Mac for beginning video editor

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by quicksilver8907, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. quicksilver8907 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #1
    Hey, Well let me tell you my situation and we will go from there. In about a year I am going to CSU Long Beach to major in film and electronic arts. They use mac's there and I am pc guy. I felt that I should get a mac so i can start getting used to stuff on it so I wont be totally inexperienced. I want a computer that will be able to run final cut pro though because I want to become familiar with it and make some movies. Let me know what you think. I dont want to spend very much, but I want to get a good system. Do you guys think I should a dual processor g4 like 1ghz or so or should I wait awhile and get a g5? Thanks
     
  2. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    Jul 1, 2004
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    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #2
    what's your budget? you should just be looking at intel macs unless your budget is REALLY tight.
     
  3. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Ireland
    #3
    I would agree with bigbossbmb, Intel is definitely the way to go :)
     
  4. nagromme macrumors G5

    nagromme

    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    #4
    Definitely get an Intel Mac. Either an iMac or a Mac Mini would do--but the IDEAL would be a MacBook (need not be Pro) because portability is so nice. (And you can always add a bigger screen and keyboard later if you wish.)

    Any of the above seem to be compatible with FC Pro -- but with Mac Mini it must be a Core Duo model, not Core Solo (they don't sell the Solo models anymore anyway).

    Be sure to get at least 1 GB RAM total, preferably 2. No need to pay Apple RAM prices--compare Apple's price to places like eshop.macsales.com, and see what's cheapest (often it's not Apple). Be aware of the # of RAM slots in case you must remove Apple RAM to put other RAM in.

    And definitely get Apple's education discount pricing, on both the hardware and the software. (Note: this month at the NAB show new pro software may be coming--like a new Final Cut Pro.) A MacBook with 1GB RAM, 80 HD, 2GHz Core 2 Duo and SuperDrive is $1199 for instance. AND that can serve as a Windows laptop as well.

    At rock bottom Mac Mini with 512 RAM is $579 education pricing.

    Also note the Refurbished units Apple sells at a discount.

    Final Cut Pro requirements
    http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/specs.html
     
  5. quicksilver8907 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #5
    So I shouldnt go for a dual 1 ghz g4 for 500? I am a senior in high school so my budget is like 700 at the very max. What should I do?
     
  6. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    Jan 1, 2007
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    Ireland
    #6
    Sorry forgot to mention:
    Make sure to get a large hard drive !!! Digital video uses vast amounts of HD space. :eek:
     
  7. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    #7
    I'd pass on the Dual G4. It's not worth it. Get a G5 if anything, try to stretch that budget and get a G5.

    If you were to get a Dual G4, a Dual 1.25 MDD is the minimum, anything less is not good.

    Hard Drive space is crucial, as DV footage runs at about 13 gigs to the hour.

    Have at least 1 gig of ram in the system and have a decent video card.

    When it comes down to renders and encoding, it's all about that processor, don't cheap out on it.
     
  8. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 6, 2005
    #8
    Well if you are going to major in film etc, I would just save up some money and get a nicer computer. Save up to atleast a 1000 and then you could get a macbook. Running final cut pro on a g4 1ghz is extremly slow although possible. Put it this way to render a picture with motion for 10 seconds can take 3-5 minutes. Save up over the summer and get you a nice mac. In the meantime, view online tutorial or read the manual for fcp.
     
  9. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

    TheAnswer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2002
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #9
    If you are just starting college next year...wait to see how the program is laid out. Some colleges will have you start your major classes right away, others like you to try and get your general ed. classes out of the way first. So, if CSULB wants you to take your general ed. classes the first year, you might not start production classes until second year...which will give you more time to save the $$$$ for a Mac Pro rig.

    So check with the CSULB counselors to get an idea of how your courses will be laid out. Also, check with the F+EA program...it could be they will offer tutorials to get you up to speed quickly and then you can wait a semester or two before you'll want your own rig.
     
  10. quicksilver8907 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #10
    So If I could get a dual 1ghz g4 for 500, then I should pass on it and wait until I can get what kind of g5? If I get a low end dual processor g5 is it going to make that much of a difference? Thanks
    Ty
     
  11. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 6, 2005
    #11
    Every little counts. Also, when you are looking at used computers, saving up a couple hundred more can make a huge difference in the different computer you might get. Also, keep in mind that if you are going to want to use Final Cut Pro, it's kinda expensive when you are looking at a $500 computer.

    I think everyone would suggest to wait a little while longer, save up a few hundred more. It's just hard to use FCP on an old computer. You have to have a lot of patience.

    I would check with the program before you doing anything and see what they recommend. If you don't have classes that use it for another year, then save up. Are you starting this coming up fall? What do you mean as in about a year, Spring 08?
     
  12. Frankf300 macrumors regular

    Frankf300

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Location:
    NY
    #12
    I'm also a senior in high school, I used to edit a lot on my Windows PC. I recently got a G3 iBook just to explore OS X. Of course I would not reccomend a G3 for your needs, I got one to make the switch over. I miss not being able to edit on my iBook, but I like it a lot better than my Windows. Based on your budget it's going to be kind of tough to get something that will run Final Cut smoothly. Of course the ideal setup would be an Intel based Power Mac, which is obviously out of your price range. I would say if you could save up a G5 Power Mac would be a decent machine to edit on. I think a G4 would be out of question though, it's just not enough. A Mac Mini would be pushing it, but it would be OK. I'd say try to get either a G5 or an Intel Mac which would be best for the long run. Good luck! :D
     
  13. young shiz macrumors newbie

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    Dec 27, 2006
    #13
    Don't forget to contact your school too because most programs have relatively new equipment available for students to use already. If you can, use the schools equipment until you can afford a nice setup of your own.
     
  14. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

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    Apr 14, 2006
    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    #14
    :p Yeah, don't we all...

    Anyways, don't waste $500 on such an obsolete computer. I understand the desire to get some experience under your belt before going to school, but honestly, you'd just be throwing money away.

    Just keep saving until you can afford a decent computer. Video editing is tasking, and you don't want equipment that can't handle the job. I understand you're just beginning now, but after a year of school under your belt, you'll know enough to get frustrated by an outdated system, I'm sure.

    $700 just won't cut it. Keep saving until you're actually ready to go to school, and hopefully by then you'll at least have enough saved for a G5. Alternatively, perhaps a good system would be a smart investment to make out of student loans or a scholarship.
     
  15. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

    TheAnswer

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2002
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #15
    This is a great idea...like I said above, if you are taking mainly general ed. classes the first year, you can probably take some time to a least watch people working on the school's lab equipment. If they offer tutorials (or even a class on FCP) then you will be good to go.

    Keep in mind that college students get an education discount that IIRC is not open to high school students. Another discount route is working at an Apple Store as an employee, I'm not sure what their discount it, but it's better than the education discount, so maybe a summer job at the Apple Store is a good idea. Just sit tight for now, save up that money and use the money you've saved and some of your loan/scholarship $$ to buy a Mac Pro setup when you can afford it.

    Also, keep in mind that part of working in Film is teamwork and group problem-solving. You might find that spending time in the school labs is a great way to build bonds with other talented students whose connections might come in handy further down the road.
     
  16. belovedmonster macrumors regular

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    May 11, 2005
    #16
    Unless you are going to be doing high end video output where you require high end DVD authoring and Soundtrack Pro audio twiddling and the like then you can simply use Final Cut Express. Express has 100% of the functionality that you would need for film making at your level. Plus, NAB is coming around soon and I wouldn't be surprised if they introduced a new much improved Express to go along side the new improved Final Cut Pro. Final Cut Express is not like Photoshop Elements where its aimed at your Mom, (that would be iMovie) FCE is the same pro app as FCP but with some of the features that only high end pros would ever miss taken out. Thats in terms of the editor at least. You wouldnt get Motion and all the other stuff, but frankly, unless you plan on doing corporate videos then you wont miss anything.

    In terms of what to get with hardware... even the Mac Mini will edit video, so the question is really what you can afford to get. Since HD is going to take off in a big way in the coming years I would be looking at either a Core 2 Duo iMac or a Mac Pro, since you dont wanna get something that works fine today with SD but is slow as hell for HD stuff down the line. In fact, you will probably want to shoot on HD already.
     
  17. quicksilver8907 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #17
    thanks for all the advice guys. I have some more questions if you don't mind. So say I was to only use final cut express, would a dual g4 have a problem with that? Should I save up at least a grand and get a dual 2.0ghz powerpc g5?
     
  18. belovedmonster macrumors regular

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    May 11, 2005
    #18
    A dual G4 will handle SD video fine, and even HDV OK, since thats the exact set up we did our last film on. But I really think you should try to future proof the computer a bit by getting something more recent. Or at least accept that if you go the bargain route now you will have to upgrade again as soon as HD becomes the norm in a year or twos time.

    Bear in mind that a G4 is really really old now, and I wouldn't be surprised if a Mac Mini can render just as fast as it.
     
  19. wongulous macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 7, 2002
    #19
    I can't imagine doing video at a college-level without a Mac Pro with the X1900. The FW 800, the better-quality-screen-attachability, the output card (PCI Express) compatibility (for a studio monitor), the multiple internal SATA drive bays for a RAID. Especially the RAID.

    I'd save up or get loans saved up until you can buy something decent. And definitely go Intel. A close second, if a Mac Pro is absolutely unfeasible even with parents, selling what you have, getting grants, getting loans, getting credit, and getting a summer FT job and a during-school PT job, and you can't wait, would be the choice of an iMac. You can graduate to the RAM, an external RAID, use the DVI-out, get a second monitor if you should need it...
     
  20. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #20
    The great thing about college is they have a lot of equipment you get to use for free. Save your money and spend it on things you need, not things you'd like to have. If you plan on moving to a big market when you graduate (LA, NY, etc.,) start saving money to live on NOW because you'll need every penny you can scrounge up once you graduate college. When I talk to people back in Indiana (where I'm from) who are thinking about moving out to LA the first thing I tell them is if you don't have at least $6k in the bank don't even think about making the trip. There are few things worse than traveling halfway across the US just to end up dead broke (trust me).

    You'll learn more working and learning w/your peers than you will on your own and as other people have said filmmaking is a collaborate art and you'll meet more people if you live in the lab than holed up in your dorm room. I spent more time in the media lab in college than I did in my dorm room (I'm not exaggerating) and I became friends w/the other work-a-holic lab rats and not only did we have a friendly competition going that kept us pushing one another, but down the road after graduation we were able to help each other get jobs. And there is the secret of being successful in this industry. Networking.

    If you really feel the need to get a computer though, on your budget get a Mac Mini and an external FW HDD. That will kill any G4 in terms of performance and most likely be the best bang you'll get for your buck.


    I can't imagine needing anything even remotely close to that for college classes/student films. I've been working professionally for over 5 years and that's a nicer machine than I've ever worked with and a nicer machine than most (if not all) of the ones used to cut your favorite movies and TV shows (there are a lot of shows out there being cut on Macs running OS 9).

    Well, I think I've ramble on about various stuff enough for one night some I'm goin' to bed now.


    Lethal
     
  21. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #21
    Alright, I'm a freshman in college and also a film major, and last year I pretty much was in the same situation that you were in. My college sucks and pretty much required everyone to buy a dell, so stupid me went out and bought a dell. Needless to say, it's a piece of ****, and I got sick of all the problems with windows after about a month.

    So I looked around and decided to buy a used iBook G4. I got a great one on ebay for $650. It's decent and I can run Final Cut Express on it fine, but rendering can be slow at times.

    Now, for college you'll definitely want to have a laptop. You can bring it to class and take notes on it much faster than writing. It's also great if you're living in a dorm because laptops take up much less space.

    As far as PowerPC vs Intel, don't get a PowerPC. I have PPC and it's decent for word processing and stuff, but rendering video can get slow. And forget about multi-tasking (Final Cut & Photoshop) or something, it can't really do it.

    So, I would recommend you get a Macbook. Probably go with the 2GHz, upgrade to 2GB of ram (cheaper aftermarket), and if you want, get a bigger hard drive. Otherwise, you'll probably want an external drive for editing. And make sure you get the SuperDrive so you can burn your videos to DVD.

    If you're patient and look around every day or so, you should probably be able to find the 2GHz Macbook w/ Superdrive in the refurbished section for $999 or so. And then you can upgrade your ram for $100 from newegg. This will last you at least until your junior year in college.

    I really wouldn't recommend you getting a PPC desktop or something, it just seems like a waste. You'll probably end up wanting a laptop for college anyways, so might as well get it now instead of wasting money on a desktop and having to buy the laptop later.

    So I would definitely recommend the Macbook. Save up a couple hundred extra bucks and then wait until the next Macbook revision comes out this summer. When that happens, you should be able to get the current ones for even cheaper.
     
  22. quicksilver8907 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 6, 2007
    #22
    Well it will be two years before I even use final cut in a classroom, but I have a feeling I wont make it into the production side of the classroom unless I know how to use final cut pro. I have about 600 bucks now so I think I will wait until the end of june, after my birthday and high school graduation and see how much I have then. How much money do you think I should save before I get a g5? Should I go with a dual processor 2ghz g5 powerpc or what? Thanks guys
    Tyler
     
  23. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #23
    A Macbook will be faster than a G5, new, and about the same price if not cheaper. Plus you get the portability for taking it to school in the fall.
     
  24. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    #24
    Here's what I did.

    My uncle handed me his G3 PowerMac because he just didn't use it and it was collecting dust (this was a couple of years back). So I decided to learn Final Cut Pro on this G3 (I used to use Premiere on PC) and it was pretty damn slow but it got me used to OSX and FCP. I did a few upgrades with the spare money I had but it still didn't make a difference.

    After a while I looked around for something faster, like a G5 iMac. So after a talk with the parents, I shopped around eBay and got a iMac G5 for 950 bucks, it was pretty damn fast! After that I had a good base machine that I could sell and keep on getting different machines if I was uncomfortable with that one. Fast forward to now and I have an intel MacBook Pro.

    I have college in less than 6 months so it is perfect to have a laptop right now. For you, I'd get a desktop and don't worry about College coming so quickly.

    LEARN FINAL CUT PRO, it doesn't matter what system you have just learn the app and then expand from there.
     
  25. heyitsjulian macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    #25
    hey quicksilver,

    i'm an FEA major at CSULB right now, and you really don't start production classes until your second year at least. Although i do understand the need for a nice computer to edit on, because to get into the production major they require you to submit a portfolio (with one or two works). I'd suggest waiting until you get into the school to buy a computer; by then you'll probably have more money saved up, and newer models may come out (with possibly lower prices on slightly older intel models). Until then, just concentrate on shooting, or use some of that money for camera equipment if you really need.

    Good luck on getting in =)
     

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