Advice for a film student on a budget?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by wowoah, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. wowoah macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2003
    Berkeley, CA
    Hey all, this is a buying advice question for a good friend of mine that's a film student at school with me. She's looking into buying her first Mac and wants some advice on what to buy. Since I'm personally a history/intended pre-law student, I never do film editing, so I don't know what's good for that, so I'm deferring this question to you guys.

    My first instinct is to recommend the iMac, since it seems like the most bang for the buck. At the same time, however, I don't know how effective the iMac is for movie editing (doesn't it have slower RAM, bus speeds, etc. than the PM?) The second option I guess would be to purchase an older Dual-G4 PowerMac.

    Of course, the third option would be to shell out the dough for a G5 PowerMac, but I'm sure she'd rather not do that if it's not absolutely essential.

    Any filmmakers out there have advice? Thanks.
  2. macrumors regular

    Dec 6, 2003
    Well, I just got a great deal on a g5 single 1.8 for $1699 at

    I am a film maker- I do basic editing of my own films (And was doing them on a 350 G3) and then take it to a pro editor who adds "bells and whistles" all on his Dual g4 800mhz. So really, the 1.0Mhz imac g4 can do some nice editing things. It all depends how involved she gets with rendering Special Effects and such. But for a basic editing system the g4s are really good.

    I upgraded to a G5 because the G3 was jsut too slow with rendering, outputting to quicktime and I needed a DVD burner.
  3. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2002
    Well, it would depend on the kind of movies she plans on making. If they'll be shot on MiniDV camera(s), then you don't need a G5. Any of Apple's current lineup of G4 consumer computers (eMac, iMac, iBook) will handle DV fine, as long as you have enough hard disk space (easily solved with external drives).

    First thing is software: She will need either Final Cut Express 2 ($149, but not 24p compatible) or Final Cut Pro 4 ($499 with student discount, all the pro features) which is everything she could possibly want in a non-linear editing program. Avid is also good, but much more expensive. Still, if she wants to know the industry standard for editing, it might be good for her.

    At this point we'd need to know how much money she's willing to spend. Assuming she'll be working in MiniDV, I'd recommend the following setup (using the student discount):

    iMac 17" widescreen w/Superdrive (stock configuration; she'll need the bigger screen for timeline editing)

    512MB extra RAM from (she'll really need this)

    LaCie External FW Hard Drive 250GB (about 16 hours of DV footage)

    Final Cut Pro 4

    Microsoft Office (Excel is ideal for all her shooting schedules and budget spreadsheets, plus she'll want to be compatible with everyone else. She also has to write her screenplays somewhere)

    Photoshop Elements (for all the image manipulation she could ever want)

    TOTAL: $2,840.00

    With all this software, plus the iApps that come with the Mac, she should be set to tackle anything from short films to full-length features in MiniDV, and she can make DVDs out of them. If she's planning to work in HD or Film, the dual G5 is probably her best bet, but that's a whole other price bracket...

    If she's in the market for a MiniDV camera, the Canon GL2 is a great way to get started, at around $2000.

    Hope this helps!

  4. hdyhd macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2004
    Hey jrv3034

    The advice you gave is VERY helpful....thank you.

    One other question, will the setup you recommend be sufficient for the next three years? I keep hearing about all software going to 64bit because of the new OS.

    What are your thoughts on this?

  5. kaltsasa macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2002
    Kellogg IA
    I previously did tons of editing on an emac with a gig of ram and a couple firewire HD's. I currently have a dual 1 ghz G4 tricked out with 320 gigs of HD space(plus firewire drives). I bought this baby refurbed after the G5s came out for $1349 and I havn't looked back since. If your serious about video editing you'll want a tower that you can stuff with huge drives, though with FW 800 thats not as much of an issue. I would reccomend trying to find a refurbished G4 tower(dualy if possible). Though if you wait for a little while longer it looks like new G5's are in the pipeline (Least my freind who owns an apple reseller says that the current towers have been EOL'd) soon so the old models will probebly get sold off cheap on the special Deals Page.

    Small Dog Electronics has a bunch of deals on refurb towers right now. They are great people to deal with, I got my refurb tower from them. And they have cute pictures of doggies.'r'/wag20001
  6. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    MiniDV or not I would get a dual proc G4 or a G5 tower (new or refurbished). I would not recomemnd an iMac or an eMac for an editing station (and no laptops unless she absolutely has to edit on the road). Towers are more expandable, offer dual monitor support, and you get more bang for your buck (especially on a refurbed tower). I would alos recommend a dual proc 1.42ghz G4 over a single 1.6ghz or 1.8ghz G5. FCP takes serious advantage of that 2nd proc. A current iMac or eMac will not hold up, as an editing machine, for 3 years.

  7. jkaz macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2004
    Upper Mid West
    emacs are a better bargain than the imacs as far as performance vs price goes.

    i wouldn't recommend getting either one of those models for video editing for the following reasons.

    a) limited internal hard drive space. video editing takes alot of space, and the more space you have, the more projects you can handle.

    b) limited ability to have a dedicated system files hard drive and a dedicated media hard drive. ask the pros at the final cut forums and they all say the same thing: thou shalt not store thine media on thine same hard drive as thine program files.

    c) ram limitations: depending on which tower you compare to, the imacs and the emacs are both typically going to have a lower maximum amount of RAM that can be installed. As everyone knows, it's difficult to have too much RAM and video editing is no different in this department.

    d) single processors. current imacs and emacs have only one processor maximum in each. single processor is fine for many of the functions involved in video editing, but when called on to perform the higher end functions such as audio and video rendering, special effects and encoding to mpeg for dvd authoring, you are definately going to want a dual processor.

    e) split monitors and video cards. imacs and emacs on the average are not going to be likely to outperform towers' ability to handle two monitors. towers should have more options for video cards and be easier to upgrade for maximum screen real estate for editing video projects.

    f) general expandability. towers will always be easier to expand as funds become available.

    those are my arguments for buying a tower over the imac/emac models.

    ideally, dual processors are going to be in any machine purchased for the purpose of editing video, but certainly not required.

    i'll let you digest this and return with questions before i continue on the other aspects of a purchase for video editing mac.

    those topics will include the laptop variable, the g5 vs g4 debate, which montior to buy, and which version of final cut/editing software to get
  8. Downdivx macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2004
    Fayetteville, NC
    If your friend is serious about video/film editing, every ounce of power helps. FCP4 has been optimized for the G5 and it screams compared to just about anything else. Although I haven't done a side by side comparison, the FCP4 homepage claims it will beat an Avid with hardware acceleration.
    If your friend really plans on spending a lot of time editing, any performance increase makes a huge difference. Reconditioned dual 2GHz are selling for 2399 or with an edu discount 2699. FCP4: 499. She will need dual monitors (CRTs work better, IMO - 17" from apple store with free shipping $175). And as much RAM as she can afford.
    If she's going to publish her videos on DVDs, I would also highly recommend DVD Studio Pro 2. It offers 2 Pass - Variable Bit Encoding, so even fast action scenes look clean and professional.
    I'm student and looking at a comparable system right now and I priced it around 4300. Quite pricy, but it should last for many, many years. Apple also has great edu loans.
    Someone mentioned a Canon GL2. A couple of months ago I looked into this and I was able to get a XL1S for only 800 more than a GL2.
    Now, if your friend wants to be a director or DP, and only needs an editing system to dabble with during film school, she should look at cheaper, lower end solutions.
  9. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2002
    Of course you are right that the more power she gets now, the longer her editing system will last. Nobody is denying that. The reason I recommend the iMac in this particular case is because she's starting out in film school. A Dual G5 with 2 CRT monitors is overkill in terms of power, not to mention that she probably lives in a dorm room that's cramped as it is. She's not trying to set up a professional video editing suite, she just wants to plug in a camera and cut down the footage, and possibly put it on a DVD for viewing in class. An iMac 17" is perfect for a dorm desk, and will do everything she needs it to, for much less than a full-blown G5 system, as long as she has Firewire drives, extra RAM, and FCP4.

    I doubt she'll need DVD Studio Pro 2 at this point; I don't think she's planning on mass-distributiuon of her student short-films at this point. ;) iDVD will suit her just fine for in-class presentations and or transporting media.

    The system you described will certainly last longer than the iMac, but by the time she graduates from film school, we'll be up to Final Cut Pro 6 running on Quad 4GHz Power Mac G7s on OSX 10.5. She shouldn't waste her money on a system that will be super-powerful now, because she doesn't need it. After she graduates, THEN she can get the real goodies like you described.

    The XL1s is definitely a superb camera, which would probably serve her well. Heck, the films 28 Days Later and Full Frontal were both filmed with an XL1. If she's got the money for that, great. Better yet, she can get a Panasonic DVX100A, which can shoot in 24p (24 frames per second, which looks just like film, as opposed to 60i regular video) and has better resolution and plenty of other features for around $3500. However, for the price, she'll be hard pressed to find a better camera than the GL2. I would still recommend it for starting out, and then she can get the big guns after she graduates.

    She should get what she can afford, what fits in her dorm room, and enough to get her by. Later on, if she likes the world of film and editing, she can upgrade to the latest and the greatest.;)
  10. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    I can see both sides of this discussion. We really need more info about your friend's requirements, expectations and budget.

    Everyone knows that more power is better, that part is simple. But there is a point where it could be over kill for someone just starting out. But if money is no object...go for more power.

    As others have mentioned, *professionals* are using dual G5s, FCP and DVD Studio Pro. Does a film student need these tools? Or can she get by with Final Cut Express, iDVD and a G4? We need to know what type of projects, the volume of work, and her budget. She should also ask her professors what type of systems and software they recommend.

    If she is just going to be editing short MiniDV projects over the next 3 years AND her budget is tight, I would have no problem recommending either a iMac or a refurb dual G4 PowerMac. These are both very adequate systems for DV editing today and for the next few years.

    The G4 PowerMac gets you more expandibility and dual processors, the iMac gets you style and a 17" LCD. Different strokes for different folks.

    Don't forget, there was a movie at Sundance this year that was edited entirely in iMovie. Today's "consumer" tools were pro or prosumer tools a few years back. What is more important is the ability/skill/talent of the human! A good director could create something amazing with a consumer MiniDV camera, a $999 eMac and iLife '04.

    Best of luck to her! She is going to enjoy whatever system she chooses.
  11. evil macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2003
    chicago ex-toronto
    as stated above, the main thing is how much she is willing to spend.

    i use a 1ghz emac with final cut and it is perfect for my needs. unless she is super hardcore into it and all she might want to get a g5, but otherwise a cheaper g4 would do just fine.

    i would recommend the emac over the imac though. the crt is better.
  12. Downdivx macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2004
    Fayetteville, NC
    I say again, if she is studying to be a Director or DP, an Imac or G4 will work fine for her. If she's studying to be an editor or compositor or animator (well, for one she should know what type of computer to get herself) every little ounce of power makes a difference.
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I think this is an ideal situation for a G4 tower. She can get a brand new, 1.25ghz G4 PM w/superdrive + a good monitor for the price of a 17" iMac. Again, I would recommend spending a little bit more and getting a dual proc machine because FCP makes very good use of that 2nd proc.

    Speaking as an editor, who didn't gradutate from college that long ago, the last thing you want to do is sell yourself short. You don't want to drop a few grand on a system and then a year or so down the line go, "well crap, if I wish I would've spent a bit more." If you skimp you are going to regret it and end up spending more money in the long run. I made that mistake when I was in college (which wasn't that long ago). It was getting close to graduation and I wanted an NLE (non-linear editor) of my own sense I was no long going to be able to use the schools equipment. Long story short I went the budget route "to save money." About a year later I'd had it w/my budget system and bought a decked out PM (top of the line at the time) and FCP 3. That machine will be 2 years old in April and, honestly, I could easily cut on it for another 3 or 4 years. Obviously she's not considered fast anymore, but I don't do a lot of FX, keying, or compositing so it's not a big deal. My long renders are few and far between. But my Quicksilver really only has long legs because she is expandable. If I need more/different ports I can add them. I have room for 4 internal HDDs. If I need to cut uncompressed I can expand and do that too. An iMac or eMac, IMO, just is not a viable option for an editor because it has very little room to grow.

    But like sigamy said we really need more info to give proper advice.

    Obviously you can cut a feature length film on an eMac using iMovie but, given the choice, would you want to?

  14. markjones05 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 15, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    G4 tower with duals refurbished if money is tight, otherwise dual G5. End of story.
  15. jkaz macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2004
    Upper Mid West
    i disagree with all of jrv's comments except the panasonic 24p camera.

    i agree with lethalwolfe on all of his points.

    dual processor should be the first thing to consider for an editing sweet that utilizes final cut.

    if you decide yes on dual processors, then it becomes a decision between g4's and g5's.

    any computer currently sold from apple that has dual processors, when upgraded as much as can be afforded will be a great editing system for a long long time- because of it's expandability.

    if you decide to get dual g5's, watch the RAM issue because you have to buy in pairs, I recommend two 1 gig sticks of RAM right off the bat. Upgrade your video card as much as possible, and definately get 2 hard drives, regardless the size. Buy the RAM and hard drives from whomever you like and trust. Buy either final cut express or pro, if afforded.

    Bottom line, buy the dual g5's if you can afford it, and the best lcd's you can get, two of them.

    THAT, imo, will be the smartest buy for immediate and long term value.

    If you can't get dual g5's, get the dual g4's.

    If you aren't going dual's, then decide between single processor g5, or tower single g4, get g5 if possible.

    If g5 is not possible, then you need to decide between all of the single processor g4 options available.

    This includes imacs, emacs, tower, ibook and powerbook.

    If portability is a prize, the ibook and powerbook are very viable. Slower hard drives are a shortcoming, but performance will be comparable depending on which machine is selected.
  16. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2002
    People keep saying that you need dual processors for video editing, but then they recommend an iBook or a PowerBook. A G4 iMac is more powerful and speedier than most laptops, and the expandability is not an issue if you use FireWire HDDs and max out the RAM. You can't upgrade the video card on a PowerBook any more than you can on an iMac.

    I see pro video editors working on PowerBooks all the time, editing offline footage without a hitch. Final Cut Pro 4 allows for OfflineRT editing, which means editing on an iMac 1.25GHz would edit footage JUST AS FAST as on a dual 2GHz G5, since they're both in real time. After she completed her edits, she creates an Edit Decision List, imports only the necessary footage in full resolution, and renders the project once.

    It's not like she has 20 clients all wanting to see their industrial films edited by the end of the week, and she's charging $200 an hour for use of her edit suite. She's in college. She's just starting out. She has a little desk and a bunk bed. Where on earth is she going to put a dual G5 with dual 23" Cinema Displays, an AJA io, an NTSC monitor, a dedicated sound mixing board, pro audio monitors, and an Xserve RAID with 2 Terabytes of storage. She's not creating Pixar's competition here, folks.

    I still think the iMac 17" is the best option under her circumstances because it'll actually fit on her desk. One external FW hard drive, maxed out RAM, and she's good to go with FCP4. The eMac is a great value also, but in my opinion the monitor of the 17" iMac is better suited for video editing. The 20" iMac is too expensive for the performance, IMO.

    As for the 64 bit question, well, I know it's very tempting, but it's not necessary yet, and it won't be for several more years, I think. The programs Apple is yet to write will have to be compatible with G4s (ie: 32 bits) for several years. A computer you buy now will still do everything it does now the same way 3, 4, even 5 years from now, if properly taken care of. By the time she graduates from college, she will know whether she likes film editing on NLEs. At that point she can upgrade.

    I know it's great to have the latest and the greatest (heck, I love my dual G5) but for most people a G5, even a dual G4, is still overkill. For MiniDV, a 1.25GHz iMac would be fine, since most here consider a 1.25GHz PowerBook to be fine, but about $700 more expensive. If she's trying to get into 3D animation, though, then she really WILL need that dual G5!
  17. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    I'm no serious video editor but my 12" PB suits me fine with FCE. I have the 80GB internal hard drive (only 4200rpm), can't afford an external monitor or hard drive, but I can still make good edits. I'm not suggesting you get a 12" PB but I'm saying that it's more viable than most people who say "you need dual G5s" would have you believe. Yes, my screen is tiny and I have no expandibility but it is still not very limiting.

    So I think the iMac 17" will be completely fine for you. It has 25% more processor power than my computer plus a much bigger screen. Sure, dual G5s are nice, but they are not always practical (size issues as you mentioned) and they are not cheap. Students don't need dual G5s.
  18. jkaz macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2004
    Upper Mid West
    ...noone knows her circumstances, other than: she is a film student, she is buying her first mac, and that she might not want to shell out the dough for a g5.

    the bottom line, as markjones05 put it,

    "G4 tower with duals refurbished if money is tight, otherwise dual G5. End of story."

    Noone in their right mind that has the need and funds necessary "should" buy an imac for video editing when they can buy a dual processor instead.

    "End of story."
  19. jrv3034 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2002
    OK, she gets a dual 1.25GHz G4 Power Mac. Adding a SuperDrive, and the Apple Pro Speakers makes it almost identical in price (see pic below). However, she then needs to buy a monitor. A 17" Studio display is $599. Is it worth it to pay the extra $600 for a dual processor G4 that'll take up more room? For her, I don't think so. Of course it's up to her, but I think she'd be fine with an iMac 17".
  20. jkaz macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2004
    Upper Mid West
    you are entitled to think she'd be fine with an imac 17", and you know what? i bet she would be fine with a 17" imac.

    but if she has the space and the budget for it, she would be better off with a dual processor.

    until she says "no, i can't afford the best possible base computer for video editing", don't steer her into making a mistake.

    because, yes, buying an imac configuration when a dual configuration, or even single processor tower configuration is possible would be a mistake.

    thank you


    nice work with images, btw.

    i just priced out a single processor tower:

    • 1.25GHz w/ 1MB L3 Cache
    • 256MB DDR333 SDRAM (PC2700) -1 DIMM
    • 80GB Ultra ATA drive
    • Optical 1 - Apple SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    • Optical 2 - None
    • ATI Radeon 9000 Pro dual-display w/64MB DDR
    • Apple Studio Display (17" flat panel)
    • 56K internal modem
    • Apple Pro Keyboard - U.S. English
    • Mac OS - U.S. English

    Subtotal $1,978.00

    better video card, better expandability.

    what do you think about this one, jrv?

    edit 2:

    this tower has 4 dimms, with a max RAM of 2 gigs.
    the imac has 2 dimms, max of 1 gig.

    the tower can have up to 4 internal hard drives, plus whatever externals you want. the imac has one internal plus externals.

    tower video card has dual display capabilities.

    tower can add a second optical drive

    tower has 4 pci slots, one agp
  21. leftbanke7 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 4, 2004
    West Valley City, Utah
    This is a question I have having myself. I, as well, am a film student and I am getting to the courses in my career in which I will be editing films and such. My Beige G3 has been a trusty friend for almost 6 years but I don't think she will be a good computer to edit film on. I will have decided I will have to upgrade to some degree. My budget is also very limited (as in at most, $1500). I'd rather avoid getting an iMac/eMac. Nothing wrong with them just not my cup o' tea. My film emphasis would be both on editing and directing (and perhaps screenwriting but I already own a screenwriting program). Knowing my financial constraints and tastes and the fact that I am not afraid to get inside the computer and soup it up, any suggestions?
  22. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    You can edit on any Mac currently on sale by Apple but some of them are better suited for it than others. And, given the choice, I don't see why you would choose an inferior machine for the task at hand.

    Even the single 1.25ghz PM G4 would be better than the 17" iMac and it would cost about the same. Edu price for a stock single proc 1.25ghz PM w/superdrive is $1379.
    Add in a good 17" LCD for $430.
    512megs of RAM for crucial: $79
    250gig Western Digital HDD from newegg: $211
    2.1 speakers from newegg: $40
    FCP 4: 499
    MS Office: 149
    Photoshop Elemets: $99

    Total: $2886

    For $46 more she gets a superior system that can grow w/her if she falls in love w/editing. If she gets the iMac and falls in love w/editing she's probably want to shell out for a tower (I know I would). Even if she doesn't like editing she still ends up w/a better machine than the iMac. The dual 1.25ghz would still be better and worth the extra $250, IMO. But if she had a hard budget of $2900 then the single proc PM would be the way to go.

    Heck, to save a few $$$ she could buy a 15" LCD or even get away w/a 17" CRT. A good 17" CRT can be had for around $130. A good 19" for around $160. Although I think a 19" would be too big for the desks that come standard in dorm rooms (although she could bring her own desk/table). If she found she need more desktop space she could just add another monitor down the road.

    I don't know why you keep bringing up the size factor. Yes dorm rooms are small but it's common to see microwaves, mini-fridges, and complete home entertainment systems w/a good sized TV so I don't think it will be hard to find room for a G4 tower.

    OfflineRT should only be used if you have to use it. It takes time to on-line a project and Media Management in FCP 4 is better than in 3 but it's still a weak point w/FCP. Talking about going from OfflineRT to onlining only the used footage usually starts giving people sweaty palms. And, it's only a viable option if you have perfect, or dang near perfect, timecode. And from my experience keeping unbroken TC w/MiniDV is easier said than done (especially when it comes to students and newbies). And people only mentioned laptops if editing on the road was required.

    Any uncompressed media, be it HD or SD, would bennifet greatly from a more powerful machine. But film really doesn't require it if your final product will be on film. You would just xfer the film to DV, cut from the DV masters, then kick out a cut list to send to the negative cutter to cut the actual film.

    Again, you can edit on any machine in Apples line up, but given the choice why would you chose an inferoir machine for this specific task? If I had to run a mile in my flip-flops I could, but given the choice I'd never chose my flip-flops over my cross-trainers or my running shoes.

    Well, I'm sure we've all ranted and raved so much that neither wowoah nor the girl that is looking for advice will ever come back to this thread. ;) But if either one of them does it would be great to learn more about the girl and her situation so we can give better advice instead of assuming XYZ and, based on those assumptions, refering ABC.

  23. jkaz macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2004
    Upper Mid West
    see my post right above, then take off the lcd, and add final cut express 2 and it totals at $1460.

    if you feel like getting frisky, find a refurb and power it up from there
  24. BurntCalc macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2002
    I run a film company in Tucson, and what your friend really needs (I'm assuming she'll be doing some in depth editing if she's actually in film school) is any G4 type mac. They will all work. Plus Final Cut Pro (industry standard).

    An iMac will be fine, but I recommend any G4/G5 dual processor system above 800 mhz. This will allow her to handle all the latest apps on the market without running into big speed issues.

    Memory is alway nice too (at least 512k).

    She can then expand her hard drive space with firewire as needed.
  25. codycartoon macrumors regular

    Sep 13, 2002
    I hate to jump in this late, but I am a filmmaker myself and a student.

    I have edited 3 short films on my Powermac g4 quicksilver 867mhz with 256MB ram, shooting on a cannon zr-20 and using lights I got from ace hardware.

    I bought the g4 from a friend for christmas 2 years ago for $1200(included 15 inch apple studio display, and FCP3) I then bought the cannon ZR-20 on ebay for $300. I got another hard drive for the g4 for $70. Spending a total amount of $1570. For a system that has done everything a computer could do for the following films:

    Notes: Accepted in to the Emerging Filmmakers Project at the Bug Theater (February 19nth 2004 Denver CO).

    Notes: Shot November 2003

    "Snowton" Egg Nog Cut.mp4
    Notes: Shot last December, longest.

    At this point in the game I would spend my money going to movies, learning about filmmaking, buying DVDs, buying books, a computer and a camera are a tool like any other, no need to make a beautiful looking film if you can't tell a story.

    And on another note, she should learn how to push and use tools that aren't always the best in a creative way instead of just solving problems with more money.

    RAM's hyped, I have never had problems with my 256.

    I recommend the iMac or a Powermac g4 or g5 if she wants a system that will last a really long time.

    As far as iDVD goes, it's really great, I mass produced 25 copies of my DVD "3 Short Films by Cody Brown" and gave it to actors, friends, family, and contacts in california(one from Pixar).

    Happy filming,

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