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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old June 28th, 2004, 03:11 PM   #1
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Laptop editing questions

I'm a desktop guy, never turned on a laptop/notebook, but now I need to replace my Internet and general purpose PC and I'm looking at a Toshiba P10-610. I'm amazed at what you get for the price, including DVD burning, USB2 and firewire, TV tuner/dual monitor vid card, P4-3GH hyperthreading. Seems the HDD is 4200 RPM (salesperson said 7200, but the spec doesn't). What I'm wondering is how I could capture DV25 to an external drive. Would I have to go USB/firewire combo or is it possible to capture to a firewire drive when there's only one firewire port on the notebook? Alternatively, can you capture to the system drive of these units and move the files later to the external drive for editing? I do want an NLE machine, but if I can have that AND home theatre, out to digital projection, remote control presentation management, portable DVD player (with baby Harmon Kardon speakers), dual monitors and DVD-R, why not? I can plug in a real keyboard too.

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Old June 28th, 2004, 04:54 PM   #2
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Yes this should all be possible, I'm doing it myself, basically.

Do keep in mind that doing multiple things with one machine's
is usually not a very good idea if one of those things is for
a profession. You wouldn't want your editing machine to become
all mixed up due to a virus when you have a clients deadline.

Just so you know. Personally I would get an external drive with
both USB2 and firewire interface, for two reasons:

1) in theory firewire chaining should work. I and others have had bad experience and I could not capture from my XL1S to my firewire harddisk when the camera was connect to the harddisk (in case of only 1 firewire port)

2) if you want to move the drive over to someone's else's system you have more chance of finding an USB(2) port than a firewire port

I've captured to both the internal harddrive without a problem
(seperate partition, defragmented) and external USB2 without
a problem.

I'm using a DELL Inspiron myself and I had a Latitude.

I didn't know there where laptops with a TV tuner? Are you sure
it isn't an analog out connection like most laptops have?
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Old June 28th, 2004, 06:05 PM   #3
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Many thanks, Rob. I am conscious of the risks of virus and the demands of multiple functions. My current desktop editing system is not Internet-connected, but is firewire networked to the older one that is. I've had no trouble with this arrangement for two years, and don't have antivirus software on the editing box. I appreciate the advice about dual function external drives, and I agree that sounds like the right solution. As for the TV tuner, that's what I was told by the sales guy at Best Buy, but I haven't verified it from a second source. It isn't all that important to me either way. I've never bothered with the function on my desktop systems after trying it out of curiosity.

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Old June 28th, 2004, 09:08 PM   #4
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I currently have a laptop with an external drive connected via firewire and a deck connected via firewire to the drive. I can capture to and print from the firewire drive to the deck. It works great (printing to mini-dv as I type).
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Old June 29th, 2004, 02:34 PM   #5
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I have used Studio 9 on both a laptop and a tablet doing OS test and configs. In fact, I used the tablet in a auditorium to create a WMV of one of the events and had it on CD with 15 minutes of the performance.

The biggest restriction will be your NLE. Laptops compromise on performance to save weight and space. The drives are usually smaller and slower, leading to a generally slower system than an equivalent desktop.

Get the external, of which, there are 3.5" form-factors. USB is OK, but Firewire will more consistantly burn to external DVD without issues (we have a Pioneer sff DVD 4X drive that we are testing currently - cool, even if it is slow). Firewire PC Cards (PCMCIA) are under $50 now and some laptops have Firewire built in.

Just as an alternative for a 'portable' editor, look at something like a Shuttle. It is a small box that is smaller than many of the ENG Beta cameras. Those minis support AGP and an additional PCI slot in many cases. I know Shuttle just announced a PCI-e version, so there is the potential to make a HD editor with one when Pinnacle releases the HD version of Liquid with the PCI-e ATI/Pinnacle card that they have already demoed. It may support a DVD and one or two drives. Now that 400GB drives are available... ;)

All of that and a flat panel monitor will fit into a rolling carry-on case. Sweet. Only wish Sony still made the DVR-1000 5 1/4" MiniDV drive. Saw a comment about that while looking for an alternate mini-DV drive and got a mild case of hardware lust.
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Old June 29th, 2004, 05:02 PM   #6
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George: most "new" laptops these days (can) come with a builtin
DVD burner and I would definitely recommend that, unless you
need to do both -R and +R burning since not a lot of internal
burners support that yet, strangely.

I've done an USB2/firewire comparison on a standalone machine
and an old laptop (test will be updated soon with my new laptop
who also has USB2) and I found that firewire and USB2 aren't
that far apart. I can't imagine with the datarates I was getting
with that test my drive could not keep up with any 4x DVD burning
through USB2.

Click here for the test
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Old June 29th, 2004, 07:01 PM   #7
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Rob, we are currently running test also. The issue we are having is that USB has a higher failure rate with non-premium media (Verbatium for 1). Also, because of usage, other tasks across USB have the potential to interrupt the stream causing buffer underruns.

Also, some laptop vendors (the top 2) only provide +R burners as you noted.
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Old June 29th, 2004, 09:16 PM   #8
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David,
I can't give you an experts opinion mainly because I don't do enough work or have enough experience yet to give any advice. I can however tell you that 2 months ago I purchased a Toshiba P25-S520. It has everthing my desktop has. I have been using it to do some light editing in Premire Pro and AE. It does a great job for a laptop. The 17 inch screen makes it easy to work in PP or AE. I burn DVD's with no problem and notice little to no sluggishnish (is that a word?) when using any editing programs. I got mine for arond $1800 and have not yet regreted it. I also use it for email and day to day things.

Good luck...
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Old June 30th, 2004, 04:24 AM   #9
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George: true to the fact that other devices can hog the USB
bus and cause problems. Therefor the only thing I have connected
besides my harddisk is my mouse. And usually that doesn't move
during capture either.

Anyway, in my opinion it's still sound to get a USB2/firewire
drive so you can hook it up anyway it works for you and more
easily bring it along to others.
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Old June 30th, 2004, 05:32 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the help, guys. I'm getting closer to laying down the money, but I admit to being a bit confused by the number of similar models in the Toshiba line - P10, P20, P25. The one thing I want to ensure is that the USB is USB2 and on some models that isn't clear in the literature. Same with DVD burning media - not straightforward to determine if it's -R,+R or both. Even drive rotation speeds are quoted one place as 4200 and another at 5200. It is difficult to comparison shop for items like this because virtually no bricks and mortal stores show the complete line, but I'll get there, and all input is welcome.

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Old June 30th, 2004, 09:01 AM   #11
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I found my eBay page where I bought my Toshiba. Some don't like eBay but I got lucky on this one. Anyway, it gives some information I think you are looking for, speeds and compatibility etc...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=38123&item=3471470215

It says the DVD is -/+ and the USB is 2.0
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Old June 30th, 2004, 09:28 AM   #12
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Thanks, Barry. The only thing I didn't see mentioned was the specific model number. From what I've seen, the P10, P20 and P25 models share so many similarities I can't sort them out from features alone, although I think the P10 is a 15.4 inch screen.

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Old June 30th, 2004, 10:01 AM   #13
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I feel for ya man...It hasn't been that long since I was in your shoes. Wish I could be more help.
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Old June 30th, 2004, 04:20 PM   #14
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having both options would be good (usb2.0/1394)

i would only use the firewire if capturing to that drive though, constant rate of 1394 vs. peak bursts on usb2.0
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 04:37 PM   #15
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Just thought I'd add my experience.

I have an older Toshiba P3 - 900Mhz laptop with only DVD-CD player. Until I started HDV stuff I have been very pleased with the Toshiba. The internal drive was marginal for capture. I ran fireire - 120GB 7200 rpm drive - Pioneer A03 DVD burner - camcorder and it all worked fine. The InVidia video module is very flexible supporting external monitor. Side-by-side, clone, even video window full screen external with small window on laptop. A friends Sony wouldn't even show video on both at the same time. Sony had installed their own capture drivers - and we couldn't UNinstall them. I later saw Ulead had special program to do that. I assumed the Sony was comparable to the Tosh. It was not!

I would still be using it, but the HDV bug bit me.
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