upgrading system and computer
Caught between a rock and a hard place.
I’ve been out of video for a little while working on a music project, but have continued to do small video things in the background when I have time. I have been trying to search the forum pages for answers and I get lots of them, but I need help sorting through them. I am using an older version of Final Cut Pro, version 6.06. My Mac is OS X 10.4.11, dual core intel xeon with 16 gigs of RAM. I have been having issues every once in a while with other software not working because my OS is getting old. I want to update my OS, but at the same time, I don’t want to lose my FCP Studio 2. I would like to upgrade my OS to something that will work with current java programs, streaming programs, etc. I feel like my OS is getting behind and some things just don’t work. I can’t use Firefox. If I upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion, my FCP Studio 2 will stop working. If I upgrade to Snow Leopard, I can upgrade my FCP Studio 2 to Final Cut Pro 7. All of my programs like Logic, Motion, etc. will still work? My concern is that FCP 7 is already several years old, which does not make a lot of sense if I’m trying to upgrade. Final Cut X is already two years old. But, it seems that if I want to upgrade, however I upgrade, I’m going to lose everything I have. It almost feels like I should just buy a whole new computer and editing system if I want to get back to current capabilities. Does anybody have any comments? I feel like my Mac is still good, but I feel like Apple has failed me. I’m going to have to spend a lot of money to get a whole new system. What can I do here to make the best of my situation? Is Snow Leopard a recommended upgrade that will still allow me to use FCP Studio 2, et al. with an upgrade to Final Cut 7? Thanks!
I also seem to understand that Final Cut X is a good program, but completely different from FCP Studio. That’s fine. I also understand that there are better programs out there, such as Premier. I’m ok with learning a new system. It can’t be too different, can it? Just different names, layout and places to find what I need, correct? I would have to learn a whole new format with Final Cut X, anyway.
Tell you what: if you don't want to completely change your editing paradigm -- i.e. it just makes sense to have tracks in your edit timeline -- download the 30-day free and fully-functional tryout of Premiere Pro.
It ought to work on your current OS. See what you think.
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA
I may have to try Premier. I'm curious anyway.
You are in a position that a lot of people are in, I think.
Question One: Are you looking to upgrade your hardware?
- Apple is now on Mountain Lion (and I think their new plan is to put out small but moderate upgrades to the OS every year now... probably under a new name). You will be getting kind of outdated pretty quick if you are using anything pre-Lion for sure (with new programs & efficiency mostly), but will lose a lot of your old programs like you mentioned.
- If you are looking to upgrade your computer, I'd put in my vote of confidence for the beefed up (highest options you can get) Retina Macbook Pro. It is definitely a pricy option, but makes your system mobile (and IMO still insanely powerful). Or you can always go with a new tower or one of the more powerful iMacs, which are cheaper, and the towers can be upgraded down the road to keep up with the times, while the Retina can not.
- If you go with just upgrading the OS and going for FCP7, it is still a decent route to take. I know very many editors still working on FCP7 until some major project pushes them to jump ship to a new editing program (for many it's Avid or Adobe Premier). So although FCP7 is old and a bit slow, it still does the job... for now (and depending on what camera/footage you are shooting).
- Something to consider if your computer can handle it (or if you upgrade), is to try the Adobe Creative Cloud. This may be best for you, because it is a monthly subscription based service that gives you all of Adobe's programs. I don't believe there is a joining fee. This could be good if you are not sure how long you will be back in video and if you may take 6 months or a year off to work in music or other non-video fields, you just stop paying for those months and start again when you want it. This way you aren't sinking money into programs that are just sitting there getting outdated on your machine while not in use. Also the Cloud service also gives you access to the most current version of all programs, so you are never outdated (meaning if you took a year off, you'd have the new CS programs when you came back, not the old ones.
Awesome David! Thank you for the comments! I have something to think about.
The Cloud isn't all that different from Premiere, but if you can get it, good.
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA
One of the things that is killing the pro community is the MacPro is lagging behind. Apple has announced an upgrade for pro computers coming this year and that it will be "awesome." That's all we've got. No Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, just sometime this year. Humbug.
I would hold off on a new Mac until you know what they're doing with their pro computers. The current MacPro isn't worth your money. The architecture is 3+ years old and lacking USB3 and Thunderbolt ports.
Your current Mac could take a Snow Leopard upgrade and still run FCS2/FCP6. The Snow Leopard disc does include the Rosetta installer, which does work with Lion, so if you got Snow Leopard then went to Lion you could still install FCS2/FCP6, but it would take some work. Google could get you there. On your hardware I would stop at Snow Leopard. Older Macs didn't age so gracefully when Lion arrived. If you're feeling a lot of pressure to upgrade consider installing a new hard drive for use with a new OS. You'll want a clean install of Final Cut Studio anyway, rather than a migration from OS to OS. Using a new drive (under $100) is a great way to be sure 1) your old setup is working and 2) your legacy java and streaming applications won't be broken.
If you're looking for new hardware and looking to go mobile, don't rule out the non-Retina. They share the same CPU/GPU but the RAM and hard drive can be updated after purchase on the non-Retina. There's a high-resolution option for the 15" non-Retina that looks pretty good (using it now) while saving several hundred dollars. Plus you get an optical drive. You will be giving up one Thunderbolt port, but you get a network port and a Firewire port in exchange.
I would also like to echo the Adobe suggestion. Don't buy it outright right now. Creative Suite is an annual update, and CS6 landed in May. The Creative Cloud option allows you to always have the current build, so if you're a month-to-month person there won't be any regrets there. If you're a buy-it-outright kind of person you might do the Creative Cloud for a month or two before buying CS7. If you want comparisons of Premiere and Final Cut Pro 7 they're all over the internet, and as mentioned above there's a free trial. There's also a free FCX trial out there. I'm a happy Premiere convert.
Tough spot to be in right now. We're waiting to update a few Macs at my shop. Rather annoying to not know what's in the pipeline.