pc or mac for editing 20 h of v1u hdv footage: ??

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    • #44085

      Good morning,
      I’m an amateur filmmaker. I switched to a Sony V1U camera, filming 20 hours in HDV, 30p this summer and having lots, lots of stills. I need to upgrade my PC. I’m torn between switching to Mac or staying with PC. My budget is $5000, max. It boils down to Vista Ultimate 64 SP1’s vs Mac’s interface stability, power invested in the hardware, and ease and versatility of the editing software( FCP 7 vs Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 vs Sony Vegas Pro 9.0a…or Edius(?)), as I understand, so far.
      I’ve been with Vegas 7 for DV editing and had a fair amount of crashes, with the PC I used to edit with:
      Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Quad CPU @2.40GHz
      2.40 GHZ, 2,00 Go de RAM
      ATI Radeon Graphics Processor (0x9588)
      Type de CNA(DAC): Internal DAc (400MHz)
      memory: 256 MB
      Card: ATI Radeon HD 2600XT
      . I wonder if Mac is more stable and worth investing in it vs staying with PC but being deprived of FCP…I would like an educated opinion, please. Thank you very much for considering my question, as to whether I go Mac or PC and what hardware specs and what editing software would best suit my budget and my expectations to produce a good documentary.

      So far, going Mac would, I was told by a Mac Store video specialist, cost be more than $10,000…which I am not able to afford at all.

      Now, if I can be assured that Windows Vista Ulti64 can be as reliable and stable an interface as Mac’s, but cheaper, and if an editing software like Sony Vegas 9.0a turns out to be a good support for someone like me who wants to do a 2h documentary in HD without ruining his budget, and as competent a software as those that contributed to very good documentary-making, well then, I would go for PC-Sony Vegas.

      I am usually pragmatic, and I go with what authentically works well, be it Mac or PC, and since I am independent, I can go with Mac or PC. I do have $ limits to respect though and I want a good technical platform, that will not crash…and won’t cost me more than my budget allows. Whatever suits these considerations will get my vote.
      Thanks for your upcoming feedback.

    • #184773

      I would suggest a Mac with FCP over anything else, although, you said you wanted an educated opinion and mine is completely bias because I’ve never edited on a PC and don’t have a desire to ever do so. But I can tell you that Macs and FCP are stable. Well…if you maintain your computer……

      Don’t listen to a Mac Store “video specialist.” They’re not video specialists, they’re salesmen trying to get you to spend your money on the biggest, baddest Mac available. And if you fall for it, you will find yourself needing to spend more money on other things that you should have budgeted for in the first place. If you have specific questions, just ask us here on the forum.

      You did specifically mention that you don’t want your computer to crash though. Whether your on a Mac or PC, the key to preventing computers or software from crashing is:

      1) Your main hard drive that has the operating system loaded to it should only have the operating system and software loaded to it. That is it. Do not load your media to this drive. Why? Because your computer does a lot of processing when dealing with the OS and software. Don’t want to tie up that hard drive by making it retrieve data for your projects too. Also, if that drive ever does crash, whatever data is on there will be lost. If the only thing on there is the OS and software, then all you have to do is load that stuff to a new hard drive. If you have your project files and media on there, then you just lost all of it and you’re SOL.

      2). The hard drive that does have all your media and project files loaded to it, which like I said should not be your main hard drive, should have plenty of head room. And by that I mean, empty space. I never fill up my hard drives more than 50%.

      3) If you do get a Mac, run Disk Warrior every 6 -8 months just to maintain your hard drives. It’s simple and only costs $100

    • #184774

      One last thing:

      You said you are making a 2 hour documentary. You may want to think about increasing your budget. I understand $5000 isn’t chump change, but that still may be short.

      You are going to spend many, many hours on this project. And I’m guessing you will want to make a profit from it, right? Or at least screen it somewhere for everyone to see. Well, then it’s important to monitor your video properly. You want to know that what your are doing looks the way you want it to. So, ideally you want to output video from FCP with an AJA Kona card or a BlackMagic card to an HD monitor that was collaborated with color bars. And that alone can will probably be half your budget right there…..

    • #184775
      Luis Maymi LopezLuis Maymi Lopez

      Hello Yeti

      I highly recommend you get MAC and forget about PC. I had PC and I edit my videos in Sony Vegas Pro 8 and sometimes the program crash so badly that I couldn’t do anything. This will rarely happen on MAC OS.

      “…what editing software would best suit my budget and my expectations to produce a good documentary.”

      Changing between NLE will not be that hard if you already know how to edit videos. Any professional NLE will suit you and to produce a good documentary will depend on how well you learn to use the NLE features. I change from Vegas to Premiere and it only took me like a day or so to learn the basics of Premiere. One thing with Premiere is that I can import projects from After Effect directly to Premiere without rendering. You can do so many things with this and I run Premiere and After Effect at the same time without the computer crashing.

      I use a MacBook Pro 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4 GB RAM of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 250 GB 5400 rpm hard drive and I strongly believe that I will not have any problems editing short HD videos with this computer. In your case since you are going to be editing long documentaries, I will go with the Mac Pro (you can get an 8 core, 6 GB Ram for about $3,500) and buy a lot of hard drive memory. My personal recommendation is getting a MAC.

    • #184776


      I have no intention of getting into a retarded pc vs mac debate. I’ve edited with both and they both have benefits and suck for reasons specific to their own platform, manufacture, blah, blah, blah.

      Since your budget is short and you said you’re also considering a pc then you’re option on the cheap is a desktop workstation. Forget about Vista Ultimate. There’s stuff on there that unless you plan on using your unit as a TV/presentation device, you don’t need for editing. Vista Business SP1 is the one you want because if you’re trying to do a serious edit VB is stable and you have controls for backing up data that you don’t get with home premium. It’s also cheaper than ultimate.

      So as I said, get a workstation preferably a built-to-order. Cheap and good you can get at Tiger Direct. Their Systemax rigs have been damn reliable for us and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. You’ll need an Intel chip (duo at minimum, quad at best) anything from 2.4 – 2.8Ghz will get you rollin’ with HDV no prob and DV will fly. Get 4-8GB of RAM. Unless you’re doing some hardcore graphic/FX rendering, that will hold you just fine. You’ll need a graphics card w/500MB. Also, unless you’re good with computers, get a service plan. Don’t spend more than $2k altogether including shipping. Remember, you’ll need software too. I say get a workstation because, though HP and Dell make some fine rigs like mac, you’re blowin’ most of your cash on the name.

      As far as NLE’s, Avid MC smokes everything but it will blow your budget. The only reason I don’t recommend FCP is because it’s not cross-platform. Premiere Pro is damn near the same program (both created by the same guy) and you get the full support of AFX and the other powerhouse programs in the production bundle. Plus, it’s cross platform so if you need another editor to step in and they have it on a mac or pc, all they have to do is start working. Vegas is a good pc based program, but I don’t recommend it without Sound Forge and at least Cinescore for audio finishing and scoring your flick. Soundbooth I find is rather weak compared to what Sony has to offer, but then there’s that whole being cross-platform advantage going for it.

      Also, premiere works with blackmagic and aja xena capture cards. Be advised if you want to work with those cards in HD, cheapest you’ll get from BM is $800 and AJA is $1300 (prices based on B&H Photo/Video.) Same prices if you go mac.

      So when you make your decision, don’t do it based on stupid marketing mantras ‘get a mac’, ‘i’m gettin’ a dell!’ and so on. Rob’s right but it’s not just the knuckleheads at the mac store you gotta watch out for. And you don’t need an 8 core rig to do your first $%#@!!! documentary! That’s overkill. Four cores, 8GB RAM, 500MB GPU. Keep it simple, keep it cheap the first time out. God forbid you get rollin’ on this thing and get stalled on production if not have to drop it altogether (which happens often in this biz.) Then you would have blown all that cash.

      Remember also, this is a business. The rig has to pay for itself to justify the cost of it. Odds are, you’re probably making this doc purely on spec. If that’s the case, there’s a huge probability of you creating a great flick that nobody wants to buy. As a true indie filmmaker, getting it done well and cheap go hand in hand.

    • #184777
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      +1 for FCP. It’s by far the most bang for the buck today.

    • #184778

      Great advice so far –

      I’ve used the HVR-V1U for 3 years now – and I have never had a problem with it – LOVE IT!

      The computer I’ve used is Sony’s AR290G Laptop – It was designed specifically for this application. It has a built in RAID array and many other cool features(Premiere 2.0, photoshop,1080p screen for live-view, etc.) I also run Windows 7 on a partition! πŸ™‚

      I’m even taking it with me on a production to FL – ATL – B-ham + Florence, AL
      This combo has filmed and encoded documentaries, TV commercials,stock footage, corporate videos, music videos and most recently videos and “frame grabs” or photos – to be used on my friends modeling portfolios – You can see a few photos here – click on my photos:


      Best of luck with your projects!

    • #184779
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      +1 for FCP.

    • #184780

      Mac all the way! Even if you don’t get Final Cut Studio, get Final Cut Express. Almost the same except for a few bonus (the’re good), and a better price. Even a 24″ Imac could be good for editing. Configure it to the max RAM and hard drive and your good to go! (that would i’m doing…) And get the educationnal version. Have fun shopping!

    • #184781

      Mac and FCP! I edit for television, and it’s a half hour show. I don’t have raid or anything else, just an external 1.5 T hard drive where I keep all my files.

    • #184782

      I’d say keep the PC if you already have a Core 2 Quad, that’s basically the same processor thats in the Mac Pro, and upgrade the RAM to 4 – 8GB. 2GB of RAM is the bare minimum to keep Vista running, so that is more than likely the reason you’re experiencing so much crashing. You can pick up 4 – 8GB RAM (DDR2 most likely) from some online computer store (I’d suggest newegg.com) for around $150. I’m running Sony Vegas Platinum on my Core 2 Quad w/ 8GB of RAM and experiencing very good performance. If you switch to a Mac (or any other computer) with only a Core 2 Duo it will take much longer to render your footage. I also have 2 1TB Harddrives set up in RAID 1 to protect all my footage.

      Hope this helps.

    • #184783

      It mostly depends on the amount of processing power demanded by the features used in your editing software. Editing MPEG-2 content on my Dell Inspiron (1.66 GHz Dual Core), the speed isn’t bad at all, except for those time’s I’m editing directly through the camcorder via USB when the lag picks up heavily. I have experienced, a few times, editing with FCP on my friend’s borrowed Mac. Compared to what I’ve known before, I couldn’t be more impressed with the processing capability.

    • #184784

      People often get caught up in the “What should I use to edit my video” topic all too often! The truth is…. YOU’RE MAKING A VIDEO! You shoot the footage, edit the footage; WITH WHAT EVER YOU LIKE, then produce your video! YOUR’RE DONE! =) Some Videographers are good enough to shoot with “NO editing” in mind; thus thinking out every shot before hand.

      Just my take on the subject.


    • #184785

      In nowadays terms, most new computers are acceptable at the least for the processing required. When the software lag picks up, countless hours and dollars can seriously fly out the window. The whole “NO EDITING” objectivein mind practically doesn’t exist in modern days terms. But you do have a point there. Acuretly planning each shot in the first place shot reduces the obligation to editing out long boring footage.

    • #184786

      If you are already familiar with the workflow of Vegas, why not try Vegas Pro 9 – It might work better for you (I use Vegas Pro 8 and have very few problems on a Pentium 4 – 2.53Ghz w/1GB RAM with XP Pro SP3 – really).

      Sony lets you download a fully functional 30 day trial for free (http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/download/trials) so you have nothing to lose.

    • #184787


      Whatever platform you get, be sure to get lots of RAM and a large hard drive.Insufficient memory or hard drive space could be causing crashes.I’d recommend one hard drive (maybe 250 GB in size) for theoperating systemand applications, and a second hard drive (at least1 TB in size) for your video files. If you’re really going to make 2-hour movies, you might also need external drives tostore someof thosevideo files.

      If you go with a PC, I’d get an i7processor,Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, 6 or 12 GB of RAM, andVegas Pro 9.0, which comes with a 64-bit version. That way you can access more than 4 GB of RAM.

      Good luck,


      P.S. — I’ve never met a computer that didn’t crash once in a while (I’ve used Winows, Mac, Linux, CP/M). But with a little care, you can keep those crashes down to 1 or 2 a year, instead of every week. Lots of RAM and hard disk space really help.

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