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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old February 25th, 2004, 07:22 AM   #1
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New DVi'er here... needing some help.

Greetings all...

I am currently putting together the necessary pieces for a video production company that would do commercials, special events, etc. and would welcome input from the DVi world on a couple of areas.

#1: If you had a top computer guy available to build you whatever computer you wanted, what would the major specs be? Specifically, hard drive, RAM, video capture, etc.

#2: Your thoughts on the Adobe Video Collection Pro? affordability vs. functionality? Is there a better package for similar price? It appeared to have most of the essential items for what I'll be doing... all in one package. Expensive, yes; but when I've looked at other packages that you have to piece together, so far, at least, it appears to be the front runner. That's where you guys come in. Your thoughts?

Let me thank you in advance for your replies to this posting.

Jeff
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Old February 25th, 2004, 03:29 PM   #2
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#1: Figure out which NLE and hardware acceleration you are using first. Some NLEs won't benefit much from dual processors, and some hardware acceleration boards (Premiere ones, Avid Mojo) have configuration issues.

Hard drive- Hitachi 8MB cache drives are probably the best for your system drive. Seagate is quieter, WD is also good (but loud). For video drives get the biggest drives you can afford. Bigger drives are slightly faster and more futureproof.

RAM- 1GB of the right RAM (don't buy expensive low latency RAM)

video capture- firewire card, cheap. Some hardware acceleration cards and sound cards (Audigy something) have a firewire port.

video card- Anything that supports dual monitors. Check that you have the right outputs (various combinations of DVI and VGA). Some programs can use your video card for more real-time (Edition, After Effects, Boris Red, etc.), but your video card has no effect on rendering speeds. A faster card would be better in that case.

NTSC monitor, deck- search for old threads. As for the deck, the Sony DSR-11 gets the most recommendations followed by the cheaper Panasonic decks. JVC decks are even cheaper, but many folks have problems with them.

sound card- many options here, but don't get consumer cards

processor- Pentium 2.8"C", 3.0, 3,2, or dual Xeons (depends on your budget and NLE)

speakers- get good, accurate monitors. The people over at Harmony Central (http://acapella.harmony-central.com/...hreadid=227171) recommend:
Under $300: Tannoy Reveal Passives, Yorkville YSM1 Passive

Under $1,000: Dynaudio BM6 Passives Mackie HR624

I would avoid computer speakers.

Also consider the acoustics and lighting of your room. For serious sound work, you'd want a room with non-parallel/slanted walls, sound proofing, and acoustic tiles to deal with echoes. That might be excessive and unrealistic for you though (especially when your room is already built). As far as lighting goes, you want to reduce glare on your various monitors and avoid mixed color temperatures.

The above recommendations I assume you are strictly working with DV. Working with other formats will affect the gear you get.

#2: There's lots of threads on which NLE is the best. If you need to online on other systems, you'll probably want Avid or Final Cut Pro. If you do everything yourself then any NLE can work.

Some people don't like Premiere Pro because it's buggy. You might want to consult a turnkey vendor (i.e. Promax) here, as they should know which configurations work and whether there is a configuration that is rock solid stable.

Lots of people here like Vegas. It's really powerful (best audio editing of any NLE, everything else about it is great too) and very stable. However, it does not render very fast. You can run 2 instances of Vegas at once, but you can still be somewhat limited by Vegas's render speeds. A pentium 2.8C is about where Vegas performance will top out. You can throw more money at it and it won't get faster by much. You can get some MPEG2 encoder that encodes fast and with good quality to cut down on total render time, to kind of make up for Vegas. Vegas has good real-time previews, so you do not have to render until you're done.

Some people feel that they cut the fastest on Vegas. You can try the demo and print out the Vegas shortcut list (stickied in the Vegas forum here) to see if Vegas makes sense to you.

There's also Edition, Avid, and Final Cut Pro. I don't know much about Edition or Avid while Final Cut is Mac.

#1 and #2 will depend on your budget. At low budgets, Vegas IMO is the best choice.
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Old February 25th, 2004, 05:16 PM   #3
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There's some more information at:
http://www.dv.com/jive3/thread.jspa?...rt=15&tstart=0

JerryR suggests refurbished computers, which may actually not be a bad idea. Also, look at hot Dell deals. You'll find out about them on hot deals sites like xpbargains.com. Some of them give you a barebones computer that costs less than the parts.

You might also want to consider an overclocked system. Go-l.com claims to offer them, although they have no track record and I've never seen any reviews of their computers. However, they illustrate things you can do: with the Asetek phase change cooling system, you can actually overclock a processor into the 3.8ghz range. The prices go-l.com charges is steep (and not worth it IMO), but your friend may be able to put something together with a Vapochill system for much less. You can destroy quite a few processors before it costs as much as a system from go-l.com. I've seen one report of this, where a reviewer physically damaged an AMD CPU. It's unlikely you'll destroy a CPU by overclocking though.

Physical damage is possible but much harder as CPUs nowadays come with metal plates on top to protect the core, but you might be able to damage something by condensation. Overclocking a computer is a bit involved though. And a 3.8ghz processor compared to a 3.2ghz one is going to be less than 18.75% faster. 18% is not much, although overclocking doesn't cost that much and 18% will add up if you edit a lot. You can go slightly higher than 3.8ghz (4.0ghz-4.2ghz should be possible), but I'd leave some headroom just to be safe.

Some people don't like overclocking because they think it'll screw up their system, but I don't see any evidence that overclocking can screw things up. Things like viruses/worms, user error, acts of god, theft, etc. probably overshadow whatever risk there is overclocking.
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Old February 25th, 2004, 10:21 PM   #4
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Glenn,

Thanks so much for taking the time to help. I'll be getting this information to my computer buddy to see what he can put together. When you wrote,

"Some people don't like Premiere Pro because it's buggy. You might want to consult a turnkey vendor (i.e. Promax) here, as they should know..."

could you elaborate a tad bit more? What's a turnkey vendor?

My situation is that I have the necessary funds to buy a Adobe Video Collection Pro (ranging in price around $1500), but I was leaning towards it because it appeared to have all the components I would need (DVD, audio, titling, etc.). As I looked into other NLE's I found that some were a little bit less than the $1500, but all you got was the NLE... not DVD, audio, titling, etc. Anyway, that's the pickle I'm in. I've got this great XL1s camera and a computer wiz offering to build me a puter at cost for a bartered video... great! And yet, I can't figure out where to invest the almighty dollar.

At any rate, thanks again for taking the time to try and help a newbie. It's nice to know that there are good people out there willing to help a guy out.

Take care,

Jeff
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Old February 26th, 2004, 12:44 AM   #5
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Turnkey vendors sell turnkey systems, which are systems that should just work. You plug em in, boot it up, and the NLE is setup for you without any configuration issues. The vendor makes sure that the software doesn't conflict with any of the hardware. This is really important for some of the hardware acceleration cards for Premiere- some of them are picky about the motherboard they are on.

A good turnkey vendor should also provide you with good support in case you have other configuration issues.

You don't necessarily need to go with a turnkey vendor, as you can figure out working combinations and potential problems by reading forums.

As far as Premiere Pro goes, it's buggy on my system (crashes pretty quickly). A lot of people on the Adobe forums also report a variety of bugs. I have no idea whether a turnkey vendor would help here, but they theoretically should know if they can build a rock solid Premiere Pro system. I don't use Premiere Pro so other users might have some more helpful information about Premiere Pro.

Quote:
My situation is that I have the necessary funds to buy a Adobe Video Collection Pro (ranging in price around $1500), but I was leaning towards it because it appeared to have all the components I would need (DVD, audio, titling, etc.). As I looked into other NLE's I found that some were a little bit less than the $1500, but all you got was the NLE... not DVD, audio, titling, etc.
Vegas+DVD has similar things to Adobe Video Collection Pro, minus the compositing program (After Effects) and Photoshop. Vegas also has great compositing features, but if you need to do super fancy stuff then After Effects Pro is good. However, to really use AE there's a steep learning curve.

Photoshop Vegas doesn't have. You may not need that (you can get some free open source image software like GIMP for basic stuff). As far as titles go, I think Premiere is slightly better. Vegas can do basic titling things and basic titles are good enough for a lot of productions. You can make fancier titles by building off the basics.

If you want Premiere Pro, consider some of the bundles that come with hardware acceleration cards like the Matrox RT.X100.

I would download the demos of both programs and try em out. See which one you like better. Even better would be going somewhere with both systems setup, but that may not be possible. Unfortunately you can't judge Premiere Pro rendering speeds with a hardware acceleration card, but you can tell if Vegas is fast enough.

Quote:
Anyway, that's the pickle I'm in. I've got this great XL1s camera and a computer wiz offering to build me a puter at cost for a bartered video... great! And yet, I can't figure out where to invest the almighty dollar.
Hmm actually a barebones Dell (wait around for a hot Dell deal) can be cheaper than the parts in it, although you still need to put in your own parts. You might also want to look refurbished computers (doesn't seem to be as cheap as a hot Dell deal though). You can also look at getting refurbished parts off newegg.com or overclocking, which will make a do-it-yourself system cheaper than a barebones Dell.
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