhere near as good as Final Cut Studio, but for a begginer, it's an awesome system. If you're not editing HD, get an iMac with a good amount of ram and an external drive and you should be good to go.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 03:49 PM   #6
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Okay,

The reason I went about it this way is becase I really wanted to know what everyone else out there was using, just to use as a reference. What is the most popular, and widely used?

I originally thought that most people used Apple for video, and that it was the industry standard. But I honestly don't know, so I thought I'd ask you guys.

Those of you who do use PCs, what kind of systems do you use and how do they perform?

Right now I already have FCP 4, and Shake. I have a little experience using FCP. And for the sake of the question I want to leave the factor of price out of it. (I mean I'm not gonna buy G5 2.5 quad, with 16 gigs of ram, or anything like that yet) but as far as I'm concerned I just want know what really is the best, or industry standard.

And I know if I ask a mac user they would say "get an Apple, and use Final Cut Pro, it's the only way to go.
And if I ask a pc user they would say to get a pc and use Premier or Avid etc.

So I thought I would ask about your experience and then try to determine for myself what would be the best option.


As for what I want to do with it, I eventually want to do TV documentary type production, and I want a computer that processes video quickly, (not necessarily lightning fast), easily, with minimal crashing,

I greatly appreciate all of your input.

William

P.S
If this doesn't make any sense I apologize
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Old March 27th, 2006, 04:46 PM   #7
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You could go by popularity, but that doesn't necessarily mean you end up with the best editing system. For example, Premiere used to be very popular among hobbyists even though it was really buggy and the interface was tedious (this is before Premiere Pro).
Currently (in my opinion), Premiere is not as strong as Final Cut or Vegas.

Popularity:
For high-end work, Avid is the most popular followed by Final Cut. In some niches (i.e. trailer editing), Final Cut is in the majority.

Among hobbyists/prosumers/whatever, the most popular are likely Final Cut and Premiere Pro. Followed by Avid, then Vegas.

I'm comfortable with Vegas and FCP, and touched Premiere and Avid. At the <$2,000 price point, my order of preference would be Vegas, FCP, then Premiere/Avid. Vegas is a really good product... it's just that the people who own it aren't as good as Apple or Adobe at marketing.

2- For documentary editing, all the editing programs pretty much do the same thing since you're doing 99% cuts and dissolves (or looking through footage). For this kind of project, it really doesn't matter what you use- all the editing programs will do exactly the same thing. Avid and Final Cut Pro are likely the most suitable for this kind of work and can get the job done a bit faster, since they're better at organizing clips.

I believe Avid and FCP the most prevalent for editing documentaries. You may want to learn both programs just so you know the interfaces.

The computer isn't even going to matter that much, as documentaries involve few effects that need rendering.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 05:51 PM   #8
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So I assume that you have used both Apple and pc.
If I am correct then I'd like to ask, what has your overall experience been like using the pc vs. using the Apple?

Also What are the specs on your pc?

Thanks
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Old March 27th, 2006, 06:56 PM   #9
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PC: Cheaper. More messing around with computers. I'm fairly comfortable with computers (built my own... did a short stint doing volunteer tech support at protonic.com) so that wasn't a big deal for me.
Mac: Runs FCP.

PC specs:
At one time I had a celeron 700mhz and you could edit video with that. You can also edit video on G4s, it's not bad.

If you want to get into documentaries, then use the computer you already have and get a copy of Avid Xpress Pro (or DV). With the rest of the money, save it for living expenses while you work an entry-level job (at a facility that does what you want to get into) or shoot your own doc on the side.

For editing documentaries, the editing tools aren't that important at all. If you look at writers, the computer (or pen/paper) they use doesn't really make a difference. And in a way, editing is very similar to writing, except that it's somewhat more technically challenging.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 08:18 PM   #10
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The problem is I was using my brothers G4 766 mhz to do my editing on.
But he sold it cause we are moving. Now I have the software but no computer. I don't want to scrimp on a computer, but I don't have a fortune either.
I'm willing to wait until I can save the money.

I appreciate your help, and I would also appreciate anyone elses input.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 08:58 AM   #11
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I came out of TV news in the 80's where we cut on Sony 5800 and 5850 using an RM440 controller/ We also shot and cut 16mm film (I was a reporter/anchor, but was heavily involved in the production of my pieces and picked up shooting and editing skills along the way.) Fast forward 5 years and a stint in radio news and I got my current job as a one man video production department for a state agency. No gear here. So I researched (this was 1994/5) I looked at the VideoCube (remember those?) Media 100 and Avid. Avid made the most sense to me for two reasons, 1: it was logical to me with bins, clips etc very filmic, and 2: it was on "state contract" so I could buy it with little hassle.

Started with Media Suite Pro on a Quadra 950 (which is sitting in a closet) and 2 9 gb HD. worked great for our purposes. Later upgrading to Xpress DV 3.5 (Laird DVora Win xp)and still working with that. The interface is familar, keyboard shortcuts transferred over and I am faster editing on that than anything else.

At home, I recently completed a documentary on a Celeron 400 using Ulead's Media Studio Pro 6.5 that was based solely on price as this was a "labor of love." I was much slower on that because it "wasn't Avid."*

Why the history lesson? Here's the bottom line: all the software and hardware are just tools basically they make it easier to do than hooking too VCR's together and crash editing (basic terms, very basic) So my advice is to demo systems, find which one works the way you think and that system will make you happy and productive.


* why still on a Celeron 400? Well the capture card I used at the beginning of the project was not supported past Win98 so I just kept going. I am not one who has to have the newest, brightest, shiniest PC on the block. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I upgrade when what I have no longer does the job I need.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 03:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Dortignac
Right now I already have FCP 4, and Shake. I have a little experience using FCP. And for the sake of the question I want to leave the factor of price out of it. (I mean I'm not gonna buy G5 2.5 quad, with 16 gigs of ram, or anything like that yet) but as far as I'm concerned I just want know what really is the best, or industry standard.
Ok, excuse me, I'm just trying to make sense of your post. Are you are saying that you have close to $4000 dollars worth of software and no computer? I've never met anyone who had invested so much into high-end software that didn't own a computer, nor know what type of computer to buy. Apple Shake retails for the price of a nice G5 at around $3000, so you can understand why I find your question out of the ordinary. You would have been better off spending the 3 grand on a G5 and using iMovie!

I'm also wondering why you are asking for opinions on computer platforms and editing solutions. If you are planning on using your copy of Shake, that will dictate what computer you will need to buy. I think your options are Linux or OS X...but that depends on what version you bought. Since you already OWN Final Cut Pro and Shake, the platform decision has already been made, unless your going to BUY all new software. And, why ask people about their experiences of editing packages if you already own FCP? Were you planning on ditching it for something else?

You are already invested in software and your wondering about what computer and editing solution to buy? No offense, but it doesn't make sense.

Another question... why do you need Shake to edit documentaries?

Good luck
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Old March 31st, 2006, 09:06 PM   #13
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Yeah, I know it sounds kinda dumb of me.

I am already, pretty much sold on apple, and have been all my life.

But when when I had to buy my own computer, I wanted to research everything and make sure Apple/FCP Is still the best option. I also needed to convince my Dad (a huge PC fan) of this.

Anyways, I really appreciate all of your input and thank you all for taking the time to share.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 09:12 PM   #14
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Hey! Get an apple. Actually get a MacBook Pro and spend a little on the upgrade from your version of FCP and there ya go.

I guess the two differences not covered here were the difference between an editor and an artist. Apple is for Artists. Editors use the other options.
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Old March 31st, 2006, 10:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Chapman
I guess the two differences not covered here were the difference between an editor and an artist. Apple is for Artists. Editors use the other options.
That's a silly statement, but it does seem like artistic types tend to prefer the Mac platform. Just remember, it's not the tools which make the art...
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