Son wants to make movies-what do I need!What should i get?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by batikdruid, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. batikdruid macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2003
    Hi everybody - my son (15) wants to make movies(video editing). He wants an ibook. I have used macs in the past some, but know pcs. I know you're going to tell me that macs are way better than pcs, so I won't even ask! LOL

    Should I get an ibook or imac? I think a laptop situation is best. Is there enough hard drive to comfortably accommodate video editing?

    Do they come with a DVD+RW and does this make sense to get? Can you burn both cds and dvds?

    I have a copy of Adobe Premiere. Will this work ok, or is it too advanced too soon and save for later when he/we have more experience?

    I want good hardware and software that he can grow into, not bottom line basic, unless that is acceptable.

    I still have analog video camera - do I need a capture card to convert /does one come with an ibook or imac?

    Sorry if I sound like such a newbie, but this area of video editing is new to me and I want to do it right the first time.

    How much will all of this cost me, and from what I've read in some other posts, am I totally screwed for getting this for Xmas..???!!!

    Any information you can help me with is very appreciated, and i thank you all in advance! Any resources you can direct me to is also appreciated.

    I guess that about covers my questions. Thanx so much!
    Newbie Mac Mom
  2. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    Re: Son wants to make movies-what do I need!What should i get?

    If you want a laptop that has a DVD burner you have to get a PowerBook. Otherwise an eMac should be plenty sufficient as a desktop.

    As for hard drive space for video editing... 30 gigs is about 2 1/2 hours of DV video. 60 gigs of space will let you edit video alright but more is better. You can always add an external firewire drive.

    If you want to still use your analog camera to take video you will probably need some sort of DV bridge. I use this one but it's really up to you which one you get of course. I'd highly recommend getting a DV camera if you can afford it. A decent one will probably run you roughly $500 but of course you can pay more and more and more. But for "just for fun" videos $500-$600 should do the trick.

    Up through Dec. 27th, if you buy a Mac you can get Final Cut Express for $99. I'd reccommend that program myself. It's definitely more than iMovie and you probably won't use most of the features in Final Cut Pro 4.
  3. jermsmingy macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2002
    don't get an ibook

    I know the new ibooks are g4's but when you compare them to the 12 inch powerbook configured the same way the 12 inch powerbook is worth the extra 100 bucks.

    Ideally the 15inch powerbook is more suited for video editing as the larger screen is very useful. If you went with the low end 15inch and got 1 512 ddr ram and upgraded to the faster hd 5400rpm. the computer would be around $2150 with your son's student discount.

    Next you need software. imovie is a good start but is so simple it can be annoying. It is good for beginners, I personally use final cut express
    It is a little harder, but if you watch the videos at the link I posted it is really easy to get started.

    I would buy the computer. Let your son do the editing on imovie for a while, until it outgrows his uses. There are a lot of limitations in imovie. I don't know how experienced your son is, but if he knows how to use premier then he needs final cut express.

    All said and done, (if you already have a digital video camera) then you could get a 15 inch powerbook and final cut express with the student discount for under 2500.

    If you don't go that route, go with the imac and you could do that for under 2000. It has a faster hard drive and the faster processor.

    I know I was not happy using my ibook for video editing.
  4. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA

    You are kind of in a tough spot with the iBook. Apple just recently upgraded the iBook to a G4 processor which really, really helps with video editing. Plus, a G4 is pretty much required for rendering the video to DVD.

    That is where your problem lies. Apple did not add the Superdrive (DVD burner) to the iBook. It is not even an option. You can get a firewire external DVD burner but then you will not be able to use iDVD because iDVD only works with internal Superdrives. That means you will have to purchase another DVD authoring app. I think Toast 6 does DVD authoring and it is around $80. Or you could step up to DVD Studio Pro, which is big bucks and probably overkill for a teenager.

    So, you really need to determine:
    1. Is a laptop the way to go?
    2. Do we need DVD burning in the laptop?

    If you answer yes to both I wouldn't look at the iBook.

    So now you have to look at either the 12" or 15" Powerbook. The 12" w/ Superdrive is $1800, 15" w/ Superdrive is

    Apple's online store Special Deals section has previous generation refurbished 12" PowerBook with Superdrive for $1399. This is not a bad deal at all. The only real knocks on this machine are its lack of a DVI output and that it runs a bit hot and it may be limited to 640mb RAM, I'm not sure.

    If you don't need the laptop you will be fine any Mac desktop. Get at least a 1ghz processor and max out the RAM (don't buy RAM from Apple though). The Special Deals page has brand new, previous generation eMacs with Superdrive for $1099! Nice deal.

    With any of the PowerBooks, eMac or iMac you get iDVD included.

    iMovie is also free with all these machines, or you can upgrade to Final Cut Express for $99 if you buy it with a new Mac. Premiere is no longer being developed for the Mac so you may want to move away from it. But if it works, it works. iMovie is great for beginners but he may outgrow it eventually.

    Have him check out htt:// for some great special effects software. This is a great hobby for kids and you may just be setting him foward in a career. Great gift, mom.
  5. obeygiant macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    totally cool
    get this...

    17in iMac
    200 GB external firewire drive
    21in TV/Monitor
    Canon GL2
    Final Cut Pro
    Adobe After Effects
    Adobe Photoshop
    Adobe Illustrator
    (maybe a epson scanner)

    If that kid wants to make movies, he'll be fine with this.
  6. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    emac with superdrive is the machine if he doesnt need the portability,shoot in the field edit at home, this machine will be stong enough,its cheap enough,its very durable which is what you need for kids & adults,has a great monitor and good built in speakers. this is a Mac best buy in my opinion and can do eveything he needs at the moment. so a emac and plan on getting more ram for editing. my 2 cents
  7. 4409723 Suspended


    Jun 22, 2001
    Re: get this...



    He better be a Spielberg.
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Don't buy a laptop unless you have to. Laptops and video editing don't go hand in hand unless you *have* to have a moblie editing setup. The eMac w/superdrive is probably the best deal. And you might as well get Final Cut Express at the $99 discount price (normaly it's $299). If you son has no experience w/editing I'd let him use iMovie first and then once he gets used to editing and starts hitting walls give him FCE. Starting off w/FCE might be confusing and intemidateing<sp?> for someone who's never cut video before.

    And for a analog/digital converter I would suggest this Canopus ADVC-100. It's a bit more expensive than the Dazzle DVBridge, but it's a much more reliable product.

    You'll also want to get an external FW harddrive. Capturing movies and editing them on the same HDD is a no-no. ;) Make sure the FW enclosure is using the Oxford 911 chipset, and I wouldn't go any smaller than a 120gig HDD (7200RPM of course). Also, most people suggest getting a HDD that has an 8meg cache over the 2meg cache for FW HDDs. If you do a search for Firewire HDDs in the forums you'll find a handfull of recent threads about them.

  9. Datazoid macrumors regular

    May 10, 2002
    Re: Re: get this...

    You got there before I did...*sighs*.
    [rant mode] (This post is not intended to reflect on the original poster, as I cannot infer anything about their financial status, but is merely a release of my own frustrations). I notice this trend frequently on Mac boards, people seem to assume that everybody's pockets are as deep as their own, which can appear quite elitist and exclusionary to those of us who cannot simply drop a sum of money similar to the amount above on a whim. Guess what: Not all Mac users live in Beverly Hills/Newport/etc! Seriously! I mean, judging by many people who post on these sites (I have 12 computers in my house! I just bought the new Dual G5 with 2 HD Cinema Displays the day after it came out! etc.) I can see how that conclusion might be reached. But really, many of us are just average folk who are looking for a better computing experience. And people wonder WHY PC users so often comment on the elitism of Mac users. Even when discussing purchasing PC's on this site, people suggest only the highest, most expensive (Dell/HP/Compaq/Gateway SUCK), even though they are "fine" for most users. Even when people ask about speaker systems of all things...rather than suggesting an "off-the-shelf" 2 or 4 speaker system, they debate the merits of Bose vs Bang & Olufsen, amongst other "Brands" that I had never even heard of before I came here. I also seem to remember a thread that asked for suggestions for software for somebody new to the Mac, and receiving suggestions such as Maya, Shake, and Combustion! Even considering the original poster's question, I know that if I had asked something similar, an answer suggesting I spend $6000 would probably make me look elsewhere for answers, probably away from the Mac scene. Of course, if somebody was seriously considering this as a profession, had done some amateur work already, and felt ready to take a step up, then of course such a suggestion might be reasonable. But it just seems like everybody here (and on other boards) want people to get 10X more than what they need....and it gets to be too much.
    [/rant mode]

    I apologize that I was unable to add anything constructive to this discussion, and I do realize that the original suggestion was not intended to be harmful or exclusionary, and hope that the poster (obeygiant) does not take this personally. Again, it is not intended as a flame, simply a release of my own frustrations. But, batikdruid, please do not think that the system suggested by obeygiant is actually necessary...people here become far too overzealous about their recommendations...I wouldn't be surprised to see somebody recommend a PowerMac Dual G5 with 2 HD Cinema Display monitors somewhere in this thread as well....just pay attention to the posts that seem sensible and ignore those that exceed what is reasonable.
  10. obeygiant macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    totally cool
    Re: Re: get this...

    LOL. You're right about the prices. He could probably cut out After effects and Illustrator and save those until next christmas. But you may be able to get educational prices on some of that stuff which might bring the totals down around 3750 or something. I would get the edu FCP for 300 instead of FCPE.
  11. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    Get him a job.

    And he can buy whatever he wants on his own.

    Whatever he gets, that's a heckuva huge Xmas gift. Not as bad as next year when he's 16 and wants a car...

    No matter what you spoil him with, he should be happy as heck. That's a very generous gift. If my daughter asked for that, I'd giftwrap a giant "HA!HA!HA!" to stick under the tree.. :D
  12. obeygiant macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    totally cool
    edu prices

    1699 for 17 iMac
    399 for Adobe CS
    99 for FCPE
    250 for seagate firewire drive
    2447 total

    200 tv/monitor
    2000 GL2
    1039 for DCR-PC120BT sony

    4647 with the GL2

    3686 with the DCR-PC120BT

    The guy did ask a bunch of apple heads so we're going to give him apple prices. Macs arent cheap but they are the best for this sort of thing in my opinion. 3686 is not that bad oof an investment in my kids future.
  13. batikdruid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2003
    thanks you're all the best

    Yikes! LOL and THANKS for the comments about price. YAH I love my son, but ....~~!! I was typing my first response (below) and then saw the updated remarks! No, I'm thinking of the MAX $1500 area and if that can't be done and hopefully closer to $1200, he'll have to learn it latah. LOL about the car next year! You're right of course!! And I guess I'll have to get a converter program or whatever, so back to $1500.

    I had pretty much not thought about obeygiant's suggestions though, as I already have Photoshop, Illustrator and and Epson scanner! And like I mentioned Premiere, but haven't used it.

    At the moment I'm liking the emac on the apple site w/80 gig hd, 1 ghz proc., but w/256 RAM. What extra RAM might I consider buying and where (you sugg. not to buy apple's), and is it as easy to install as a pc?

    I hate SLOW -- and it will frustrate him I'm sure editing video if its slow. But that goes back to the processor right?

    I'm familiar w/ exterior drives but what is Firewire?
    Do I still need external drive w/80 gigs???
    What is DVI? Prob input? like direct from camera?

    Thanks for the info - I hope to check back tomorrow and find out more.
    1. Yes, i am sure we will eventually get a digital vid camera, just still have the old one - we have 5 yrs of son's football on it and thats what he wants to make, "jared highlight films" no doubt!

    QUES: Does Premiere 6.0 still work in macs?

    Whats the biggest diff between imac and emac? Besides looks?

    I'm really leaning toward imac or emac... what is a combo drive vs . the superdrive?

    I can't tell you how excited I am to have had you nice people get me right to the nitty gritty - I LIKE that!! I hate to futz around and especially when I am clueless on something... times a'wastin' and I need to decide what to do and if I can do it...

    Thanks so much! I will check back in again tomorrow and I will probably think of other things I forgot to ask!

    You all are AWESOME!
  14. crap freakboy macrumors 6502a

    crap freakboy

    Jul 17, 2002
    nar in Gainsborough, me duck
    if on a 'normal budget' I'd personally get emac...either combo or dvdr, and a cheap dv camera with firewire in/out. Let your son make do with imovie, its really a sound idea creatively to use the basics rather than use hundreds of transistions/effects instead of his imagination.
    "garbage in, garbage out."
    This way, if he is isn't the next Kubrick/Eisenstein at film-making you havent spend $6000+ on a mac for surfing and emailing. I use a imacdv g3 400 running osX, and it does editing fine so the emac would more than enough. 13 GB of hardrive equals roughly 1 hour of footage, so 80GB is plenty. good luck
  15. crap freakboy macrumors 6502a

    crap freakboy

    Jul 17, 2002
    nar in Gainsborough, me duck
    oh...forgot ...get more Ram, as much as you can afford, but NOT from the APPLE store try and compare prices. The difference is shocking and you WILL be able to install it, no worries.
  16. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles

    Do you use a shotgun to swat flies over at your place? ;)

    What you suggested would be good for a begining indi-film maker or event videographer but is way overkill for a 15yr old that's curious about movies and editing. Start him out w/the iApps, if he likes what he's doing then he can move onto bigger and better things. And if he doesn't like it all that much you haven't dropped a truck load on software that's just going to collect dust.

    Oh, and FWIW Premiere has a horrible interface and, hell, I would almust buy you a copy of FCE and mail it to you just so I know your child wouldn't have to be subjected to tromping thru Premiere's GUI. ;)

  17. 4409723 Suspended


    Jun 22, 2001
    Contrary to belief (and logic) people who are not teachers (k-12), work for a university, or are students at a university, can not get Edu discount.
  18. caveman_uk Guest


    Feb 17, 2003
    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    To quote from here
    That sounds pretty generous. Anyone who's doing a PART-TIME FURTHER EDUCATION course gets a discount. That includes a lot of the UK population. Even me...:D

    The US may be different...YMMV
  19. batikdruid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2003
    well that's interesting to consider anyway. If I can put it in my son's name somehow without him knowing its coming....!!??

    I'm not averse to 'pretending'.

    Newbie Mac Mom

    **And actually, I just checked thru Apple's site, and it said nothing about students being able to get a discount, just educators, staff and school board members!!
  20. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    You should be able to get a nice setup for $1500 now that you are considering desktops.

    Either the eMac or iMac will be a great choice. As for differences between these two, it mainly is in the look of the machine. I think there are some differences in the types of memory each machine takes and in the video card used. The prior generation eMac actually had better performance than the iMac but I think the new 1.25Ghz iMac is now faster.

    As others have mentioned, the eMac will be a more durable machine around kids. The iMac's flat screen is a bit delicate.

    Neither of these machines should feel slow. Especially if you max out the RAM. I'm running on a 1Ghz iMac with only 256mb RAM and I have no problems. As said above, get the RAM from or another 3rd party vendor.

    Firewire is a type of connection between a device and the computer--similar to USB. USB 1.1 can only transfer data at 12mbps, much too slow for transfering video. Firewire can do 400mbps. USB 2.0 can do 480, I think. Anyway, desktop Macs come with 2 Firewire ports. This is how you connect a MiniDV camcorders to the Mac. You can also buy external Firewire hard drives. It is always good to store your video on a separate hard drive. When he is just starting out you can probably get by using the internal hard drive, but if he gets even a little bit serious you will need an external hard drive. Video takes up a lot of space so get a big and fast hard drive.

    DVI is a connection from a computer to a digital monitor. The Apple LCDs all have DVI connectors. So, that older 12" Powerbook that I mentioned before does not have a DVI port. So if someday you wanted to get an Apple LCD you would not be able to connect the two directly via the digital connection. This is not an issue at all on the eMac or iMac because the display is built in to the computer.

    Combo drive can burn CDs and play DVDs. It can not burn DVDs.

    Superdrive can do everything--burn CDs and DVDs. Apple typically supports the DVD-R standard. Come back after you buy and we can help you with that mess.

    If you want to create DVDs of his movies you need the Superdrive.

    Good luck.
  21. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    The eMac will give you better resolution than the 15" iMac, which is important for palette-heavy video apps...
  22. Coca-Cola macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2002
    eMac, iMovie, firewire DV camcorder, and a .mac account. .mac is really nice for getting your work seen by people. Check out for some short films made on macs. I think your son could get a lot out of the simplicity of iMovie. Good job doing this for him too. This will really be a good learning tool and skill builder.
  23. manitoubalck macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2003
    Adelaide, Australia
    Re: Son wants to make movies-what do I need!What should i get?

    Bot all of us believe that, I'm not sure where you live so all prices will be in $AUD

    Donot buy an iMac for video editing, because:
    a) they are over priced
    b) lackluster preformace doller for doller vs a PC
    c) lack a major cooling component (a fan)
    d) hence run very hot when doing taking opperations
    e) no expand ablity.
    f) you proabley still use a floppy disk.

    iMac 17" $3200AUD
    17-inch widescreen LCD
    1.25GHz PowerPC G4
    NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra
    64MB DDR video memory
    256MB DDR333 SDRAM
    80GB Ultra ATA hard drive
    10/100BASE-T Ethernet
    56K V.92 internal modem
    Apple Pro Speakers
    AirPort Extreme Ready
    Bluetooth Option

    A PC priced off a local stores website (instore prices are lower)
    DVD BURNER NEC4x DVD+/--R/RW w/software
    AMD XP3000+ Barton core 333FSB
    WD 200GB 7200rpm JD 8Mb Cache S-ATA
    x2 DDR RAM 512MB PC2700 333
    BenQ TFT 17in FP767S (Black or Beige)
    floppydisk drive

    Total $3160AUD (priced on instore prices are lower)
    Now this will out perform most macs on the market today. garenteed.

    I use Vegas 4.0 (sonic Foundary) and After FX (Adobe) to edit video on PC and they run just fine. If I had $3G's to blow on a computer it wouldn't be on an iMac that's for sure.

    I am a fan of AMD you could also price a P4 3.06 GHz 800FSB for the same money, with slightly less RAM.
  24. manitoubalck macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2003
    Adelaide, Australia
    I forgot 1 thing, getting boot leg programs for PC is so easy, so no need to factor in the cost of buying editing software.
  25. Phelark macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2003
    Twisting Nether.
    Woah, PC guy. She wants a Mac, she gets a Mac. To avoid pointless flaming and confusion, retract your statement for the good of humanity. Plus, she's a newbie. Don't scare her.

    Likely Response: OMG IM L33T! MACS SUX AN R 4 NOOBIES.

    Seriously. Leave the prejudice at Slashdot.

    [edit] Wow. Now you're supporting software piracy? Troll. [/edit]

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