How Would You Build Your Video Editing Suite!

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    • #40205

      I am currently attending film school and I have about $5000 to $6000 to spend on a Video Editing Setup. I doing alot of research right now and I have an idea what I’m planning to buy, I have my own preferences but I want to know what the members of the Videomaker forum would do for their own setups having my budget.

      I’m not going to list my potential Video Editing Setup because I want an unbias response but would like to see what type of gears you all are leaning towards.

      Additional info; I planning to shoot my Films and projects in HD, so setup your gear towards those specs. I’m trained in the basics of editing software (FCP, Vegas & Avid), so learning new editing software is not a problem. Also, I plan to buy a prosumer market camcorder and equipment next semester but PLEASE limited your responses to Video Editing setups.

      Details would be greatly appreciated. (example; type of computer, mouse, keyboards, monitors, editing platform, etc.)

    • #172835

      Hoss, my outfit just got finished building an NLE set-up so I feel your pain.

      Sounds like you’re off to a good start (doing research that is.) Here are some things you should consider:

      You’ve blocked out a good amount of money to build an excellent machine (most likely a PC since Apple doesn’t like folks building their own unless you plan on making a ‘Hackintosh’ which is an option but don’t for your first build) and get software to boot.

      You’re going to need; a good motherboard with single or dual cpu capacity, a fast cpu (duo core or better), fast RAM (DDR2 667 – 800MHz. More than that gets expensive and is overkill), a full tower (you’re going to need the space) with lots of cooling fans, a big power supply (anything less than 750 watts won’t be practical), harddrives (as many as you can afford), DVD player/burner drives (Blu-ray optional but expensive), a good video card with 512MB built-in RAM or better (we use dual-linked 512’s) and some internal cards that allow you to interface with external peripherals such as USB, eSATA and Firewire. You’ll also need 2 monitors (trust me, two are worth having) a good mouse (I prefer optical) and keyboard (Bella makes great professional NLE keyboards.) Last and most important is the OS (Windows XP SP3 if you want to go 32-bit. Be advised; no more than 3GB’s of ram will be detected. Vista Business SP1 64-bit is awesome. I’m annoyed I didn’t switch to it sooner. Linux is good, but compatible software is still tough to find.)

      Again, here is where your research will infinitely come in handy. Decide which NLE sofware you are most comfortable with, can afford and will allow you to collaborate with others as broadly as possible. If your building a non-Hackintosh PC, then FCP is out since apple doesn’t want its users to work cross-platform (retarded). Your other choices are (not in any rank of order) Premiere Pro, Media Composer and Vegas. There are other good programs, but I’m fluent in these and most of the people I work with use them. You want to build your array based on the minimum requirements to run the software (hopefully, you will exceed the minimums.) Also, you’ll want to know what hardware is compatible with your intended NLE software (saves you a ton of headaches during the build.)

      Concerning the hardware, as I mentioned duo core or better. Both Intel and AMD (I’ve used both in builds) make excellent chips (even ‘Macies’ like ’em too!) Just keep in mind your intended software’s requirements (premiere prefers Intel, Vegas is optimized for AMD but works fine with Intel and Avid works well with either.) You should be considering doing HD with your editor so get a cpu with 2.4 GHz or better (don’t spend $1000 bucks on a chip! Upgrade later.) Make sure you get a good cpu fan and heatsink! Those babies get hot! On the RAM side, it wouldn’t kill you to get SLI ready RAM (particularly if you plan on doing any 3D work.) Most of the motherboards and video cards out in the last two years have the technology built-in so compatible RAM aides the pipeline. Good news is RAM and CPU’s are cheap now (unless you buy the latest and greatest.) Far as harddrives go, SATA drives are the way to go. Remember, for video work you need drives that ‘spin’ at 7200rpm or better. On your ‘C’ drive (OS drive), you want a minimum of 500GB (you’ll need the space for programs and an infinite number of updates.) Just for safety, partition the drive in half and use the partition as storage for file backups (I can’t tell you how many times this saved my butt! That and it helps cut down on the time it takes to run maintenance programs like defrag and anti-virus scans.) You’re also going to want drives to put your graphics, authoring and video projects and media on. Again, minimum 500GB because more space means more storage capacity. For your video (especially HD) you will need an internal RAID array (our current one is 2TB.) Good news is; Drives are cheaper so 3 or more 500’s, 750’s or 1TB’s are possible as source drives for a RAID 0 or better setup.

      There’s way more info to pass on, but I’m sure you get the idea. Building your own is challenging and sometimes exasperating. But when all the testing is done and the ‘bugs’ cleared out, you can have a system that rivals anything built by the big companies for far less money. Go forth my child and build!

    • #172836

      or you could buy a 24″ imac, a couple 2 or three gig sodimms, a couple lacie external hds, a 23 inch external apple display, and final cut express.

    • #172837

      composite1 has given you some really good advise. I would just like to add a couple of comments.

      If you decide to go with Premier Pro as your editing software (I have Premier Pro CS3 and only have limited knowlege of other software packages) it is worth going for an Intelquad processor. CS3 makes full use of the quad processor and significently reduces render and export times.

      Also if using Premier Pro for HD editing, you can connect a third monitor (with a second video card 8600 or better with256MB of RAM) and Premier Pro Project settings, allows you to configure the third monitor as a full HD playback monitor. I have a Dell ultrasharp 1920 x 1200 monitor as the third monitor and can watch full HD direct from the timeline or preview windows. This gives a pretty realistic view of the quality of the final video.


    • #172838

      I talked with one of my collegues who’s an old Hollywood hand and a mac guru about your inquiry. His advice is if you have the amount of money available you say and if you’re interested in a mac; Pass on FCE and get FCP. He taught video production editing at a university and they used FCE and he hates it. He said it is not a professional tool and you can’t do ‘Jack Squat’ with it (his words not mine.) He also said, don’t waste the money on an iMac. To get what you need, you’re going to have to fork over $3k to get one with more that 2GB of RAM (I checked with B&H and a the 24″ w/4GB is $2,999.95 w/o shipping) and you’re going to need 2 monitors anyway. He suggested since you’re starting out to look at a Mac Pro with a 2.8 GHz Intel (see, I told you macies like ’em) 300GB harddrive and 2GB RAM (and upgrade as RAM gets cheaper) and take the extra money and get 2 23″ Apple Cinema HD Display monitors (B&H has those too and you can get them for less than $1800.) Software he said again to get FCP pro and Adobe CS3 or 4 Production Premium ’cause you’ll need photoshop, AFX, etc.

      He also said, he totally agreed with me if you decide to build your own to follow the steps I mentioned. He’s worked with me on several projects and hates the fact that we can build ‘these beasts’ for less than what he paid for his setups.

      I also concur with my colleague and iankinnz about Premiere Pro. The production premium bundle is an excellent choice and has tools you are going to need and master as an editor.

      BTW, that was a good point about the third monitor. However, in Vegas you can access your second monitor directly. Oh and concerning monitors, we picked up two 28″ Hanns-G 1920×1200 monitors for the price of 1 23″ Apple Cinema HD Display.

    • #172839

      24′ imac $1799.00

      4 gigs ram from crucial: $45.00

      apple displays: $599.00-$899.00

      Double checking advice you get off the net:


      ps. the op who’s friend says fce is crap, obviously never used it. It’s perfectly suitable for a small operation, and while you may want to upgrade later, the skills you use carry over to the pro version easily. My wedding customers certianly don’t complain about the results they’re getting. Sure it would be nice to have the latest and greatest hardware on the market, but in all honesty, unless you got the clientelle and workload to justify it, it’s just overkill, expensive and will be outdated by the time you build a business/career. save some of your money for business overhead and marketing. Get the clients, then if your system can’t keep up the workload, upgrade it or replace it. I’m able to handle 4 Weddings a month plus some corporate work, and portrait photography with a staff of two and using an imac g5, and two macbooks.

      And yeah even the imac g5 can handle high def video (not a speed demon, the macbooks are faster.)

      you might even have enough change to buy a decent camcorder like the sony sr12 or canon hv30.

    • #172840

      Double checking advice you get off the net:


      ps. the op who’s friend says fce is crap, obviously never used it.

      Ah, the sound of a challenge, also priceless.

      D0nno, The prices I gave came directly from the B&H catalogue. Personally, I don’t care whether he buys a ‘SMack’ or a ‘Piece of Crap’. I didn’t want to just give one side of the argument so I asked someone who knows about the other side. As for my collegue, he has worked for 3 major studios, Public Broadcasting and has run his own production company for 30+ years. He also has worked with mac’s since they were invented, was a beta tester for FCP and taught video production for four years at one of the prominent schools in the southwest conference where their NLE choice was FCE. So if he says, ‘FCE is not a professional tool’ I will take his word for it. He also did not say, ‘FCE is a piece of crap.’ You did. He said ‘It is not a professional tool’. Before you transform into ‘Angry Macman’ at least get the quote correct. As for your ‘wedding customers not complaining’ that’s great. Doesn’t prove that it’s a professional tool though.

      Not to mention the primary question the poster suggests that he is more interested in building his own NLE. Unfortunately, Apple in their efforts to keep control over everything mac makes it difficult for ‘do it yourselfer’s’ to do that. Hence my telling him about ‘Hackintoshes’ and the warning that accompanied. For an in-house NLE build, your primary options are Windows, Linux and Unix.

      As for ‘having the latest and greatest’ you are correct in your statements. At no time did I tell him to buy the absolute Sierra Hotel gear because it’s expensive. I also agree that he could usesomeof the money to purchase a camera and address some business overhead issues, but that’s not what he asked for. He specifically mentioned having a budget to build an NLE.The guy’s got $5-6k to work with so there is no reason not toif he is interested in building a professional array with a reasonable software package that will be viablefor the next 3 to 7 years.

    • #172841


      Thanks, those Dell Ultrasharp monitors are really awesome! I found a Dell Ultrasharp 2408 fwp for $517, so I think I going to get two of those for my NLE setup.

    • #172842


      Also check out the HANNS.G HG281DPB 28″ monitor. HD 1920 x 1200 display, HDMI connection as low as $399. We use 2 for our HD NLE.

      Read a review at:

    • #172843

      You could also get a Mac Mini for $799 – with a 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo – minimum requirement for FCE is 1.25 GHz. Plus for another $75 – got up to 2 GB Ram.

      With the HANNS monitors at that price – you can have a nice starter system. When you grow your business, upgrade to a more powerful mac.

    • #172844

      Warning! this is a dream setup!

      For what i would like to use as my editing system, this is what i would like to see when i walk in the room!!!

      though i would change the chairs to something more comfortable, and i would add a 5.1 surround sound system if i am going to add sorround sound to my projects! Anyone have pics of their editing systems to show?


    • #172845

      Here is the pic, sorry its so large!!!

      coolest editing suite

    • #172846


      Nice setup. Very nice. I would lose the macfor an HPZ800 with a render farm in the next room. Oh, and I’d swap out the ‘digital leopard skin’ upholstery for leopard skin print. The roses give the place a nice ‘jungly’ feel.

    • #172847

      RE: Dream Setup

      Anyone know where to find a desk like that, or similar?

    • #172848

      I wish I dream I would like

    • #172849

      I am putting together a video editing room much like that but am using a glass working surface to keep the room upscale, high-tech, bright:

      The desk is available at

    • #172850
    • #172851

      I have a Mac Pro 8-core, purchased last March when the current model was relased – save a few bucks. I put 16 GB RAM and three 1T HDs inside, along with the 320 GB drive that came with it. I purchased two Acer H233H monitors. I already had/have FCP and Photoshop, a mixer, mics, etc. I spent less than $4K.

      I have a table suitable for holding this setup, and do not invite or encourage clients to interview or sit in on edits. My production is primarily events and web related, and if I need to “interview” or go over rough edits, etc. I use my associate’s home where I have access to pro quality playback units and a large-screen HD TV.

      I am not a PC basher, and in fact I wish I had the capital to invest in a PC-based system (logical or not) so that I could be intimately familiar with both bases and two editing programs for a more well-rounded knowledge that would help me accommodate a broader range of PC/MAC based clients (be it their misconception, misunderstanding, or mistake) with ease and without defense.

      All-in-all either platform and most “socially” accepted PROFESSIONAL editing software approaches are cross-platform capable to a degree (yes, there are and always will be exceptions). Also with today’s technology providing the ability to handle projects over the internet, depending on client/provider investment/availability we can all pretty much accommodate or “get along”.

      Edit suite furniture, its functionality or look, is a subjective element and there’s no guarantee that any given client will be overwhelmed or underwhelmed by the “look” – though most do exhibit a certain sense of awe when walking into a ritzy, furnished suite so clean as to feel germ-free, with hidden panels, buttons and a sophisticated coffee machine (along with armed guards to keep filled cups away from the primary editing bay equipment) and maybe even a motorized dead waiter in the wall.

      I will admit my suite is a converted bedroom and space is a premium. It is cluttered, but I mostly know where “everything” is, and can find it (sooner or later, if it isn’t a current project πŸ˜‰ I classify it as being NOT “visitor” friendly, and only have one, maybe three clients who sit in with me on the edit of their projects.

      It all really depends on how much you have to invest, how elaborate you want your suite to appear, or functional, and if you are targeting sophisticated and monied Hollywood, Bollywood or huge corporate accounts/clients/budgets, or if you want to be a member of the “editing boutique” community, offer animation for studios, etc. If you are aiming for something of a less high-dollar variety a little can go a long, long way.

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