A question for the professionals : Mac or PC?


My girlfriend is currently studying Visual Arts with an emphasis in film at her university. She is a PC user, however she is constantly critisized by people who say that in film, Macs are the standard and the only way to go (Final cut Pro instead of Adobe Premier, which she uses). Because this is a professional forum, I was hoping someone could shed some light on this issue: is a PC user at a disadvantage in a film career? In her specific case, budget is an issue and she is looking to build a work station.

Thank you for your input =)


i don’t think pc is a disadvantage to make films, but i do suggest to maybe look into Avid Mediacomposer instead of premiere. (or alongside premiere)


A variety of operating systems are used in the film industry today. To say one is better than the other is just plain silly. However within specific areas of the film industry certain OS’s do seem to become more common - such as in the editing room as a Mac + Final Cut seems to be making popular ground on Avid. That being said if the OS, hardware and software (or more importantly, the person using the tools) is able to do the job then does it matter what brand of OS is attached to the tools.


… I second that.


…because of one simple concept: cost factor.

The only studios I know of that (for certain) use Macs in production are the crews working on low-budget cartoons, such as South Park or Adult Swim cartoons from Cartoon Network. The quality of animation in South Park is intentionally low-budget, obviously, although this does’t affect South Park’s status as the Greatest Cartoon on Earth, of course.

But big studios would be foolhardy to aquire or use Macs in their pipelines. The reason schools have Macs is the same as it was in the early 80’s: Apple gives them special financing in the hopes that teaching Apples to youngsters will make them “Mac 4 Life” people.

The same math holds true now as it does then. In 1984:

Commodore 64
1MHz processor

Apple II
1MHz processor

Nothing has really changed for Apple. They use inferior hardware and have a preposterous markup involved. Today, you can equal a Mac Pro’s power for a similar fraction of the cost using other hardware, and most big studios know this because they know how to do basic math, or if they don’t then they hire accountants who know basic math.

So any studio purchasing 100 Macs would be at an instant eight-fold disadvantage to any other studio using non-proprietary computers. AMD or Intel, Nvidia or ATI, it doesn’t matter really. When it comes to financing, a studio could use non-Apple computers and pay for their workers salaries based on this difference alone. In turn, Apple-using studios would have to either cut wages for their employees to make up the difference or somehow be more productive or effective, which a non-Apple company could also do anyway. Anyone actually researching the issue scientifically would come to the same conclusion : Macs aren’t worth the ridiculous and fabled Apple markup. There is no quality gain, no production benefit for spending more money for no reason other than to have an Apple logo on your system.

When it comes to software, Final Cut Pro gained it’s popularity for one simple reason : they put “pro” in the title. Adobe doesn’t care about such marketing gimmicks, they just make excellent cross-platform titles which rock. Premiere and After-Effects have powered teleivision and movies for years behind the scenes, and almost every show, movie, or commercial you’ve ever seen went through one of these. Final Cut Pro brings nothing new to the table except the ease-of-use which is common ground for Mac users, which can be interpreted as being a wonderful thing, but which in reality means that they have to dumb things down considerable to cater to the non-technical average Mac user.

I’d have to agree with your girlfriend on this one. She should have no problem building a powerful workstation for a fraction of the cost of one single Mac. AMD and Intel both make solutions to do so from the processor end, and the GPU war between ATI and Nvidia only helps prices drop in the long run.


HA! you’re so funny! … unfortniatly you’re talking out of your **s :slight_smile:
hell, i use pc’s and mac’s all the time and i don’t have any preference for one or the other but the stuff you say is way out of proportion

and btw. do you know howmuch a mac costs compaired to a decent workstation? you talk like macs cost 50x more then pc’s (get your head out of the 90s) while the price of a decent mac and a decent pc are well compairable and deffinatly not to a point where a company will have to pay their staff breadcrumbs, if that were the case every graphics and audio company in the world would be broke.


… I won’t tolerate personal attacks. And I never said anything about Macs costing fifty times more than a non-proprietary computer, the number I gave was eight. I also don’t take insults seriously from someone who can’t even form a complete sentence.

The question was about professional Mac use, not personal opinions.


I doubt it gained popularity purely based on putting ‘pro’ in the title. I’m under the impression that Premiere’s marketshare in the world of professional NLE is quite a bit less than Avid and Final Cut. I can name a number of films that never saw a single copy of either Premiere or After Effects (now that’s not to discredit them as tools, just to point out your over-exageration is quite large).

Sorry I can’t be more helpful on the original question Saiato, but it’s not really as straight forward as “Apple Mac’s are used in the media industry because they’re better at graphics and stuff”, because often times a Mac may not be the best/better tool for the job.

Maybe once your girlfriends knows more about what she needs the workstation to do then that might help the decision, as Premiere or Final Cut may have certain pros or cons when working in different types of situations. And while I personally don’t think it’ll affect her chances of finding work or getting the job done, I sure there are many producers and potential clients out there with “Macs equal better at graphics and stuff” floating around in there head.


Hi Saiato

I see you are based in the US. It’s true. Macs are practically universal in the film industry. (From your post I take it your girfriend is studying Film Production in general, not anything to do with 3D animation or VFX.)

IOW, computer use is more about word processing, spreadsheets and databases. There are alot of specialist, commercially available software packages specifically for things like Camera Neg reports/rushes logging, script supervision (script continuity), AD and prod management (scheduling for Call Sheets, Script Breakdowns, Wrap Summaries , etc etc). If her course uses alot of this kind of software (perhaps she can ask?) I recommend she go for a Mac for compatibility’s sake. Bummer, I know.


To get back to the original question. Its not about the tools, its about how you use the tools. So if a Mac works for you, than you use a Mac. If windows does the trick for you, that use a windows.

Personally I do find working on a mac smoother. But what I create on a mac I could do it with the same effort on a windows pc. Though, I think/feel a Mac is more stable, and i’ve had less chrashes on it.

People who say that macs are way overpriced, or people who say that mac is the only way for graphics artist clearly still think like a decade ago.


…if his girlfriend would suffer for preferring Windows. I think we all concur there is a sufficient market for Windows users worldwide…

As for pricing, Macs are STILL vastly more expensive than building your own system from scratch. I recently saw a page comparing a MacPro tower to a Dell, where the Dell was more expensive. This is probably true, but comparing a Mac and a Dell is comparing apples and apples.

You could build a comparably powerful workstation for 1/3 the price of a MacPro Tower, with better parts up and down the scale. I could break out pricelists, but I think his girlfriend is already in the know…


youre comparing too much on a mac system. you use pc’s with windows os then compare youre savings on a dell or any other branded pc, i think its biased to compare youre savings against a mac considering the fact that your clone pc cant run OSX if not cracked or bootleg.

and to saiato, final cut is standard in the industry and i advice that your gf take a route to learn the software. Now why is final cut the standard? i dont really know the statistics, but in a production house i used to work, everytime theres a deliberation on purchasing equipment, mac systems mostly convinces the bosses. Why? media composer is expensive :smiley:


Comparing too much? That was the point of this thread.

Clone PC? What’s “clone” about brand-name parts that outperform others? PC stands for “personal computer”, which is exactly what a Mac is just as well as a Windows-based PC or a Linux PC. The only computers that aren’t personal are those without operating systems; servers and render nodes and such. The only “Clone PC” around is the Macintosh: it borrows every nuance of technology from others’ hard work.

Final Cut the standard in the industry, because you claim to have worked at one studio? Final Cut is the MS Paint of video editing. It’s no more the standard than notepad.exe is the standard for text-editing.

Media Composer is expensive? It’s the same price as a Mac. That’s absurd, especially considering nobody runs “Media Composer”. Avid isn’t exactly a high-end software company. The “bosses” wouldn’t be convinced at all.

My point in being so deliberate is that every single claim Mac users make against Windows and Linux is simply and easily refuted, if one does any research at all. Mac users have been suckered into a marketing scheme, and hey, who doesn’t like to be controlled by misinforming (lying) commercials and overpriced hardware? It’s just good fun to throw your money away.


Well lord…yes its too much comparison, considering saiato is just asking what route to take best for his gf to build her film career. And others have already implied the standards that the industry is using (kudos to earlyworm, tagger, rickmeister etc.). And the answers were simple(like macs are :D), thanks to them.

well, in our part of the world final cut is a standard, now whether that applies in your country or not i dont know. but as far as im concerned, im better off using an editing workstation on a mac rather than a built up pc, i just dont want to mind the hassle of too much research. Now if a branded pc is way cheaper than the best mac, id greatly consider, why? guess. Souped up pc’s always has been a problem of mine when it comes to editing workstations. I dont know, maybe i just happen to follow hardware requirements and yet things get quirky. When i had an HP, it was easier, just call for them to fix technical problems. i opted not to get deeper on tech jargon, my apoligies. Yet again maybe i get sleepy doing too much technical research that id rather get hardware that works and experiment more on after effects.

Media composer is the same price as a mac? so it is expensive :slight_smile: Nobody runs media composer anymore? too bad. Well i guess i better email avid and tell them to drop xpress pro and rather price media composer as xpress pro :slight_smile: As you have pointed out that they are as priced as a mac, the bosses wouldnt just approve that the software is priced as a system.

Besides im just trying to give advice to saiato. in my perspective, it is better to build your way from final cut because it, as lord… have said, is notepad to text as fcp is to editing in a mac, and then build your way up to the microsoft word equivalent of editing. If you have enough funds to buy a workstation and an editing system that is more than a notepad equivalent, say a wordpad equivalent, then by all means buy it. But if youre gf’s a student i highly doubt it.

If you go fcp, get a quad G5, thats more than enough and i think prices are considerable now than mac pros are out. And if youre gf opt to budget your workstation, i think premiere or xpress pro is the way to go. Whether its branded or not, i dunno, ask the experts. In my experience, get a branded one if windows based. The life line’s better and spares you from headaches.


Whether its branded or not, i dunno, ask the experts.

That’s why he brought this thread up in the first place. I gave my expert opinion, and based it off facts on top of that. Your opinion is based on your limited experience in the Phillipines, which is a nice land, but a very tiny place in the world perspective. I live in Seattle, at the brain of United States CG. I don’t mean to be elitist, but your experience is very limited if you believe that Macs are in any way superior to Windows or Linux computers.

(kudos to earlyworm, tagger, rickmeister etc.)

Giving “kudos” to people who agree with you doesn’t make you or them “right”.

Souped up pc’s always has been a problem of mine when it comes to editing workstations.

The Mac is just a not-so-souped up Personal Computer, as I explained earlier.

When i had an HP, it was easier, just call for them to fix technical problems.

You had an HP, and you’re basing your experience off of that? The fact that you had to call them for technical problems means you really don’t know enough about PC’s to be qualified to support any OS, much less make selling points regarding them.

RedComet, I consider your opinion valid. I just consider it wrong, entirely misinformed, and very non-professional.


Ok, if you’re saying that FCP isnt a standard or avid isnt high-end or stuff like that, they you know nothing, absolutely NOTHING about the industry.

Personaly i visit a lot of companies, do a lot of editing, talk all the time with both senior and junior editors all the time, both in traditional filmmaking, broadcast and cg/vfx, basicly on a daily basis both localy and international and they ALL agree that fcp and avid are industry standards, even the few that don’t use it in their pipeline. And if they decide on buying new suites and it turns out they need mac’s for that, they just buy macs, they hardly even question that appart from some possible network/renderfarm issues. So you must be living in some superindustry where all the rest is wrong :slight_smile:

Your opinion is based on your limited experience in the Phillipines, which is a nice land, but a very tiny place in the world perspective.

that’s just arrogant and borderline racist, why couldnt the Philipines have decent editingstudio’s? there’s a lot of great editing beeing done outside seatle which may be hard to believe, but it’s true.


your email must have worked because they did that a couple of weeks ago :wink:


Wow so much bias and missinformation. Tagger is right on the money here, Avid and FinalCut Studio are firmly entrenched industry standards in both the film and broadcast worlds.

As far as PC vs. Mac… Go with which ever one fits the pipeline of the tools you will be using or the company you will be working for. I don’t think your girlfriend will suffer by not owning a Mac though she may be well served to learn the interface and poke around FCP in case she tries to get a job with a company that uses Macs.


How does any comment about a geographical location imply any loathing, scorn or hatred of someone’s race? I’m Korean, not American. I said nothing about his race, you’re the only one spewing hate and insults here, Tagger.

And my professional, educated opinion still stands, and here is my justification: she already uses Windows-based PC’s. Which puts her far above (in intelligence) than a Mac user, who struggles with basic functions like turning off or on the computer, working with multiple mouse buttons, etc. His girlfriend is already in the upper tier of PC users, and to suggest to her that she needs to dumb herself down just to get a meager low-end job working with low-end software and tools is downright silly, and “borderline sexist”. See how easy that is to turn around, Tagger?

I know that people become easily offended during inflammatory topics like this, because you feel that I’m insulting your intelligence. I’m not. I know for fact that you all have the ability to learn (thus, intelligence) because you learned how to read and write. Now, you just need to learn the differences between toy computers and work computers. These things take time, nobody expects Mac fans to learn how real computers work overnight, and neither do I.

Don’t take these comments as a personal insult, I meant to be informative to Saiato, not argue with you underachievers about your preference of PC’s. Attempting to defame or disregard my opinion here is unneccessary.


Lordstormdragon, to postulate that Mac users have somehow an inferior level of intelligence is arrogant, boorish and frankly stupid. There are no upper tiers of computing here, only the best tool for the given job. Maybe you live in a place where Windows based systems are the best for what you do and thats fine. None of the systems people are suggesting are “toy” computers by any stretch of the imagination.