Build Me The Usable DV Editing Machine

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ziwi, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. ziwi macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Right back where I started...
    I know that there is the Perfect DV editing machine and configuration and accessories, and I know I can DV edit with something a simple as a Mac mini, but what i am looking for is the 'usable' configuration. Please include any Software that you think may be needed. The system will be used for light activities like digital photo's to regular activities as editing DV and heavier activities as using the DV and creating presentations for professional use by incorporating graphics, compositing, etc.

    Let me know your thoughts.

  2. 3Memos macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2005
    Mid Range

    • Dual G5 1.8Ghz
    • 1.5 GB RAM
    • 200-400 SATA media drive, 7200RPM, 8MB Cache
    • 20" Cinema Display
    • FCP, DVDStudio Pro

    High Range

    • Dual G5 2.5Ghz
    • 4.0 GB RAM
    • 200-400 SATA media drive, 7200RPM, 8MB Cache
    • 23" Cinema Display
    • FCP, DVDStudio Pro, Motion
  3. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    Holy Crap Range

    • Dual G5 2.5Ghz
    • 8.0 GB RAM
    • 400GB SATA 7200RPM scratch drive, 72GB SATA 10,000RPM boot drive
    • 30" Cinema Display...x2!
    • FCP, DVDStudio Pro, Motion
  4. RBMaraman macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2002
    Prospect, KY
    Don't forget Shake ;)

    Now that's Holy Craptastic!.
  5. 3Memos macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2005
    Also a Holy Craptastic pricetag. :eek:
  6. ziwi thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Right back where I started...
    Thanks for the advise so far...

    So if requiring FCP vs FC express then the production suite is the way to go.

    How useful is the dual monitor configuration for DV editing?

    What are the archiving techniques used after a project is completed - burn to DVD's or tape backup or external hard drive or what? Do you save the raw files or just the completed project - obviously one would need to remove the work to retain space after a few projects.

    Also what are the backup strategies?

    What is the normal procedure after removing work - defrag the drive.
  7. ziwi thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Right back where I started...
    another question...

    In the configurations which is the usable video card...

    Thanks Again...
  8. Jimong5 macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2002
    If you want to use motion, get a G5 tower.

    If you don't care about it, get a Mac mini.

    Remember, the Pismo 400 was advertised as an amazing DV mac when it was out, and it can handle video just fine.

    if you don't need HD, or high end stuff like Motion, then get a mini. My friend uses a 667 Titanium all the time, and his stuff always comes out great.
  9. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    I agree. Not everyone needs a dual G5 for video editing. Your skill and creativity can be more important than the speed of the processors.

    The G5 is only 2 years old...there are still plenty of G4 machines in production houses creating really excellent content.

    All that being said, the G5 do very well in benchmarks against G4 machines. Check out

    As for video card, it probably only matters if you plan to run Motion. Video editing and MPEG2 encoding rely much, much more on the processor than the video card.
  10. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    Well, it depends.

    I have a Pismo 400 and I did a fair amount of video editing on it, it worked fine. Still, I was using FCP 1 (and later 2).

    Now FCP 4.5(HD) might not even run on my Pismo. If you can find older versions of programs you need, older machines, or less-powerful ones are fine. For many people, the new features are not always necessary. I still use Photoshop 7, and the Macromedia Suite before the 2004 version.

    The newer Apple apps do probably integrate better with os x, more efficiently use resources and have refined interfaces as well (hell, FCP 1 was on os9)

    Buy the best machine you can afford, with as much HD space as you can afford. A PM is the best, but an iMac will suffice - it has enough power and is upgradeable/expandable in all the right places (almost).
  11. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Well, if your budget is a concern, and you want to have some money left over for good, legal software, then you would probably get by well with:

    DP 1.25ghz G4 MDD
    1.5gb RAM
    Upgrade to a better video card (9800pro?) if you plan to use motion
    get some big harddrives, a couple 160gb's should do
    get a couple of nice LCDs... Dell 21" widescreen is nice, and cheap, and maybe add a smaller (15" or 17") one for tools and whatnot
    Add the software slowly, see what you like... start with iLife '05, then get FCExpress, and upgrade to FCP if you ned to, get Motion, etc.

    That should be plenty on power at a decent price to do some good video editing, and will leave you with room to grow still.

  12. iris_failsafe macrumors 6502


    May 4, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Well if you want the ultimate...

    Powermac g5 2.5, 8Gigs of RAM, 160Gb HD. Apple Fibre Card. ATI Radeon 9800 (one slot card). AJA Kona 2 HD Card (SDI-real time capture+output)breakout box+Xserve RAID (5tb). Apple 30inch Cinema Display, Sony HR broadcast monitor.
    regarding software: FCP HD, After Effects Pro, Motion.

    going down, you can use a blackmagic SDI-SD card, less memory (1GB at least) and a smaller display, skip the xserve raid and have 1/2 250GB SATA hard drives. If you have two slots free buy the Nvidia 6800 Ultra card.
  13. 3Memos macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2005
    All he wants to edit is his kid's birthday party!! :)
  14. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    So far people have given good suggestion for production workstation. But if you want something 'usable' you can aim much lower. It also seem that the suggestion of many people werent linked with experience in DV editing because the main concern with DV is drive speed and ram, not processor. Of course processor are good when rendering but you can go out for lunch when that happen.

    I worked on some project with my 12" 1Ghz PB and it did fine, so dont get lured by the hype!

    So my suggestion is:

    What ever system you can afford, dual proc are better than one and dual G4 better than single G5. But even a mac mini can do a good job.

    Drives: you need fast and big drives. minimum setup with a single big drive. Best setup is 2 drives in RAID-0 for the work/capture drive and another for the system and apps. To do this, you will need a tower, mac mini and laptop CAN do this via FireWire but its not efficient of cost effective. But remember that just a single HD can do too!

    RAM: crap load of it, dont even think about less than 786, 1,5gig is better

    Video card: doesnt matter unless you plan to use motion. If so, this about a 9800 or at least 9600.

    TV output: if your stuff will be watched on tv, a card with tv output can be nice.

    dual monitor: this is a must if you are serious in DV editing, else, its just pratical and fun. So idealy, you will have 2 screens (2x17") and a tv plugged in the computer.

    Apps: Final cut Express, you dont need the pro version. Motion is excellent if you need it. DVD studio pro, well you better start with iDVD.

    So a minium system would look like:
    Mac mini, max ram, basic HD with external FW 160gigHD

    average system would be:
    iMac 1gig ram, external FW 250gig HD with possibly a matching ciname display

    serious user:
    PM dual 1.8Ghz, 1.5gig ram, RAID-0 160gig HD + external HD(SATA), ATI 9600 or 9800.

    You could also use a 15"PB + external FW drive. Its a mobile studio and does the job.

    Personaly, I would go with a 20" iMac because of the low noise and look of the system, its inspiring! And dont believe the hype that you need an expendable system! The only thing that need to be upgradable are RAM and HD and any mac can do it. What you really need when working with DV is a system that is pleasing to use because you are going to spend a lot of time in front of the computer, trust me on that!
  15. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2002
    I agree with Mantat. Get the most Hard Disk space you can get. Remember each tape of MiniDV takes up around 14GB of space. It runs out fast! Don't worry too much about processor speed... it's not necessary until you render.

    Dual screens are wonderful for editing video. Honestly, I'd probably get a 12" Powerbook loaded with RAM and a second monitor hooked up to it (Cinema Display, or maybe Dell's 2005FP 20" widescreen) and 1 or 2 250GB FireWire hard disks. LaCie Porche makes them cheap and good.

    So, the 12" PB, with:
    256MB RAM (Upgrade later to 1.25GB from
    80GB 5400rpm Hard Drive
    Superdrive DVD-R
    Apple 20" Cinema Display
    TOTAL: $2,923

    Add in:
    FCP Production Suite $1299
    2 LaCie Porche 250GB Hard Disks $199 each
    Logitech® MX™1000 Laser Cordless Mouse $79 (you'll appreciate the buttons in FCP)

    GRAND TOTAL: $4,700

    This gives you a great, mobile setup with plenty of storage space and the option of dual monitors, one for the timeline, canvas and viewer windows, and the other for the File Browser and other palettes.

    Just my $0.02. :)
  16. ziwi thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Right back where I started...
    Thanks everyone for the insight.

    Any thoughts on the backup, cleanup strategies as space is always fleeting?
  17. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    If you use a separate drive for capture, there shouldnt be too much cleaning to do because Final cut is non linear non destructive. Basicaly, it never touch your media until it render because it only keep track of the film period you need and where you need to put them.

    Archiving miniDV is problematic. If you know for sure that you will never need to touch the original tape again, I would encore everything in MPEG4 with the (dont remember the number) when Tiger is out. You would keep a good quality and save a lot of space.

    Other option is OfflineRT but I dont know much about this.

    Finaly, you can keep your original tape and buy a new one for the next project.

    As you can see, there is no easy solution for storage when you arent a pro user! Personnaly, if I have to do another project, I will keep everything (once cleaned) on my HD for at least a year. Unless you do more than 15 tapes a year, you should be able to keep up with HD size increase. But this doesnt protect you againts HD failure... Backup on tape is the best official solution but cost a lot so I wouldnt advice it unless you are paranoid!


    About the computer, I wouldnt advice for the 12", I used mine and it worked well BUT if you are going to render for 6h+, its going to generate alot of heat and I didnt feel confortable to let my poor pb in such a situation. Maybe the new models are better tho (mine was a rev B).

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