New Mac for Video Editing?

Not particularly attractive, is she? But the Mac pro is the heart of a new video editing system I'm hoping to out together.

[Edit - based on comments below and what I've read online I now intend to wait until after the summer to buy].

I'd been asked a couple of questions about it as the result of yesterday's posting. Anyone who knows about this stuff and can advise - please do so, it's really appreciated. I'm a technical dunce!

All this could be on hold if what i read online the other day is true - that 12-core machines are due this year. If so, the price of those lower down the food chain will drop.

Currently I shoot HDV but downconvert to SD to edit for the BBC and my own projects. My iMac copes fine and the storage is just a series of LaCie 500GB hard-drives hanging off the back. This means I can also edit on the road.

Clients increasingly want 'HD' videos, even if it's just for the web. With my current camera, the Sony Z1, that'll be HDV. But the business plan looks to a new camera in 2011, currently it would be a Sony XD CAM EX3, but things will move on.

My editing requirements start with a computer that's fast enough to edit the material which will come out of this camera, even though I don't own it yet. But we'll come back to that lower down + .

* I need monitoring. For this I'll need an IO card, probably the Black Diamond, which I'll connect to a fla-screen HD TV 1080p as I can't afford a reference monitor. This is to detect any artifacts which creep into the edit and which can't be seen in FCP. This happened in the slow-motion sequences in Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown but were picked up by the post production team at Stable Recordings. I'd like to detect them myself.

* I need a screen. I'll start with 22" so in time I might be able to add a second.

* I need storage. I'd been advised to add internal storage (for speed). I prefer external as it's more flexible and I can take it on the road.

* I need a new copy of FCP and Applecare.

So with £5,000 to spend, work backwards from those needs, and the balance of what's left is what I have to spend on a MacPro. (Go back to +) Can I get one which is fast enough to handle the output of a Sony XD CAM EX3?

If not, then I'll wait until I've earnt more money!


paddlingOTAKU said...

My brother in law is a professional editor - I may forward this to him. But first, I have some questions.

I am missing something with the Black diamond IO card. IO cards (unless BD has one that I didn't see) are networking cards that provide gigabit ethernet networking. whereas you can plug your HDTV directly into your mac pro with a dvi connector. (assuming your HDTV has a dvi connector)

I love my Apple 20 inch cinema display (with the exception that it's 1 year too old to be HD) when I edit I connect it to my MBP and use both monitors - I am surprised there isn't an MBP on this list for field work. The 22 should be HD so no worries.

You should have a mix of internal and external drives. Keep your Lacie's and get a terabyte or two of internals. Do your actual HD edits from the internals. There is great debate as to weather Disc drive density or RPM is the more important factor in editing. I believe it's density, my brother in law is a firm believer in RPM.

the cameras are out of my league, but the one you chose is firewire with I-link which is no problem for the mac pro.

Any of the mac pro's will edit HD for you (in terms of speed), though invest in memory, and video dedicated memory. You will see that pay off in scrubbing files.
according to this website, don't buy, as it is due for an update (scroll to the mac pro, the link is for the mbp) But sometimes if you get into that game you never end up buying because your always waiting.

this is a fun game!


Solent Sea kayak said...

Ok - some of your requirements are in realms I do not know about. However, hopefully this may be of interest.

Internal HDD would definitely be better with the Mac Pro - particularly if you go for 10,000 rpm models like the Velociraptor. It'll give you you higher, sustained transfer rates for pulling down footage and working with large files. Some interesting stats here - although part of an article comparing SSD drives to SATA drives

If you already have externals you could still copy across files needed to edit on the road as and when needed then upload back to Mac Pro when home.

Absolutely agree with Brett - go big on RAM and dedicated video RAM. The more the better.

Graphics cards wise, the ATI Radeon HD 4870 is the better option although pricier - better memory bus and a better GPU - which can take load off the mac pro and help speed up things.

Monitor wise always worth looking at Dell - a year or so back some of the macbreak weekly podcasters (Alex Lindsay who work on Star Wars films, Scott Bourne - big time wildlife photographer) were raving about the quality for the price.

Simon said...

Thanks Brett and Duncan

Of course, there's now a disconnect between what I want and what I can afford.... Isn't it always so.

Brett - I was told I needed an IO card to plug an HDTV into the MacPro to monitor the video signal (as opposed to watching it in FCP). So I could detect those interlace issues which crop up with slo-mo and other effects. You think I don't? That would be a saving.

And what's an MBP? Is that the box of tricks tht allows you to use two screens? I'm sticking with one for now.

Although what you found on MacRumours fits with other things I've heard. That a 12 core is coming out June, so the one I want might be cheaper.

Duncan - those drives look good, and probably cheaper than Apple's own ones. I'd also heard that graphics card was the one to get.

Oh dear. It's easier just to wait, but then I'll have to do it all again later in the year. Might not be a bad thing though....


paddlingOTAKU said...

Sorry, MBP is macbook pro. I thought you might want one in your bag to preview footage in the field. You know, while I'm spending your money :-)

Yeah, on the IO card, I may be wrong, but I don't think you need it. The radeon HD 4870 has a DVI port (to go to your HDTV - assuming your HDTV has DVI if not you will need an adapter) and a mini display port (to go to your monitor) the only thing I am not sure of is if it can drive both at the same time.

good luck.


Simon said...

MBP - I really should ahev worked that out!!!

I have a MB (not pro) which I use to capture SD when in hotels etc.

The quotes I'd had done didn't specify that graphics card, so I'll look into whether it means I can do away with the IO card.

or at least I will when I eventually buy one of these things!

Thanks again for all the suggestions and advice.