HD video capture and editing: MacBook Pro or Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by evanliberman, May 15, 2007.

  1. evanliberman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    #1
    I have a Sony HDR-HC3 tape HD video camcorder, and am wanting to do home video editing. I want to have a Mac that is powerful enough to capture HD and edit it quickly with no delays for effects.

    I currently have a Windows-based IBM Thinkpad T42, which can't capture/play HD video - too slow.

    I'm considering the MacBook Pro 2-3GB RAM 17" 2.33GHz or the mac pro 4GB RAM 2.66 GHz, or waiting for the MacBook Pro Santa Rosa-based.

    Does anyone have experiencing capturing and editing successfully with the MBP?

    Thanks for the help in advance - I'm really looking forward to returning to Mac.
     
  2. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
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    Ireland
    #2
    If you don't need the portability of a laptop ........ definitely go for the Mac Pro and a decent ACD :)

    FJ
     
  3. Erendiox macrumors 6502a

    Erendiox

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #3
    The first question I would have you ask yourself is whether or not you need to be portable. If the answer was no, i'd say forget about the Macbook Pro. The second question i'd have you ask yourself is do you really need the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro is a very powerful and very expensive machine, designed with professionals in mind. For home movies, even HD home movies, you could easily work with an iMac. The biggest difference between the Mac Pro and the iMac is expandability. If you think you'll be taking advantage of the Mac Pro's 4 harddrive slots, 3 PCI Express Slots, 8 ram slots, two cd drive slots, etc, that's one place where the Mac Pro shines. Sure, the processor is bigger and badder in the Mac Pro, but iMacs have plenty of horsepower to chew through HD as well.

    What you need really, for HD, is quick hard drives and plenty of space. Get a nice raid array to go with whatever computer you end up picking. That will be key. And by all means, don't let me discourage you from the Mac Pro, it is a brute of a machine if that's what you want.

    Cheers :)
     
  4. evanliberman thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 15, 2007
    #4
    thanks

    Thanks, guys, for the quick responses. The portability is cool for editing anywhere in the house, including in bed with wife, which is more acceptable than downstairs with a desktop PC (and the wife always has veto power over my Mac purchases :mad: )

    I don't think I need all the expandability of the MacPro (or $), but I just want the fastest chipset to keep up with the HD (after my dissapointment with my work's IBM T42). I just want to make sure that the MBP keeps up with the HD capture/editing. Know anyone who does this successfully?
     
  5. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #5
    I can edit HDV on a 2 year old iBook G4, and any mac in the current line up will do it fine. A Mac Pro and a Macbook Pro are extreme overkill for home movies.

    An iMac or Macbook would be more than sufficient. You'll probably want to get an external firewire hard drive (250-500GB) because the video would fill up your internal hard drive very quickly.

    If you want portability, get the 2.16GHz white macbook with 2GB of ram, and a firewire drive like the WD MyBook Premium.
     
  6. mr_austin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    #6
    You'll have no problem with HDV on the Macbook Pro. If you need faster drives, you can add them via SATA over express 34 or via FW 800. Even if you want to do higher quality stuff, you can add the AJA IoHD and do broadcast quality HD editing on the MacBook pro. See it in action here:

    http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/action/?movie=aja
     
  7. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #7
    He's going to be editing home movies shot in HDV. There's no way he'd ever need a product such as the IoHD, which is intended for importing and exporting uncompressed formats into Apple's ProRes422. Additionally, firewire 400 will be more than fast enough for HDV editing.
     
  8. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

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    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #8
    I edit for a television show that records on HDV, and I use a MacBook Pro and couldn't be happier.

    The only problem you might encounter is feeling cramped like you don't have enough screen space in FCP. IF that's the case (which I doubt especially if you're just going to use iMovie HD or something), you can always just plug in an external monitor with a higher resolution and you're done.

    I highly recommend the MacBook Pro.
     
  9. evanliberman thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 15, 2007
    #9
    thanks again

    ppc_michael: Thanks for the post.

    Liked your Michigan Militia video on your site - very funny and well done.

    Re: your post on my MBP HDV editing question, would you recommend FC Express HD to start editing with (or even only iMovieHD), and would your recommend a 400 or 800 Firewire external drive? How much RAM do you really need for HDV capture and edit (should I upgrade to 3GB from Apple, buy from other vendor - anything to watch out for there?, or wait for Santa Rosa 4GB RAM MBP (perhaps Oct 2007 with Leopard?).

     
  10. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #10
    Let me get it straight: are you planning to do home movies or pro video work?

    If 1st, then even Mac mini with a gig of RAM and iMovie will suit you perfectly fine.

    If 2nd, (which I doubt), you'll need a Mac Pro with 4 gigs of RAM, huge hard drives (prefferable in RAID), a big screen and a pro studio TV for previewing. All with Final Cut Studio.

    Please make yourself clear.
     
  11. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #11
    In his original post, he says he's using a Sony HDR-HC3 to make home movies.



    I think nobody even read my earlier posts, so I'll say it again: Get a Macbook with 2GB of ram and an external firewire 400 drive.
     
  12. trudd macrumors regular

    trudd

    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    #12
    No...please don't.

    You obviously don't need the horsepower of a Mac Pro, so don't feel like you need to spend that kind of money.

    The MBP will work just fine for you. Heck, as long as you're only using iMovie or Final Cut Express, a Macbook and an external monitor would do you fine.

    I wouldn't suggest editing in bed because...
    1) Your lap will get too hot!
    2) You really shouldn't capture footage to the same harddrive your OS is installed on, and I doubt you'll want to be in bed with an external HD.
    3) This step was going to be borderline inappropriate...therefore it will be skipped.

    iMac = great
    Macbook + external monitor = great
    Macbook Pro = great

    Bump the sytem up to 2gb RAM, get a good harddrive - at least 7200 RPM, at least 8mb buffer, at least firewire 400 - and you're good to go.
     
  13. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

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    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #13
    If you're just editing home movies, I think iMovie (which comes free with every Mac) would be fine for you. With iMovie, you will be able to capture your footage, cut it together, add transitions and text and stuff, add music, etc, all in HD.

    The Final Cut apps are geared toward more advanced things like color correction, compositing, working with different formats, etc, etc. I don't think you'll have any use for that.

    So iMovie will take you from capturing through editing to saving it as a completed movie and even burning it on to a DVD (with iDVD) if you want.

    For your other questions about RAM and external storage, extra RAM is always a nice thing, and you might have a slightly faster/more stable experience if you get an external hard drive, but iMovie is meant to work with your MacBook Pro right out of the box with the default configuration. So don't stress over the extra stuff. If you have the extra money, you can get the upgrades now, but if not, you can always test it out with the default configuration and buy more memory/storage later.
     
  14. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    Russia
    #14
    Do you suggest that a Mac mini core duo isnt powerfull enough for HDV home movies?! lol
     
  15. Erendiox macrumors 6502a

    Erendiox

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #15
    I think he's probably suggesting that the mac mini is a horrible buy and is overdue for an update, something which most people on the boards tend to agree with. :)
     
  16. hotchkiss macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    #16
    Related Question...

    I have a related question...

    I am also looking to buy a new system for mid-level HD-video editing, nothing too fancy, mostly I just make funny videos with my friends.

    I have about $2500 to spend, and after reading this thread I think I am going to go with the iMac. The two models I am looking at are the baseline model and the the super high end model (the 24' w/ GeForce 7600).

    My question is: how much will the video card effect my ability to edit/render/etc?

    I have always thought that video was more processor intensive, but I thought somebody might know for certain.

    Thanks :)
     
  17. evanliberman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    #17
    Thanks to all of you - your advice is vey helpful and instructive. I want to make home movies, but have the headroom to go higher quality later (weddings for friends, better editing, perhaps compositing, and perhaps 3D animation/rendering and MIDI music creation for wife piano-player-singer (any recommended web sites for this?)).

    Bottom line, I think I'll get the MBP 2GB standard with iLife, and upgrade from there to FCE and/or more RAM when necessary. Also, since my Sony HDV camcorder is Firewire 400, and the MBP currently only has one FW 400 and one FW 800, I'll need to get a FW 800 external HDD (I think USB 2.0 is slower, and I don't think an extra $100 for a FW800 should set me back that much - faster for future).

    I could get one of those lap cooler contraptions to be able to use laptop in bed. While laptop in the bed may not be recommended maritally, this may be the clincher for the wife approval :)


    Any advise on waiting for MBP Santa Rosa, getting a refurbished MBP now, or buying memory not from Apple pre-loaded?
     
  18. CmdrLaForge macrumors 68040

    CmdrLaForge

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    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    around the world
    #18
    Hi,

    I thought I add my 2 cents.

    First - it looks like you have the money to buy a Macbook Pro and that you don't need to save and only buy the Macbook. Therefore - go with the Macbook Pro - 17" display is great for doing video work and as you said you can edit the video anywhere in the house. I am currently using an iMac and stuck to my desk. I wish I had a Macbook Pro.

    Second - Final Cut Express (or Pro) is much better then iMovie IF you know how to use it. There is quite a learning curve. Once you know the app it is much more fun and even easier to use it. So if this is a long time thing - spend the time. I never ever read a manual but I did for FCE. Its way over 1000 pages! I never want to go back to iMovie. iMovie is still a great app! I am not saying that I don't like it. My problem with it was that I tried to create a longer movie >1 hour with it. Its not up that kind of task.

    So my advice is Macbook Pro 17" + fast external drive e.g. LaCie Quadro (or similar) using eSata and Final Cut Express.

    Cheers
    LaForge
     
  19. Dave00 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    #19
    I'd be interested in what your reasoning was for this. When I first bought my iMac G5 they had a deal where you could get FCE for $99 with the computer, which I did. (This was before the iLife suite went HD.) However, when I tried to use it to combine photos and digital-camera movies to make some nice video compositions, it seemed overly cumbersome. iMovie, by contrast, was very easy to use and quick and not in the least cumbersome. Do you honestly experience a faster workflow with FCE? If so, maybe I will devote some time and learn how to use it (although it's an old version.)

    As for the original poster, I can see the attraction of using a laptop - my wife too doesn't like it when I disappear onto the iMac. But I would think 17" would be awfully cramped to work with video. The actual video would easily fit on a window, but then you've got timelines and various controls, not to mention the need to drag-and-drop between applications. Even the iMac's 20" screen seems a little small to me, I may get a 2nd monitor.

    Dave
     
  20. CmdrLaForge macrumors 68040

    CmdrLaForge

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    around the world
    #20
    Hi Dave,

    I absolutely understand what you mean because I faced the exactly same problems when I started with FCE. No Media Browser like in iMovie where all your music, photos are there. No easy to use Ken Burns effect. You always need to know HOW to do things, once you know it is faster and quicker working with FCE.

    For a good impression and a quick start I recommend watching the Final Cut Pro Podcast of the creative cow

    In addition I don't like the GUI of FCE as much as the iMovie GUI. Elements are smaller and it feels a little bit like stuck in transition between OS9 and OS X. The GUI is not where Motion and the other Pro Apps are.

    It is still worth learning if you cut a lot of movies and if those are quite long. By long I mean 1 hour plus. But I would get at least FCE 3.5 or wait for the new revision because there is one main new feature and thats full keyframe support - its a big deal!

    Cheers
    LaForge
     

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