Crash Course in building an editing suite

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by videoed, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. videoed macrumors regular

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    Mar 1, 2009
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm trying to take my editing suite to the next level and don't have much experience with this type of setup.

    I'm not even sure what types of questions to ask, or terms I could be searching forums for, so here is the best description I can give that I think is what I am looking for:

    I want to create an editing suite that accommodates 3-4 editors at a time for the purpose of editing about 40 1-hour long episodes per year. 90%+ of the footage is shot out in the field and the rest is shot in-studio.

    I don't know much about the codecs or the final output, for now, I'm just trying to establish what my main objectives are to start out with, then where I need to be moving towards after that.

    Thanks,

    Ed
     
  2. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #2
    This is what you need to know to determine the level of equipment you'll need. You need to know exactly what format you will shoot and deliver on. This will determine how fast your storage needs to be and what type of I/O is required. You will also need to know how approx much footage you'll be shooting for each project and how long you'll need to keep these projects online. Finally you'll need to think about how you'll want to archive your projects (this will also have a lot to do with shooting format).
     
  3. the vj macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
    #3
    I am agree with the above and I can add a bit more...

    Usually you are going to do only the editing process.

    Now, if you are going to hadle a show there is a learning curve in adpating your studio to the needs of that particular production, that is what Bigboss said.

    Now, if you are the editor....

    The studio will give you the footage in some sort of media, usually they will give you a Betacam tape or MiniDV or some hard drive... what ever they give you, you need to have that sort of deck in your studio to start capturing.

    You will need to organize your crew to capture the video, that may take one entire day. You need to settle where the fottage is going to be (what machine or hard drive) and who is gonna do what.

    Regarding the "who is gonna do what" mean each editor will have to work in a segment of the project, that mean you need to create the templates for that one.

    You need to do what an "art director" does: to set teh look and feel of the show so in the process everybody know how things has to look and sound like.

    Now you will have an a idea how many people you will need as well as computers.

    I have done one hour video in a week, you may need actually 2 editors at the most, not 4. I was doing the videos for an airline, they had their own tourims channel, 4 different languages, 16 different versions, include a girl talking on blue screen and a bunch of stuff, but everything was organized pretty well, still it was complicated.

    If you hire a video editor or if you are one of them, the fisrt thing is to organize your production flow.

    Then you can get the computers. I have a Mac Pro 2 x 2.8 quad core. Buy it and buy at least 4GB or ram from Crusial, for a project like that I would buy 8GB for each machine, is just $350 the 8GB.

    Then, get them with at least an interal ryde with 2 internal hard drives, 4 would be better.

    Now, once the episode is finished you can transfer all the session to an external hard drive. I have 3 2terabite hard drive for storage. If yoy have blu-ray, create a coppy of the session as well and keep that blu-ray disk in a safe place.

    Then, clean your internal hard drives except for your videos templates.

    Now, the softwares you will need:

    Final Cut Pro Studio
    After Effects with the trap code effects
    Photoshop
    Illustrator
    MS office

    Thats are the basics.

    Oh... and try to find a big nice monitor. The problem with the Apple monitors is that they are not good with colors. For example, I once covered a logo on a video, the area around the logo was black, and I placed a black squeare. When I saw that video in another monitor I was able to tell cleraly the black spot over the now gray surface. So you will need a good video monitor besides your computer monitor of course, and a good video interface, some one else can recomend you one.

    That's about it.
     
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Los Angeles
  5. the vj macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 23, 2006
    #5
    Well, the budged depends on what the project needs. You need at least $10K to set up the basics I said.

    Computer: $3000
    Monitor: $1700
    video monitor: $500
    Hard drives: $1200
    professional deck (that one is expensive): $3000
    Ram: $350
    Video capture/playback: $1000 I guess

    And... I forgot to mention... speakers and a mixer: $1000 in total.

    Software: $2000

    Total: $12750 for one system. For the extra systems you just have to decrease the deck and the video capture so is $4000 less.

    You have to add shipping, apc ups and cables on that ones, plus the entire office appliances stuff.
     
  6. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #6
    vj, your numbers are definitely off....

    nobody building a real edit suite is going to spend $1700 on computer monitors. a pair of 24" will be under $1k.

    video monitor for $500? only if your ging SD and going used/cheap...

    deck for $3k? only if the OP is doing DV projects.
     
  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #7
    W/o the budget and w/o specific project info no one can begin to answer the OP and your suggestions vary from vague to pretty presumptuous to just inaccurate.

    $2k for FCP, AE+Trapcode suite, PS, MS Office, Illustrator? Not if you are paying retail prices.

    $3k for a deck. What kind of deck does the OP need and are you sure he can get it for $3k?

    You have no idea how much raw footage the OP is going to have to capture nor the turn around for each project, nor how labor intensive each project will be so suggesting specific timetables is baseless. I've worked on shows with 10hrs of raw material and I've worked on shows w/2500 hours of raw material.


    Lethal
     
  8. videoed thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 1, 2009
    #8
    thank you all for your response.

    I haven't worked on the current setup, nor did I set it up, but here are some details I can think of:


    the current situation is 3 machines(PPC) with a kona card.

    I don't know what codec they are working on. Not HD.

    There is probably 50 hours of footage for each 1 hour episode.

    My initial thoughts are to start with a server and attach editing machines to the server. I don't know much about servers and I know they were concerned about being able to capture footage as I recall them being hesitant to move beyond the PPC because they know how to work with their kona card.

    Thanks,

    Ed
     
  9. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #9
    I'd strongly suggest hiring a consultant in your area to help evaluate you situation and build a viable, cost effective solution that meets your current needs but also leaves room for growth down the road.


    Lethal
     
  10. videoed thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 1, 2009
    #10
    thanks for the suggestion, instead of hiring someone, I spoke with an apple salesperson from the business division and he seems to be capable of answering all of my questions and can guide me in the right direction. However, he is a salesperson and his job is to make sales- so I have to take his advice with a grain of salt.

    Here's what I understand so far(or what I think I do):

    Final Cut Server on either an xserve or a Mac Pro.

    Ethernet out of the server machine to an ethernet hub/switch. Work Stations connect to the server via the hub/switch with the ethernet connection.

    The Server would hold the media files that the work stations work from. Final Cut Server manages things so two people don't work on the same file at the same time, etc.

    So, if I am able to setup the Server with the capture card, I could be in business with this setup?

    Is ethernet fast enough for 3-4 work stations at a time?

    What's the process for adding hard drives?

    Thanks for all your responses, it has been very helpful.

    Feel free to correct and add.

    Thanks,

    Ed
     
  11. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #11
    Not even close.

    The people at Apple really have no idea what the requirements are for professional editing suites. You really need to talk to a local dealer that specializes in building editing suites.
     
  12. videoed thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    honestly, i doubt i have that option here, not even an apple store within 250 miles.

    what it the connection from server to station?
     
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #13
    You'd be right to take that advice w/a grain of salt because he is a salesman and because, in my experience, Apple employees tend to not know very much beyond the basics when it comes to video systems.

    First off, Final Cut Server is very much optional. Secondly, assuming it's setup properly ethernet can be fast enough to at least get a few streams of everything except uncompressed HD.Maxxdigital and EditShare are a couple of companies that offer shared storage via ethernet but nothing about this stuff is plug-n-play. You need to find someone to configure, install, and support your systems otherwise you are not going to be a happy camper.

    What is your budget again?


    Lethal
     
  14. videoed thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 1, 2009
    #14
    For budget, I'm hoping to be able to present a step-by-step process.

    I was thinking starting with a server or a machine to act as server, Final Cut Server, and whatever else is needed for storage and networking.

    Since I don't really know what all of the factors involved are going to be, it's going to be tough for me to say what the short term and long term budgets will be.

    If machine, networking and software add up to 5k, that could be a doable first step.
     
  15. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #15
    Even if you want to present the budget piece by piece you still have to know what your ultimate goal so you don't waste money buying gear you don't need or gear that's not good enough for what you ultimately want to do. You always should start and the end and work your way back to the beginning to devise the best workflow. It's like packing for a trip before you even know what the destination is. Going surfing in Hawaii is a lot different than going snowboarding in Colorado. If the end goal is a mixed bag then it's always better to overestimate your requirements than underestimate them. You'll spend more up front but it will be cheaper than scraping everything and having to do start from scratch down the line. Measure twice, cut once.

    For a viable shared storage solution I'd ball park at least 10k on the low end (depending on how much storage you want obviously) and that doesn't include getting the thing properly installed and setup (is your space setup for easy cable runs, is there adequate cooling, adequate power, etc.,). Also, just to make sure this is clear, FC Server is not needed in any way, shape, or form to run a shared storage environment.


    Lethal
     
  16. videoed thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    so how is it done without FCS?

    what's the connection mechanism between server and workstations?

    can a mac pro function as the server?
     
  17. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #17
    Final Cut Server is a media management tool, w/a horribly misleading name, that can sit on the network. My shared storage at work (an Apple xSan) just shows up as an external drive and is controlled w/the Apple xSan software. Now, there's a lot of other stuff involved too, meta-data controllers, switches, etc., that our IT people take care of but, basically, as an end user my shared storage shows up and acts like an external drive.

    A Mac Pro cannot function as your media server. You are looking at something rack mounted w/RAID 5 storage.


    Lethal
     
  18. videoed thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    from apples FCServer webpage:

    "System requirements
    Server software
    A Mac computer with a 1.8GHz or faster PowerPC G5, Intel Core Duo, Intel Core 2 Duo, or Intel Xeon processor (Intel Core Duo, Intel Core 2 Duo, or Intel Xeon processor recommended)
    2GB of RAM (4GB recommended)
    AGP or PCI Express Quartz Extreme graphics card (Final Cut Server is not compatible with integrated Intel graphics processors)
    Mac OS X v10.5.5 or later
    QuickTime 7.5.5 or later
    Compressor 3.0.4 or later
    A CD drive for installation
    500MB of available disk space

    Client software for Mac computers
    A Mac computer with a 1.25GHz or faster PowerPC G4, PowerPC G5, Intel Core Duo, Intel Core 2 Duo, or Intel Xeon processor
    1GB of RAM
    A display with 1024-by-768 resolution or higher
    Mac OS X v10.4.11 or later
    QuickTime 7.5 or later
    Java for Mac OS X v10.4 Release 6 or later
    Mac OS X v10.5.3 or later with Final Cut Pro 6.0.4 or later for Final Cut Pro integration
    20MB of available disk space"
     
  19. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

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    #19
    yes, FCServer runs on a Mac Pro.

    BUT as Lethal said, FCServer is just a media browsing/organizing tool and NOT actual server software. You're actual server/SAN will not be a Mac Pro.

    you REALLY need to figure out what your final goals for the setup are so that someone can guide you in the right direction... without that, any advice won't really mean a thing.
     
  20. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #20
    Again, Final Cut Server is not a shared storage system like an xSan, Editshare, Avid Unity, etc,. It is a media management tool designed to be used over a network. If you want to catalog your media you'd use something like FC Server. If you want multiple editors to have access to the same footage at the same time over a network you would not use FC Server. The specs you quoted are what it takes to run the FC Server software. Not what it takes so that 3-4 editors can pull multiple streams of video from a single source w/o getting dropped frames and spinning beach balls all day long. Just like the specs on the FC Studio page are what it takes to run the applications not what it takes to actually edit with.

    No offense, but this is all the more reason to hire someone to figure this out for you.


    Lethal
     
  21. videoed thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 1, 2009
    #21
    my final goal is going to be something completely different than my current goal.

    my current goal is to get 3-4 editors on a network pulling footage from a server.

    there will be no hiring of a consultant.

    i'm looking for the minimum setup of hardware and software.

    i'm thinking 5 terabytes of live storage, 3 separate terabytes of temporary archive.

    what do i need to control and manage the 5 terabytes so 3-4 editors can be working simultaneously(or as simultaneously as possible)

    again thank you for your help.
     
  22. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #22
    In post #13 I like two to places offering reliable shared storage over ethernet.


    Lethal
     
  23. videoed thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    thanks, but i am looking for my apple only options first.
     
  24. LukeG macrumors newbie

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    Sydney, Australia
    #24
    It really depends on your budget. Silverado have a fully equipped XSan package for 4 suites (http://silverado.cc/shop/product.php?productid=848&cat=0&page=1) - but it's $120,000. However, that is a fully supported tried-and-tested solution for such a scenario. If you aren't in that price range, you can try rolling your own (http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/build-your-own-affordable-san-that-iworksi) but you have to put all the pieces together yourself. Everyone else pretty much offers a solution somewhere between those two extremes.
     
  25. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 6, 2007
    #25
    If you're serious about doing this yourself, you have a massive amount to learn. The two links posted above should give you an idea of what's entailed — both in setting up a system and in what you'll need to learn to do so. (They certainly did for me!)

    Apple don't make all that you need. Their web store probably has most or all of the components for sale, but it's mostly not Apple-branded stuff.

    As helpful as people here will be (and already have been), your needs go beyond what a forum can offer. And you've already been given the best advice anyone on this or any other forum can offer: consult a VAR. This really is complicated enough for it to be economical to do so. You could do a bunch of reading up on it and think you have a decent grasp, and still get your fingers burnt as you encounter something you've never thought or heard of.
     

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