I’ve been mulling this one over for a few months now. Here I sit in my studio with a MacPro tower, a few outboard HDDs and a few thousand in software. Every day or so a tweet comes through my timeline with rumors of a disappearing pro line Apple towers and now, almost completely unlocked Davinci Resolve Lite. However, only lacking in 3D, Noise Reduction and greater than 1080 capacity, it’s a program that’s far from “Lite.” If you’re not using it, get it, download it, know it. Used properly, it will completely change your project for the better. (And if you don’t know how to grade, take the money you just saved and get to an ICA course).
So, I’m looking at the advancements in quad-core tablet technology, computer processing speeds and now the array of perephrial options with Thunderbolt and USB3 and I’m going to venture to say the day of the big tower is over. If I was spec’ing a new system, I’d get an off-the-shelf HP laptop with accident protection, comes with E34/54, a couple USB 3 ports, FW ports or a Mac Mini, or MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt. I’d spend another grand or less at Blackmagic Design getting my I/O of choice (monitoring only because who really captures anymore?), pick up a cinema-grade finishing app for free, go over and buy Avid or Adobe and be done!
Then recycle that old camera with an onboard recorder (cheaper than a new cam in most cases and it’s only a matter of time before the Hyperdeck Shuttle does DNxHD in my opinion). Continue to upgrade with a get a dedicated piece of audio post software, audio and video monitors etc. Your new studio is massively scaleable and for all intents and purposes, cheap. It’s a great day to be an indy, an NGO, a ministry etc. The tools are so cheap, the technology is so much better that you don’t need what you needed in the past to get amazing work done.
Of course, you have to know the tools and how to use them well but that’s for another day.