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Old March 10th, 2006, 04:56 AM   #1
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I need help selecting a system for HDV editing

I am planning to buy a new computer within one or two months. I currently have a 12" Powerbook G4 with 1,25GB and a 60GB harddisk. I am using it on a 19" Syncmaster 930BF through the DVI output. However, the system has problems with HDV playback which is stuttering and not fluidly.

So I am planning to buy a new computer. I am really satisfied with Mac OS X 10.4 and my Powerbook but I am not sure if I am willing to pay the premium for a Mac system if a Windows system can do the same. I will mostly be working in an application anyway, so I won't see much of Windows.

I am currently considering:

- PC with dual-core AMD or Intel processor, 2 - 4 GB of RAM and two harddisks in raid configuration with 250GB each. Furthermore a nVidia 7800 card.
- the new iMac with Intel Core Duo, 2GB of RAM (maximum, I don't like that) and the standard configuration
- A Power Mac. Problem is that they are not on Intel yet and that they are much more expensive then the most powerful PC system I can think of.

So I am not sure what your experiences are. What kind of system would you buy and which things should I watch out for. Furthermore, are there people working with Final Cut and the iMac G5 and preferrably 2GB of RAM. Is this plenty? Or would 4GB (if it was possible) be more desired?

If I decided to buy a PC, I would also have to look for another editing suite as Final Cut is not available for the PC. Is Avid any good? Or can I better invest in the Adobe Production Suite that was recently launched (2.0).

Thanks for your advice.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 05:42 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck
I am planning to buy a new computer within one or two months.
The universal version of FCP which will run on the Intel Macs is due at the end of March. There's a lot of speculation that new Intel Macs will appear soon also (Apple has said they will move the whole line to Intel by the end of the year). So if you like MacOSX and FCP then I'd suggest just sitting back and waiting a little while to see what the landscape looks like a month or two from now since that fits your purchase time frame.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 12:04 PM   #3
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Thanks for your advice. I will make my purchase in June so I hope Apple will update the Power Mac line in that timeframe. Just to make a good comparison. I am also interested how the Macs are performing with the new universal binary version of Final Cut Studio. Very interesting.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 12:38 PM   #4
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I currently use both Mac and PC for video editing. I have been a long time user of Vegas (have owned all 6 versions!) and love the program dearly, that is until I started using HDV. Don't get me wrong, and I'm not trying to stir any pots, but I don't find Vegas 6 any match for FCP. I've only been using FCP for a few months, but really prefer the way it handles itself and I find for my purposes its faster to the end products.

My Mac is a dual 2.5G5 w/2.5gb ram, and an internal 4 sata drive 1TB raid for media running Tiger/FCP5. My PC is a 3Ghz P4 w/2gb ram and an internal 2 pata drive 500gb raid for media running XP SP2/Vegas 6d. Not the top end now, but both more than up for the task. Both are still productive, but being a subjective choice I have found myself liking the Mac platform more and more. Vegas seems a little klunky in the preview area and I can't preview video while I'm capturing HDV-a pretty big problem the way I work. The Mac is consistently faster at getting the HDV timeline converted to SD DVD material, and with the bigger RAID I think I'm ready for a Kona or Decklink someday for uncompressed HD.

With the performance of the already released IntelMacs, I can't wait to see what a quad core "G6" will be able to do. I am going to NAB next month, hopefully we will find out...
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Old March 10th, 2006, 01:08 PM   #5
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For dual core go AMD. On a $ for $ basis it owns Intel.
Nvidia 7800 is optimized for gaming and will not provide you with a better editing/HD experience than many less expensive cards. I would highly suggest the Ati X1600XT or X1800 series. They are far more optimized for video and include (HD-DVD(Blue-ray)) support plus GPU video rendering and accelleration. I would also check out the Matrox APV, if extreem multi monitor is your thing(although you can just add a PCI card for other solutions)
As for HDD most systems RAID is optimized to run off of the SATA ports. I would always recommend a good fast PATA drive for the system and then two SATA in RAID for the video. You don't want to share your system and video on the same drives. And you don't really want a PATA RAID when your chipset is optimized for SATA. As for the PATA sytem drive, I highly recommend the Segate 300GB 16MB drive, as it has a great price/warrenty.
As for software I recommend PremierePro 2(or Adobe Production Suite) with AspectHD 4.0 Nothing touches this combination for speed/performance and quality. Mac or PC. It is also currently the only solution (AspectHD) that supports every HDV mode from every cam. It also intergrates perfectly with After Effects for high end work flows, but the AspectHD Cineform codec allows you to work in any PC application.
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Old March 13th, 2006, 06:58 AM   #6
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Thanks!

Thanks for the great advice. I am just going to see what turns-out the best for me. It also depends on Apple's release schedule. I think I will really need a PowerMac for my kind of work. I believe that the IntelMac (PowerMac with Intel processors) will be release late this year. So they might be too late for me.

But the Windows system with Aspect HD might be a good option as well.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 02:15 PM   #7
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Bare minimum??

1st Post...

My church just purchased the HVR-Z1U. Since we are a church and do not have an unlimited budget (and since we just spent $4500 for the camera), I was wondering what the bare minimum you guys would recoment for editing HDV. I have an Athlon XP3000+ with 1gb and an ATI x700 AGP 256mb. It's not enough. I use Canopus Edius 3 Pro, and they recommend a dual Xeon. Is that about par? Thought some of you might have some suggestions.
Thanks.
Scott
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Old March 21st, 2006, 02:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Hodson
I would highly suggest the Ati X1600XT or X1800 series. They are far more optimized for video and include (HD-DVD(Blue-ray)) support plus GPU video rendering and accelleration.
Ken, is there a noticeable increase in rendering speed from Vegas, using one of the ATI cards you mention?
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Old March 21st, 2006, 03:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Vystrcil
1st Post...

My church just purchased the HVR-Z1U. Since we are a church and do not have an unlimited budget (and since we just spent $4500 for the camera), I was wondering what the bare minimum you guys would recoment for editing HDV. I have an Athlon XP3000+ with 1gb and an ATI x700 AGP 256mb. It's not enough. I use Canopus Edius 3 Pro, and they recommend a dual Xeon. Is that about par? Thought some of you might have some suggestions.
Thanks.
Scott
Just for clarification it is an XP3000+ not a Athlon64 3000+?

If you were to keep your current system, check out the requirement for Vegas Video 6. Your system might be adequate for that. Make sure you have a system drive and a Video drive (or better yet 2 of them in RAID 0)
If your going to stay with Canopus then you will have to buy the minimum spec. I would re-check with Canopus to see if the new dual cores can be substituted for the Xenons. I don't see why not. You would still need a complete new system, minus case and hard drives though.

PS- why did you buy that software with your system?
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Old March 21st, 2006, 03:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright
Ken, is there a noticeable increase in rendering speed from Vegas, using one of the ATI cards you mention?
It depends on the codec. Which ones you use and what ones are supported. Check the Ati site.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 03:45 PM   #11
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Edit HDV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Hodson
Just for clarification it is an XP3000+ not a Athlon64 3000+?

If you were to keep your current system, check out the requirement for Vegas Video 6. Your system might be adequate for that. Make sure you have a system drive and a Video drive (or better yet 2 of them in RAID 0)
If your going to stay with Canopus then you will have to buy the minimum spec. I would re-check with Canopus to see if the new dual cores can be substituted for the Xenons. I don't see why not. You would still need a complete new system, minus case and hard drives though.

PS- why did you buy that software with your system?
Yep....Just the regular 3000+ not the 64.

I have a SATA 74gb 10k master and a SATA 300gb video drive.

I used the Canopus trial before we got the HDV camera, and loved the interface/ease of use/features. So when the trial ended the church bought a copy. Now that we have the HDV camera it won't cut it. I have not tried Sony Vegas before. I just checked the site and HDV requires a 2.8 and 512. I will download the trial and give it a shoot. Thanks.

UPDATE: According the the Vegas site the trial version will not allow HDV capture. One of the only features that are disabled in the trial.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 09:34 PM   #12
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For most general video editing related tasks, one of the AMD Athlon 64 X2s with a Manchester core should give you the best CPU performance, per dollar of cost.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 01:53 AM   #13
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"According the the Vegas site the trial version will not allow HDV capture. One of the only features that are disabled in the trial."

Well your within the min rec spec so you should be okay. The old Athlon XP platform is on par for rendering but it is slow for memory bandwidth which is an asset for HD. Try to O/C your fsb as high as it will go, and still be stable. If it won't go much then put on some RAM sinks, and up the Ram voltage 0.10 to 2.85v. With memory bandwidth, every little bit will help. Is the 3000+ at 166bus? If so try to get as close to 200bus as possible. If it is 200fsb try to up the multiplier for as high stabel Mhz you can get. If you using crap DDR 333 you may be stuck but still see how high it goes. If you have DDR 400 then get it up there. If it won't go you will have to up you cpu voltage. If you have to do that the make sure you have decent case ventilation. At least a couple of fans. One in and one out, and no the power supply does not count as a fan. The in fan should be at the front and the out should be at the back. You might want to add another identical 300gb and put them in RAID 0, for video if you board supports RAID. I assume it does. And adding another gig of RAM might help overall with smothing out the rough edges. Make sure it is DR400 and get the cheapest RAM you can find as your not really going past that spec anyway. Follow your MB manual to make sure your RAM is set to dual channel.
When you can manage purchase a 800+fsb P4 or a dual channel RAM A64 Athlon. Of course you will also need brand new ram(unless you already use DDR400 and want to go the A64 route or you buy an older socket 478 P4 MB) and a new video card (PCI-E) unless you find a A64 socket 939 board with an AGP slot(I think there are a few) or again go with the older, but capable P4 socket 478 . AMD always has the best upgrade path potential to use some of your older stuff. Intel makes sure you buy all new.
Bastards ;>)
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