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Old May 13th, 2011, 08:15 AM   #1
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Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

If this has been covered before (and I suspect it has), please forgive the repeat request and just point me to the thread.

Disclaimer: I don't edit video and don't plan to. What that means is that I don't know the details of what it takes to set up a really professional editing suite, but that's what I'm researching.

We produce two nationally-aired television series as well as hundreds of online videos. We hire out the shooting and editing.

I own cameras (HVR-V1Us, Nikon D7000, bunch of Go-Pros, etc.) and the lights, tripods, reflectors, audio gear, etc., needed to shoot professional video.

We are considering bringing some of this in-house, and I am researching what it costs to set up a good edit suite.

Specifically, a top-line Mac set up for Final Cut Suite, deck for Sony HDV, I/O cards (?), big drives or RAID setups, other software we would need, etc.

So, what would we need and about how much should we budget? Also, are there ongoing expenses which should be budgeted?

Hiring a full-time shooter/editor is a separate expense we'll be tackling. That's a different issue.

Help spend my money. ;)
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Old May 13th, 2011, 10:32 AM   #2
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

Hey Tom!

FCP will run great on just about any current Mac. It's the other apps I'd imagine you needing like the Adobe stuff that will benefit from a MacPro beefed up all the way.
Since I have built my system to work the way I like to work, I'll give you the rundown.
Also check out pics of the setup on my website.

8-core Mac pro
16gig ram
1TB drive (system and apps)
3-2tb drives (2 raided together for speed for footage...the other left normal for project files and graphics)
2-24" Dell 2408 monitors
Matrox mxo2 mini with max (I/o box)
32" Sony LED TV
MOTU Traveller audio interface
Final Cut Suite
Pro Tools
Adobe Production Premium

Audio speakers are personal preference but as I was an audio engineer for years I have a pair of Dynaudio BM6a. Plenty of other ways to go but don't skimp too much as sound is very important.

So obviously, any components can be swapped but this system does what I need it to. It's strong enough to run multiple apps at once and still do full multicam HD editing. If you're going for a truly top end system, I'd get one of the bigger Matrox breakout boxes and a true HD monitor.

Storage is something to consider up front too. I started with adding external drives but have realized this doesn't scale as I have almost 30TB so far. I have invested in a raid array that is expandable and provides security and safety of data. Beauty of this is it's based on inexpensive 2TB drives and can hold up to 24 drives. If I need more, I can pull those drives and put in new ones. It also alerts me when a drive is bad and I can swap it out without losing data.

Budget for all this can be a little hard to nail down but I'd say anywhere from $15k to $20k depending on how high end you want to go.
Don't forget to budget for a good desk and chair as they aren't cheap!
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Old May 13th, 2011, 11:14 AM   #3
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

Hi, Rob!

That's a big help. In my mind I was holding onto a $20K figure. Glad to know I was pretty close. We have 2, 4, and 6T G-Raid drives (which are currently holding this year's production of the Gun Talk show). Plus about 6 of the 500-gb mini drives from G-Raid.

I also have assorted Mackie boards, etc., from the radio production. Might be able to shoehorn some of that gear into the video editing.

We'll be giving you a call soon. Looks like we are heading back to shoot more with Rob L., and we could use you again. Sure liked your video from that last shoot!

Thanks.

ps. Rob's work can be seen on this episode.
YouTube - GunTalkTV's Channel
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Old May 13th, 2011, 02:13 PM   #4
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

Do you expect people to mix sound or color correct in this room? That will effect your decisions.

Both sound mixing and color correction require that a room be properly configured. You need to treat the room properly for both sound and light.

The room has to be the right size and shape, then it needs sound treatment, paint and lighting to set it up correctly.

And, of course, you need to spend a few bucks on the right monitors for both sound and picture. And you'll need scopes for both sound and picture.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 05:07 PM   #5
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

If this is a business purchase, consult your accounting folks.

In all the approaches mentioned above, you're starting with a capital expense of $15,000 to $20,000 - that in less than a year, is functionally going to be worth about 10% of that amount. That's how the industry evolution is going.

Telling someone to pay, for example, $3000 for software purchase licenses on stuff that's likely to be functionally obsolete in a year is nuts IMO. Editing software is being re-imagined RIGHT NOW. And it's NOT going to look the same in 2 years. Not at all. So an investment in legacy software seems insane to me.

CPU functions, editing software, and video workflows will very likely be totally DIFFERENT in 2013 than they are today. That's how fast the industry is evolving. And the big risk is that your edit suite will be a dusty, outdated mess by that time - particularly if you don't get the TALENT to operate it locked in. And if you DO get such talent, NOT letting THEM configure the setup in a fashion concordant with their experiences and talents is just as dumb.

If I was building a studio today, (as I did 10 years ago) and I didn't already have editing expertise in house, my VERY short list of build out "must haves" would be as follows.

I'd FIRST pay someone who understands accoustics to adapt the space to decent audio monitoring. That would entail determining the position of the editor and the monitoring speakers and making sure THAT works. SECOND I'd spend money on electrical plans for proper power distribution and keeping the studio circuits free of problems. THIRD, I'd consider room lighting and how to make that work so that proper working illumination is created for long bouts of visual work.

FINALLY, I'd build a BASIC edit desk with a monitor bridge and a mounting system for the primary computer monitor, the program monitor (LCD or tube) and a quality control monitor (likely a pro tube set that could be adjusted to be DEPENDABLE for judging color and picture elements)

I'd build or buy a sound baffled airflow cooled box or closet or desk pedestal so that I could put all the noisy crap (Hard drives, computer fans, etc, etc, in it and keep the room quiet.

THEN and ONLY then would I spend a single second thinking about buying computers, software, or anything else related to editing.

If I had all that in place, I could literally walk in with my MacBook Pro and plug it in and launch FCP and do most of the editing necessary to do a show like you suggest.

At some point, I'd let my editor decide what software and hardware system would work best for them and maybe buy GEAR - but in the near term, I'd bide my time and work with as BASIC a system as I could get to function- because "locking in" any system right now is nuts unless your business plan supports trashing and replacing EVERY SINGLE computer based component in a 2 year period.

My 2 cents anyway.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 05:08 PM   #6
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

Tom,

While those of us - like R. Turchick - have great advice and pro-level experience this is NOT the type of question you want to get definitive answers from any web forum. You need an experienced consultant who can put eyes on your physical location and discuss in great detail what you're goals are and match you with a proper solution.

All of us with well-intended advice can offer up possible solutions however, there are several game-changing and cost-effecting options that have just come - or are about to come - to market which could potentially be a great benefit to a brand-new post facility. The only way to know for sure is through in-person consultation.

You've been given a great stepping-off point; take that as an initial direction and develop around it.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 07:31 AM   #7
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

Excellent info! Thanks for the help.

Naturally, we edit audio as well as video (these are TV shows).

There's food for thought in viewing this point in time as completely transitional. I don't want to pull a "buying Betamax" move.

I started out shooting to Focus drives four years ago, to eliminate the tapes and capture requirements. I found the Focus drives to be flaky, and we stopped using them two years ago and went to tape.

Now, I'm keeping an eye on tapeless systems, especially the Sony FS-100 (where I can use my large collection of Nikon lenses).

Bill, I hear you about getting the environment right before buying hardware and software.

What I'm getting out of this is that if it's possible to put this off for a while, that might be the smart move.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 10:15 PM   #8
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

Tom,

We tested all the Focus drives years ago when they were first coming to market; none of them passed our commercial-grade reliability test and we've stayed away from them ever since.

For the future, there are now obviously a handful of choices for totally tapeless systems but before you jump onto the Sony FS100 (ironic that Sony gave a camera the same naming moniker as the Focus FS-100) you might want to view Philip Bloom's comparo of that camera up against it's competition:

Large chip camcorder comparison: AF100 vs F3 vs FS100. Includes FS100 review in Part 2 | Philip Bloom

There are some not-so-obvious gotchas about that camera that might make it a no-go for serious work depending on your needs.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 10:53 PM   #9
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

Thanks, Robert. I'm currently reading the threads here about the Sony FS-100, looking at the videos which are available, and just doing my research.

We've been shooting Sony V1Us, and this year I bought a Nikon D7000, which we have used a lot for cutaways and talking heads. I have a shelf full of Nikon pro lenses, which has worked out well.

I would hope to be able to take advantage of those lenses with the FS-100. From fisheye to tilt/shift, to wide zooms, medium zooms, long zooms, fixed focal length fast lenses, etc., they all help with different looks.

Our two TV series run on the Versus network (soon to be renamed something like NBC Sports).

I have a background as a still photographer (mostly for magazines), but I decided early in the video experience that I wasn't going to try to master the editing. That's a whole 'nuther animal.

Most of my time is in front of the camera, rather than behind it, but I'm choosing the buying the equipment.

Actually, we shoot in Scottsdale from time to time, and often in Prescott.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 09:21 AM   #10
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

Using Nikon still lenses on the FS100 requires an adapter since it's only designed to take either Sony Alpha or the video-specific lenses.

To that end you can use your Nikon glass on *any* video camera, the only difference will be whether or not you have to use a *converting adapter* like the Letus Ultimate for a traditional video camera or, just a lens-type or PL mount for the FS100, AF-100 or F3.

Considering your intended purpose and that you're going to be doing a great deal of location work I'd highly suggest you look at the AF-100 instead.

The FS100 does NOT have any internal ND filters which will make getting the right DOF/exposure damned difficult using your Nikkor lenses (or any 35mm lens for that matter) in bright sunlight unless you use ND's directly on the lens or on a matte-box.

Also, keep in mind that using 35mm glass on any camera means you're in full-manual mode with focus and aperture (iris) 100% percent of the time, so unlike the V1U you don't have the luxury of switching back and forth between AUTO and manual focus. So if either the FS100 or AF-100 becomes your main camera you'd better be ready to have mastered manually focusing on action shots.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 05:50 PM   #11
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

Thanks, Robert.

Of course, with manual f/stops, it's easy to control exposure with Nikon lenses. Ditto with a variable ND filter (which allows control of DOF).

I'll be looking at both systems. I know I'll need adapters for the 12 pro-level Nikon lenses I have. I've been using manual focus on the D7000 for the video we have shot over the last year. I don't like AF or AE on the V1Us or the DSLRs.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 06:05 PM   #12
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

Tom, when I come down I'll bring my 7D with a couple of lenses and my variable ND filter (secret weapon!-not really but it's amazing how many people don't use one.) I can give you a hands on demo of how easy it really is. I've been doing manual focus and exposure for quite a while now and it's not difficult. Last time I shot for you with my 7D I used it and it was a piece of cake. Using it on an FS100 won't be any different.

What I will say is that particular shoot, the other camera was my XF300 and it was on AF the whole time. Canon's face-detection and instant AF really work well in that type of shooting. Rob (yes...another one...and the subject's name was Rob too!) was able to concentrate on creating cool shots instead of worrying about focus.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 05:15 PM   #13
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

Wow, you own all that, and don't have an edit suite?

Your questions have already been answered by the previous posters...I just want to come play with your toys! lol
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 09:00 PM   #14
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

Caleb, yeah, I'm a gear hound.

I've been shooting stills professionally since 1964. Had complete systems in Leica (RF and SLR), Pentax, Nikon, and Olympus. Medium format systems in 6x4.5, 6x6, and 6x7. About a dozen tripods right now. About six HD video cameras. Lots of location audio gear, light kits, reflectors, three Nikon DSLR bodies and more than a dozen lenses, and 40+ years of other photo junk/stuff around the place.

But, even though we shoot and produce two national TV series, I don't edit. I hire that out.

I'd like to learn. I have FC suite. Barely know how to view video with it. Don't have a clue how to edit.

The edit suite I'm talking about is for setting up if we hire a full-time shooter/editor.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 08:21 AM   #15
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Re: Help Me Set Up An Edit Suite

In my professional opinion you need to consult with a professional who can sit down with you and produce a viable solution to fit your future needs and budget rather than gleam the Internet for an edit room solution. We have seen this same scenario play out locally where ad agencies have installed their own edit suites to bring all work in-house, and then burned their bridges with the production houses who were doing their editing. Then bam! How come our work is not broadcast spec? Ring ring... Hey edit house how do you? Sorry!


Good Luck with your quest!

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