PC/Mac Compatibility Question

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by flyersgl, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. flyersgl macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    #1
    Over the past year I have mostly moved our household over from PC to Mac. I recently replaced the last PC desktop with a mini. However, in the short term, I plan to use that PC as a dumping ground for a bunch of old random media--photos to scan, some music from vinyl and tape to convert, and video from a bunch of sources. I want to do this on the PC because I can set it up in a spare room with all the related hardware without cluttering my office and also because I suspect when all is said and done, I am only going to want to keep and use a portion of what I digitize and don't want to clutter the newer Macs with a lot of junk.

    Anyway, my question is about the video--I have very little PC or Mac video experience and it seems like I run into format conflicts often. So, I am looking for advice on the best format to import my video into and/or the best PC software to use (yeah, I realize this is a Mac forum!) Alternatively, if there's specific formats or software I should avoid (like, I assume WMV), I'd appreciate a heads up on that.

    Just trying to find the most efficient way to do the data dump and keep it usable for the Mac when I am ready to do so. Any and all advice would be welcome.

    Thanks
     
  2. KeriJane macrumors 6502a

    KeriJane

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Location:
    ЧИКАГО!
    #2
    Hello.

    Welcome to the Forum!

    I have a bit of experience with Video in PC and in Mac.
    I prefer the Mac.

    If you want to do Video Editing (aka Non-Linear Editing) on a PC, one of the best programs is Pinnacle Studio. It's easy to use, provides outstanding results and is relatively inexpensive. Only thing: It can be fussy about Hardware. That is, it requires a reasonably powerful computer to run well on.

    When you import Video footage into your computer, that's called "Capturing".
    The Capture is usually stored as a single large file. There are many formats available but you want to use one with least compression for the initial capture. This will result in a huge file size.

    For a PC, you would normally capture to an .avi file, edit and modify as you see fit and export as either a DVD or a highly compressed MPEG or Flash file. The original Capture file remains untouched with most NLE programs. The changes and editing is stored in a Project file and the output is its own (usually compressed and smaller) file.

    On a Mac, you normally capture to a .mov file. Otherwise the process is similar. Again, the initial capture is best done with minimal compression (largest file size). This is so that when you RENDER the project to its final output format you get the best quality.

    A difficulty arises when you want to use .avi files on a Mac.... it's not directly compatible and needs conversion to a .mov file. It's still better than using a compressed mpeg file. It's always best to capture in the format and platform that you do the editing on.

    So, generally, you want to capture to a file with least compression. This requires a lot of space. Usually a secondary hard drive is called for.

    If possible, capture to a .mov file. This gives you better Mac compatibility. Failing that, .avi provides the best capture quality and the .avi can be converted to .mov later. Flip4Mac can help with this.


    My best advice:
    Pick a platform now, before you get started.

    Either go with PC or Mac. Starting with PC now and moving to Mac later is just more stuff to learn, un-learn and convert.

    If you're willing to do a lot more work, you can have the best (and worst) of both worlds. That's where I'm at. It's a lot of effort though.

    Have Fun,
    Keri

    PS. NLE programs start at "Free" go through the mid-range like Final Cut Express and Pinnacle Studio, then up to higher-priced Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, EDIUS, Avid Liquid, and end up at the broadcast level at gazillions of $$$$.
    What level are you aiming for?
     
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    What the heck does "directly compatible" mean? Also, .avi and .mov are not a file types, they are audio/visual containers which may hold video and audio in any number of formats. With the required QuickTime codecs installed, then you are fairly well set. The Perian codec suite will handle most of the audio and video formats out there. The Flip4Mac WM Components adds support for non-DRMed Windows Media up through WMV9. I rarely ever encounter a video that I can't play on my Macs.
     
  4. KeriJane macrumors 6502a

    KeriJane

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Location:
    ЧИКАГО!
    #4
    It means for a beginner like the OP iMovie won't open an .avi directly. If you click on an .avi file on your shiny new Mac, it won't know what to do with it.
    That's what the heck it means. Clear? :D

    Obviously, you can play .avi and convert .avi to .mov after installing codecs and/or programs that support it.
    But that's not how Macs come out of the box is it?

    Have Fun,
    Keri
     
  5. flyersgl thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    #5
    Thanks. I ran into the .avi issue at a very inopportune time overseas last year, and it created a lot of stress.

    Good advice here, I still think I need to start on the PC just to get everything digitized quickly, but you have given me a lot to think about.
     
  6. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    We have a fundamental disagreement on the definition of native. By your definition, Pages documents are not native to Macs that don't ship the application preinstalled. By your definition, Adobe Indesign is not native because it is not available on the Mac out of the box. Clearly, this is nonsense.

    If it runs on the Mac without conversion and without emulation, then it is native. Period. Apple's QuickTime frameworks provide and extensible structure that can handle any time-based content with installation of the proper content. It ships bundled with a few codecs. Many other codecs are available on the Internet for download. Other codecs are bundled with third-party software. Every format handled by QuickTime requires a codec of some sort. There is, however, no general substantive difference between codecs that are preinstalled and those that are installed by the user.

    Still having fun?
     

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