Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Editing › FallingStarFilms Macbook Pro
June 1, 2008 at 11:45 PM #46730RobParticipant
For those of you who don’t know (which would be everyone), FallStarFilms messaged me about a Macbook Pro vs a desktop Mac. Unfortunately, when you send messages to people through Videomaker, there is a limit to how much you can type and large messages like this will just be cut off, and there is no way to know how much room you have left. So to save myself the headache, I’m answering him in a thread. Too bad if you don’t like it.
I used to use a 15 inch Apple iBook with a G4 processor when I first started video. It worked fine for me even though it was the “consumer” level laptop offered by Apple. It’s the equivalent of todays Macbook, not to be mistaken for the Macbook Pro.
There are pros and cons between desktops and laptops. For instance, obviously laptops are portable, but they can’t be upgraded as much as desktops. The MacbookPro is pretty damn powerful though. If the work you do calls forportability, the MacbookPro is definitely a great choice.
Just so your not caught with any surprises though, I’ll fill you in on why I went with the MacPro instead of getting a Macbook Pro when I got my new computer.
1. When I used my iBook, I found myself not having enough firewire ports. I would connect my deck or camera to my computer, capture the video, unhook the deck, plug in my external drive, then drag the files into my external drive. Luckily, they have firewire800 drives and USB2.0 drives now. So I guess that isn’t as big of a problem anymore. An external hard drive will work fine with a Macbook Pro and Final Cut Pro. Ideally, when editing video you want a hard drive that rotates at 7200 rpms.
2. I’m very serious and ambitious when it comes to editing (actually, I’m ambitious with all areas of video, but I’m referring to editing right now). I do freelance work for people and stuff. So I didn’t see myself needing theportability. Power was more of an issue for me since HD is becoming more popular and editors do more than strait cutting these days. Editors do everything from cutting, to graphics, to sound editing…everything. Graphics, for instance, require a powerful computer if you don’t want to be sitting around waiting for stuff to render all the time. Apple’s new color grading program, Color, requires a PCI Express card to be installed in your computer if you want to have external monitoring, and I don’t think you can have that on a laptop. You definitely want an external monitor when doing color grading too.
Sure, I can do graphics and color grading on the Macbook Pro, it will just take a little longer with rendering time. If you don’t see yourself doing intense graphics/special FX/color grading, then it’s not an issue for you and a Macbook Pro is great for you. It will edit HD video fine when you make that transition too.
Sound editing will be no problem with the Macbook Pro too.If you go with the MacbookPro make sure you get a good set of head phones so you can listen for sound blemishes. I use a pair of M-Audio DX4 speakers because I have a desktop, but of course with a laptop, you’re going for portability. Don’t get crappy ear bud headphones. Get a good pair of around-ear CLOSED headphones. Closed means the noise around you won’tinterferewith the sound coming from the headphones.
3. I got tired of looking at a tiny screen, and all the room can be taken up quickly when you start opening color correction scopes, audio tools, etc.Even with a 23inch screen now, I still find myself wanting more room. It certainly don’t NEED another screen, but it would be nice if I didn’t have to keep going into menus to bring up color correction scopes, audio mixers, etc. It’s just annoying to me.
4. You can connect an external monitor to a laptop through firewire and a camera or deck, but no one really does that since they get the laptop for potability. A monitor isn’t exactly portable. So getting a laptop may mean that you won’t be using an external monitor. You might be fine without one though, you have to look at your own situation.
I guess those are the major issues with me. There certainly is nothing wrong with getting a laptop, but I felt I should let you know what you’re going to have and not have. You should know what may be a smallinconvenience. If you don’t see any of my issues being a big deal for you, then a Macbook Pro is perfectly acceptable. I can’t tell you the answer though, I don’t live in your shoes. Just be sure to realistically analyze what you NEED first. The Macbook Pro is significantly cheaper than getting a MacPro. Us video geeks love getting new gadgets and the latest gear, but you don’t want to make the mistake of buy more than you need in this situation. It will cost you big bucks.
When you get Final Cut Pro, don’t hesitate to ask for any advice. It may be a bit confusing at first, as that would be case transitioning to any program, but I think you will quickly get the hang of it and understand the logic and interface of FCP.
Also, if you’re getting the Final Cut Studio 2 bundle, make sure you get enough hard drive in your laptop. It took up about 53GB in my computer, but I also installed everything. Obviously, if you’re not going to be using Motion, Color, LiveType, etc, then save yourself the time and hard drive space. If you only want Final Cut, maybe you can find a buddy to bum it off of. I think with an Intel Mac you’ll need Final Cut 6 or higher. There’s nothing stopping you from installing an earlier version, but I’ve heard it won’t run as fast then, maybe evenunexpectedlyclose.
Also, if you get the Macbook Pro, don’t get one with a bunch of RAM. Apple RAM is expensive. Just get a laptop with plenty of hard drive space for your programs and order Mac Certified RAM from somewhere. I ordered my RAM from http://www.otherworldcomputing.com and it works perfectly. Saved me hundreds of dollars too. Just be sure you get Mac Certified RAM. If it’s not Mac Certified, the memory stick will over heat and suck.
Good luck. Let me know how things go.
June 2, 2008 at 2:50 AM #192433AnonymousInactive
that is exactly what I needed to know. Thanks man for taking the time to write all that. I am excited and sad about going to FCP and leaving Vegas (leaving Las Vegas). Thanks for your input. The future is wide open.
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