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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old June 20th, 2005, 03:28 PM   #1
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using integrated audio and Firewire

In general, is this acceptable practice? My Intel 865-based motherboard has onboard AC97 audio with RealTek drivers, which I've been using since I had the PC built 14 months ago for video editing, when I upgraded from MediaStudio Pro 6.5 to 7. In a few forums, I read that DV NLEs perform better using a PCI sound card instead of any integrated motherboard audio; specifically, some people suggested avoiding the SoundBlaster Live PCI cards. Is that still the case? I just picked up a Turtle Beach Riviera from Fry's and want to install it as soon as I finish my current project. Before I open the box and break any seals, I want to make sure I'm not wasting time and money.

Along these same lines, would a PCI Firewire card perform better or offer more stability than the built-in Firewire port? (I preview on NTSC TV via Firewire through a DV deck.) I can get a three-port ADS Pyro 64 for $25, which seems like a good deal, considering it's one of the few Firewire cards endorsed by Avid. I figure if it's good enough for Avid, it's good enough for MSP. I read somewhere that best Firewire performance comes from Texas Instrument chipsets and that the VIA chipsets are crap. Can anyone attest to that? My mobo Firewire chip is a VIA, so if there's something to be gained, I'm open to the upgrade.

A little background info:

Ulead MediaStudio Pro (version 7, Service Pack 2) crashes (1) every time I apply the Normalize filter to an audio clip and (2) occasionally while rendering a preview to export via Firewire. My system specs far exceed the recommended setup and nothing else on that machine EVER crashes. I've received very little help from Ulead tech support and other MSP 7 users, so I'm trying to troubleshoot my setup between projects.

Until I make the jump to true hi def production, I can't afford to make a significant hardware or software investment -- especially not until my clients expect hi-def programming. The way I see it, even if I need to replace my motherboard (est. $125), that's still cheaper than changing NLE apps or buying a hardware card and NLE bundle like Canopus RVRaptor/Edius or Matrox RT.X100/Premiere Pro.

Last winter, I spent more time tweaking more system than editing, which is why I vow to make my next system a turnkey from a reputable system integrator. I've updated DirectX and display card and audio drivers, reinstalled, reformatted, and reinstalled MSP again until I'm blue in the face. Everything works great except for this bug, which at times is pretty important. Who doesn't need to normalize their audio?

When MSP works, it works well and meets my needs. I've been using it for three years, so I've become efficient. I've considered migrating to Vegas 6 but don't have time now to learn new software. I don't know about Vegas 6, but I thought I saw a benchmark showing MSP 7 had better render times than Vegas 5.

Any advice or recommendations is greatly appreciated. I've learned a lot from this forum in the last few years. The people who participate here really know their stuff.

Tim Borek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 20th, 2005, 07:08 PM   #2
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Sound cards: For video editing, they more or less perform the same.
If you do digital audio workstation work, then higher end sound cards are better because they have low latency drivers. I don't think Creative cards have those.

The old SB Live was definitely a card to avoid because the drivers were unstable. The new ones are fine... although your money may be better spent on something like a M-audio Revolution (likely better S/N ratio and frequency response).

VIA versus TI chipset firewire card: TI has less incompatibility issues (I don't think there are many however). If the VIA chipset works, then you're fine.
As far as performance goes, they all perform exactly the same.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 08:46 AM   #3
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vegas was a huge disappointment to me, in that it does not send the real-time audio signal out the firewire port with the video... all audio during the edit is monitored via the sound card of the pc, so the quality of the sound card could definitely make a difference, if the rest of your audio gear is high quality.

of course, we are only talking about monitoring the sound while editing, but that can be a critical factor... it needs to sound exactly the same as it would after the edit is done, and the project is exported to dvd or whatever.

if you use a video editor that sends the preview audio out the firewire port thru the deck, like they are supposed to do, the sound card inside the pc won't matter, because the only thing you are using it for is scrubbing the timeline.

the performance gains to be had with high-powered audio cards are typically attributed to saving a bit of system overhead when used for video gaming... i don't think that it should be much of an issue on a 14-month old pc that's editing simple dv video.

so stick with solving the normalize issue, don't confuse future hdv plans with that... it's hard to imagine that changing the firewire card is gonna fix that problem, i'd look to make sure that you can disable the on-board sound card, then plug in a cheap pci card to see if it fixes the problem.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 03:50 PM   #4
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Keep in mind that it is only monitoring that suffers a quality loss. Some hardware acceleration in the board (module) helps scrubbing under some applications though. I too like MSP, but 7 doesn't seem as stable as 6. I'm using the HDV plug-in with HD-10. Help is pretty bad!
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 10:37 AM   #5
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MSP 8 coming in 2005

Originally Posted by David Kennett
I too like MSP, but 7 doesn't seem as stable as 6. I'm using the HDV plug-in with HD-10. Help is pretty bad!

I read on the Ulead message board that a new version of MediaStudio Pro will be released in 2005. No specifics on features or release date, other than new in 2005. I'm anxious to get my hands on a demo when it becomes available to see if the changes are worth upgrading. Based on my previous experiences with Ulead, I'm not optimistic about version 8. I'm more inclined to switch over to Pinnacle Liquid Edition 6 or Adobe Premiere Pro. Time is money, and I'll pay a fair price for software that just plain works as promised. Case in point; I've spent three nights (about 12 hours) trying to get DVD MovieFactory 2SE to burn a 1:20 DVD for a wedding client. Editing took me about 20 hours (single-camera shoot), authoring the DVD took about 1 hour, as usual. However, I've burned three coasters so far, which has never happened. Two discs had blocky playback and one had great video, but no sound in one clip (the wedding itself -- rehearsal, guest interviews, and outtakes clips all have sound). The frustrating thing is that I hadn't changed my system configuration or brand of blank media, so the problem occurred at random. So I've had to re-render the wedding video and first-play video in MSP 7.3 (originally created in 7.2) and place new chapter points in the DVD file. I'm at my day job now and won't be able to create a new DVD project until this evening. This hassle is unnacceptable and why I'm ready to abandon Ulead products and never look back.

To make up for the two years of crap we endured in MSP 7, Ulead should not charge more than $99 for a version 8 upgrade. They could still price the full version at $300-400 and still attract new users, but for Pete's sake, cut loyal users a break.

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Old June 23rd, 2005, 01:18 PM   #6
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I NEVER liked Ulead MPEG encoders or authoring. I edit to native DV (or HDV) format which renders fast and gives me the highest quality master. Then use TMPGEnc encoder and TMPGEnc author.

I tried Ulead authoring sometime back, and it slowed down when adding many chapters. Choosing alternate thumbnail frames became impossible! The TMPGEnc stuff works the way it should, even on a slow computer. You can download trials. I know, something else to learn.
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