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Powerbook G4 for video editing

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by Tunes Man, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. Tunes Man

    Tunes Man
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    I've been thinking about investing in the Apple Powerbook G4 to edit my home videos. I'm completely dissapointed with both of my desktop computers, one which is a Sony and the other a Compaq, when I try to do any video editing with either of them. This really puzzles me because both have fast processors. The Compaq has a 1600 megahurtz processor and the Sony has a 2.6 gig processor, but when I try any video editing with either of them, such as putting transisions or special effects, the video looks jerky and there are frame drop outs. I've been told by several people that Macintosh computers are specially made for video editing and even my brother has one in which he showed me an advertisement he put together for his camera shop in which there are a lot of effects and it looked fabulous. He of course had the top of the line powerbook G4 17", which sells for close to $3000.
    What I'm worried about is that the one I'm looking at is the G4 12.1, which only has an 867 megahurtz processor, and I'm wondering if this small of a processor will work when it comes to editing video and doing all the effects I want to put in with that small of a processor. I also want to know if you can feed video in and out through the firewire, because when I'm done editing, I'll want to record it back onto my dv camcorder. The G4 12.1 does not have a dvd burner with it.
    Anyway if anyone can give me any information on this particular model, I'd appreciate it. The reason I want a laptop is because I've already got two desktop computers and I don't want something that's going to take up a lot of room.
    Any replies are welcome.

    Tunes Man.
     
  2. docsmith2k1

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    Tunes Man
    I faced a similar dilemma earlier this year. Firstly the 12 inch powerbook G4 does have an option for a superdrive (dvd burner) instead of the standard CD RW, secondly all the powerbook range has just been upgraded and the 12 inch now comes with a 1GHz processor, and the option of installing much more RAM - which really helps with video editing. Thirdly - I have been editing my home movies on one since May this year and it works fine. It even comes with almost all the software most users will ever need for photo video and audio storage and editing. Finally if you have never used a Mac before they are a revelation especially with v10.3 of the macOS. Don't hesitate my freind, your video editing frustrations are over.
    Doc
     
  3. Frankie_D

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    Macs are a great choice for video editing, but if you dont need to travel with one it really is better value to get a desktop. For the price of a 12 inch powerbook with dvd burner you can get a 17 inch iMac which is alot more screen space, also remember that the iMac is very small so wont take up much space at all. If you have any other questions just post here and ill be happy to help.
     
  4. docsmith2k1

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    I would agree with Frankie_D. Also they have a bigger HDD with a faster RPM ensuing non of the capture difficulties you have previously encountered.
     
  5. Tunes Man

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    Frankie_D, and everyone who posted a reply, thank you. I thought that macs were better for video editing, and your replies just confirmed that. My next question is, I've already got a computer monitor that came with my first Compaq Windows computer. Would I be able to use that monitor with a mac desktop, or do you have to use a special monitor just for Apple computers? Also, does anyone know what a desktop G4 would cost that has a 1 gigahurtz processor? If they're cheaper than the powerbook G4 and have all the same software, I'll probably just go ahead and pick one up. I'd like to know just what model you're refering to. You called it the iMac? I'll have to check on that, but any more details about that desktop model would be appreciated.
    Thanks again for any replies.

    Tunes Man.
     
  6. Tunes Man

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    Tunesman here again. I've still been thinking about which mac to buy and I'm afraid that size is an issue here. I'm still leaning toward getting the laptop version of the G4. I really don't need to have a dvd burner in it, because I'm just going to download the video back onto my dv camcorder once I'm done editing, so really all I need is something portable to do the job, and something that I can simply fold up and tuck away when I'm done with it. I read a post from someone on another forum who said he had a mac with only a 450 mgz. processor, and he edits video on his just fine. If the Powerbook G4 12.1 can do the job, I'd rather get that one. Besides, I found one on the net that's selling for only $1299. Also, can a printer that's meant for a pc work with a mac, or do you have to pick up one meant for mac computers?
    Thanks again for any replies.

    Tunes Man.
     
  7. Frankie_D

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    Well if a laptop is your preference then the next thing to decide is what one, i was suggesting that you get an iMac becaise of the screen size an important question is if a 12 inch screen is big enough for you. Apple also do a laptop called the iBook which is the consumer version of the PowerBook it has just been updated with the latest g4 proccessors and is not much slower than the powerbooks. The reason why i suggest the iBook is that they are cheaper and therefore you can afford one with a 14 inch screen and the top model is still £100 cheaper than the bottom PowerBook (A very good deal). This is a link to the iBook models iBook

    The answer to your other question about printers is that most pc printers do work with macs
     
  8. Tunes Man

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    Thanks Frank. I'm not worried so much about screen size as I am speed. If the Powerbook 12.1 can do what I want it to do, then I'll probably just go ahead and pick one up. I'd really like to have the 17 inch model, but I'm afraid $3000 is too rich for my blood. If the Powerbook G4 has all the software I need, that's an important issue too. I'm not up on what the iBook has and I don't want to downsize as far as the processor just to pay less money. The G4 12.1 is well within my budget and as I said, I'm not worried about screen size. As long as I can see what I need to see for video editing, then it should do the trick.
    I'm actually kind of excited about getting a computer that can finally do what I've wanted to do with video editing, and do it the way it's supposed to do. I've read so many posts from people who say that pc is the way to go for video,...well, not with my pcs!
    It's too bad that pcs haven't caught up with the macintosh technology yet.
    Thanks again.

    Tunes Man.
     
  9. docsmith2k1

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    Tunes Man -
    I would seriously consider getting the 12inch powerbook with the built in superdrive. You may think you only need to output to tape now but trust me you will kick yourself later. Plus you then also have a really cool portable DVD player with a 12 inch screen. The superdrive model is listed at $200 more than the combodrive model on apple.com
     
  10. Duncan Craig

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    Tunesman,

    You can't go wrong with Mac generally but don't get the Superdrive.
    Save your cash and buy an external Pioneer 106 for £99, then bung it in a Firewire enclosure for £40. You can then use it on any other machines you may have.

    The 106 writes + and - discs which Apple OSX doesn't fully currently support. Look at the discounts offered for half price Final Cut Express, I use Final Cut Pro every day on a variety of Macs it's the dogs. Often I'll edit commercials on an old iBook only 500MHz G3 but it renders fast enough for 30sec ads with 4 or 5 layers.

    Also when editing you'll want an external Firewire drive, look on ebuyer for the new Maxtors - 250GB for around £200 which is a really good price.

    Most laptops use 5400 RPM drives which don't handle DV footage very well.
    Only go for a laptop if you have to, because the eMacs are fantastic value and very fast with G4 processors and big HDs, large screen and very light to carry around with you.
     
  11. Tunes Man

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    Docsmith, the reason I didn't want the superdrive is because I do all my dvd burning on a Panasonic HS2 deck, which has a firewire connection. I wanted to save some money and not spend the extra for the superdrive since I already have a dvd recorder deck. I will just download the edited video onto my dv camcorder then download it onto the HS2 deck, and then burn the video onto a dvd.
    Duncan Craig, I believe this answers your question as well, as far as a dvd burner deck. I do appreciate the suggestions from all of you though, you've been very helpful.
    I have purchased my Powerbook G4 and am about to begin to learn about it's features. It's amazing that something that small has the power and technology to do what it can do. I'll keep you informed on my progress with it. I'm sure I'm going to encounter some problems in figuring out how best to utilize it's features.

    Tunes Man.
     
  12. docsmith2k1

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    Congratulations, and welcome to the brotherhood of the mac. I am sure your editing experiences will improve from now on

    Doc.
     
  13. dejongj

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    Hey I still use my Blue and White G3 Powermac which only has 300Mhz. True rendering is a bit slow at times but no dropped frames what so ever....

    Please note that the Mac doesn't really play the Mhz game, the architecture is just very good for this kind of work...Though I wouldn't mind a newer one ;-)

    I have been playing now with Linux and Cinderella on a dual Pentium III 800...This gets a little specialised but no problems what so ever...Which suggest to me that the OS plays a key role in this...

    The Mac really rules for ease of use and quality software...
     
  14. Tunes Man

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    Update: I have decided to take back my Powerbook G4 for a Power Mac G4 minitower. Laptops are okay, and the one I've got is a fantastic machine, however there's really not much you can do for upgrades except for adding some memory. The minitower has more hard drive space, (80 gigs), and a 1.6 gig processor. I've been told by a few people that you can use up a lot of precious hard drive space on a laptop with software and that doesn't leave you much for video editing. There's so much more you can add with a desktop and I'd be worried that if I wanted to do that down the line with the laptop I'd be out of luck.
    It's too bad that my other two pcs can't cut the mustard with editing video, but they do excel in other areas. At least with both pc and mac, I'll be flexible with what I can do.
    Keep in touch ya'll.

    Tunes Man.
     
  15. dejongj

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    Tunesman....

    My advice is also use multiple hard drives...I use only a 6Gb for my OS and applications...Then I have got 3x120Gb in an array plus one times 40gb as a scratch disk....This is providing some real life performance boosts...

    If you want to bring some new life into your old PC's, I would really suggest the Linux route. If you have some affinity with Unix (under the hood of OSX) than you find it so much better. The current versions of Suse recognise even my firewire ports on my Sony laptop and everything....

    But still can't beat the Mac user interface....
     
  16. Duncan Craig

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    I guess you mean the G5 minitower at 1.6GHz, G4s don't go that fast...

    The problem with G5s is the internal HD expansion, I have the top Mac available, with a new 1.2TB SCSI RAID array, its the Daddy as you may expect ;-)
     
  17. docsmith2k1

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    I too have a G5, and there is one thing you cannot describe it as and thats a MINI tower. Beautiful - yes, fast - yes, mini - NO
     
  18. Tunes Man

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    You're right, I stand corrected. The Power Mac G4 1250 minitower does only have a 1.25 gig processor I would have had to fork over another grand to have a G5 and mine was priced at $1299.00. I haven't started working with it yet because I only picked it up today, but I'm anxious to learn about all it's features.
    The processor for this G4 desktop is a bit more powerfull than the one in the G4 laptop, so hopefully that'll mean better performance for video editing. I'll keep you informed as to my progress.

    Tunes Man.
     
  19. Robz

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    This has been an interesting thread to read. I myself am in the market to get myself a Mac solely for editing purposes and like Tunes Man did have narrowed it down to a portable. (Most likely a Powerbook 15" Superdrive model).

    I know that going for a desktop model is prolly cheaper and better but at the minute i don't have a laptop and the portability is a huge plus for me at the moment. I flat out don't have the room for a desktop, not even a wee iMac.

    I'm slowly building up some knowledge of what i needs from various forums etc but there seems to be some 'pro's' from the editing field in this thread who might best be able to inform me.

    First and foremost i want to edit video be it captured from VHS, DVD or DV. I take it i need to invest in a seperate capturing device for this? I also take it this will need to be external in order to be connected via Firewire? (Is that right?)

    Secondly i'd like to burn what i edit to DVD, now i see the Powerbook Superdrives has a built in DVD-R. Is this a reasonable burning device? Just to cut my teeth with and perhaps invest in something better at a later date?

    Thirdly performance. Now from the sounds of it the prcessors in these things are up there with the best. If anything needs to be upgraded it's just memory and Hard Drive space. That correct?

    Memory shouldn't be a prob. Can i connect and use an external HD for my editing pruposes? Is this done via the FireWire also?

    So to summise i think i need a; Powerbook of some kind (preferably with some beefed up Memory) b; a capturing device that let's me capture DVD, VHS and DV formats and c; some external HD of 7200RPM in order to edit speedily and effectively?

    Am i barking up the right tree there? Roughly how much would i be expecting to pay for that little lot?

    TIA for any help

    Robby

    EDIT:

    Aah just re-read and saw this.

    I guess that answers part of my third quandry.
     
  20. MarkE19

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    To capture from a DV camcorder you will only need firewire which will be onboard any Macs. To capture analogue VHS or from a DVD connected externally you will need an analogue capture device that you will probably connect via USB2.0 and will cost around £40 from companies such as Dazzle, Belkin etc.

    DVD-R is the most widely compatable disk type so should be fine for playback on other DVD players.

    Well disk space certainly. DV capture takes 1Gb of space for every 4 minutes of footage. Memory upgrade will just speed things up a bit, but not needed for editing.

    You can either buy an external HDD or just a standard drive and put it in an external enclosure that will connect be either USB2.0 or firewire.

    Mark.
     
  21. Tunes Man

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    This message is for Robz. I hope you find the right Mac for your needs. I'm certainly happy with mine. I've been working with "Final Cut Express" video editing software specially made for Macintosh computers, and I'll admit, before I learned how to use this software, it seemed pretty complicated to use, but since then, I've learned a lot and I'm still learning to use it's features, and I'm pretty pleased with it's performance. If you're going to purchase the laptop version with the superdrive then you should do okay. I personally decided to save some money and opted for the desktop that doesn't have the superdrive. After I edit my video, I just re-record it back onto my dv camcorder and feed it into my Panasonic dvd recorder where I can make a permanent dvd of my finished video. I did purchase additional memory and an additional 120 gig hard drive to load my video onto the Mac.
    Anyway, good luck and let us know how you made out.

    Tunesman.
     
  22. Robz

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    I'm quite lucky in that i've used Adobe Premiere (PC) and Media 100 (Mac) software at College/Uni so i'm not exactly going into this blind. I can't wait actually it's been so long since i've edited. :D

    I have seen a lot of this Final Cut Pro in various Mac adverts, is it really that good? Comparable with Premiere? I was lead to believe whilst at Uni that Media 100 and Avid are the industry standards is this still the case?

    Anyway i'm still doing my research hopefully sometime in the New Year i'll make my choice and order my first Mac. :clap:
     
  23. Tunes Man

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    I haven't used Final Cut Pro, the only Mac based video editing software I've used is Final Cut Express, so I don't know how it would compare with Final Cut Pro. The only drawback I can see with FCE is that you have to render each effect that you utilize, otherwise it's a very good editing software.

    Tunesman.
     
  24. Robz

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    If i may throw a spanner in the works........

    Do you think opting for a 14" G4 iBook and buying an external DVD-R/RW drive to be a cheaper alternative? My only reservation is that i'd lose the inbuilt AirPort Extreme, Bluetooth and DVI & S-Video out features of the Powerbook and also the reduced screen size/memory and performance issues.

    I could save a considerable amount of wedge but i am buying this system solely for video editing. Would i be doing a disservice by cutting corners?

    Who knew buying a laptop could be so demanding :D
     
  25. Tunes Man

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    Robz, opting for the cheaper 14" G4 ibook will depend on whether you can do without the extra features that the powerbook has. If all you want to do is video editing and you're not worried about those extra features, then I'd say go for it. I've read where other people who own macs are very happy with their video editing performance of their cheaper model macs and say that they have no problem. If you're talking about buying an external DVD-R/RW drive, then your portability will be a little more difficult as opposed to having everything you need in the Powerbook. I at first didn't want to have to make extra room for another desktop, but after I weighed the pros and cons I decided that the desktop would allow me to make the modifications that I needed to make and that it would be the more practical choice. I liked the idea of having a laptop, but in the long run I realized that I couldn't make the modifications that I needed to make with the model of laptop that I bought, so I took it back and got the G4 mini tower instead.
    With the desktop I could get as big of an extra hard drive as I wanted, which I couldn't do with the laptop. I could only add a certain amount of memory with the laptop, but I could add a lot more with the desktop. The G4 desktop has two firewire inputs, the Powerbook only had one. So like I said, the G4 mini tower was the best choice for me. If the G4 ibook is what you think you need, make sure you don't mind hauling around an external dvd drive if you want to travel with it. Good luck on your decision.

    Tunesman.
     
  26. Robz

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    Again thanks for your input it's appreciated yet i'm still pulling myself in two direction. :D

    Firstly i thought the Powerbook came with two FireWire ports?:confused:

    Ideally i'd love to get a dedicated G4 Powermac, i've used them before but i flat out don't have the room unless i was to ditch my PC altogether and use that workstation but others use it and it's opening up a whole new can of worms. A laptop i can live with and i could coope with portable HD/DVD-R/RW drives.

    Like i said my main concern for the iBook over the Powerbook is performance. I'd hate to lay out the cash and deep down wonder how the Powerbook would have compared. (I don't have any specialist Mac stores nearby to get a demo :( ).

    Anyway i don't intend to buy until the New Year so i've got plenty of time to chop and change my mind until then.

    Thanks so far folks.
     
  27. Robz

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    Do capture cards let you capture DVD footage as well as Mini-DV?
     
  28. Tunes Man

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    Robz, I'm not really up on capture cards, but I'm sure that someone on this forum could answer your question on that.
    The Powerbook model I had only had one firewire input, but maybe that's just because the particular model I had only came with that. I'm sure that some of the Powerbooks have two firewire inputs. Also, the Powerbook model I had didn't have the superdrive. I decided that whichever Mac I got, whether it was a laptop or a desktop, would not have the superdrive. I figured I'd try to save some money and not get one with the superdrive because when it came time to transfer my finished video to dvd, I would feed it back into my dv camcorder, then load it onto one of my Panasonic dvd recorders and record it onto a dvd-r from there.
    This process works pretty good. It's a little extra work, but it still gets the job done. And, if I want, down the line I can always buy a dvd-r/rw for my Mac.
    It's too bad that you don't have a Mac specialty store nearby you to test one out. Take my word for it though, they work very good. This is not to say anything bad about pcs though, it's just that I've been having some problems with video editing with my pcs. I'm not sure if it's a corruption problem or what, but everytime I try to do video editing with my pcs, I get frame drop outs. I don't know what's causing it, but it doesn't concern me at this time. My Mac is doing a great job and that's what's important.
    If you ask me, go ahead and buy the G4 ibook laptop when you're ready to after the first of the year. From what I've read, all of the new model Macs do a great job at video editing.

    Tunesman.
     

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