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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 December 15th, 2004, 12:17 AM   #1
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Crying Uncle

Hello All,

I am throwing myself at the mercy of this group hoping someone can explain something to me.

I am building a new PC computer from scratch, and I am confused between the differences of using such software as Premiere Pro or Vegas vs. something along the lines of Canopus DV Storm.

I figured, as a complete newbie, that software was software and a matter of personal taste for the UI. But, without "them" giving too much in the way of explanation, I think I've learned that, say, Premeiere Pro and Canopus are not even in the same league and, thus, cannot be compared to each other.

Can someone explain if this is true or not, and, if so, why? Further, do I still need to buy a video card if I have the Canopus DV Storm hardware?

I'd hate to make an expensive mistake, and would offer my undying gratitude to anyone who can provide some guidance.

Best regards,

Christian
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Old December 15th, 2004, 05:52 AM   #2
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This is pretty simple to answer. What is the difference between
all the cars out there? They all drive! Heck, you even get a free
NLE (edit software) with Windows XP! The difference is in what
features it offers (to get back to the cars, whether it is normal
car, a van or a truck makes a big difference in what it carries)
and how it works (think automatic or manual gearboxes for
example, or power steering etc.).

You can edit a simple TV/movie on any NLE basically out there,
that includes Windows Movie Maker, Premiere, Vegas, Avid,
Edius etc. etc.

The difference is in features and the way it works. All the (serious)
packages support all the basic editing so you really can't go wrong
with that. However, the higher end stuff comes with better and
more tools to do some color correcting for example.

Besides that the main point is finding a program that matches
your style of working. I could never get along with Premiere
(there wasn't a Pro version back then), and I'm loving my Sony
Vegas for example. Other people can't stand Vegas and love
Premiere or Avid. Some people want to use Avid because the
industry uses it primarely as well.

Sometimes there is a platform choice. If you are on Mac computer
then your options are pretty limited and most people use FCP
(Final Cut Pro) for example.

In the end the only way to truly get a feel of a program is to try
it out. Get the demos or trial versions from the net and see how
each work (make sure you have shot some [simple] footage to
test the applications an do some actual SIMPLE editing!).

On to your second question which really is: do I need a hardware
board with my editing software?

The answer is: no you don't. A more elaborate answer follows.

First: you cannot compare the Canopus DV Storm hardware to
your video card. Those are two very different things.

The video card sends a signal to one or more computer monitors
to display your operating system, applications and to let you see
what you are doing.

A card like the Canopus DV Storm is known as a capture and/or
acceleration board (depending on the specific card).

With a firewire DV camera you really do not need a capture board
anymore as long as you have a firewire port inside your computer.
If you don't then such a card can be added for as little as $25 to
a computer.

If you do then you basically need to get a camera, a firewire cable
(the correct one!) and a editing application to get going.

So what does a card like DV Storm usually (I'm not talking specifically
for this board but about such boards in general) add?

Well usually three things:

1. capturing: this includes firewire capture as well, but also analog capture from for example a TV or VCR

2. analog output: an analog output to watch your footage on a TV or output back onto a VHS VCR for example (however you can usually do this with your simple firewire card and your camera as well, depending on your camera)

3. acceleration: some boards offer acceleration of certain things like wipes/effects, color correction and/or MPEG-2 encoding (for DVD output for example)

HOWEVER, usually such boards are LIMITED to ONE or sometimes
TWO editing applications!!! So if you use such a card you are usually
automatically choosing an editing application (which usually is
Premiere or Premiere Pro). Also you will have to wait and see how
the manufacturer will support future versions of this editing
application or other applications. Which in my opinion is a bit
tricky for what they cost (they should make one standard which
works with all editing suites, keep on dreaming....)

Personally I don't bother with such cards. I want to be free to
choose an NLE and in my opinion with today's PC's all the effects
are fast enough for me (personally, others disagree).

In the end you will have to weigh what is important for you and
works or doesn't work.

I hope this was usefull...
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Old December 15th, 2004, 08:32 AM   #3
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Hi Christian,

In addition to Rob's excellent response, here's a recent thread along the same lines:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=35532

If you're going to just use OHCI compliant capture (ie, what's built into the motherboard or a $20 or $30 firewire capture card), just build your computer using mainstream, mass market components toward the higher end of the product lines and you'll be unlikely to have any compatibility problems.

If you do plan on using the Storm, then it'll be important to check with Canopus to make sure that your components will be compatible, although again, most mainstream motherboards, video cards, recent memory architectures, etc most likely will do fine. Just check first before dropping the $$$.

But to be clear, you do NOT need both a vanilla OHCI firewire port/card and the Storm or similar card. You'll choose to use one or the other to capture with.

As I mentioned in the linked thread, I started out in the late '90s with a DVRaptor and elected to switch back to the motherboard's built-in 1394 port when I moved to PPro, which made the old DVRaptor incompatible/obsolete...note Rob's comment above about the card limiting your NLE choice. I could have either dropped an additional $G or more to get a Storm, or use OHCI. I chose OHCI and can't tell the difference for my 1 or 2 generations-of-rendering work. Maybe it would matter more if I did more generations of rendering to reach final output, but personally I don't.

Definitely do take advantage of the free 30 day trials that most of the major NLE software manufacturers offer. No better way to decide than to try before you buy!

Cheers,
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Old December 15th, 2004, 02:43 PM   #4
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A lot depends on what you're trying to do in terms in editing, and as others have pointed out it also depends on your personal tastes for various software interfaces. On the Canopus forums there are several users who have abandoned Adobe Premiere in favor of the Edius software for most of their editing, because they find Edius to be more efficient. But it's also true that Edius lacks a few advanced features found in other editing programs, so if you need those particular features then you should look elsewhere.

What Edius does better than anything else is give you true real-time editing and output for a variety of video formats, and Canopus just happens to have the most advanced HDV editing solution. So if you want to get your work done in a hurry and don't need the features which Edius is missing, then it's a great choice. If you really need a full range of editing features and don't mind dealing with rendering issues and/or reduced frame rate playback, then other programs are more suitable. And before you buy any editing solution you really should try the demo version to see if you even like using it, because every program works a little differently.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 02:58 PM   #5
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Just another thought. If you do choose to go with a Matrox etc card, be sure to check the associated web site for recommeded motherboards. Some don't play well together and you'll save yourself lots of frustration in the future by selecting a MB that the manufacturer has already tested. I found that my RTX 100 just wouldn't get along with an Abit IC-7G. Since I've replaced it with a Intel MB that Matrox had tested, no problems.
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Old December 16th, 2004, 06:45 AM   #6
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Rob just gave you a really thorough response... that should help you out LOADS.

To sum it up... if you have no NLE experience and you're working on a budget then I'd just use a mobo with a firewire input and it's not a bad idea to check compatibility on those boards. Just go to each of the big 3 sites and see what boards are compatible... it would be EASY to compile a short list of boards that have no compatibility issues with ANY of those companies... then you're safe no matter WHAT you do and you'll still have firewire on most new boards so even if you don't use ANY capture card you're still covered.

If it was me I'd go Vegas. I've got premiere and vegas and if it weren't for the fact that I've got years with premiere I'd probably just use vegas.

My system also has a canopus rt card in it and I really like it when I'm editing in premiere but it's a premium price that I don't think has the value that it once did. When I originally got this card it was rated better then anything from matrox or pinnacle... now the latest matrox and pinnacle cards are topping it. Like anything else you can get caught up in the performance chase... OR you could get a nice, basic, STABLE system and learn vegas. I've got a few friends getting into video and I steer all of 'em to a good computer and vegas... you'll find out that learning to edit will take a while no matter the path you choose so why not choose a simpler path?
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Old December 16th, 2004, 08:20 PM   #7
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<<<My system also has a canopus rt card in it and I really like it when I'm editing in premiere but it's a premium price that I don't think has the value that it once did. When I originally got this card it was rated better then anything from matrox or pinnacle... now the latest matrox and pinnacle cards are topping it. >>>

In terms of raw performance, nothing from Matrox or Pinnacle has ever matched the Canopus DVStorm in terms of overall real-time capabilities--and Vegas isn't even in the running in this category. And now with the introduction of Edius NX for HDV, Canopus has gone several steps further, offering the most comprehensive SD/HD editing solution available at anything close to a reasonable price. Where other companies are ahead of Canopus is in terms of editing features and some interface advantages, but within the limits of what Canopus products can do I can get things done faster with them than with anything else.
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Old December 16th, 2004, 10:40 PM   #8
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doesn't canopus have a pretty good rep for stability as well?

i have been trying to change editors, and what i've found so far is that none of 'em are perfect... if there aren't workflow problems, then the software has bugs in it... and yes, that includes vegas.

by far the smartest thing any of 'em are doing is using the pc video card for hardware acceleration, but you can only get that with liquid motion... it's a brilliant idea, very cost effective, with a better r.o.i. than just about anything out there, but there can be compatibility problems, and liquid motion 6 has some bugs as well... but wait until the first service pack comes out before you pass final judgement.

you also need to look at the material you'll be editing... some of these editors are better suited for long-form work than others, while some of 'em don't allow for exporting the timeline to outside software like canopus procoder, after affects, etc.

i would say that if you are a new editor, take some telecommunications classes to get the basics down first, see what they are using for editing... it's got to be better than that analog convergence system i had to learn on :-)
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Old December 17th, 2004, 03:05 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dan Euritt : doesn't canopus have a pretty good rep for stability as well?
-->>>

Not with Adobe products, the Storm's performance is.. well poor at best when running Premiere Pro 1.5.

However with Edius it is much better.
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Old December 17th, 2004, 09:50 PM   #10
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<<<by far the smartest thing any of 'em are doing is using the pc video card for hardware acceleration, but you can only get that with liquid motion... >>>

Actually, Edius can take advantage of video card acceleration if you configure it properly: even my laptop can do real-time 3D effects when I have things set right. And unlike Pinnacle's editing solution you get true real-time editing for the rest of your DV work, without any of that annoying "background rendering" stuff.

By the way, regarding the comment about hardware acceleration cards limiting your editing choices, that's simply not true. Obviously the cards only work to their fullest advantage with the software they're tuned for, but that in no way stops you from running other programs separately just like you would without the acceleration card. Plenty of DVStorm users use all kinds of video and audio software, and you just have to know how to get back and forth from one program to another.

And don't downplay the significance of real-time MPEG2 encoding with DVStorm: that's easily the single most time-consuming step of most editing projects. But you can reportedly get close to real-time encoding via software now on sufficiently fast computers.

DVStorm isn't the big plus it used to be on less powerful computers, but it's still a handy tool. A better investment at this point in time would be the new Edius NX, but that requires a specialized motherboard for full performance.
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