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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old February 10th, 2010, 09:59 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: College Station, TX
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What computer would you use?

Okay, so I know I've seen a thread or two on comparing your big computer guns...but I have a question that I'm looking for a "sensible" answer and not what the biggest and baddest "toy" I should get.

Here's the backstory:

Got in the industry from the TV biz. Invested my initial funds into cameras and equipment, and had a friend who was gracious enough to loan me his spare mac (yeah, a spare!) while I got my feet wet. Got a copy of final cut 5 to throw on it.

Well, it does work for me, but when exporting videos or trying to compress or burn to DVD (or sometimes even render or down-convert to NTSC), it constantly freezes up. I've had to export the same video 5 times sometimes before I can get the entire thing to go.

It's a G4 Mac with Dual 1 Ghz processors with 1.5 GB SDRAM, an additional 400 GB internal harddrive, and a 1 TB external harddrive.

Is it freezing because I'm essentially trying to put out a house fire with a water gun? (In other words, this computer wasn't made to handle that workload?...)

I've already started looking at a new computer since this is a "loaner"...so as a new guy that's being budget concious but willing to spend a few dollars to improve his business, what should I be looking at? To run a basic FCP and compressor or burn large video files to DVD, what's the minimum that I need to be using? (I'm sold more on the Macs -- so Mac geeks feel free to chime in).

Again, not looking for the biggest and baddest out there right now, but looking for something that a guy who does weddings on a regular basis (read: don't have to play much with motion or after effects) would be able to work happily on.

Thanks for your wedding wisdom.


Excuse the double posts, as I'm new at this thing.
Jordan Meserole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 10th, 2010, 10:05 PM   #2
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Location: Bay Area
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You might want to consider a Mac Pro 2.66 Dual Core with 4-8 gigs of RAM. You can still grow with this computer. Or see what the Apple Store has used. You could use a new iMac too, but that would cost you more.

I use 8 gigs of RAM (cheap on a website called OWC) and have ended up using all 4 bays for extra storage.

So my vote is a Mac Pro Dual Core. Quad core if you want it to last longer. Final Cut only allows 4 gigs of RAM, but I run multiple apps at once, so 8 gigs works well. I have my Mac since 2007 and have never had it crash on me.
Kelly Langerak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2010, 10:50 AM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Willmar, MN
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If your primary concern is saving money, I wouldn't go with a Mac. Even used, a decent Mac for editing would cost you twice as much as a PC.

However, there are concerns over buying (not to mention learning) new editing software for the PC.

Before you start thinking I'm a Mac-hater... I'm far from it. I use PC at the office and Mac at home. I simply believe in the right tool for the right job.

But if you're set on a Mac, set a budget (how much money can you spare?) then hit eBay and look for the most machine for the money.
Chris Davis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2010, 04:35 PM   #4
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Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
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First thing to do is to set your computer preferences, in date and time, to read a digital clock that indicates hours, minutes and seconds. As long as that clock continues to read a progression of seconds your computer has not frozen ... although you may be pushing the processor close to its maximum, adding hours and hours to export times.

Second thing to do is to open Activity Monitor (in Utilities). This will let you know whether or not a particular application is responding. A non-responding application has frozen. Close it from the Activity Monitor. Open Disk Utilities (not iDisk Utilities) in the Utilities menu, select the computer's hard drive (usually labeled "Macintosh HD"), and click on "Repair Permissions".

If that doesn't improve performance, then repair Parameter RAM. Hold CMD,OPTION,P, & R down until you hear the 2nd chime.

Additionally, I don't believe G4 computers had a separate video processor with its own video RAM. Never owned a G4, so I am not sure. Of the intel processor Macs, only MacBook Pro, MacPro, and very high end iMac had separate video processors, which made a huge difference in performance.

In Final Cut you can turn off processing features you don't need, then turn them back on when you need them. In upper left corner of time line there is an icon labeled "RT", for real time processor. Click on it and select in the drop down menu "Dynamic". Your resolution ma suffer, but the workflow continues. At the bottom of the timeline, just to the right of the timeline size icons is a triangle icon. Hover over it and a identifer message appears saying "Timeline Menu Layout", or something like that. Turn off the features you don't need, like audio waveforms, filmstrips, labels, etc. These selections will shift more power to processing your edits.

Failing these steps, a hardware upgrade might well be in order. Other posts had addressed this very well.

Last edited by Waldemar Winkler; February 11th, 2010 at 04:37 PM. Reason: Said right instead of left. Directionally challenged. Hear a lot about THAT in basic training.
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