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Movies and Video For people making movies and editing video with their Mac.

Hardware for video recording/editing. I need some advice.

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fiveightandten's Avatar
Member Since: Dec 31, 2006
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 313
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Mac Specs: Macbook Black 2.0GHz C2D- 120GB/2Gb * Mac Mini G4 1.42GHz- 80GB/512MB

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I teach guitar at a local shop, and i'd like to start making some educational DVD's as a teaching supplement. I've been debating about picking up a MB or MBP for some time now, i'm thinking I should bite the bullet. I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations for what type of video recording setup would provide good quality, reasonable ease of use, and reasonable price. I want a laptop...for personal use, and also so I can have something to take to the shop easily to record(and/or edit) video segments there when I have the time.

First of all. Would you recommend something like a digital camcorder? Or maybe some peripherals that I can plug right into a laptop and record direct to the hard drive (webcam & microphone). I'm admittedly pretty ignorant when it comes to the quality of webcams and USB microphones these days, i'm not sure if that's a horrible idea or not.

Then there's an actual computer and software. I'm familiar with iMovie and use it on my Mini. How does that app handle large files? Video files that may be 30 minutes long, for instance? How would a C2D MB handle processes like that? Would I need something like Final Cut Express instead?

I'm not looking to get too fancy here, I just want to be able to capture decent looking video in resolutions that will translate to a TV screen well, with clear audio. And I want to be able to export it to iDVD or something similar. I don't need a blazing fast system, but I don't want something that's going to be standing on its last leg to perform the task.

Any advice is a big help. Thanks in advance.

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Member Since: Dec 30, 2006
Posts: 45
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Only answering part of your question. I have done movies over 30 minutes with iMovie and they work fine but take a really long time to burn to DVD. I have a lot of titles, transitions, added music, etc. but they do look good on TV. (JVC Everio camera)

Also, my neighbor is a sound engineer and I know he would suggest a video camera that has a separate input for a microphone instead of trying to use the standard built in mic on most cameras. Especially for an instructional video.

Hope that helps a little.
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Member Since: May 02, 2007
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A video camera would certainly give you the flexibility I think you would need to record instructional supplements. I anticipate that you will want to change the camera view area to highlight everything from seating position to fret fingering images. That will require the ability to point and zoom, which would require a video camera. Purchse a cheap DV camera with firewire output and you will be golden. If you happen to purchase one that can be controlled via the computer, it's a benefit. That will allow you to choose what you desire to record, without having to record the entire tape to your hard drive and then edit.

I cannot see why your Mini would not be sufficient to do the job. I was doing video editing on a Mac G4 dual 450 up until last month without a problem. If you have the time to let it run overnight to render your video and create your DVD, then everything is fine. If you just have to have it faster, then I think any of the current iMacs or laptops would be plenty of processing power for the general consumer.

iMovie is fine for what you want to do. You need to do some research on video making so that you understand formats, rendering and the like. Not a lot of work, but helps keep you from making a video and expecting a DVD to look good later if you have a conflicting format or frame size. You should know that iMovie has a bug when using the "share" to DVD function. You can read about it on the Apple support site for iMovie. I use Final Cut Express HD. A little more horsepower if you find yourself doing more than basic video editing and construction.


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Member Since: May 21, 2006
Posts: 287
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See 'The Missing Manual for iMovie and iDVD' (one book) - it has most of the answers you need. Cheers and Good Luck. Mitcherooney
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