Unless there’s an academic

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Unless there’s an academic requirement to learn how to use a certain software because it’s part of the curriculum, you’ve got leeway. If they already have workstations available, just learn on those and use them as required. If you’re not inclined to purchase a mac (like I wasn’t when I was in filmschool) then get a PC setup (preferably a laptop) with enough juice to do your basic legwork when you can’t get on a school workstation. However, to be fair Hog’s suggestion of an inexpensive mac (used) with FCE on it will get you in the ballpark.

But if you’re set on staying PC (which I did) you’ll just have to setup your workflow to coincide with the mac workflow. All your video clips will be in quicktime so get NLE software that will allow you to work in QT without any hassle (Media Composer, Premiere Pro, Vegas Pro) all work in congress with QT. Also, you’ll need an external HDD or two to work back and forth between your rig and the mac rigs. Make sure it’s formatted to FAT32 because mac’s to my knowledge don’t recognize NTFS formatted HDD’s. Also get yourself a copy of ‘Mac Drive’ so you can work with mac files on your pc. It won’t let you install an run mac-based programs btw! Only the files from compatible mac software, like Word and many others.

The main thing to consider about purchasing a rig to use in school is; what will you be working with primarily when you get out? Odds are you won’t fall right into a gig that pays well enough to keep up your mac ‘lifestyle’ and or you may end up moving to where there is little or no support for mac’s but tons for pc’s. The cool thing is working cross-platform is easy these days so you get what you want. Just be prepared to work with it for a while after you graduate until you can generate enough cash to ‘refit’ your gear.

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