System Setup for Home Videographer

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    • #39672
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Hi!

      I’m new to this forum and I would like to ask for your assistance. I’m just a home videographer that shoots video of my family. But I want to have it edited by myself. I’m using a Panasonic miniDV video cam.

      Now, I’m planning to purchase a new computer to edit my videos.

      My planned setup is as follows:

      Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 2.13GHz 4MB
      Memory: Kingston 2GB DDR 667
      Motherboard: Intel DG965WH w/ built-in firewire
      Storage Drive: 80GB for system / 160GB for files
      Optical Drive: 20x DVD Writer
      Video Card: 8500GT 512MB 128Bit DDR2 PCI-E
      Monitor: 17" SVGA flat CRT monitor (I’ll be using this temporarily)

      That’s it. Would I be needing a much bigger memory?

      Thank you very much in advance!

      Regards,

      MILO

    • #171211
      Avatarbirdcat
      Participant

      If you’re doing video, you’re gonna need more hard drive space – I have 900GB and find that I have to archive stuff too often for my taste.

      You should consider a minimum of 500GB for video work alone, plus at least 100-200GB as a system drive (software).

      Also, depending on the software you will be using, you might want to hold off on Vista until service pack 2 or so – A lot of NLE’s don’t work under Vista at this time. XP Pro would be the way to go (service pack 2).

    • #171212
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      birdcat Wrote:

      If you’re doing video, you’re gonna need more hard drive space – I have 900GB and find that I have to archive stuff too often for my taste.

      You should consider a minimum of 500GB for video work alone, plus at least 100-200GB as a system drive (software).

      Also, depending on the software you will be using, you might want to hold off on Vista until service pack 2 or so – A lot of NLE’s don’t work under Vista at this time. XP Pro would be the way to go (service pack 2).

      Thank you so much for the reply.

      Aside from the hard drive, what else do I have to upgrade with my planned setup? Yes, I’m using XP SP2. As for editing software, I might use Pinnacle Studio 11 Plus. I guess, this will be fine for beginners like me. I’m I right?

      Thanks again!

    • #171213
      Avatarbirdcat
      Participant

      I have not used Pinnacle since I tried Studio version 8 – It was very frustrating for me (it kept on crashing) so I looked around and tried Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio (it was called Screenblast Movie Studio back then). I have since moved up to the full Vegas+DVD package and love it. Info here: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/Products/ShowProduct.asp?PID=977

      The Movie Studio package is under $90 from Sony and you can even download a fully functional, thirty day free trial here: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/download/step2.asp?did=613

      The major difference between the full package and the Studio package is they limit the number of tracks in the Studio version as opposed to the full version which has (really) unlimited tracks (I have used over 100 in one production I made) – so it would depend on how complex the videos you make will be.

    • #171214
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      birdcat Wrote:

      I have not used Pinnacle since I tried Studio version 8 – It was very frustrating for me (it kept on crashing)

      I haven’t tried it since some version older than that, but I’d suspect its gotten better, they’re owned by Avid now. (see if you can find a demo to try before buying)

      That being said, if you want to try out what the big boys use [those with really, really deep pockets], you can get Avid FreeDV. It is a very stripped down version of Avid Xpress DV which in itself is a small editor that has a matched interface to the major Avid line. http://www.avid.com/products/freedv/ Since they released FreeDV, they have added more features to it (it originally was simple cuts only, now it has "up to two streams of real-time effects"). It won’t do anything fancy, but it will give you a feel for what many NLEs look like.

      If you want something free and don’t care that a 1 minute project takes 10 minutes to render, try playing with ZweiStein 3 (I cannot recommend v4 yet, its rewritten from the ground up and last I used it, its interface was unwieldy): http://www.thugsatbay.com/tab/?q=zweistein

      If I were you though, I would go for Premiere Pro. Premiere Pro’s interface is very similar to that of Final Cut Pro, so if you ever need to work on someone else’s mac [for whatever reason], you should be able to understand how everything works immediately when looking at it. Vegas has its own interface that doesn’t seem anything like anything else (well, maybe a bit like zweistein).

    • #171215
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      One other thing you might want to consider is more RAM.

      I am running a Dell Precision 390 Workstation with 2 GB (2x 1GB Sticks DDR2 5300 ECC) of RAM and I am going to upgrade that to 4GB for now and 8GB eventually. I was told by several people in the computer field (but not familiar with editing or storage of video media) that 2GB would be plenty. They also thought I was going overboard with two hard drives. I have an 80GB for the operating software and a 350GB drive for the media files. The 80 Gig drive still has about 55GB free but the main drive for media is packed with about 50 GB free as well. The computer I was told that could handle it all without breaking a sweat is surprisingly sluggish and I am only 2 months into my editing. I have just received a third hard drive (500GB) and I still have room for another so hopefully spreading this out over the two or three drives and beefing up the RAM will speed things up.

      I recommend overshooting your needs for storage and RAM or you will be wasting a lot of time rebooting, defragging, and waiting on your PC. You can’t avoid the first two but you can cut down on how often these functions are needed.

      Good luck and keep us posted on what you end up with.

      Cole

    • #171216
      AvatarEndeavor
      Participant

      I disagree with most of you. 2 Gigs of RAM is plenty. Sure, 4 will make it faster but so will 16. 120GB Hard drive space is also plenty for a DVD length project. Obviously if you want to store tons of video or keep alot of stock footage on the drive, you may need more. But that system will do just swimmingly.

    • #171217
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Endeavor Wrote:

      120GB Hard drive space is also plenty for a DVD length project.

      Not if you capture everything. Remember the old maxim of 3:1 footage to final, and that’s a lowball number for most projects. That also means that even if you manage to fit a ‘DVD length’ [anywhere from 1 frame to about 8 hours] project on it, you won’t get many of them out of it [unless they’re the very short kind].

    • #171218
      AvatarSpencerStewart
      Participant

      2gigs of ram is fine for basic editing. If you don’t plan on anything extremely complex, 2 gigabytes, or even one, will serve your purposes. Other than size, there is another quality of RAM you would want to consider: its speed. I know for recent Mac computers, the RAM speed is 667Mhz.

      With 2Gigs, of fast RAM, you’ll be perfectly set for editing home videos.

      For video, it’s always a good idea to have two hard drives. For the Media HD, 500Gigs should be fine. They’re getting cheaper all the time.

    • #171219
      AvatarEndeavor
      Participant

      tonsofpcs Wrote:

      Endeavor Wrote:

      120GB Hard drive space is also plenty for a DVD length project.

      Not if you capture everything. Remember the old maxim of 3:1 footage to final, and that’s a lowball number for most projects. That also means that even if you manage to fit a ‘DVD length’ [anywhere from 1 frame to about 8 hours] project on it, you won’t get many of them out of it [unless they’re the very short kind].

      I don’t know about the rest of you but I don’t capture all of my footage. I only capture the stuff I may end up using which ends up being a much smaller percentage. Capture is the first step in trimming down your footage. Also, most home videographers aren’t going to keep all their footage on the PC for archiving after the disc is burned. I generally delete the footage after the project is complete and approved. If I need, I always have the tape still to fall back on.

    • #171220
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      About the topic of Ram, in video editing, ram is something I think is never enough :). You can work with as much as 500 megs of ram…but who would want to? Especially true if you are going to be using compositing software, where the limitations of how many frames you can play in real time is limited to the amount of ram. More Ram is faster, but that’s compositing, which may be a little beyond what you might do starting out.

      My background is in Visual Effects and Computer animation. If you are looking to investigate a broad spectrum of software, compositing software will use the most ram of any type of application out there *I think* Computer rendering and animation doesn’t mean it uses a tonne of ram, That all depends on how many textures and how large the image files are. (CPU power is the primary importance in rendering, Ram is necessary however, 2 gigs is enough. DVD authoring, I haven’t found any issues in this category when it comes to Ram, 512 megabytes did fine. Photoshop, Depends on how large your images are, but again, I doubt you would ever use 2 gb fully.

      I guess this is a round about way of saying, unless you plan to do some hardcore compositing, 2gb should be good (my opinion) definately ask around. Since I do compositing I am currently looking at an 8gb system ;).

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