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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old August 1st, 2003, 12:26 AM   #1
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On the fence (Dell vs. Gateway vs. Apple)

After spending the two weeks at DV Expo and Macworld I am looking for some guidance in putting together a decent DV setup. I am basically looking to configure a dedicated system that would let me produce some standard music (Hip-Hop) videos for a cable access show. I also have an opportunity to produce some special interest videos for a local health club and a few staff training videos for a small networking company.

As a result I expect that I will be outputing to DV for the cable access, DVD and S-VHS for the special interest videos, and streaming formats for the web based promotional sites for all of the products.

My current machines are too old and quirky to do much (two G4 upgraded 9600s and some Pentium 3 machines) so I now need to invest in a new system. I want to get a high end "prosumer" system that will last me awhile. However I am now very confused. I saw so many different configurations that my head was swimming. Any help will be appreciated.

My problems and questions are:

1> Should I go PC (Dell or Gateway) or Mac (G4 vs G5)? What are most people using now. I have both platforms now (older versions but functional) so familarity is not a big issue. As always, price and power are concerns. If I go PC does anyone have any experince with either the Dells or Gateways in term of service and support? Gateway is currently offering turnkey setups for DV systems while dell is a little more vague.

2> I am currently teaching and have access to the popular NLE systems (Final Cut 4, Avid Xpress, and Premiere Pro) for both platforms but I am unsure of which to use. And yes I realize that this may influence the PC vs. Mac decision. Any special things I should know about any of the NLEs (i.e, one sucks for Music video or is better suited to large scale projects).

3> Any suggestions on 3 chip DV cameras? I am currently looking at the Canon GL2 and the Sony PD150.

4> Any suggestions on a low cost lighting setups? Any sugestions on low cost DV decks?

5> Finally, if I go PC, what software are people using on PC for DVD production?


I apologize for the long and somewhat vague post. Thanks in advance.

James R.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 08:14 AM   #2
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You do realize Premiere Pro is Windows XP only??? (no Mac version at all)
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Old August 1st, 2003, 08:22 AM   #3
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Yep!

<<<-- Originally posted by Edward Troxel : You do realize Premiere Pro is Windows XP only??? (no Mac version at all) -->>>

Yes I am aware that Adobe is not producing Premiere Pro for Apple. In fact Premiere Pro is really the main reason why I started to look at the PC again for Digital Video.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 08:57 AM   #4
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My personal choice is a PC with Vegas.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 09:19 AM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Edward Troxel : My personal choice is a PC with Vegas. -->>>

Ed,

Why did you choose Vegas over some of the other options out there. To be honest I am not very familar with Vegas but I keep hearing alot about it as I navigate this board.

Thanks.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 09:27 AM   #6
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I've used a few different NLEs on both Mac and PC platforms. Up until a month or so ago, I had a P4 workstation running Pinnacle Edition DV500. After months of dealing with capture instability and a clunky interface, I sold off the program, and have ordered Premiere Pro. I'm still looking for a good capture card, and would love recommendations from anyone else.

I also have two Mac workstations. One is running FCP 3, the other running Premiere 6. The interfaces between Premiere and FCP are not too different, so I don't have any trouble moving between the two programs. Premiere is much less stable than FCP, and I have learned to never attempt to edit more than a 30 minute program on Premiere. I've heard the PC version of Premiere is much more stable than the Mac version, and I'm pretty excited about the new features in Premiere Pro.

The best advice I can offer is to go to your local video reseller and try out as many systems as you can. Find the system that seems the most straightforward to you, then build your workstation around that.

Good luck!

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Old August 1st, 2003, 09:58 AM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by James Richardson : Why did you choose Vegas over some of the other options out there. To be honest I am not very familar with Vegas but I keep hearing alot about it as I navigate this board.

Thanks. -->>>

I really like how Vegas works. I'm not limited by the A/B metaphor. Every track is identical and I can do anything on any track. I attempted Premiere once and found no easy way to solo view a single track. Granted, I didn't read a manual but in Vegas there are solo and mute buttons on the track header. The way Vegas works "make sense" to me.

Previously to Vegas, I used EditDV/Cinestream. Vegas is a much closer fit that than Premiere was. I'm sure that this, too, influenced my decision. Plus, Vegas is stable. I usually leave it running for WEEKS at a time.

Someone who has actually used Premiere regularly and switched to Vegas would be better at telling how they compare.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 10:43 AM   #8
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I say you go with Premiere Pro. Better yet get the package deal from adobe.

The Adobe Video Collection Standard includes:

Adobe Premiere® Pro

Adobe After Effects® Standard (Standard edition only)

Adobe Encore™ DVD

Adobe Audition™

and you can get this for $799 till end of September.

I build my own pc's so I don't have any experience with Dell or Gateway.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 10:50 AM   #9
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Dell vs Gateway. 6 of one, half dozen the other. I have four Gateways (completely gutted and refitted now, however). Service for me in the past was top notch on hardware failures but iffy on software problems. But software problems are always more difficult.

Have not owned a Dell but suspect I would purchase Dell in the future. The only reasons are their systems seem to be slightly more flexible and advanced than Gateways. Their pricing seems slightly better, too.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 12:05 PM   #10
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Without wanting to anger anyone, may I say that you got the cart before the horse in selecting your system? I don't mean to talk down to you but I don't know your level of experience in this area.

The biggest mistake people make is in selecting the computer first and then deciding on the editing system.

The first question you need to ask yourself, is what do I want to edit, how often do I need to do this, do I need to make money doing editing? Etc.

If you need to make money and provide quick response times for editing jobs then real time systems become important to you. Time waiting for the computer to render the video is time lost.

Most editing except music videos is limited to cuts and dissolves with color correction and the application of a few other tools. 3D transitions are way overrated in value yet receive an inordinate amount of attention. If you use one in a 'normal' video, it may be too many.

A lot of the music videos are completed in combinations of heavy duty compositing and 3D software and may never see a 'traditional' NLE system.

Once you answer those 'how-am-I-going-to-use-it' questions, the answers to the rest comes much easier.

You have to be comfortable with the editing system so the the first task is to identify the SOFTWARE you want to use. All the packages will seem confusing at first. Either set down with a friend or a knowledgable sales person and have them edit a bit so you can observe how it all works and if it may work for you. This takes time.

Then you can select the editing HARDWARE to support the software. At that stage you are looking for ease of setup and reliability and reliability should come out way on top as the most important issue.

Somewhere in there you have decided that you need trrue RT, semi-RT or rendering is OK.

Once you have the software and editing hardware identified, then it is time to look for the computer. Even with a Macintosh you still have hardware decisions to make. RT or not and who's RT if you want that.

Deciding to take a flyer on a new editing program is an invitation to a frustrating few months unless you are very lucky. Editors should be very conservative in their product selections. Don't buy version 1 if you don't have another proven way to edit. Avoid companies with poor support and reliability track records and those who abandon products with regularity.

After very painful associations with Pinnacle Systems, Matrox, and FAST about 4 years ago, I spent 3 months looking at editing systems before I chose. I looked at Media 100 and Avid and Casablanca and a lot of others. During demos I noticed the problems and crashes and took lots of notes. By chance as much as anything else, I selected Canopus only because I couldn't afford the $10,000 I was told was necessary to buy a 'good' system that wouldn't crash and the systems house stated that the Canopus system was very reliable and fast.

I'm not suggesting you buy Canopus because I did. They should be on your radar along with everyone else as you go through the selection process.

Take your time. You will spend a LOT of time with the results of your decision process.

A custom-made PC may be a much better way to go. You can find experts in integrating the PC with the editing hardware and software. You'll get an operating system and knowledgable support.

Dells and Compaqs would be among my last choices for an editing PC as would most big name manufacturers.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 01:37 PM   #11
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Ditto everything Mike said above. I too am a (somewhat devout) Canopus user.

Explore the editing applications and *then* choose the computer to go around the NLE software that best works for you.

I had my machine built around a Canopus editing pasckage by DV Line, a custom integrator with a proven track record for building stuff that works right the first time. I paid maybe $100 more than the cost of buying the pieces and assembling them myself. No headaches, no hassle, no frustration. That's well worth paying somebody else to build your machine.

I also agree with Mike that I would definitely not choose an off-the-shelf Dell or Gateway and try to make it into an editing computer. I really think you're better off buying a real editing computer from an integrator that specializes in video editing computers, such as DV Line or a variety of other places... after you decide that Canopus, or Vegas, or whatever is the right application for your needs. Hope this helps,
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Old August 1st, 2003, 05:47 PM   #12
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I bought a Canopus DV Raptor RT. It ranks as my worst ever computer purchase. IMO, Canopus do not care about their customers. At least not at the prosumer level.

That said, many of the current NLEs do close to RT anyway. So why spend the money on an edit/capture card (unless you really need it)? You would be better off saving the money and buying an OHCI cad, unless your mobo has built-in firewire, of course.
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Old August 1st, 2003, 08:58 PM   #13
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Sorry you had the bad experience, Nigel. You are in a small minority of people who had terminally bad experiences with Canopus products.

That said, the products are good and very stable. As long as they are run on the correct equipment. That's why I say that you must first chose your editing environement and then get a computer to match.

Just that simple order of acquisitions can cut problems by a great deal.

I've been using Canopus for almost 5 years now with great success. I selected the DVRex and then had a custom computer built to support it. Every computer I've built since then uses components that Canopus states will work.

The great thing about Canopus products is the expadabiltiy by just increasing the computer capabilities. I started with a single 400 Mhz PII, added a second to pick up RT when that upgrade was available. Then to two PIII 850's. Then a second used DVRex to back up the first and give me a portable system. Installed in a specifically compatible computer. Then a used RT card and upgrade to Edius.

Tonight I'll move the computer from a 1.5 Ghz P4 to a hyperthreading 2.4 Gig. At $180, a heck of a way to massively increase the speed. The ole Rex ain't dead yet. And won't be until the 5 volt PCI slots go away in a few years. Even then, they'll work, I just won't be able to poke them into a new motherboard. I figure that will be about the time I want to move to a real 64 bit computer.
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Old August 2nd, 2003, 06:45 AM   #14
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Put it this way, Mike, Canopus no longer have a support forum AFAIK...they've abrogated their responsibilities to the Cow.

Matrox, on the other hand, not only have their own forums, but their tech staff play an active role.
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Old August 2nd, 2003, 12:02 PM   #15
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Are you saying that the Canopus forums located here, are not really support forums or that you thought they no longer exist?

http://forum.canopus.com/ubbthreads.php

The COW's Canopus forum was a decent forum until the Canopus forums were put back up. Now it is a shadow of its former self.

I find them very useful. Certainly the Canopus folks participate in the forums as necessary.
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