Ok, I’m ready to upgrade

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    • #48481

      Ok, so I’m a film student at the college I attend and have been shooting random stuff since High School. Last year I upgraded to a Canon Vixia HF M40. Love the camera, but my first project with it DESTROYED my laptop. So, since then I’ve been computer less. But I got a credit card, slowly built up my credit, and now I am able to finance a computer from Best Buy for up to 1200. Now, at first I thought I would get a Mac. All the computers at the school are macs and all the classes use Final Cut and Avid on Mac. A promotion they have at the moment is $100 dollars off a Mac with a student I.D. So the 21.5″ i5 iMac would be a little over 1000. Is this a good choice for both the camera I’m using and the plans I have?

      Also, if anyone has purchased from Best Buy can they sway me on whether to get their coverage service?

    • #199192

      Go with Windows PC, like Asus, HP, Sony, etc. I think you have more choices of NLEs, etc.

      I purchased my HP desktop from Best Buy a few years back and got the three year protection. During that time they would not honor any components that failed – DVD, wireless keyboard (never worked out of the box, but I waited a year to attempt to use it), and memory card reader. I have purchased two flat screen TVs from them and they did honor the repairs on those.

      I have had experience with Dell’s on-site technicians (they came to my classroom to repair laptops and computers in front of my students) and I am very pleased with them.

    • #199193


      Before you put yourself in hock buying a computer on credit, ask yourself these questions:

      1) Am I bringing in enough jobs or working a job that will take care of the basics (rent, utilities, food) with enough left over to get the card paid off quickly? (Remember, you’re not paying $1000 for your laptop with a credit card. Despite interest rates being the lowest in history, credit card companies are charging 12-19% interest on your monthly charges. So on that $1000, if you take a year to pay it off you’re looking at a minimum of (at 12%) is $1400 on top of that $1000. So you need to assess if you’re bringing in enough cash to double or triple up on your monthly payments in order to cut down on the amount of interest you’d pay.

      2) Is it imperative you use a Mac? Now to be up front I’m a straight Mac hater. But, I started out with them and work crossplatform with ease. If you go with a Mac, you’re locked into their pipeline and though there are bargains to be found, you’ll have to dig for them. If you go the PC route, there is a dizzying array of choices of hard and software to choose from. No matter what fanboy’s from either side say, Win7 is seriously stable and even better the Pro version is perfect for an editing computer. Biggest plus is you can find lap or desktops more than powerful enough to handle a decent load of editing for not a whole lot of money. Truthfully, it all depends on what you’re most comfy with and can actually afford. Main thing is; to get up and running asap but not to tie a dead horse around your neck if you can help it.

      3) What editing software will I use? That’s a big and very important question. After you pick out your ‘puter, next you’ll need software. Upfront you’ll need: Office software, Graphics software and Non-linear Editing software that will give you a good range of tools to allow you to create professional looking work. There are shareware, cloud and traditional options to get office software which you will need to write scripts, do invoices and more. Graphic software choices are fairly varied, but your goal is to get something that will allow you to make professional looking work. Lastly, with NLE software there are consumer, prosumer and professional programs. Depending on your skill as an editor, you can get away using prosumer programs but eventually you’ll need to upgrade soon as you can afford it. Drawback with pro software, you’ll need a rig that has the hardware to run it properly and they cost some real change depending how many features you’re looking to get.

      So if at any point your asking yourself those questions and you recognize you’re coming up short, hold off until you can ‘clear the bar’ with your answer.

    • #199194

      Well, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into my budgeting. This has been a project a year in the making, buying a new computer. So yes, I think I have both the timing and the funds correct.

      As far as Mac being a necessity, no it isn’t. But that’s what I’m going to be learning on, however a have taught myself near everything up to this point so it’s not like that’s a deal breaker. As you said I got dizzied by how many options I had on PC and I didn’t want to build my own so this seemed easier, I had been looking for PC rigs that could handle this for a long time and I had trouble narrowing anything down.

      And software was another big problem, I could never find any at a price I wanted and Final Cut Pro X is $300, and I was planning to get by on iMovie for awhile. My stuff has never been really complex, it’s basically just me. but I also read that’s not the industry standard it used to be. Writing I’ve been using Celtx and don’t plan to stop, it’s a little frustrating to write Teleplays(I’ve been writing a sitcom for the past 6 months) but it does everything else fine.

      Also camera compatibility was a concern. I don’t want to have to convert a thing. And the files are .mts

    • #199195

      Hi Cory

      You have some pretty good advice already. I have always been a PC user and since Windows 7 I believe the stability advantages of Mac have pretty much disapeared. You will have more options with Windows computers and a reasonable price advantage. I suggest Intel I7 processor with Windows 7 64 bitwith8GB Ram minimum. That will keep you future proofed for a while at least.

      As for NLE software, I use Premier Pro CS5.5. it costs megabucks. A mate has Premier Elements 10 and I am astounded just how much he can do with a $100 bit of software. You can buy it bundled with Photoshop Elements for only about 30% more.

      Adobe have good upgrade deals and if you are a student you can probably buy CS5.5 at a good price if you need the extra features. Premier Elements handles .mts files and you can burn DVD AVCHD and Blueray disks at the same quality as the 10 times more expensive software.

      Good luck


    • #199196

      Will the graphics card need to be top of the line? That was what I always had difficulty finding.

    • #199197

      Cory – At home, I edit on a $250 (used) Gateway NV53 with a 3GHz 3 core AMD Phenom IIwith a $26 Thermaltake fan to cool it. This is a blazing fast laptop for not a lot of money. Highly recommended.

      I also recommend you use free OpenOffice and Google Docs instead of Office, and agree with Ian that you should get a $100 prosumer editing suite like Premiere Elements 10 or the new Sony Vegas 12 with Magic Bullet (I’m a Vegas guy).

      I am also a Mac lover and chose one at work over a PC – but, at home, I absolutely refuse to go into debt for a marginal usability advantage.

      Good luck at school and with your projects,


    • #199198


      This was a backup I had been looking at, good brand, good specs except the lack of a dedicated GPU, is that going be noticeable? And I look at laptops because I want to take it with me to school as I commute. And I can always hook up the laptop to a moniter and dual-moniter that way right? This computer was basically my “cheap” option. As in if I decide to get the Mac or a bigger pc a little later I’m not breaking my bank picking up this one.

      Cs6 with a student discount is $449, do you guys think elements will be enough?

    • #199199

      just to confuse you more, Avid Media Composer 6 is $275 with the academic discount and it is cross platform. But check their certified systems on the website…

    • #199200

      Ugh, that doesn’t help. Judging by the requirements avid seems a bit out of my range. I can’t swing a $400 dollar graphics card. If im getting this other stuff. How necessary is the Accelerated GPU if I plan on using dual-monitors?


      That’s my pc answer to getting the Mac. About the Same price as the Mac. Graphics card is weak but is it gonna get me by for awhile until I can upgrade? Also I guess I’ll get premiere elements until I can afford either cs6 or avid. Thoughts guys?

      Basically, what it looks like I’ll have to do is get a cheaper option and when I have either a little more money or a little more knowledge get the whole shebang. Will that Lenovo let me take care of business with elements? Or any other advice I haven’t already gotten? I need a computer for school regardless but I’d like to be able to edit on it too even if it’s just simple stuff.

    • #199201

      Not to confuse the issue, but have you looked at: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883220160?

      Either way, you should consider an additional ” work drive ” of 1T for video.

      Rick Crampton

    • #199202


      By computer standards, video calls for a ‘grunter’. In three days time, I take delivery of such a beast, which has been carefully costed and put together in collaboration with a computer engineer anda relative whose son is also a computer science graduate. My problem has not been the specification, it has been achieving it on a ‘retired’ budget. A specification of his own computer was sent to me from Australia by the ‘relative’ who has access to more finance than I have, and the sessions with the local computer expert, were to achieve as much of that specification as possible within an amount I could pay, with a ‘bit of a stretch’, which transpired, in the end, and after a certain amount of ‘sackcloth and ashes’ to be just under NZ$2,200 ($1 NZ, being currently worth 80c US).

      I have made this commitment because I now shoot exclusively in High Definition, hence the ‘grunt’, in the ‘grunter’. At your age, and in your circumstances, I think I would cast an eye to the future and try to visualise what you ‘might’ require several years into the future. Your ambitions will likely call for a change, so better to save a little more and pre-empt that possibility, I feel. As for software on which to gain experience. Might I suggest the ‘Magix’ Movie Edit Pro MX-Plus package currently on-offer from US sources for just under $40. In my new computer, I shall be installing their fully ‘pro’ package v4.0, (therewas no point in installing it in my present computer although I have an earlier ‘mark’ of the same programme there). I have always regarded this as excellent software, at reasonable prices. The advantage, is that MEP-MX encourages good work habits, and is highly intuitive and easy to have up-and-running, without the need for intensive study. The ‘manuals’ are excellent reference sources with a great deal of knowledge not necessarily specific to ‘Magix’ software, and if you did decide to make the switch to the more ambitious ‘Pro’ version at a later date, partly finished projects are fully transportable there. By the way, my computer is i7 based, with a graphics card which absorbed roughly a third of my budget, and, the ‘price’ which I mentioned, does not include a Blu-Ray reader/writer, nor the 22inch flat-screen monitor, which I already own.

      Hope that helps, and good luck.

      Ian Smith

      Dunedin, New Zealand.

    • #199203

      I have built my own computers for the past fifteen years or so. The one I last built for video mainly was with the last of the Intel CPU before the i series. I reasoned that the best of the most recent ” legacy ” platforms would be appreciably cheaper to build than the latest thing. Okay, so I don’t have the bestest and the fastest, but what I do have is robust enough to run Win7 PRO 64 and Adobe CS5.5 all in HD. I have a very fast SATAsystem drive and three 1G SATA drives on board with another 1G eSATA drive. It’s housed in a beautiful Antec case with a large power supply.The graphics card handles Adobe just fine. My BluRay burner is in an external enclosure, and hooks up via eSATA. I lost count of the cost somewhere around $ 1500 to $ 1800.

      CPU’s and motherboards change so rapidly it’s difficult to stay even with the advances. I have a sneaky feeling that desktops are going to become more expensive since the consumer market is focused on tablets, laptops, and smartphones . . . and eventually the ” cloud “.

      Rick Crampton

    • #199204


      I purchased this computer from Best buy cause I needed something quick..Weddings were coming in strong! Its blazing fast but two things..Decide on your editing preference (hint cs5-cs6 premiere) Then go to adobe site and look into the video card with mercury compatibliity. They also used to sell itat best buy around 200.00 or so..



      Then I would slowly up the ram as you can afford it. My machine screams with HD video. Live crossfades and all. On another note..I had to replace the power supply for the video card, If your not comfortable opening up a cpu get some help. I basically had this one day old machine spread all over the floor but its all easily accomplished. I had to move one of the harddrives to make room for the new video card. after that your done for a few yeras..all less than a custom machine. I also use a 1 tb back up drive for all my video ISO’s. Final note the coverage will be void after all this..But your’re smarter than anyone at best buy now after your mods!! πŸ™‚

      Hope this helps..Harry

    • #199205

      I think you need to know why yourcamera DESTROYEDyour laptop. This is very unusual that a piece of equipment is destroyed by another piece of equipment. Did you try recycling power, or doing a recovery using the recovery information available? Did you try removing the battery, waiting a few minuites, and then replacing it? You do not want this to happen to your next laptop.

    • #199206

      It depends if you need the power of a really nice graphics card. I personally do absolutely fine on fcp x for editing all projects. It contains everything you need to edit video and titles etc. Unless youre going to be using a lot of 3d integration and vfx with a program like after effects, you wont need a high end graphics card.

      Im a mac lover, so I would never choose a pc now that Ive used mac. Ive been using a 2009 imac dual core 4 gb of ram for a couple years, and its worked fine for everything, but now that im into 3d and vfx, the 2 cores and 4gb of ram arent cutting it. I would say purchase a computer like this one:http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC309LL/A

      In my mind refurbished is always better. Its been tripple checked for defects and is tons cheaper! You might even be able to get a student discount with it. For only $999, its a lot cheaper than what you would get with your student i.d. otherwise! You might want to also get an external 1tb hard drive for about $150 from amazon… Also, amazon warehouse deals have also been really good for me…

    • #203949

      I thank you all for your responses. I went with a laptop. The new models of HP Pavilions. I ran a few tests in the Adobe Premiere trial and it seems to do the job alright. Rendered very quickly.

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