poppy field

Having spent the best part of 40 years looking through a viewfinder of some sort, sitting in front of a computer editing photos or videos, producing websites and managing social media accounts, it’s a very strange feeling to now say when asked, “I’m retired".

Despite no longer taking on commercial paid work, it’s virtually impossible to suddenly stop what you’ve been doing for the best part of your working life so, for the past 24 months I’ve been taking on work on a ‘pro-bono’ basis for church, charity or voluntary organisations. I hope that my experience, skills and equipment can now be put to good use to those who perhaps, don’t have the budget or funding to produce what they want or need for their media requirements.

The following 'blog' items are a mixture, some from when I was working commercially and now, some new items that might be of interest.

I bought an iMac!

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If you’ve been reading any of the previous posts you’ll have seen the problems with my 2010 MacPro Quad and it’s overheating on load. A new 4Gb GFX card failed to fix it, a software fan control program worked for a while but then the problem started again! Time on Google suggested the thermal paste used on the processor may be failing, after a stressful edit that needed to be mastered to a deadline, I realised it was probably time to look for a replacement machine……

eBay showed many 5.1 MacPro’s from around £700 to £2000 but I really needed something quickly for a regular Youtube Church edit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I found what looked to be an interesting machine in Halesowen, a 2015 27” iMac with a 3.2 GHz Quad-Core i5, Radeon R9 2Gb GFX, 32Gb RAM and running Catalina, from a Mac dealer at a competitive price to anything on eBay. Previously I would never have considered an iMac due to it’s ‘locked down’ format, I’ve been switching hard drives, PCI cards and RAM in MacPro’s for years and an iMac always seemed to be a no-go for user upgrades or repairs.

A phone call to the shop on the Saturday morning confirmed it was still available so, within a few minutes I was in the car on the way to Halesowen, about an hours drive away. We found the tiny shop tucked away behind some scaffolding, with masks on we knocked on the door and it was unlocked by the only person in the shop.

The iMac was on display and turned on, the 5K Retina screen looked stunning, at this point I really had no other options to be in a position to edit the following week’s Church service so I bought it on the spot. |t came with Bluetooth keyboard, Apple mouse and 6 months warranty which we extended for a further 6 months, Liam was a true Mac enthusiast before being a salesman and I’d certainly recommend The MacBook Specialists in Halesowen for a good used Mac.

Back home a little juggling of desk space and the iMac was up and running, I logged into my Apple account and downloaded FCPX along with a few other minor Apps, this machine was to be dedicated to video editing with FCPX as I could still use my 2010 machine for web, email, Photoshop etc, I also still have, a fully working MacPro 4.1 Quad 2.66 with 32Gb RAM and a 10.3 version of FCPX as an emergency backup with a swappable boot drive for Mavericks and FCP7!

By Monday morning I was happy the iMac was setup enough to be able to edit that weeks Church service, the first footage arrived on the Wednesday morning and by lunchtime on the Friday the edit was ready to be uploaded to YouTube, the Retina screen took a bit of getting used to but everything else worked fine, it was certainly a lot quicker to master out on than the 5.1 MacPro and now 2 weeks on it’s as if I’ve been using it for years!

The only workflow change I had to make was the DVD. Apple killed off the DVD but some of the Church members in local Nursing homes, only have a TV / DVD player in their room and no Internet connection so I’ve been producing 8 DVD’s each week for those people and a couple of other Church members without an Internet connection. Apple Compressor allows export as DVD so I can just network to the MacPro and burn the DVD there, an external DVD recorder could be used, but then there are only so many USB devices you can plug into an iMac…..

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