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Recomendations for video editing mac

Posted on 2002-06-18
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I'm thinking of getting a mac to video edit.  I'm acutelly aware of PC's instability and do not want to invest money into a PC that will crash on me every 10 minutes (i've experienced this before with Premier 5.0, even on a really powerful PC).
I'm leaning towards Final Cut Pro 3 for now.  From what I've read it is THE editing software that is available for considerable low price (opposing to thousand dollar proffesinal machines like AVID).

Of course getting the most powerful mac with dual 1Ghz processor and over a gig of ram will be great, however the top macs go for over 6k on www.apple.com (which is where I looked), that is a bit steep considering I would also like to buy a 3chip Sony camera, which runs about 3k.

What I'd like to know:
What are tech stats recomended for FCP3?  RAM, processor, video card and such.
Is there something better then FCP3?  

I'm looking to shoot relatively short films, most likely on DV.  I'd like to look into exporting onto DVD, but also SVHS or Beta.  
Is there a way to hook up a decent Beta recorder to a mac?  I've never really worked with mac so I'm not sure what their connectivity is.

Please post comments, not answers.  I'd like to keep the question open until I find what I'm looking for.  I'll accept comment as answer when I do.  More then one expert may recieve points for helping.

Any and all advise will be much appreciated.  
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Question by:Serg
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by:weed
ID: 7089586
Any new machine you buy today will be just fine for FCP. The last i heard CNN was using 800mhz TiBooks for FCP and they seem to do fine. Even a current flat panel iMac would be fine. Obviously the more machine you buy, the better it will be. And yes, FCP is THE way to go. You can hook up various recorders but unless they support firewire you will need either a FireWire adapter, or a video card which supports appropriate video out modes. ATI, Matrox, etc all make such cards.
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Expert Comment

by:flexi
ID: 7090125
Hi Serg,
My recipe is maximum bang for the buck. Maximum flexibility is what you need as the technology and the resources available are changing so quickly. The G4 800MHz ships with a 40G 7200rpm HDD and 256Mb of RAM. Add 2 x 512Mb of SDRAM and 2 x 120G WD1200 HDDs(8Mb cache model) and raid them at level 0 through an ACARD PCI raid card. Final Cut Pro is the right choice and add a Matrox card for serious grunt and to support your 2nd screen.An external DVD burner is a better performance proposition than the "Superdrive" which ships with the faster G4 models.
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by:Serg
ID: 7095207
flexi,
judging by the amount of ram you suggest, im guessing thats the part thats going to speed up FCP the most?  
Is processor speed that important?  
Also, I've taken appart PCs too many times to count, yet never even seen an inside of a mac.  Are they easy to upgrade?  IE, would it be easy to buy the extra "beefy" parts separatelly and put them in myself, or would it be safer to have them put in by apple people (extra cost, of course).
Finally, what is a raid card?  I've never heard of such...

Thank you,
Serg
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by:weed
ID: 7096378
Processor speed is somewhat important but HD speed and space will be your most vital asset. Ram is secondary.
Macs are so amazingly easy to upgrade youll wonder if you missed a step. The whole side of the case hinges down, you'll see..;) It's very easy to get your own parts and install them.
A raid card takes several drives and makes them act as one which can either increase speed, prevent data loss, or both. A nice amenity but if you have fast drives and a backup plan theyre not necessary.
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by:Serg
ID: 7097759
What would be the speed of HD to look for?  Is it somekind of special function or RPM or what?  
Does size of HD effect the speed of transfer.  These things change so fast, I remember buying a computer with 2Gig HD....
So would a raid card be a good investment if i get new decently fast mac?

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by:weed
ID: 7097765
If you got a single SCSI-160 card and drive you'd be set. You wouldnt need Raid which can be a hassle to maintain and create. Usually 10k RPM is considered good but a SCSI-160 will be better. You can get those BTO via the apple store.
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by:weed
ID: 7097768
Actually, you MIGHT want to consider an Xserve box for video. www.apple.com/xserve/ ...You can get them configured as workstations rather than servers and with hot swappable and Raidable drives theyre ideal for video. Check the blurb in the bottom right for info.
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Expert Comment

by:flexi
ID: 7098175
Hi Serg,
Weed is right that SCSI-160 is a good option, but you need a SCSI card to run it and they are expensive. They are more expensive than a RAID card.The drives are also more costly than IDE drives. 7200 rpm drives are a must and striped together in a RAID level 0 array is simple to do with the ACARD RAID PCI card. It is a hardware, rather than software option that works well with MacOS9 or MacOSX. I have put a number together and not had a problem. I think weed may be referring to software RAID solutions which have had varied success. Use the Western Digital Drives with the 8Mb cache through the Acard RAID, you can expect 50Mb/sec sustained transfer speed. Get large drives because the more you fill them up the more your performance suffers. Processor speed is important but the faster I/O of the RAID array gives the processor the opportunity to work at max performance. RAM is also important but its not costly at the moment so don't be mean with it.
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by:weed
ID: 7099197
Flexi: i believe you have already been warned about using the answer button.

As far as drives go, a 160 card and drive may well be less expensive than 2 or 3 drives with a raid card and still a faster drive.
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by:ComTech
ID: 7099777
Hello flexi, I am not sure what the Moderator told you the last time you locked a question.  We are planning on removing the answer buttom altogether, as we all wait for the Question Asker CHOSSES a COMMENT.

I cannot make it any clearer that the actual section of the Member Agreement:
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Questions do not become prematurely locked and the collaboration process is not inhibited when the question is indexed as open for proposed solutions.
The question-asker has the power to select the best solution rather than one that is simply suggested as an answer.

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by:Serg
ID: 7099919
I've played around with different setting and options in apple.com store, and the better systems come out insanely expensive.  I'm starting to think that if I get the "super" system I'll have to work so much that I'll have no time to shoot anything.  THAT of course will defeat the whole idea of getting this machine.  

Weed, I've checked out xserve machines, but they are ridiculously expensive.  Too much so for me.

The cheapest, yet decent machine (about $2300) I "made" looks like this:
• 800MHz PowerPC G4
• 1GB SDRAM - 2 DIMMs
• 80GB Ultra ATA drive
• CD-RW drive
• NVIDIA GeForce4 MX dual

Will this be sufficient to run FCP3 smoothly?  I realize this will not compete with raid cards and ultra SCSI harddrives, but will it be enough?

Also, do monitors for mac differ any from PC monitors connection wise?  Or would it be possible to connect the monitor from PC Im using now to a mac? (once again clueless).

Thanks guys,
Serg
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weed earned 300 total points
ID: 7099940
Yeah, that'll be fine for just about anything you'd need to do. You might want to drop the ram a bit and grab the faster processor. It's easier to upgrade ram later than the processor. You can also get ram alot cheaper from 3rd parties than from apple. So buy the minimum ram from apple and get more elsewhere. You may also want the SuperDrive for writing movies to DVD.
The apple monitors use a special DVI + Power connector known as ADC. If i recall right the new machines ship with both an ADC and regular run-o-the-mill display connector which regular monitors use.
If youre really on a tight budget and dont think you need more than 800mhz you could just grab one of the new flat panel iMacs. Theyll do the job about as well as what youve currently got configured.
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by:TheHub
ID: 7100328
i like media 100
i like ultra 160 scsi
i like a lot of ram
i like raid

be a pro and spend the dough:
http://www.media100.com/

Media 100 Sweeps" Best of Show" Awards at NAB 2002

you can get a free demonstation/sales pitch from these guys. beware, you wont want anything else after they visit you.

Good Luck,
TheHub
http://www.MacintoshMagician.com/
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by:Serg
ID: 7102550
Thanks for the tip Hub.  I checked out Xsomething system.  It runs of sometype of windows system.  I hate PC, I hate Microsoft, I hate windows.  Thats why the next computer and all afterwords are going to be Macs.  
I don't think buying an expensive editing machine will make me a pro, nor do I have the money anyway.
Thanks anyway.

Weed, I think I'll go with 800MHz or maybe 933 if I save up some money.  I'll go with 256 mem, the minimum ram apple offers.  Upgrade later as possible.

I'll consider iMac, but somehow it doesn't seem very upgradable, and the 15' screen is probably not enough.  

This is probably enough for me to decide what to get.
Weed I think you suggest the most reasonable options so you get the points.
Flexi I think you deserve some points too.  

Thank you very much for helping me decide on my future Mac guys.  I appreciate all the input.  
Serg
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by:weed
ID: 7102564
Sure thing. Just remember, it's easy and cheap to upgrade other stuff later but the processor, that's not so easy and not so cheap. I would highly recommend getting a bare bones system with the best processor you can get and add on things like HD and Ram. Also, dont forget that MacWorld New York is just around the corner and the desktop and iMac systems are long overdue for a speed boost. Theyre likely to be speed and feature bumped but stay at the same price points.
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Expert Comment

by:flexi
ID: 7102736
I agree with weed, the G4 desktops are very likely to be released in new configurations at Macworld. We may even see a new processor, so don't but until Mr Jobs makes the big announcements. A bare bones system is your least expensive option and add to it as your needs and finances allow. The technical aspects are reasonably simple and for Macs, help is everywhere.
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