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Video Editing

5543 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Mar 23, 2013 12:40 AM by BDAqua RSS
parker612 Level 4 Level 4 (1,195 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Feb 17, 2013 9:07 PM

I've noticed that there are several questions that come up on these forums concerning video editing; what type of computer do I get? Is a "..." enough of a computer to handle my workflow? Where do I store my media? What software should I purchase? etc., etc.

 

So, the reason for this post is to provide some general information that one needs to know when taking on the task of video editing.

 

*This post is mainly for editors just starting out or at a beginner level.

 

I am currently a Film & Video student with a concentration in Post-Production. All of this information comes from years of editing experience, instructors, and various books.

 

Topics to Discuss:

1. Media Drives (storage, backing up, etc.)

2. Computer (processor, system memory, etc.)

3. NLE Systems (Avid, Premiere, FCP, Smoke, etc.)

 

MEDIA DRIVES

 

To achieve the best performance, there are several basic rules an editor should follow for storing media.

  • It is strongly recommended that you should not store your media on the same drive on which your NLE (non-linear editing) system is installed (generally this is your internal drive).
  • It is also recommended that you keep your project on the same drive as your media. This allow you to move to other systems, should you need to, or in case your computer crashes. However, I do not suggest running your project file and associated media from the same drive. This can cause various performance problems/errors. I would recommend running the project file off of your system drive and the media off the external.
  • The drive that your media is stored on should run at least 7200 rpm. Of course storing it on a SSD (solid state drive) would be the best option however, those can be rather expensive and is not an option for most people.

 

STORAGE SPACE

 

How much storage do you need for your external drive?

Below is a chart of some common formats and how much storage is required.

 

 

FormatResolutionFrame RateDuration

Hard Drive

Space Needed

NTSC DV

720 x 480

29.971 hour11 GB
HDV 720p1280 x 72029.971 hour11 GB
HDV 1080p1440 x 108029.971 hour11 GB
DNX HD 145 8-bit 720p1280 x 72029.971 hour30.5 GB
DNX Hd 145 8-bit 1080p1920 x 108029.971 hour61 GB
DVCPROHD 720p960 x 72029.971 hour44 GB
DVCPROHD 1080p1440 x 108029.971 hour44 GB

 

*chart taken from Avid Editing: Fifth Edition

 

This chart does not list all of the video formats but you can get a general idea of how much storage you need.

 

BACKING UP

 

If you care at all about losing your project or media, you absolutely must back-up your work!

"If it's a computer, it will crash."

I cannot stress this enough, you need to have a back-up of your media and project should your computer or hard drive crash.

Dedicate an external drive that is only for backing up your media and projects.

  • You have to back-up both your project file and the media associated with that project in order to recover your project after a hard drive failure/crash.

 

COMPUTER

 

There are several different things you need to think about when chosing a computer for video editing (processor, system memory, graphics card, etc).

 

Some questions you might want to ask yourself:

How intensive are the type of videos you are going to edit?

     - resolution, file sizes, etc.

What is the typical length of the project you will work on?

     - under 5 minutes

     - under 20 minutes...

What video editing software do you use?

     - different systems have certain minimum requirements

As for CPU speed and RAM, they really go hand in hand with video editing.

- CPU speed doesn't help if you do not have sufficient RAM cover all of needed video/audio/effect editing and rendering processes.

- Slower CPU with more RAM means that procesess get covered by the additonal RAM, but will take longer to render and preview during editing

So when choosing CPU and RAM, do not sacrifice one for the other.

 

Another thing to think about is if the computer you will be purchasing can be upgraded. For example, the MacBook Air's RAM is soldered to the motherboard and not upgradable. So if you are on a budget, make sure you buy a computer that can be upgrade later when you have the money to do so.

 

Below are the minimum system requirements of popular NLE systems. Do not take these to seriously. By having the minimum requirement, yes you will be able to run the software, however you may not be able to get the advertised performance form your system.

 

Avid Media Composer

Windows

  • Computer: Avid-qualified Windows-based computer2
  • OS: Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) (Still need 32-bit? Learn more about Media Composer 5.5)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz processor or faster
  • Memory: 4 GB of RAM (6+ GB recommended); 16+ GB of RAM recommended for Stereoscopic and other high performance workflows
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA Quadro FX family3 (FX 560 or higher recommended)
  • Internal hard drive: Minimum 80 GB 7200 rpm hard disk

Mac OS X

  • Computer: Avid-qualified Mac-based computer2
  • OS: Mac OS X Lion and Mountain Lion (64-bit) (Still need 32-bit?Learn more about Media Composer 5.5)
  • Processor: Intel Dual or Intel Dual Core 2.66 GHz Xeon processor or faster, or Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz processor or faster (laptops)
  • Memory: 4 GB of RAM (6+ GB recommended); 16+ GB of RAM recommended for Stereoscopic and other high performance workflows
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce family3 (recommended) or ATI Radeon family (as supported by Apple)
  • Internal hard drive: Minimum 80 GB 7200 rpm hard disk

 

Premiere CS6

Windows

  • Intel® Core™2 Duo or AMD Phenom® II processor; 64-bit support required
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1 and Windows® 8. Refer to the CS6 FAQ for more information about Windows 8 support.*
  • 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
  • 4GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on removable flash storage devices)
  • Additional disk space required for preview files and other working files (10GB recommended)
  • 1280x900 display
  • OpenGL 2.0–capable system
  • 7200 RPM hard drive (multiple fast disk drives, preferably RAID 0 configured, recommended)
  • Sound card compatible with ASIO protocol or Microsoft Windows Driver Model
  • DVD-ROM drive compatible with dual-layer DVDs (DVD+-R burner for burning DVDs; Blu-ray burner for creating Blu-ray Disc media)
  • QuickTime 7.6.6 software required for QuickTime features
  • Optional: Adobe-certified GPU card for GPU-accelerated performance
  • This software will not operate without activation. Broadband Internet connection and registration are required for software activation, validation of subscriptions, and access to online services.* Phone activation is not available.

* Learn more about Windows support.

Mac OS

  • Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
  • Mac OS X v10.6.8, v10.7, or v10.8**
  • 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
  • 4GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on a volume that uses a case-sensitive file system or on removable flash storage devices)
  • Additional disk space required for preview files and other working files (10GB recommended)
  • 1280x900 display
  • 7200 RPM hard drive (multiple fast disk drives, preferably RAID 0 configured, recommended)
  • OpenGL 2.0–capable system
  • DVD-ROM drive compatible with dual-layer DVDs (SuperDrive for burning DVDs; Blu-ray burner for creating Blu-ray Disc media)
  • QuickTime 7.6.6 software required for QuickTime features
  • Optional: Adobe-certified GPU card for GPU-accelerated performance
  • This software will not operate without activation. Broadband Internet connection and registration are required for software activation, validation of subscriptions, and access to online services.* Phone activation is not available.

 

Final Cut Pro X

 

  • Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better.
  • 2GB of RAM (4GB of RAM recommended).
  • OpenCL-capable graphics card or
    Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later.
  • 256MB of VRAM (512MB of VRAM recommended).
  • Display with 1280-by-768 resolution or higher.
  • OS X v10.6.8 or OS X v10.7.5 or OS X v10.8.2 or later.
  • 2.4GB of disk space.

 

NLE SYSTEMS (non-linear editing)

 

When chosing a system there are a few questions you want to ask yourself:

How advanced do you want the software to be?

     - advanced editing tools, effects, audio editing/mixing (stereo, surround sound), etc.

What level do you consider yourself?

     - Are you planning to be a video editor?

     - Are you editing just for fun?

What is your budget?

     - The more advanced the software, the more expensive

 

Here is what I would suggest:

 

Final Cut Pro X

If you are a beginner and do not plan to do any serious editing, go with FCPX. It is a good starting program and It is fairly easy to learn and should be able to preform all of the tasks you need it too. You can purchase this system for $299.99.

 

*Final Cut Pro 7 used to be one of the industry standards for editing but since Apple decided to redesign FCP completely, many editors have been moving away from FCP. However, there are studios that still use FCP7 but since there are no more updates, it will eventually stop being used.

 

Adobe Premiere CS6

If you plan on doing more serious editing or require more advanced editing tools a good system would be Adobe Premiere. This application is more of a professional grade system. There are studios and companies that edit films, television shows, and various other media using Premiere. In recent years, Premiere has been increasing in popularity in the film and television industries. You can purchase this system for $1,899 (comes included in the Production Premium Package). Educational price is $599.

 

Avid Media Composer 6

MC6 is the industry standard for the film and television industry. I would only suggest this to anyone who wants to be a film/video editor. This is the software you will be using. This software has all the tools and features to be able to handle the demanding workflow of feature films and television shows. This is by far one of the most expensive NLE systems. You can purchase MC6 for $2,499.00. Education price is $295.00.

 

 

I hope that this information helps some of you. If you have any questions or comments about any of these topics or would like me to go over any other general topics on video editing feel free to comment below.

 

 

*If you feel I missed something or need to correct anything let me know

 


  • Performanceey Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 6, 2013 9:30 PM (in response to parker612)

    Hey Ashley,

    I would recommend AVS Video Editor.

    It's aimed at the novice user but has all the features of a professional software.  It's a really good and user-friendly video editing software which allows you to edit and mix any combination of audio, video and photos. It also has loads of features like effects, text, split screen, reverse, slow-motion etc, plus you can upload your video directly to YouTube through the application.

     

    There's a free lite version and a Pro (paid) version available

     

    You can check it out here: http://www.avs-video-editor.org/

    Hope this help

  • Performanceey Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 6, 2013 10:50 PM (in response to parker612)

    Why? OS?

  • Bichlerson Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 21, 2013 12:12 AM (in response to Performanceey)

    FCP 7 has additional items such as Colour, DVD Studio Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Motion etc. You will not need to access these immediately. Right now, you need experience. I spent 6 months shadowing an editor and then still made a hash of my first edits.

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,705 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 23, 2013 12:40 AM (in response to parker612)

    Great work, thanks!

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