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Why I Chose The Macintosh Computer Platform For My Video Business
And Why You Shouldnt Feel Badly If You Didnt
This is part of an article I recently wrote for another site. I thought it might be of use here.
In the old days, the battle over Windows vs. Macintosh caused more than a few heated discussions. Mac users are a dedicated bunch, eager to defend the operating system that they so fondly identified with. Windows users took offense to the suggestion that their computers were nerdy by comparison to the sleek industrial designs and svelte interfaces that Apple is famous for. The battle may continue on some distant fronts, but it seems to me that developments of the last couple of years have pretty much rendered the argument moot. That is, of course, aside from the land of silly television commercials.
First, Apple is no longer a struggling little company with a quaint machine only used by a few die hards. The iPhone, iPod, iTelevision, iTunes, and iMac–all astounding commercial successes, have pushed Apple profits into the stratosphere. (I still fume at my stock broker for talking me out of buying Apple stock three years ago. Overvalued my Irish butt!) Apple is unlikely to whither into oblivion any time soon.
Second, Steve Jobs made the widely unexpected decision to move to Intel chipsets for Macintosh hardware. The result has been that Macs have become the Swiss Army Knives of the computing world, deftly running Macintosh OSX, Windows, Unix, or Linux. Multiple operating systems can be run on one machine, often simultaneously. Even the most ardent Mac-hater should have a rough time arguing about a machine that can do all that.
Third, the long standing Apple premium in their computer pricing structure has all but vanished. When comparing Apples to apples, pricing for like-machines is nearly equal. Today, the price spread is mostly the result of Apples decision not to manufacture very low-end, stripped down, machines. Even the most basic Mac is still a fairly good performer.
Okay, with all that said, here is a brief list of my reasons for using Mac equipment in my video production studio:
* Final Cut Express – This $300 mid-level video editing suite is powerful beyond compare and uses editing conventions that easily transfer to higher end solutions. In the production world, this is quite the bargain.
*Final Cut Pro – The newest rendition of this suite is a true powerhouse. This program is used to post a lot of the television broadcast in the US today and an even larger percentage of the motion pictures we see at the local Cineplex. And if you can operate Final Cut Express, the learning curve for Pro is no big deal.
*iDVD – This slick little DVD authoring tool comes free with all Macs as part of the iLife digital media suite. It is easy to use, efficient, the results look fantastic, and the program is filled with many pro-level features.
*Stability – Windows XP is a fine program and is easily the most stable OS that Microsoft has ever come up with, yet Macintosh OSX still beats it hands-down for reliability.
*Windows Vista – It is approaching a year since the release of Microsofts new baby and the program is improving every day. Still, this system is a mess. Most video editing programs still will not run reliably on it, and currently no editing systems run with adequate speed on Vista.
*Applecare – Applecare is the Apple three year extended warranty and service contract available for all of their hardware. In my view, this is the best value in computing. When a problem arises, and it will, the Texas-based tech support at Apple is there to bail you out. Every Applecare call I have made in the last fifteen years has been a positive experience. In contrast, I called HP a couple of months back. After two hours and fifteen minutes of listening to a recording that told me over and over how dedicated HP is to customer service, and without ever talking to a human, I gave up.
On the plus side for Windows machines, Windows XP is still available. Sony Vegas is a great and very capable editing suite, Camtasia is a great tool for making tech-related videos, and many Windows machines are infinitely modifiable and expandable, something that can be claimed by only the highest-end Apples.
In the end for me, Apple equipment equals the most options and the most up time for my business. My decision may cost a little more in the near term, but what I save in time and frustration means that I come out way ahead. But thats me. If you are a comfortable Windows user and have an editing solution that you are comfortable with, then you have made the decisions right for you. The lines between the computer camps have blurred. Pick the tool that fits you and your needs the best.