Mac for Filmmaking

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Palmer, Mar 3, 2006.

  1. Palmer macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2006
    I am new to filmmaking and need some advise on what Mac to buy.

    Right now I am looking at the iMac Core Duo 20-inch with the ATI Radeon X1600/256MB.

    I’m also looking at the following :

    Panasonic PV-GS65 camcorder

    LaCie d2 Hard Drive Extreme with Triple Interface 250GB

    Do you think the iMac will be able to edit HD video? Any other advice would be great also.

  2. theorem7 macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2006
    Yes, the iMac Core Duo would be a great choice for editing video on. It will be able to edit HD video right out of the box using iMovie HD, and that should run very nicely on the iMac. If you are going to get serious, then Final Cut would be the choice for editing HD, but for starters I would stay with iMovie. It's very easy to learn and you can produce great results with it. Just one piece of advice, you might want to add a little bit more RAM onto the iMac, and it looks like you already chose to pick the better version of the GPU, so those would help speed up your work a lot.

    I don't really know anything about the camera you mentioned, but I read a couple of reviews on it and it sounds like it would be pretty good. The LaCie external hard drive should be very good for giving you extra room to put all the video and for moving it from computer to computer, and I've read that the LaCie drives are very reliable (and Mac-friendly!).

    Good luck with your film-making! Editing on Macs is a lot of fun, so enjoy yourself!
  3. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    I have that drive and its great, but why do u need FW800? The imac doesn't have FW800, unless another computer you have has it... its seems pointless to me to spend the extra cash. :confused:
  4. Palmer thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2006

    So you think that the iMac will be able to edit HD video pretty well, even with Final Cut Studio?

    I am wondering because on the Mac Break podcast they said that the only Mac out right now more powerful then the iMac is the Quad Power Mac. So I would assume the iMac could edit HD. However, on other forums people don’t seem to agree.

    I do plan of getting at least 1 gig of ram. What is the best place to get ram for a Mac? I found one that seems pretty good.

    I’m also looking at a
    A lot cheaper and seem to work well. What do you think?
  5. theorem7 macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2006
    I think that the iMac Core Duo would handle HD fine. Apple says the system requirements for editing HD with iMovie are "High-definition video requires 1GHz PowerPC G4 or faster or Intel Core Duo processor; and 512MB of RAM", which your iMac would easily qualify for. But that's for iMovie. If you are planning on using Final Cut Studio, the iMac might not handle that as well and I would probably recommend a Power Mac. I'm not completely sure on this, because I think that the iMac would be able to handle Final Cut Studio based on the system requirements Apple gives, but it would make it a lot faster and easier on you to use a Power Mac for Final Cut Studio. But, if you decide on a Power Mac, it would probably be better to wait until Apple comes out with an Intel version, even most of the apps are universal, that would be what I would do if I was lucky enough to get a new computer, because I would be afraid of being out-of-date, and it is likely that the Intel versions would be faster (based on the trend of all the other Intel-converts being faster) and it could possibly be less expensive. But in general, if you are just starting on learning film-making and editing, I would stick with iMovie and the iMac. Final Cut is a little bit overwhelming and has a very steep learning curve compared to iMovie.

    As for RAM, I just recently bought some for my eMac from :
    This website has great prices and fast shipping. At, I would recommend looking for crucial memory, which is always very reliable. But the RAM at ramjet looks good too, whichever you prefer. If you get it at newegg, you'd have to be very careful to get the right type, as there is a lot of specifications you have to look up and match. It took me at least a week to decide on the correct RAM for my eMac.

    Just out of curiosity, how are you going to get HD footage? From what I read, I didn't see that the Panasonic PV-GS65 camcorder was able to shoot in HD.

    Good luck!
  6. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles

    The intel Imac can handle HDV (consumer HD), but it can't handle something like HDCAM (what Lucas used on the last 2 Star Wars films) and it's not a solution you would want if you were going to edit for a living.

    But it's all kinda moot 'cause the camera you are looking at isn't HD.

  7. Palmer thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2006
    Just out of curiosity, how are you going to get HD footage? From what I read, I didn't see that the Panasonic PV-GS65 camcorder was able to shoot in HD.
    I am just wondering if I would be able to use the iMac to edit HD in the future.
    iMovie and the Panasonic PV-GS65 will defiantly be enough for me for awhile.

    From all the requirements for HD editing in FCS I think the iMac should be able to do it (probably not extremely well). I guess I will have to wait a month or so to be sure.

    I will probably get a Mac in 2-4 months (maybe 6) so by then we will know more.
  8. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    I have an older G5 iMac and it does video editing just fine. The Intel one is supposed to be faster for most things, but FCP has not been made Universal yet, which means it's optimized for G4s and G5s. On the Intels it's runs via emulation, which Apple calls Rosetta, which is slower than a G5 but faster than most G4s. The next versions of Apple's pro apps will be out in a few months though (or at least an updated version optimized for both PPC and Intel). If you're just using iMovie, it works just fine as a basic video editor for either processor type and does HD as well. But yeah, the now end-of-lifed GS65 doesn't do HD anyway. It's a nice camera, but pretty basic, so I hope you aren't planning to do anything professional. I'd recommend something with a hot shoe and audio in/out for an external mic and headset. Don't bother with the fancy external hard drive, just get something good with fw and probably USB2. I just built my own using a drive I got from Fry's with a 5 year warranty and a really nice external case with the Oxford 922 chipset. Newegg is ok for RAM, just make sure to get good stuff and check the reviews. Don't buy from TigerDirect.

    There are already lots of threads on this topic, do a forum search.
  9. Palmer thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2006
    The next versions of Apple's pro apps will be out in a few months though (or at least an updated version optimized for both PPC and Intel).
    Yeah I read on that the Universal version of FCS will come out in March.

    It's a nice camera, but pretty basic, so I hope you aren't planning to do anything professional.
    Yeah I just want an OK camcorder that I can learn the basics on.

    I was asking about HD editing because when I out grow the GS65 I will probably want a HD camcorder.
  10. Texas04 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2005
    Hey man if you want to "quote things" the tag is just [ Q UOTE = "name " ] (without the spaces) and then write what they wrote. Or there is a pretty lil quote button on the bottom of their post :) Works well! But just wanted to let you know an FYI
    The iMac should do fine with HD. Had a friend that used to do Quinces on an older G5 iMac. Worked great for them. So im sure your Core Duo will be great.
  11. bense27 macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2006
    Clinton, NY
    yeah you can edit HD video. they don't call it iMovie HD for nothing;)

    but if you are really advanced in film editing, you should get Final Cut Pro

    I have the 17" version of what you want to get and it is great. Definately recommend it.
  12. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    I'd get final cut EXPRESS, it's the borderline between iMovie and Final Cut Pro, and get a Refurbished Dual 2 G5 Powermac for about 1600 dollars. If you get the powermac, you'll find yourself able to upgrade the computer very easily with things like ram, graphics card, and stick 2 hard drives rather than getting an external hard drive that can cost twice as much depending on the amount of storage you want. I have an iMac G5, and really wish I had the expandibility of a PowerMac, it's too early in the transition to go over to Intel in my opinion.
  13. OnceUGoMac macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    First, you need a splicing kit. If you can afford a Steenbeck, get it. Otherwise, a hand crank and a razor blade will do. Then, you need to decide what camera to use. I would suggest a Bolex, since you probably don't have the money for a Panavision camera. Now you need your filters, which costs next to nothing. If you're wanting sound, you need to learn how to post-sync...

    Oh, you mean you need a Mac for video-making. My bad.:p
  14. Will_reed macrumors 6502


    May 27, 2005
    The core duo should be perfect once final cut is universal. Untill then I would go with a g5. or a 17 inch pb with 2 gb ram.
  15. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    I would be really interested to know how the dual core imac g5 runs fcexpress or fcp or how it handles hd. i have 2 powermacs and they run fcp and fce just fine. i like the expandability of the powermac. i can and have dropped more ram inside, added another HD (nicer than an external and cheaper - although i have a pile of externals as well). and i know i can upgrade the vid card if i wanted to.

    the imacs certainly look cooler. i guess it comes down to whether or not you'll be doing this for a career or a part-time job/hobby. if it's the latter, the imac is the way to go. if' you're serious, i would get a powermac.

    i'm going through this struggle right now as I would like to buy another mac. i would LOVE to have an imac, but i think i'll be getting another powermac.

    either way, you can't lose. they are macs :)
  16. Espnetboy3 macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2003
    For being new to it and just starting filmaking your making a pretty big step equipment wise. Although getting a good mac is always great I would do the "hobby" for a few months 6 or so before you wanna dip those greenbacks into all this stuff. If you could go with 2 seperate drives. I have two 160gig LaCie d2 drives. I say this simply because if one drive fails or crashes and you split up your work at least then you didnt loose everything. You never know.
  17. Palmer thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2006
    OK I have a new plan now and will get the following:

    Mac Mini (I’m not sure which one but probably a used one full of ram)

    HD and Enclosure

    Panasonic PV-GS65

    Video Editors tell me that the mini should edit DV video well and even be able to run FCP all right.

    So I hope this gear will allow me to edit my short flicks and maybe even a simple feature in the next year.

    Then after I learn the basics I’ll get a Mac Pro and a better cam.
  18. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    Please, don't get a used mac mini, they are the exact same price as the intel mac-mini (the intels are SO much faster), I'd recomend getting a g4 tower or something else low end...
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I've got an older Mini maxed out on RAM. It's OK if you want to run iMovie or any iLife app but not for anything that takes "compute power". The new Intel Minis are such a huge leap in speed for a verysamll gain in price. For example if I'm gong to transcode some video I'll start if before I go to bed and it will finish the nextday while I'm at work. The high-end computers and doit in real time 8x faster. Anything with a G4 inside is not a good investment. The Intels are two to four times faster and just blow them out of the water and computational taskes..

    The other thing is that for some silly reason the Minis seem to hold thier value and you can't save muh by buying used. The new Intel Minis are bether values
  20. MIDI_EVIL macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2006
    Big mistake, you will be throwing money away.

    If you are stuck on the Mini, get the Intel.

    If you want to continue making films for a few years after learning iMovie, then get a PowerMac G5. Expandable, much faster and will set you up for longer.

    Having said that, i edit my work on a PowerBook G4, and it runs flawlessly.
    Then again, i'm not ready to get a new machine.

    Get the Intel Mini!


  21. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    I argue that a starting filmaker doesnt need to bother with HD, as really no one outside of broadcast does.

    Sure you can record in HD, sorta, and import HD and edit HD on your computer.

    But then what.

    Where is your final movie going to go?

    A DVD?

    That was a waste of the HD extra digital information then.

    Stick with Mini-DV (and not think about HD right now) its gonna be the "standard" for a while.

    HDTV, though kick ass, is still way to early to start trying to make your first movies in, or caring whether your machine right now can handle it.

    jeez, they havent even got any broadcasts, let alone consumer TVs, that are 1080p.

    yeah 720p looks nice compared to regular SD TV, but cmon if 1080p is possible, why jerk around with anything less?

    with that in mind, any computer can edit DV apple makes today, and it will be much smoother, quicker, responsive to use than working with HD footage.

    When computers reach the power to do HD in the same fashion as DV, then its time to think about getting one of those machines.
  22. ijimk macrumors 6502a


    Jun 17, 2004
    i would seriously reconsider getting a mac mini. those are made for everyday tasks and some minimal advanced tasks. If you are doing film most of the time you need a cpu that can handle your video well and i think a G5 or imac are your only two desktop choices. just my opinion.
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2002
    Bay of Fundy
    any of the macs Apple currently sells will do fine for DV editing, especially in iMovie.

    Let's look at it this way: iMovie 2 on my lime iBook at a whopping 366MHz woud edit footage from that DV camera, so I'm pretty sure a mac mini at 1.5GHz might be able to handle it :p
  24. Ninja Guidan macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2005
    Dude, I have a Rev. A MacMini (512MB RAM) and that same camera using iMovie. You'll be fine. It may not be as fast as an iMac G5 or the new Intel iMacs, but it gets the job done.
  25. Palmer thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2006
    Sweet. How do you like the camera?

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