Can i use a Mac Mini for editing film?

Star Destroyer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 15, 2006
376
4
Okay, so i was thinking for a while, and it looks like i would like to look into film a a hobby or a possible career (if i am good enough, of course). It seems that it would be best to ask everyone here on the basic computer i would need.
Since this is not a for sure thing, i dont want to buy a Mac Pro. I already own a macbook, but i was thinking perhaps i could beef up a mac mini and use it to run Final Cut Express HD on, i would buy an external HDD.

So the question is, can i do things like basic editing/learning Final Cut Express HD, (perhaps a little After Effects, and Shake as well) on a Mac mini or would i need to buy an iMac?
I would really prefer to spend as little as possible, to start i plan on reading some of the books apple puts out on how to use the programs, from there i would like to buy a machine and camera and equipment on my own to play around with it to see if i really like it. From that point i would like to take one of apples certified courses that they office in FCP and Shake. And see where that takes me.

So assuming i like where the books take me, will a mac mini cut it? or will i NEED dedicated graphics for editing? (i dont think it will be HD or alot of HD)

Thanks for the help once again everyone!
 

bigbossbmb

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2004
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Pasadena/Hollywood
a mac mini won't give you anything more than your macbook will. max the RAM on your macbook and take the money you would've spent on a mini and spend it on a good display. you'll need the extra screen real estate for a good editing environment. you also need to buy at least one external 3.5" hard drives (FW 400) to put all of the media on. don't run the media off of your internal, ever.
 

Star Destroyer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 15, 2006
376
4
Okay, i need to get 2GB of Ram for my macbook. And then buy a large fast, FW external HDD?

In september i bought a 19inch widescreen Monitor, i think that should be enough for the little that i want to do right ?

So i have a 1.83 CD macbook, the REV A. macbooks, now all i need is 2GB of ram on that (i have 1GB Ram currently and 60GB HDD)

What size External HDD should i get? and it should be 7200rpm right ?
 

Cromulent

macrumors 603
Oct 2, 2006
6,037
36
The Land of Hope and Glory
Okay, i need to get 2GB of Ram for my macbook. And then buy a large fast, FW external HDD?

In september i bought a 19inch widescreen Monitor, i think that should be enough for the little that i want to do right ?

So i have a 1.83 CD macbook, the REV A. macbooks, now all i need is 2GB of ram on that (i have 1GB Ram currently and 60GB HDD)

What size External HDD should i get? and it should be 7200rpm right ?
Yep make sure it is 7200RPM. As for size it depends how much filming you will be doing.

To give you some idea DV and HDV use up about 12GBs of hard drive space for 60 minutes of footage. I use a 500GB drive myself for a scratch disk.
 

Star Destroyer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 15, 2006
376
4
Yep make sure it is 7200RPM. As for size it depends how much filming you will be doing.

To give you some idea DV and HDV use up about 12GBs of hard drive space for 60 minutes of footage. I use a 500GB drive myself for a scratch disk.
Well honestly, i dont know the first thing about filming, sooo whatever is the basic film used i will most likely use that for a while, to learn off of.


Can anyone give me a a good place to start learning? Like, where i need to be in order to start the path of filming. I have been writing, stories, comics, novels even. I want to try translating something to film, since i am relatively young and poor i have to learn it all and do it all myself (i assume i will meet people along the way to help, but i dont wanna count on it).
Where do i start?
 

bigbossbmb

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2004
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Pasadena/Hollywood
Where do i start?
Just go shoot something, anything. And then when you finish editing it, go out and shoot something else. You learn film making by doing, not out of a book.

And to CoffeeMonkey, You don't put your media on system drive for a couple reasons. When working on a laptop, internal laptop drives typically aren't fast enough. 7200rpm laptop drives are a waste. external drives are faster, cheaper, bigger, and more reliable.

Also, you don't want scratch files and constant reads back and forth on your system drive. It'll ultimately shorten it's life. Keeping you media on a separate drive also protects your system.
 

Star Destroyer

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 15, 2006
376
4
Okay, shooting something is good.
But i was hoping for more, what to do after i have shot something. what to edit it with (im thinking Final Cut Express) and thats what i was planning on reading about and learning from a book. Also you bring up something else, what type of camera to buy? lenses? other equipment ? thats really what i need to learn.

I have a pretty solid story, and 'vision' i can see the whole plot and where i would put what camera, but in my head i dont really use lense names, or camera types its just a picture (ya dig?) so its hard to translate those images into reality without learning about what i want.
 

bigbossbmb

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2004
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Pasadena/Hollywood
spend as little as possible on a camera now. shoot a few projects and figure out what you NEED to make it better. you will only really learn this through experience. as far as software, FCE is good but I'd start with iMovie until you actually know what you need.
 

MacFan25863

macrumors 6502a
Jun 20, 2004
557
0
spend as little as possible on a camera now. shoot a few projects and figure out what you NEED to make it better. you will only really learn this through experience. as far as software, FCE is good but I'd start with iMovie until you actually know what you need.
I wouldn't say spend as LITTLE on a camera as possible...a good mid-range consumer camcorder (think ~$400-500) should fill your needs for the time being.

I would try FCE first...if you find it too hard go down to iMovie (use `06 though, iMovie 08 is AWFUL!)
 

Malfoy

macrumors 6502a
Nov 1, 2005
686
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If you find FCE too hard, you should try to learn to use it. Overcoming challenges is fun.
 

twoodcc

macrumors P6
Feb 3, 2005
15,307
25
Right side of wrong
you might want to sell your macbook and buy the new one. it's much faster than yours, and can handle more ram. this is, if you have the funds (since you were considering spending over $800 on a mac mini)

and i would start off using iMovie, just to get your feet wet. then you could always upgrade to FCE later.

like others have said, go out and shoot something. you could always show us on here for opinions and such.

good luck!
 

bigbossbmb

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2004
1,759
0
Pasadena/Hollywood
Yes, 400-500 for a miniDV cam is good. That's what I was thinking with as little as possible. Basically, don't go out and buy an anything HDV or prosumer (DVX, XL2, XL-A1, etc). Don't buy (yet) lights, lenses, audio equipment, etc. You can learn how to tell a story with just the camera. When you want to improve your stories by picking up some of the above stuff, buy one piece at a time and perfect using that before getting the next piece.

too many people buy up all the gear that their budget allows at the time without focusing on the improvement of a single key area at a time. I think this leads to a lot of people wasting their money and their potential.
 

twoodcc

macrumors P6
Feb 3, 2005
15,307
25
Right side of wrong
Yes, 400-500 for a miniDV cam is good. That's what I was thinking with as little as possible. Basically, don't go out and buy an anything HDV or prosumer (DVX, XL2, XL-A1, etc). Don't buy (yet) lights, lenses, audio equipment, etc. You can learn how to tell a story with just the camera. When you want to improve your stories by picking up some of the above stuff, buy one piece at a time and perfect using that before getting the next piece.

too many people buy up all the gear that their budget allows at the time without focusing on the improvement of a single key area at a time. I think this leads to a lot of people wasting their money and their potential.
i agree with you here. very good advice
 

seany916

macrumors 6502
Jun 26, 2006
470
0
Southern California
If you're running a MM, you might want to reconsider going into video editing. Hardware is expensive. So are the cameras, audio, gear, monitoring equip, etc.


It all adds up. Keep it simple. Keep it as a hobby until you're sure. iMovie '08 is a VERY good program (missing a lot of features), but I believe it is the future of video editing (look! flaming arrows coming my way already!)
 

twoodcc

macrumors P6
Feb 3, 2005
15,307
25
Right side of wrong
If you're running a MM, you might want to reconsider going into video editing. Hardware is expensive. So are the cameras, audio, gear, monitoring equip, etc.


It all adds up. Keep it simple. Keep it as a hobby until you're sure. iMovie '08 is a VERY good program (missing a lot of features), but I believe it is the future of video editing (look! flaming arrows coming my way already!)
yeah i also advise starting out with iMovie. 08 is okay with me so far
 

bigbossbmb

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2004
1,759
0
Pasadena/Hollywood
geez... be specific.

how much video? are you editing it? just watching it? are you doing small projects (0-2 hrs of source material) or larger projects? DV, HDV, or DVCPro HD?
 

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