Getting started...

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by ouphe, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. ouphe macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #1
    Hey all.
    I've recently ordered a snazzy new video card and 2 more gigs of RAM for my dual processor G5 in hopes of getting into some video editing. All I've got right now is the computer and two 20" widescreen monitors.
    What else do I need?
    The camera is obvious, I suppose. Advice as to what kind I should get? I'm not looking to spend several grand on this one...just something I can use that won't give me terrible footage to use (well, I guess that kind of depends on how I use it...but you know what I mean...something that won't make the hard job of learning the field harder).
    I was thinking I should probably get some kind of backup HD as well. I've been thinking about purchasing a firewire 800/400 external case and a hefty HD to put in for a while (for my photography), but haven't yet. I guess this should be on my list for something to buy soon.
    Right now I've got Motion on my Mac, but I'd really like to pick up as much as possible so I can be versatile and do the whole production myself if I need to. Should I invest in the whole Final Cut Pro Studio suite? Which particular programs will be most important for me to pick up? Should I be learning other software, as well?
    Any help anyone can offer will be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks in advance!

    -Colin
     
  2. rand() macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    #2
    Hey!

    For a camera, I'd recommend either the Canon GL2, or the Panasonic AG-DVC30. Both are comprable 3-CCD cameras, that give you a picture worth looking at, at a decent price (still greater than $1k, though). Don't step down to a 1-CCD camera if you can help it. Once you've got the camera, learn how to WHITE BALANCE it. Also, learn how to set your iris properly manually, so that you don't have Auto Exposure making your footage look amateur.

    Storage will be vital. The more GB of Hard Disk, the better. If you can, go either internal SATA, or FW/800, as the extra data bandwidth is more of a plus than universal portability. Plus, I've found it's best if you don't overload the FW/400 ports; they have a tendency to get flaky or burn out with heavy usage.

    Motion is an excellent program, but it's not a non-linear editor. iMovie is, but you'll probably grow out of it quickly. You'll probably want at least Final Cut Express, if not the full suite. The suite is nice, because you get DVD Studio also, and that's one of the best programs in it.

    There's my recommendations!
    -rand()
     
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #3
    What do you need/want to do? If you just have some home movies you want to poke around with I'd suggesting using iMovie until you decide how much you want to spend on this. No need dropping $1300+ on software if 6-12 months down the line you no longer have an interest in video. As far as cameras go, if you do a search for "video camera", "camcorder", "MiniDV", etc., you'll find a lot of threads talking about cameras (it's a very common topic).

    I disagree w/rand() in regards to drives. FW400 is more than fast enough for the level of editing you'll be doing.


    Lethal
     
  4. illegalprelude macrumors 68000

    illegalprelude

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    #4
    yea. im with letal on this one. what are you looking to do because you have a superb machine, it just depends where you wanna go from here.

    As terms of getting other things needed, I got an External Case with Firewire/USB 2.0 (with a built in fan) and a 320GB Western Digital HDD for under $200 from NewEgg. Its a good investment and probably best that you export most of your stuff on ur HD.

    Again, if you want to get into the video world with professional look and projects, FC Studio is a good investment. IF your looking to do just house hold DVD's, some fun video projects with budies and such, no need to burn all the extra cash (unless its abondent, then go for it by all means :D )

    In terms of Camera, I would look into the Canon XL2 or a Sony. But like Lethal also said, many many many camera topics.
     
  5. corywoolf macrumors 65816

    corywoolf

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    #5
    a $5000 camera, I think he is looking for a sub $1500 camera.
     
  6. illegalprelude macrumors 68000

    illegalprelude

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    #6
    You can get a excellent Sony Camera like the H1 for what, $1800 or so :p
     
  7. ouphe thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #7
    Wow. That's a lot of good advice.

    rand(): good to know about the 3-CCD cameras. I've heard that distinction before...does that involve resolution, or is it more of a focus thing? I plan on doing quite a bit of research on cameras before I end up buying, but I've found that asking questions is a good way to get a starting point :) Also: I'll probably play around with iMovie a bit and see where that takes me. Most of these video software suites use similar concepts for editing, correct (more or less a timeline where you manipulate what happens when based on where it is on the line...like Flash)?

    LethalWolfe: I'd like to do as much as possible with video...I'm kind of a generalist as design goes, and I feel like experience with video can only help my work with other media, as well as contributing to it (I work with Flash quite a bit, and am getting into web design and other interactive and motion-type media). There's a chance I may be able to get an older version of the Final Cut Suite (5 I think?) from one of the offices I work at. Would it be worth my time to start playing around with an older version, or should I focus more on iMovie and go from there? Has enough changed to confuse me more than educate me if I work with the outdated version of FCS?

    illegalprelude: I've been thinking about getting a wireless networkable HD case to slap a 500 gig drive into (so I can use it for my PC and Mac if I partition it). I'm not sure how the speed translates on that...would that compare to a Firewire transfer, or would it be a lot slower (or faster)? As for cameras, I'll browse through the forum and see what others that have come before me have asked. Sometimes the best questions are the ones that you can't think of, but someone else has!

    corywoolf: yeah, I'm thinking of something a bit smaller to start me off. Are there any great entry-level cameras out there? I'm thinking something small in size as well as price (handheld, you know).

    I'll definitely be looking around to find out all I can about this subject in the next couple of weeks, so if you have any info you wish you would have known at the beginning, I would love to hear it!
    Thanks again for everyone's help up to this point. Any additional info would be much appreciated, as well :)

    -Colin
     
  8. rand() macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    #8
    Hm... Yes, for the most part, non-linear editing programs have similar metaphors, like clips, bins, timelines, etc. However, I don't think I'd compare it to how Flash works... that's not quite the same kind of interaction. You'll see when you get to doing it.

    Starting on iMovie is a good idea. If you really get into it, you'll probably outgrow it, but it gives you good practice with non-linear editing.

    The 3CCD distinction is all about color response. A 3CCD has much better color depth than a 1CCD, which results in a better looking picture. This also gives the camera the ability to deal with more unusual lighting situations better than your typical consumer camcorder.

    Also, @lethal, I agree that a firewire 400 has plenty of bandwidth for basic video editing. My argument against it is that the FW/400 ports are more likely to get flakey with heavy video use - this has happened on many Mac's I maintain that get heavy use. Sure, a FW drive is nice and portable, but to me, it's not worth the potential hardware aggravation if I have a choice.

    Also, RT and Rendering functions speed up greatly when going to a SATA or FW/800 against a FW/400. That extra bandwidth makes a huge difference.

    A wireless network-able drive wouldn't be worth the time. Wireless G (Airport extreme) only goes as fast as 54Mb/s - at best. A typical DV stream is 25Mb/s. That's just way too close. Even a wired LAN running 100Mb/s will choke on video editing. In comparison, a Firewire drive is 400Mb/s, which give you plenty of extra headroom, and like I've championed earlier, a SATA or FW/800 drive can only be better. Gigabit ethernet holds promise, but isn't practical from a cost perspective yet.

    And since you asked what else you need :) I'll recommend getting a good microphone. What you want depends on what you really want to do; I would recommend the Audio Technica 835 as a great general-perpose directional shotgun mic. Depending on which camera you get, you'll need an adapter - a XLR to 1/4" for the GL2, the Panasonic I recommended has an optional XLR adapter to go directly into the camera, which is pretty slick.

    The difference between a crap production and a great production is SOOO frequently BAD AUDIO, so take your audio setup seriously, and do whatever you can to get it right.

    Rock!

    -rand()
     
  9. virus1 macrumors 65816

    virus1

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    LOST
    #9
    ya as to final cut studio... the whole thing is not needed for you. you say you already have motion, and all you really need in the studio for what you will be doing is final cut and soundtrack pro. however, for your purposes, because you have not completely arrived at what you are willing to put into it, i reccomend final cut express. it comes with soundtrack, which serves part of the purpose soundtrack pro does, and will introduce you to the ui of final cut. when you have outgrown that, you can buy the upgrades to final cut pro and soundtrack pro, not spending a penny more than you would normally. ($1 less, actually).

    -virus
     
  10. skimaxpower Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    #10
    I agree with previous posts:

    If you buy too much stuff now, you'll never use it all. Start with iMovie. Once you get used to it, learn Final Cut Express.

    By that time, they'll come out with Final Cut 7, and you can decide weather it's worth it to get the whole suite.

    And finally, YES, do go for the external (firewire) hard drive. The most storage you can afford. You'll fill it up, guaranteed.
     
  11. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    totally cool

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