“I just bought a Canon HF100 and want to get a new computer. I have always used PCs but am considering a Mac. I have spent days online researching the two options and cannot make up my mind. It seems that the Mac and PC options are both very slow and difficult. I want to record home video on HF100, burn raw AVCHD to standard DVD for permanent backup, do some editing and then burn to standard DVD in 1080 to watch on my PS3 without any noticeable degradation. Based on the simple things I want to do with my new camcorder, what do you suggest I buy and what steps should I follow to get 1080 to
standard DVD for PS3.”
There’s really no right answer here, both Mac and PC solutions will get you the result you want. AVCHD video files are more complex to edit than the tape HDV format and will take longer to work with as a result. Here’s some suggestions to help narrow down your choice:
If you go with the PC, using Pinnacle Studio Plus and a standard DVD burner, you can create AVCHD DVDs that will play on your PS3 with no degradation. If you create a standard definition DVD, you’ll be down to 480p, which will be at considerably lower resolution than creating an AVCHD disk on a standard DVD. The advantage of the 480p disk is it also plays in regular set top DVD players. Both the AVCHD disk and a standard 480p disk can be created using Pinnacle Studio.
On a Mac, I’d strongly recommend using Final Cut Express for editing AVCHD, especially if you’re starting from scratch on a Mac. iMovie 08 and newer on Intel Macs will edit AVCHD, but Final Cut Express has a much stronger feature set and does a superior job of handling the AVCHD files. To burn AVCHD disk to a standard DVD blank, you need Toast Titanium Pro. iDVD will create a standard 480p DVD for your, but again, you’re looking at standard definition resolution.
If you are already familiar with using PCs, stick with a PC. The hardware is cheaper and all the video editing software companies have been through multiple generations of their software for editing AVCHD. Apple waited longer to release AVCHD support for both iMovie and Final Cut. Both Mac and PC editing methods are similar, so it really boils down to what you are comfortable with. A Mac with the same specs as a PC will definitely cost more, but depending on who the PC manufacturer is, the Apple hardware may be more reliable.