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Old January 15th, 2007, 05:39 AM   #1
New Boot
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 16
Editing solution for *long* projects


It seems that there's plenty of questions about the "ideal" editing setup that remain unanswered in the forum, but I'd still give it a try...

We deal with a good deal of feature-lenght documentary films in our studio, and look for a multiple-workstation HD solution that could:

- handle a big project with a large amount of offline footage - 100-150 hrs per project, and a few hundres of cuts in the timeline. (At the moment we're editing offline in DV on Premiere 6.5 with the old Matrox RT cards, but the Premiere becomes incredibly slow when the cuts and bins accumulate after a month of editing a project.)

- handle a variety of sources (720p HDV, DV, Component, HD-SDI from HDCam) in and out;

- offer decent realtime capabilities offline, and hopefully online;

- have a couple of smaller (i.e. cheaper :-) workstations for offline editing and/or smaller online projects compatible with one bigger workstation for HD finishing with least compromise in quality;

- and work with reasonably priced storage (up to $6-8K total).

We've been committed to Matrox until now, (with two RT's for DV/offline and a Digisuite Full for high-end SD), but the Axio range seems a bit overpriced now. Avids seem to be both extremely overpriced in their mid/high end range, and incredibly old-fashioned in structure. The two possible ways to go for us could be:

a) FCP with Blackmagic Multibridge (and possibly DeckLink HD cards in the smaller workstations)

b) Premiere Pro with Prospect HD and AJA card

What could the possible caveats be in either setup? Anyone with an experience in editing a long project on either one?

All suggestions are more than welcome,

Thanks in advance!
Boris Missirkov is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 15th, 2007, 06:17 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,750
Are you onlining in HD or SD?

To online in HD, you will need a serious RAID array. FCP: The XSERV RAID is a very easy solution; there are cheaper alternatives like SATA RAID.

There are also specialized solutions for workgroup editing. AVID unity, FCP XSAN, and Sony HDXchange are some that I can think of off the top of my head. I believe they are all out of your price range. An XSERV RAID alone is about $14k. To get uncompressed HD and XSAN, you'll need two of them (plus XSAN, plus fibre channel hardware). But if you do want to go down that route, contact a VAR as they will have experience with those systems.

2- In my experience with FCP, it has problems with big sequences (or too many markets+cuts in a sequence). You need to work with a number of small sequences, and nest them into a master sequence. FCP works if you do that- it's not a problem.

Haven't tried Premiere Pro.
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 16th, 2007, 03:14 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Hi Glenn, thanks for the input!

We'll have to online both SD and HD, but could hardly afford any of the "out-of-the-box" storage solutions llike the XServe or the XSan. BTW, there's and interesting thread on DIY servers in the Insanely Mac forum:


- sounds interesting, but probably not fast enough for uncompressed HD. That said, is there noticeable difference in quality between the "real" uncompressed HD (the way Blackmagic or AJA put it) and Cineform's 10-bit Digital Intermediate?

Big sequences in FCP: nesting smaller sequences in a big project sounds fine, but are you able to edit the smaller projects and have them automatically updated in the master sequence (AVID-style), or you have to replace them again after each change (Premiere-like)?
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