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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 01:12 PM   #1
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DV and Firewire and Buses, Oh My!

I am shopping for a portable DV editing solution and I have come up with a question concerning DV capture/layback to external firewire drives using a laptop.

There is a computer system vendor that recently introduced a laptop that is advertised as being one of the first laptops to have a dual-bus architecture. They indicate
that such a dual-bus architecture is a requirement for using an Avid Mojo along with external storage devices (such as a firewire drive). (Note that the Avid website indicates the same dual PCI Bus Segment requirement for such use.)

My main question is: Is the Avid Mojo THE ONLY firewire device that requires this dual-bus architecture to play nice with external storage devices? If I do not plan on ever using an Avid Mojo with my laptop, will I never need and/or miss the dual-bus architecture?

How about capture devices such as the Canopus ADVC500? Would the dual-bus architecture be required
and/or advantageous in capturing between such a device and external firewire drives?

My employer is asking me to consider other laptop vendors, but I don't know whether to make the dual-bus architecture a requirement of my purchase. (Which would limit the vendors under consideration.)

I plan to use the laptop for DV/HDV capture/layback, as well as DV/HDV editing. I want to be able to capture/layback DV/HDV between a DV/HDV device (such as the Sony Z1U camcorder, the Sony HVR-M10U VTR, and other DV/HDV devices) and external firewire drives connected to the laptop. I also plan to add a video conversion device such as the Canopus ADVC500 for analog
conversion capture/layback.

What have been other people's experiences? Have you had good luck in capture/layback between HD/HDV devices and firewire drives using a laptop? How about between an analog/DV device such as the ADVC500 and firewire drives with a laptop? Any problems such as dropped frames? Interrupted transfers?

Sorry about the length. And thanks!
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 02:31 PM   #2
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I have two laptops on which I use Vegas. One has two hard drives built-in so I simply capture to one of them. The other has one drive and I use an external firewire drive to get more space. I have the hard drive connected to the computer via firewire. I have the deck connected to the hard drive via firewire. I can capture directly from the deck to the firewire drive with no problems. So you definitely should not have any problems with standard DV source.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 07:39 AM   #3
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Edward: what brand of laptop offers dual harddisks? Sounds interesting!
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Old May 25th, 2005, 07:56 AM   #4
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Rob,

There are a couple of notebook manufacturers that offer dual hard drives. A place to read about how there are only a very few laptop manufacturers but many value added resellers who rebrand laptops is Powernotebooks .

They also have a few dual drive laptops like Sager. Look closely at the styles of the laptops on their website and then flip through the latest PC Computing magazine and look at the laptop ads; amazing how much some resellers jack up the price when they rebrand.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 08:51 AM   #5
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That laptop is a Sager. It has two 7200RPM 60Gig drives and has become my primary editing machine.
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Old May 28th, 2005, 02:42 AM   #6
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Editing on a laptop

Hi all, I logged on to find an area on the site that may be able to answer some questions about using a Laptop computer for editing purposes and found this discussion, so please forgive me for intruding.

Let me first explain how I edit at the moment, I use an AMD Athlon 1 Gig Hz processor on a Gigabyte board with raid control, the Video disk is made up of two 60 gig drives striped under raid to give me a 120 gig video drive, and 500 Meg of Ram, with a 20 Gig system disk.

I use an old, meaning one of the original Canopus DV Raptor cards hooked up to an external monitor and edit using Premiere 6.01.

i have been exploring the possability of getting a Laptop to give me more freedom, and have looked at the Toshiba Qosmio G20.

Could I have some thoughts regarding the use of this particular Laptop and other makes.

Regards, Cliff Elliott
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Old May 28th, 2005, 02:15 PM   #7
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Looking at specs of various laptops, it looks like:
-If you have money, Sager makes the highest-end laptops you can get. You can customize one with the highest end stuff (dual hard drives, high resolution and large screen, fast processor like a 3ghz+ Pentium, DVD burner, etc.)

-If you are looking for value, Dell has some nice deals on laptops if you wait/look around for a hot deal. A good example would be $750 off Inspiron coupon. All their upgrades are very overpriced, so they're only good for a base system unless you get the right combination of "free" upgrades.

As far as buying a laptop goes, I'd look for:
Processor: Pentium Ms are faster than you think... add 40-50% to guestimate equivalent Pentium non-M performance. They also consume less electricity, which means longer battery life and less heat (i.e. on your lap).
AMD64 processors may also be good? (they consume less electricity than equivalent Pentium non-M, and perform nicely although not as good as Pentiums in certain video benchmarks)
Battery life- some batteries last longer.
RAM- 512MB minimum. How much you need depends on the program you run... check vendors for recommended specs.
hard drive- more is better of course, although if you can lug around an external drive that would be cheaper.
screen size/resolution- More resolution is better of course, but too much resolution on a small screen is wasted because things become too hard to read and you have to turn on large fonts in Windows. I'd probably look for something around 1280X1024 (SXGA) [i.e. WXGA+].
CD/DVD burner- that would be a nice touch. You can add an external burner, which may be lower cost but it may be annoying to carry it around.
reads DVD- probably a good idea.
wireless- Ideally it supports the standard you may run into.
Weight
Durability/build quality
Warranty- if you know you might get one anyways, you might as well factor in the price beforehand.
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Old May 28th, 2005, 06:30 PM   #8
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Hi Glen, thanks for your reply, I have already considererd most of the comments you have made and thanks for the explenation amout the difference about the Pentium M processors.

On this point there appears to be a difference of opinion about the performance re Centrino Pentium M Processors verses the P4 Desktop processor I'm told the 2 Gig/Hertz Centrino is equivalent to to a 3 Gig/Hertz P2 Desk top, is this so?

What I am really trying to find out is if I were to purchase a 2 Gig/Hertz Centrino based Laptop with 1 Gig of memory will I get smooth playback from the timeline window of a programme like Premiere 6.01 once transitions and such have been rendered, and if I connect to a fire wire device like a mini DV deck that has DV to analoge AV input/output should I expect to connect up a monitor and see a smooth play back.

Thanks again, Cliff Elliott
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Old May 28th, 2005, 09:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
On this point there appears to be a difference of opinion about the performance re Centrino Pentium M Processors verses the P4 Desktop processor I'm told the 2 Gig/Hertz Centrino is equivalent to to a 3 Gig/Hertz P2 Desk top, is this so?
Things might vary a little depending on the program. But yeah, a 2ghz Centrino (not the Celeron-M stuff) is about equal in performance to a 3ghz Pentium.

Sometimes desktops can be faster. For example, if you run Premiere *Pro* you can add a Matrox RTX100 to the desktop to add hardware acceleration. You can't really do this to a laptop (well you may or may not be able add a Magma PCI expansion thing and hopefully it works).

Quote:
What I am really trying to find out is if I were to purchase a 2 Gig/Hertz Centrino based Laptop with 1 Gig of memory will I get smooth playback from the timeline window of a programme like Premiere 6.01 once transitions and such have been rendered, and if I connect to a fire wire device like a mini DV deck that has DV to analoge AV input/output should I expect to connect up a monitor and see a smooth play back.
Yes you should.
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Old May 28th, 2005, 11:13 PM   #10
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Thank you Glenn, you have been very helpfull.

Regards, Cliff Elliott
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Old May 29th, 2005, 07:28 PM   #11
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>>What I am really trying to find out is if I were to purchase a 2 Gig/Hertz Centrino based Laptop with 1 Gig of memory will I get smooth playback from the timeline window ....once transitions and such have been rendered...

Heck yes! I can do that fine with my old Dell sub-1GHz Inspiron. Rather than the processor, what you need to focus on if your concern is playback is your hard drive speed. Laptops with 4200rpm disks will be marginal, my 5400rpm disk works fine as long as I keep in defragged, and a 7200rpm won't even break into a sweat.

(Processor speed if course IS important for rendering time, etc....)
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Old May 30th, 2005, 03:29 AM   #12
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Thank you Graham, this is very helpful, I am Leaning towards the Toshiba Laptop but because of the succes I have had with the Canopus Raptor card system over many years I am still a bit nervice about the change.

So long as the laptop will give me simmillar power and smoothness of playback as the old Canopus Raptor card (Original non realtime card) in a 1G/Hz AMD Athlon with 500 Meg of ram I will be happy.

From what I have gleaned from yourself and others the laptop with a Centrino 2G/Hz processor and 1 Gig of Ram should do this easaly.

As for the Hard drive this Laptop allows the user to set the two 80 Gig hard drives up as a 0 striped raid which overcomes any speed of disk access time problems.

Again thank you for your feed back.

Regards, Cliff Elliott
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Old May 31st, 2005, 01:36 PM   #13
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Cliff: any modern laptop running decent editing software should easily outperform your Canopus DVRaptor setup, so much so that you may end up wishing you'd upgraded sooner. Since you mentioned you want support for HDV editing, note that Avid doesn't support this yet, so I wouldn't worry too much about their hardware requirements unless you're willing to wait for them to get their act together. For HDV work you'll want the most powerful laptop you can afford, paying particular attention to bus speed, hard drive speed, and video display hardware -- three things laptop manufacturers may not make readily obvious in their literature. In terms of software, your best choices for HDV editing on a laptop are currently Adobe Premiere Pro with the Cineform Aspect HD plugin, or Sony Vegas with Cineform Connect HD.

If you can afford to wait a few weeks or so you might be able to get a laptop with a dual-core processor, which would be an awesome solution for portable HDV editing. Today's single-processor laptops can just barely handle HDV effectively, but a dual-core setup should fare noticeably better for this purpose.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 02:21 AM   #14
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Thankyou Kevin, the responses I have had from people like yourself on this topic have helped me make a decision to go with the Laptop.

By the way I wasn't looking to edit HDV, you may have mixed me up with someone else, at the moment I am quite happy shooting using 16:9 Framing with my Canon XM2 and editing the SDV footage with a letterbox.

This is why your reply has been helpful, by indicating the Laptop will out perform my old Canopus Raptor set up with SDV editing.

Again thankyou for your assistance.

Regards, Cliff Elliott
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Old June 1st, 2005, 05:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff Elliott
By the way I wasn't looking to edit HDV, you may have mixed me up with someone else, at the moment I am quite happy shooting using 16:9 Framing with my Canon XM2 and editing the SDV footage with a letterbox.
Sorry, I was looking back to the original poster who asked about DV/HDV capture and editing. For standard DV editing, today's laptops are great and can do amazing things without having to render, like real-time color correction and picture-in-picture effects.

By the way, if you're editing widescreen source footage you should capture and edit it as widescreen DV with no letterboxing and author to a DVD the same way, so the letterboxing is only added by 4:3 TVs during the playback process. If you're not sure how to do that, you may want to do a search for discussions on that topic.
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