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Old July 30th, 2005, 12:44 PM   #1
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Basic NLE Beginner Questions

I have a new computer system on the way (HP Pavilion, 3GHz dual core, 1GB dual channel SDRAM, 320GB Raid 0) and now need to acquire an NLE program to edit my FX-1 HDV tapes. I record everything in HDV.

I need some answers to a number of very basic questions, because I've never done any NLE editing before. Although I'm mostly editing family and similar stuff (this is a hobby, not a profession), I do want something that will allow me to be as creative as possible with time-minimized workflow.

1. Assuming I have an NLE program, I assume that I don't need anything other than a firewire cable (and firewire port) to download the video to the computer. Please confirm.

2. Vegas 6.0 seems like a good choice for an NLE program (from what I understand, a good compromise between ease of use and robustness). Is the "educational version" the same as the normal retail version? I do have a daughter in high school, and might save some money on the purchase through her (probably the first and last time she would ever save me any money).

3. I noticed that Vegas 6.0 is often bundled with other software, such as: Acid Music Studio, DVD Archictect and Dolby Digital AC-3 Encoding software. How useful are these add-ons? Should I just wait and get them later? Alternatively, are there some other plug-ins that most people acquire that they have found very useful in working with Vegas 6.0.?

4. How would Cineform Connect HD (when used with Vegas 6.0) help with the Vegas 6.0 workflow? I'm not sure I fully understand its benefits.

5. I'll need a training video for Vegas 6.0 (and probably for NLE editing techniques). Keeping in mind that I'm a beginner, could someone recommend some training videos. I did go onto the VASST site and found a few, but wasn't sure which to start with.

Thanks for all of your help.

-- Keith
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Old July 30th, 2005, 11:02 PM   #2
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Keith: if you want time-minimized workflow, take a look at Canopus Edius Pro 3 or Canopus Edius NX. The software doesn't have quite as many features as some others, but Canopus has everyone else beat in terms of real-time HDV editing.

Regarding your specific questions:

1. Correct. With suitable software, a firewire cable and a firewire port you can capture from the FX1 to either HD or SD formats, depending on how you have the output options set in the camera.

2. Don't know about the educational version, but you can get the complete Vegas package with DVD authoring software for $499 at www.videoguys.com. That's a pretty fair price for what you get.

3. You'll at least need some sort of DVD authoring program to make DVDs, which is about the only way most people watch videos these days. If you buy Vegas, get the DVD bundle.

4. The Cineform codec helps improve performance for editing HDV footage by converting it to a format which requires less processing power to manipulate. Downside is that this requires extra hard drive space, but hard drives are cheap these days. I'm not sure if Vegas can even work on HDV files without converting to Cineform, but if it can the performance would be limited.
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Old July 30th, 2005, 11:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith McLeod
I have a new computer system on the way (HP Pavilion, 3GHz dual core, 1GB dual channel SDRAM, 320GB Raid 0) and now need to acquire an NLE program to edit my FX-1 HDV tapes. I record everything in HDV.

I need some answers to a number of very basic questions, because I've never done any NLE editing before. Although I'm mostly editing family and similar stuff (this is a hobby, not a profession), I do want something that will allow me to be as creative as possible with time-minimized workflow.

1. Assuming I have an NLE program, I assume that I don't need anything other than a firewire cable (and firewire port) to download the video to the computer. Please confirm.

2. Vegas 6.0 seems like a good choice for an NLE program (from what I understand, a good compromise between ease of use and robustness). Is the "educational version" the same as the normal retail version? I do have a daughter in high school, and might save some money on the purchase through her (probably the first and last time she would ever save me any money).

3. I noticed that Vegas 6.0 is often bundled with other software, such as: Acid Music Studio, DVD Archictect and Dolby Digital AC-3 Encoding software. How useful are these add-ons? Should I just wait and get them later? Alternatively, are there some other plug-ins that most people acquire that they have found very useful in working with Vegas 6.0.?

4. How would Cineform Connect HD (when used with Vegas 6.0) help with the Vegas 6.0 workflow? I'm not sure I fully understand its benefits.

5. I'll need a training video for Vegas 6.0 (and probably for NLE editing techniques). Keeping in mind that I'm a beginner, could someone recommend some training videos. I did go onto the VASST site and found a few, but wasn't sure which to start with.

Thanks for all of your help.

-- Keith

Answers from my perspective (I'm sure there'll be plenty of others...):

1. Yes: although you may also need a HD/HDV 'Capture Utility' or program that has a 'Capture Utility'. Firewire is all you'll need for the hardware connection to capture HDV.

2. Yes. Vegas is also slightly more 'newbie' friendly. I don't have a definitive answer regarding your eligibility for the educational version, nor for the features it has or doesn't have... Generally; most ed versions are the full program.

3. The Vegas/DVD Architect bundle is generally the best value, as you can easily edit in Vegas, then author to DVD (as SD/DVD level - not HD) with relative ease. Vegas gives a newbie enough audio editing capability without the need for Acid MS. There's a number of good Vegas video filters around that may help with the creativity side of video editing, such as Excalibur. Some are free-ware, some are not... You'd need to check the Vegas forum to keep up-to-date on that.

4. ConnectHD is IMHO a must have for any HDV user. It'll give you a 'capture utility' and the very efficient CFHD *.avi format for editing your HDV clips in.

The reasoning is quite straightforward: just as a photo-copy of a photo-copy is severely reduced in quality, so a MPEG2 of an MPEG2 is also severely reduced in quality. Make the final MPEG2 from a 'lossless' format like *.avi and the final MPEG2 will be virtually indistinguishable from the original.

Another side effect of converting the m2t (MPEG2 transport stream) clips from your FX-1 to CFHD uncompressed *.avi's, is the ability to 'scrub' back and forth along the timeline relatively smoothly - especially with multiple clips on overlapping tracks.

Also, if you ever wanted to do some fancy stuff with your HDV material... like adding 3D, the CFHD *.avi's are importable into a large array of other programs, where the m2t files are not.

Bottom line: the only thing you will lose by having ConnectHD is Hard Disk space for the uncompressed versions of your clips. What you'll gain is greater editing speed, higher quality end product and greater creative flexibility.

5. I'm sure you'll find any of the VASST training material will be an invaluable reference if you decide to go the Vegas/DVD Architect route. You should also take a look at Edward Troxel's newsletters which I'm sure you'll also find very handy, and of course the manual for the program itself.

Remember that we all started out at the same point as beginners. HDV is pretty damned new, so anyone who reckons they've got HDV down pat... Hmmmm.

There's bound to be things that you'll discover along the way that'll work better for you and your hardware set-up. Taking the first step is always the hardest with something new, because it's the scariest, but you're an FX-1 owner now so that first step is behind you, so the rest should be much easier to tackle...

Welcome to the HDV 'explorers' club!!
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Old July 30th, 2005, 11:47 PM   #4
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Could you ever use Connect HD from a live feed and compress the files into an AVI without ever having to go through MPEG2 at all?
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Old July 31st, 2005, 06:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betsy Moore
Could you ever use Connect HD from a live feed and compress the files into an AVI without ever having to go through MPEG2 at all?
That'd probably be one for David Newman to answer definitively.

I'd imagine it can't, because ConnectHD (and AspectHD) converts the m2t recorded stream... but that's just my assumption.

I've used VLC to capture directly from the live Firewire feed, but only to MPEG2. Unless VLC adds AVI support to their capture format options, I doubt that it's possible... Maybe an upcoming version of VLC will allow AVI capture, with selection of codec.

Still, it'd be interesting to find out for sure.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 09:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betsy Moore
Could you ever use Connect HD from a live feed and compress the files into an AVI without ever having to go through MPEG2 at all?

I don't no why but with dual 3.6 xeons and Aspect I can't. I can with Canopus Edius 3.0.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 10:00 PM   #7
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Kevin,

I'll throw my 2 cents in as a long time Vegas user.

I cannot address your HD issue as I only edit SD, and it does that extremely well. I can't imagine the editing experience is substantially different once you get past the file transfer/conversion.

My one heartburn with the Vegas lineup is with DVD Architect. As easy as Vegas is to use, it seems at times that they went out of their way to make DVDA obtuse, confusing, non-intuitive and overly complex. Granted, it appears to have tremendous functionality, but I still can't routinely open it and build a DVD without spending hours in the manual. I bought a great Vegas training DVD series. I've watched the section on DVDA more than 15 times, and I still can't just whip through a DVDA setup.

I would highly recommend that you buy and use Vegas, its a great product and I've found it much easier to use than PPro. Don't think that you have to buy DVDA when you buy Vegas. Get Nero to burn your output to DVD, or some other program, you aren't locked into DVDA just because you bought Vegas.

Let the DVDA flames begin.
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Old July 31st, 2005, 10:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Donato
I don't no why but with dual 3.6 xeons and Aspect I can't. I can with Canopus Edius 3.0.
With a LIVE feed direct from the camera? You're saying you can capture straight to a CFHD encoded AVI, without the need for a Kona or Blackmagic card?

Not just a convert of the recorded to tape video...
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Old August 1st, 2005, 01:33 AM   #9
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Wow, do you think it would work with a slightly slower computer Randy? How much would you say your setup is?
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