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Old July 11th, 2008, 04:08 AM   #1
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Help deciding laptop for CS3 work

Hi
I've just finished shooting my HDV feature on a JVC 111E - on 720/25p - intended for a DVD-PAL release (but I also want to keep the options of a film-out and blu-ray).

I want to buy a lLAPTOP that can handle Adobe CSE (P.Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Flash), 3d Max. I might also consider going for Aspect HD (Cineform). I don't want to use Avid, FCP or Vegas or any other editing software.

Since I'm not really good with hardware, I was considering the following options:
1. 64-bit vista - do i need home or ultra?
2. CPU - will a Core 2 Duo 2.5GHz suffice?
3. Will 4GB RAM be enough, and will it be used completely by P.Pro, After Effects and 3d Max?
4. A 7200rpm Hard-drive? I don't think I'll go any higher than HDV using this system (maybe DVCPro HD) I'm not sure why I need RAID 0, since Firewire 6-pin can easily transfer data from the tape to the system and back without any loss.
5. A 512MB nVidia Graphics Card (8800)?
6. A 17" monitor - just to meet CS3's minimum resolution requirements.

Please let me know if this is enough to run the software smoothly. The feature film has quite a bit of effects work - greenscreen, animation and compositing. I might be using a lot of plug-ins in After Effects. Plus, there might be many transitions and animations as well, excluding the title sequence. For music, I'm thinking of Dolby 2.1.

I hope I've given enough information on the subject. For now, I want to use this laptop to finish the project quickly without losing any quality. Thanks!
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Old July 11th, 2008, 05:54 AM   #2
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For a feature film I would not consider a laptop. Not enough storage space, not enough processing power, no raid or as you said aid0 (Raid0 is actually a AID0 because of the lacking redundancy). Also instead of Vista choose XP Pro. A firewire disk is enough to handle capture but by far insufficient for editing a feature film with a multitude of effects and filters.

I would only consider a powerful desktop with a large storage array for the project you have in mind, especially with 3DSMax.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 02:24 AM   #3
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Hi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
For a feature film I would not consider a laptop. Not enough storage space, not enough processing power, no raid or as you said aid0 (Raid0 is actually a AID0 because of the lacking redundancy). Also instead of Vista choose XP Pro. A firewire disk is enough to handle capture but by far insufficient for editing a feature film with a multitude of effects and filters.

I would only consider a powerful desktop with a large storage array for the project you have in mind, especially with 3DSMax.
I was thinking about a laptop due to its DV-like bit rate. Even if I transfer to Cineform, I could make do with an external 500GB hard-drive. I was thinking vista again for 64-bit capacity - so it can read and use more RAM. Can XP Pro read more than 3GB?

Since I'm probably stepping into hell here, I would appreciate it if you could tell me why exactly a laptop wouldn't do justice. The reason I'm asking is that the sytem I'm gathering is way over the recommended system requirements for running Adobe software, and 3d Max. Is it because of the render times that you say a laptop isn't good enough?

If this is the case, can I edit, make animations, etc etc and then just go somewhere else (professional help) just for the rendering? Is this how it works?
I hope I'm making sense. Thanks!
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Old July 12th, 2008, 04:28 PM   #4
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I work in web development so i know more about computers than i do about video editing lol, since im new to all this.

If money is no object and you want a high end powerful laptop, then look towards Allienware.com

Also the Mac Pro laptop is very good and you can run vista 64 bit via boot camp on macs.
Although i personaly if going with mac would just use the mac with final cut. I believe Mac OS is 64 bit.

Alienware is the only mega high end laptops that i have seen for video editing and gaming.

Anyway, about the Adobe software. I have dreamweaver, flash CS3, fireworks, photshop cs3 and illistrator on my HP pavillion and it works fine.
4Gigs ram is fine also for rendering ( what i use ) and Alienware does come with 4 Gig if you need that amount.
Also the Geforce 8800 is a great video card and is high end, alienware also offer this in their laptops, but the laptop version of it. 8800 i believe is also offered with mac laptops.

CPU, I use a 2.6GHZ dual core ( not over clocked yet ) and it renders all my videos in vegas just perfect. Although I do plan to run a quad core extreme in my laptop for college.
I will be studying computer science so i need a powerful laptop. I think quad extreme is also offered for Alienware laptops.
And the alienware does offer up to 1TB of Hard drive with their laptops.

Here is the link, but be warned, they are expensive once you get into that major high end.

http://www.alienware.com/products/ar...de=SKU-DEFAULT

Click on customize and you can build it to your exact needs
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Old July 12th, 2008, 05:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
I was thinking about a laptop due to its DV-like bit rate. Even if I transfer to Cineform, I could make do with an external 500GB hard-drive. I was thinking vista again for 64-bit capacity - so it can read and use more RAM. Can XP Pro read more than 3GB?
XP Pro cannot address more than 3GB, but XPPro 64bit can. Which is what I am running on my laptop. We had an investment in PC based editing tools, so I couldn't get a MacBookPro, so I got a Dell M6300. Same 17"+ screen, larger hard drive, bluetooth, Wifi a/g/n, larger hard drive, etc. Feed it enough RAM and processor and you can do whatever you like with your editing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
Since I'm probably stepping into hell here, I would appreciate it if you could tell me why exactly a laptop wouldn't do justice. The reason I'm asking is that the sytem I'm gathering is way over the recommended system requirements for running Adobe software, and 3d Max. Is it because of the render times that you say a laptop isn't good enough?
A laptop is just fine. I am editing 1080p footage from my EX1 today on my laptop. It's faster than my desktop. What I *can't* do from the laptop is hook up my calibrated broadcast monitor, so I can't make critical color grading decisions. The guys working with RED 4k footage are working on MacBookPros in a lot of cases, and I constantly read about guys doing major buck features who are cutting in the field on laptops.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
If this is the case, can I edit, make animations, etc etc and then just go somewhere else (professional help) just for the rendering? Is this how it works?
I hope I'm making sense. Thanks!
The thing about laptops is that they do get hot. If you plan to do some long renders, I'd seriously think about getting one of those pedestals that can draw some of the heat away.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 05:49 PM   #6
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A laptop is not fine when the start is a feature length movie. That means at least 30+ hours of source material, at least 4+ video tracks, numerous audio tracks, etc. Multiple effects, transitions, filters to add to that. No way that a single external fire wire disk is going to keep up with that. You need at least an Aid0 eSATA array to handle that. In addition Vista is a bad choice (be it 32 or 64 bit) since there are still drivers lacking, it's memory use is around double what XP needs, it's HD footprint is 4 times as much as XP, it is slower and you need to turn off all the 'idiot proof' settings, Aero and all the CPU cycles consuming items like the sidebar. Add to that that all 32 OS can only address 4 GB including Vista and that all Adobe applications are 32 bit, there is no sense in going for an unsupported OS like 64 bit.

Editing a feature length movie on a single 17" screen looks like slavery to me. Much better to use at least a dual 20" monitor AND a broadcast TV for grading.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 06:01 PM   #7
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Harm,

I'm sure you have a lot more experience than me, and I'll agree with you on Vista, which is why I specified XP Pro 64bit. I also agree about the dual monitors and a broadcast monitor because that is what I have on my primary editing machine.

But out of curiosity, when you cut long form projects, do you tend to work with 30+ hours of full resolution files? I tend to render DV or half-dv size files to cut with and work then render against the full res when I am done.

I am just wondering if your workflow is vastly different from what I have seen others do.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 06:11 PM   #8
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Perrone,

I'm not doing feature length movies, like the OP said he would be doing.

My projects are rather small in HDV, around 7-10 hours of source material and somewhere between 1500 and 2000 clips. In DV they may be somewhat larger, between 10-12 hours of source material and up to 2500 clips. So it all is pretty easy. The result is always less than 1 hour, to be delivered on DVD (SD resolution). I always edit that in full resolution, avoiding conversions like the plague.
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Old July 12th, 2008, 06:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
I always edit that in full resolution, avoiding conversions like the plague.
LOL! Conversions aren't so bad. You just have to get the details right. But my point was in creating small proxy files. I haven't worked in Premiere in a number of years, but in Vegas, you can create proxy files from the source material, do all your editing transitions, color grading, etc., with those small files, and at the end of the project, simply tell it to replace the proxy with the full size files and render. Just as easy as you please. Before I got a faster machine, that was the ONLY way I could work with 1080i/p files.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 02:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Ewing View Post
IAlienware is the only mega high end laptops that i have seen for video editing and gaming.
I did a lot of research of this 2 months ago when I needed a new high end laptop for editing.
Alienware is very expencive compared to similar laptops of other brands.

Finally I ended up with a Sager NP9262, and it cost me about $1000 US less than a comparable Alienware. And I am more than happy with it.

The Sager uses desktop CPU (I have a Q6700, but Q9450 is available), and up to 3 harddrives. Can use RAID 0,1 or 5.
I have Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit, and use Adobe Production Premium CS3. Never had a single problem with this combination yet.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 11:51 AM   #11
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Sounds cool.

But as i said, Alienware was the only top end laptops I had came across that can do that.
I do agree that they are way over price and you are really paying for a name with them.

Your laptop sounds pretty powerful.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 12:37 PM   #12
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Yes, the Sager laptop is the most powerful laptop I have ever found.
(it's marketed as the world's most powerful laptop).
The model I got is based on Clevo laptops (just as Alienware and Voodoo laptops are), but you can customize it when ordering.
One thing to note, is that Sager laptops can be bought directly from Sager, but might be cheaper if bought from resellers instead.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #13
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Unless you need the portability of a laptop, there's absolutely no upside to a laptop vs a desktop.
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Old July 18th, 2008, 02:28 AM   #14
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How about this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
A laptop is not fine when the start is a feature length movie. That means at least 30+ hours of source material, at least 4+ video tracks, numerous audio tracks, etc. Multiple effects, transitions, filters to add to that. No way that a single external fire wire disk is going to keep up with that. You need at least an Aid0 eSATA array to handle that. In addition Vista is a bad choice (be it 32 or 64 bit) since there are still drivers lacking, it's memory use is around double what XP needs, it's HD footprint is 4 times as much as XP, it is slower and you need to turn off all the 'idiot proof' settings, Aero and all the CPU cycles consuming items like the sidebar. Add to that that all 32 OS can only address 4 GB including Vista and that all Adobe applications are 32 bit, there is no sense in going for an unsupported OS like 64 bit.

Editing a feature length movie on a single 17" screen looks like slavery to me. Much better to use at least a dual 20" monitor AND a broadcast TV for grading.
I have found this laptop - Acer 8920 (the higher end), with these specs:
1. 18" monitor with 1080p HD resolution
2. 4 GB RAM
3. 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo
4. 320GB HD
5. Blu-ray Drive
6. 512 nVidia 9650M Graphics Card
7. It has a VGA and HDMI out.
plus I have the 320GB WD external HD

Regarding footage, I have 17 hours of footage, and the feature will run to no more than 80min. It's resolution is 720p, and will be mixed to Dolby 2.1 Stereo.

Will this workflow work?
a. Edit in PPro, After Effects, Photoshop and 3D Max - Not doing sound/music on my laptop yet!
b. Once the edit and effects are done, render them (I guess this is the scary part).
c. Can I color correct using an external HD monitor once the above is done? This way, I don't have to rent one for the entire duration of the edit.
d. Once everything is complete, then do the music and sound, and mix them in a professional studio.
e. Do I need to render again? I guess, since I'm exporting to DVD. I'm not sure what the best way to maintain quality is yet, but I guess I'm going to learn soon.

Thanks!
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Old July 18th, 2008, 08:38 AM   #15
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For the price of that laptop, you could build a screaming fast desktop.
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