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Which computer for edit?


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#1 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 03:49 AM

A QUESTION...

I want to dump and edit footage/film on a computer and so far I have looked at Apple and Dell.

Apple Quad processors with a 20", 23" or 30" screen is expensive, but affordable, *unless* you add to the spec. using the Apple web site. You can end up with a 8GB hard drive, 800Mb memory etc etc, but it'll cost $15,000..and I don't want to spend that much nor take on credit to do so.

Then there is Dell, the same applies in that you can add to it using the Dell web site, but you'll end up with a pricey machine too!

My question is, how much does one need to add to a computer without wasting money? Where do I draw the line? Do I need 1GB of RAM or 8GB? or 4GB? Do I need 800GB memory? or will 200GB do? is a 30" screen necessary or will a 20" screen do? What graphics card is necessary and what is unimportant? Will the graphics card that they use in gaming do?

Please bear in mind that I want to make a feature film of 2 hours in length using both DV and film.

Robert
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#2 Dominik Muench

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 07:01 AM

A QUESTION...

I want to dump and edit footage/film on a computer and so far I have looked at Apple and Dell.

Apple Quad processors with a 20", 23" or 30" screen is expensive, but affordable, *unless* you add to the spec. using the Apple web site. You can end up with a 8GB hard drive, 800Mb memory etc etc, but it'll cost $15,000..and I don't want to spend that much nor take on credit to do so.

Then there is Dell, the same applies in that you can add to it using the Dell web site, but you'll end up with a pricey machine too!

My question is, how much does one need to add to a computer without wasting money? Where do I draw the line? Do I need 1GB of RAM or 8GB? or 4GB? Do I need 800GB memory? or will 200GB do? is a 30" screen necessary or will a 20" screen do? What graphics card is necessary and what is unimportant? Will the graphics card that they use in gaming do?

Please bear in mind that I want to make a feature film of 2 hours in length using both DV and film.

Robert


hard to answer because there are many right anserws.

i do all my editing wok an an Apple Ibook G4 with 1,2 Gb ram, 2 x 250Gb external firewire harddrives and it works. of course there is always a better system.
as a big apple fan i rather suggest you the mac than a dell.
a 30" screen is nice, but surely not necessary, rather get a better and brighter 21".

the harddrive space depends on how much footage you have....also think of teh future, but harddrives are easy to expand.
8Gb of ram is not encessary, unless you have lots of rendering to do (CGI, title screens, motion grtaphics...)
but everything below 1gb i wouldnt recommend either.
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#3 Dickson Sorensen

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 10:21 AM

A QUESTION...

but it'll cost $15,000..and I don't want to spend that much nor take on credit to do so.


Please bear in mind that I want to make a feature film of 2 hours in length using both DV and film.

Robert


If you are on a tight budget think about buying used. I edit on a Dell 650 with 2 gigs of ram and about 100 gigs of storage using Preimer Pro and After Effects. My system is 2 years old and similar are selling on e-bay for less than 1/3 the price I paid new. If you don't get a large screen think about dual monitors(Matrox Parhelia), that's what I use. If you are planning to do work for clients then maybe you should buy new, a hot new system makes you look like you are on the cutting edge and you can take advantage of warrantees, service agreements, and OEM software. It really boils down what you want out of your system and how many compromises you are willing to make.

The other thing I would recomend is to read the user forums for the software you are considering, FCP, Avid, Adobe etc.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:18 AM

Hi,

I make most of my living cutting on an Athlon 2400+ with 512Mb of RAM. It does have nearly a terabyte and a half of storage on it at the moment, though.

It really, seriously ain't about the toys!

That said if you're going to be working in front of clients, then you will need some serious juice; there is no such thing as "fast enough" and no matter how much money you spend, you'll always have times when you're watching a progress bar gnawing your fingers to the quick while the client drinks your coffee. And after effects is not something you should really be using in depth while the client waits; they don't want to watch you play with keyframe interpolation all day and nothing, absolutely nothing, has the ability to bring a system to its knees like AE.

If I were to start right now, I would buy not quite the fastest dual core Athlon X2 system with 2Gb of RAM and I would run Premiere and After Effects. Until they move to Intel chips for the desktops, Apple will not represent value for money as far as raw performance goes. Of course if you're convinced you must have final cut, then you have only one choice.

$15,000 will build you a very, very nice computer if you're willing to integrate it yourself.

Phil
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#5 Tim J Durham

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 11:54 AM

A QUESTION...

I want to dump and edit footage/film on a computer and so far I have looked at Apple and Dell.

Apple Quad processors with a 20", 23" or 30" screen is expensive, but affordable, *unless* you add to the spec. using the Apple web site. You can end up with a 8GB hard drive, 800Mb memory etc etc, but it'll cost $15,000..and I don't want to spend that much nor take on credit to do so.

Robert

$15,000?

I have a Mac dual 2.3GHz w/2 gigs of RAM, 2 20" cinema displays and a 500 Gig G-RAID firewire drive. All that for $5800. Add the Production suite (FCP, DVDSP, Soundtrack Pro) for another $1800 and you're at $7600. I've been editing DVC-Pro50 since I got it and not one hiccup (hardware or software related). I don't know where you're shopping, but you can get all this on the Apple website.
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#6 WLphoto

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 12:25 PM

Dear Robert,

We too are shopping for computers and are facing some of the same questions.

What I have learned so far:

You will need 3 Megs of storage for every second of digital footage. If you have 10 hours of footage to edit = 600 minutes = 36000 seconds, then you will need (36000 x 3) 108000 Megs = 108 Gigs of hard drive space to hold the "dumped" footage.

Also you will want extra hard drives. Consider a 5 drive RAID. This combination automatically writes the data in pairs of drives (two heads are faster than one) and automatically backs up the first pair of drives to a second pair. Backup. Backup. Backup! You can't backup too much. Even if you buy a used CPU, consider buying new hard drives.

Rendering the file can take 10 to 20 times longer than the finished movie. Especially if you do a lot of digital effects, screen wipes, etc. The faster the processor, the better here. If you have more time than money you can leave a slow computer to render for hours at a time. But if you can afford the top of the line G5 quad 2.5 Ghz and 4 Gigs of RAM you will probably have a more enjoyable experience and keep the production moving faster.

Monitors: Two 23" monitors will probably serve you better than a single 30" monitor. You can organize your workspace across the multiple monitors.

Consider installing 2 graphics cards to gain speed.






I will eagerly follow this discussion to see what you come up with.


W.C.
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#7 timHealy

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 12:37 PM

Nobody here is mentioning at what level they are editing at. Should I assume mini DV? Or are some using SD and HD with expensive import cards. Digitbeta? Anybody skipping tape and getting film transferred to harddrive?

Best

Tim
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#8 ChristianK

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 01:26 PM

I work at a post house. We run a couple of Avids and 2 FCP systems. The two FCP systems run on G5 2.3 processors with 2gigs of ram, both run nice and fast even with minimum requirements. You don't need the quads, if you finda cheaper older G5 daul processor it will fly. We do SD and HD work and have a Huge fibre array withc works great, though we have had plenty of success with SD and firewire 800 (as well as some DVCPROHD to firewire 800). As far as monitors go the Apple displays are nice but are overkill. We buy two 19in NEC for each system and it's plenty of real-estate for a fraction of the price. We also have the Kona2 and Kona LH breakout boxes which are both great, but I have also used the Blackmagic box and like it just as much.
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#9 Dan Goulder

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 01:33 PM

If you're editing in the dv format, then any platform should be adequate. PC will probably give you the best bang for the buck. However, if you're editing offline files for film production, you'll get the most critical look at your footage with hi-def. This is where the Mac platform currently excels, since it offers native support to both edit and monitor in DVCPro HD without any extra hardware.
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#10 Michael Collier

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 02:29 PM

My first edit bay for 10MB/sec YUV video was an AMD K6-II 350 (thats 350Mhz) and 128Mb of ram. Later I also cut mini-DV footage on it.

So basicly im saying if your just cutting mini-DV or anything but HD buy whatever you can afford. The cheapest computer will still be able to edit seamlessly. Speed only helps when proccessing power is the bottleneck, which really doesnt happen much with mini-DV footage.

HDV and an avid DNxHD codec is a different story. Much more speed and power required.
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#11 Josh Bass

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 03:56 PM

Isn't it 3.6 megs a second for DV?
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#12 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 03 February 2006 - 12:57 AM

A QUESTION...

I want to dump and edit footage/film on a computer and so far I have looked at Apple and Dell.

Apple Quad processors with a 20", 23" or 30" screen is expensive, but affordable, *unless* you add to the spec. using the Apple web site. You can end up with a 8GB hard drive, 800Mb memory etc etc, but it'll cost $15,000..and I don't want to spend that much nor take on credit to do so.

Then there is Dell, the same applies in that you can add to it using the Dell web site, but you'll end up with a pricey machine too!

My question is, how much does one need to add to a computer without wasting money? Where do I draw the line? Do I need 1GB of RAM or 8GB? or 4GB? Do I need 800GB memory? or will 200GB do? is a 30" screen necessary or will a 20" screen do? What graphics card is necessary and what is unimportant? Will the graphics card that they use in gaming do?

Please bear in mind that I want to make a feature film of 2 hours in length using both DV and film.

Robert


You need something with a lot of processer power, a lot of ram and a lot of storage, I would go with a 32 g/64 bit processer w/ a matched mother board, a gig of ram, a 100 gig C drive w/ 2 or 3 200 gig slave drives and a dvd rw, firewire and usb-2 ports, dual monitor video card, large cooling fan and power supply, big tower case to fit everthing inside, no kitchy extras like neon clear cases or fancy braided wires the novelty wears off very quickly and it's w waste of money that can be spent elsewhere for increased preformance , until you are editing a mega-buck feature go w/ one 18in crt monitor and one 15' crt monitor Place ypur preview screen on the big one and your timeline and other stuff on the smaller one. Go PC because of cost. Order the components online and look around for the best price. Get a freind who ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT THE HELL HE"S DOING when it comes to computers and have him build it for you Go with windows xp, Premere Pro w/ the HDV package, After effects or combustion, Photoshop and Final draft ( Later on add sound forge lightwave and Frame Forge if you can't draw for story boards) as much as you can from ebay in new cond. at a good price to keep costs down. Write the script of a brillant characture w/ a very small cast (2 main charactures and 2 supporting the most and a few day players) driven peice set in the here and now (again to dfray costs) with Final draft. Buy a dv or hdv camera and with the $10, 000 you have left. cast some friends or locals who can actually act and hire people whom either know something or are willing to work hard to learn for little money as a crew 4 at the most. Pay them, (NOT UNION WAGES BUT SOMETHING) and feed them (Pizza or homemade pasta, sandwhiches anything but FEED them and make sur they have water and something else to drink)Be prepaired to be your own PA, Find places to film and get written permission to use them and releases from everyone, Don't buy anything you don't HAVE to make your movie. shoot 7 d to 10 days for 14 hours a day. Use natural and ambient lighting everywhere possible. Cut your film together w/ Premere. Use the $1000 you have left (Yeah Right, OK Get ANOTHER 1000 from relatives)and enter it in film festevals. Sell it to a distributor and use that money to make another film. In a year when that computer is obsolete you will be going "WHOOOAAA am I glad I didn't spend 15 grand on a computer that's already obsolete and used that money to make my dream come true.!"(';)', 'smid_14')
;)
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#13 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 04 February 2006 - 04:18 AM

Thank you to everyone who contributed! I have consolidated your advices and committed them to memory - probably a 800GB with a 2GB one!
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#14 Mark Allen

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 02:50 AM

First of all... I'm Apple biased because I've used all three platforms (OSX, XP, and SGI) professionally and I found the OSX to have a lot of hidden advantages of functionality. (I wish it had more Game engine support and sometimes wish for the few greater 3D options on the PC... but other than that, the Apple's performed stronger and more reliably.

But even if you were going PC, the only thing I'd consider Dell for is the monitor... and I would consider a Dell monitor. Too many fellow users have gone dell computers and gotten into technical nightmare land.

For editing... I get by with a 24" Dell. It's very bright though - almost too bright.

RAM - don't buy it from apple - it's crazy too expensive. Lots of options. I buy from www.macsolutions.com - never a problem - guaranteed. There's mushkin.com as well (but maybe more expensive). You don't need 8 gig ram to run FCP. I'm using 1.5 GIG which is slightly light. I think 4 GIG is way in the range of solid.

As for drive storage - check out: www.lafcpug.org actually... here's a link http://lafcpug.org/T...rage_soltz.html

Check out www.hdforindies.com as well as Mike Curtis likes to obsess over this very issue. Read his FAQ.
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#15 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 01:38 PM

Thanks Mark!
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#16 Rod Otaviano

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 02:34 PM

I have a Mac dual 2.3GHz w/2 gigs of RAM, 2 20" cinema displays and a 500 Gig G-RAID firewire drive.


Do you think that's enough to edit 10-bit uncompressed 1080/24p quicktime file ? Maybe a SATA RAID instead of firewire ? (like this one or this other one for example)

I've been thinking about the tapeless option from Bonolabs.
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#17 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 04:31 PM

Hi,

> Do you think that's enough to edit 10-bit uncompressed 1080/24p quicktime file ?

No, absolutely not. What on earth is it with people's fascination with firewire drives? They're sluggish compared to any natively-interfaced drive, and a natively-interfaced SCSI drive of the very highest specification would not do that.

> Maybe a SATA RAID instead of firewire ?

Do the sums. 1920x1080x10x3 is 7.41 megs a frame; 24 frames a second; 177Mb/sec. To do this, look at something like the 3ware 9000 series and eight SATA drives, in two sets of four soft striped together. That might just, barely, get you where you need to be. More likely two sets like that for a total of sixteen drives for comfortable performance single-stream. Make sure the motherboard's 64-bit PCI architecture is up to it - have the two boards on separately-addressed busses, and ensure the system uses high speed registered memory.

Hardware asisde, as to whether the quicktime subsystem itself will do it, I have no idea - quicktime has become a rather bloated and unnecessarily complicated way of handling video when you don't want panoramic views with clickable hotspots and all the other nonsense it does.

Phil
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#18 Rod Otaviano

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 06:38 PM

Do the sums. 1920x1080x10x3 is 7.41 megs a frame; 24 frames a second; 177Mb/sec. To do this, look at something like the 3ware 9000 series and eight SATA drives,


I was completely unaware of these requirements.

Anyways, I did a little research and found this controller from 3ware:

http://www.3ware.com...l_ata2-9000.asp

It delivers over 800MB/sec RAID 5 reads and exceeds 380MB/sec RAID 5 writes. It might be a good start point. Will research some more.
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#19 Mark Allen

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 07:54 PM

It delivers over 800MB/sec RAID 5 reads and exceeds 380MB/sec RAID 5 writes. It might be a good start point. Will research some more.


Reposting this link as it addresses this issue. http://lafcpug.org/T...rage_soltz.html
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#20 Rod Otaviano

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Posted 05 February 2006 - 08:09 PM

Reposting this link as it addresses this issue. http://lafcpug.org/T...rage_soltz.html



Thanks Mark. Yeah, I'd found that site and ran into this controller:

http://www.sonnettec...-x_esata44.html

They claimed they reached 463MB/s read and 515 MB/s write with a Power Mac G5 dual 2.0 GHz, a Sonnet Tempo-X eSATA card and eight Raptor 74 GB SATA disk drives formatted in a RAID 0 array.
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