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possibly weird request regarding HD?


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#1 Andrzej Ford

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 08:42 PM

Firstly if anyone knows a much simpler way of checking this I'd be even more grateful, but basically I'm soon to be planning to buy a HD camera but before i spend more money than i can afford i wanted to check if my laptop/software/OS was sufficient enough for HD.

At the moment I'm running on Final Cut Pro6, mac OSX 10.4 (soon to be upgraded to snow leopard) and standard 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 duo processor with 1GB memory.

Basically my plan was to get some footage and test if it works, in the most simple way i can imagine. However I'm assuming there's a much simple suggestion and maybe I'd run into problems with codec?

Any help MUCH appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Andrzej

Edited by Andrzej Ford, 23 December 2009 - 08:44 PM.

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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 09:00 PM

Firstly if anyone knows a much simpler way of checking this I'd be even more grateful, but basically I'm soon to be planning to buy a HD camera but before i spend more money than i can afford i wanted to check if my laptop/software/OS was sufficient enough for HD.

At the moment I'm running on Final Cut Pro6, mac OSX 10.4 (soon to be upgraded to snow leopard) and standard 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 duo processor with 1GB memory.

Basically my plan was to get some footage and test if it works, in the most simple way i can imagine. However I'm assuming there's a much simple suggestion and maybe I'd run into problems with codec?

Any help MUCH appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Andrzej


My laptop has those same processor and RAM specs and I've cut both of those before but it's not as fast as I'd want if I were a fulltime editor. If you want to do it a lot, I would max out your RAM.
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#3 Andrzej Ford

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 09:54 PM

My laptop has those same processor and RAM specs and I've cut both of those before but it's not as fast as I'd want if I were a fulltime editor. If you want to do it a lot, I would max out your RAM.



Thanks alot! I mean i know it could be alot faster with better ram but at the moment as s student money is incredibly scarce, so if i had to let it render for 12hours over a night I'll have to live with it.

thanks again
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#4 Ryan Mast

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 03:38 PM

Hi Andrzej,

The camera's recording format is more important in this discussion than 1080i/720p/1080p/whatever.

HDV, XDCAM EX (at least up to 35mbps), and ProRes work respectably well even back to the G5 era. I'm using a dual-core 2.3Ghz G5 and my bottleneck is usually hard drive speed, not processor. So, footage from any of the HDV or SxS Sony cams from the last several years, the JVC HD100/HD200/HD250/HM700/HM100, and the Canon HDV cams will play nicely with your system. AVCHD, though (from the Panasonic HMC150 or HPX300) -- that won't even play or transcode on PPC-based systems, but it should be ok on your system.

Unless you're doing mass amounts of compositing or large multi-cam edits, your computer will be fine. Chris is right -- get at least another 1GB of RAM for FCP. Get 3GB if you plan to use Motion or Color.
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 04:26 PM

i'd say get at least 4GB of ram. It's what I run and things go along swimmingly on my macbook pro. I'd also say get 2nd monitor. Not that you really need it, so much so, as it's helpful for keeping other windows open, such as a script/emails/ichat (for talking with clients etc) and they're pretty cheap.
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#6 andrew rogala

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 04:01 AM

I agree with Adrian on 4GB of RAM. You still are going to have to wait it out because of hard drive speed limitations, but that's the nature of the $2000 macbook instead of the $38,000 8-core Mac pro with a 4 drive raid setup (and even those guys want it to go faster).
The extra ram should help expedite your "pinwheel" time, though.

Also, the secondary monitor is great purchase, especially if you are working with HD. A couple hundred bucks will get a 23" monitor that you view 1920x1080 at full scale and still allow you to follow your timeline and catch any glitches (titles, artifacts, CMOS distortion) you may miss in FCP's viewer. Plus, if you pickup a $30 HDMI to DVI cable, you've got a hi-res playback monitor for shooting on location.
Best Buy currently has an Acer 23" with 1920x1080 res and an HDMI input (not dvi converter needed) for $139... bang for your buck, anyone?

Also, get an external hard drive. HD files are big and you don't want have to trash a project once it's complete just so have enough hard drive space for the next one. I taped a musical theater show my sister was in on an AVCHD (1080/30p) camcorder. Given that I was only trimming the beginnings and ends of each act and adding a couple title slides, I used iMovie. The project file is over 100GB. Once I'm done with it, I'm putting it on an external drive to archive, though, and freeing up space for the next project.

Finally, you need to pick out a camera. Depending on your budget and also what you want to do with it, there are nearly limitless options.
If you are working on a consumer budget (Best Buy, Target- under $1000), make sure the camera has some type of mic input. You can get DoF adapters, use lighting tricks or even add post production effects (grain, color mods, etc) to make up for some small CMOS/CCD limitations. Unless you have an ADR setup, you won't be able to fix the crappy audio from the on camera mic. Even a radioshack unidirectional mic duct taped to a broom handle will better serve you. In this range you're only going to AVCHD or maybe a few HDV cameras, so codecs won't be your biggest hurdle.
If you are looking in the prosumer range, I'd recommend getting something that has a native progressive shooting option. If you are only going to do documentary style shooting, with little movement, this is less important. I've shot on cameras that take beautiful 1080i, but after filming sports and scripted chases, the product looks less cinema and more video (in the local tv news sense). AVCHD, XDCAM (SxS), HDV and DVC pro are all supported in FCP, so just make sure you set it correctly before importing (unless you want to wait for 12 hours for it to convert). Also, JVC has a new camera, JVC HM100, that shoots directly to .mov format on two hot-swappable SDHC cards. It's a 3 1/4" CCD camera with a fixed lens. It does have 1080p at 24, 30 or 60 fps and 2 XLR inputs. It runs about $3500, not dirt cheap, but a pretty solid price champ.

Hope this helps. And if it really comes down to it, get the HD camera and just shoot SD until you've got the setup to crunch HD...
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#7 Andrzej Ford

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 03:54 PM

Firstly i have to say big thanks to everyone who replied, didn't expect this many replies or of this quality.

And going through the responses, i have a 1tb external HDD, so i have that down! I will look at adding ram to my macbook, but it not being a pro', is it definitely worth upgrading? Or worth upgrading to 3-4gb since i don't want the ram to rise above the performance of the other components to receive little to know effect, especially being a student least spent possible is always the best!

I don't think i'll be doing "mass amounts of compositing" etc since these films are "art videos" so either abstract/short videos, and i'm still new to the software use but luckily i forced myself to start with FCP rather then start with something similar; so motion/colour are pieces of software i intend to be experimenting with.

My PC recently lost it's last leg (it's a windows, go figure) so i've taken the monitor from that, which is anything from top range but helps like you suggested in being able to view photoshop/dreamweaver in one screen and FCP on the other.

And now i think overthan the Ram question, my final questions (hopefully not an overwhelming amount of painfully ignorant questions) are as follows:

-are FCP and FCP hd different pieces of software or are people just shortening the name?

-and lastly is advice for the camera i've been reading a few magazines and thinking deeply about it, and i think i've decided i'm more than willing to use miniDV for HQ images, lowered price and ease of use. I know this is maybe a dated format, however the lowering of price and increase of quality seem great to me and the downsides such as size of camera, no on camera editing and time it takes to transfer won't be problems to me. Other than that i think i'm inclined towards a canon in hope for large amount of attachments especially lenses (at the moment mic's do not concern me). The last few hurdles are battery life isn't so much of a concern either for now, i'm not sure which recording format to aim for whether it be 1080i/720p/1080p, especially because i will be studying at university for atleast 2 more years so i was thinking of possibly the lowest end of the HD scale?
and the final and most painful part the price, im hoping for a below £500 (sterling) price.

Thanks again to anyone who will read and/or advise me furthermore.


N.B. if I'm asking for too much and people believe i should investigate more myself please let me know!


Andrzej
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 04:35 PM

well if you're on MiniDV you're probably going to be stuck with SD unless you get an "HDV" camera. Of the HDV cameras I believe they are all (with the exception of the Canons) 1080i. While this isn't bad, it certainly has a few drawbacks. More RAM always helps, but with HDV or DV footage, and very little composting, I don't see a need for more than 2GB. Of course, you may find yourself rendering a good deal.
As for FCP and FCPHD, they are about the same program, though if memory serves, FCP HD was the name given to an older version of FCP. You'd want to be on a most recent, FCP Studio 3, or 2nd most recent FCP Studio 2 (versions 7 and 6 respectively) in order to get the most bang for your buck.
Now the painful part, you can forget about anything HD and professional for your price point. I believe the cheapest of the good HD Cameras come in around 3000US. There was/is a sony camera which is HDV and shouder-mount for around 1500Us, but personally I'd rather go with a used DVX which is an SD Panasonic camera were I in that price-range.
Now you're working art videos, and I know for my girlfriend's experience that that often requires a good amount of FXs work later on; hence you'll have to get used to some render times and some effects not playing in real-time. Even something as simple as running 6 videos on the same screen has slowed down my pretty top of the line macbook pro (XDCamEX footage). Just something to be mindful of.
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#9 Andrzej Ford

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 05:55 PM

well if you're on MiniDV you're probably going to be stuck with SD unless you get an "HDV" camera. Of the HDV cameras I believe they are all (with the exception of the Canons) 1080i. While this isn't bad, it certainly has a few drawbacks. More RAM always helps, but with HDV or DV footage, and very little composting, I don't see a need for more than 2GB. Of course, you may find yourself rendering a good deal.
As for FCP and FCPHD, they are about the same program, though if memory serves, FCP HD was the name given to an older version of FCP. You'd want to be on a most recent, FCP Studio 3, or 2nd most recent FCP Studio 2 (versions 7 and 6 respectively) in order to get the most bang for your buck.
Now the painful part, you can forget about anything HD and professional for your price point. I believe the cheapest of the good HD Cameras come in around 3000US. There was/is a sony camera which is HDV and shouder-mount for around 1500Us, but personally I'd rather go with a used DVX which is an SD Panasonic camera were I in that price-range.
Now you're working art videos, and I know for my girlfriend's experience that that often requires a good amount of FXs work later on; hence you'll have to get used to some render times and some effects not playing in real-time. Even something as simple as running 6 videos on the same screen has slowed down my pretty top of the line macbook pro (XDCamEX footage). Just something to be mindful of.



Thanks again for another useful reply Adrian, and i know this is one of those ridiculous questions. But in this case do you think it would be better to possibly look at a high quality SD camera rather than a very low quality HD camera? Since with my work and the opinions of tutors at the moment it's definitely the quality of the idea over the quality of the capturing, then again i guess that's arbitrary to say since it's probably same for all if not most people. But my intention was never to get a shouldermount camera, i guess i should of been much more clear on that and i hope that i havent been asking in the wrong location. I mainly just need something that's much better than the quality my university has to offer and for it to be constantly available to me. So this makes me definitely question if i should venture into HD or SD?

Andrzej


edit: greatly appreciate the FCP / FCPhd clearup

Edited by Andrzej Ford, 26 December 2009 - 05:56 PM.

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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 06:50 PM

As cameras can make gorgeous images and in your case to learn on and use I think you may be better suited by one. However you really need to get your hands on a camera before you burly it to assure you're comforatable with it and it fits your specific needs. Resolution after all is not everything. And if you're finishing to DVD anyway...(though I know HD downsamlped looks "better") there if often little reason for HD
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 06:50 PM

As cameras can make gorgeous images and in your case to learn on and use I think you may be better suited by one. However you really need to get your hands on a camera before you burly it to assure you're comforatable with it and it fits your specific needs. Resolution after all is not everything. And if you're finishing to DVD anyway...(though I know HD downsamlped looks "better") there if often little reason for HD
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#12 andrew rogala

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 10:21 PM

For your price range and using mini DV (HDV), check out the Canon HV20... runs in the 300 pound range on ebay UK... it is a CMOS cam tho, so google "rolling shutter" to make sure you can deal with those results. If not, go for a 3 CCD cam.

If you don't need good on camera audio, I'd say pick up a consumer HD camera at your local electronics retailer. JVC everio line and Canon vixia have plenty to offer. If you do go that route, though, I'd recommend going with SD cards. They are as cheap as tape, and will give your camera better resale.

The DVX100 is a great SD prosumer cam, well supported and relatively cheap now. That will still give you better images than most consumer HD, as it has larger imaging sensors and better glass, plus won't require as much power or time to crunch. Plus it has far more manual features.

If you've got more time than money, boost the ram up (at least to 2gb), get the camera best for your budget and play around...
After a year of tinkering, you'll better assess your needs for your final year... And there is always a market for used cameras on eBay if you need to sell the one you get to upgrade to the next...
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#13 Andrzej Ford

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 01:11 PM

I think a mistake I made, was my interest or more so need to purchase a consumer camera rather than a prosumer camera at this point, however all information has been great and invaluable. At the moment I'm heavily considering Canon HF100 as i found a demo model on ebay for £379, which is a great price point for me. The camera works with SD cards which I believe maybe the best option for me at the moment, I'm also happy with getting a Canon and the idea of hopefully finding wide lens attachments. I also checked out a sample movie from a consumer i believe is at similar level as me and i was impressed and satisfied with the quality.

So I wanted to say thanks again for all the suggestions and information I have been given, and if anyone had any last pieces of information regarding this camera or things i should consider would love to hear from you!


Andrzej
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#14 Andrzej Ford

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 01:25 PM

and apparently:

The good: Excellent video quality; fast focus; compact, attractive, and comfortable design.

The bad: Wind filter not as dependable as previous Canon models; manual focus pretty useless.
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