iWant some advice on an editing set-up (please)

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by KeithPratt, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    I'm thinking of getting serious about editing. On a (relative) budget. With this in mind I'm thinking of buying:

    20" iMac 2.4GHz (stock)
    G-Tech 1TB (usable) external of some sort
    Matrox MXO
    23" Apple Cinema Display
    Final Cut Studio 2 (obviously)

    And with that lot I want to edit in primarily DVCProHD and ProRes, and grade in ProRes. This is the part where you guys come in...

    1. How much RAM will give me a smooth-running system for the above usage without being financial overkill?
    2. Will the 2600 Pro run Colo(u)r proficiently?
    3. Is the MXO worthwhile? One of the main reasons I'm looking to migrate from Final Cut Express (on a MacBook) is to do some serious grading. I'm looking to provide a professional output from this set-up and will take time to learn Colo(u)r well enough to achieve this, I promise.
    4. I've heard nothing but good things about G-Tech and they seem geared towards video work, but at a premium (relative, I know). Which model or alternative would you recommend? Is RAID5 overkill? I like to feel safe at night but I'm not NASA or anything...

    'Lethal' and 'bigbossbmb', you guys seem to know the score — I'm looking for your input on this.

    Thank you!
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Both the MXO page and the FCS 2 apps page seem dated so I would contact both Apple and Matrox to confirm that that iMac will work w/the MXO and w/color. If you are interested in color correction and grading then you'll need something like the MXO in order to feed an external monitor an accurate signal. The MXO+23" ACD gets you a solid budget setup for under $2k and you just can't beat that price.

    If you get one of the G-RAID2 (which is RAID-0) you should be fine as far as HDD speed goes for ProRes. I don't think a RAID-5 option would be worth the price for your situation. You can always just grab a FW400 drive or two to use as a back up.

  3. 321estrellas macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2007
    If you're going to be serious about video editing, perhaps consider the Mac Pro. Although about twice as expensive, it's faster, expandable, and will surely last quite a bit longer as well. That way, you can skip the G-Tech external, and get an internal hard drive or two for the Mac Pro (though you might want to set aside a piece of your budget for RAM too).

    I don't have my Mac Pro yet; I plan to order it this week. I did a ton of research with the Mac Pro for video editing (I was about to get a 24" 2.8ghz iMac) and Mac Pro definitely seems like the way to go, especially with the 8800GT card which I heard kicks ass.

    However, instead of an ACD, I'm going to get a good 24" LCD monitor that's not Apple, for half the price. Dell or Samsung, likely.
  4. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
  5. northernmunky macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2007
    London, Taipei
    I just got started with learning Colour myself on a 2Gb Macbook Pro... It runs smoothly with 1080i HDV but Apple recommends 4Gb RAM if running uncompressed HD so you'll need that if using ProRes422.
  6. Digitalflick macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2002
    I posted a question also about an imac 20" running color. The 24" and 20" have the same specs except for screen size.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    About the G-tech drives: They are well built but...
    All G-tech does is buy disk drives and put them in a box. The box adds nothing to the drive's performance or speed but of course you need the box to protect the drive and hold the cables in place. Reliably and performance is determined by the drive makers, Seagate, Maxtor or whoever... g-tech makes nice boxes but others do too.

    One other thing: Download Apple FCP user manual. In the back there is a section that tells you what kind of disk storage system you will need for each type of video format. It will answer questions such as "how many video streams can be read in real time with a given video format and disk interface type.

    RAID works two ways depending on how you configure it. raid-0 can give you close to double the speed but reliability is cut in half. This is a good trade off for a scratch disk. raid-1 (aka "mirror") doubles the reliability but is slower and double the cost.

    Some of the limitations of the iMac are: (1) RAM maxs out at 4GB, no way to add more. (2) you can't upgrade the video card (3) Your only interface option for extrnal stoage is fire wire. and there can be only one FW bus on the system. I don't think the CPU will be much of a bottle neck.
  8. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2008
    4G is a must for anyone wanting to be efficient in FCP, Color, or any other proapps. Then again, if your use is relatively light, you might just be fine with 2. My advice is that if you're going to be grading any projects in HD (1080i or alternatives) over 30 minutes in length, go with 4Gigs. However, see if there's an alternative RAM vendor to apple, as ~$700 extra for 2G (last time I checked apple store) just doesn't seem justifiable from any point of view.

    I wouldn't know how to answer your MXO question, as I've never actually worked with one.

    And as far as RAID is concerned, go with RAID 5 if you can afford it (definitely makes things easier) otherwise go with something more affordable. Having a fancy data storage setup isn't necessary although it will make things easier.
  9. KeithPratt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    Cheers for the advice all.

    I did a little more research on the MXO and its compatibility with the iMac/2900 Pro, and it's not yet been tested by Matrox. I've seen reports of them working together, so it looks likely it will.

    On the HDD front, I think RAID5 is overkill (as is the Mac Pro if I can get away with the iMac running everything). RAID0 and a backup Firewire drive it is.

    I guess I'm asking mostly UK users about this, but does anyone have this drive? > http://www.amazon.co.uk/Freecom-Dat...TF8&coliid=I271JT1KOLNK30&colid=3HET51YCTEJA9. It looks pretty swish, but it's suspiciously well priced. I could get two and change for the price of the G-Raid.

    And yes I'll be getting 4GB of RAM from somewhere that isn't Apple.

    I chose the iMac as it looked capable of editing what and as I wanted. Firewire 800 should support ProRes and go as fast as any drives I'm likely to have. And unless an amazing new product arrives in Final Cut Studio 3 I'm not necessarily going to be that eager to upgrade anything any time soon.

    I essentially want a system that will run Final Cut and Color competently and reliably. If in a few years I find I could do with more power I will most probably also find I'm in the market for a full system upgrade anyway.

    Thanks again.

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