best mac to learn editing

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by hansolo669, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. hansolo669 macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2009
    hello all
    seeing as my simaler thread in the buying advice forum failed i figured i would ask here. basicly what i want to know is:
    what would you (you being the "pros" that lurk this forum) chose for the best system to learn how to edit (by learn i mean im in high school and one day i will edit professionally ie. for a living) using fcp/avid and 3d tools such as motion etc. at the moment i have a old powermac g4 that rely has seen better days (im sure) and just isnt cutting it any more(more ram only tiger needs a new vid card). i dont have a set budget just yet but thats not important. also dont suggest for me to use a mac at my school, where i live my school is all 100% pc based...and it sucks (we have to use preimer elements in our comm tech classes). so any and all suggestions wanted. keep the flame to a minimum.
    thanks :D
  2. 321estrellas macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2007
    I guess the big question is how large is your budget? Because on top of the computer, you will need to buy your editing software, RAM upgrades, external hard drives, and a good monitor or two.

    Obviously the best choice is a Mac Pro. Most will say that if you are doing this for a living, it's a must.

    Not much less expensive, there's a Macbook Pro. A 17" is nice for the extra screen space but a 15" is doable, and it can double as a laptop for high school and post-secondary.

    The cheapest solution is probably the iMac. It'll handle FCP fine but I'm not sure about Motion or other graphic intensive programs. It's a fine option on a low budget, and when you start getting paid for your work, you can use that money to upgrade to a Mac Pro.

    I don't think anyone can recommend a Mac Mini or 13" Macbooks (I still can't call them Pro, lol)
  3. hansolo669 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2009

    yah i thought the budget would play a part.
    well how about i do a running chart here with item, price, quatity,anything else i can think of, and you guys can give me some pointers :)
    this way by the time i get to the computer the budget will have figured itself out :D

    *edit* well here goes nothing(btw this table is just to show my thought process)
    table ($=can)
    dell st2410 24 inch display: qty 2 -- price: 289(each)(total: 578)
    apple final cut studio qty 1 -- price 1,199(total: 1,199)
    ram from owc qty ? -- price tbd (total: tbd)
    Western Digital WD20EARS 2tb qty 1 -- price 124.97 (total: 124.97)
    Western Digital WD5001AALS 500gb qty 2 -- price 71.99 (total: 143.98)
    apple mac pro custom(6gb ra;m ati 4870; Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter) qty 1 -- price 3,428 (total: 3,428)
    final total: 5,473.95
    final with tax (estimate): 6,185.56
  4. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    It sounds like you're asking strangers to make a very complicated spreadsheet for you, because you don't want to do your own research or be more specific about what kind of editing you're going to do.

    Why don't you narrow it down to what you'll be doing and we'll tell you what Mac will work best.
  5. hansolo669 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2009
    | ok more or less my first post

    ok im saying I will make the sheet, im just asking you guys (strangers) to give me a bit of help. if i wanted you to make a sheet i would say "yo w00d s0m3 1 plz make me a sprd sh33t cause im t00 lzy to fnd the stuffz by mah s3lf lololololol kthxbai" wich i am not saying :). but hey if you dont like it just tell me to leave :) i will :)
  6. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    I guess I should have been more specific. I meant what you will use it for, as in the production quality you're looking for, how long you want the machine to last, and the production quality you think you'll be at toward the end of your computer's life. What sort of cameras do you use? What audio equipment?
  7. hansolo669 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2009
    ok. well at the moment im using a non hd samsug camcorder, wich will probaly turn into a canon 7D(or simialer). audio equipment is still floating in the realm of i want some but i cant get it, and my dads stuff (wich is old but it works, yamaha mixier; mics that i cant remeber the name of; but all good stuff) quility looking to go from beginner to high end(pro, semi pro) over the course of 6 or 7 years(want my comp to last appx 6 maby 8) which should shed some more light on my needs etc.
    again thanks :)
  8. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3


    Apr 6, 2007
    Portland, OR
    Well I would work out a budget if I were you and aim as high as possible. You don't really need a great graphics card, if you decide to go pro, but scratch drives and RAM are pretty important.
  9. evil_santa macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2003
    London, England
    if you just want to learn to edit , any intel mac + Final cut elements, or Adobe Premier ( if that what you using as school)

    if you want to learn motion, after effects etc.. you be needing to look at something hi end like a 17 macbookpro or a macpro, + Final Cut Studio

    I use a 2.7 DP G5 , a 2 year old 13" Macbook , and a quad core MacPro to edit on, they all edit fine , but if i start working on a lot of effects or motion i can only really do it on the MacPro.
  10. hansolo669 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2009
    ok thanks, so it sounds like...something along the lines of a mac pro.
    now the question that every one hates: new, used or apple refurb.
    (im thinkin arb...i mean used)
    thanks :)
  11. hansolo669 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2009
    thanks as well :) evil_santa im thinking mac pro(but you probly already know that)
  12. hansolo669 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2009
    ok well the table is done :)
    i think i made some good coices
    if there is anything that should be changed or added just let me know :)
    thanks for all your help :)
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    My 2 cents is to get the least expensive Mac that will run your software adequately. Learning how to edit is basically learning how to tell a story and this can be done on the most remedial machines running the most remedial software.

    I would also strongly suggest to get a job working at a local post/production facility near you so you can learn the right way to do things and hopefully have the chance to pick the brains of actual working editors.

  14. hansolo669 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2009
    first part is easy :p. second part not so much, you would think that being into editing i would live near some production facility, but where i live in canada the cosest porduction area would be on the other side of the country....super conveniant
  15. Burnincoco macrumors member

    May 6, 2007
    Mac mini
    2.4GHz : 320GB

    * 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    * 2GB memory
    * 320GB hard drive1
    * 8x double-layer SuperDrive
    * NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics
    * Mac OS X Snow Leopard

    Plus a monitor

    Acer X203H bd 20-Inch LCD Monitor

    Price: $124.50

    Total $823.50

    Perfect to learn and continue editing with it until you get better and learn after effects too and then you'll want a 2013 Mac Pro which will process and write to a Magical Quantum Drive. Magical

    I learned on a Cube, way back then...
    Damn I'm getting old

    Oh and... Get as much RAM as you can afford

    or get the $1,499 21.5" iMac w/3.06GHz Core 2 Duo if you can.

    That's a good deal too because it has the Radeon, more RAM, faster processor and mor HD space.

    and again, Get as much RAM as you can.
  16. hansolo669 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2009
    thing is im doing some after effects on my powermac, and i rely like it (not the speeds but what i can do) so i rely do think a mac pro would be a good (if not the best) ivestment for me. i know a mini would work but im tired of slow downs and having to wait two days for a ram preview :eek: (i know the minis better but when i tryed it in store it lagged in firefox) any how thanks for your imput as well :D i do appreciate it :) every little bit helps :)
  17. mondesi43 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2007
    If you can get FCS through amazon it's only 830.....
  18. Avatar74 macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2007
    I second what Lethal is saying here. Learning to edit is not about what tools you use, just like learning to play drums isn't about how big a kit you have.

    You need to understand the elements of telling a story, and then the basics of nonlinear editing systems (NLE's). That doesn't take much at all.

    You could learn the core principles of good editing with iMovie... seriously. But, I don't suspect that anything beyond Final Cut Express would be necessary at this juncture.

    The problem is, Final Cut Pro is OVERWHELMING in terms of functionality. You won't master the basics of editing/storytelling if you get mired in the 900 zillion little functions that FCP makes available for complex broadcast and feature film productions involving the management of dozens, sometimes hundreds of hours of raw footage and audio.

    Since Apple has a pretty solid software upgrade path, I would start with the minimum necessary to understand the job, and get a job where you can learn on the employer's tools rather than spending a fortune. There are many people trying to get into this business, and most of them do not make their investment back because they don't start small. They're often conned into maximum investment for minimum return.

    Do it the other way around, and upgrade as you gain the financial justification to do so. The fundamentals are still the same. If you can edit together crap footage on Final Cut Express, iMovie or with a customized potato peeler and scotch tape, and tell a great story, you can translate those aesthetic skills to FCP and Avid.
  19. jsf8x macrumors 6502


    Feb 28, 2010
    My only small input is that I'd definitely agree with the post above mine in that I'd definitely go for Final Cut Express first.. It still offers you a wide variety of tools to make great films but is not extraordinarily expensive and doesn't overload you with features and functions as FCP does.
  20. unkdirkpitt macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2010
    If you're thinking about Avids keep in mind that it will run about $2700US for the software alone. I got lucky with mine as someone was selling an older version on craigslist so I bought/upgraded for half the cost. =)

    If you're looking into which systems to buy, Avid actually maintains a list of qualified machines that will run Avid Media Composer and be eligible for support.

    You'll find a list of qualified Windows machines and a list of qualified Apple machines. For me, the Apple route has so far been significantly cheaper.

    I run a macbook pro + Avid Mojo SDI (editing accelerator) for capture (I'm trying to sell the unit as I aim to go HD soon). My secondary editing machine is a 27" iMac (quad core), but I must warn that it's not as ideal as the Macbook Pro or a MacPro because of the ports and expansion slots are quite limited.

    As for monitors I used to run dual monitor, but now with the 27" and I find that this is currently enough to edit with. I use a 47" preview monitor to see the project(s) as well.

    Storage is pretty straight forward, I use a combination of Firewire and ESATA drives to get the work done.

    I find personally (through employment) that we prefer using Avid for the important stuff and whatever else we want for the quick stuff such as client DVDs and promo materials.

    If you're looking at learning or even simply mucking around with Media Composer, there IS a 30day trial download. As an Editor I work in what I'm asked to work in, but for VFX and animation it's been 100% Avid for me.

    I suggest not investing huge amounts of money into systems and hardware until you've had a few paying jobs and are ready/have projects lined up. Work is pretty slim right now in Toronto and Vancouver.
  21. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    The student version is only $299 though and you get free upgrades for 4yrs from the date of activation.

  22. bumzo1 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 31, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    a year and a half ago I was about to purchase a mac pro because I was getting into video editing. I decided to go for an iMac and it was definitely the better choice for me. Mines plenty fast and its a C2D, if you go for the i7 which I would suggest, it should be quite speedy. Comes with a great screen and you can add external hard drives for more storage, I have 2 FW800 drives daisychained and another one sitting in its box on my shelf that I could add. Thats almost 4tb of storage itself. Also 6-8 for an editing machine is a joke! If you're serious about it you'll need/want to upgrade about every 3 years at the least. Technology moves fast, theres no way to avoid it.

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