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If I were you I would invest in the final cut express software to get you started. It is cheap, and actually pretty powerful software. As a beginning editor you will focus most of your efforts learning about basic cuts, fades, and the timing of editing. Final cut express will be able to handle all of the basics, and that way you won’t be tempted to waste tons of time one things you don’t really need to be doing right now. As for a hard drive, I too would recommend a lacie. I just picked up a 750 GB disc with eSata, firewire800, usb, and firewire400. I am currently using it on my macbook pro editing HDV in FCS2.0 and it works great. Keep up the hard work, your laptop will be a great editing system for you.