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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old November 24th, 2006, 01:59 PM   #1
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Editing Hd Footage

I'm the proud owner of a Sony HC1. My question, hopfully you might have some input, is:

What is the best computer system setup to smoothly handle and edit HD Video?

I currently have a p4 2.4, 2gigs of ddr ram, 256mg nvidia vid/crd, 160gig & 80gig HDD.

When I try to capture the computer chokes, the footage stutters- even on play back.

I need to know the proper components needed to construct a kick ass hd editing PC. My budget is no more than $1500.
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Old November 24th, 2006, 06:09 PM   #2
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The biggest thing, in my opinion, is to upgrade your video card. I will probably guess that you're using an NVIDIA card made for gaming - such as a GeForce, or something like that. I would suggest an NVIDIA Quadro FX, it's a workstation card, and is made specifically for our kind of work, not gaming. You'll probably pay the same amount for a 128MB Workstation card as you would for a 512MB+ gaming card, but that's not an issue. Workstation cards don't need that kind of ram when their processors are much faster, and streamlined for actual video rendering and the like.

I had a high MB ATI Video card that I figured was going to do the trick no problem! It played all my games great, but when it came to running all my design software like Avid, Combustion and Photoshop, my video playback was sluggish, and I had a lot of “window tarring” – like when you drag a window across your screen, and the top part gets there before the bottom. But after doing a lot of reading I found that a workstation card was the answer.

I would say do a little more research about the two types of cards before you take my word for it, but I’ve spent a lot of time reading up on the differences between the two before I finally found out what really matters in a video card - as far as editing, and compositing is concerned.

I would say regardless if this is what is causing your current problem, a workstation card like the Quadro FX is a must in order to have a “kick ass” HD editing system.

Best of luck, and I hope that helps….

Peace,
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Old November 24th, 2006, 10:13 PM   #3
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Thanks Tim. That info does help. Do you have any other tips as far as other system requirements go, processors, harddrives, and motherboards etc...

what kind of complete computer system are you using??
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Old November 25th, 2006, 03:47 AM   #4
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I would echo Tim's comments about video cards. Get the best "pro" card you can afford. The Nvidia Quadro FX series seems to lead the market at the moment, though the ATI FireGL cards are supposed to be decent. You might want to look at the Matrox Parhelia cards as well. If you were to go with Adobe PremierPro, it's said to work particularly well with the Parhelias. I have Matrox Millenia cards (a P750 and a P650 - they're just below the Parhelia line in terms of performance and capabilities) in two of my systems and they've been strong, stable performers, though I've not used them for video editing.

If you know which editing software you intend to use, you might be able to get a good idea of what kind of system you need by visiting the software's web site and looking for the system requirements and recommendations. Hardware requirements vary considerably depending on your choice of editors. For example, once I'd decided to go with Avid Xpress Pro Studio Complete, I followed Avid's recommendations and bought an HP xw8200 workstation with dual 3.6 GHz Xeons and a Quadro FX 1400 video card. I've also got 2 WD Raptor 150's in a RAID 0 configuration for the system drive, and will be getting a Medea VideoRaid RT3 for the video storage. Of course, such a system is considerably beyond your stated budget of $1500. I needed a high-end system because of the demands of the Avid suite. There are other very capable editors that have much more modest hardware requirements. From your post, I'm assuming you already have an editing package, so check the web and find out what the manufacturer recommends.

I've just begun learning all this stuff myself, but I'm happy to share what I learn as I go along. I'm a network admin by trade, and I've discovered that the world of video production is changing as rapidly as the IT industry, so I've essentially doubled the amount of learning and keeping up I have to do! Good thing I enjoy it!

Good luck to you, and let us know what you end up using.

Aloha!
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Old November 25th, 2006, 08:38 AM   #5
 
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with many video apps, the quality of the video display card makes no difference whatsoever. Some apps take advantage of GPU, many don't. Therefore, an expensive video card may not be important at all. Be *sure* you know which app you're using first, and then be aware of what that application recommends. As an Avid and Vegas user, I'm using cards that are 2-3 years old, and only 128Mb on the vid card, dual headers.
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Old November 25th, 2006, 09:41 AM   #6
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Thanks guys for your input. Douglas what kind of system are you using?
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Old November 25th, 2006, 05:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph De Leo
Thanks Tim. That info does help. Do you have any other tips as far as other system requirements go, processors, harddrives, and motherboards etc...

what kind of complete computer system are you using??
Right now I'm on an AMD Dual Core 4400, 2 Gigs of RAM, two 300GB HDs setup on a raid, and some ATI card I got at fry’s. This has served me well, but I'm moving into a production department that runs completely on Macs, so my system is on order, and does include an NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 512MB, Stero 3D (2 x dual-link DVI) which I'm pretty excited about.

I would agree with Larry that you should find out what the system requirements are for the specific software you’ll be using, but mainly look at the specs. A lot of companies, like Avid, have 'deals' with other PCs corps like HP to recommend their gear. So I'd say take all the specs and build your own, and you'll end up paying less. I spect out my PC on Alien Wear for about 5k, and built if for 2.5k.
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Old November 26th, 2006, 05:53 PM   #8
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Will do, thanks Tim. I'll let you know what happens
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Old November 30th, 2006, 12:05 PM   #9
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Joseph,

Your computer sounds very similar to mine and I have no problems in HDV using Vegas 7.0b, there is some preview stutter if I set the preview window at too high a resolution.

MAKE SURE you have no other programs running in background or otherwise.

Shut down all antivirus, monitoring, updating, or any other programs running. I even disable my wireless adapter. The only thing on my task bar is the clock when capturing or rendering, and I should shut it down.

Also, having the preview window too large or at too high resolution will cause the preview to stutter. It generally does not affect the capture or rendered video if it is.

Your capture to and render to hard drive should not have any programs installed on it or reading from it while capturing or rendering. I use an 80 gig for video and picture files only. No long term storage or program use.

You don't say what software you are using, but your system should be sufficient to work with HDV, perhaps even better with a processor upgrade.

I did just order today a 3.0 mhz P4 processor for my system to replace the 2.26. I am limited right now with a 478 pin motherboard cpu socket, so 3.0 was all I could find. Should be a good $80 spent.

Jamie
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Old December 1st, 2006, 07:31 AM   #10
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Jamie

I'm using vegas video 7b as well.
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Old December 4th, 2006, 01:48 PM   #11
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What file format are the files in when capturing? Actually.. what is the best way to capture HD to PC?

Do you guys think a single 3.4GHz processor dual-core with 1.0GB of ram will do the trick? The video card is an dual ATI Radeon X1300 Series card.

Lastly from your guys experience, what's the best downconverting (ie. HD to SD) process?

Can't wait for my next HD project which should be soon!


Thanks...
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Old December 4th, 2006, 06:14 PM   #12
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HD to SD

I think that the best process for doing HD to SD is simply rendering it to SD... If that was your question.

640x360, Bit rate: 150-250, depending, Sorenson 3 @ 50%, IMA 4:1 Audio, and 'fast start' for streaming.

That is what I use, and the movies turn out great, and at a managable file size too.


SB
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Old December 5th, 2006, 12:09 PM   #13
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Thanks. This has definitely been a handy thread. I'm going to shoot some HD soon and try editing on my new machine - I just bought a Firewire card so I'm basically ready to go!
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Old December 11th, 2006, 09:39 AM   #14
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This question is for Tim or Larry...

With your dual processor systems, what frame rate and output resolution are you able to preview your editing timeline and please also include the setting ie. preview/best or full/auto, etc.. (this is if you're using Vegas, I'm not sure if AVID displays playback framerate)

As far as "how powerful a system has to be for HD" I've noticed that capturing HD footage does not seem to be as intensive as playing back from a timeline at full frame rate (ie. 29.97). Throw a filter or two on your footage and then watch your PC bog down and grind to a halt.

So the real question for the guys using dual processor PC's with the Nivida cards is what's the "highest" output you can get out your PC before taxing out the CPU?

A killer dual core 2GB of RAM high end Nividia FX card is pretty useless if you can only preview your timeline at a 320x180 preview/good setting.

Last edited by Dennis Hingsberg; December 11th, 2006 at 02:41 PM.
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Old December 11th, 2006, 02:18 PM   #15
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...Do not buy a Quadro or similar workstation card for editing. It won't change anything but just burn your pocket.
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