Best for filmmaking: Mac or PC?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by UglyLittleSpud, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. UglyLittleSpud macrumors member

    May 31, 2009
    Taking into account the entire post-production process of filmmaking, from editing to CG/FX to scoring and mastering, which is better? Mac or PC? Which one do you think has the better software, hardware and tools for these jobs and why?
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Why do you wanna know?

    Many post houses I visited have an entire Windows environment, except one or two 30" Apple Cinema Displays.

    And many use Mac OS as their platform.

    Hard and software wise, Windows and Mac OS X have a lot of products in its back.

    For multi tasking I sure find Mac OS better, as it offers me better navigation with a lot of open programs.

    PS: Shall this be one of those useless "what is better" debates?
  3. UglyLittleSpud thread starter macrumors member

    May 31, 2009
    I'm just curious as I'm into filmmaking and VFX, and while Windows seems to offer better options for VFX, everyone foams at the mouth over FCP when it comes to editing. One other question, is there anything on PC which can match the Symphony Orchestra Jam Pack for simple, easy to use scoring?

    I wouldn't really call the thread useless, it's asking which is better for specific tasks in a specific industry?
  4. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    The industry is quite diverse when it comes to OSs.
    But that may not be the case in the US, but here in Germany, it's still 50-50 as it seems.

    FCP and Avid (the other big editing software in many flavours) have both its advantages and disadvantages, so it comes down to the editor, which software s/he has learned and feels most comfortable doing the deed.

    And yes, Windows seems to offer more on the VFX side, especially with 3D software.
    But Mac OS X has still some good software titles like Nuke or modo or Cinema 4D and many more I'm currently not remembering.

    And my comment about "uselessness" was more geared toward the "what is better" aspect, as it all comes down to personal preferences.
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Why would you come to a Mac forum with this question? Software is not going to make the movie for you. For that, you need vision and talent. Feature films have been edited on the Mac for the better part of a decade. The Blair Witch Project became a cult sensation. Spike Lee's Bamboozled also comes to mind. Network news reporters take MacBooks into the field to handle their ENG.

    A little vision and iMovie will take you a long way. Vision is priceless, but iMovie is free. Windows Movie Maker is Microsoft's me too answer to iMovie. Final Cut Express is an inexpensive way to get into the business. Final Cut Professional is the professional movie editor.
  6. arri macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2008
    Mac Pro if you have the dough

    you ask about film making, but do you really mean starting out as a beginner with video?

    if so, it is hard to beat the mac pro. sure you pay more for an 8 core, 16 thread beast than you would for a windows box, or even a hacintosh, but prices are competitive vs HP 8 core workstations, and mac osx is a malware free treat. i started out with a G5, and some pcs too in video, and now have a dual core win xp pro laptop, a quad core pc, and an octo mac pro. ive used vegas, premiere pro, avid, edius, PS and after effects on the pc side. they all worked fine. i did encounter malware even running the best protection in windows. ive used iMovie, final cut express, final cut pro, avid, motion, PS and after effects on the mac. no malware really, and multitasks far better than any windows pc ive used. have not tried linux, which a lot of effects shops run, so cant comment there.

    i think it pays to have experience with both windows, and macs. windows and macs each train you to troubleshoot in their world. that is lessons learned from years of use, that can help you in the workplace, or running your own shop. but if you have to choose one, and can afford a mac pro its hard to beat. its a beast, and you can scale all the way up to Red production with either cs4, or the new final cut studio 3. how would you like to be in the middle of a Red feature film edit, and catch a virus. ask yourself that. i got hit during my last hd production in edius on the pc, and took quite a beating. of course running a clean production box off the internet is the common solution for a pro box.

    i like all my computers. i get pissed off at malware, but forgive my pcees for the fun, and learning they have provided. i couldnt see spending $2500 on a 17 macbook pro, so have enjoyed my hp dualcore laptop at half the price, and all the experience, and training it has given me. i ignored my G5 for a couple years, because the quad pc i built was a faster, better hd editor. i recently was able to swing a nehalem mac pro, and am really glad to be back in an all mac environment for my hd work. more local editing work uses final cut studio than any other app. at least in my area. that is why i saved, and pushed to get back to the mac platform. its really a treat to have that power, and stability.

    start with what you can afford. iMovie was the first app i used... its a long and winding road.
  7. UglyLittleSpud thread starter macrumors member

    May 31, 2009
    Because I'm looking for intelligent, well-reasoned opinions from Mac users within this field. Sorry, is this the wrong place for that??
  8. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2003
    You will find that much like photography, the greatness of an image is not whether someone shot it with a Canon or a Nikon, but who was behind the camera.

    Making a great film is not about what tools you use, but how you use them.

    Both have pretty much the same standard tools... I can drill with a Dewalt or a Black & Decker and I'll still build a sturdy house.

    Besides, most VFX software is available for both platforms, exluding Shake.
  9. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
    there is no one OS that has overall better film-making tools. Avid is the most popular NLE for features and TV. Avid works on both Mac and PC. You'll find both depending on which post house you go to. ProTools same thing.

    If you're just getting into film-making you won't be able to afford all the high end stuff anyway. Go with what your budget allows.
  10. rjfiske macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2003
    Washington State
    For the majority of users/readers of this site I would hope not. Your question is welcomed and very similar to mine 3 years ago. :)

    You asked about the best tools, and the "either platform will serve you fine" answer has already (and accurately) been given. I won't repeat it... except to say that one of my favorite VFX websites ( uses a PC darn near exclusively. Another one of my favorites ( uses a Mac exclusively. So there you go.

    As far as the "software/hardware" portion of your question, I prefer a Mac for the day-to-day operations... spotlight searching for a piece of audio, using Quick Look (sp?) for a number of video and image files, not having to worry as much about virus software slowing my computer down, using Expose and Spaces, etc. Note of course that these have little to do with film-making or visual effects. (I could have given the same answer if we were both into setting up a blog.)

    Hope that helps!

    (also your Ghostbusters reference is classic)
  11. Chaos123x macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2008
    I would say for small business get a mac.

    Windows can handle Avid pretty well if you have a I.T. team backing you up and your system specs are exact match for a AVID approved system.

    High end stuff is usually cut on a Mac or PC with Avid. (commercials, cable shows, movies)

    Mid grade stuff tend use FCP allot. (Indie films, Reality shows)

    The low end spectrum (Wedding, events) tend to use what ever Premiere, FCP, Edius, and etc.

    But there is no rule here.

    What is the best? I would have to say none, they are all buggy crashing pieces of garbage, but on a mac you have a little less problems. But you still have problems.
  12. Beaverfish macrumors regular

    Dec 15, 2008
    I was about to post the same thing. Why ask this on a mac forum, of course the answear is going to be mac bias.
  13. UglyLittleSpud thread starter macrumors member

    May 31, 2009
    glad someone appreciated that!! :D

    Okay, this is boiling down to...'it's the artist, not the tools'?
  14. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Yes. It also boils down to what tools best fit the artist and the workflow.

  15. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009

    I use Windows and Macs and have for over a decade now...

    People still say "Macs are better for graphics" and that has not been true for a long time now - since Windows 2000 Professional?

    For instance, Adobe Effects CS4 benches quite a bit better on Windows. Adobe software even seems better written for Windows and has since Apple and Adobe started their feud around the time Rhapsody was dropped and Adobe got butthurt over having to change directions yet again. Photoshop is 64-bit on Windows but not quite 64 bit on Mac.

    None of these are deal breakers but there are differences.

    Mac Hardware is whatever Apple feels like making. PC hardware is far more flexible. Video is of course well supported on the Mac, but, I just built an i7 920 workstation with 12GB Ram and an HD4890 for $1250. That's iMac money for a real computer.

    Only a trust fund baby is building a render farm using Mac Pros.

    If you want to use Studio Max, you'll need a Windows machine.

    I see great superior work done on inferior computers, so, talent is talent and ultimately that is what will make any project a success.

    I do most of my work in Photoshop/Illustrator/After Effects and really just use FCP or in my case these days, Premiere Pro to assemble the clips and mix in the audio. So, the whole Avid v. FCP does not matter that much to me, CS4 is really the heart of my workflow.

    Macs do seem to multitask a little better... but Windows 7 is finally getting that feel good aura around it... so maybe the Vista mess is behind us. Snow Leopard and Windows 7 both promise better performance on the same hardware.

    Frankly, this is just a great great time to be into this stuff. The hardware is awesome and software is really on the verge of catching up.

    If the Mac is better... than say so and give a real reason. No harm in that.
  16. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    my day job has me on the Avid and FCP on Mac. however, I also teach at a local college using FCP. from my experience, if your just starting out, then the Mac has a comfort level that newbies can live with. my other trade is 3D and Motion Design so the PC does have its advantages. but dealing with the technical side I can do without. there is no right or wrong. just go into what your comfortable with. Ive seen people give up after dealing with the technical side of things. at least if your a videographer, all you really have to do is point and shoot...well at the start anyway :)
  17. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    I noticed that Mac v. PC flame wars are not the same as they were a few years ago. For the most part, people have become a little less fanatical and make actual decisions based on real needs.

    I like Apple laptops but find their desktop offerings lacking and constrictive.

    iPhone is the market leader but I went with Android since I think the platform is more open and will eventually be more interesting with more more freedoms.

    Those are just my opinions and the choices I make. Maybe other people find them helpful, maybe they don't, but the day we find ourselves unable to have rational discussions is the day we lose a little bit of what makes us human.

    Any true Apple fan should be able to heap praise as well as criticism on the platform and the same for Windows. Nothing is perfect in this world. We just make do with what we've got.
  18. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2003
    While we are on the topic, I'm building a birdhouse, which hammer is best to drive the nails in, the Craftsman or the Husky? I really need to know because I want to build the best birdhouse ever! I hear the Craftsman is more powerful but is succeptible to breaking. But the Husky is so much easier to use. I just can't decide.:D:rolleyes:;)



    If the source material isn't good there is no "BEST".

    THEY BOTH RUN THE BEST software. Which means by industry standards, software developers will and do, port to whatever platform you wish to use. Developing the "best" software means there is no barrier to entry. Companies like Avid will develop for both platforms, because they know that studios like ILM, Lucas and Dreamworks have a big enough budget to pay for it.
  19. sdp macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2004
  20. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    Well... I agree- and disagree. True that it's not the hardware that creates the work, but having a system that is expandable and easy to use goes a long way towards having success. If you are on a complex platform and no resources, or your software is buggy and limited, then it WILL affect your creative solutions. Then there is the issue of what software is optimized for the platforms and the subsequent work flows. If you're into 3d and motion graphics and using industry standards and customized pipelines, then PC is still king in that industry. However, for the indie film maker/free lancer or small studio, you can't go wrong with OS X and the software that offers. But just try setting up a major render farm using Macs and you'll need to take out a second mortgage.

    Going back to your "birdhouse" analogy/question. It would have been more accurate if you would have asked, "which is the better tool to build my birdhouse- an automatic staple gun, or pound the nails with a hammer?" Sure, both will work, but one of the tools is designed to get the job done quicker and more efficiently, and that translates to more creative solutions and more profit.
  21. Courtaj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2008
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    Mac or PC? - Bah, I do my best work on this little baby:

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  22. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
    +1, even people that know nothing about computers seem to know that most pros use mac.
  23. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    And nobody builds render farms based on Windows. Render farms built using generic Intel hardware run Linux.
  24. DaReal_Dionysus macrumors regular


    Jan 9, 2009
    I concur
  25. Illmetaphor macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2009
    Yeah Mac no question. You can put both Mac & PC programs on your computer and Final Cut Pro is the best program to edit with in my opinion.

    Adobe After Effects is a PC program that is really good...but hard to use. Motion is another good program with Apple.

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