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Old October 13th, 2002, 02:33 PM   #1
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A pro like editing system for a newbie

Alright, I have around 1500-2000 to spend on a editing system. I am new to the digital editing world and will be starting from the beginning. The thing is I don't want to spend a lot of cash on an easier to use system that I will just upgrade down the road cause its not good enough for serious film making. What does everyone suggest. I plan to pick this up in the near future and become familiar with it for my summer shoot. So I have plenty of time. What do you guys suggest.
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Ryan
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Old October 13th, 2002, 11:26 PM   #2
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pc or mac?

Personally at this point, i think mac has fallen behind, mhz are relative by ghz are not, and the mac's are falling right behind on speed and price.


I would look at perhaps the most important thing to video editing, and that is i/o (input/output).

Ok, there are two ways you can go, both with their advantages.

INTEL or AMD.

Personally at this point, i was an AMD nut, but right now i would go p4, they are cheaper and faster. And many editing/visual apps have optimised code for the p4.

I will give you an example, of gear *i use* which has worked well for me, these are not crazy spec sheets i have read from the latest and greatest just stuff i know is reliable.

I would find a mate who can build you, your system, build it yourself, or pay $50 and have one built to you exact specs.

First things first, the new Intel motherboards are very nice and promising. I just did a review of the Abit IT7 Max 2 (Intel i845E) Motherboard, and found it absolutly fantastic. Warning though it is totally legacy free, no com port, no mouse/keybourd plugs, be prepared to use USB for all that stuff.
BUT it did have
4 fan headers (instead of the usual 3)
finger guard for Northbridge heatsink clip
board integrated switches for power and reset (very convenient for the ardent overclocker and system tester)
6-channel sound with 5 separate Audio connectors for Center/Sub, Surround Speaker, Front Speaker, Line-in, Mic-in (unlike many other 6-channel on-board solutions with only 3 connectors) and SPDIF Out connector
on-board LED diagnostics
4 parallel ATA 100/133 and 2 serial ATA 150 connectors
parallel ATA to serial ATA “Seriallel” converter

Now all this stuff is quite new and not so new, the serial ATA interface is new, i am not even sure if there are actually Harddrives out there that use it yet, but the motherboard has it for future.

There are many variants of that chipset now, that is the i845e which has no onboard video (and i wouldn't touch unboard video) and runs at a 266mhz bus for the ddr-ram, there is now a i845PE
which has been varified to run at a 333mhz bus speed, that is the biggest the difference, the older board can do it, but is not varified to do it, hence once in a while some boards wont.

I like these boards, look at an asus, epox or abit mainly, a lot of them have firewire build right into them. So hunt around with them.

P4 cpu, go find a 2.53ghz or 2.6ghz bother very cheap now, overclock well too.

Ram, get 1gb or ddr2700 ram, kingston/corsair/samsung/crucial are all good proven brands. get 512 meg sticks.

Video cards, don't believe the matrox hype, nothing special about them at all, except for the terrible 3d performance and bad drivers.
For a versatile system, i would get am Nvidia Geforce4-ti4200 with twin monitor output, some will come with 2x dvi output, just get $1 adapters and you can use with any monitor.
Alot of people will chime about the ati's, i don't care what they say, they are fine pieces of hardware with the crappest drivers on the planet, what is the good of the latest and greatest when 90% of the features don't work properly, nvidia has great drivers that are always upgraded and work fantastically. ATI has not got better with their drivers, people like to think so, but no way have they. The Nvidia will cost you quite a bit less too.

Harddrives seem to be about the most important thing, i use seagate baracuda IV ata 100 7200rpm harddrives and have not had a single problem at all. Been using them for well over a year since they were released, as well as in server enviroments and have been rock solid, don't drop frames and nothing but joy. Could get around 3 80gb drives and you will be set for a while. The Western Digital special edition harddrives with 8mb of cache onboard are fantastic too, a little bit of overkill and a bit more expensive, but very very nice too.

Soundcards, well i just use an old soundblaster live, but i would get a Creative Audigy, they fixed up their cycling fault in the pci bus and have slightly nicer sound. Also again these cards have a firewire port on them. Alot of boards have onboard sound, comes down to you which one you prefer, the onboard can sometimes be lacking.

Burner, easy liteon 40x12x48, or the 48x, dirt cheap and are fantastic.

DVDROM- liteon 16x- fantastic, little bit of playing around region free.

Case, i like the enermax and DTK cases, i personally use a dtk case, it has all the features of a high end case, cost me $30, but is very heavy, i don;'t move this system so no problem.

Powersupply, leadman and enermax make great power supplies look them up.

Monitors become more difficult, i would get at least 2x 19" monitors if i had your budget, sony are nice, will blow the budget a bit, go out and find a warehouse outlet for DELL, they sell the black 19" flat screens off very cheap, they are actually re-badged sony trinitron monitors half price. :)

I am sure i have left heaps out, but i hope this can help, um editing software, i would use Vegas Video over premiere these days, been a premiere user for a long time, found that vegas beats it in almost every regard.

kermie
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Old October 14th, 2002, 01:00 AM   #3
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Kermie,

You say the mac has fallen behind? I'm a PC guy, but my professor for the Final Cut Pro class I took (duh, bias here) said that Macs were much faster than PCs, even when the processor speed was lower--that a G4 800 was better than a PC with a 1.8 Gig processor. Maybe the example's an exaggeration, but you get the point.

Also, I'm currently using SDRAM. Is DDR actually better? Is 512MB of DDR better than 512MB of SDRAM? I'm looking to get a gig's worth, and I wonder if there's a difference.

Oh, and Vegas Video 3 rules. If you're taking a class somewhere or teaching one, you can get an academic discount (steal your nephew's/cousin's school ID or registration slip if you must). The package is normally 4-500 bucks, and I got mine for $160 with an academic discount and by shopping around. When I got it they were also giving away Sound Forge, which is pretty good sound design software, and ACID, which has little samples of music for you to play with and make your own music, free with it. I don't know if they still are.
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Old October 14th, 2002, 01:54 AM   #4
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*You say the mac has fallen behind? I'm a PC guy, but my professor for the Final Cut Pro class I took (duh, bias here) said that Macs were much faster than PCs, even when the processor speed was lower--that a G4 800 was better than a PC with a 1.8 Gig processor. Maybe the example's an exaggeration, but you get the point.*

that is not true at all, at some very very specific operations the mac will equal the speed of a faster pc system, but overall no.

Mac has very much fallen behind, they are simply overclocking older chips now, motorolla can not produce chips fast enough to keep up. Alot of people are mac biased due to the fact they like using them, but this really now is a last ditch attempt to keep mac in full steam, their latest switch adds are testiment to that. Only a completly bozo would pay any stock in what they say, they are a joke and bordering on blatent mistruthes.

Mac may be a few 100 mhz faster in comparison to a pc, but not ghz, the latest 2.8ghz p4, woudn't be able to be touched by a mac. A smp (2 processor) AMD system would be so far ahead of a mac it would make you cringe.

Mac will eventually have no choice but to move to x86 hardware to keep up, and where does a mac stop being a mac after that, in the end it will just be another operating system, with a fancy case, then prob go the way of os/2 and lindows. And believe me if microsoft keep loosing money on producing stuff for macs they will stop, and then where will that leave macs?

Avid express dv was another huge blow for macs being on pc too, final cut pro is a lovely program, and whilst being very different in functionality to avid dv express, the avid does equal it, so now the entire adobe range as well as an excellent NLE editor is available for professional users on a PC, and running faster at that too, and when it is time for upgrades, a user need not throw the entire box away and buy from new.

On the question of ddr, if your board can take sdr and ddr then don't bother, those older boards saw almost no advantage with ddr, if u get a new board the ddr solution will offer lower latency and more memory bus bandwidth that you will notice a very nice difference with.

BTW sdr is only produced now in extremely small quantities and is more expensive than ddr, so your choice is kinda made up, motherboards are cheap now, grab a new nice one, not a crap value chipset though, more trouble than good, if you use a p4 the i845e or EP range are the ones to get, the sis 648 is meant to be good but i have an distaste for sis. The via p4x400 whilst being a good chipset due to legal problems only really the yum-cha producers are making the boards so i steered clear.

If your using AMD, the kt333 latest revision with the newest south bridge chips are damn nice and super fast. The epox 8k5a+ (geez i think that is it) is very a nice and cheap board too.


kermie
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Old October 14th, 2002, 02:08 AM   #5
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Damnit! I already bought a new board not too long ago. I upgraded from a PIII 500 to an AMD 1600XP.
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Old October 14th, 2002, 06:54 AM   #6
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wow, well this is great. Ive written down all you said and I will start shopping around immediately. As for the VV3 with academic discount. I am a college student....so I assume I qualify. Where did you shop to get this discount?
Thanks
Ryan
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Old October 14th, 2002, 07:09 AM   #7
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Lastwacher, just watch out for yum cha motherboards with crap chipsets, to be safe stick to the big contenders, like asus, abit or epox, i really like epox very cheap for the quality, and a decent chipset like the i845ep, a lot of people will say sis and via make good p4 chipsets and they are correct, but i like the intel chipsets because they have a proven history of good compatibility and being stable.

Hunt around the models too, because some have a lot more features thrown on than others and don't let the computer stores bully you into what you should be buying and tell them exactly what you want!.

kermie
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Old October 14th, 2002, 07:14 AM   #8
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Speed isn't everything. Do I need a Corvette to drive to the corner to get milk? I don't think so. Mac's are an integrated system. It's all one system, true compatibility. You may pay more for that. Would you build your own car? An engine from GM, transmission from Ford and a body by Jaguar (oh, I forgot Ford owns Jaguar)? What kind of reliability would that give you. When the parts don't work well together watch the finger pointing.

I freelance as an editor and do work on the clients various edit stations (PC and Mac) and my own. I edit on a Mac G4 450mhz dual processor. No client has ever complained about the speed. They do complain about the irregular and sometimes frequent crashes that occur on the PC's. Why the crashes? They are not properly maintained, various components don't play well with some other hardware or software. Don't get me wrong Macs crash to. But under OS X (Unix) they rarely occur and they are recoverable (only the app with the problem is shut down, not the whole computer).

I would base my decision on what system I'm more comfortable with. If you use a PC and are very familiar with the various OS's than a PC might be your best choice. However, if you're starting from scratch or a present Mac user then Mac's make more sense.

My life consists of 3 things, I edit, I shoot and I teach photography and digital photography (occasionally find time to post here). I don't know a fan header, from a head fanner and I don't need to. I sit down at my computer and I edit, plain and simple. I spend my time making video, not tinkering or worrying if someone else's computer is faster.

Your budget of $2,000 will buy a top of the line iMac, 17inch flat screen LCD, DVD burner and apps to do just about everything you'll want. The iMac was just voted PC Magazines Editors Choice Award for best consumer desktop computer. A great all-in-one solution right out of the box. No assembly required.

Jeff
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Old October 14th, 2002, 07:20 AM   #9
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Jeff, you obviously havn't used windows xp, because i have never had a complete system crash either, only an app. Same are you os X.

Personally i think mac's have huge problems, you can not upgrade the things, just throw them away.


And i never said speed was everything ever, what i find is that macs are hugely crippled by being so limited in what can be used.

Macs have fallen behind now, very much behind, i love final cut pro, but it is too big a sacrafice to give up everything else.

And also to be reliant on somebody else choosing what i have in my pc would be horrible for me, i want to optimise my system for my needs, not anybody elses.

kermie

Different horses for different courses.
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Old October 14th, 2002, 07:54 AM   #10
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Where would you suggest I look for such parts? Any online store suggestions? As for the VV3 I have already found it for 163 with academic discount. Thanks for the heads up!
Just to be certain. There is only a vegas video 3 version correct? Not a VV 3 pro or anything like that right?
Thanks again for all your help.
Ryan
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Old October 14th, 2002, 08:03 AM   #11
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My Mac is over 2 years old and still capable of editing any documentary or feature thrown it's way. My clients would use XP but there are huge compatability issues with their software and hardware on their editing stations. Speed is not an issue in editing. If you want to talk 3D animation that's another story. I'm taking about features and documentaries, which is what Ryan wants to do. Upgrades are available for many older machines, iMacs and G4's. If by crippled, you mean gaming machines, your right.

In 1996 I sold my Mac Quadra 950 with an Avid Media Composer 1000 in it. It's still in use today producing documentaries. To date he's made well over $1,000,000 dollars cutting broadcast quality videos (documentaries). It's never been upgrade. It doesn't need to be. It does what it's supposed to do, cut BQ video. If he wants to play games, he can buy a PC.

I don't optimize my car, my TV, my XL1s, my cameras, my tooth brush. You get the idea. I don't feel the need. Some do, some don't.

For your needs Macs might not be the right choice. For the Editors of PC Magazine, the iMac obviously is the right choice.

Apple also has huge discounts on software and hardware (FCP 3 for $299). Check out the Apple Store http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore/ and click on education.

Jeff
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Old October 14th, 2002, 09:26 AM   #12
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I agree with Jeff that Macs are probably better than PCs for this kind of work. The biggest problem with Macs is that everything costs more than it does on PCs.

One other thing you should consider are what machines/software your colleagues are using. If you have a problem its nice to someone in your area who might be able to help you. That can be critical for you if you need an answer and can't get help through a message board to tech service line.

As far as OSs go, I would not touch XP with a ten-foot pole. I do not want to rely/argue with MS if I upgrade my system to give me a new unlock code. Further, I have big problems with XP's product authenication and policies. Win2K works more than well.

Hope this helps,
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Old October 14th, 2002, 01:24 PM   #13
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VV3 is VV3 period right now. I believe I heard something about a new one being released in a year or so. There is patch for it that upgrades it from build so and so to build so and so point so and so. I don't remember the specifics.
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