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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
Discussing the editing of all formats with Matrox, Pinnacle and more.

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Old April 9th, 2002, 11:35 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Chigasaki, Japan.
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Your PC as an NLE

Video editing on a PC tends to fall into two catagories

1. All is well. Everything works properly, well leading to hours of fast, reliable editing and big smiles.

2. All is hell. Nothing works properly, leading to frustration, platform bashing, software bashing, and general unhappyness.

The second catagory is usually due to a number of reasons.
1. Trying to get up and running as cheaply as possible.
2. A little bit of knowledge is dangerous.

Not matter which way you got to your problems, it is usually caused by mismatched components. One of the great advantages of using a PC as an editing platform is the vast array of capture cards, video cards, RAID systems, software, etc available. However this is quite often the problem. All this hardware is manufactured buy 100's of different companies, companies that are competing for your business. The only standard that is common among these companies is the IEEE1394(Firewire/Ilink) transfer standard.

1. Trying to get up and running as cheaply as possible.

More often than not people go out and spend a big chunk of change on the best DV camera they can afford. Then when it comes to editing, they think, I'll just throw a Firewire card into our PC and load up some software. In some cases this works, especially if it's just cutting togeather your home videos of the family etc. Then Dad gets hooked and wants to get a bit more serious and thats when it hits the fan.

More RAM, a faster processor, a second drive, a CD/DVD burner, better graphics card, then Bang!, problems. The first thing said is usually "My computer is above the minimum specs, but nothing works properly.

2. A little bit of knowledge is dangerous (I got stung by this one when I bought my first NLE)

This is usually caused by catagory 1. "I know a bit about computers so I'll do it myself and save some money" or the local PC guys who sell Internet and Home Office machines trying to get your business.

Again, this usually leads to mismatched components and all kinds of problems.

So how do you make sure you are in the 'All is Well' group. there are two ways. One is almost surefire the other depends on you.

The (almost) surefire method.
While not always the cheapest method but usually the easiest and most dependable one is to go to a reputable experienced company that specialises in building NLE systems. You DVinfoNet host Chris Hurd did just this and now happly edits away on a fast(Dual AMD)/Canopus DVRex PC NLE. He's one happy camper. OK, Chris's system would not have been cheap but the old adage 'If it's worth doing, it's worth doing properly' is what you need when building a NLE system.

The other method is building it yourself. To do this, you will need to know quite a bit about computers, I'm talking about IRQ's I/O addressing, BIOS, hardware and software. If you don't know what BIOS or IRQ means then building an NLE is not for you. If you do, then expect to put in many hours researching websites and forums, talking to people before you decide on what components to purchase.

For a good reliable PC based NLE system for anything other than home videos the system needs to be for VIDEO EDITING ONLY, and be prepared to throw down at least a few grand US.

The proven method is to choose the capture card you want and build your NLE based on that cards spec. Most decent capture card manufacturers have a Compatabilities page on their sites, that lists motherboards, graphics cards and sound cards that have been tested with their products. The link is to Pinnacle's DV500 Plus compatibilities page to give you an idea of what I'm on about.

Once you've got that sorted then you'll need monitor/s, hard drives, lots of RAM, and plenty of patience.

The bottom line is when you buy a video camera make sure you budget for a purpose built NLE system to. By doing this you'll make sure you are always in the 'All is well' and not 'All is hell catagory'.

This is in no way the only way to getting a good NLE, it's just what I've learn't from my experiences and from reading peoples problems on boards like these. Feel free to chip in with any experiences or comments of your own as that is what this forum is for, sharing our experience so we can all make better videos.

Happy editing
Adrian Douglas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2002, 12:40 PM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Hampshire, England
Posts: 1,543
I'm totally with you there Adrian.

If you are unable to build a system leave it well alone, you could do more harm than good. If in doubt pop down to your local PC shop, or go with a reputable mail-order company who deals with these types of systems.
Nowadays there are dedicated shops that deal with NLE based systems, and they are the people you should talk too.
If you live in the UK here are some useful addresses:

All the best,

Ed Smith
Ed Smith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2002, 02:21 PM   #3
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We've put together a pretty good page on our website. It's got general system recommendations as well as potential conflicts and things to avoid.

Check out 800 323-2325 We are the video editing and live video production experts! DV InfoNet members save 5%! Use Coupon Code DVINFO5OFF
Gary Bettan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 13th, 2002, 06:53 AM   #4
Capt. Quirk
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Middle of the woods in Georgia
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Wow! There are TWO catagories?!?!?!? <G>
What would I do with all that extra time on my hands? Probably just get into trouble :(

Working out the bugs is a normal process, even on sound machines. It is the worst part, but rarely avoidable. It helps to make sure that you have the latest drivers and updates for everything in your system.
K. Forman is offline   Reply

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