Very few back-bedroom editors put much time into selecting desks for their editing computers. Have you?
As a video-editing hobbyist, you probably spend a great deal of time thinking about your computer. You continually consider the capacity of your hard drives and regularly revisit your recommended RAM. You muse over monitors, mice and menu structures, strain over software solutions and agonize over edit decisions. You also spend a lot of time in front of your computer when you are actually editing. Let's face it, even a short video project can take upwards of eight hours to edit. That's a lot of time to spend at a dinky desk.
When you consider the number of hours you spend editing a project, space and comfort become key considerations. A small desk may be fine for home computing, but when you decide to outfit your editing setup with an additional VGA monitor for dual screen operation, a TV for previewing NTSC output, a dedicated play and/or record deck, and any of a hundred other editing accessories, you're going to need more space. That will mean shopping for a workstation that really works.
When it comes to editing workstations, you have several options. Among them are: Standard computer stands, modular models, fine furniture and specialized professional editing equipment racks.
You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a suitable editing workstation. Many standard computer stands are well-suited to video editing. L-shaped computer desks that offer a great deal of space start at just a couple hundred dollars. These desks are typically made of particle board and metal, and assembly is required. Be cautious, however, about the quality of the materials used in the construction of these units. Be aware that just because a desk looks large enough does not guarantee that it will have the strength to support your system, especially if you intend to add many monitors. Some models at this level have been known to sag visibly after holding a large monitor for just a few months.
A quality modular unit may be just what you need. They are typically lightweight and easy to assemble, and often offer enough space to hold all of your gear. Many have wheels, making rear-access easy when you need to swap cables. Companies like Anthro (www.anthro.com), Biomorph Interactive Desks (www.biomorphdesk.com) and NRG Research(www.nrg-research.com) offer modular, some-assembly-required workstations that you can customize and accessorize to meet your needs. Anthro's Curved Cart (starting at about $900) is designed for a multi-monitor editing suite. Biomorph's ergonomic desks range from the compact 38" x 37" xo2 ($329) to the well-endowed maxo ($2,195), measuring 95 x 54.
If you need a desk that will be functional, but will also look nice in your living room, shop your local furniture stores and spend some time visiting the Web pages of companies like Bush Furniture (www.bushfurniture.com), Sauder (www.sauder.com), Intelligent Designs (www.id-furniture.com) and Nextech Desk Solutions (www.nextechcorp.net). Stylish and modern-looking, steel, glass and wood workstations are also available from companies like Boltz Steel Furniture (www.boltz.com) and Turnstone (www.turnstonefurniture.com). These manufacturers offer a range of high quality workstations that will provide the space that you need, without compromising style or quality. Expect products in this category start around $900 and range upward to well over $3,000.
Professional Editing Workstations
If you are one of the lucky few who needs to equip a professional studio for editing, you'll have a different set of criteria. Functionality will take preference over appearance, and heavy duty construction will override easy assembly. You may even require stands designed for rack-mounted decks, scopes and multiple monitors. For workstations designed specifically for professional video gear, look to the Web sites of companies like Omnirax (www.omnirax.com) and TBC Consoles (www.tbcconsoles.com). Products in this category start at about $1,500, but you can expect most professional units to fall in the $3,000-$5,000 price range.
Be Size Wise
Regardless of the style you choose, size is a major factor in the selection of an editing workstation. Editing desks are like basements, you can never have too much space. At the minimum you'll need room for your camcorder, a stack of videotapes and your buyout music library - not to mention your script, shot log, notes and caffeinated beverage of choice.
You will never regret having more desk than you need, but may wish you had more if you go for a too-small model. That said, get the largest desk that your home editing area can accommodate. You certainly don't need a gigantic corner unit if you edit with a simple iMac-and-camcorder configuration. Look for a desk that is appropriate for the tools that you have. When you think you've found just the right one, get something one size bigger.
Whether you are looking for affordable options, fine furniture or a specially designed editing rack, you're sure to find something to meet your needs in our manufacturer sidebar.
AFC Industries www.afcindustries.com
Beck Office Furniture www.beckofficefurniture.com
Biomorph Interactive Desks www.biomorphdesk.com
Boltz Steel Furniture www.boltz.com
Bush Furniture www.bushfurniture.com
Hi-Tech Channel www.computer-furniture.com
Home Computer Furniture.com www.homecomputerfurniture.com
H. Wilson Co. www.hwilson.com
ImageVision, Inc. www.imagevisioninc.com
Intelligent Designs www.id-furniture.com
iStand Workstations www.istand.net
Luxor Specialty Furniture www.luxorfurn.com
Middle Atlantic Products www.middleatlantic.com
Nextech Desk Solutions www.nextechcorp.net
NRG Research www.nrgresearch.com
TBC Consoles www.tbcconsoles.com
Winsted Multimedia Products www.winsted.com