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If your goal is to buy a new computer and use it just for creating “basic” digital media projects – Graphics, Video, DVD Authoring, etc. then the new Macs come with all the software you need and are indeed a reasonable solution.
On the other hand, if you are a long time PC user and would like to stay with the PC platform, you can find reasonably priced machines that will fit the bill as well. They are not usually bundled with the software you need for editing, and DVD Authoring though – sometimes you can find this in the Sony VAIO line. When doing the math of PC vs Mac, make sure you include the software expenditure for the PC vs using iLife04 which comes bundled with all Macs.
I am an idependent producer using both Macs and PCs. Although my mainstay editing program is Final Cut Pro, if you look at the trade Mags. you might be surprised to see how many small independts use iMovie and iDVD for various projects.
Pricing is always a problem for me as well. I am a one-man show – Independent Producer. I went to the internet to look up pricing on video jobs similar to the one you mention. The average seemed to be 1,000.00 per minute of completed video. This was for corporations and of course, what is considered is the equipment you are using, High Def, min DV, DV CAm, etc. one two or more camera shoot, etc…. I would think that 4-5,000.00 for the type of job you are describing would not be too much to ask. Also, it seems that you will be authoring the DVD – That in itself is another expense detail to figure out. How complicated for simple the DVD authoring will be – for instance, how many links are involved, must it be web interactive, etc.
Would appreciate your letting me know what you find out. Am always struggling with the same question myself as every job is different.
I usually go to manual controls for adjusting aperture settings for stage events. You are right, this is often a problem.