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Old May 31st, 2006, 10:26 PM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 57
The Complete Setup - Shopping List

Hi guys, I've been doing DV work for 5 years now on a desktop PC, using a Pyro Firewire card and an old Sony Handicam, editing with Ulead MSP 6.0.

Well, I'm ready to do a major upgrade and get all the right equipment. I wanted to learn the art of filming, editing, etc. before spending a lot of $$, but after over a hundred projects and many, many hours spent working with DV, I'm ready to get good equipment.

What do you recommend for a complete and proper home studio setup? I want to stick to working on the PC.

I'm considering:

- Adobe 2.0 Suite (Premiere Pro 2.0, AE 7.0, Audition 2.0, Encore 2.0)
- Using current desktop computer (Athlon64 3700+, 2gb RAM, ~1-TB HD space, dual 19" monitors)
- HVX-200 (I will not be using HD yet, and will shoot SD only until I can afford it... so I will be using it for SD now, HD in perhaps a year).

* Do I need to buy a "true" capture card, or is onboard firewire support enough? What difference is there between a "true" capture card and just streaming in the footage VIA usb 2.0 or firewire?

* What are the basic, must have accessories for the camera - I mean specifically, what accessories including brands/models do you recommend I pickup?

* What other equipment, software, computer hardware, etc etc do you recommend for my workflow? Please be specific.

Basically, I need a shopping list of recommendations... thanks for the help and direction guys.

- Dan
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Old May 31st, 2006, 11:23 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,457
First lets set the categories:
* Camera
* Lighting
* Sound
* Props & Set (greenscreen?)
* Costumes
* Make up
* Editing Hardware
* Editing Software
* Graphics and Effects
* Music

Before we can help with the details, we need to know two things: your goals and your budget. We need to know what kind of videos you plan to produce (weddings, interviews, horror movies...), and what aspects of your current work you most want to improve.

Regarding your question about capture cards, Firewire is just fine for injesting DV. As long as you can capture without losing frames, you're solid.

One recommendation that I can make off the cuff is to look at Sony Vegas. It's PC-based, and it consistently sticks with PC-style user interface rules, so it should fall quickly to hand. Vegas is less expensive than other top editing software, yet is very full featured. It will do more than you need, and it does it quickly.

The only drawback is that Vegas 6 doesn't have native DVCPro-HD support. That's rumored for Vegas 7, and you can use a 3rd party plug in for now. If you get the HVX200 and use it in DV mode, it's no problem, but the day you move to HD, you'll need to upgrade to Vegas 7 or buy the plug in.

But I may be ahead of myself. It's possible that ULEAD has all the features that you need and is efficient for you, but the real problem is lighting. Vegas won't solve that.

Anyway, if you let us know your goals and budget, you'll find no shortage of expert advice here.

All the best,
Jon Fairhurst
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