New editing system - advice needed
I need help... quickly.
I am leaving town for a client job out-of-state that will require on-site editing. In past years, and along with a lot of other production equipment, we would pack up our M-100 system into a fly-pack configuration and use it for editing. (Job is a convention.) Unfortunately, this system is/was an older G4 with M-100 XR 8.2.2 and it doesn't handle provided media files very well, if at all. Other than that, it works like a champ. Also, we take the edited videos and post them to the web. Here, the system is woefully slow by today's standards for converting to web and we can't use it for that purpose anymore.
The job requirements are very simple. Edit interviews and b-roll and post to web. It's all shot in SD. No HD required or necessary. None of the on-site work is expected to be needed or used afterward in any other format.
As I said, our system was getting old and slow. So... we purchased a new MacPro, 2.66 Quad core Xeon, 3GB ram. The hope was to get by by digitizing composite video and analog audio via a USB capture device and edit it in iMovie. Then, export the edited video to YouTube. However, this solution is klunky at best and, after significant testing, is a dramatic step down from even our older M-100 system. I can't show up with this configuration and expect my editor to be able to work with the client watching over his shoulder.
I can upgrade my current software to the new M-100 Suite. I can change direction and move to FCP. I see pros and cons with either decision. (Yes, I can purchase both, too.) Right now, what I really need is a recommendation from current users on a system configuration that will allow me to digitize analog video and audio (minimum) and also support up to SD-SDI video and AES audio (like I'm using now). I can't seem to find enough information on the web and other support forums to know if purchasing new software and an I/O card is enough. If I purchased an AJA or Matrox or BlackMajic or some other device, will this alone give me the realtime output, transitions, machine control, etc. that I'm used to? Or, do I need additional hardware acceleration cards and other peripherals?
Again, for this job, I only need to support editing in SD and exporting for web. However, I would like to be able to complete my upgrade to HD (adding an array later) when I return. I just don't have time to mess with it now. I can invest about $2000 to $3000 more in this system today.
I appreciate any actionable input.
I leave in four days.
Unless, I'm missing something - for this job, couldn't you just download the M100suite trial software to your mac pro. Test it and then trial it on your job (you get 15 days trial).
I'm thinking you could probably continue to digitize through your USB device and import the files into a bin in M100 if you cant dig straight into M100 via your particular USB device.
If you're only handling SD you should be good to go.
But if its the USB device that sucks you'll need to get a decent I/O device. Why composite video, do you have access to a FW device? If you're coming out of an older deck into your mac, Belkin do a little pass through box that you can use to control the deck via FW800.
Hope this is useful.
My advice, if you are really going HD sooner or later: get Media 100 Suite (maybe even the trial only), and get a I/O card like something from the Blackmagic line (if you want it cheap), Matrox MXO2 (portable) or a Kona card from Aja (which are said to be more robust and which are better integrated into Media 100). Check which Inputs and outputs you need and decide on this ground. Plus, you also can use these cards with FCP, Premiere and other apps, but if you know Media 100 you will be up and running with the new version in minutes.
I downloaded the M-100 trial suite last night. The software works fine, but the USB I/O device is not recognized. It's a consumer POS that records an MPG file. The MPG isn't natively recognized by M-100 or even QuickTime for playback. You have to go through a rather involved conversion process that leaves multiple files and folders on the computer.
I guess the question I need resolved is about the necessity of additional hardware acceleration. Our IT guys are saying that a new edit system must have at least one - better if two - video cards installed to handle realtime editing, transitions, and eventually HD processing. I thought it would work fine with just the computer, software (M-100, FCP, etc.), and a good I/O device (AJA, MXO2, BlackMajic). Who is correct?
[Ben Price] "I thought it would work fine with just the computer, software (M-100, FCP, etc.), and a good I/O device (AJA, MXO2, BlackMajic). Who is correct?"
You are correct. The Mac already has a graphics card which is more than enough for Media 100 and FCP. You "only" need a I/O card or box to get your video in and out of your system.
Okay. Thanks guys!
After your comments, our tech dept ordered an AJA LHi card this morning. We should have it in the computer and conduct tests early Thursday. With the M-100 trial version loaded, I should be okay. I'm an old M-100 guy, so this is my comfort zone and fallback if things go poorly. My editor keeps pushing for us to transition over to FCP - he has it on his laptop. I have to admit that it is very tempting. I won't be around forever, and most new editors and freelancers all have FCP experience. Even a growing number of our clients are familiar with FCP.
We'll probably try both next week and see what happens.