Your Professional Opinions?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by ikonq, May 3, 2006.

  1. ikonq macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2006
    Hey All,

    I'm new here, and I just wanted to get a gauge on how well the setup i'm intending to buy over the next few weeks will perform, and what people think about it?

    I'm just your average film student (as of next year anyway, this year im making money for equipment etc. lol)

    iMac 20"
    Intel Core Duo 2.0Ghz
    ATI Radeon X1600 (256mb)
    500GB 7200RPM HD
    2GB DDR 667MHZ ram (at least, I know a tech who is willing to put in 4GB as long as I feel like tracking down some 2GB sticks(yes, 2gb sticks will work, apple just doesnt offer them as a CTO).

    AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac

    Final Cut Studio 5.1

    LogicKeyboard Keycaps, Countour ShuttleXpress V2

    Apple Cinema Display 20"

    AppleCare Protection Plan for Displays

    Sony HDR-FX1

    M-Audio Studiophile DX-4 Studio Monitors

    So what does everyone think? I'm mostly just going to be doing simple editing in 1080i or 720p, and some tinkering in Motion, DVD Studio Pro and Soundtrack. Should fly right? Anything else I should get? Anything thats not worth getting? If anyone can just drop their opinion here, it'd be much appreciated. :)
  2. PegasusMedia macrumors member

    Mar 29, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL

    Everybody's got an opinion, so here's mine for what it's worth.

    1) Looks like you've overlooked sound. The FX1 has no XLR audio inputs. I would upgrade to the Z1U, or another camera with XLR audio. And your list has no microphones. You need good microphones.

    Speaking of cameras, if you're a film student interested in 24p, you may want to look at Panasonic, not Sony. They cater more to the 24p crowd.

    2) Lights? Huge big deal for film students. Lighting is the key to it all, man.

    3) An NTSC monitor. You'll want to see your video on a good old fashioned NTSC monitor. Not an LCD.

    4) 4 GB RAM is more than you need. Save your money...use it for sound gear.

    My opinion. Take it for what it's worth, & good luck!
  3. evil_santa macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2003
    London, England
    I would go for a tower, if you are serious about editing you may want to add a capture card, this will give you benefit of adding a PAL/NTSC monitor to the system & watching your edit on the medium it will be shown on.

    You also need a second drive for the media, editing systems do not work well with the media on the boot up drive, on the imac you will need a FW drive on a tower you can add a 2nd internal drive.

    For motion you will need all the power you can get from the Gfx card & RAM, there is another thread about this on the forum.
  4. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    Wait until August for a Intel PowerMac or even purchase a PowerMac G5 right now. Get 2 hard drives, one for the OS, one for the videos and all the media stuff. For Final Cut itself, you really don't need more than 2 gigs of ram, final cut relies on the disk performance and the processor.
  5. wmmk macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2006
    The Library.
    as far as mics go, i'd get some sennheisers
    they're sensitive, but with soundtrack, you should be able to edit out unwanted background noise.
  6. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Like most "average film students" your spending is misguided. But unlike most "average film students" you actually have money to spend. :p

    My first suggestion is to not buy the 500gig HDD, Apple Care, the $200 speakers, the Logitech Keyboard, the Shuttle, the 20" display or the extra RAM.

    Take some of that money and buy a big firewire drive (or two) and an NTSC monitor (assuming you don't already have a TV that you can setup next to your computer). Take the rest of that money and put it towards your movies. Props, lights, expendables, misc equipment rentals, craft services (food for your cast and crew).

    My second suggestion is don't buy anything you can borrow/rent/check/use for free from your for free.

  7. Whigga Spitta macrumors 6502

    Apr 21, 2004
    Can you say Chi-City??
    I too think you may be overlooking the actual 'filmmaking' process.

    Just last week I saw a screening of a movie by a director/producer in the same position as you. I saw him working in post one day on a dual G5 with a 23" ACD, some studio monitors, Final Cut Studio, a DVX100 and some other technical stuff that made me (as more of an editor than a filmmaker) drool. I had high hopes for the film, to say the least.

    But I completely glossed over the key parts of making a film, as you may be doing right now. No matter what you do in post (to a certain extent), you can't make a poorly lit shot look like it was lit well. You can't just dub in audio when there's background noise. YOU CAN'T SIT BEHIND THE CAMERA WITH NO SENSE OF COMPOSITION.

    Undoubtedly you know all this, but just remember that you CAN make a good film without a fancy $5000 editing setup-- as long as you pay attention to what really counts.
  8. evil_santa macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2003
    London, England
    Ha Ha, exactly my thoughts Leathal.:D

    and 100% on that one..

    I have spent a lot of time at work fixing stuff the should have been shot properly. In this digital age, you often hear 'we can fix that in post' as Whigga Spitta pointed out if you plan & shoot well & have a good script, it will make all the difference.
    The biggest problem I have notice when working on low/no budget short films is poor sound & bad lighting. Followed by bad continuity & bad acting.
  9. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    100% agree with you as well...When ever I'm shooting a quick movie with my crappy digital 8 camera, my friends think that if we rush through a scene and shoot everything as fast as hell, it won't be bad because I can clean it up in post. Not possible. It's discouraging to see bad footage that you shot yourself and have to edit that and never get an opportunity to re-shoot it.
  10. Texas04 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2005
    SOOO TRUE!!!!

    Definatley look at renting/borrowing equipment. And if you have the money get a tower... and that kind of camera is really expensive if you are just starting out...
  11. ikonq thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2006
    Thanks everyone for their input so far :)

    PegasusMedia; Thanks, I totally overlooked sound. I'll Look Into the Z1U. I figure I'll rent lights as needed. Will a normal PAL/NTSC monitor be fine for checking? I'm really not inclined to shell out for one of those specialised ones. I get RAM wholesale, so the price of getting 2GB sticks is really minor compared to 1GB sticks. i figure might as well.

    evil_santa; Yeah, I'm dying for a tower, but I cant justify the PMG5 right now, as the iMac has better performance at a lesser price. Its hard to justify the drive bay and FW800 port for the extra cash.

    FF_Productions; Cheers, thanks for your input. I'm dying for a Intel PM, but August seems so far away.... :(

    Democrat622; Thanks, I'll look at the Senns. I can get them at a reasonable price too :)

    LethalWolfe; Aha, It's not so much money; but more of a careful budget, and having a job at a reseller/service center where I can get most of these things wholesale.. oh and education pricing too. There's no way I wouldnt buy APP though. I see way too many Sick Macs, and... well my Job has scared me into it :p
    Cheers for the input. I might just use my current CRT instead of the second ACD for the time being, and I don't *need* a shuttle :). Mad Keen on the LogicKeyboard though. (Keycaps for Final Cut Pro).

    Whigga Spitta; Thanks for your opinion, I'll definetly keep it in mind. Yeah, I've seen what you're talking about, in my previous projects (back at school, where I had access to an eMac, FCE and a MiniDV Cam); Needless to say, I've gotten to a point where I demand probably more takes than I need for some scenes :p.

    Texas04; Cheers. I have looked at Renting/Borrowing equipment, but the prices are fairly ludicrous on some things. If I used the HDR-FX1 camera for 13 days, I would have paid the company I'm renting from enough to get it at retail price. (I get the camera (and some other cool things at wholesale- theres a comfy margin ;) )

    Thanks again everyone. :)
    You've all made me reconsider my budget. I'm considering a PMG5 (2x 2.3) or waiting for the Intel PM now...
    The HVR-Z1U seems like another large step up from the HDR-FX1. Are there alternate (perhaps more cost-efficient) ways of gaining XLR inputs on cameras? (I vaugely remember using some sort of blue box last year in film class.

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