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Old March 10th, 2008, 05:46 PM   #1
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Is it unwise to edit HD on a windows based machine???

Hi all,

I've been editing SD on Vegas and am moving to HD work.

I talked to a computer specialist about upgrading my PC and he recommended moving to the mac platform.

Here were his reasons...

1) Windows XP just does not provide the stability and timing that are
critical for digital audio/video. There are also RAM limitations with
the 32-bit versions of Windows XP that will cripple performance.

2) Windows Vista has built-in digital media copy protection schemes that
make HD video editing and mastering a very unreliable process.

3) My clients that at one time were using PCs for digital audio/video have long since converted to Macs; some of them at my recommendation, even though I don't work with Macs. I can tell you that universally they are all much happier after the switch.

I am not a fan of mac but are his explanations valid? Can I stay pc based and still reliably edit HD?
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Old March 10th, 2008, 06:14 PM   #2
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To be quite frank, the first two are just plain nonsense.

Neither Windows or OS X are true realtime. Timer precision has nothing to do with number crunching (which is all video editing is).

Media protection (DRM) has absolutely no effect on anything on Vista whatsoever unless the content is protected in the first place. If the video is from your camera, it is irrelevant.

Stability is more about the hardware than the OS. I have been using XP and Vista on my primary PC for ages, mostly Vista. In the 15 months I have been hammering it (I develop video-related software on it), I have only had *one* system crash and that was due to an old soundcard that wouldn't play with Vista (or XP for that matter). On the other hand, people who buy bargain PCs end up with strife because the hardware is of poor quality and they try to do stupid things like overclocking. If you get a solid, robust PC then Windows will be perfectly capable of serious HD editing.

I'm happy that your friends are happy - but they are ignorant of the reality.

Read the Vegas forum here and you'll see it being used for some amazing projects by pros and amateurs alike.
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Old March 10th, 2008, 06:24 PM   #3
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Thanks John.

I will read through the Vegas forum. I was really dreading the move to a mac and am glad to know that many are editing large HD projects on the pc platform (especially since all of my programs and drives are pc).
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Old March 10th, 2008, 06:38 PM   #4
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Hmm...I think you got some shoddy information.

I have Windows XP MCE on my core2duo laptop, which only has 2gig of ram, and I'm able to edit HDV with not too many problems. I get dropped frames in the preview window unless I lower the quality down, but only when I have motion graphics, text, or compositing layers. Usually Good (auto) fixes it.

If you can get the 64 bit version of XP Pro, I'd recommend it, only because you can do 8GB or ram. You can have vegas open and photoshop and other stuff and not have to worry about your system lagging.

JR
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Old March 10th, 2008, 10:36 PM   #5
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That computer guy was feeding you a load. I question what type of computer specialist he is if he is that far off the mark. Maybe his clients are happier now with Mac's becuase this guy was so bad at building PC systems. Really selling a Mac isn't all that hard. Nobody builds them anymore. They are pretty much a one size fits all system and anything you get from him is the same exact thing you could buy from Apple direct. I kind of laugh when I see Apple system builders because all they really are doing is selling the normal Apple systems and they make it seem like they are making you a nice customized system. Really they are getting paid to have Apple ship the systems to them and then they ship it to you.

I have nothing against Apple at all and a good Mac Pro with FCP is a great system but it is far from the only decent editing system out there. Take Premiere Pro CS3 as an example. It pretty much works the same on apple or PC assuming the hardware specs are the same.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 02:27 AM   #6
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yeah, I've had no problem with any of my PCs for editing. Right now I'm rendering a video(sd) listening to music, and typing on this board. No problems what so ever. Although I am running an intel quad core 2.66ghz and 4 gigs of ram(32bit OS only recognizes 3.2 or gigs though.)
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Old March 11th, 2008, 02:56 AM   #7
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Okay first and for-most I fully agree with everyone in this thread that PC's are capable of editing HD. I did it for a couple of years. With the help of Cineform I might add. I used Premier for a number of years (since 4.0) This last January I switched to FCP and a Mac Pro. Now if FCP ran on a windows machine I would still be running on a windows platform. I built my own PC's and never had any problems (once I got the kinks out) because I always bought high end components for my edit systems.

So now the reason I switched to FCP. I am trying to be a small post house and not a jack of all trades kind of production house. So plain and simple the jobs are not there of an Adobe editor. Look on the job boards for editors I would say that 90% are FCP editor jobs.

I am saying all of this because if you are going to go to a Mac you are going to use FCP. You could use Adobe but then why not just stay with a PC if you are going to do that.

the reason for my switch is I would like to be more marketable and FCP is the editor of choice right now. It is not my first choice but it is the way I had to go. If you are a company that does it all script to screen and you do not need your work to go out to other people then find an NLE that you like and go for it and create. I have always said that most films could be cut with iMovie Or Windows Movie Maker (if they can support the file coming into it) due to the fact that most films are straight cuts which even the lowest end editor can do that right.

late night rant is over now.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 03:00 AM   #8
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i would say if you want to go to mac, well why not ?
there are thousand of people using them for video editing and i think they are happy. Keep in mind it will cost you a lot (money and time), since everything will be purchased again from scratch, hardware, software, and you will need to learn everything from the start.
Macs are not very upgradable, so make sure you take all you need from the start, because there are chances you will stick to the same box for a long time.
Also make sure you got the dual boot installed, so you can continue to use PC stuf in case of emergency.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 09:26 AM   #9
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Also, a current MAC is an Intel PC with an Apple dongle to allow the MAC OS to run and a fixed range of hardware choices!!!! A similarly equipped PC ( hardware and software,no overclock)will be just as reliable and stable. The issue of FCP for work is a valid, standardization within a company as an example, however its the output that counts not the tools used and using a MAC restricts the available software for the creative process.

Ron Evans
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Old March 11th, 2008, 11:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kahn View Post
1) Windows XP just does not provide the stability and timing that are critical for digital audio/video. There are also RAM limitations with the 32-bit versions of Windows XP that will cripple performance.
Say what???

I edit both HDV (25 Mbps) and DVCPRO-HD (115 Mbps) on an old Dell office computer (3 GHz, 1 GB RAM) without stutter. Go ahead and sue that guy for misleading information!
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Last edited by Ervin Farkas; March 12th, 2008 at 11:56 AM.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 12:31 PM   #11
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Mac's are just as upgrade able as any pc. Sure you don't have a million Video cards to choose from but the one you choose is going to work and work well. it also will not conflict with the sound card or your video applications. I have had this problem in the past granted it was a long time ago.

With the switch to the intel chip the mac is even more upgrade able now then ever before. The cost is not any higher then buying a high end PC from a builder. If you do buy an apple buy from them direct but do not buy any upgrades like Hard drives or Memory. That stuff is way over priced. I have the current 8 core and it handles anything that I though at it. I have the base configuration. I bought some Hard Drives and 4 more gigs of Memory. The edit software is actually cheaper then Adobe as well. If you need to upgrade your processors in a few years. Well then you can! Just like a PC you have to make sure you get the right pin set. I can cram 3 1 TB drives inside my tower and have I think it was up to 32 gigs of Ram (that to me is insane) . All of this stuff is bought from a third party vendor. Which saves you money. Okay I find that the Mac has all the creative software that I could possibly need. FCPS2, Adobe production Premium and Maya. What else could you possibly want to run on your machine.

In the end you obviously need to make the choice, but I am very happy with the switch. I do not question it for a second. FCP has a very small learning curve if you worked with Premiere Pro at all.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 03:30 PM   #12
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Thanks to all for the useful info.

Matthew, do you believe FCP is vastly superior to Vegas or Prem CS3? I believe Avid express is only avail for pc as well.?. I have edited on Vegas without a complaint (I did not really like older versions of Premiere, though)

I do see that everyone in the industry is on the mac/FCP train and have been told that the possible reason is that they started with mac in the early days and written their scripts for that platform so are in essence stuck with mac.

I think both platforms are respectable - I just don't like the expense of mac and the feeling of being stuck to buying from one company (Apple) for a system and components.

Steve
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Old March 11th, 2008, 10:48 PM   #13
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I would not say that FCP is Vastly superior. I do find that the Mac OS is pretty stable. This set up just what works for me and my goal of being a post house. I hear Vegas is pretty solid I just don't have any experience with it. I have played with Vegas and the interface just was not for me. FCP Seems really solid to me. One thing that I like about FCP is not having to go out and buy a plugin to work with HDV. I edit HDV with out any hassle. I know there are some people out there that are editing Native HDV in Premiere CS3 but I have had little success in doing so when I was editing HDV on my system.

As far as not liking Premiere's older versions I fully agree with you. I almost made the switch just before Premiere Pro came out which gave the editor a lot more creative control in my opinion.

Don't get fooled by the cost of the Mac. It really is the same price as a comparable PC. So go online and put together a price list of a PC of the same specs as the Mac and you will find that the mac is the same price or cheaper by a couple of hundred dollars.

You also do not have to buy from apple for anything. I bought my base system from them which is the entry level Mac Pro and I bought my Hard drives and Memory from a third party vendor at half the cost of what Apple charges. I would put links in the forum to the people I bought my other stuff from but they are not a sponsor so i will not do that.

Matt
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Old March 12th, 2008, 01:00 AM   #14
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I've worked predominantly with Adobe products, but over the last few months I've been working with Final Cut Studio 2 on a dual G5 and the CS3 Production Bundle on my Core2 Duo laptop. FCP was easy enough to pick up the basics, and I must admit that it is quite stable. However, I find the keyboard shortcuts and the general behavior of the different windows to be counter-intuitive and generally annoying. I also find the whole process of getting the final product to a DVD extremely time consuming and cumbersome. DVD Studio Pro has some great looking cookie-cutter menus, but it makes authoring a DVD needlessly complicated and confusing. With Adobe's Suite, I can output directly from Premiere Pro to Encore, and it's Flowchart view makes linking buttons and menus a snap.

I don't think the difference in price is a valid argument either, since Adobe's bundle is so much more complete than Apple's. Adobe gives me Photoshop, which is often needed to tweak graphics or logos or other still images supplied by clients. It also has Ultra, which is a VERY cool chroma-keying application that does a much better job than Premiere or After Effects. Speaking of which, After Effects appears so much more powerful and usable than Motion. Conversely, FCS has Color, which is an excellent Color Corrector. Overall, I'd say that FCS is great for someone that deals strictly with video- but as someone that works in more of a "one man band" kind of operation, Adobe is my one-stop solution for everything.

Now to get back on topic, PCs do just fine editing HD material, anyone telling you otherwise probably doesn't know what they're talking about. John Miller's post is also quite accurate. I know of many instances where people go out to their local big box computer store, drop a few hundred on a low-end PC, and then get all bent out of shape because it can't perform like the $3000 powerhouse at the other end of the aisle. I'm wondering if some of the bias against PCs comes from people not doing adequate research before they spend their hard-earned money!

My two cents...
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Old March 12th, 2008, 01:44 AM   #15
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And the answer is...

NO. It is not unwise. Countless people edit HD on PC/WindowsXP with almost zero issue during the lifecyle of the editor station. I'm one of them.

My reason is only budget. I was just giv3n a budget of $3,500 to order and mod two editors. The budget alone killed any Mac dreams. BUT I was able to buy/mod two 1.5TB, 4GB DDR2 800MHz, 2.66GHz Quadcore stations for under that. Very decent video cards, SB XFi audio, nice DVD burners etc... I also have a special slipped-streamed WindowsXP disc that blows the doors off of MS' latest pOS.

Now if I only needed one station, I'd have gone Mac. BUT I'd only use it for production as almost all my programs and games Don't run on Mac...

The PC QuadCore performance, NICE.
I've run only one test so far but I'm super impressed!

CS3 Premiere
7 minute HD timeline with heavy effects and color correction
3 layers of video max

:on my older 2.8Ghz dual core = 17 minutes to render
:on the Quad = 3 minutes to render
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