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Least expensive Mac for FCP X

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Rick Wise
Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 26, 2011 at 11:35:42 pm

I am a long-time PC-based Vegas editor (though my primary focus is cinematography.) Freelance, there are few requests for Vegas editors. For the moment there probably are no gigs for FCP X editors either. But that should change soon.

The $300 price tag for FCP X is a huge attention getter. Question to you who understand and know Macs: what is the least expensive Mac I could use to run FCP X?

Thanks

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
part-time instructor lighting/camera
Academy of Art University/Film and Video (grad school)
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 12:27:47 am

[Rick Wise] "For the moment there probably are no gigs for FCP X editors either. But that should change soon."

Sooner than you thought!

"From L.A. Craigslist on 6/23:

EXPERIENCED Video Editor - Expert in Final Cut Pro (Burbank, CA)

Date: 2011-06-23, 10:04AM PDT
Reply to: job-4z9je-2458002435@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

We are seeking for a full time video editor to edit short segment video clips for our network of websites.

These are the requirements to apply and you must meet every single criteria:

- An expert in Final Cut Pro. We are looking to upgrade to FCP X...any knowledge of this would be very helpful.
- Be able to work in an extremely fast, high energy, fun environment.
- An expert in different video formats and the MAC OS X environment.
- Be able to edit on the fly, EXTREMELY fast when asked to turn around a job.
- Have general knowledge of celebrities.
- Work very organized and follow edit bay's organizational system.
- You must be creative. We don't want to spoon feed you when asking for a clip. You need to be able to understand on quick directions and turn the job around FAST.
- Our videos are very high energy and fast (average video is around 1 minute). Make sure you can cut a quick clip and not lose the audience.
- Have transportation to get to the office.
- Able to use teleprompter software.

In order to apply, please submit your resume and a link to your reel.

Location: Burbank, CA
Compensation: $15 per hour
"

I know it's been reposted several times, but it is a great yardstick of where we are at.
Or maybe where we are going.
I would imagine that if you're not on either coast, this would be more like 8 bucks an hour.
But lets look at a one-sheet down and dirty business plan based on this rate:

300 bucks for Movie Hero, I mean FCP X
1199 for a cheap new iMac
1648.90 total inc CA sales tax

Good news. It will only take 110 hours to pay off the computer and app at 15 bucks an hour.
Now, if you can keep your system busy for a regular 40 hour week, that will pull in $600. Or $2,400 a month. Or $28,800 a year gross.
Figure about a 32% total tax hit in Cali, and you can net $19,584. Of course you'll have to do the marketing, billing and system work on your own time just to make that, if this is the future rate for X.
Get a roommate or two, don't own a car, skip the health insurance, lots of Top Ramen, $19,500 is doable, right?

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Bill Kelly
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 12:33:40 am

That's the sad state of affairs here in LA at the moment. I live in Burbank and I would love a job that's just down the street. For the whopping sum of $15/hour though I don't think I will be applying for this one. Sadly, one could probably go to a temp service and get assigned to an administrative job in this same company's office being a file clerk and make equal the amount or greater.



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TS O'Grady
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 1:38:05 am

There were $15 an hour jobs before FCP X and shops like that will continue to post them going forward. Low pay, high aggravation and little satisfaction in a shop with a lot of turnover is perfect for recent college grads and that's who they'll get. Nothing new here. I see them all the time on craigslist. I don't know why any of you would consider this an indication of what FCP X editors have in store for the future. It's the same argument folks made back when DV editing and FCP 1 started. The sky was going to fall back then too. I don't make $15 an hour, do you?



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Scott Sheriff
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 3:34:15 am

[TS O'Grady] "The sky was going to fall back then too."

It did fall.
And it started much before the DV era.
Tape online bay 4x1" w/DT, 3M/E switcher, ADO, Chyron IV w/MGM. Editor, Font Op and Tape Op. $4,000 per day.
That was in late 80's-'90s dollars. Would probably be the equivalent of $6,000 or more in todays dollars.
It was a million dollar room that couldn't do a tenth of what you can do today.
It was booked solid 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week at that rate.
Even something as simple as sitting with the Chyron op and doing font pre-compose was $100 per hour.

If I were you, I wouldn't act too smug thinking that the trend of falling rates will magically stop right before it effects you. Or that 15 per hr CL ad is meaningless. Friends of mine that worked at places like Post Perfect, and Telemation also thought they were too good, too big to fail. Lobbies full of shiny awards, names constantly mentioned in Post Magazine. It can happen to them, and it can happen to you.
Someone will take that CL job. And someone will take the next one like it. And then someone will post a job for an even lower rate. And someone will take that gig too. And some day, you may find, that someone is you...

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Bret Williams
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 4:59:09 am

All sad but true. However economy scale is still fairly decent. A million dollar room, at 4k a day is 4000/1000000=.04. Now you might have a 10k room at 400/day which is essentially the same profit margin with a lot less risk but easier access, which means more competition. I probably fall closer to a 15k room at 600/day which oddly enough is the same .04 ratio. IF I can keep it operating. But it's a pretty small expense, even to switch to premiere. But at these rates I can't afford to pay an editor. I'm it.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 7:13:16 am

[Bret Williams] "All sad but true. However economy scale is still fairly decent. A million dollar room, at 4k a day is 4000/1000000=.04. Now you might have a 10k room at 400/day which is essentially the same profit margin with a lot less risk but easier access, which means more competition. I probably fall closer to a 15k room at 600/day which oddly enough is the same .04 ratio. IF I can keep it operating. But it's a pretty small expense, even to switch to premiere. But at these rates I can't afford to pay an editor. I'm it."

That is a real interesting observation!

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 9:25:48 am

[TS O'Grady] "I don't know why any of you would consider this an indication of what FCP X editors have in store for the future."

Common sense and because lower cost gear/lower day rates looks like a trend. I think its unrealistic to see an almost 70% decrease in the cost of software and hardware for the average FCP set-up, and not expect it to drive rates down by a similar percentage.
Bret makes a real good point, but he's off a decimal point on the million dollar room.
If we continue to use his .04 ratio which works for current/typical Mac Pro rooms in the 10-20k range, but apply it to the iMac and X combo lets see what we get.
I already said the cheap new iMac and X would cost around $1,600. Lets just double that to cover what we will spend to get a workspace, audio monitors, etc. That would seem about right.
So thats $3,200, for an FCP X/iMac based room, at the crazy Craigslist rate of $15 per hr, which is $120 per day. 120/3200=.0375 which is not so far off Brets ratio of .04.

If we work it the other way and say Brets .04 ratio is a predictor of hourly rate based on the investment of the room.

For the iMac w/X, single monitor bay:
.04*$3,200=$128 per day, or $16 per hour. Only a dollar difference for the Cragslist ad.

For a Mac Pro octo w/FCP, standard two monitor set-up:
.04*$10,000=$400 per day, or $50 per hr.
Pretty easy rate to find for this type of set-up.

For a Mac Pro octo w/FCP, two monitor set-up, plus I/O card w/calibrated monitor:
.04*$15,000=$600 per day, or 75 per hr.
Once again, a rate that is pretty easy to find for this set-up too.

Old school online million dollar linear bay
.04*$1,000,000=$40,000 per day-this doesn't work out.
The actual rate was $4,000 per day, or $500 per hr.
Clearly the million dollar bay isn't pulling it's weight, since it earned $4K per day, and not 40K.

Sorry for the OT/threadjack. But if we are going to talk about the future. And that future is FCP X based edit rooms, we really need to look at what the earning potential is for the average owner/operator of these rooms.
Bret's magic ratio of the room cost divided by the day rate being .04 seems a reasonable place to start.
It seems highly unlikely that rates will go up with the introduction of FCP X.
Nor does it seem likely they'll even stay at current levels since they have been trending down for the last 30 years.

We could just as easily look at the iMac running FCP X as being 68% cheaper, than the typical Mac Pro octo w/two monitors.
And it's an odd coincidence that the Craigslist ad rate is 70% less than the typical current rate for FCP on a Mac Pro.
Or maybe it's not an odd coincidence at all that rates are tied to what the gear costs.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 9:31:01 am

[Scott Sheriff] "Old school online million dollar linear bay
.04*$1,000,000=$40,000 per day-this doesn't work out.
The actual rate was $4,000 per day, or $500 per hr.
Clearly the million dollar bay isn't pulling it's weight, since it earned $4K per day, and not 40K."


An afterthought I had on this was the difference in lifespan between the million dollar online bay, and todays NLE's might explain some of this discrepancy.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Mike Chedwick
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 1:08:48 am

$15 an hr. No benefits. Starbucks is a better option. FLMAO.


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Rick Wise
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 2:39:26 am

Perhaps someone could reply to my original question: what is the least expensive Mac I would need to buy to run FCP X?

Thanks!

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
part-time instructor lighting/camera
Academy of Art University/Film and Video (grad school)
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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TS O'Grady
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 6:47:39 am

Oops. Sorry. As far as I can tell the 13 inch Mac Book Pro on up and any of the iMacs. Both start at $1199.
Cheers.



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Rick Wise
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 6:39:46 pm

Thank you for answering my question!

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
part-time instructor lighting/camera
Academy of Art University/Film and Video (grad school)
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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John Godden
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 2:55:24 pm

Entry level 27" IMAC would be the best/cheapest way to go FCP X.

cheers
JohnG


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Rick Wise
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 6:38:50 pm

Thank you, John, for answering my question!

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
part-time instructor lighting/camera
Academy of Art University/Film and Video (grad school)
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Rick Wise
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 7:01:09 pm

Well, I finally found online Apple Chat (I'm a PC guy and totally unfamiliar with the Mac World.) It turns out that an entry-level iMac will work just fine with FCP X. Of course, the larger screen and faster processor would be so much better....

So for roughly the old cost of FCP, $1,500, you can now buy an iMac and the editing software.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
part-time instructor lighting/camera
Academy of Art University/Film and Video (grad school)
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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John Godden
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 8:22:20 pm

I would also recommend checking out the 'refurb' imacs. You will save ~10-15%. I have purchased Apple refurb MAC's and can't tell the difference from new.

Another option would be an Apple 'epp' store. i.e. if you're a government worker or perhaps you work for a company that has 'epp' access. Either epp or refurb will save you some bucks.

cheers
JohnG


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Rick Wise
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 8:59:47 pm

Thanks again, John. I will check refurbs. I don't work for the gov., but I do work part time for a University and so qualify for educational discount -- but they are very small. For the entry level iMac you save all of $50.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
part-time instructor lighting/camera
Academy of Art University/Film and Video (grad school)
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 10:26:23 pm

[Rick Wise] "Well, I finally found online Apple Chat (I'm a PC guy and totally unfamiliar with the Mac World.) It turns out that an entry-level iMac will work just fine with FCP X. Of course, the larger screen and faster processor would be so much better....

So for roughly the old cost of FCP, $1,500, you can now buy an iMac and the editing software."


Rick,
Sarcasm aside, I answered you. Sorry if there was TMI to see the info was in there.
That is what I said, first post after your question:
"300 bucks for Movie Hero, I mean FCP X
1199 for a cheap new iMac
1648.90 total inc CA sales tax

Good news. It will only take 110 hours to pay off the computer and app at 15 bucks an hour.
Now, if you can keep your system busy for a regular 40 hour week, that will pull in $600. Or $2,400 a month. Or $28,800 a year gross.
Figure about a 32% total tax hit in Cali, and you can net $19,584. Of course you'll have to do the marketing, billing and system work on your own time just to make that, if this is the future rate for X.
Get a roommate or two, don't own a car, skip the health insurance, lots of Top Ramen, $19,500 is doable, right?
"

X is a really tiny little program, one file, not much bigger than...wait for it...iMovie! It will run on anything they are currently selling. People have reported running it on unqualified hardware, people have reported running it on hackintoshes. If your machine will run iMovie, and has SL, it will probably run X.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Rick Wise
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 27, 2011 at 11:33:04 pm

Well, if your math is correct, editors are doomed to poverty. I suspect things won't actually shake out this way. There will be the $15/hour jobs, but so what? In camera work, we have a similar situation, where lots of gigs pay next to nothing. They are all entry-level work, and great opportunities for the upcoming filmmaker. As one of the old timers who cut his teeth on actual film and loved it, I no longer can draw $3,500 to $4,000 a day to shoot commercials, and even high-end corporate has dropped. But not to the levels you describe. I suspect editors too will find spaces in between the old highs and the new lows.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
part-time instructor lighting/camera
Academy of Art University/Film and Video (grad school)
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Least expensive Mac for FCP X
on Jun 28, 2011 at 12:45:29 am

[Rick Wise] "I suspect editors too will find spaces in between the old highs and the new lows."

You're right. I suspect a few will. Just like a few of those kids in the local basketball court will get to the NBA, or a few of those local garage bands playing at the local dive will be able to make some cash. The 1%.
The question is, what will the going rate for the other 99% be next week, next month, next year.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


Return to posts index

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