View Full Version : Mac for a specific need/short film clips

Jan 3, 2008, 01:11 PM
Hello all,

I am a PC user (possibly a future ex-PC user). I do have four Ipods, so I'm not completely new to Apple. I have a specific computer need that I am told a Mac can meet. What I'm wondering is 1) can in fact Mac do what I need and 2) should I get a Mac Book, MB Pro, or would a Mini do the trick.

Here's what I need. I teach a class at a university on film. I want to be able to make short clips from some of the films we view (and others I might want to use as examples in class). These clips would be no more than two minutes long. This is legal, by the way, as a recent Supreme Court ruling stated that film scholars may make such short clips for the purposes of their research and for teaching. I would not ever copy the entire film (I won't even show a film I taped off tv, only films I have purchased).

The problem on my PC is that every software program I have tried doesn't know that I have special "rights" and the copyright protection won't let me make these clips.

Can anyone give me advice on this?


Jan 3, 2008, 01:28 PM
Sure. Use Handbrake (http://handbrake.m0k.org) (free) to export the movie from a DVD to mp4 format and then Quicktime Pro (http://www.apple.com/quicktime/) ($25) to crop to the spots you want to show.
Edit: Oops, forgot about your second question. Any Mac can do this easily as long as it has a DVD drive (all of the new ones do)

Jan 3, 2008, 01:31 PM
The problem on my PC is that every software program I have tried doesn't know that I have special "rights" and the copyright protection won't let me make these clips.

What are you trying to take clips from? DVD's, VHS, media files (.wma, mp4, etc).

If you are taking clips from DVDs, there is a program for Windows called DVDFab (http://www.dvdfab.com) that would let you backup the whole DVD or you can take specific chapters from it. DVDFab, however, is not free. There is another program for Windows and Mac called Handbrake (http://handbrake.fr) that allows you to do basically the same thing, and it's free.

Jan 3, 2008, 01:31 PM
i do exactly what the OP asks (i teach design and i use film clips in lectures) and i do it exactly the way stampyhead suggests. i then use keynote to put the clips into and give the lecture.

Jan 3, 2008, 03:19 PM
Will this copy the sound as well? I'm wondering why I can't do this on my PC.

Jan 3, 2008, 03:31 PM
it does copy sound.

Jan 3, 2008, 04:36 PM
I'm sure there is a way to do this on your PC, but chances are it will be just that much easier on a mac :) Annnddd you can do neato things with keynote if you get it (the iwork suite is about 60 bucks from amazon or elsewhere.. schools (mine atleast) sell it for 39.99) not to mention imovie and random other things probably.

A macbook would be more then sufficient for your needs. A mini would clearly do the trick too, though they aren't SR yet, and for a few hundred more dollars you would get the portability which i think for you would really help so you can just bring your laptop back and forth with you from classes and hook it up to whatever projectors are available. I assume a laptop would fit your teaching and all that better.

I'd go ahead and grab the mid level macbook with the education teaching discount and go to town. That's a lot of computer and I think you'll be rather happy with it, and you can even install windows xp under bootcamp if you want to be able to use it for specific programs too!

You could get away with a combo drive I guess with the lowest end one, but since you are a film teacher... and in general for what you are doing, you may very well want to burn some dvds down the line, so the middle line is the best option.

GL! and enjoy your new apple if/when you get it!

Jan 3, 2008, 09:07 PM
Thanks. I know I'll get something, just not sure what or when. Soon, though.

Jan 31, 2008, 06:09 PM
Okay, I tried Handbrake and it says that the DVD is copy protected. :(

Jan 31, 2008, 10:12 PM
The older free versions of RipIt4Me automate the process of ripping and compressing the movie, and will allow you to select only certain portions (such as chapters) to rip. The easiest place to get it is at The Pirate Bay (http://www.thepiratebay.com) (even though it's not pirated, being free software), where they have the entire set of applications you'll need to rip. Their software ignores CSS and Macrovision copy-protection, and removes it from the files that it generates. You'll need a Torrent handler to download it; I recommend uTorrent (http://www.utorrent.com).

The editing part is fairly easy once you've got the files onto the computer; almost any video editing app (Final Cut Pro, Premiere, Avid, etc. - Adobe's Premiere (http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/?ogn=EN_US-gntray_prod_premiere_home) is even available as a 30-day fully functional trial (http://www.adobe.com/go/trypremiere_pro)) will be able to chop the files into suitably-sized clips. There's also VirtualDub (with which it is well worth finding a copy optimized for your platform - Intel Core2 Duo, AMD 64, Itanium, etc. all have special copies that run 35-40% faster than the base version) which is a lot more basic in terms of editing but will offer more flexibility with codecs.

If you're completely new to editing, your film department should have some people around who can help you figure the software out. Many students are fairly proficient at this sort of thing as well, and most would be happy to lend a hand. If you want to use Premiere, though (and there's nothing wrong with it - it's about the best reasonably priced Windows editing application), make sure that you approach a Windows user. Most Mac users will laugh and tell you to buy a Mac before attempting anything of this nature, and you really don't need to if you don't want to.

That said, I'll be buying a Macbook Pro (whenever they update it) for editing with FCP and Avid, and there are few better computers that you can buy for the purpose. If you've got the disposable cash, it's a great buy.