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Deciding what mac pro to buy to edit HD video

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Ginger Gentile
Deciding what mac pro to buy to edit HD video
on Jan 22, 2010 at 4:56:56 pm

After years of using PC and Avid, I´ve decided to switch to a mac pro (desk computer) and Final Cut Pro. Being an independent filmmaker, I don´t have a lot of money to throw around, so I want to make sure that every add on I get is necessary.
I will be editing a documentary (think 50 hours of footage) shot in full HD 24p on the Sony XDcam (ex1).
I may do color correction and some basic graphic stuff, but nothing that my pc with 3gigs of ram can´t handle now. No animation or detailed graphics work. Final product needs to be broadcast ready.
The basic set up that they are offering is:
Mac Pro
8 core 2 2.66Ghz quad processors
6gb memory
640GB hard drive
Nvidia geforce GT120 with 512mb
for 3299 USD
possible add ons include:
# Two 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon [Add $1,400.00]
# Mac Pro RAID Card [Add $700.00] (what exactly is this?, do I need one to add more hard drives)?
# 2x NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB [Add $150.00]
# 3x NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB [Add $300.00]
# 4x NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB [Add $450.00]
# ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB [Add $200.00]
(do I need more graphic cards? do I need something like black magic)?
Any advice would be appreciated. I called mac and talked to a rep but got the feeling he was trying to sell me on stuff I might not need.

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Pasi Koivisto
Re: Deciding what mac pro to buy to edit HD video
on Jan 22, 2010 at 11:57:56 pm

I would suggest you ask this question in the Final Cut Pro forum.

Editor, Colorist.
Mac Pro, 8x3 Ghz, 8 Gb ram, ATI Radeon HD 4870, KONA 3, Sony PVM20L4, Tangent Devices Wave.

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John Davidson
Re: Deciding what mac pro to buy to edit HD video
on Jan 24, 2010 at 8:39:23 am

Yeah, I don't think something is right there with those extra graphics cards - that quote seems a little circumspect. If you're trying to get the most bang for buck, build your own. Check in the FCP forum - it's really not that daunting.

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Greg Barringer
Re: Deciding what mac pro to buy to edit HD video
on Jan 31, 2010 at 7:06:26 pm

You'll want 8 core, more cores the better for vidoe. Get the # ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB [Add $200.00] You only need one video card. After you receive it, add three WD 1TB Black Caviar HD's. Add more RAM later if you want. I have the 2.66 GHz. It handles any video you throw at it.

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Keith Pratt
Re: Deciding what mac pro to buy to edit HD video
on Jan 31, 2010 at 7:15:25 pm

On a tight budget the 2.66Ghz isn't typically worth the premium, so I'd stick with the 2.26Ghz. Get 8GB RAM instead of 6.

You don't need all those graphics cards unless you work on Wall Street. ATi cards work better than Nvidia with Color and Motion, so get one 4870.

If you aren't working in anything beyond XDCam-EX, get a couple of large internal drives — one for scratch, one for archive — and a few externals to back them and your system drive up.

The RAID card does just what a RAID card should do. RAID is too lengthy a subject to get into here, so give it a Google. But modern drives are fast enough that you won't need it if sticking with XDCam-EX.

Blackmagic video cards are for viewing on an external monitor. You'll need one of these and a broadcast monitor if you want to do proper grading for TV.

"Broadcast ready" is more than just equipment. You need to really know what you are doing right throughout the process to avoid the pratfalls. That said, it depends where you're going to be broadcasting as to how stringent they are on the requirements.

The RAM upgrade might be okay but don't get additional hard drives from Apple. They charge a serious premium.

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