Please recommend computer, software, & learning resources
Sorry if this is the wrong forum for the question below. Is there a better one?
A friend of mine who is relatively new to computers wants to get into computer art and video. Please give suggestions about
1) what computer or computers to get, with what specs, for herself and her teen daughter
2) what software for video
3) what websites or other free resources to learn from
[Walter Miale] "1) what computer or computers to get, with what specs, for herself and her teen daughter"Without knowing a lot about what they want to do or what their budget is and realizing that they themselves might not know where they want to take this, I would recommend they get a biggest iMac that they can afford. The 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display, 3.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 8GB memory, and 1TB hard drive starts at $1,299 USD and the 27-inch starts at $1,799.00 USD. Really any of the new iMacs should be fine.
If they can't afford a new one, OWC has some excellent deals on used Macs. Just make sure you don't get anything less than a Core i5. (i.e., no Core 2 Duo, those are very old, and no Core i3, those are too weak for media creation) Buying new is always preferable especially if you plan to keep it for a while.
[Walter Miale] "2) what software for video"I would start with iMovie which comes free with all new Macs. Don't let the free price fool you, it's quite a capable little video editor and my daughter uses it for her YouTube fashion videos and loves it. If you need more capability, you can get Final Cut Pro X but that's an investment at $299. What I did was purchase iTunes gift cards when they went on sale. I bought 3 x $100 at a 20% sale making them $80 each so I only paid $240 for FCP X. 😉
You didn't ask about photo software but Affinity Photo for $59 is the deal of the century. It's an extremely capable photo editing program on par with Adobe Photoshop but for a lot less money. They also have an iPad app that you can exchange files with. They provide a very creative environment for editing photos.
[Walter Miale] "3) what websites or other free resources to learn from"I'm an educator so excuse me for pointing out that sometimes "free" training is worth every penny that you pay for it ($0) but there are a few gems out there.
You can search YouTube and be educated for days from people with as little as an hour of knowledge to some very good tutorials from experienced users. David Cox has some very good free tutorials on using a Mac for the first time:
If you want structured format education I would recommend lynda.com for general Mac training and Ripple Training for Final Cut Pro X training but these will both cost you.
Thanks for the informative response. OWC is a nice find, as are Lynda.com & the others. Further Q's:
1) Please say a word about platform. Cost is a factor for my friend. Maybe a PC is the way to go for her?
2) I need a used Mac or two myself & cost is a major factor. So I'll look at Core i5, yes? Is that the same as quad core? Either iMac or Mini or MacBook Pro OK?
3) Is 2011 too old? Would 2012 (or newer?) be a big (How big?) advantage?
4) 13-inch screen is kinda small. So either a Mini or and MacBook Pro with an external monitor?
5) I see big stand-alone screens (Acer) are dirt cheap. But please recommend a practical display for use with a mini for say working in bed.
Sorry I didn't see your reply earlier. I'm not sure how this slipped by me but let me answer the questions anyway and perhaps someone else will benefit when they are looking for the same thing.
[Walter Miale] "1) Please say a word about platform. Cost is a factor for my friend. Maybe a PC is the way to go for her?"The cost is the same. Pay me now.. pay me later. I'm editing with a 2010 Mac Pro that is still going strong. I would never in my wildest dreams still be using an 8 year old PC. I use to upgrade my PC's about every 4 years. Mac's are made better, last longer, and are easier to use. I say that as a 30 year PC user who use to build my own PC's and now disassembled my Mac Pro so I know how they are built first-hand. At the end of the day the cost is the same because Apple doesn't use cheap parts and you shouldn't settle for cheap parts. You get what you pay for. I've owned PC laptops that were cheap and they fell apart. Not worth it; don't bother.
I also wouldn't recommend a PC for a beginner unless they want to learn how to be computer system administrators. When I used a Windows PC, I got tired of being the "computer guy" for my family so I switched to Mac and switched my whole family to Mac and no one bothers me with questions anymore. I could not in good conscience recommendations a PC to someone who wasn't computer savvy and iMovie will be easier to edit video with and have higher production value than any entry level video software they can find on a PC. It's just not the same experience.
[Walter Miale] "2) I need a used Mac or two myself & cost is a major factor. So I'll look at Core i5, yes? Is that the same as quad core? Either iMac or Mini or MacBook Pro OK?"Core i5 comes in both dual-core and quad-core but mostly you will find dual-core versions. While the Mac Mini has a Core i5 the new were ones are actually very slow at only 1.6Ghz. An older one might be better. I would recommend 2.3Ghz or faster for video editing. You can get a 2012 Mac Mini 2.5GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 Processor with 4GB memory for $489.00 from OWC. The memory is easily upgradable if you need more or you can get an 8GB one for $579. iMac has the added advantage of coming with a gorgeous screen. I would highly recommend and iMac. When my Mac Pro stops working I'm going for an iMac; probably the iMac 5K Retina.
A MacBook Pro would also be fine. I edited video on a 2011 MacBook Pro for many years and it was fine. If you are using Final Cut Pro X you don't need a very powerful laptop but if you are using something like Adobe Premiere you might need something bigger. I use Final Cut Pro X. 😉
[Walter Miale] "3) Is 2011 too old? Would 2012 (or newer?) be a big (How big?) advantage?"No, 2011 is not too old but it's at the limit. The latest macOS High Sierra supports 2010 or newer. Obviously if you can afford something newer (e.g., 2012) that would have more longevity. The further you are from 2010 the more likely the next OS upgrade will still be supported. You have to ask yourself how long you intend to keep it and factor that into how old it already is.
[Walter Miale] "4) 13-inch screen is kinda small. So either a Mini or and MacBook Pro with an external monitor?"Both would be fine. If you are going to use an external monitor then that Mac Mini will be cheaper because you are paying for a screen on the MaBook Pro that you won't be using. Also if you are thinking of getting a Mac Mini you don't want anything older than 2011. That's when they switched to the Core i5 and Thunderbolt (which you definitely want).
Don't forget the iMac! The smallest one is a 20" screen and they go up to 27". For the money, and iMac is an outstanding deal. When the iMac 5K Retina came out, it was priced about the same as a stand-alone 4K display alone! You got an entire computer thrown in for free!!! That breaks the myth that Macs are more expensive right there. Here is a 2010 Apple iMac 27" Quad-Core i7, 2.93GHz, 8GB Memory | 1.0TB HD | SuperDrive for $679.00. If you need 16GB memory it's $749. If those are too expensive, the 2011 Apple iMac 21.5" QuadCore i5 2.5GHz | Thunderbolt | 8GB Memory | 500GB HD | SuperDrive, start at $479.00. Those can all run the latest macOS High Sierra and is a steal of a price for what you get. The 27" screen will blow you away. Better than any screen you're going to buy for a PC.
[Walter Miale] "5) I see big stand-alone screens (Acer) are dirt cheap. But please recommend a practical display for use with a mini for say working in bed."I would go for a laptop for working in bed because it allows you to position it at any angle you need. If you are looking for a cheap display than any cheap display will do. I do video work that requires accurate color correcting so I don't usually buy displays costing less than $500 so I really can't recommend a good cheap one because I've never used a cheap display (sorry). I assume if it looks good to you and fits your budget you should buy it.