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I’m moving more into audio for picture lately and I am trying to decide to go for a new PC or Mac running Protools. I know all the arguments for and against but I’m trying to come at it from a different angle. If I went with PC would there be any issue working with clients. For example if I get OMF’s , video files to sync and external hard drives to provide me with audio and video elements could there be anything that would be an issue for me?

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I made the switch to PC for my home system over two years ago now. I haven't had any issues, and I occassionally move projects between my system at home and at work (where I use a Mac). Most of the time, I use flash based media or data DVDs to transfer files. You'll only have trouble reading from flash based media if you format it on a Mac (no issue if you leave it the same format as you purchased it).

If you do make the switch to PC, you may want to purchase a copy of MacDrive by Media Four ($50 for the basic version). It will allow your computer to format and read Mac formatted (HFS/HFS+) drives. You can even keep an internal drive on your system formatted that way. The only caveat with that is that I would suggest keeping all files for any given project restricted to a single drive format (all on NTFS drives, or all on HFS+ drives). Reading files from the multiple formats within one session can cause problems...not always, but why give yourself the potential headache?

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    Same here, have always used PC, but interface with Mac-based editors/stages all the time without issue. MacDrive is definitely key (when considering that most of our peers and facilities are sharing HFS+ formatted travel drives). The only recommendation I have is not the use MacDrive to format HFS drives, use OSX. I've spoken with them on this and they currently don't support formatting drives Journaled (but they read/write to Journaled just fine). Learned the hard way on this when a bug in MacDrive 9 (now fixed) resulted in my FX drive catalog file/drive header corrupting. – Stavrosound Jan 13 '13 at 18:36
  • The drive was formatted in HFS+ with MacDrive, and that lack of Juornaling which I never new that it DIDN'T HAVE resulted in the drive's data being blown out - even if it was Journaled it could have been a problem, but likely smaller. Needless to say that was a pain to rebuild, but thank god for backups. Again though, I held their feet to the fire pretty hard with this bug and the finally determined the source of the issue and fixed it - it had to do with how the drive header was accessed/buffered in memory (leaving the drive structure open to instability should something go awry like a BSOD) – Stavrosound Jan 13 '13 at 18:40
  • The one caveat about v9 of MacDrive though is that they dropped support for steams (basically, resource-fork dependent file types like SD2). If you use v9 and do ANYTHING to an SD2 file (copy, rename, move, etc) that file will immediately be corrupted. They wrote me a custom Registry toggle to re-enable this legacy functionality so that SD2s can be handled and even transferred to NTFS drives without issue - ultimately trying to get a bunch of SD2's converted but as it's taking a lot of time, I needed this functionality fix in the interim. Would be happy to share if needed. But it a caveat. – Stavrosound Jan 13 '13 at 18:48
  • And by corrupt I mean not even Quicktime nor even the lower-level Sd2toWAV could read/convert it (even when forcing what the known parameters of the sample rate/bit depth were. When the fork gets stripped, the file was useless. – Stavrosound Jan 13 '13 at 18:53
  • @Stavrosound - thanks for the copious documentation. I hadn't encountered that formatting issue, as I haven't actually bothered to create a Mac formatted drive using my PC. The bit about SD2 files is interesting as well, though you're probably the only person I know who still deals with them ever. ;) – Shaun Farley Jan 13 '13 at 19:35
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You can also make a Windows partiiton on your hard drive for your Mac so that you can boot into either platform. You can then install ProTools on both operating systems so that you can use either for your sound work.

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I have been on mac for many years now since I got tired of constantly having trouble mounting mac discs on my pc and the other way around. It probably works better today, but I would seriously consider looking into what the other guys in your area use. There is no reason to be the only pc guy in an all-mac neighborhood (or the opposite).

I live in Copenhagen, Denmark, and I have made around 15 feature films as supervising sound editor /sound designer over the last 10 years. I have only once encountered a pc based system in audio post, that I had to exchange files with. It was a foley recording facility in Paris, France, which used Pyramix. They were able to export their project into an old ProTools format, and I was able to import it. I have recieved ProTools files from Stockholm, Prague, Germany, Macedonia, New York and London, most of them using mac as their platform.

If mac is the answer, you may have to spend more on the computer, but you might spend a lot less time on converting files. Go for the solution with the least technological hassle, and spend more time on working with sound.

-Morten

  • it is MUCH better now, Morten. there's no time spent converting files if the system is set up properly. i wouldn't have made the switch to pc if the workflow wasn't efficient. – Shaun Farley Jan 20 '13 at 12:54
  • That is good to hear, Shaun. – Morten Green Jan 20 '13 at 18:17
  • +1 to Shaun. I'm a PC user and most of my peers are shocked when they find out... because when we've worked together over the years, even with large stages on big shows, they never knew I wasn't using a Mac. – Stavrosound Jan 20 '13 at 22:48
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If you and who you work with stick to the supported and standard file formats (which have cross-platform and cross-application support), then no.

One situation where you could run into problems is if your client uses Apple's software (e.g. Final Cut). As obviously Apple's file formats have little to no support on Windows.

  • MacDrive from Media Four eliminates any issues with Mac files on Windows systems, but it's really only a problem if you're trying to copy files from Mac formatted drives. Transferring via FTP/Dropbox/etc., unformatted flash based media (how you bought it) or data DVDs is not an issue. – Shaun Farley Jan 13 '13 at 18:06
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When it came to the comments I got a bit lost about Juornaling but overall from what I've read I should be safe enough with a PC if I use Mac Drive.

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journaling_file_system (Think of it like auto saves every so often versus everything being held in RAM - journaling is a different concept, but the basic metaphor explains the gist of it - essentially, you always want an Journaled file system, such as HFSJ versus vanilla HFS) – Stavrosound Jan 13 '13 at 20:49
  • Another way to understand it is, let's say you have one HFS drive and one HFSJ drive, both of which are trasnfering files to your main drive. If the HFSJ one crashes mid transfer (loses bus power, system crashes, etc), as long as the hardware didn't short out or something, when you fire everything up again usually the only corruption (if there is even noe) will be on whatever specific file was being transferred at that moment. If this happens with an HFS drive, it's quite safe to assume the entire directory structure/catalog file is completely corrupted, so a great chance everything is lost. – Stavrosound Jan 13 '13 at 21:06

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