Help set up Video editing system

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Taximan, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Taximan macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009
    new to video I need to set a video editing suite for several video projects. Trying to allocate a budget shooting full HD. Initial use of the system is to put to together rough edits and than turn project over to current edit house to finalize project for broadcast. Any help in selecting ram size and hard drive configuration. I have 6000 in the budget for hardware including monitors, any help would be appreciated. I will have additional funds in 6 months to further upgrade the set up. My background has been more graphics using quad core with 4 gigs and have DW PSD and IL open and it works great video leaves a little to be desired so I am looking to get the same efficiency with Final Cut
  2. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    IMO coordinate this w/the post house you are working with. Talk to them about what exactly you need to deliver to them and what kind of machine they would recommend to handle those delivery requirements.

  4. Taximan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009

    Might not have explained what I want to do. My current project has over 20 hours of video. What I want to do is be able to make a rough edit to see how my story line is developing. I am tired of paying the edit house for this. The clock is always ticking as well as the meter. Every time I need something for the writer, the composer it is always a issue and cost. Just want to know the best hardware configuration, and ram usage. After we know what we have and a direction the edit house will use the raw video with our road map.
  5. tcgjeukens macrumors regular


    May 16, 2007
    IJsselstein, the Netherlands

    It is clear that you want to do the rough editing yourself and the finetuning will be done by edit house.

    Since you will be using the same clip material (assumption 1), the remark by LethalWolfe is a very valid point. You need to agree upon an exchange workflow.
    Not only how you share the source clip material but also how to exchange your project information (e.g. the FCP project files). I presume (assumption 2) you want the edit house to continue working on the same project file to do the fine tuning.

    Also answer the question from BigBoss. Today there a so many formats available in the consumer space that professional editing houses are picky on formats they accept (in order for them to reduce the number of formats they have to support).
    Can your source clips be edited in native format?
    Do you and/ or your edit house prefer to edit in native?
    Will you combine formats in your project?

    In case of native editing your CPU muscle requirements may become high.
    In case you transcode to an intermediate codec your storage requirements will be high. Also you need to think about archiving and backup solutions, especially when your material will go back and forth between yourself and the edit house.

    As number 5 said: need more input.

  6. Taximan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009
    I am new to this

    As for the editing house I presently use 2 one PC and one Mac. I really do not want to discuss too much with them because I do not want them to know my plans yet. Like I said I am very new to this and I am out of the loop. I think the director shoots in HDV or mpeg 2 63 minutes on a tape. The tape goes to the edit house and they digitize it. What I would like to possibly do is have a PA transfer the tape to a hard drive in what ever format they want which I think should not be a big deal with Final Cut. The PA would also create a transcript possibly with voice recognition or writing it out. That's it just want to know where I can start with the idea as additional funds become available building up the system. Will the base quad 8 with 6 gigs be enough. Thinking going with 640 gig and second 1TB internal and a hot swappable set up. Does this make sense and what is the best initial ram set up with my goal to get to the 32 as soon as possible. Another purchse is we are adding codec hard drives to the cameras to bypass the tape transfer for our next project which will speed up the date transfer.
  7. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
    Will your post house do an online from a FCP sequence?

    Yes, a standard 8-core MP with 6gigs of RAM will be fine for HDV. You absolutely need and 2nd and possibly 3rd hard drive in the system (don't ever put media on the boot drive).
  8. Taximan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009
    Thanks for the info

    Not sure what you mean by online sequence. If you mean post a sequence on line one house is set up for that.

    Thanks for the ram info my initial reaction is to go for 12 gigs which makes me feel good if 6 will work. As for hd definetly two, 640 with FC, 1 TB for footage and a some sort of swappable device for storage of data. My initial goal is to have a quick and relatively easy way to have video footage evaluated and leave the heavy lifting to the edit house and director.
  9. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    Just to clarify some terms:

    There are two parts to an edit: the 'offline' and the 'online'. The term 'offline' comes from days when you digitised at a lower quality to do your edit. Once happy, you'd use the Edit Decision List created in the offline to match up to the original full-quality footage — this part being the 'online'.

    There's less of a distinction these days as reasonably inexpensive computers and hard drives are capable of dealing with any of the current tape formats at full quality, so in some cases the online and offline are one and the same.

    With HDV you'll very likely be best "digitising" as HDV. Find out what editing software/finishing hardware is used in the post house you wish to use. If they use Final Cut Studio, you're best using FCP to do your edit. If they use an Avid system, look at Avid Media Composer instead. Using the same brand of software will make the workflow simpler (and thus less expensive).

    In your original post you mentioned you found video editing on a quad-core with 4GB RAM left a lot to be desired. Assuming that's a quad-core Mac Pro, the machine itself should handle HDV with ease. I'd look into how you have things set up. Was your digitised footage on your main system drive, for instance?
  10. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
    So are you just capturing the tapes to look at the footage and maybe string out a rough cut (leaving the actual editing/post for the post house)?
  11. Taximan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009
    Help Answers

    As for my quad 4 set up I have the internal hard drive for software only and scratch disks. I also use this machine for normal day to day stuff in addition CS 3 is almost always open. External hard drive for media. It works fine but seems slow. The machine is my graphics work horse and video became a after though. It works fine for the video but I feel I need a second system to do just video. I could get a quad 4 system and save money but I know I will regret that when FC takes advantage of the quad 8.

    bigbossbmb has got the idea I am looking to have the media captured in my office. Having the edit house digitize tape just seems like a waste. Plus a it gives me the security of knowing my original footage is secure.
  12. djkirsten macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2006
    Your Quad-core intel should be more than enough. I use a quad 2.66 (2006 MacPro) at home and at work....the one at work has 4 gigs of ram and the one at home has 5. A few things will make this computer a video power-house.

    1. If you have 3 open internal hard drive slots, fill them with 3 big hard drives (some 7200 rpm, 1 terabyte hard drives would do) and RAID them. This will create a large, editable, volume. Have your media digitized here, and you can edit from here...or at least set all your render files, audio renders, etc. to this volume. These you can find for $100 or less a piece.

    2. The editing software. This is this thread's missing peace right now. If your post house is using Avid, you'll want a copy of Media Composer. If they use Final Cut Studio, you'll want a copy as well....Same with whatever software they use (the only other NLE i could imagine is Premiere). This is where you could get a break. Do you have kids in school or know any teachers? Use a student discount which brings the price of this software WAY DOWN. If you morally object to using educationally discounted software then this is where you might ask your post house to help out....but since you are going above and beyond by doing a rough cut I think the world will cut you some slack. You aren't personally getting paid for that might make it OK in your mind, also you are helping in post production so that might motivate your post house to help you out. This software costs:

    Final Cut Studio:
    From apple $1,200 -
    Student version $700 -

    Avid Media Composer:
    From Avid $2,500 (discs) or $2,300 (software only) -
    Student version $300 - Composer

    Adobe Premiere:
    From Adobe $800 -
    Student version $350 -

    3. External drives. These should really come from your post house or the post house should be billed for them. Look for drives that have 2 or more hard drives RAIDed, Firewire 800, and at least 1 terabyte. If you digitize to the local volume (from the first category), you can "media manage" to the external drive and send it off to your editor. Or if you want to save yourself some time you could just digitize and rough cut off the external drive and then send it off. But doing a media manage ensures every piece of media (including music, pics, graphics, etc.) you use gets to the editor.

    4. A capture card. This is optional if you stay in the world of HDV (or DVCPro HD) as you can capture through firewire. But if you get any HDCam media you might need a capture card. This also depends on software...a Kona card or Blackmagic card would work for Final Cut Pro and Premiere, and a mojo would work for AVID. Google around if you want to pursue this.

    I really believe that the machine you have is more than adequate, but with little investment you would be REALLY ready. The only reason i could imagine your current system would be running slowly is because of other programs running, slow hard drives (either internally or externally), or there is something else wrong with your system (least likely). Just make sure ALL volumes have at least 10% free and you should be good.
  13. bimmzy macrumors regular


    Dec 29, 2006
    Well Final Cut Studio is a good application, and it can get you where you want to go more cheaply than Avid.

    There are many post-fecilities that use FCP and if the one you use now doesn't, then fire them and find another.

    A 8 core Mac Pro with at least 6 Gigs of Ram and a Raid card is advisable is advisable. you don't necessarily need the fastest cores either, if you go down a notch in power you'll make savings.

    What would help your set-up allot is a is a video and audio breakout box like the Multibridge Pro by BlackMagic Design, and use ProRes 4:22 (at least when rendering).

    Anyway that might give you some ideas to work with.

  14. Taximan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009
    Great Info

    Thanks for the help. This is helping me focus my decision. The only software that I will use is Final Cut. Like I said the edit house will do the heavy lifting. If they can not deal with the output options I am probably in trouble. Budgets are very tight these days and I like to get at least 3 years out of my new computers. I need a second high end system, my present set up does work but the mechanics of capturing video and export the video just seems slow. It reminds me of my Mac Plus days when we went for a coffee will we were copying pagemaker files or sorting a database.

    Would it be a mistake to get a refurb 2.8 Apple has one for 2400. I would max out the ram and have to add a couple of hard drives.
  15. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007

    As said earlier, the quad-core Pro is not the problem, it's something in the way you have it set up or are using it. If you just fancy a new machine, go for it (I'm not your financial advisor!) — but your quad-core Pro is more than capable of handling HDV editing.

    And on the Final Cut thing: it really is worth finding out what system your post house are using. If you don't like to ask them straight, just chuck the question in as an innocuous aside at some point. If you commit to Final Cut and they use something else, it will be extra legwork and expense every time you deal with them.
  16. Taximan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009
    More info

    KeithPratt thanks for the info I have no problems with my present set up. I need another machine because I want to dedicate a work station just for video. I have spoken with both video houses I use and they have no problems taking the files. The current project we are working on has 20 hours of video. I think it will be cheaper in the long run to have some one catalog and digitize this footage in my office.

Share This Page