The Switch: Journal of an Apple Fanboy’s Move to the PC – Part 1
By Bill Pryor
It’s been close to 20 years since my then-partner and I went into serious debt for our first Avid system. Like most NLEs then, it was Mac-based. After working on the Mac for a few weeks I sold my office and home PCs and switched totally to Macs. Today I write on a MacBook Air, my wife does her work on a MacBook Pro, we have iPads and iPhones in the family, and two Mac Pro edit systems at my office currently running Adobe CS6. Our Apple bona fides are above reproach.
I’m still firmly entrenched in Appleworld, unfortunately for them and myself, that is changing. I’m doing so much personal film festival work these days that it would save me lots of time to have a system at home. And, my wife is a veteran TV news editor who just retired but wants to keep her hand in. So, I have done the unthinkable to a true Applephile and ordered a Toshiba Qosmio 17” gaming laptop and Sony Vegas Pro 12.
I know – total and complete heresy, right?
Heresy No. 1: Going to a PC for professional editing (who the hell edits on a PC?).
Heresy No. 2: Switching to Sony Vegas Pro (who the hell uses Sony Vegas?).
For nearly 20 years I’ve edited on Macs. I started with Avid, moved to FCP when it appeared that Avid was going to dump Mac, moved to Premiere Pro when Apple bagged on Final Cut Pro with the disastrous FCPX. And now I’m going to move to Sony Vegas because Adobe won’t sell their products as a stand-alone software anymore—they want me to rent the cloud version for considerably more money over time (don’t get me started – the whole cloud thing is another article; for now let’s just leave it with: My blood pressure can’t handle it).
The logical questions: Why move to a PC? Why move to Vegas? And if you have to move to a PC, why not use Avid or Lightworks or Grass Valley?
Let’s deal with the PC question first. It’s been a long thought out and difficult decision. After all the searching I’ve done, after all the reading of facts and opinions and trying to separate fact from opinion, the answer to that question is another question: Why not?
The idea that you have to use a Mac to edit professional video is as obsolete today as the idea that you have to shoot on film to be a real cinematographer.
While most of us Mac users think that “everybody” edits on Macs, that hasn’t been true for a number of years. Back when Avid came out with their high end system, Symphony, it was originally PC only. Which means that most of the big production houses also have used PCs in the past. (Symphony works on Macs today).
In television news editing, two systems dominate: Avid’s News Cutter and Grass Valley’s Edius. I’m not sure which one is the most popular, but both are for PC only. So if you’re one of the thousands of TV news editors out there you most likely work on a PC.
While the PC has not been used for as long as the Mac in nonlinear editing, it is firmly established as a professional tool. With Windows 7, the OS finally caught up to Apple’s big cats (now Mavericks). In my very limited (so far) encounters with PCs at work, I’ve found that some things in Windows are easier to use than in OSX, some not as nice. It’s a tossup, really.
So for me, there’s no reason not to try out PC editing. And, after looking at Sony Vegas Pro 12, I decided I wanted to try it out. I’ve been proficient with Avid, FCP and now Premiere Pro, why not go for a hat trick and use all of the Big Four. If I want to use Vegas, then I obviously have to get a PC. Also, the Vegas suite is more suited for what I do today than some other NLEs. More on that later.
Another factor is that when the first Mac Pro at work dies, I’ve decided that it will be replaced with a PC. Because of our network and how I interface with some clients, life will be easier if everything is PC. And, I’m not really interested in spending the company’s money on the new Darth Vader Mac. While it is an exceptional machine from all I’ve read, the cost/benefit ratio for me is just not there. I’m quite conservative when it comes to spending the company’s money.
Also, our IT guy can build out a high end PC that Videoguys.com thinks will be just as kickass as the new Mac for just over $2000 in parts.
While cost is important, another factor is choice. With a Mac I’m limited to Avid or Premiere Pro, although Lightworks is supposed to finally demo their Mac version at NAB soon. I’m not counting Apple’s FCPX because I know of no pro editors using it except for specialized things, and I prefer to stick with mainstream editing techniques.
With a PC, I can go with Avid, Premiere Pro, Vegas, Lightworks, Grass Valley and probably some others I don’t know about. As everyone knows, Avid is, at this writing, having serious financial difficulties and Premiere Pro’s CS6 is rapidly becoming obsolete with no choice to upgrade but with the monthly cloud rental. When Apple fired their professional app programmers who worked on FCP, it was predicted on this board a year in advance that they would dump FCP. When they did, that opened the door of my brain to considering moving to the PC world. It’s taken me nearly two years to do it.
End of Part 1.
Part 2: Buying a PC is Harder than Buying a Mac
Question? Comment? Sound off in our Computer & Editing Forum.