Which Mac config for pro HD video editing?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Patroller, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. Patroller macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    #1
    Hello all. Im new to this forum and new to Macs. I am about to start up a small video production company and I am going froma PC with Premiere Pro 2.0 and the whole creative suite to a Mac with Final Cut Pro HD. I will be using a Canon XHA1 HD camera and I want to produce videos in the 10 minute to 1 hour lenght. Mostly for the consumer but I will be specializing in Surf , skate , snowboard and ski videos.
    What I want to know is if you were starting from scratch what would you build. Not something at the high end ...Ie 4 hard drives ,ect but what is needed as far as graphics card, storage ,additional software to deal with HD ect.
    Im going to be ordering off the Mac store so how would you configure your Mac ? ( Desktop)

    And will final cut pro HD be able to edit footage from the canon camera without additional software? Like Lumiere?


    Thanks
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    I'll let one of the video pros here answer in depth, but as an educated guess - subject to others' opinions - I'd get a stock 2.66GHz MacPro, add 1-3GB of 3rd party RAM, buy one or more 3rd party 500GB hard drives - which are not marked up as insanely as Apple's - and maybe upgrade the graphics card (not sure, but I'm guessing even the stock one would work for you).

    I think Final Cut should do all you need without additional software, but, again, opinions from the pros would be useful here.

    Obviously, a 3.0GHz system would be faster, but I don't think it's worth the price differential, which is a big fraction (~1/3 more) of the cost of the entire 2.66 Mac Pro.
     
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    #3
    Hmm...how much are you looking to spend?
    For an optimal system for HD video editing, I'd go for at least a 500GB HD as a starter (pick up other ones along the way), the 2.66 MacPro, 4GB of RAM, and the ATI 1900XT. You can always stuff more RAM and Hard Drives depending on your needs.
    Storagewise, it's a tough one. How much work do you get/do? If I were going to invest in external storage, I'd probably get an external FW800 enclosure that would take SATA drives. Coolgear makes those, and you can pick one up for ~$100 or less. Alternatively, you could go for a small RAID array, but that's gonna cost you.
    FCP should have no problems reading your camera.
     
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #4
    What concerns me about this is that the Apple price to upgrade to a 500MB drive (US$199) exceeds the cost of buying a new 500GB SATA drive, so I don't see the point - he could get the stock model, buy a 3rd party 500GB drive, end up with two drives and 750GB, and still save money.

    Or am I missing something? Is that what you meant?
     
  5. Patroller thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    #5
    Thanks jsw. Im at a crossroad. If I stick with the PC, I will need Aspect HD @ 500 dollars 2 gig of ram @ 225 dollars and possibly a new capture card at @ 1600 dollars. I have a friend who is a MAC dealer who has told me to go MAC and Im thinking if i can get one for around 3500 ( no monitor or keyboard just the computer) maybe I should just go with FCPHD. Does anyone know if FCPHD will take the video footage andf be able to edit in real time without dumping another 1000 or 2000 dollars?
     
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #6
    Everything I've read, including Apple's own page, reviews of the Canon, etc., strongly suggest it'll work.

    Do you have an Apple Store nearby? Their Mac Pros have FCPHD installed - you could bring your camera in and find out!
     
  7. theWholeTruth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    #7
    Go to Apple's website

    They have all the answers to your questions. Yes, FCS now offers RT HDV editing. It's still long GOP MPEG-2 though...yuck.

    How are you planning on capturing? Please don't say you're going to use your camera. You need a deck, and I'm fairly sure that you need a Canon deck.

    Other than that, I'd have at least 2GB of memory. The rest can be stock. Look into getting a 1TB G-Tech Raid 0 setup to start off with. Later on, you can get a better Raid setup.

    Have you shot with that camera before? HDV has issues with motion so be prepared. IMO and experience wise, I'd look into the Panny camera; I'd take DVCPro HD footage over HDV.
     
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #8
    Well, you have some options. :)

    Barebones:
    The fastest Mac you can afford w/extra RAM and SATA drive(s) purchased from someone besides Apple (they have a high mark-up for build-to-order upgrades) and a computer monitor capable of of displaying a 1:1 HD image (like the 23" Apple Cinema display for example).

    Beyond barebones:
    An HD and/or SD monitor that is capable of accurate (or at least as accurate as you can afford) color reproduction. Of course now you need something to feed a signal to that monitor.

    A Blackmagic Decklink or Aja Kona card will allow you to transcode your HDV into DVCPro HD on capture and can feed a b'cast quality signal to your HD/SD monitor.

    The Matrox MXO will allow you to output a b'cast quality signal to an HD/SD monitor using a DVI port.

    If the Canon had HDMI I'd mention the Blackmagic Intensity card too, but it doesn't so I won't.

    A pair off decent, powered studio monitors (speakers) wouldn't hurt either since sound is half the picture. ;)

    I don't think Canon makes any decks, but they make cheap ($1200 or so) consumer cameras that you can use to digitize so you aren't wearing out the heads on your XHA1.

    Of course things like how you are delivering the final product (web, DVD, Hi Def DVD, HDV tape, etc.,) should impact your purchasing decisions too. I mention transcending to DVCPro HD because HDV is a very CPU intensive codec to use (less RT, longer renders, etc.,) and it isn't very forgiving when it comes to gfx and color correction.


    Lethal
     
  9. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #9
    Unless I'm mistaken, that Canon shoots HDV, which Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express can edit natively, and on a Mac Mini no less. Unless you need serious expandibility for all the gear Lethal mentioned, I'd go for a 20" or 24" iMac if you're editing non-professionally. Get a minimum 1GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, and buy firewire externals if you run out of space.
     
  10. bobedot macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
  11. Carl Spackler macrumors 6502

    Carl Spackler

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Outer Space
    #11
    Unless you're shooting 24p, you may want to take a look at Final Cut Express HD. I believe you can get it installed on a new Mac for $99, which is a total steal for such a powerful program. apple.com/finalcut for a comparison.

    Buying 3rd party RAM and drives is the only way to go. Since your media should not sit on your main drive, I would advise against spending money to make it bigger. If it stretches your budget, hold off on the RAM until you've had the chance to do some editing. Coming from PeeCee land, I was shocked at how capable my dual 2 G5 was with it's stock 1Gig of RAM. No doubt you will feel the hunger and want more RAM, but IMHO, it's a purchase you can put off for a bit.

    Then again, if this is for a business and you plan to write it off or depreciate the new hardware, it may not be such a bad idea to buy a juiced up rig all at once.
     
  12. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #12
    While competition is good, why on Earth would anyone want to migrate from Final Cut Pro to Premiere....just out of curiosity? :confused:
     
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #13
    Project sharing w/After Effects can be handy (that's all I got).


    Lethal
     
  14. Proto Media macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Location:
    Gnar Cal
    #14
    dont go with HDV

    I used to work for a pretty big wedding production company in the bay area and we switched to HDV and while HDV is insanely better than DV for event capturing (i.e. weddings, funerals, birthdays, bat mitzvahs, the like) I would HIGHLY discourage you from buying an HDV camera for capturing what you had mentioned.

    first off, its 1080i, which for fast moving objects would give you sub optimal quality. secodnly its 30fps, so slowing that footage down isn't going to yeild the best results. skiing and snowbaording are very fast motion sports, typically with the camera moves being even faster (halfpipe, you whip that camera around everywhere) so for HDVs poor GOP structure, you are going to get macro blocking when you have fast moving pans, combined with complicated scenary (trees are the worst) since you will be filming in the forest, I think you will def notice the artifacting in the footage.

    If I were you, I would go with what thewholetruth mentioned, and look into the PANO. thats what I would get if I had the money. It shoots to solid state cards (good for action sports, cause you won't get drop outs like you do with tape. Secondly, it uses DVC Pro, which I believe is around 100 mb/sec (dont quote me) opposed to DV & HDVs 25 mb/sec data rate. The pano also haas the option of recording at 60fps, so if you want to get that sick slow mo shot of a switch cork 9, you can shoot in that mode and then slow WAY down without notcieably loss of quality. I live in tahoe, and ride northstar everyday, and I am seeing more and more panos and less and less HDV. I rode up the lift with a guy who shoots for think thank (dont know if youve heard of it) but he was tellin me that this is probably the last year that most of the snowboard production companies are going to be shooting film, and that most of them are using the panos now.

    Mawk Dawg productions threw down for FOUR of those R.E.D. cameras (80k, no biggie) so that shows you the importance of resolution in action sports, I think your best bet would be with the pano. check it out, I think there is a new one coming out soon, or it might already be out.

    Hope this helps you out, keep in touch you sound like your in the same boat that I am. anyways, peace out and good luck.

    - Ryan
     
  15. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #15
    That's all I could think of too....
     
  16. P-Worm macrumors 68020

    P-Worm

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #16
    I just wanted to pipe in because I have both the computer you are looking at and the Canon XH A1. Although I am not a proffessional by any means, I can tell you what my experience has brought me.

    Right now, I am using the stock Mac Pro with no upgrades (although that will change soon). I wish I had more RAM when I'm working in FCP, Motion and Shake (the computer comes stock with 1GB) and even though the Mac Pro RAM is relatively pricey, I would jump on at least 2GB if I were you. Second, I am going to purchase a second internal hard drive very soon. You will want to buy a second drive instead of having a larger single drive so that the computer won't be taking up the drive bandwidth while you are editing (I have been almost pulling my hair out at times with how many dropped frames and long load times I am getting due to this fact). Bare Feets recommends this drive and I think that is what I'm going to go with becuase it seems to be a great value:

    Maxtor MaXline Pro 500

    The upgrade in graphics card would help out Motion from what I hear, but I have not tried them side by side to give you how much.

    I think the best advice you could get from this forum though is that you should wait on your purchase of a Mac Pro if you can, they are getting close to being due for an upgrade.

    Happy editing. :cool:

    P-Worm
     
  17. Multimedia macrumors 603

    Multimedia

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz CA, Silicon Beach
    #17
    Get A Dual Clovertown 8 Core Mac Pro When It Ships By NAB With Leopard

    If you can afford it, waiting for and buying the 8 Core Dual Clovertown Mac Pro will be worth it for all things video. :)
     
  18. GraceMolloy macrumors regular

    GraceMolloy

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Location:
    Kentucky
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #19
    Go to the Apple web site and down load the FCP user manual. There is a section in it about choosing hardware. It gives you tyhe data rates and gigabytes per hour for various types of video. Some of the film related formats have horrific data rats but HD video is not to bad. I'd get ne drive for the system and software and a pair of drives to be used as a stripped arrary (RAID0) for the media scratch files. You don't need huge drives but getting two makes it twice as fast. Remember you may be editing multiple HD streams and will need 2x or 3x the HD rate.

    A Mac Pro with at least 2GB of RAM, four if you have the $$$

    Also you will likely want a second monitor. Get a REAL HD TV not a computer monitor. Like a Sony XBR or whatever. Good to be able to watch your show on a TV set. For a compuer monitor let your budget deside.

    As for software, you may be able to use Final ut Express. "Pro" will do film formats but you are just doing video. Pro can do some 3D and has better soundtrack composition tools but if you are just cutting video FCE will save you a LOT. There is a promo now buy a mac and get FCE for $99 If you need FCP later then upgrade. The interface is the same so what you learn will apply. Little to loose if you get FCE.
     
  20. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #20
    You don't need a RAID for HDV as it has a similar data rate to DV.

    This, plus a thread started by Multimedia, got me to thinking that an Intensity card could be useful to the OP even though the Canon doesn't have HDMI. The card will allow you to monitor an HDV timeline on an external monitor via HDMI in real time. Real time monitoring on DV or DVCPro is easy as you can just use firewire, but that's not possible w/HDV.


    Lethal
     
  21. bimmzy macrumors regular

    bimmzy

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #21
    This is not rocket science honestly, and I've read a lot of claptrap from some of the posts above. :rolleyes:

    Since you will be originating on HDV there really isn't an issue with storage because of its low bit rate.
    So on drive: An external firewire/usb2 drive like Western Digital's WD3200 or equivalent would be fine for what you want to do. Its cheep, fast, and has a large cache making it the ideal choice.

    On processors: the faster the better, because even though the bit rate for HDV is the same as standard DV the compression is about twice as much. Therefore your Intel core thingy will have to work harder to decode the HDV signal so it can be manipulated in the edit.

    Memory in the form of RAM is an also an issue. Simply put the more the better!

    On graphics cards: (you need to talk carefully with Apple on this one). If you want to display your HD project in full resolution, and be able to work on you desktop at the same time, AND want to see some of the effects you create in real time, you will need a good one (or two even).
    So consider carefully how high the "production values" of the films you want to make matches what you can afford. Because if you want to shoe-horn uncompressed HD graphics on top of your footage then hell, it's gonna cost (and not just the graphics cards). If on the other hand you're happy with the graphics being rendered in the end to the same resolution as your project i.e. HDV then your bucks will go a lot further.

    As for the editing software: well FCStudio will do nicely! :D
     
  22. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #22
    Motion is the only app in the FCS suite that takes significant advantage of the GPU. It's been rumored since early last year that the next version of Final Cut will take advantage of the GPU to provide more real time functionality, but right now the CPU is the biggest hardware factor when it comes to the level of RT you get.


    Lethal
     
  23. bimmzy macrumors regular

    bimmzy

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #23
    If you have a week graphics card, you won't get to see an HD in its full glory. When it come to renerding the effects that are on the timeline in FCP the the cpu does all the work this is true, but if you want to build complex graphics sequences in motion, the gpu's performance is fundemental!
     
  24. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #24
    Sure you can, as long as you're not trying to see it in Motion...
     
  25. wizwaz3 macrumors 6502a

    wizwaz3

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Arizona
    #25
    Honestly, you could run the whole Final Cut Studio on an iMac. For the length you mention, it would be a little long rendering, but nothing extreme. If you're going more to the 1hr length, get a nicely configured Mac Pro, but if you think you will be more towards the 10min side, it would probably be cheaper to by an iMac with the upgraded processor and RAM. I have a 24" and it's very nice working FCS with a screen this big. Hope this helped. :)
     

Share This Page