best video editing setup

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by spencerwatts, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. spencerwatts macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2004
    #1
    I'm an aspiring indie filmmaker, and I've been editing with a crappy camera and windows XP for the past few years, and I feel like I need something a step up from what I've got. I've always been a big fan of Apple, and I decided that I'd love to be able to use FCP to edit my shorts.

    Basically, I need help (in the form of suggestions) choosing what computer would be best for my needs. I plan to start out on FCE, and later, if I feel the need, upgrade to FCP.

    I've been looking online, and I've considered the following options (none over 2k):

    A brand new macbook pro. $2k. Way too expensive.

    Used Powermac g5. Around $1.2k (Plus cost of monitor. :( )

    Used iMac g5, around $1k.


    My budget is:
    computer - not over $1.5k
    camera - same.

    Of course, I hope there are more options (and hopefully less expensive) than this, which is why I some steering in the correct direction.

    And, I'm not the richest of people. I'm still in high school. However, my parents offered to pay for half of the computer (and video camera. I still have to decide on that, as well. Any tips/pointers/suggestions?) which was extremely nice of them. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Texas04 macrumors 6502a

    Texas04

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
    I would buy a 17" iMac to start out with. 250GB of HD space should do you for a little while. If you do indeed need more later on an external HD would suit you just fine.

    As far as a camera.. for your needs.. a Cannon GL2 might work out okay.
     
  3. spencerwatts thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2004
    #3
    I was thinking about a gl2, it looks like my best option. And the iMac looks nice - and like the option that I'm looking for. I never really considered it too seriously. thanks.
     
  4. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #4
    BEST? Or With Only $3k or is it $6k?

    20-inch 2.16GHz C2D iMac $1299 Refurb AFTER it ships with Leopard & iLife '07 and AFTER you make sure next round of Mac Pros doesn't include a lower cost 4 core mini tower NEW in that price point.

    Camera is Sony HDR-HC7 for only $1138 from ProVantage in Ohio. You say you're a filmmaker? You need a serious HDV camera you can make films with - not a hobby SD camera.

    Total $$2,449 a full $551 under budget.
    Your age isn't important. What's important is your serious intent to aquire tools that you can leap to the head of the class with for years to come.

    But now I don't understand the money part. Do you only have $1500 and your parents are pitching in $1500 or do you have $3,000 and they're pitching in $3,000? Big difference.
     
  5. seniorstinky macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #5
    Multimedia,

    What kind of kickback are you getting from SONY? Your camera is NOT for serious film makers. You need a serious prosumer camera, which the GL2 fits into and the your camera does not.

    HD is NOT the defacto standard yet and if you read Video Maker or DV, you'll see that many indy film makers are using SD setups.
     
  6. seniorstinky macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #6
    For serious film making, your audio from the GL2 alone (or any camera) will likely be insufficient. You'll want to look for off-camera mics, which will get your costs up. Just something to keep in mind.
     
  7. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #7
    I Think Sony HC7 Is Serious Prosumer. You Do Not. No Problem.

    I think HC7 is serious prosumer. My opinion not yours. We agree to disagree. If you read our HC7 thread you can see how a fully tricked out HC7 is more than $3,000. Are You aware of the Intensity On-Air solution? GL2 doesn't even have HDMI Out. This TEEN needs a camera he can grow into the technology with NOT an antique he will be left behind with.

    I get no kickback from Sony.
     
  8. spencerwatts thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2004
    #8
    Argh, I just wrote a huge long reply, and windows froze. :(

    Anyways - the iMac looks good, like I said. But I've also found g4 powerbooks on ebay for around 500-800 with enough power to handle the entire final cut studio. Plus, it's easy to transport.

    And about the camera -- like seniorstinky said, it's not the camera that I would want to use, although it's a fine camera. I want a gl2 because I don't want to sift through menu after menu, messing with finicky controls to maybe get the manual settings correct. I want a focus ring, XLR ports (added on with an attachment, of course.), and an easy way to get the look I want without having to do it in post production. something more widely used. Also, high def TVs haven't infiltrated America's homes enough for me to consider only getting an HDcam. but thank you for the opinion, I greatly value it.

    (also, how much should I be willing to pay for a powerbook g4, at least 15inches, 1.5ghz, 1gig ram, 80 gig HDD?)
     
  9. seniorstinky macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #9
    Doesn't it just have 1 CMOS chip? ::edit:: nevermind, after reading more of your HC7 post, I know it does and I know you think that the 1 CMOS HD is better than 3 CCD SD ::edit::
     
  10. Carl Spackler macrumors 6502

    Carl Spackler

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Outer Space
    #10
    I'd steer you toward the Canon HV20. HDV and shoots 24p. The HV20 also supports external audio. You'll want a camera that does. Sound is half of your picture, after all is said and done. I believe you may need the full blown Final Cut to edit 24p, but I think the HV20 shoots at a 2:3 cadence, which I want to say puts that footage into a 29.97 editing timeline that FCE will handle just fine.

    Canon cameras have always played well with Macs and the MSRP on the HV20 is something like $1200. I'm positive you'd be able to find it online for just under $1000.

    I do agree with Mulitmedia that an HD camera is the way to go. Even though the availability to playback HD footage is limited, SD is on the way out. You must consider that your films may make it to festivals and contests, where they will have projectors capable of HD playback.

    You can find many pre- and post-production clips from many prosumer and up cameras at DVinfo.net

    Don't put all your eggs into just the camera and the computer. Save some money for lighting equipment and an external mic. Those shop/modeling lamps on clamps from a hardware store is an easy way to get enough lights to do an adequate job. Since you're just getting started, something like an Audio Technica ATR55 will set you out on the right foot, as you won't need an XLR to mini converter just yet.

    Don't forget The Filmmaker's Handbook.

    Last but not least, it can't hurt to watch John Ford's Stagecoach about a hundred times.
     
  11. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    #11
    If you are looking for a portable I'd highly recommend a MacBook Pro. I bought mine used for 1300 and it is as fast a dual g5 tower (2 ghz).

    Look around the refurbed apple store and you might find a good deal there.

    As far as camcorder goes, it is between DV and HDV. I don't really care about HDV so I bought a Panasonic AG-DVC30 and it gives me quality footage.

    The AG-DVC30 goes between 1500-1700. For a little higher, you can get a Canon GL2, and for even higher you can get a Sony VX2100, a very nice camcorder (best in low-light).
     
  12. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #12
    I have to agree with Multi that this is a really good camera for the money. It looks like a consumer camera, but the results it produces are really good.
     
  13. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    #13
    I agree with both of you. I'm sure this camcorder has excellent quality. I just have no need for HDV, I have nothing HD in my house and I'd hate to downconvert to DV to play on my huge 63 inch rear-projection TV.
     
  14. tehybrid macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    #14
    it isnt the tools as much as the skill. personally, im working in the "indie filmmaking" and also high school student. I spent 2 grand on a 20" iMac with Final Cut Express which included Soundtrack and Livetype. This is good for a while. I recently paid the $500 for shake too, just because it is shake. Now I do not mean to personally attack Multimedia, because he is a great member of these forums, but his love for the Sony camera is a bit bias, he would recommended it to a 6yo ;) (much love to multimedia!!) My camera is currently a low end JVC DV and it does, though I plan on upgrading as soon as I get a job and take care of a few other things.

    If you can find a Powerbook G5 buy it and sell it to gets, then use the money for an iMac or macbook, because they mop the floor with the old G5 chips. FCX runs like a champ on my iMac 20" 2.16ghz 2GB ram. But do remember those folders in ~/Documents/Final Cut Express Documents/ that FCX makes are HUGE, so space is needed.

    SeniorSticky brought up a nice point. I personally have recorded with the builtin mic...YUK! you will want a shotgun mic for your shorts, though I use lapels for some of my IPtv shows. Lighting is going to be another huge issue, I believe it was Lethal that said "lighting is the one thing that screams amature" this is very true. I have seen my videos turn YELLOW because of lighting.


    Good Luck and maybe we can collab one day.
    Kevin


    PS. GothNMotion on AIM if ya wanna drop a line or hybrid on freenode
     
  15. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    #15

    If he does find this mysterious PowerBook G5, I think you'd make a lot of money for it!:D

    Sorry the PowerBook G5 just caught my eye in that post I actually thought it existed for a half a second there...
     
  16. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

    TheAnswer

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    Jan 25, 2002
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #16
    And after you're done with Stagecoach, start working on this list.
     
  17. killr_b macrumors 6502a

    killr_b

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    Suckerfornia
  18. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #18
    As others have said there is much, much more to "production values" and avoiding the "I shot this in my backyard last saturday" look than the camera you use. Give an amateur a 35mm camera and they will make a 35mm home movie. Give a professional a MiniDV camera and they'll make something that looks like it came outta Hollywood. David Lynch's latest theatrical, Inland Empire, was shot on a Sony PD-150. The winner for best cinematography (yes, best cinematography) at Sundance 2004 was a film called "November" and was shot on a DVX100. The movie "28 Days Later" was shot on Canon XL-1's. The more entertaining the piece, the less people care about production value (otherwise YouTube wouldn't exist). Although it's easy to get distracted by fancy new gadgets, never lose sight of the fact that it all comes down to storytelling and fancy gadgets are only as good as the people controlling them. I've got a football in my closet, but that doesn't mean I can play in the NFL. ;)

    If your camera budget is $1500 I'd take that down to around $900 and use the rest for camera accessories (tapes, long life battery(s), carrying case/bag, etc.,) and other production gear (work lights from Home Depot, not-crappy tripod, external microphone, etc.,).

    You will be amazed at the difference putting up a few lights and a mic from Radio Shack can make.

    As far as computers go definitely keep an eye on on Apple's refurbished page as Multimedia suggested (but feel free to disregard his rhetoric about pretty much anything other than an HC7 being underpowered or an antique). Lots of nice deals can be found n Apple's refurb section and all the computers there have the same warranty coverage as brand new Macs. Why can't you use the monitor from your PC w/your Mac?

    Also, a super good book to read is The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap. I can't recommend it enough. Now, there is a good portion of the book that talks about things probably beyond your skill level and budget (especially some of the stuff about post production), but where the book is invaluable is it is very hands on and it gets you thinking in the low/no-budget mindset. Part of what the book does is take expensive looking scenes from famous films and breaks them down showing how you can recreate a similar scene on a shoe string budget. And although it centers around actions movies the info in the book can be applied to just about any type of movie making (even documentaries).


    Lethal
     
  19. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #19
    Canon HV20 will be a great option and Carl's right about the price being even lower than the HC7 due to lower $300 lower $1099 list. Caveat is you won't be able to drive it from a remote zoom due to missing LANC port.

    If you follow and study the HC7 thread you will see a lot of posts that are not HC7 specific and any HDV phile will benefit from following it. There's an inexpensive Rode shotgun mic posted over there on Post #110.

    NOTHING. BIG MISTAKE. You didn't say you wanted a mobile Mac in the first place. G4 PowerBook will be a big disappointment to you soon after you get one. Get a C2D 2GHz MacBook refurb for $1099 if you're serious. I promise you will regret buying a G4 anything within days of receiving it.
    You need a WIDESCREEN 16:9 Camera NOT a 4x3 BOX camera. That is the #1 reason to buy HDV now. You need to learn WIDESCREEN composition for making movies. Anything not HDV will force you into the old paradigm of 4x3 BOXes. This will be really bad for your future. It will cripple your talent before you even get started. You of all people should know that WIDESCREEN is the proper way to make movies not 4x3 BOXes. Are you already getting too old to know that? I am 60 and I know it. Are you BRAINWASHED into the past already? :confused: :eek:
    So you're telling me your projector doesn't have component or S-VIdeo In? All HDV cameras downconvert on the fly. You don't need to worry about what you have or don't have. With a new HDV purchase you're Future Proofed. HDTVs cost $399 at Costco now. The idea you won't have an HDTV in 2 years when they turn the analog signals off is preposterous.
    Thank you.
     
  20. theWholeTruth macrumors member

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    Sep 27, 2006
    #20
    Hmmmm....I guess all those films done before cinemascope, vistavision, etc. came onto the scene must be pure crap. Directors such as Wellman, Wyler, Mann, Ford, Kurosawa, Bresson, Renoir, etc. must have crippled their talent by working in a 'box' ratio. You do realize that many widescreen films are shot with a matte, thus achieving the widescreen you so heavily promote? Or maybe it's just the projects I've worked on...I guess the directors didn't know the proper way to make a film.

    By the way, I highly doubt that HDV is future proofed. In fact, I've rarely even seen it used in a professional environment. Maybe the Bay Area is ass backwards. :p
     
  21. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

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    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #21
    I Meant No Disrespect To The Past 4x3 Creators. The Future Is 16:9

    You obvously watch NO HDTV. I meant no disrespect to filmmakers of the past. They did great work. The future is 16:9.
     
  22. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #22
    i gotta 2nd Lethal's opinions on this one... GET THE DV REBEL'S GUIDE! It is a priceless book that should required reading in high school/college film courses. the approaches are simple and the results are impressive. as for camera, your checklist should include:

    focus ring
    iris ring
    external auido inputs
    records to tape

    without the first 3, you won't be learning as much as you should. control over focus and exposure are crucial to giving your film a look. never have auto focus/exposure on...never...never.

    as for computer, your tradeoff will be speed vs price. where if you go with a slower computer, you can afford higher quality gear. a faster computer doesn't make your film look any better, it just allows you to finish quicker.
     
  23. Artofilm macrumors 6502a

    Artofilm

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #23
    Forget HD for now, that will come later, and at that time, you will get better cameras, at lower costs.

    If you are looking for a camera to fit the budget you have, I would personally recommend the GL2. I own a GL2, I have used it for a year now, with no problems, and I do wedding videos, commercial videos, internet videos, and short films. The GL2 is an awesome camera, especially for the price!

    Other cameras around the same price and specs of the GL2, would be great too, but the GL2 is specifically created for people like you and me in mind. Low budget - professional controls/looks.

    HD is overrated for now, it's like the beta of our time. It will eventually become the standard, but not for a couple more years. The technology will grow, as will the cameras. Don't buy an HD camera until the technology is at it's finest.

    For your camera, you will also need to buy lighting equipment, based on your work environment, and GOOD microphones.
    Microphones should be the worth the same amount as your camera is.

    Your computer idea, the Powermac G5, is a great idea!
    Also, Intel iMacs are a great start too. I use a 17" Intel iMac w/2GB RAM, and it's great!

    For starting off, you won't need anything crazy.
    For editing, you won't want a laptop. Not to mention the fact that they are priced higher because of portability.

    Always remember to get what YOU feel is right in your mind.
    If you have a preference over 1 camera than another, than buy it. Even if you know most ppl like the other one.
    You will only use products that you enjoy and like. So get what you want.
     
  24. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #24
    Riiiggghhhttt... You're saying buy camera X or you'll "...cripple your talent..." and it will be "... really bad for your future" and you're calling the rest of us brainwashed? Marketing and sales folks must just absolutely love you to death if you really believe stuff like that MM.

    A kid in HS, a new member to Macrumors, comes here looking for a helping hand 'cause he wants to experiment more w/videos and movie making and you try and use scare tactics to get him to spend more money on a camera than he needs to. What kind of person does that?


    I think you misunderstand what's going to happen in 2 years. Analog OTA (over-the-air) broadcasts will be shut off and replaced by digital OTA b'casts. If you get you TV via cable or satellite you won't even notice anything happened. If you get your TV OTA you'll just need to pick up a digital turner (which will be provide for free or at low cost from the government) and hook that up to your TV. Standard definition and 4x3 programing is not going to suddenly disappear over night.

    I would add a camera that displays "zebra" patterns in the viewfinder to that list as it can be very difficult to get proper exposure w/o them and, although not a "must have" a camera that can record audio Channel 1 and audio Channel 2 seperate (so if you have two actors in a scene and you have two mics and you record Bob only on Channel one and Jane only on channel 2). Helpful, but not a "must have" for the OPs needs.


    Lethal
     
  25. spicyapple macrumors 68000

    spicyapple

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #25
    Editing in FCE or FCP doesn't require much computing horsepower, if you're editing films in the traditional sense. (ie. cuts and dissolves). You'll need a beefier computer if you get into motion graphics, etc. but with the right tools, any PowerMac G5 fills this role handily. You'll need lots of hard drive space, so I see a PowerMac as the only viable computer for editing.

    As for camcorders, $1500 won't get you much, but if I had to choose, I would go HDV with any of the camcorders out there. HDV camcorders shoot in true 16:9. SD is all but dead, anyway, despite what others say.

    You'll need to spend money on certain features such as XLR inputs for professional sound, as you'll find out that sound in films accounts for 60% of a film's production value. You could substitute XLR in place of a portable field recorder such as a MiniDisc recorder, but you'll need to do post-production sound syncing, which are never fun to do.

    The HC-7 is a good start, or if you stick to SD, then your options for camcorder choices open up considerably.
     

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