5 Replies Latest reply: Jan 7, 2006 3:52 PM by Alexia Sims
Alexia Sims Level 1 (5 points)
Help! I am trying to decide exactly the machine I need to edit with Final Cut Pro at home. I am a college student so my budget is my student loan money (around $2000).

First, I prefer to be portable so that I can transport it to and from school(so maybe a powerbook?) but I know that is probably not the best choice.

Second, I would like to know what specifications I should be looking for in a computer that will be primarily devoted to FCP. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


iBook G4   Mac OS X (10.3.9)   too slow for FCP
  • David S. Level 7 (20,630 points)
    I suggest any Macintosh that allows you to either:

    1. Capture to a dedicated internal media drive; or

    2. If you have to capture to firewire drives, permits an option to create a second firewire bus.

    Currently, that is a 15-inch PB with a Cardbus slot and a Cardbus PC FW card, or a desktop Mac.
  • Chris Clarke1 Level 4 (1,150 points)
    The Powerbook is not a bad option. We use a year and a half old 17" G4 with a Lacie PCMCIA FW card and its very consistant. It up to you to weigh the benefits of speed and portablity. Also consider finding a used machine to save some bucks.
  • David Bogie Chq-1 Level 7 (25,490 points)
    what version of FCP and what OS?
    What other apps must this machine run?
    What are your filmmaking aspirations?

    If you're shooting DV and are planning to do the offline on your laptop, almost any Powerbook will do the job as long as it's got a 7200 rpm drive. You're not going to like it, though, unless you're limiting your expectations to FCP3 and maybe even OS9. These will do the job for you and for a lot less than $2k. that way you can buy a decent camera.

    Here's what people forget to include in their budget:
    1. Protective case ($100 to $400, your laptop is supremely vulnerable.)
    2. Spare batteries ($150 each, you need three if you're doing video)
    3. Backup FW drive and software (My dog ate my computer, professor, I can't turn in my movie.)
    4. Additional power supply (because you won't listen to us about the batteries)

  • Studio X Level 7 (27,030 points)
    Are you in a film program? Do they have an edit suite?

    Even if they don't, a 15" (not 12") Powerbook doing reasonable edits will be fine for DV.

    If you are thinking 16 tracks of video and a 24 track audio production, you may run into issues - but you might run into them in the Powermac desktops as well.

    Make sure you budget for a quality external firewire drive (G-Tech or Granite Digital come to mind) and a PCMCIA firewire card. These items will be essential elements in the system.

    Have fun.
  • Alexia Sims Level 1 (5 points)
    I'll be using Final Cut Pro 4 and whatever is the newest OS X version. The only other apps will be appleworks or ms office, and I was hoping to get some sort of basic audio program (any suggestions?)

    Luckily I have a SONY DVX-2000 so the camera is not a problem. For the time being I will be looking to edit short video pieces and a broadcast length documentary. I have already dedicated a 160 GB Lacie Firewire External Drive to this semester's projects.

    Do you think I won't have the performance I want from a Powerbook? Especially if I want to use a more current version of FCP and OS? If the PB isn't going to work what is the least expensive option in Powermac?

    Thanks for the reminders about the 'extras', so far, so good on that checklist.

    Appreciate the help,