MAC vs PC for Indie Filmmaking (Dec 2012)

Hi everybody, I know, OS debates are plenty on the internet, but there are fewer with an emphasis on filmmaking, and even fewer ones that are up to date.
I'm an aspiring filmmaker who would like to use audio editing tools like Pro Tools and Propellerhead Reason, then Photoshop and a program for 2D animation, Adobe After Effects and EITHER Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, or Adobe Premiere Pro, in that order. FCP was a leading software in film editing for a long time, but now that FCP X is said to be much worse, I'll have to see if I'll use one of the others, or maybe FCP's previous version. Even though that'd be another topic, I wanted to mention it because the choice also depends on the OS I'll be using.

Many say that one should use the system one is most comfortable with, and I've been using Windows for a long time, but I think I'd be quick to adapt to Apple. My priority is technical aspects, as I want to know which one would be better and faster at handling the above mentioned programs, as well as large files, in order to make films. And of course budget is of concern, which is why I made this thread in the first place, as Apple seems to be much more expensive and I wondered if a cheaper PC would be good enough for my needs.
Now I know there are many different choices in MACs and especially PCs, and as it'd naturally be too much to go into every one for others with the same problem I'm having, I'll just list the ones I am interested in for you to compare.

The Apple product of my choice would be the 15-inch MacBook Pro 500GB for $1799.
More details here (in english).

And my Windows machine of choice would be the LENOVO ThinkPad T530 i5-3210M 500GB for ca. 1250$.
For more details you can google the model for reviews.

Add. note: The most significant difference between the two I found was in their processors, Apple having an Intel Core i7 and the Lenovo an Intel Core i5. I think the i5 would be sufficient for my needs considering the big price difference, but if you disagree, please tell me. I also dont know if 4GB RAM (both of my choices have that) would be enough for those sort of programs. All in all I think the PC would be almost just as good as the MAC, but I'm not a great expert, so tell me if I missed any other big differences.

(PS: The prices listed in the links are in Euro, which is much more than in Dollars, so you can either convert the currency and compare, or just compare the $-prices I listed above, as that is the original pricing in the USA.)
 
Here's my question to add to the mix.

I am ready to shoot my third feature next month on the Canon 7D and have come realize that I will need a major computer upgrade to edit it.

I am considering going the Sony Vegas/ PC route rather than continuing the Mac/ Final Cut route due to cost and that my partner has Vegas currently.

My big concern is that Distribber notes on their FAQ page that they require a deliverable format of ProRes 422 HQ which Vegas does not output.

Is it a simple matter to convert Mpeg 4 or Mov to pro res 422 hq? Or will going PC
create problems in creating proper deliverables down the line?

Thanks, Phil
 
I haven't used Avid so this is purely hypothetical, but I've used FCP and Premiere Pro. When I started learning FCP (after using Premiere for a number of years) it was a really smooth transition, now looking at pictures of Avid, it appears reasonably similar, layout wise, to both FCP and Premiere, so I predict that it would not be too hard to adapt.

Thanks, and thanks to jax rox, for this, I'm certainly glad to hear that! So yeah, I think I may go with Avid. Also because it's a handy thing to be able to use in the trade.

Audio post especially, even at the low/no/mini/micro budget level, involves huge track counts and large numbers of CPU hogging plug-ins, slowing the responsiveness of the drive with the audio session on it, so putting the video on a third drive also contributes to a more optimal experience by reducing the strain on the audio and OS/software drives.

Thanks for the info, now that I've found a good, yet cheaper laptop, I may invest into a third HDD.

OK. Reason provides a lot of tools and processors for a very low price. Excellent for the newbie to learn and practise the basics of synthesis, sampling, signal routing and processing. Getting so many tools for so little cost inevitably results in compromised quality. Like pretty much everything else in the film making and audio world, the lower the quality of equipment the more experience and talent you need to help compensate. Reason is a good starting point though.

G

Yeah, sounds good for me then. Although I've heard about it being a professional tool, and not just a starting point. For musicians at least (admittedly probably less so for film sound designers), I've heard that the Beastie Boys used it since ca. 2004 among others.

As for the rest of the system, you definitely get what you pay for. If you pieced together a PC of comparable quality, you'd be looking at similar costs. You can build cheaper PCs, sure, but out of lower-quality parts.

Hmm... after a few days of further investigation I have found that to be not entirely true -- at least spec-wise.

After much research I have found a final laptop that I've decided on. It's the Asus N56VM-S4082V i7-3610QM, and here are its specs:
- Intel® Core™ i7-3610QM prozessor (up to 3,3 GHz), Quad-Core
- 15" Full HD 16:9 LED Display (non-glare)
- 16 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M Grafik (2048 MB), HDMI, USB 3.0, WLAN-n, BT
And it's half the price of a 15" MacBook Pro. If anybody should have any warnings for me considering my decision, please tell me. So far, I don't see any problems with it, so I think I'm gonna go with it.
 
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Although I've heard about it [Reason] being a professional tool, and not just a starting point. For musicians at least (admittedly probably less so for film sound designers), I've heard that the Beastie Boys used it since ca. 2004 among others.

In music and to a lesser extent in sound, there is no absolute right or wrong. It's more a case of appropriate or inappropriate. If you want a low-fi type electronic sound then Reason could be an appropriate professional tool otherwise it would be far more inappropriate.

G
 
If sound is the main reason for buying a mac/pc i would alsways choose a mac, as mac OS and also i guess linux has a zero latency kernel, which means if you are recording audio straight to pc (voice overs, to pro tools whatever) you dont get any lag between the sound happening and it recording on screen, however with windows you do.

I've seen a few posts on this thread about people building hackintoshes, I would steer clear of them if its for anything important, I have built one in the past and they have major stability issues, granted it is possible to build a pc from scratch that uses almost the exact parts as an imac or whatever, but they never run quite the same.

OP avid is a really good choice, not as nice to look at as FCP but avid is probably more industry standard and also has really good real time playback/edit, once you have converted the footage to the avid format.

personally I would spend the extra money on a mac, mainly because the operating system is a much better design, and they generally last a lot longer than a pc even on the same hardware.

just my 2 cents, cant wait to get flamed :D
 
OP avid is a really good choice, not as nice to look at as FCP but avid is probably more industry standard and also has really good real time playback/edit, once you have converted the footage to the avid format.

Yeah, even using AMA Link, realtime playback is great, depending on your setup. I'm running a late 2011 27" iMac and had ProRes 4444, 422, Canon H.264s, and DNxHD files of both 25fps and 23.97fps running in the one sequence all via AMA Link and the real time playback was astonishingly perfect (running MC 6.0)
 
yay didn't get flamed, thank you for the vote of confidence escher!

and jax, your right I use avid fairly regularly, yet every time I import lots of footage or high res footage, i'm still always surprised by how real time it is, and avid itself seems to be a lot less computer intense than other programs i've used. I also like avid's straight compatibility with pro tools, improves work flow a bit!
 
If sound is the main reason for buying a mac/pc i would alsways choose a mac, as mac OS and also i guess linux has a zero latency kernel, which means if you are recording audio straight to pc (voice overs, to pro tools whatever) you dont get any lag between the sound happening and it recording on screen, however with windows you do.

Not necessarily true. It depends on the software, audio driver and/or sound card used. It's perfectly possible to have close to zero latency on a Windows machine and enough latency on a MAC to cause problems.

G
 
Yes audio post you are correct, however with windows because of the design of the operating system, you either have to buy good equipment or start spending time changing settings and buffer sizes and Bit depth, however you can load up your mac and open garage band, and already have near real time recording, Which to me is super important, for recording music, using softsynths, recording voice overs, etc.
 
We're a mostly PC Workflow. Edit in Premiere on PC and do first level of audio on Sonar on PC. Portions of the audio post process are MAC based though. Final stage of audio is done on Pro Tools on MAC and portions of the music mastering is done on a MAC based system also.
 
I would say go macbook pro. With fcp, protools, and the full creative suite from Adobe. If the full suite is to expensive pick the 2 or 3 you need most. I've heard the after effects is better than Motion, but I know Motion is more cost effective and a good product.
 
If you're going laptop, I'll echo the "get a MacBook pro" sentiment. They are incredibly well-built and worth every penny.

Desktop systems are debatable -- sure, you can build a cheaper machine with similar specs, but the hardware will be a tad flimsier. And you'll be running Windows, also a downside. :)

Except for RAM. Never buy your RAM from Apple as theirs actually is ridiculously overpriced.
 
Sorry for bumping this, but I figured it'd be better than to create a whole new topic, and it kinda still is on topic, because it still concerns the laptop I've been thinking about getting and have yet to buy, and will finally do in just a few days.
So, I have yet another question, this time concerning the graphic's card of the machine: Is the NVIDIA GeForce GT 635M sufficiently good for editing with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects? Because I could also buy one with a GT 650M, but that'd be pricier, and so I'd have to cut corners elsewhere, like, say downgrade from getting 16GB RAM to 12GB maybe.

[And for the record: I've decided on the Asus N56VZ, probably S4016H]
 
I think the rule generally comes down to: "get the absolute best hardware you can realistically afford". Cheaper in the short-term does not translate to cheaper in the long-term.
 
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