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Old March 18th, 2002, 03:57 PM   #1
Eric Larsen
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New System Recomendations Please!

Hello all, I am new to the world of DV and I have a few questions.
Here is a little background. I am an IT administrator for a small (100 employee) manufacturing company. My marketing department is increasingly wanting cd's to hand out to customers and prospects. My network (servers and workstations) are all Windows 2k or xp so my knowledge of the Wintel (windows intel) type of system is extensive.
I converted an engineering workstation into a NLE station. It is a P4 w/1G ram, SCSI 18K rpm drives that I installed the Matrox RT 2500.

I am doing this in-house becouse I really enjoy all aspects of this technology and boy it is fun.

I have just budgeted for the XL1s and another rendering station. Here are my questions.

I am looking for advice on a computer setup to produce 800x600 (computer resolution) marketing video shorts. With my background in the WIntel area and no exposure to the Mac environment it would be a faster learning curve to stay there yet I get the feeling from most posts that most of you would recomend a Mac. I can work with these recomendations becouse the 800x600 video rendering on the P4 (w/ large graphic images embeded - photoshop) is a painfully slow.

Thanks in advance.
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Old March 18th, 2002, 05:52 PM   #2
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Location: Holland
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How come your setup is painfully slow? I do full resolution
DV editing (720x576) without any problems on my P3 900
Mhz 256 MB ram laptop without any problems (screen
resolution is 1400x1050). Are you referring to rendering
a movie afterwarts? That can be a bit slow, yes. Depending
on your effects. The faster the processor here the better.

Maybe I miss understood you....

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Old March 18th, 2002, 10:13 PM   #3
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Location: Plano, TX
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Why are you making 800X600 video? The best you can get from a NTSC DV camera ia 720X480 so when you try to change it to 800X600 the computer is trying to create pixels from nothing. There is a very big difference between computers and video, the aspect ratios, the gamma settings, the pixel size and shape, the color reproduction, everything. You would be better off just leaving it as 720X480 video and sizing your graphics to match.
Be not afraid of the Mac. I have tried to make our IT department understand this as we are purchasing more and more of them. It is really so simple it is almost stupid, you plug it in and go to work. Try not to overcomplicate things with it. In reality you can use your Windows machine without any problems but in my experience the Mac is a MUCH more stable working environment.
Bring in your video from the DV camera through firewire to your editing program, add graphics, export to Cleaner and compress as MPEG-1 Video CD, presto. You now have a nice little file ready to burn to disk and pass out to everyone. That easy and full screen playback!
I will say that my Macintosh Dual500Mhz G4 running Cleaner (a dual processor application) is 2 times faster than my Dual1Ghz Pentium 3. Just a little personal factoid for you to think about when deciding on computer platforms.
Here is what we use and what we left behind.

Left behind:
Compaq AP500 Dual1GHz P3
1 Gig RAM
Matrox G450 Dual head
1 18Gig + 1 32Gig SCSI Drives
External 132Gig Medea RAID
Media 100 iFinish V60

Replaced it with: (actually 3 of them with 22" Cinema displays)
G4 Dual800
1.5Gig RAM
nVidia Gforce3 Dual Head
Matrox RTMac / Final Cut Pro
2x60Gig ATA100 7200RPM
2x80Gig ATA133 7200RPM RAID
(we are currently shopping and demo'ing 1+TB RAID storage)

I can say that we will probabally never buy another PC in our department, I have them sold on Mac's. They are just too easy to use and rarely break down. Our $20,000 PC workstation was down ALL the time. It just doesn't like all that data going through it I guess. (Just kidding, there are many decent professional workstations running Windows well)
Find some software you like and buy the machine it runs on. For the work you are doing you will never need the speed of
18K SCSI drives so don't waste your money. We have an internal ATA RAID and it is so much more than we will ever need it is crazy. DV only needs 3.7MB/s our ATA RAID will support up to 133MB/s but I usually max out around 70MB/s which is still more than I need and I don't have to listen to that hard drive clatter.

Good Luck
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Old March 19th, 2002, 07:00 AM   #4
Eric Larsen
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Rob and Rhett, thanks for the replies. To answer your questions / confusions. I am producing CD's for our sales force to use as a presentation tool. The resolution at either 720x576 or 720X480 does not provide the detail that we are after. These “video” are really no more than a PowerPoint slide show. They consist of mostly text and graphic images and very little “video”, but that is changing with each version that I produce. I am creating most of these “slides” in Inscriber Title Motion. An example of one “slide”: Fade in a graphic showing the exploded view of a product (see ) then they want to zoom in to each component (without loosing detail) while the narration is discussing the benefits of our product vs. the competition. Supporting text fades in and out as the narration proceeds. Fade out of that slide and fade in a new slide with a list of our top 100 customers and the type of operation they have oh and make it readable because we will be showing this on a Plasma display or an LCD projector. Etc…

Rhett, thanks for the information on the Macs. Last night I was pondering this issue and as I am the IT Department Admin. I attempt to always keep my mind open to new approaches to existing problems. I will attempt to find a local Mac dealer or studio where I can sit and test-drive a setup.

Thanks again for your replies to my question. Chris (er.. Mr. Hurd) I stumbled on your XL1 watchdog while doing a search yesterday, glad I did. Strange that I hadn’t found this prior I have been researching the XL1 for a year or so now. Your new design must have updated your site in the search engines db. Outstanding site keep up the great work.
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Old March 19th, 2002, 10:34 AM   #5
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If you are using DV footage, I don't know of a way to create 800x600 cdrom video without losing resolution. is there a way?

It seems like you will have to upsample in all cases. You can change the data rate and that sort of thing to change the quality of the video.
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Old March 19th, 2002, 11:03 AM   #6
Eric Larsen
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There is only about 10% actual video in this presentation. I was able to capture the video (from vhs tape argh...) in an 800x600 mode without further degradation using the Matrox RT 2500 and Adobe Premiere 6.
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Old March 19th, 2002, 11:38 AM   #7
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Hello Eric,

After reading your objectives I would strongly recommend you look at using Macromedia's Flash to produce your cd's. Since most of your material is text you could easily intermix detailed video clips into an interactive presentation and be able to put alot more content on a CD, since Flash files are quite small relative to video. This would also offer you the opportunity of putting the same presentations on yor Web site if appropriate. Yours really seems like a job for which Flash was designed!

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Old March 19th, 2002, 11:53 AM   #8
Eric Larsen
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Ken, Thanks for the idea. I used flash a few years back, I forgot about it. Time to update it and get moving.

Thanks to all of you for your suggestions.


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