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My goals for making short films. Is FCP what I need?

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Costa Mavraganis
My goals for making short films. Is FCP what I need?
on Jul 10, 2010 at 4:22:24 am

Hi all and thank you for bearing with me a minute. I run a nonprofit working in Haiti and Cuba and we are looking to make some short films. Probably 10-15 minutes long but maybe as long as 45 minutes.

I have a budget of $2,000.

My options:
1. I am a PC user but want to make the switch to Apple for many reasons. I do however have Vegas Pro and could just buy a faster PC.
2. Buy a decent used Apple Macbook Pro that has FCP 7 installed.

My needs:
I want to be able to do this on a laptop. When I am in Haiti and Cuba, I have some excellent tech people I want to involve in this. Also, nights tend to be long and we could be doing editing while I am on site.

My goals:
Produce simple movies but of the highest quality for viewing on HD TV. Truth is, we could probably use iMovie but it does not export well from finished products that I can see.

I don't need alot of fancy fluff stuff, I prefer to let the people tell the story. However, some basic stuff like interesting titling, subtitling would be useful. I am sure FCP can cover this.


Questions
We already have a Canon HF100 which takes great video, has a mic input and best of all, is already paid for :) I would consider selling and buying another if it would "fit" better with FCP. Should I?

Maybe instead of FCP we could get away with FCExpress? My biggest concern is that the software can take full advantage of the cameras better points and export in a file that takes full advantage of todays TVs and I can send to the people who will duplicate and make DVDs for us.

On EBAY I can buy a used 17" Macbook Pro with 2.53Ghz Core 2 Duo Processor, 4GB ram, NVIDIA 8600, 250 GIG hard drive, etc WITH Final Cut Pro installed for about $1600. On the other hand, if we don't really need FCP but can use FCE, I can get a newer 17" Macbook Pro i5 2,53 Ghz with 4GB ram, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M GT with 512MB, 500GB hard drive, etc with no FCP for about the same money. Any suggestions?

Forgive my ignorance. I am here because you guys really seem to know what you are talking about and I would appreciate your guidance.
Thank you!!


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Bouke Vahl
Re: My goals for making short films. Is FCP what I need?
on Jul 10, 2010 at 6:53:20 am

So, let me summarize:
You want to buy an editing system, software and hardware,
and subtitling software, and you want to be able to put out HD material, and your budget is 2K.

perhaps it's possible, but why did i spend about 15 times more on the same setup?

You are going to cut some serious corners.
Even very modest audio monitoring is half your budget.




Bouke

http://www.videotoolshed.com/
smart tools for video pros


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matthew bradshaw
Re: My goals for making short films. Is FCP what I need?
on Jul 10, 2010 at 9:08:55 pm

Go tell us why did you spend 15 times more?
Matt.



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Jerry Hofmann
Re: My goals for making short films. Is FCP what I need?
on Jul 10, 2010 at 9:48:29 pm

I can answer that...

If you work in the high end of things, you need an array for media storage (around 6-12k alone), a broadcast monitor (HD of course, and if you want 10 bit, we're talking 8k and up 4k for a so so monitor) Audio speakers, and mixer (the moon can be spent here), a fast tower with 16 gigs of RAM (5-6k minimum) FCS, 1000... a decent chair for editing in is around 600 bucks... get the idea? Course that doesn't include the cost of a capture card (3k or so), cables (man those HDMI cables get pricey for the best ones) and on and on... You can get to 30k real fast quite frankly...

From my old man point of view though, 30k for what this system can do for that price is a drop in the bucket. I used to work in online editing bays that did LESS than what this 30k system will do that cost a million dollars... that wasn't that long ago either. Say 12-15 years is all.

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski.

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX Cinema Displays


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Bouke Vahl
Re: My goals for making short films. Is FCP what I need?
on Jul 10, 2010 at 10:50:30 pm

:-)
Cabling in my studio(s) (i have 3) alone was 15K....
(but that included the decks, and i left them out of the equation....)

And that is also without HDMI, even withour HD cabling, pure SD analogue/SDI/audio.





Bouke

http://www.videotoolshed.com/
smart tools for video pros


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Louis McLellan
Re: My goals for making short films. Is FCP what I need?
on Jul 10, 2010 at 7:45:15 am

The camera sounds fine, but from my experece check the apple site if you want to get a computer. I found a refurbished one here way under your budget:
http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB991LL/A?mco=MTA4MzI0OTE

You can still add on FCP and get apple care(trust me, if you're gonna edit on location this will be your friend) and be under budget. Also you may want to think about getting an external hard drive a TB is now less than $200, and it's a great way to have a back up of your files. Also keep Imovie around, I don't know how many times a client has given me a tape where the audio wasn't FCP friendly but I could export the footage with the audio into FCP and everything was fine.

I'm not that much of a Canon camcorder fan, but if it's paid for and it has a Mic imput I say use it until you can't.

I hope this helped, and good luck.

Editor, Sound Designer, Stop-Motion Animator, Lighting, and Pack Mule


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Steve Eisen
Re: My goals for making short films. Is FCP what I need?
on Jul 10, 2010 at 12:31:34 pm

iPhone 4 plus iMovie.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: My goals for making short films. Is FCP what I need?
on Jul 11, 2010 at 1:53:53 am

This is excellent advice I think.

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski.

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX Cinema Displays


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: My goals for making short films. Is FCP what I need?
on Jul 10, 2010 at 6:11:02 pm

I should point out that if you buy a used mac with FCS installed, and you don't get the license transfered from the first owner, you're stealing and running illegal software. Furthermore, you won't be able to reinstall FCS if need be, and it does need to happen once in a while. You'll also not be able to upgrade the software later when FCP 8 comes out.

I think you work with your PC software unless you can enlarge your budget to become legal on a used machine... Apple sells dandy refurbs and the cost of FCS (2009) is under 900 bucks out there.

Jerry

Apple Certified Trainer, Producer, Writer, Director Editor, Gun for Hire and other things. I ski.

8-Core 3.0 Intel Mac Pro, Dual 2 gig G5, AJA Kona SD, AJA Kona 2, Huge Systems Array UL3D, AJA Io HD, 17" MBP, Matrox MXO2 with MAX Cinema Displays


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Stephen Best
Re: My goals for making short films. Is FCP what I need?
on Jul 12, 2010 at 4:16:45 pm

If it's any help, I too do work for non-profit organizations and am a Vegas Pro veteran. I also confronted the same constraints that you have. I migrated to Final Cut Pro because it is the lingua franca of editing. Sony Vegas is a fine program, and I keep it for legacy projects, but its user base is limited so working with other editors can be a problem.

What I opted for was a used iMac 24, and I purchased new (still int the shrink wrapped box) Final Cut Studio, at about 1/2 the regular price. Both were bought on eBay. The total expenditure was less than $2,000, if memory serves.

Currently, I'm editing a 2 hour HD documentary shot on a Sony XDcam PMW-EX3. For storage, I use a 2TB Lacie Drive. I use a dedicated external drive for each project. For sound monitoring, I have two MA-15Ds from Cakewalk.

Is this an ideal "professional" set up? No. Is it good enough to produce broadcast quality HD documentaries of the work of small non-profits where it's the story that matters more than the lighting, hair, make-up, and FX? Yes.

Regards
Stephen Best
http://stephenbest.ca


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