Advice Please! Video Editing Setup

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Tom-London-uk, May 7, 2008.

  1. Tom-London-uk macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2008

    I am a semi-pro video (turning pro) editor and need some advice on a good apple setup.

    I use Sony HVR Z1E Cameras and so this system will need to be capable of HD editing.

    I will be running Final Cut Studio 2 and use motion regularly for advanced motion graphics.

    I'm looking at getting the following:

    Two 3.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon < I read that the 3.2 is only 5% faster >
    2GB (2x1GB) < Plan to upgrade RAM to 4GB from Crucial >
    NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB GDDR3
    320GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s < OSX + Apps >
    1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s < Scratch >
    One 16x SuperDrive
    Apple Wireless Mighty Mouse
    Apple Wireless Keyboard & Mac OS
    Apple 23" Cinema HD Display

    I'd be truly grateful for any comments!

    Many thanks!

  2. BlakTornado Guest


    Apr 24, 2007
    Washington, OH
    That seems great!


    "2GB (2x1GB) < Plan to upgrade RAM to 4GB from Crucial >"

    Might be worth getting 8 if you want to use multiple apps at once. I know I have 1GB and I can run Final Cut Express and various other apps at the same time, but it can get very laggy; and I'm only an amateur, at that.

    "Apple Wireless Mighty Mouse"
    If you weren't going to already, definitely swap it for a different mouse. I'm not a pro and I find the Mighty Mouse horrible and uncomfortable to use at the best times, let alone with video editing.
    I would suggest the Logitech MX Revolution. It's a gaming mouse but it's ergonomic, got a super fast scroll wheel (great for scrolling through long time lines), has horizontal scrolling, it's rechargeable (so no need to spend all your money on batteries when you could be spending it on equipment) and best of all, it has 6 programable buttons which you can assign to various keystrokes, which can be VERY useful in a pro environment. And it's wireless too, although it does require a dongle (but there may be a Bluetooth one out soon, as a picture of it has been seen around the web).

    So I would definitely look into that if I were you. The Mighty Mouse is pretty dodgy and ruins the Mac experience in my opinion. Of course, each to their own.

    "Apple 23" Cinema HD Display"
    Dell displays are a popular choice, I think because they're cheaper. But from my experience with them, they're solid and good quality (Although I've got an iMac so I've not bought one recently). Someone else would need to confirm, but a Dell may be better... unless you're look for an entirely Apple set-up. I think they're good quality from what I've heard but Dell seems more popular. And various other display makers.
  3. vanmacguy macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2007
    Not where you live.

    I'm not an editor, but I am a SysAdmin at a company that does a lot of editing, all in Final Cut with dozens of Mac Pro's.


    Personally, I agree with the last poster and would ramp the Ram up a bit.

    Again, personally, I would probably buy 2 24" Dell's. They are a beautiful monitor and you can pretty much get two for not much more than one ACD. Every one of the editors here uses two monitors, I don't think they could function on one.

    They also all use Wacom tablets. I don't, as I'm not an editor, but they fly through stuff far greater with a tablet. It's apparently a really intuitive way to work after the day or two it takes you to get used to it.

    I figure that a whole bunch of professional editors can't be wrong, right?

    Good luck. Come back and let us know what you decide.

  4. sebassttiann macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2008
    why do you use motion? after effects is way more powerfull and industry standard....

    I would say im a professional and the one thing i wish i had done was work out a system or spent money to anticipate needing harddrive space. Im slightly anal and NO project gets deleted EVERYTHING saved and archived. However, i work on projects that can sometimes be 100-500 gb in size(music videos, commercial work motion graphics) so harddrive space runs out quick

    i have 4 750 gb drives, a sata card with two TB drives and a SCSI card with a terabyte array terrabyte drives on both firewire ports 500gb on the firewire 800 PLUS the drives i stupidly bought for usb back in the day and its still not enough. i wish i had bought the internals and sccsi array way before the other stuff it had gotten to the point now a sata drive or firewire 800 drive is included in my clients budget and thats all i use the hardrive for and when im done it gets put on a shelf with a label on it. so i suggest figuring out a archiving and or back up system for your self depending on your work load.
  5. MatchFrame macrumors member

    May 2, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    I agree on the dual-screen setup. A must for video editing. You can't fit enough data & visuals on one monitor for what serious video editing requires. 22"-24" dual-screen setup, NEC or Dell seem to be the affordable & quality alternatives to ACD's.

    However, I cannot imagine editing with a Wacom tablet. It seems a little cumbersome for something like video editing that requires lots of repetitive button pushes or very specific keystrokes/timing. I am not discrediting it, but I am definitely curious to hear more about how these editors prefer it to a mouse. It seems like hovering your arm over the tablet for non-drawing purposes would get quite tiresome. What are your guys' experiences?

    I was also wondering if any of you found there to be disadvantages to wireless keyboard or mouse setups? I haven't had much experience with them and am not up to speed on lag or other concerns (if any). Is Bluetooth preferable to a USB receiver?
  6. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Definitely get more RAM, especially if you plan to run Motion.
    The 3 GHz CPUs aren't much faster than 2.8, its not worth it for that price.
    The wireless :apple:KB doesnt have numpad... just letting you know in case you dont.
    Definitely get 23" ACD - you can't find the better monitor for twice as much.

    Most 22" have the resolution of 20" monitors and they all use TN panels which are only suitable for word processing and e-mail.

    There aren't any "quality alternatives" to ACD that are cheaper than ACD. And don't mention those Dells with S-IPS panels - panels aren't everything in a display. Other factors like color accuracy, built-in display electronics, settings and optimization, etc that matter. Plus, ACDs are SWOP-certified.
  7. Tom-London-uk thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2008
    Thanks for all your comments!

    Thanks everyone for your help!

    I think I'm gonna go for the following:

    Two 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    *What I save on downgrading the processor I'll use to upgrade the memory*

    2GB (2x1GB) Std
    *Upgrade to 6 / 8 GB with Crucial*

    NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB GDDR3

    320GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s < OSX + Apps >

    1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s < Scratch >
    *Will purchase this somewhere other than Apple*

    One 16x SuperDrive

    Apple Mighty Mouse Std
    *Will Purchase a more video editing friendly wireless mouse as suggested*

    Apple Wireless Keyboard & Mac OS

    Apple 23" Cinema HD Display
    *Will get a second when the next job comes in!!*

    Thanks again for all your comments!

  8. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Also a point to consider is that nVIDIA cards perform poorly compared to ATi cards in Pro apps, as shown here

    I suggest you hold off the graphics card upgrade until the rumored Radeon 3800-series cards starts shipping for Macs. Seeing how the stock 2600 beats GeForce 8800 in Core Image stuff, the 3800 will no doubt improve the performance to the new heights, as it is a high-end card compared to mid-range 2600.
  9. treehorn macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    Looks like a great set up. On the 23" Monitor side I'd definitely go with the ACD (once you reach's debatable :)

    Only thing I would consider adding is an external drive for backups (Time Machine or other). I know some like using an internal drive for backups, but I'm just paranoid enough to worry that if my computer got fried, it would zap all my drives, and an external drive would be a safer choice.

    I do a lot of video editing (and Motion creation) on my new 2.8 MacPro with 10GB of RAM (8 GB bought via OWC), the 8800 card (no complaints so far), 2 Samsung 750GB drives (bought at NewEgg) as well as the 320GB stock drive.

    I don't recommend the wireless keyboard as the number pad is very VERY useful in editing (not to mention number crunching). There are so many bluetooth keyboards out there with number pads...I'd think twice about that one. And be prepared to get a new mouse ASAP as the supermouse sucks big time.
  10. McDughf macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2007
    Great Britain
    My Advise When Buying An Apple Computer Is To Go For The Fastest Processor Speed You Can Afford At The Time - Memory, Hard Disc And Even Optical Drives Can Be Upgraded Anytime Later, But Not The Processor Speed.
    Final Cut Will Work With Even 1.5 Gigs Installed.

    As Everyone Else Agrees Here, A Dual Display Setup Is Defiantly Recommended ( But Once Again, Not Essential If You Are Just Starting Out ).
    I Run An ACD 30 inch As My Main Display For The Viewer, Canvas, Toolbox And Audio Meters. I Have A Secondary 23 inch For The Timeline And Browser.
    This Setup Is Mainly For Convenience And I Find It Quicker To Use, But I Can Also Use FCP On A 13inch MacBook Too - So Screen Size Is Not Critical, But It Defiantly Helps.

    For Actual Editing, A Graphics Tablet Is Not Essential, But If You Plan To Use Things Like Photoshop, Shake And Indeed Motion, A Pen System Really Makes A Difference - But If You Haven't Used One Before It Will Seem A bit Clumsy At First.

    Wireless Keyboard? I Find This A Must If Like Me You Constantly Have Clipboards, Paper Piles, Tapes, Etc Cluttering Up Your Desk. The New Apple Wireless keyboard Has No Numerical Keypad, So If You Can, Try And Get One Of The Older Apple Pro Keyboards ( If You Want To Stick With Apple, That Is ).
    Wireless Mouse? I Find That There Is A Certain Miniscule Lag Between The Time When You First Move The Mouse And The Time It Takes For The Pointer To Move. Its Amazing How This TINY Fraction Of A Second Can Get Annoying Though...
    Speaking Of Human-Interface Devices, If You Are Serious About Editing, Get Yourself A ContourDesign Shuttle Pro II, Believe Me, This IS Essential, And Should Not Be Left Out Of A Startup Editors Shopping List.

    Let Me Make One Thing Clear, As An Editor You Will NEVER Have Enough Hard Drive Space, So Splashing Out On Stacks Of Hard Drives To Start Off With Is Pointless. Fill Your Internal Bays First. The SATA Standards As Of Yet Have No Limit To The Hard Disc Size So You Can Confidently Buy Any Size And Know It Will Work In Your Machine. Once You Are Out Of Internal Space, Get Yourself An eSATA Card And An Ejectable External Enclosure. An Ejectable External Enclosure Allows You To Put Different Drives Inside The Same Enclosure ( But Not At The Same Time ). When You Need Data On A Different Drive, Eject The Current Drive And Pop The Respective Drive Into The Enclosure. My Favourite Enclosure Is The IcyBox. Check it Out.
    You Can Also Buy A BluRay Burner To Archive Your Raw Rushes Too, If Space Is So Sacred.
    So Unless You Have Cash To Splash On An Xerve RAID And Fiber Channel System, These Should Do You Well.

    Memory Is Like Lucozade, The More You Have The Better You Perform, But As A Startup, You Don't Need To Buy It All At Once. I Find That 2 - 4 Gigs Is COMFORTABLE, Obviously If You Have The Funding, Get More. I Find Performance Increases In Steps. Step 1 is After 512MB And 2 Gig. Step 2 Is After 2 to 4 Gigs, Step 3, 4-8 Gigs. I Haven't Really Noticed Much Of An Increase Above 8 Gig ( Unless You Use Shake, Maya Or A Big Motion Scene ). So Any Upgrade Between Steps, eg Upgrading from 4gig to 6gig yields very LITTLE Noticeable Performance.

    I See You Also Live In The UK Tom, So The Best Place I Find For Memory And Hard Drives Is

    Hope This Helps, And Good Luck Turning Pro.

  11. Skeletal-dæmon macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2008
    I'm heading into university to do television and video and portability is essential for me so I'm actually getting a MacBook Pro (17" avec HD upgrade), but I have to agree with other posters that you should maximise both the RAM (or at least expand it) and the processor power. However, buying the maximum RAM from scratch from Apple is expensive, and it may even turn out that you don't need it for your level of work. That said, I am indeed going to max out my MBP to 2.6GHz (or more if the June update rumors are correct) and 4GB RAM, with the RAM upgrade coming from a third party (AT Computers, Newcastle).

    As has been noted before, the new Apple Wireless Keyboard no longer has a number pad, but seemingly nobody has pointed out the equally important facts that you're limited to 12 Function keys, and that you suffer from squat scroll keys (the arrow keys) that Apple has always featured on its notebooks. If you're going to go wireless, definitely seek out an old Apple Pro Keyboard.

    As or where monitors are concerned, the ACDs are quality screens that last virtually forever (our local deli bar has some of the original versions when they were still shipped in transparent plastic and they work perfectly still) and you can't go too far wrong with them. Also, they offer extra expansion ports in the same place as you'd find them on the iMac.

    A final note: the Apple Mighty Mouse is by far one of the most annoying mice I have ever used in my entire lifetime. Right now I'm using an old black Logitech mouse that really looks out of place next to my aluminium Apple keyboard, MacMini and silver-framed monitor, because the Mighty Mouse that came with the Mini was too damn annoying to use.
  12. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    I do agree that usually getting the fastest CPU for video is a good idea, but since Apple is offering 2.8 -> 3.0 GHz upgrade for the insane 800$ and according to becnhmarks in real world applications from the speed increase is under 8% I don't find it worth it. The extra 800$ for 3.2 GHz is even more ridiculous :(

    The fact that the latest Mac Pros have 8 cores and that basically none of the apps can use all of them, except for After Effects and Compressor, doesnt help to justify the CPU upgrade.

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