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I would like to start a thread on what works, doesn't work, utilities, plug-in's, software, and everything else related to editing videos using Apple computers.

For me:
I use an 800mhz FP iMac (10.2.8), 80GB external firewire drive as my scratch disk, Final Cut Express for editing and iDVD for burning, M-Audio Transit for audio in/out.

I am very happy with this setup, and have had absolutely no problems! I used to work on a PeeCee with Pinnacle Systems DV500, and I would have so many headaches with compatibility issues. But now everything works great!

I enjoy Final Cut Express, but am having dificulty with putting text on the screen. I want to create a video disclaimer using regular text, but I find myself switching from a preview mode to an editing mode, back and forth, to get the proper positioning. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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So far I have been stuck with iMovie3 because of the well-known bugginess of Final Cut Express's early edition (which I bought before I'd heard about the grief). I'm hoping to switch to FC Pro fairly soon.

I'd also like to see a regular thread on what works and what doesn't in Mac video editing. Excellent idea, Stand_1998!

I'm currently running a G4 400AGP with two 60gig hard drives and a gig of RAM. I have two Panasonic 3CCD broadcast quality cameras and assorted other vid gear.

I am the crew photo/video guy for a Top Fuel motorcycle Drag Racing team and I use the above stuff to make racing videos.
 

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I am a freelance editor/writer/filmmaker. I use a Dual 2.0 G5 with 10.3, FCP4 and DVD Studio Pro 2.
I love FCP and have been using it since version 1.25. (Although I skipped over 2 and went straight to 3) Is anyone here a member of the FCP users group in T.O? I've been to a couple of meetings but don't know anyone. I have had a couple of minor problems along the way but nothing major. The current issue I've been having is that the audio will drift out of sync when playing longer clips, most of the info I've read seems to lead to a codec issue. I've never even seen Final Cut Express so I can't offer any advice, stand_1998.
My next goal is to learn Shake 3, but don't want to spend $6,000 until I'm sure that I want/need it. I wish Apple would release a learning edition like Maya does.
 

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This is in answer to sjd's problem.

If you are having audio & video sync problems on long clips in FCP you should look in your preferences folder and change the 'SYNC ADJUST CLIPS' setting to UNSELECT. This setting is only used if you are digitizing with a Canon camera. When digitizing with all other manufacturers you should not have this option NOT selected in the preferences folder. This only happens on clips longer than 5 minutes or whatever the default is in FCP. After the first time you install FCP you have to set your preferences, for some reason Apple has defaulted this option to ON.

What is happening by leaving this option selected, your video is going out of sync because FCP is trying to make its own adjustments to long clips based on the Canon equipment timecode drift over long periods of time.
This can become quite a problem if you shoot with a Canon camera and then digitize with another deck or camera like a Sony. Your audio & video can be out of sync and people don't know what is going on.
Hopefully this will become a non issue soon if Canon updates the software in their equipment.
 

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Thanks for the help. I use both a Sony PD-150 and Canon GL1, and when I think back it's the footage from the Canon that I've been having problems with. We capture the footage using a Sony DSR-11 deck. Thanks again.
 

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I would love a little insight into DV editing on my Mac.

I am a former linear editor (3/4 " tape/ jog shuttles). I would like to get back into cutting my own demos and shorts. Where should I start?

I am using a G4 533 MP, which I'm assuming is powerful enough to do the job. I realize all the obvious (like a camera etc.). What I would like to know about is drive configurations, video cards, input/ output devices etc.

Can anyone help me out?

Thanks
 

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Might I suggest creating the graphic in Photoshop.

I just finished cutting a long-format (96min)documentary on FCE and I didn't experience a single problem. I've used all of the high-end editing packages and I like Final Cut the best.

I do miss having an EDL, third-party effects, and batch capturing. Unless your set-up is makes money, don't look into FCP. Most people don't need 24fps support, off-line cutting, support for HD, other 'broadcast' features that most broadcasters don't even use.
 

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We use 3 GL-2's and a GL-1. Edit with a G4 933 loaded with RAM and 4 external drives. Sony Deck and other stuff.

In the way of software, we've used Premiere 6.5(just a hog to run). FCP 3, this is the best from what I've seen. Tried Pinnacle in the beginning on a PC I had, what a joke. I agree, not worth the effort.

FCP all the way.

For short and fast promo stuff we use iMovie. Yep the free one. It's so easy to use and if you really know how to use it, it really is quite powerful. Combined with iDVD Pro we do a lot of short quick things with them.


I'm not sure how you edit video on a PC, it's just so annoying. The biggest problems seemed to be software related. Windoz just seems to say nooooo....
 

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Mac's are the best for video editing in my opinion. My PC with my PYRO1394 card works great with only two products, Pinnacle Studio 8, great for school projects, and Adobe Premiere 6, which I have, but have never used. I made a movie last night with Pinnacle for school. It was times like then I wish I had a MAC!!!!
 

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The following computer setups are what we currently run at the office:

1. dual G4 1 gHz with 1.5 gigs ram, dual monitors, sony dsr-45 deck

2. dual G4 1.25 gHz with 1.5 gigs ram, dual monitors, sony dsr-11 deck

3. dual G4 1.0 gHz with 1.5 gigs ram, dual monitors, sony dsr-45 deck

4. singlel G4 867 mHz with 1.5 gigs ram, dual monitors, cinewave card, 500 gigs raid scsi tower

All edit suites are running FCP 3 and OS X and the first three systems are dv setups with lots of firewire drives to digitize media onto. The 4th system is what we use to online with since it has the uncompressed cinewave card. With shows that are shot on beta or digi beta we transfer all the tapes to dv with matching timecode to do the off line edits and then res up on the on line G4 system.

FCP is one of my personal favorite editing programs. For the money (1500.00) it gives 100 000.00 Avid systems a run for performance and ease of use. Of course nothing is even close to an Avid Symphony but for the price of a home...I expect it better be the best. FCP can composite, title , even use after effects filters. On a dual G4 1.25 or faster computer it can now even do real time effects with FCP 4.0. Depending on the power of your mac (dual G5 needed here) there is hardly need for rendering any more, big time saver and hard drive space saver.

The one factor that users have to be aware of is that the basic FCP edit system using firewire media is a compressed codec. If you are in need of an edit system that can give you better quality in terms of picture and saturation you will have to upgrade the FCP edit system with a capture card. Of course you also need a camera that can capture better than dv codec to have better quality footage. Aurora, AJA and DIGITAL DESKTOP are some of the manufacturers of the cards that are required for this purpose.

The average home movie maker will be able to make good use out of iMovie (free) or Final Cut Express (500.00) for making home movies look more like a pro cut them. You would be surprised what a little music and some desaturating your footage will do to give it that hollywood feel.


Don't be afraid to have fun when initailly shooting your footage. When it comes time to edit that is where the magic can be created from. You can shoot your kids on their birthday playing in the backyard and later on shoot the adults in the kitchen hanging out eating lunch and then cut the footage together to make it seem like it all happened at the same time. Shoot wide and shoot close up. Shoot over peoples shoulders. Shoot through windows, screens, chairs. Try putting your principal subjects off center. If your doing a two shot of people talking move from one to the other, don't just stay on the person talking, it's nice to see the other persons reactions as well. Get lots of cutaways to help get from one cut to the next. Cutaways are when you shoot something in the scene that may not include the main subjects you are shooting. Like the dog sitting at the feet of your kids or a shot of someone listening to another person talking, which you can use when you edit. Think of what ever you are filming that day as a story and what elements do you need to have on tape to convey that story later to people that were not there. There are always going to be key moments that can't be missed for every event, make sure you are there for them with the camera on and rolling.

The more practice you have with your camera and editing your footage, you will begin to learn what you can do the next time you shoot if your not happy with the end result. Shoot, shoot and shoot some more and you will become more comfortable with the camera. Be careful in high contrast situations, that is where your typical DV camera will let you down. It will either try to adjust to the bright or the dark areas depending on what is center frame. The higher end prosumer dv cameras have more features for controlling your picture quality. You really do get what you pay for when it comes to a camera. There is a reason for some cameras being very cheap. If you want images that you will cherish in the future don't cheap out on a dv camera. Not even fancy editing can help bad footage. The usual rule of thumb for quality dv cameras is the larger the lense and the more chips, the better quality image you will have to work with. And sometimes it can be very difficult to shoot with a small camera. There isn't that much to hold onto, especially with the cameras that fit in one hand. When your one shooting arm starts to get tired, it becomes more difficult to hold the camera steady and you get shaky footage. I like a camera with a flip out lcd screen so that I can use my other hand to hold onto the screen and help steady my shots.

You could have the best equipment for filming and editing money can buy. But if you don't know how to use it, it will still look amateur. Practice is the best advice I can give to people wanting to become better film makers. Have fun and experiment and learn for yourself what works and doesn't work. There are no rules to film making. But some things look esthetically more pleasing than others. Film making is about perspective and your perspective is different than everybody elses. It can take a lot of time and energy to convey your ideas and images across to other people. But done when done well, it is very rewarding.
 

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Hey Timothy

Very nice intro.

Regarding choice of camera, is there a half-way that gives decent picture quality and real portability? At present I have one of the high-end consumer cameras which has all the features that I want (and some I don't) but is a bit lightweight on optics and colour balance. I've heard that 3CCDs is the real step up, but all those 3CCD cameras are way too big fro casual use. Is it that important?

I guess that I would also apreciate a lens that doesn't flare (perhaps there is a minimum diametre, my user's manual says that flaring is 'normal' ???); so would a gyroscopic image stabiliser.

Any thoughts?

Thanks
 

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Hey Timothy, thanks for taking the time to write so much. Makes a person want to spend the day filming & editing.

I am in the market for a new camera. I have read reviews of the Panasonic PVGS70...it's a 3 CCD job. Anyone know anything about the Panasonic...or a better suggestion?
 

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In answer to the camera questions. I recomend going to your local dealer that has a wide selection of cameras that are out on the floor. Usually conected to a TV and with a security wire so they don't get swiped. Try them all out and see which one is comfortable for you in your hand.

I have done a lot of editing of professional footage for work and amateur shooting of my own and have noticed the following points.

1. 3 CCD cameras do have a much higher quality colour saturation and less noise (those dancing pixels you see in the dark areas) in the actual recorded picture. Don't look at the LCD screen and assume that is what your taped images will look like. You have to record and play back to a TV to see what the quality will be from each individual camera. Each chip handles one colour of the spectrum. In single chip cameras, the single chip does all the colour work and it is very flat looking, I almost want to use the term fake, but that is an exaggeration. I personally own a cheap 800.00 Canon ZR-20 which I use only outside in the daytime for shooting because under all other conditions it is terrible. My other camera is a Sony TRV 900. 3 CCD with a large lense and lcd screen on the side. Menu controls for almost all your manual settings. Camera shoots great in auto mode or you can change the shutter or audio input...etc..etc...One of the best mid priced dv cameras I have used, I recommend any one to try it and maybe to find a used one on ebay or a local shop. They discontinued this model last year after 5 years in production. Careful when buying any camera used. You don't know how many hours of use the camera has had and if any of the mechanism needs replacing than it WILL cost A LOT! I have not looked into what new cmaera Sony has introduced to replace the 900 but if it's better than the 900...I would seriously look into it. The TRV 900 was 3500.00 when I bought it 4 years ago, so it is not cheap. But the footage that I have is irreplacable. Definately worth the money. My mom shoots with a JVC 3 CCD camera, the kind that fits in your pocket, but here too again it was 3400.00.

2. Lense size. The old expression SIZE DOES MATTER. It does in this case. If you have a tiny little lense that does not let a lot of light in...the more degraded the final taped image is going to be in adverse conditions. Small lensed cameras shoot well in bright rooms or outside but not in low levels or high contrast situations.

3. I like a camera that can shoot in low level lighting. At night (especially at night) or when it's just dark in your living room during the daytime. Nothing worse, I mean it looks horrible to see washed out colour, because the camera has nothing to focus on. Again here the size of the lense is a contributing factor as well as the software the manufacturer has installed on the different models.

4. I also like to be able to manually control my audio input. If you can't override the automatic gain control that low end cameras are defaulted to than what happens if all of a sudden there is a loud noise (laughter at a party or singing) and the audio distorts. There is no editing program on earth that can fix distorted sound. None. Having a headphone output can come in very handy as well for monitoring what you are filming.

I'm not trying to tell everyone to spend a small fortune on a dv camera. Every year the technology drops in price which is good news for comsumers but with those drops in price it can mislead a person into buying the wrong device for their needs. Sometimes you don't look at cameras that are 500.00 dollars more when you see 10 other models priced below 1000.00 dollars. There are times when spending a little more like 1500.00 on a camera will meet your requirements. I'm not against certain companies or their cameras but I've almost exclusively used Sony dv cameras for the past 5 years. I don't like the image of Canon, too stealy blue. Sony's camera image in the right hands looks very close to the original day that you remember in your head. At work we use the Sony PD-150. With all the accessories and camera bag and tripod 10 000.00 worth of gear. I love this model. I wish I could afford one for personal use. It is about the size of a small thermos though. But very light.
 

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At home I edit with FCP 3 on my Pismo. I upgraded it to a G4 500 and 768 RAM. Video card is only 8MB - but it makes no difference. I have two external FW drives each with a scrath partition of 5 GIG - a project space of 60 GIG and a data space of 10 GIG. I have never had 1 single problem and I have edited a fair number of projects on it. Maybe rendering could be faster - but I've learned to manage my time. With osx rendering can be done in the bg - albeit slower...

I work at a record label doing all in house and web editing and use a G4 dual 500 and a G4 733 with similar set ups. One machine uses express which is ok - but I much prefer the control I get over settings in FCP.

Timothy J - regarding your post about the 1CCD cameras. The single chip actually records everything in black and white and converts it to colour after using shades of grey. each specific shade represent r g or b and combinations are created by a special filter.
 

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I just saw a nifty little Panasonic 3CCD miniDV camera at the local London Drugs (I didn't get the model number, but it's the only 3-chip I've ever seen at that price point). It was 1400$ with a two hundred dollar mail-in rebate. That means twelve hundred bucks will now get you a Panasonic 3CCD with a Leica Dicomar lens and an imaginging system that comes from their Broadcast and television division.

I would check that little unit out before buying anything else. Run, don't walk, to your nearest electronics dealer. ;) :cool:
 

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as far as image quality goes - that's a great deal. i think that's part of a new line for panasonic - i saw one but not 3ccd - it was extremely small and quite "platicy" like plastic for lack of a better word. as long as you are very careful - which i know most of you are (but *stuff still happens). I think one of those could almost fit my budget at home ... um, "dear wife!...."
 
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