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Need advice and reccomendations on set-up

southernhunter's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 05/19/2010 - 12:50pm

Hi all, I have been filming outdoor turkey hunts for a few years now and have several hunts that I am wanting to edit and make a DVD to give to friends and possibly pass out at tradeshows to hopefully "get noticed". Ultimately it would be a dream to be able to produce and sell some DVD's to help pay for my "hobby" which is hunting and filming my hunts. I have a Canon XH-A1

I am in need of some advice and guidance as I am very un-educated on the editing/production part. I am a fast learner and intuitive thinker, but this is an area that I am just about to get involved in.

I am looking at the Mac's and trying to decide on what would be a great set-up for me. I don't have to have the best of the best, but I do want to have more than what is sufficient for me to start to get involved in learning and editing and producing my videos.

I am trying to decide between a MacbookPro or the MacPro and any variations of each that would be reccomended. Info on such things as extra monitor, monitor/screen size, memory, graphics, external storage, external keyboard if I go with notebook, connections, etc. Also, I was thinking of FinalCut Express for starters unless it is recommended that I go with FinalCut Pro.

Any guidance and advice is greatly appreciated and thanks in advance for helping a newbie. I am sure I will have many more questions along my journey.


BRoach25's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 05/10/2010 - 3:21am

I'm only going to comment on what I know..which is very very little - but I think you're right in starting with final cut express - it would be easier, as well as cheaper, - especially if you have not done much editing before. I had done some editing at a news station, some during college, lots of iMovie experience, but the jump to Final Cut Pro was still very time consuming. Final Cut Express would probably be the best way to start out -- and if you find you struggle with the program, I recommend Lynda.com for tutorials - although it costs about $25/month, its worth knowing the ins and outs of your program in my opinion.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

By taking a look at the current maxed out iMac system, using FCE and utilizing an external hard drive system with large capacity drives you could save a bunch of money and obtain a solid, effective and high performance editing system. Sure there will be various workarounds depending on your acquisition solutions and formats, but there ARE workarounds and they are efficient and effective.

I think that while portability is a positive factor, spending the unnecessary bucks for a MacBook Pro, in light of its overall shortcomings would be a poor trade.

While I did save up and purchase a maxed out Mac Pro with Final Cut Pro, and am totally happy with the 2009 model I purchased last March before the new processor models came out (at significantly higher prices for similar setups), had the current line (especially the top of the line iMac) of iMacs been released I would have strongly considered that unit, only going with FCP because I've had that program since it original release and am comfortable with it - seeing no reason to "step down" from my experience level.

Starting out, however, Final Cut Express would be an excellent direction to take. You can produce some high quality material using the current high end iMac and FCE along with an external storage system populated with 7200 or faster RPM drives in the 500 GB to 1T capacities.


pseudosafari's picture
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 01/19/2009 - 2:09am

If you'd like to post some turkey hunt how-to videos, I could sure use them. I still have 2 empty tags this spring season here in PA.

But seriously, there's a big market for what you're looking at, I bet. But when you say "get noticed," by whom? I'm betting that consumers might have one level of expectation, easily met with FCE, but producers might have a totally higher level of expectation (FCP), if that makes any sense.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

I seriously do not believe that when a capable person develops a video production using the primary attributes of one editing system or program over another, that "producers" or do you mean people who might buy and/or market such productions, would be THAT concerned about what system or program was used, so long as the content, quality and editing were "professional"?


southernhunter's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 05/19/2010 - 12:50pm

Thanks Mr. Earl for the help. Your advice helps me greatly. Because this is something that I am not familiar with and "educated" on, you have got me to look at your suggestion and I see where that would work for me. Sorry for the "newbie" questions, but could you suggest adn point me in the right direction for the external memory that I would need? Also, should I go with the 27 in monitor, 2.6 or 2.8 ghz quad core, 8gig 4x2 or 2x4 RAM, and the 1 TB hard drive? thanks again


southernhunter's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 05/19/2010 - 12:50pm

Pseudosafari, when I said "get noticed", I was meaning by anyone really. I was really referring to the notion that my footage could hopefully perhaps highlight my attributes as a hunter and possibly have some of my hunts used by others who maybe had a tv show or something. Ulitmately it would be awesome, although highly unlikely, that I could possibly one day have my dream job of being a part of a successful tv show, whether it be someone elses or even extra-special, one of my own. What I mean by "being a part of" is not to be behind the scenes and filming and/or editing, but being in front of the camera and doing the hunting and host/co-host. Again, I realize that this is not likely to happen.

Secondary could be that maybe someone would buy some of my footage or perhaps I could make and sell my own DVD. This could help me get exposure and hopefully open some doors for me such as hunt opportunties and TV show appearances would be even better.

In reality, I love to hunt and I have really enjoyed videoing much of my hunts for the last couple of years. I would get great pleasure in being able to edit and make a dvd to share with friends and family. Also, to post some of these hunts on youtube and such would be great as well.

In response to the rest of your question, my intentions were more hopeful that someone might recognize my hunting skills and most definitely not my editing skills. I fully recognize the fact that I am nowhere close to being remotely great at editing and was not depeending on that. I was really hoping that I could edit something together that would be good enough for things like I mentioned above and that if someone "noticed" me, then they could take my raw footage and have "their people" do the professional editing and touch on it.

I did have several how-to topics in my mind that I was considering putting into a dvd or something. Hopefully you can fill your tags soon and won't have to wait on my video.

thanks again everyone


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Personally, I would go with the 27" 2.8 ghz, max the RAM and get the 1TB hard drive. I'm sure you mean external hard drive for additional storage and as a resource/work drive. Hitachi, LaCie, Western Digital, Seagate and a host of other brands have quality systems - internal and external. But you want to consider units like Drobo and other units known as JBOD boxes - just a bunch of disks in a box - that have a choice of connections and can be populated with up to 4 or so drives.

Actually, it might not be all that beneficial to use such a huge drive internally (the 1TB) as its primary purpose is to be your system drive. The external HDs would be your resource and work drives, provided you stay with connections such as USB3, Firewire, SATA or eSATA all known for the throughput levels necessary for high definition, AVCHD and MiniDV editing work.

The fact that the iMac would come with iMovie and iDVD is a benefit as these programs can actually help you start putting edited programming out there right out of the box. Though you'll get more editing options, etc. from FCE and FCP, iMovie/iDVD are not wimpy programs either, and fairly intuitive.

There's also a host of locations you can identify with a Google search that will provide you with information and more regarding getting the most out of any or all of these Mac programs.


southernhunter's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 05/19/2010 - 12:50pm

Thanks again Mr. Earl. Yes, I was referring to an external hard drive. I will do some research on that. It is definitely a "deep" subject for me and something that I am not familiar with. As I have already admitted, editing and everything that goes with it will be a new adventure for me in more ways than one.

As for the RAM, the iMac comes with the following options: 8GB 4x2 for +$200; 8GB 2x4 for +$400; or the BIG step of 16GB 4x4 for +$1,000. Would I be o.k. with one of the 8GB or do I have to fork out for the 16GB?


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

You should be able to accomplish what you want in editing/production with the cheaper 8GB combination. If you can get 8GB for $200, I'd go with that rather than buying the more expensive RAM, and you likely will do just fine using 8.

MORE RAM is always nice, but not mandatory for what I perceive you wanting to do with your system.


pseudosafari's picture
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 01/19/2009 - 2:09am

EarlC, I think we agree. I was just suggesting producers (the guys with the bucks who pay for content for shows on Versus or Outdoor Channel) might expect a higher production value than the average hunter, and that higher production value might be more readily attained using a higher-end NLE. You're the Mac guy, but from my PC experience I know that I can do a better job using Premiere Pro than I can withPremiere Elements.

As a hunter, I am often satisfied with Youtube videos that are pretty low budget, IF the content is there, however. Premiere Elements would do the job there, for sure, if you know what you're doing.

southernhunter, consider putting your DVD together and marketing it on amazon.com through createspace (and post feedback about your experience with it if you do--I'm anxious to hear more about it). Then, set up a Youtube channel and show clips to drive people to your web site or to amazon.com to buy the DVD. Just a thought. In this day and age it's easier than ever to get stuff out there. Passing out free sample DVD's at trade shows is another way to do it.


southernhunter's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 05/19/2010 - 12:50pm

Thanks for the advice pseudosafari. I had thought about the youtube channel and handing out samples at tradeshows. I was interested in learning more about the "in's and out's" and the "how-to's" as far as a way to start up a website or some way to market/sell my dvd. Alas, I have a long way to go, but I would rather be thinking forward than to be thinking behind.

Again, as far as the production quality of my stuff, I know that I am, nor will, be anywhere close to professional ability. My hope was that I could do a good enough job to present myself (footage, hunt skills, personality, etc) to someone in the outdoor industry and hopefully get some kind of break. After that, I was relying on their resources to edit my original footage and whatever or where-ever opportunities may arise.

Even though it is a dream that I realize will most likely never materialize, I think I will enjoy learning what I can about editing and then applying it to my footage.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

OK, S hunter, sounds like you're sold on the iMac (I really do think you'd be more pleased with the 27" screen) 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo, and I guess it wouldn't be all THAT bad to have the internal 1TB hard drive and the cheaper 8 GB RAM configuration. The Firewire 400/800 and USB 2.0 options allow for a host of possibilities with the external drive.

Yes, use your internal drive for system and consider partitioning it 350/650 and using the smaller partition for programs, etc. and the larger for say, music, photos, documents, billings, notes, graphics, etc.

Use the Firewire 800 for connection to a multi-connection external box. Take a look at the Buffalo DriveStation Duo, or DriveStation Quattro TurboUSB but the latter would be USB 2.0 or eSATA connections, and the Duo offers Firewire in addition to USB 2.0. They run $180 for the Duo w/1TB and $400 for the Quattro w/2TB (B&H Photo Video) Another choice would be the G-RAID 1TB = $215 and/or the G-SAFE at 500 GB for $335, or $425 for 1TB.

Any of those puppies would work for you on the higher end of the pricing scale and offer you a way (in most cases) to up your storage capacity by using extra drives and swamping, or getting higher storage capacity drives as you need.

Another route would be any of the brands I mentioned previously - external hard drives only, not mutl-drive boxes, Western Digital Iomega, LaCie, Seagate with their larger capacity drives at 1TB, and up. Also, I failed to mention that Iomega has an Ultramax line quad interface (eSATA, USB 2.0 and Firewire 400/800) starting at $125 for 500 GB, up to $270 for 2TB. Finally, NewerTechnology (NewerTech) Voyager Q line is a good choice with quad connectivity. It's a hard drive docking solution, like the JBOD I mentioned before, and you can get a box at about $90 and put whatever hard drives are currently the best deal for capacity (Hitachi isn't bad, usually priced at $70-$89 if you shop them for 1TB units), or you can buy a NewerTech bundle starting at about $150.

You should be able to do quite well with this arrangement and using, for now, even the iMovie and iDVD software that comes installed on the iMac. Get your feet wet there first, then go to the FCE and/or skip to Final Cut Pro/Studio.


southernhunter's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 05/19/2010 - 12:50pm

Thanks again. I really appreciate the help. I realize that it is probably somewhat aggravating for y'all to have to answer what are pre-school questions to y'all, but they are definitely high-school level and above for me. I am sure that I will have more questions as I get more involved, but I promise to do my best and try not to wear out my welcome or burn any bridges. Thanks again.