advice on setting up a low budget video suite at home?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by corywoolf, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. corywoolf macrumors 65816

    corywoolf

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    #1
    I have a vcr-mini dv combo hooked up with firewire already to my 800mhz iMac 15". I am considering spending about $6000 on a small studio which I will finance. I was using the colleges s editing suites for a while, but I am in new classes and i was told I can't use the suites anymore. I have been using fcp3 for about 2 years now. I want to use my student discount on the setup. come up with a list of stuff you think I should get, including a camera and accessories. I was thinking either a powermac g5 dual 1.8 ghz, and a 20" apple display (i am shallow and couldn't put a dell monitor with a g5) ;) I also wanted to consider a small powerbook (refurbished?) and a spacious external hard drive or internal. try to see how far you can stretch $6000. I need to finance through apple. so keep it strictly off of apple's site. i know, its hard to get any good deals off apples site. well see what you can do. thanks :cool:
     
  2. kaltsasa macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Location:
    Kellogg IA
    #2
    Why not finance through your local bank. You'll get a much better intrest rate, and by not being tied to the products on apples web site you will be able to stretch your dollars much further. Firewire Drives from Other World Computing , Camera from B and H Photo, green screen software from FX Home. Nab the computer and editing software from Apple, but your going to be hurting trying to get it all from Apple.
     
  3. corywoolf thread starter macrumors 65816

    corywoolf

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    #3
    good idea... I am only 16 though. I am getting another part time job at an upscale restaurant. I want to finance a honda accord used too. I just have to figure out how much I will have to set aside per monthy for it. I am worried that my parents credit will come into play though. I would need a co-signer. So I might have to just save up for a long time. I follow through with things though. I have purchased over $1500 of software/ hardware over the last 4 years with all of my own money. But I really don't want to do what I did for my $500 iPod. I saved up for a whole summer and bought it (of course I saved about $600 in an account though). I don't like the thought of being tied down to this for 5-10 years though. I don't mean to sound ignorant either. Any advice on a bank or way of doing this with only about $600-$700 a month coming in? I made about $200 off my apple stock I had for about 6 months (it started off with about $800 in the account). Since I have no credit yet, what do I do. Do they give loans out to 16 year olds? For $6000?
     
  4. Espnetboy3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    #4
    that seems a bit too much to invest at 16 years old. I would say spend less make sure you are really into it and like it before you go out spending all this money on it and not be into it in a few years.
     
  5. corywoolf thread starter macrumors 65816

    corywoolf

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    #5
    yeah, that's how it would sound, but I have been editing for five years and I have already taken the most advanced video courses at the community college. I also would like to get after effects, and a few other apps. I don't like pirating software because its a pain in the ace to update and it is often missing important files. I know what your thinking though. With all these young people getting into this all the sudden it seems like a fad or like how teens pick up a guitar for a month and think they are hot stuff. Then they put it in a closet and never play it again. but trust me, i am not like that. I am sick of all these teens that think they are hot stuff because they can throw together a shakey camera shot video in imovie. Not to sound egotistical. But even though I fall within those years, I am far ahead of any teens I know of that are into editing. I started off with a imac dv edition back in '99 and got a imac g4 in '01. But yes, I see your point. But I would rather get a nice computer and a decent car, then a decent computer and a new car.
     
  6. Logik macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2004
    #6
    just get an ibook or 12" powerbook, use an existing monitor, and buy the production suite... finance through your local bank or credit union, apple will deny you, and i think they require you to be 18 before you can even apply. even better is get that job, save some money, and don't finance as much if any at all. i financed $1400 to pay for my powerbook... only because i needed to build credit, i could've paid for it all in cash but didn't have any loans and they said it was a good place to start, i was easily approved and they had no problem at all... apple denied me.. glad they did too because the interest rate would've been about 3 times higher i think
     
  7. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #7
    Well, once I decided I was serious about video editing I had to have the best 3-CCD DV video camera I could afford, which was the Sony VX2000. It has since been replaced with the VX2100 which is about the same thing. I wouldn't worry about the HD cams yet. Bought mine from B&H, by far the best price.

    Computers you can always upgrade but a good video camera should give you quite a few years of service. That and a solid tripod...

    ...not that I'm a pro either, this is just a hobby of mine, but I think I do a pretty good job of it.. :)
     
  8. Platform macrumors 68030

    Platform

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    #8
  9. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2003
    Location:
    NJ USA
    #9
    I'm not sure how you should go about purchasing/financing. Ask your parents for some advice there. Two things to remember though--first, you need good credit and it is good to establish credit. This proves to other creditors that you can pay back what you borrow. It will help you down the road. Second, if you can save and pay cash for something you should. Don't live off of credit.

    So, what exactly are you doing? You say that you are a good video editor and that you want to learn After Effects. Are you a filmmaker? Or do you consider yourself just an editor/FX guy? This may help determine what you need.

    If you are as serious as you sound you probably want one of the prosumer 3CCD cams. Here is a great article comparing 3 of the newer cams--Sony's new HDV FX1, Canon XL2 and Panasonic DVX100A. Sony's VX2100 and Canon's GL2 should also be on your list. Sony's FX1 does High Def video, which is beautiful, but it looks like video, not film. If you are trying to create a film look for future display on large screens you should consider the DVX100A.

    http://www.dvxuser.com/articles/shoot3/

    I'm not sure how you feel about buying used equipment, but if you get the cash together or get a bank loan you can look around for used cams. It's not just teens who get into a hobby and then drop it. A lot of people think they are going to be the next (insert big director's name here) and buy tons of equipment and then it just doesn't happen. Check http://www.craigslist.org for used XL2, DVX100, GL2s, VX2100. Craigslist has local areas and you can meet face to fact to make the deal.

    As for the computer, do you think you could get by with an iMac G5? I think the iMac could handle FCP and After Effects, but I don't think it can run Motion well, if at all. Not sure if you'll want to play with Motion. A Power Mac gives you more room for growth and probably more productivity with real time rendering and faster DVD encoding. Check Apple's special deals page under the online store for refurbs of the previous models.

    Here are the standard prices. I guess EDU prices are a bit lower. You also may be eligible for the upgrade price for Production Suite if you already own FCP. A final thing to consider is starting out with Final Cut Express and iDVD. You've been doing FCP for years so you'll know more than us if you *need* FCP or if you can get by with FCE.

    Panasonic DVX100A 3500 (from b&h photo video)
    PowerMac Dual 2.5 refurb 2599
    20" Cinema display 999
    Production Suite 1299
    TOTAL 8397


    Panasonic DVX100A 3500
    20" iMac G5 refurb 1699
    Production Suite 1299
    TOTAL 6198
     
  10. corywoolf thread starter macrumors 65816

    corywoolf

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    #10

    thanks for all the advice. Yes I am a FX/ Editor guy, I experiment with directing but like editing and effects much better. I am actually done with all the final cut pro 4 classes (I don't want to spend the money yet to get certified) and I am about a month into my after effects class, along with a dvd studio pro class. I am actually doing a dvd of the graduation for my school and will save some of the money I make off that to put towards this. But the powermac is tempting, I could probably get the 15" powerbook with superdrive then. My dad and brother each have 12" powerbooks, I like the portability, but I could never work on that screen if I am not at home. So maybe a 15" powerbook along with a off brand 20" monitor?
     
  11. pdpfilms macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #11
    If you're that into editing, I wouldn't skimp yourself on a computer. Get a G5. You could get a barebones high-end one for further expansion. Add on the Production Suite. Also, You'll want to get a good 3 chip camera, or else everytime a new model comes out you'll be kicking yourself.



    Panasonic DVX100a- $3300 (BHphotovideo.com)
    Dual 2Ghz G5- $2300 (Apple.com)
    Apple Production Suite- $500 (Apple.com)
    Damn I'm already over 6000. Well, those are my suggestions, maybe you can work with it. Good luck!

    Edit: What kind of editing are you doing? Just indy film stuff?
     
  12. corywoolf thread starter macrumors 65816

    corywoolf

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    #12
    I have done a bit of indy film editing, but mostly music videos with a lot of chroma keying and experimenting with effects. You should have seen my first music video done with fcp, EFFECT OVERLOAD! ;) Since I have been using a 800 mhz at home I would think the next gen powerbook would be enough power. Rendering wise it might suck. But with a lot of ram and a big hard drive attached to a 15" powerbook dual g4 or single g5 (what happens next) I think it'd be fine. I like the new powerbooks, but I will take the advice of saving for about half of it and then getting a loan on the rest. You still have to add photoshop cs, after effects, logic express, and ms office student edition. Bahhhh, too much money. I wish apple would create a suite that included logic express or some good audio editor. Logic express would be great for music videos. Final Cut express isn't a bad deal, but I am so used to the pro version, I might regret getting that. I suppose I could p-i-r-a-t-e it if I can't afford it all. But I must get the production suite because fcp4 can't be downloaded as a whole. I like doing things the legal way, but sometimes you gotta brake the law. :(


    I like the camera a lot, I just checked out that website. since I am guessing you own it, is the cine-like mode really useful? does it look cheesy?
     
  13. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2003
    Location:
    NJ USA
    #13
    OK, so maybe you don't need a top of the line camera? Do you expect to be getting footage from others--or will you still be shooting your own footage?

    The next step down in MiniDV cams include the Panasonic GS400 and Sony HC1000. These are 3CCD cams but they are the high-end of the consumer cameras, not the low end of prosumer. That being said, they do offer excellent picture quality and pretty good manual controls.

    These cams would be fine for corporate videos, legal depositions, how to videos, wedding/event videography, even short movies that are going to DVD or web. They have some "tricks" to mimic film-like look but these would not be the choice for a true digital filmmaker.

    I have the GS400 and its 16:9 mode is awesome. With proper lighting the 16:9 looks like TV or even DVD. GS400 is around $1300 online.

    Reviews at http://www.camcorderinfo.com and http://www.dvspot.com

    And as for the PowerBook--they are defintely nice for the portability. You need to determine how much portability you need. For me, I'd rather have at least one G5 machine (iMac G5) and then maybe a previous generation PowerBook or even an iBook for those few times I need to edit in the field.

    New shopping list:
    Panasonic GS400 $1300
    iMac G5 20" refurb $1699
    RAM for iMac $ 200
    12" 1.33Ghz PowerBook with combo $1300
    Production Suite $1200
    TOTAL $5699

    Leaves room for more RAM upgrades, external HD or a 3rd party LCD for the PowerBook.
     
  14. corywoolf thread starter macrumors 65816

    corywoolf

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    #14
    good idea, I feel like getting an imac might not be the roght choice though. I like everything about them but I have a g4 imac and it is slow as hell, Most likely the g5 imac will be like that in 3 years. But like the powermac g4, the g5 probably manages to last longer and it isn't meant for consumers. But i guess at my level/ budget that may be the best option. what about the internal 160 Gb harddrive? Is it fast enough to do intensive editing, like after effects?
     
  15. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2003
    Location:
    NJ USA
    #15
    I'm sure you know that you shouldn't use the same HD for your OS and video editing. Use the internal for iTunes, iPhoto, apps and the OS. Get an external 7200rpm drive in a Firewire case. Another plus for the Power Mac is you can go with Firewire 800.

    And yes, for what you are doing the current iMac will probably only last you around 3 years. We don't know the requirements yet, but the current iMac may not even fully support Core Image and Core Video for what that's worth.

    If you can wait until WWDC in June see if the iMac gets a speed bump and a new video card. Video card will help with Motion and maybe down the road with After Effects, I'm not sure.

    Maybe one of the last Dual G4 Power Macs would be a good choice? I don't know I would just like to have at least one G5 in my stable. Probably because I have 2 G4 machines right now (iMac 1Ghz and iBook 800mhz).

    With your $6,000 budget something has to give. You can't get the best in class level stuff for $6000. So you can either buy the items over time, wait a while longer to save more, or you can cut back and settle for lower level gear.

    Good luck with what ever you decide. And have fun.
     
  16. corywoolf thread starter macrumors 65816

    corywoolf

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    #16
    yeah, well I will just save up and get a 12" powerbook to hold me over. on second thought, I know I will regret not waiting for the next powerbook revision.
     
  17. corywoolf thread starter macrumors 65816

    corywoolf

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    #17
    I think I will acutally get am ibook 14" superdrive with 512 Gb ram and some other extras, then get a imac g5 20" when they get fw 800. I think a imac g5 could handle photoshop and after effects and final cut pro, motion, and maya. I hope so at least. I don't care if it's not all real time, will it function though? Bah, so ticked how I can't afford a 12" powerbook with a dual 1.8 ghz powermac. Oh well, anyone think this is a bad idea? Can I really do editing on a decked out ibook? Because for about the price of a 17" powerbook, I can get a imac and a ibook, which I am starting to like. Although I always had something against the ibook, don't know why. I hate how materialistic apple makes people. A few years ago my imac g4 was a huge deal to me, now that I am so into heavy duty editing I feel a ibook wouldn't be right, but at the same time I have heard mixed reviews. Like I said, I have a 800 mhz imac running fcp3. Will a G5 imac really make a huge diff? Is the g5 imac equal to the dual g4 powermacs?
     
  18. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2003
    Location:
    NJ USA
    #18
    Others may disagree but I think an iBook can handle "normal" video editing and photoshop work with no problem. When you start taking about After Effects, I honestly don't know. The only real issue with the iBook G4 is the video card. The lower-end card means you can't run Motion on the iBook.

    The current iBooks have similar specs to last year's PowerBooks. And there are still plenty of people using older G4s in real production houses.

    If you think you need a notebook I really like the iBook + iMac option much better than a loaded PowerBook. You need to think about how much power you really need in the field.

    The iMac G5 did pretty well in iLife benchmarks. It beats a dual G4 Power Mac on some tests.
    http://www.barefeats.com/imacg5.html

    And even with the slower bus speed the iMac G5 matches the single processor Power Mac G5.
    http://www.barefeats.com/g518.html

    I agree that you should wait for the next iMac revision. It may come as soon June but it may not be until Sept. It should hit 2Ghz and have a better video card. I don't know if it will have FW800 though, Apple seems to view that as a "pro" feature and won't put it on a consumer machine.
     
  19. corywoolf thread starter macrumors 65816

    corywoolf

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    #19
    i wont be able to purchase anything until after may, so my guess is new imacs and ibooks between june-august. if you think about it, apple wants to catch the back to school crowd for ibooks, it didn't last time, so they might make the 14" a 1.5 Ghz and make it 64 MB of video memory. I hope they add a superdrive to the 12" though. I still would get the 14" because that is about the lowest you can go with screen realestate. I came up with a new total that broke the budget by a long shot, but if I went for the powermac it would have been worse. just noticed I can hear my computer thinking in sync with the (it's early, line you type with flashing). my new budget is around 10 grand but I wont get it all at once probably. Plus I will save up about $3,500 before asking for a loan.
     
  20. eRondeau macrumors 6502a

    eRondeau

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Location:
    Canada's South Coast
    #20
    Hobby or Business?

    I was in your exact same situation about 15 years ago (!!!) when my editing/graphics computer of choice was an Amiga 2000 and video was all S-VHS. As much as the technology has changed, the big question is still the same -- are you looking at this as a hobby, or as a business?

    There's nothing wrong with spending $10,000 on your hobby if you want to make the best home videos on the planet. In this case, the fun is all about buying the equipment -- which cameras / HDs / software, etc. Go nuts at Best Buy -- but don't count on earning it all back any time soon.

    However if you plan on making money (or even if you just want your gear to pay for itself) you should really be looking at this from a new angle. You need to worry much more about selling your skills, and less about the technicalities. What kind of clients will you be going after? Wedding videos are easy money -- but plan on working every weekend. Industrial / training videos are fun to do -- but you're going to spend way more time editing the scripts with Word as you will editing the video with FCP. Lots of charities will come knocking on your door, but they can't afford to pay what you're worth -- and if you spend too much time working for free you'll go bankrupt. Take a critical look at your local market, talk to some of your potential customers, and decide if your plan makes financial sense.

    In other words, selecting your equipment should be the last thing you do, not the first. I've been out of the business for several years now, although I still have a pretty good "hobby" editing suite, and I'm having way more fun with it now than I ever did then.
     
  21. corywoolf thread starter macrumors 65816

    corywoolf

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    #21

    true, but I am planning on starting off as a production assistant or assistant editor. I live in the ann arbor- detroit area (one of the biggest video production areas in the country, I heard it was ranked #3) With all the auto-makers around here there is always jobs avail. I have already talked to my professor (who worked as a director for 25 years doing commericals for the big 3) he thought it was much better to stick around here then go out to cali. and look for a job. I am not going to make a lot of indy films because I am not skilled as a director. I just want to create a well rounded portfolio of mock commercials, music video's, etc. and take the best 4 minutes of it all and put it on a dvd and send it to a lot of people. I have also tried to do videos for anyone who comes and asks. I have been doing a lot of adult flag football highlight dvds and basically anything I can afford to do. So i think the 10 grand will be well worth it in the long run. If I get a job right out of high school, then I Can move out into a small apartment and maybe pay my loans back quicker. I am not credit happy (like trigger happy), I have heard a lot of the bad stories about people buying stuff they can't afford and going bankrupt. In fact my parents are in a bad situation as far as that goes, so I KNOW. But I can't sit on my hands for my last year of high school and expect to get a job right after without constintly pumping out short videos. My school is paying for me to go to the community college part time, which is awsome. So I am taking full advantage of that. I have used my high school's equip. along with the colleges, but now they are starting to get peskky and don't want people that are not in the class using it. So I basically need this set-up. I will post my cart of stuff I am hopefully going to get later tonight or tomorrow, then you all can tell me what I should scratch or add. ;)
     
  22. aoasus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    Location:
    St. Cloud, Minnesota
    #22
    What to buy

    if you decide to go portable i'll reccomend against anything but the 15 or 17 inch poewrbooks for one HUGE reason. They both have a Cardslot, where none of the others do.

    I don't reccomend the iMac for just this reason.

    it's generally bad mojo to put your media on your system drive. yes, plenty of people do it, but it's not reccomended. The Cardslot allows for a extra Firewire bus so you can hook our camera/deck in one side and a external FW in the other side so you can didge straight to your extenal.

    I'f you've got the $$$ make sure to get the upgraded Vram as it'll really help with graphics performance, especially when using multiple monitors!

    here's my reccomendation.

    17 inch PB with Superdrive
    2 Gig ram
    FW 800 card & Drive
    Production Suite Software

    if you have to get the RAM & FW 800 drive from Apple you'll probably be over the 6K. if you can get them from someone else you might be able to squeak by. I'd go for the bigger PB and skip the external screen alltogether.

    if portability isn't as big an issue, i'd go with whatever G5 tower you can afford as it'd allow for addition of a better graphics card and more importantly something like a Decklink card if you want to move up to uncompressed some time in the future.
     
  23. corywoolf thread starter macrumors 65816

    corywoolf

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    #23
    that's what i was going to do originally, but it would be way too much. plus i figure i will get a good job when I graduate next year, so I will pay for the imac, ibook, etc. quicker, my goal is to use the ibook/imac to put together a compelling highlight reel of my best work. I think motion could run on a imac decently, right? I guess I should be more conserned with the content then the effects applied. I am using after effects on a single 1.8 g5 powermac at my college and it works fine. I know what you are thinking, but if I dont want ti have a imac, ibook, powerbook, powermac three years from now I can just sell the imac and ibook. I would rather get a decent desktop and a basic laptop, then a decent powerbook. The ibook is more for school work and final cut pro rough cutting and basic effects. plus you need to consider that the next revision of the ibook will likely sport a 64 MB graphics card.
     

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