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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old November 4th, 2004, 10:26 AM   #1
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Building a new Edit System without a Capture Card

I am planning to build a new low to Mid range edit system. I will use it for somewhat better than Conusmer grade video output and DVD production, as well as, making streaming web video files. I will probably use Premier Pro Video Collection.

My previous system used a MAtrox Rt2500 Capture card. The problem with that was that upgrades in software required the card be pulled, software be reinstalled and upgraded, and then the card to be reinstalled. Every time you wanted to get the newest updates you had to do major work.

1. Any way I am thinking about doing my editing with the DV format and using a Media converter (Bi-directional Anolog/DV) to input or output from/to diffrent formats and sources. Does this seem like a rational way to go? Will the quality be as good?

2. My hardware vendor is suggesting that I use a 10k, 70GB SATA drive for my OS (WinXP) and editing. Then use a 200GB SATA for file backup & storage. Does this make sense or should editing be done on a drive separate from the OS?

Any Ideas or suggestions?
Harvey Lieberman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 5th, 2004, 12:23 AM   #2
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1- Most people get footage from their DV cameras, which transfer to computer digitally through firewire/ieee1394. If you have to work with analog stuff, you can get a convertor box (i.e. Canopus) or use your camcorder/deck to convert analog-->DV.

2- 10k SATA is overkill for DV. I would much prefer having a bigger hard drive to a faster one (you can't take advantage of the faster hard drive much unfortunately).

You can get seperate drives to try to prevent problems- one for OS and one for video files. Many people do successfully have video files on their OS drive though, so you may not need the added expense of having 2 drives. I think nowadays you do not need 2 seperate drives. I cannot remember too many cases where people have problems with having video files on their OS drive unless they are using a laptop (different story, doesn't apply) or their OS drive is really full.

You should plan to keep 15% space free on your drives, as it will avoid problems with fragmentation and running out of HD space. You might be capturing a project and then realize you don't have enough HDD space. If you kept 15% then you have a little breathing room in case that happens.

You could go with 2X200GB drives, and use your OS drive for backing up projects.
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Old November 5th, 2004, 07:42 AM   #3
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You DEFINITELY want TWO hard disks (or THREE)... I'd break it down like this; What is your time worth? Mine is worth at least $20 an hour when I'm editing... retail value is more like $40. My average video takes 30 hours (or more) of ACTUAL editing time. $20 x 30 hours = $600. Considering you can get a 160 gig drive for $100-$120 I'd say that part's a no-brainer. The beauty of a big AV specific drive is stability, safety, and convenience. I ONLY put audio/video files to the AV drive. The editing program is on the system disk, but in the NLE it sends everything to AV for capture and gets everything from AV for building my project. When that particular project is done I just open the AV drive in "My Computer" and quick format. Boom, fresh new drive ready to go with it's full 160 gig (actually 150something).

Now if you really do a lot of editing on several projects at once then I'd consider something such as the Maxtor USB2.0/Firewire external drives. I have one of these also and I LOVE it. It's a 160 gig which plugs right into the computer so my machine sees a third disk. If I'm doing a project that I know will overlap another project then I copy the AV drive over to the Maxtor. I just put everything from that project into a folder which can easily be deleted later. The rest of the Maxtor drive just holds an ever-changing batch of files that I don't care to put anywhere else, but I'm not ready to delete. Sounds cool and easy don't it? It is. That drive was $164 at Costco and it's been one of the best computer purchases I ever made. If I ever find myself with so many projects going at once that I need even more disk space I'll just pick up another Maxtor. You could have a few of 'em like books on a shelf and just hook up whatever one you need.

My system disk is only 120 gig by the way... and for 2 years it was only 40. You need the space on the AV drive. Who fills 40 gig on the system disk? If you have that many programs on your computer you're asking for problems... unless it's video/audio files that you have temporarily stored on the system disk. I'll occasionally pop files over to the system disk (in a specific folder) while I quick format the AV drive. Since I got the Maxtor I don't really even do that so the 40 gig would have been fine. An 80-120 gig is dirt cheap now... really all hard drives are... so I'd get more then you need. It's only a few extra bucks in the scheme of things.
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Old November 5th, 2004, 08:32 AM   #4
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Thanks, I like the scanario with the separate AV drive. That's how I do it now. In addition the AV drive is big enough for me to put a ghost image of the OS drive in case of some kind of corruption or whatever. I just used that when a RAM chip went sour and corrupted the user profile and some other files.

The added external drive sounds good too. How many Firewire ports do you use? Do you have a separate fire wire card?

Is there any known quality issues with a bi-directional anolog/DV converter verses a Capture Card?
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Old November 5th, 2004, 11:57 AM   #5
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I have 3 firewire ports available on my system and I use 2 of 'em most of the time.

I can't say ENOUGH GOOD about the external Maxtor drive. I also use a ghost of my system disk on that drive. Personally I like to keep my AV drive 100% committed to AV files which are used in current projects. It couldn't possibly be simpler... no computer or user induced mistakes... just quick format the AV drive after the project is delivered. Done.

If there's any question... or if you want to keep a couple bits from the project handy... pop it over to the Maxtor. Plus you can keep a complete folder of that particular project on the Maxtor. Once the project is delivered you may have a couple things which the client wants to tweak. This way you can just dump the folder back to the AV drive and apply the changes. Simple.

If you want to be in love with your AV storage solution, and you aren't going to do SATA or RAID... then this is actually VERY cheap and effective. The convenience of it just makes it fun! Okay so you end up with 3 hard drives. It's not like that $ is going nowhere... YOU END UP WITH THREE HARD DRIVES. Really only the Maxtor is the extra. Think of it as convenience and insurance bundled up in a really cool aluminum case. (I haven't even got to the "one touch backup" feature of the Maxtor... you set it up through the included software and it will back up your entire system disk with "one touch"... cool as hell, believe me. After the first back up it only changes whatever changed. First backup takes 12 minutes... every backup after that takes 7 seconds. Seperate folder on the Maxtor too... so that part is it's own deal. Sound great? It is.)

So anyway, those are my hard disk recommendations. I doubt you'll be cursing me if you follow suit. 3 weeks from now you'll thank me for how well it all works.

As for your other question... I can't believe you'd want to go from a 2500 to nothing. I'd rather send DV right in. I'm still on a Canopus RT card that I got 2 years ago and I couldn't imagine dumping it unless it was for an upgrade.
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Old November 5th, 2004, 03:27 PM   #6
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I have found that Capture cards make it difficult to apply updates to the system disk or especially the Editing software. I the conversion from Anolog to DV can be done by an external converter then why not as, long as the quality is going to be there.

Is quality poorer when using an Anlog to DV converter than when a Capture card does the conversion?

Also, Many capture cards tend to use their own codecs. So, if you change cards or capture methods down the road anything you had been working on or that you update regularly for a client won't necessarily work, if the compression/decompression is handled by the codecs on the card. Also I believe that many of the card specific codecs get installed when you install the edit software and the plug-ins that come with it when you buy the card. Using the straight DV codecs would tend to make things more universal, correct. The specs for DV seem to be about the as good as any of the compressed specs.
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