Basic Information Needed

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by PROFESSOR MARVEL, Aug 23, 2003.

  1. Hello,

    I basically consider myself a screenwriter, but in order to get my stuff
    produced, I'm biting the bullet and diving into video production.

    I've just completed a studio production course at my local public access
    tv station. I now have access to the studio cameras and soon the
    mini-digital cameras. The studio has a three analog camera setup; these
    cameras are wired to the glass-enclosed control room above where there's
    a switcher board etc. A friend and I have already begun producing a
    comedy show that's been well received.

    Next week I'll be upgrading my Dell Inspiron 8100 (800 Laptop, 256ram,
    10g hard drive). The upgrade will be to 512ram, 160gig harddrive, and a
    dvd burner. I'm debating if I should upgrade to Windows XP from Windows
    Me. Also, I have access to several video editing applications at the
    station, but am wondering if I should purchase Ulead's entry level Video
    Studio, or perhaps its DVD Workshop product. My goal is to produce a
    weekly comedy show for airing on the cable access channel.

    I'd like imput on hardware and software choices I should make. What I
    can't figure right now is how the studio cameras stack-up against, say,
    the Canon GL 1 and GL 2. What I mean is, I'd much rather shoot my show
    in digital if the quality doesn't suffer. It's my understanding that the
    editing process is a lot easier.

    Although I have access to the station, I'd like to ultimately do all the
    editing in my home. So, can the little Canon digitals produce broadcast
    quality video or should I stick with the big, ponderous studio analog
    cameras? Also, clear this up for me: once I shoot in digital, what
    equipment is used to transfer that little mini-disk to my computer
    and/or DVD burner?

    Finally, regarding software, I-Movie is what's mainly used at the
    station. Is this as good as Ulead's Video-Studio and DVD Workshop?


    PROFESSOR MARVEL, Aug 23, 2003
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  2. Most certainly. For any number of reasons. The two best
    are the Firewire support in XP, and Me is no longer a current,
    supported product.
    I don't have any first-hand experience with anything but Adobe
    Premiere, but it seems to me that ANYof those applications
    would adequately cut a typical comedy show. Going wild with
    special effects is distracting and a sure sign of amateur editing
    Of course you already know that this is impossible to answer
    as you didn't tell us what the studio cameras are! Cable access
    places have equipment all over the map. It is possible that your
    Canon candidates are BETTER than the access cams, and vice-
    The deciding factor may be actually be something other than the
    cameras themselves. Often LIGHTING makes a bigger difference
    in what the video looks like than variations in cameras. And AUDIO
    is also an important factor for something as dialog-driven as a
    typical comedy show.
    WHAT "mini-disk"? Aren't those cameras mini-DV TAPE?
    If you mean how do you capture video from the camera, you
    connect it via the Firewire cable and suck it in with whatever
    software you are using.
    Define "good"? I would bet that ANY of them would be
    perfectly fine for editing a comedy show.
    Richard Crowley, Aug 23, 2003
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    DK Guest

    I recommend XP - I have used Premiere for editing on 95, 98, NT, and XP, and
    I have found XP to be the most stable and most crash-proof of them all. Not
    to say it won't ever crash, but nowhere near as much as the others. And the
    more dedicated your system is, the less likely the crashes and the less
    severe they'll be (at least in my experience...)

    I would also recommend that you pick up a couple of books that you may find
    informative and helpful: They're on feature film production, but much of
    what they say would be applicable to what you're doing. Check out:
    "Feature Film Making at Used Car Prices" by Rick Schmidt
    "Before You Shoot" by Helen Garvey
    "Beggining Filmmakers Guide to a Successful First Film" by Harmon and
    (someone else - don't remember the name)

    Also, pay a visit to for some good info.

    You seem to have a good deal going - good luck with it all!
    DK, Aug 23, 2003
  4. Extremely helpful, Eric. Thanks! But what about Ulead DVD Studio? How
    does that stack up against MediaStudio?

    PROFESSOR MARVEL, Aug 23, 2003

    coms Guest

    I agree, windows xp is actually the only way to go! (that is between win
    xp and win me. There is also win 2000 but there is no reason for it). If
    you want any kind of stability for serious work forget about win Me...
    Why would you invest into upgrading your laptop. The only use of having
    an editing suite on your laptop is if you need to edit on location. This
    is not the case as far as I understand. You are only going to loose
    money but buying a 160gig laptop hardrive which i hope is 7200rpm
    (anything lower(e.g. 5200rpm) is not enough for DV). Plus getting a
    dvd-r is more difficult. It means you'd need to get an external one most
    probably. But then again what do you need it for? only for transporting
    the edited version back to the station? if yes, then you don't need a
    dvd-r. You'll just have to have a DV-in on your camera (almost all high
    ends one have it) and you'll transfer the finished product to a new
    mini-dv tape.This is NOT true! Making partions is completely useless. Having one
    disk and many partitions doesn't make for smoother editing at all. Cos
    it is the one and only physical drive doing all the work. The only way
    you'll smoothen the editing is by having two disks (which is more than
    recomanded for anything more serious than puting together your aunt's
    birthday party video). This again is not possible in a laptop(excluding
    some rare cases). Do you see why a laptop is not ideal for this, if you
    are not really in need of mobility?
    Save some money by being less lazy: bring your food to the editing room
    not the other way around ;)
    I would never dream of installin XP on a 366 with 128ram! Windows XP on
    it's own uses 128mb ram to function normaly. I can imagine how you edit
    DV on the same disk that windows uses for swap files(accessed VERY often
    if you've only got 128mb ram). So with all due respect, the "with no
    problems whatsoever" is true if you forgot a 1 in front of 366mhz and
    meant Gb instead of Mb...

    So here is my advice... if you care to invest a tiny bit buy yourself a
    proper computer... for around 600 or 700 euros(europe prices) you can
    get a very decent config. You need to get a small hard drive for windows
    xp and a big one dedicated video. As mentioned earlier a motherboard
    with firewire. 512 DDR ram and a good processor and you're on your way!
    With that you'll be very comfortable... Buying cheaper is possible but
    it wouldn't be a good deal "quality/price"-wise.

    I never used ulead's software. I've only used adobe premiere... and it's
    wonderfull... especially 6.5 (didn't try Pro yet), but it's in a whole
    different price range than video studio:) I use it only coz i didn't
    have to pay for it...

    I wonder why you don't use the tv station's editing rooms? (appart for
    the editing at home thing...)

    so that were my two cents,
    good luck,
    coms, Aug 24, 2003
  6. The best route is to use say 20gigs for your operating system and edit
    It's partly true. A dedicated partition for video files is easier to
    keep defragmented. But it doesn't make a huge difference.
    Laurence Payne, Aug 24, 2003
  7. One comment here about laptops, Com: For the past 20 years I've
    struggled with desk PCs and every single one of them was a nightmare.
    They sucked electricity, they were huge pains in the butt to setup and
    move. They took up acres of real estate in my home, they never seem to
    work right.

    Then someone gave me a Dell Inspiron 8100. I've been in love with
    laptops ever since. This laptop does everyting. At first, it was
    supposed to be temporary until my desk pc was shipped to me. A month
    later I told my pal to keep my desk pc and I haven't regretted it since.
    The thing is bullet proof. It runs and runs. I've had it for over a year
    now without any problems at all.

    So, why should I switch now? All the hardware I need comes in external
    models and as far as I can see, there's nothing wrong with that at all.

    PROFESSOR MARVEL, Aug 25, 2003
  8. Windows ME is extremely far from ideal for video editing, and is
    less stable in general as an OS than XP. As others said, upgrade,
    you'll be extremely happy with the improvements.

    If you want to do your own editing at home, you'll need your own
    apps. If you've learned on the studo's systems, maybe you can get the
    same software -- but usually, the studios have pricey stuff.

    Entry level stuff will work well for most basic editing operations.
    If you need a few very complicated, multi-layer, animation and effect
    laden sequences, you can use the studio equipment to make them, with
    whatever you have at home used to do the bulk of the editing.
    In terms of picture quality? Probably irrelevant for the output to
    cable TV. The GL2 is likely to take as good a picture as the studio
    cameras. Controls are another issue -- you want excellent manual
    control of video and audio, in order to get the optimal look and --
    critical for all video productions and surely vital for comedy, the
    sound levels and mix.

    The nice thing about a studio isn't the cameras. It is the
    lighting, the sets, the mikes and general audio controls, and the fact
    that anything you shoot can be mixed live direct to tape, saving on
    edit time *if* you're live work is smooth.

    So if you're planning to shoot elsewhere, lighting, sound, and sets
    are going to be a factor in your budget. The only cheap lighting
    which works well is outdoors. If you can shoot your show entirely
    outside in daylight, that works nicely.
    Yes. Canon GL2, Sony VX2000 -- and any other 3 chip camera in that
    range of price and features -- will do nicely.

    Big cameras do have advantages, but there is no way to spell out the
    edge of any particular one without knowing the models involved. But
    for cable TV? A lot is shot on MiniDV cams of some form, and if you
    control the cameras well and have good lighting, I think it will work
    very well.

    Digital shoots on tape, MiniDV. Transfer is via firewire (IEEE1394)
    -- if your laptop has that port and uses WinXP, you're all set as far
    as support. Burning to DVD is optional -- what format does the
    station use for its cablecast? Just match that, whatever they use.
    I-Movie is a very basic program, same overall feature range as Video
    Studio. I was thinking something like Premiere, Avid, or FCP -- all
    popular video editing programs for cable. You could use Microsoft's
    Movie Maker (included with XP) and do OK there, but I think that if
    you want better control, Video Studio or one of the mid/higher range
    apps would do very nicely for you.

    Sound control is probably the biggest issue for low budget video.
    On-camera mikes are never ideal, not if you can run mikes on the
    talent. OTOH, your studio may offer a range of mikes and mixers and
    lights and all the other support gear for location shoots, so you can
    borrow these until you can afford to buy your own.
    Jeffery S. Jones, Aug 26, 2003
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