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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Jul 12, 2009
    experienced writer new to film
    hey everyone at macforums. i'm an experienced writer (cartoons/comics, short stories, graphic novels, poetry) who wants to try his hand at film. i need help with basic questions about hardware and techniques. i have a talent for writing and a good eye for composition. i'm trying to put together a full length film shot in avchd (sonyy hdr-ux7) with a few special effects (nothing fancy) and multiple track audio. tight budget. 2 questions:

    minimum suggested hardware/software? the film is going to be approx. 2 hours long with multiple audio tracks (voice input from mic's, soundtrack). what mac's will handle these requirements? does imovie offer enough options for someone who is serious about developing their skills, or is it mainly for the 'casual' user?

    second question. how does a guy know what hardware (mic's, etc...) is good enough for the quality he wants? is everything out there good enough for the basic filmmaker these days, or is there still a 'casual hobbyist' market that isn't quite enough for someone serious? the biggest questions are what lighting am i going to need to get a good shot shooting characters at 5-10 feet on a lit street at night? what basic 'tie-clip' mic's are out there that might be suggested for a newbie?

    trying to come up with a simple, professional looking film. any help is appreciated. thanks.

  2. #2

    xstep's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 25, 2005
    On the road
    2011 MBP, i7, 16GB RAM, MBP 2.16Ghz Core Duo, 2GB ram, Dual 867Mhz MDD, 1.75GB ram, ATI 9800 Pro vid
    What ever you do, do NOT place the 3" disc into slot loading DVD drive. Also, according to Apple's compatibility list, you require OS X 10.5 or later to use that camera natively with their software.

    iMovie is directed to the casual hobbyist. You can overlay a voice over and it does have a few special effects. Recently I've seen a couple people complain that they could not export their 2 hr videos. They had to make copies of the project and cut the copies down to an exportable size. I don't know why this is.

    The starting block for a professional tool is Final Cut Express. This is the little brother to Final Cut Pro found in the Final Cut Studio package. It acts the same, but the color corrector is a little more limited and you can't use hardware add-ons in a Mac Pro like the big brother. It may also be more limited in support of professional cameras and codecs.

    As discussed elsewhere, even a lowly Mac mini could edit HD content using Final Cut, although some things will be slower going. The fancier tools in FCS such as Motion and Color require much better hardware. There is a feature called Real Time Extreme that allows some real time effects preview that works better with machines with discreet video chips. It sounds to me that for your purpose this wouldn't be a big issue.

    If you are wanting to get into editing, then I think using a product with a traditional time line like Final Cut is your better choice. iMovie doesn't have that.

    As for mics and stuff. I think you'll need to do some homework there. For instance mics have their own characteristics and pros will choose different mics in different scenarios. The price range is extravagant too. I think you'll have to understand the conditions you are going to use it under and what you will be recording. This would help others answer related questions.

    Good luck.
    CameraTime - Time lapse photography for novice and advanced users.

    When asking questions, post the version of your software. You'll receive better answers.

    Please post your results to the thread as it is good feedback.

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