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Old January 27th, 2009, 12:50 PM   #1
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Media Composer 3.1 Minimum PC Reqs

Hello All,
I am thinking of switching from PP CS4 to Avid MC 3.1 at home. I currently have a Quad core Q9500 Intel machine (Gateway FX machine) at 2.66 Ghz, 4 GB RAM (downgraded Vista to XP SP3). ARe these specs good enough to run MC, especially HD editing? (Or should I stick to PP CS4 with Cineform- ProspectHD for smoother performance?)
Thanks in advance.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 01:15 PM   #2
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Avid publishes a list of specifications for their software right on their webpage. That would probably be your best source for info.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 02:35 PM   #3
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Thanks, Perrone. I know the specs from the Avid site. Just thought I would get some "real world" opinions from current users.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 02:56 PM   #4
 
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There are two pretty critical specs you need to pay attention to, as follows:
1-MC works, almost exclusively, with nVidia video cards. ATi cards are problemmatic.
2-MC is very choosy about what audio card you have. Audio integrated with mobo's are problemmatic. Avid recommends Creative SB cards, but, I work well without those cards on my machine.

Finally, you really need 2Gb of RAM. Avid says 4Gb, but, i do fine with 2. Depends on how many video tracks you plan on having.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 03:09 PM   #5
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As Bill mentions, NVidia cards are very important.

Your specs seem fine for HD, and you'll get better performance by transcoding your captured clips to DNxHD, which is kind of Avid's version of an intermediate codec. You just need lots of hard drive space. Media Composer might even capture directly to DNxHD, I'm not sure.

I have an ancient P4 single core with 2 gigs of ram and a soundblaster Audigy. Runs Xpress Pro just fine, and I do okay with HDV if I transcode to DNxHD.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 04:10 PM   #6
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As Bill mentions, NVidia cards are very important.

Your specs seem fine for HD, and you'll get better performance by transcoding your captured clips to DNxHD, which is kind of Avid's version of an intermediate codec. You just need lots of hard drive space. Media Composer might even capture directly to DNxHD, I'm not sure.

I have an ancient P4 single core with 2 gigs of ram and a soundblaster Audigy. Runs Xpress Pro just fine, and I do okay with HDV if I transcode to DNxHD.
Will Avid MC let you transcode to DNxHD even without having the DNA? Just curious. I'm trying to get my new build up to specs for MC as well. Still have PP CS3 at the moment.

*Core2 Quad 9550 2.83GHz, 4GB DDR2 RAM, Nvidia 8600 GTS, 780i Sli mobo, 780W PSU
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Old January 27th, 2009, 05:59 PM   #7
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Will Avid MC let you transcode to DNxHD even without having the DNA?
I don't have MC, I have the last version of Xpress Pro, which was recently discontinued when Avid decided to cut the price of MC software. Xpress Pro cannot capture to DNxHD, but will transcode to it just fine, even without the Mojo. I can't imagine that MC is unable to do the same.

Perhaps you need the Mojo (DNA) to capture directly to DNxHD. I'll let someone who is running MC answer that.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 06:20 PM   #8
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You can transcode to DNxHD in MC 3.1

No problem.

The only way to capture directly to DNxHD is to have a MOJO DX or Nitis DX.

If you have HDV, just ingest native HDV and then transcode. This workflow is better in many ways and the Avid itself is happier since DNxHD is a native format.

I have actually used BM Intensity to get uncompressed HD and then transcoded to DNxHD via MpegStreamclip to fast import into MC. This works well too, but it's all about how much time you have.

Good luck,

Chris
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Old January 29th, 2009, 12:28 AM   #9
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Thanks for all your replies, folks. Got the Nvidia card covered. I think I am ready...
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Old January 29th, 2009, 11:28 AM   #10
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All,

To clarify:

Avid supports DVCProHD 100 Native, DV (Avid DV codec), and HDV 1 and 2 which is actually upon digitization/import brought in as DNXHD 110TR and DNXHD 145TR via IEEE 1394. If you are digitizing or doing a digital cut, you can go out via firewire with these codecs without a Mojo or Mojo DX.

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Old January 29th, 2009, 06:11 PM   #11
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All,

To clarify:

Avid supports DVCProHD 100 Native, DV (Avid DV codec), and HDV 1 and 2 which is actually upon digitization/import brought in as DNXHD 110TR and DNXHD 145TR via IEEE 1394. If you are digitizing or doing a digital cut, you can go out via firewire with these codecs without a Mojo or Mojo DX.

Cheers
Could you be a bit more specific here David. I believe that what Chris Swartz stated above is correct. You can not capture from HDV tape (digitize) directly to any DNxHD spec. You must transcode the material unless you have a Mojo DX or Nitris DX.

I don't understand what DV has to do with any of these HD codecs. I have not worked with DVCProHD, but all the XDCAM HD material that I import as files must also be transcoded to DNXHD.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 06:26 PM   #12
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I don't understand what DV has to do with any of these HD codecs.
Avid has its own DV codec. You wouldn't think it would make a difference but, for example, when I use ProCoder, I get a better result using files exported with the Avid DV codec than I do with the native Windows DV codec. Especially on transitions and effects.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 10:05 AM   #13
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Could you be a bit more specific here David. I believe that what Chris Swartz stated above is correct. You can not capture from HDV tape (digitize) directly to any DNxHD spec. You must transcode the material unless you have a Mojo DX or Nitris DX.

I don't understand what DV has to do with any of these HD codecs. I have not worked with DVCProHD, but all the XDCAM HD material that I import as files must also be transcoded to DNXHD.
Bob,

DNXHD is not one codec, it is a family of codecs at 8 and 10bit color depths and at a variety of bit rates ranging from 75Mb/s to 220 Mb/s. It also includes TR (transport streams) that include DNXHD 110TR and DNXHD 145TR. These are in fact 2 DNXHD codecs that work like HDV but uses a concept called smart splicing. When you make a cut it doesn't recompress the entire MPEG2 stream but only does so at transitions, thereby protecting the integrity of the stream in terms of quality. So, when you digitize from HDV you are in going into one of the TR DNXHD codecs. You're not editing pure native HDV, which is a good thing.

All of the DNXHD codecs have been developed to maintain the highest quality color information possible. There have been some comparisons between ProRes and DNXHD and Avid DV and Apple DV and while ProRes is good, and in my opinion doesn't have as smooth as color as Avid's codecs.

I forgot to include XDCAM as another codec choice for Avid which can be ingested without a Mojo DX as well.

It might be loook like I'm playing a semantics game here, but I don't want new users to get the wrong information. Once again, when you specifically digitize HDV into Avid Xpress 5.5 and higher and MC 2.3 and higher, the sequence files show up as DNXHD 145TR or 110 TR (Without Mojo or Adrenaline or Nitris). Both are 8bit. Check it out for yourselves.

Note: It is when you start a sequence that it becomes a DNXHD 110TR or 145TR.

I hope this helps.
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Last edited by David Parks; January 30th, 2009 at 10:39 AM. Reason: More clarification.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 12:50 PM   #14
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Once again, when you specifically digitize HDV into Avid Xpress 5.5 and higher and MC 2.3 and higher, the sequence files show up as DNXHD 145TR or 110 TR (Without Mojo or Adrenaline or Nitris). Both are 8bit. Check it out for yourselves.
How do you check the format of a sequence? Isn't it determined by the project format?

Anway, I opened up a HDV project on Xpress Pro 5.8 to check it out. All my clips say HDV 1080i format. Anything rendered is DNxHD 145 (controlled by the media creation settings).

Perhaps it's semantics, as you say, but I don't think Xpress Pro ingests HDV over firewire as DNxHD. You have to transcode it after capture.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 01:18 PM   #15
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How do you check the format of a sequence? Isn't it determined by the project format?

Anway, I opened up a HDV project on Xpress Pro 5.8 to check it out. All my clips say HDV 1080i format. Anything rendered is DNxHD 145 (controlled by the media creation settings).

Perhaps it's semantics, as you say, but I don't think Xpress Pro ingests HDV over firewire as DNxHD. You have to transcode it after capture.
You are correct Vito. When you capture/digitize into AXP or MC without DX hardware it is captured as native format. HDV, XDCAM HD whatever, all have to be transcoded to DNXHD. All effects, transitions will be rendered to DNXHD.
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