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Old July 26th, 2005, 04:02 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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Newbie question regarding G5 iMac and external hd for editing

Hi there,

I've been out of the game awhile and wanted some fresh advice.

I was considering buying the new G5 imac with 1 GB ram, 400 GB disk space and FCP express.

I wanted to learn how to seriously edit so I can one day work on a feature or documentary.


1) Is this a good set up? I don't want to spend too much but I want to be ready for anything without having to shell out to much later

2) I read in a previous post that it would be better to have a smaller hard drive and buy and external drive but I did not understand the explanation why - is there someone that can explain that reasoning? I would prefer not to have an external drive. Wouldn't that make editing slower/

3) If an external drive is better, what's the best and fastest brand you recommend?

4) With this set up, will I be able to synch in audio recorded separately pretty easy? I've never done that yet but I wanted to try it on my next project

5) I have a bunch of mini DV tapes but no longer have a mini DV camera. what's the cheapest way of transferring my mini dv tapes onto my hard drive?

Thank you in advance for any info!!!!


Thanks for any info. you can provide.
Gilbert Labossiere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 26th, 2005, 04:18 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
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Hi Gilbert, and welcome to DVinfo.

1. The iMac is a practical way to go, but not the best. I assume that you only want to edit standard definition DV footage at this point? It will certainly be more than powerful enough for that. But if you think you might want to edit HD, or run more sophisticated software, then a Dual G5 Powermac would be better.

2. There's no advantage to a smaller hard drive, but there is a big advantage to having a second drive. You'll have less problems and get better performance by keeping all your video on a separate drive. The startup drive (internal drive on an iMac) has thousands of small files on it and gets fragmented over time, which is bad for video. The operating system and applications also read and write from that drive constantly. Much better to dedicate another drive just to video. If you got the PowerMac tower configuration you can easily and cheaply drop in a second internal SATA drive. A 7200 RPM firewire 400 drive is plenty fast for standard definition video (DV25); I have a whole pile of them. It will be a little slower than the internal drive when it comes to copying big files, but not much of an issue. A firewire 800 drive will be even better, although I don't have any myself.

3. That's really a matter of personal taste, lots has been written on this topic around here if you do a search. Just be sure that it's 7200 RPM and one of the newer models. The interface can affect performance, but the newer ones are probably all OK. In the past it was best to look for the "Oxford 911" chipset. Personally I have 4 maxtor one-touch 160GB 7200RPM firewire 400 drives which have never given me any problems.

4. I haven't worked with separate audio sources, but I think it's a matter of using a "clapper" and just matching that to the spike in the audio track.

5. Well obviously you'll need either a camera or a tape deck for this. The cost might be nothing if you can borrow one from a friend, or it could cost several hundred dollars to rent a good deck from a rental house for a few days. An external drive might help here too if you can go over to a friend's, plug it into their Mac and use their camera/deck to capture your footage.... the cost might only be a six-pack ;-) But don't you think you'll want your own DV camera anyway?
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 26th, 2005, 07:41 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply and info!
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