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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old March 10th, 2006, 01:28 PM   #1
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Need advice on giving NLE advice

I worked hard for two years of weekends helping a guy shoot an independent digital feature. It has wrapped, and we are in post. However the machine he's editting on really worries me. It is the best that he can afford, but has several shortcomings:

-Early 90's Avid software with quasi-proprietary hardware running on NT4
-Analog I/O only (we might as well have shot in VHS)
-Less then 20g of storage, spread across a dozen external SCSI drives
-Hardware/software problems that I'm too afraid to fix

He basically got it used from his work, as it's what he could afford. I've no problem with using the old tools that you are familiar and comfy with. But sometimes that thought doesn't translate into computers, I've thrown away better machines then this. I'm just really afraid that he's going to get halfway though the movie and that thing will die, and none of the work will be portable to a modern platform. And, that we might not be creating the best product possible (with all the D/A conversions, limited effects, etc etc).

Is this a normal thing to worry about? Has anyone editted a feature movie with lesser gear?
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Old March 10th, 2006, 01:40 PM   #2
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Jeff,

I wouldn't even think of putting 2 years of my weekends on a machine like you have described. While I'm plenty familiar with tight budgets, I would think you could get a basic edit machine (emphasis on BASIC) for $1 - $1.5K. Even using the default windows movie maker would make more sense because you would have a result that you could still edit on other systems. I'd just hate to see all that work, PLUS who knows how many hours of editing disappear with a simple disk error.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 01:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Miller
Is this a normal thing to worry about? Has anyone editted a feature movie with lesser gear?
I think its a very normal thing to worry about, IMO its impossible to edit a feature film with those specs although some people may argue with me. I edited a feature length on a built PC with 120gb storage and I was realy struggling for space. you have the film which even compressed will be around 14gb if it is 90 min long, then you have render files and bach processed footage which can eat away at the space aswel.

I totally understand the fact that it is all he can afford and it shouldn't stop you trying if you have no other choice, someone in this forum has a quote saying "bad equipment requires greater skill". My advice firstly would be to hire some time in an editting studio or if that is too expensive before you start at least get an external USB hard drive with more space on it ,I got a 160gb drive for around £120 which is about $200 it will make you feel better if the film is on an external device.

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Old March 13th, 2006, 01:29 PM   #4
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Gee that sounds a lot like the old Media Suite Pro system I have sitting in the closet.

Even the bare bones Avid Xpress DV would work better, and it would be a familiar interface. I think that version of the software runs about $495 (US) a new pc, and a couple of external HD's and you are good to go. I think it would be worth the investment, and if he wants to he could probably recoup some of his outlay by selling the system once it's done.

I'm from the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought, but when I look back and remember it taking 20 minutes to render a :20 full screen graphic on that old MSP system, and now rendering more than 100 effects, graphics etc in less than that, well... it's time to fix it. LOL
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Old March 13th, 2006, 03:11 PM   #5
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Jeff,

Does your friend not have a more powerful personal computer of his own? If he does, you could grab a copy of Sony Vegas ($450), which I understand doesn't need the most powerful system (at least 800MHz processor, 256MB RAM. Then again, it needs at least Win 2000, so that may kill that idea). Throw in an external USB 2/FireWire drive, and you could have yourself a halfway decent editing setup.
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