Advice: Aspiring Video Editor - Buying first Mac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by paulyd0021, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. paulyd0021 macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2009
    Hi, I plan on enrolling in a film production school soon. I've always been a PC person, not that I've ever been against Macs, I just preferred to have the many more software and hardware options available to me. Also it's been the cheaper route to more performance. So anyways, I gave in and bought a version of Win 7, and FINALLY, since the day XP launched, Windows got something right. Its not perfect but its what Vista should have been all along. Anyways, sorry I'm sidetracking. I was just going to say that I was finally completely happy with windows when I realized I would need to switch teams and buy a Mac in order to use Final Cut Pro.

    So here I am now, looking to my soon to be fellow Mac owners, for advice. The next computer I buy I want to last (technology wise) for at least a few years of going through film school and becoming a entry level professional video editor. I plan on being able to edit a full HD movie with this machine.

    Now as to what I should buy. I think I have a few options ahead of me.

    1. I know that the mac line up is due for an update sometime next year, so I could wait to see whats available then. From what i've heard about the i7 processors they would be worth the wait for video editors.

    2. I could buy a cheap used macbook pro now (ideally I would want a powerful laptop over a desktop for portability reasons) and use it to learn the ropes of Final Cut and other software until the new line up comes out.

    3. I could invest a larger chunk of change into a Mac Pro and know I'd probably have enough power to last me the time frame I expected. However, mac pros for me are just a tad bit out of my price range and I really enjoy being able to go wherever I am and be able to work on a project instead of being restrained to one corner of the house.

    So if anyone has any advice for my situation I would greatly appreciate it, and I look forward to becoming a Mac user for the first time.

  2. paulyd0021 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2009
    also, if I did plan on dual booting a version of windows 7 on my Mac, is it the best bet to go with a Mac Pro with separate hard drives? Or is dual booting on a single hard drive like in a MacBook Pro just fine? thanks.
  3. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Dual booting with a single HDD is just fine, Boot Camp Assistant will create another partition (size is your choice) to install Windows onto.

    As for your original question:
    Depending on what source material you get (uncompressed or compressed) an iMac i7/5 and a MacBook Pro 17" will be fine doing edits on compressed footage, but for uncompressed footage a little more horsepower might be needed due to better external (or even internal) RAID options with eSATA HDDs.
    An MBP 17" could do that too because of the ExpressCard /34 slot, which is capable to hold an eSATA port card which would allow you to connect eSATA RAIDs.

    Firewire 800 might be a bit slow, we have a Mac Pro at our work, and the FW800 drives sometimes choke on slightly compressed (2:1 footage in Avid) PAL SD footage, so eSATA might be the better choice for that.

    You can edit your post by pressing the [​IMG] button on the bottom right of your posts.
  4. paulyd0021 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2009
    Thanks for the info Spinnerlys I really appreciate it. So what I took from what you said, I definitely need an esata port with whatever I use in order to take better advantage of a RAID system and that the 17" MBP with the Esata express card would be able to do the job. Are you saying I should definitely WAIT for the new line of i7 MacBook Pros to come out before I purchase one? Oh and thanks for the edit tip ;)
  5. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    whats your budget?

    cause you are venturing into the $3000 range pretty quick...

    Why not ask the school what the expect?

    As a student, I would expect your requirements are going to be a bit less than what a professional editor uses...

    The MBPro and MacPro line ups are due for updates in the next 2-3 months, but the rest of the lineup will not be.
  6. paulyd0021 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2009
    Well I was hoping to stay below the $3000 mark. I probably wont need the best system available to learn what they teach me, but I would like to be able to have the possibility of not needing to buy another mac for around 3 years.
  7. Jon-Luke macrumors 6502


    May 22, 2009
    Cape Town
    If you plan to do long projects on full HD then you are going to struggle using any of the Lap Top Systems. You will need eSata Drives and there is no eSata connection on the current laptops Mac has on offer.

    From an editing point of view I use my 15" MBP for short projects and it copes just fine (It may be better if I had 8GB of Ram) but all in all it is able to cope with pretty much all I can throw its way. The actual editing process copes quite well... Its when you get to finishing that your hardware starts to become more of an issue. If you have to render a lot of effects and also possibly write your completed movie to DVD or some other format that can take a really long time if you aren't geared up properly. But in the Editing world this is called online and traditionally the off-line work is completed on a lesser machine and then brought into the online suite for finishing.

    Personally I prefer to use Adobe Premier for video editing - I find it faster and when it comes to effects (Cross dissolves etc...) it has more of a accurate real time engine with shorter render times. Also the titling engine is a lot simpler and integrated into the main edit suite. So its worth comparing the two programs to see what you think.

    For student work I would recommend anything with at least 4GB of RAM you could probably get away with a 1.8GHz processor, but the faster the better. And use a high speed external drive with FW800 if you end up with a Laptop and with eSata if you get a Mac Pro. (I use an external G-Drive with FW800, its very stable, has fan-less cooling so its relatively quiet and it runs at 7200RPM which is just fine).

    Good luck and I hope you find the right machine for the job (Going Mac for Home editing is a good choice - I tried using Windows but it was crash city and Unless you have the money to pay for all the pro hardware add-ons you are wasting your time).
  8. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    I would wait regardless of when new MBPs are coming out.

    You need to get into class, ask other students and instructors on what they recommend.

    Kinda crappy if you spend $3000 on a MBP only to find out that a $1200 iMac would work fine.

    And, thats whats going to happen, since a $1200 21" iMac has more horsepower than any 17" MBP ever made.

    Just wait.

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