Saturday, August 18, 2007

Apple: iMac, MacBook, and movie making

Recently some friends have asked me about the Mac. I have an original iMac from 2002, that had certain problems when I tried to burn DVDs, and it had some problems with IE. I remember buying it at the Apple store in the Mall of America near Minneapolis, an awkward location (even on the first level) since it is a long way to parting; but I remember the "Genius Bar" there for support. Right now I use it to play DVD’s. I used to have a technical support subscription, and have once replaced the Mac OS X with OS Panther (there are newer “feline” OS’s). Once, to get a DVD burner unlocked I had to call Apple Support, and they had me go into terminal mode and enter some bizarre Linux commands executing various proprietary Apple scripts (rather like Perl) to free it.

I’ve looked at what Mac offers now. A couple of years ago they were promoting G4’s G5’s etc. Now they use the buzzword MacBook and MacBook Pro. The main Apple Store website with comparisons and prices is this:

The most expensive of these machines runs $2800 and has a 17 inch screen, fine for anamorphic films.

Many home users would be satisfied with the cheaper iMac’s, and the page is with the top machine running $2300.

My interest would be film editing. Of course, the iMac has iMovie, a simplified editor that is good enough for “amateur” films and has some sophistication. I’ve made a 34 minute documentary film with it that is still technically too crude to present formally. The professional editor is Final Cut Studio, which can be enhanced with Logic Pro for music and Shake for advanced digital compositing (animation, rotoscope, some of the special effects that one sees in the director’s contests like “The Lot” on Fox). The websites are (about $1300) (about $1000) (expensive, about $5000)

It appears that these run on MacBook Pro. (I’m not sure about iMac.) I took a course in Final Cut in 2002 in Minnesota at IFPMSP there, and at the time, smaller Apple’s were linked in series to run it. It has come a long way. For a while, Apple was offering a reduced price on Final Cut with some computer purchases, but I don’t see that there now.

Any visitor who can give links or info on what runs on what is encouraged to comment.

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