student needing advice

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    • #37480

      I’m a sophomore in highschool and I am enrolled in the video production course at my school. I love whaat I have learned so far and am seriously considering video production as a career choice. I have already entered a few contest and am looking forward to entering more. My friend I are awaiting the results from a state-wide student PSA contest, but I have recieved word that we are at least in the top ten. My class uses Gl-2’s and Macpro’s with FCS 1, but I only have limited access to them.

      If I wanted to put together a bare-bones setup of my own, computer (maybe laptop) camera, editing software, what would you recomend? I love the final cut software, especialy motion, but it(along with the computer I would need)is waaaay out of my price range. As cheap as posible would be best, and even then this is more just wishing. I am currently saving for a trip next year through school to greece, (lots of shoveling and mowing in my future), but I would absolutely love to have access to materials at any time to both help me advance in my understanding and give me more time to find/enter contests.

    • #166083

      choose between a trip to Greece or an Apple Laptop with FCS2. I’d go with the laptop and software and then study abroad when in college, but that’s just me.

    • #166084

      my thought process is that If I don’t go to greece next year then I’ll probably never go, but If I do decide to get serious about video, then I will eventually get access to top-grade equipment.

    • #166085

      Just have your parents finance the computer and and software then pay for the trip.

      Parents are easy to manipulate when you seem focused and determined.

    • #166086

      haha, not my parents. When i was in high school, I told my parents I wanted a GL2. They freaked out after I told them the price and they weren’t going to allow it. The annoying part was that I wanted to buy it with MY MONEY…that I EARNED working at a grocery store for years. Eventually I got my way though. 🙂

      Back to the point though…it’s a tough choice for you, Rambler. If you weren’t already using Macs with FCP, I’d say to just buy a cheap PC and affordable software, but I think that would be a step in the wrong direction since you are already exposed to solid equipment and software. What are you going to Greece for? Is it just to screw around and have a good time?

    • #166087

      Hey Rambler,

      Good call on going to Greece…video equipment will always be around, but a good cultural experience only comes around once in awhile. Understanding how people think and precieve the world is a very importantand rare characteristic that is found is some of the best editors/writers.

      Obviously a Mac/FCP system would be very expensive and is not practical for you to have right now…but this may be a good thing. I think it’s very important for editors to have a working knowledge of multiple platforms (Mac/pc) and software (Fcp, Motion / Premiere, After Effects)

      Now the good thing about a PC system and adobe software is that you can get startedwith very little money…

      I’ve been in video production for 13 years and a professional editor for 8 years. When I started editing, computers were very slow. I was editing ona 500mhz processor with 128mb of RAM and 900mhz processors with 256mb of RAM…it was somewhat of a pain, but we didn’t really know any better, but it was possible, and nowadays computers are 10 times better.

      I swear to you that you can edit full length features on a basic cheap standard computer nowadays…

      I have several professional computers but I still also use my 3 year old Emachine that cost $500…today, you can find an Emachine that is even better for $300-$500. I bet the computer you used to wright this thread is more than capable of editing video.

      You should bein good shapewith ANY standard computer today:

      2.0+ ghz processor

      1 – 2 GB RAM

      250-500GB Hard Drive.

      DVD burner

      Now…once you have the computer it’s time to try out all the free trail software out there…this is enough full functionaltrial software out there to keep you busy for at least a year.

      For example…

      You can30 day get trial software for Premiere Pro 2.0 and After Effects 7

      when that expires, you can get the trial forPremiere pro CS2 and After Effects CS2

      Than you can get Premiere Pro CS3 and After Effects CS3

      Than you can get Premire Pro CS4 and After Effects CS4

      That is atleast 4 moths of very professinal software for free…and by the time you’re done with all those…CS5 should be out…lol

      All these programs are reletivley the same so you won’t have learn it each time you upgrade.

      For more free stuff check out Chris Colorado’s Free Stuff blog.

      When you are comfortable, Adobe offers fully functional student software that is like 75% 0ff

      I don’t know think FCP has any student priced software of free trials, but thats ok because your school has it so you’re all good. 🙂

      Now FCP and premiere are industry standars and very similar….one is neither better than the other for the most part.

      Since you like Motion, I think you’ll also like After Effects…They are both designed for the same thing, but their intefaces are much different. There are more differences between Motion and After Effects than their are between FCP and Premiere, but the concept that you learn from both can be translated to any editing software.

      Motion is great, but truth be told, After Effects just gives you more options and possibilities, and most professionals will admit that.

      After Effects and Motion will help you understand non linear editing on FCP and Premiere a littlebetter and will give you the basics for entering the world of 3D animation if you ever choose to go down that road…

      If you’re interestedin what AE can do check out

      If you like it, I’d recommend starting here:

      Most people wonder why they can’t create stunning fx and graphic element like they see on TV…the answer is that they simply aren’t using AE or Motion. editorsare for editing…AE and Motion are used to add life and professionalism.

      I know some people that just use AE for editing and Effects!

      I hope this helps you out a bit….maybe if you show your parents that you’re dedicated and the possibilites of a career, maybe they’ll hook you up with a decent MAC/FCS system for your graduation…or maybe you can buy one with the graduation money.

      One thing is for sure….keep studying hard for all your subjects in school…video can be very addictive and can consume much of your time. If you don’t show that you’re responsible and can hadle all your responsibilites, people aren’t gonna help you. If all you do is waste all your time on meaningless video projects, it’s most likely you’ll just be a vidiot loser and you’ll end up making crappy video for youtube when you get home from working at McDonalds….

      As I alluded to earlier…every sucessful editor that I met was relatively intelligent and had a solid knowledge of life and a cultural world view. The more knowlegde you have about peoplethe more effective you’ll be as a producer/editor/animator. The more you experience in life, the more opportunities you’ll have to express your talent and make a decent living doing what you love.

      One last thing…..editing is not always fun and at timespeople can get very nasty in this industry, they can be hard to work with and some projects are a pain in the arse. The first thing they taught me in production school is Patience/Perseverance/Professionalism….This is even more important nowadays since there is so much more competion, but there are still more opportunities…many people won’t make it though because they give up too easy when the going gets tough…They think the media industry is always supposed to be fun and then just give up.

      The good thing about video is that you can always practice your skills even while you’re at some other job until you find a good position….you can even make some side money in your free time…..

      Good Luck!

      Best Regards,


    • #166088


      That was some mighty fine unbiased advice. Another good option is Sony Vegas Pro.It’s reaaaly easy to learn and you can do some great audio edits at the same time. There is support for Photoshop and you can pull in stuff made with After Effects with no problem. Sony also makesVegas Studio which is a lower-endversion of Vegas whichwill let you learn the interface for less money. Combine that with a PC under $800 and you can edit your footage when you get back from Greece! If youstay interested in editing eventuallyyou will have to learn how to workwith many of the then ‘industry standard’ toolsto work well withprofessionals.

      Oh, and I would steer clear of getting ‘the parents to finance anything.’ You’re on the right path with working and saving your cash (something you’ll have to always do as an adult!) Funny thing will happen, when you’re parents see that you are serious and pushing hard to get what you want they’ll probably buy it for you anyway. One less thing for them to hold over your head when you get in trouble.

      Keep at it!

    • #166089

      ok….. if I had the money (which i don’t) Here’s what I’m thinking…

      Editing software: Vegas Movie Studio 9 PlatinumPro pack $115

      Computer: either


      From what I’ve read the HP had a better processor and a larger screen…. shipping weight is just under 10lbs though… how much could I expect the actual laptop to weigh?.. Both are $600

      Now for the camera.. I do love our gl-2’s, but I couldn’t keep investing in tapes and logging and capturing.. My dream in the Panasonic Ag-HMC 150, but I know that’s not going to happen(I’m trying to convince out Vid. Production teacher to look into the HMC70). I really only need a camera for small projects/personal use. I’ve looked around B&H and found the DXG-595V.It’s and sd camera that’s notexactly prosumer, but I think it would meet my needs. it’s at

      price: $190

      that’s a camer, laptop, and software for $905

    • #166090


      Now you are looking at this clearly. On the other end just to be fair, you could get final cut express but I doubt you could find a used mac laptop for what you’ve got priced out for the whole kit.

      You can check out Movie Studio Pro with this link. Also, if you buy it from Sony directly you’ll save a nickel (whoohoo!) and shipping will probably cost less than the sales tax you’d pay with wal-mart. I have to admit, that’s a pretty snazzy setup. Wish they had that stuff around when I was your age.

      Yeah, HP’s can be heavy but they’re good laptops. Generally my company only buys laptops with just hardware and OS only. In a pinch, I grabbed an HP 3 years ago and still use it in the field for standard def video work. I paid $1300 for it and its outlasted every laptop I’ve bought with zero problems. Only thing I don’t like is typical of consumer grade computers. It had a bunch of trial software and other junk which I either had no need for or would never use. After a simple session of ‘add/remove programs’, problem solved. Just don’t give into the bad habit of dumping all of your mp3’s, photos and games on your ‘puter. That’s the crap that actuall slows down your rig. With USB drives and blank DVD’s being so cheap, feel free to cram all that junk onto those and keep your harddrive space for your projects. Oh and look into getting a good External firewire/USB combo drive. You’ll need the space to store your video clips and the video/audio previews associated with your projects. Despite what some may say trying to edit video through USB is sloooooooooooooow. Firewire is faster, but with the combo you have a backup in case you lose a firewire cable. Here’s a link to Tiger Direct to look for an external drive;

      My company’s done a lot of business with them and they are pretty reliable. When you’re looking for a drive, I recommend Western Digital, Seagate and Maxtor in that order. Max capacity of 500GB with any of those will keep you under the $1,000 line.

      Finally, far as a camera goes kid… tape is your ‘b’-word! Compact flash and other solid state recording media is nice, but expensive. You can buy way more miniDV tapes for the same amount of cash as you would for one solid state card. And, it will be easier to ‘borrow’ money from ‘M’ & ‘D’ to get some more tapes. Don’t sweat it yet, you’ve got time to build up to that level!

      Let us know what you decide Hoss.

    • #166091

      not sure about cheaper.. just bought a tree-pack of dv tapes for class and that ran me about $13, and only a few days before that I picked up 2 4gb sdhc cards at bestbuy for $13… And Even with a minidv camcorder I’de be hard pressed to find a camera better than that one…….

    • #166092

      cheaper i mean…. it would be extremely easy to find one better 🙂

    • #166093

      the sd cards were 13$ each… 13 for 2 would be amazing……….

    • #166094


      Let me just throw in my thoughts on your camera options. I do agree with you concerning solid state cameras. I just made the switch from MiniDV to SDHC recording and I’m never looking back. It is cheaper, and the time saved not having to capture makes it well worth it.

      I know several people who have the DXG camera you’re considering. The only big down-side to the camera as far as features goes is the lack of a mic input. As I’m sure you know already, a key todecent video isgood audio, which you will have an extremely hard time getting with this camera. You could use a seperate audio recorder, but in my opinion, a mic input is a must have for any camera.

      On the budget end, Ipurchased two Canon FS100 cams from an online retailer – they’re less than $300 and include a mic input. They record to SDHC – Not HD, but that is not a requirement right now. Paired with an Audio-Technica ATR35s lavalier mic ($25.00), you can getfantasticaudio on the cheap. I’ve also added an Audio-Technica ATR55 shotgun mic, as well as a Beachtek XLR adapter for using handheld XLR mics. These are just extras that you may or may not need, but they allow me to get fantatic audio into what would be considered a consumer camcorder.

      Obviously, when working on a budget, (oroften with no budget!) you have to make tough decisions about what you can get away with not having. But always remember, it’s notwhat you don’t have that will make or break you. What will break you is not working hard and doing your best with whatever equipment you do have. The man makes the equipment. The equipment doesn’t make the man.

      I’m creating some pretty cool programming for local cable with a consumer camcorder (FS100)and a laptop I bought on eBay for $200.00. People don’t care what equipment you’re using as long as your final product looks professional – and you don’t have to have pro equipment to make pro-looking video – just some ingenuity and hard work. Good luck and keep us posted!

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