need advice: PC based or tape based edit suite?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by b, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. b

    b Guest

    Hi there,

    After about 7 years away from video production, I am now attempting to
    get back into it. However, I need some advice as to which route to
    take, so I would really appreciate any suggestions.....

    Firstly, the background. Last setup I used extensively comprised the

    Panasonic MS-4 and M-50 s-vhs/vhs camcorders
    Edit suite consisting of: Panasonic AG-7500 SVHS machines linked with
    AGA650 edit controller.
    Vision mixer with digital FX, Chroma key and genlocked inputs-
    something like a panasonic WJ-MX10 (I think?)
    Amiga A3000 (I think) running Scala and scroller 2.

    I was comfortable with this setup, and didn't feel limited by it
    technically speaking, since most of my productions lasted well under
    hour (often with lots of drop-in insert edits audio/video channels). I
    would still want to do similar short productions now.

    So, as I see it, the choice is as follows: to look for second hand
    equipment similar to above (I know its old,but familiarity and the
    hands-on, menu-free method attracts me) and build a linear edit suite
    which would suit my needs...

    Go for the PC desktop Non-Linear video editing packages route. (I'd be
    a total newcomer to this). I assume it would involve buying software
    like Premiere or vegas 5 and cards for video capturing from analogue
    and digital sources, etc. Is my existing PC any use here?

    Here is a meagre list of equipment I already own:

    -One AMD 1.8ghz PC, Win2000, with 256K RAM, 20Gb HDD and extra
    (unused) 80GB HDD, CD-rw drive. (NOTE: has Graphics built in to
    -Amiga A1200 and Scala package for titling (I wouldn't be using this
    much really, only for things like credits and title pages, no anims.)
    -One Panasonic analogue rx-1 camcorder
    -One 14" sony trinitron TV with RGB SCART input - could be used as a
    -One 14" JVC multi system video monitor
    -6 channel Audio mixer/multitrack recorder
    -One Philips vr-813 SVHS vcr (broken!)
    -One Panasonic nv-h70 HiFi VHS vcr with variable audio level controls.

    The reason I mention the above is that cost is a factor, so if i can
    put any of the stuff in the list to use, so much the better.
    I suppose it comes down to either upgrading or replacing the PC versus
    buying used svhs or u-matic machines on ebay and/or using these with
    what little equipment I own already. I' d be interested to hear
    others' experiences and recommendations!

    Thanks for your time,
    b, Sep 14, 2004
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    Jack Perry Guest

    Barge the ramp dude

    a world of wonder lies before you:...

    I don't know AMD systems, but you can easily score even a secondhand Pentium
    4 for $300

    even a 1.8 GHZ P4 system will get you editing, (a pentium 3 just won't
    satisfy, no flames plz)
    You'll need a second 7200 rpm hd to keep captured video on
    $99 for edit software: sony, Ulead and god forbid, Pinnacle)
    You can get the software for pennies with an analog capture card, which
    you'll need to use your SVHS stuff

    Oh, the things that you will be able to do with even this humble system...

    If you last edited with that SVHS system. REAL dissolves, unpixelated
    dve's, clear non hissy audio and more importantly
    pretty darn good looking video even 4 generations down (DV) will only amaze

    Keep the SVHS as feeder decks and the amigas as paperweights...
    Jack Perry, Sep 14, 2004
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    david.mccall Guest

    We are in the digital era now, so it's hard to recommend that you build up
    a linear suite today. It's just so much more cost effective to go all
    these days. Others will have other suggestions, but here's mine.

    Get a IEEE-1394 (firewire) card It might be prudent to get a combo
    card that has IEEE-1394 and USB-2. The reason I suggest that is that
    USB-2 external drives, and other peripherals are getting very popular,
    and inexpensive. If your computer already has these capability then
    don't bother, you are all set.

    If you don't already have one, get a DV camera. Be sure to pick one that
    has A/V pass-through. That means that you can plug the analog output of
    a VHS deck into it, and capture the video onto the computer without
    having to dub it to DV first, or having to buy a stand-alone analog to DV
    converter. How expensive you want to go is up to you and your need
    for quality.

    Download and install the demo of Vegas Video from Sony (was made by
    Sonic Foundry before Sony bought them out). If you Like the software,
    then buy it. If not, keep looking. This software will allow you to do
    everything you could do in a multimillion dollar linear suite, and more.

    Ultimately, you will want a more powerful computer, but what you have
    should work but it may be a little slow. The 20 gig drive is kind of small,
    but might be enough if you don't need too many applications on it. You
    would use the 80 as a data drive, and may find that cramped after a
    while, but it will get you started.

    david.mccall, Sep 14, 2004
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    MSu1049321 Guest

    Ben, it totally depends on the kind of work you're going to do. Where linear
    tape editing still makes some sense is:

    Long tapes of multicam coverage, of things like weddings, corporate training
    speeches, etc. where you might only have to clean up a minor bobble from the
    live switch, or drop in some cutaways of graphics, etc. You would be
    essentially done in the same amount of time it would take just to digitize the
    footage, never mind edit it, in the NLE.

    Very simple short-form stuff that uses only basic A/B roll effects is still
    fine in linear editing systems... especially if you really don't anticipate
    lots of changes.

    Where NLE systems shine is in the making of efects-intensive things with
    complicated FX, or when you want to try many iterations of the same edit, say,
    a commercial that needed twenty different versions where you're changing some
    of the graphics for each version (for different markets, etc.)

    In documentaries, where you want maximum flexibility with the material is
    another place wheren NLE systems are a better match.

    There used to be more hybrid systems out there, Matrox made some, I guess. the
    advanages of both in some ways... and the complications of both, is what I
    think killed it in the marketplace...

    there is one other Hybrid way to go: that would be to use something like a
    Tectronics Profile hard disk as a drop-in replacement for the record deck... to
    the edit controller, it works and looks like a, one-inch tape machine, but it
    also gives you NLE capabilities, plus sow-mo and multitrack effects, all in the
    same bundle. Problem was they didn't price profiles like one inch machines,
    more like a room full of one-inch machines.
    MSu1049321, Sep 14, 2004
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    Derry Argue Guest

    (MSu1049321) wrote in
    I have a similar problem to the OP. I make occasional
    documentary type productions and have a BVU900 edit suite here
    which I love. But it looks as if I will have to go the NLE way
    as I am now using a PD150 and have been wondering about putting
    the footage onto 3/4 inch or buying a DVCam deck with RS422.

    Your statement above has probably pushed me over the edge. Damn!
    I hate these computers!

    Derry Argue, Sep 14, 2004
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    kay & wand Guest

    hi derry, long time no read.....

    i'm still using my es7 to rough cut masses of tape together (rather than
    digitising it all), and then dumping that into either the nle section of the
    es7 to edit and/or to vegas 4 for finishing.

    nle is great for polishing and tricky dickie stuff, but tape to tape (sdi),
    is still the quickest way to whittle down hours of material....

    kay & wand, Sep 14, 2004
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    rIO Guest

    Amiga A3000 (I think) running Scala and scroller 2.
    OMG... so I'm not the only one editing on PC with an Amiga t-shirt ? :D
    rIO, Sep 14, 2004
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    DavesVideo Guest

    david.mccall said:
    a linear suite today. It's just so much more cost effective to go all
    digital these days.>>

    If you do decide to go digital and already know linear editing, your learning
    curve will probably be only 10 minutes to 2 hours depending on the complexity
    of your software. You will most likely love it.

    DavesVideo, Sep 14, 2004
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    david.mccall Guest

    Yes, you are right, there are times when tape to tape make a lot of sense.
    I have one client that still rents my Betacam SP suite several times a year
    because it is faster. He "paper cuts" the stories for a magazine like show,
    then comes here and cuts them linear, in about the amount of time it would
    take to digitize to an NLE. For his style of editing, non linear doesn't
    as much sense. If he were to switch to DV, and could edit his stories on a
    laptop while sitting at the airport, plane, or hotel, after his shoots, then
    non-linear might make more sense for him too, but I would loose the rental

    Mine is a full component Betacam SP suite, and you are using an SDI suite
    with what? Digital Betacam? Betacam SP holds up well in a good linear
    suite, and Digital Betacam is even better, but either is expensive to buy
    expensive to maintain. By contrast, you can buy a very nice DV NLE
    capability for less than the price of one used Betacam deck, much less three
    Betacam decks, a controller, a DVE, and a character generator. Plus even
    if you did dump $100 into a used Digital Betacam suite, you could stomp
    it's capabilities for compositing and effects with a laptop running Vegas.

    david.mccall, Sep 14, 2004
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    b Guest

    Firstly, thanks a lot for all the responses, I will take those ideas
    on board. I have downloaded the preview of vegas 5, but as yet have
    noithing to practise with!.

    Today I went to a local shopping centre (mall) and had a look at the
    PC accessories. A few questions:

    1. Is there any advantage of firewire 800 over 400? I saw both these
    PCI cards made by Lacie.

    2. There were several plug-in USB units which had audio/video analogue
    to digital conversion capability plus all kinds of extras like SD
    /memory card slots for stills photography. Made by Dazzle, one was
    called Fusion. Is a USB 2.0 device to be recommended, or would a PCI
    be faster?

    3. I saw an analogue-digital PCI capture card (Aver Media DVD Ez-maker
    Gold) with s-video and composite RCA inputs. Howver, no audio - i
    would have had to input that thru the PC soundcard in my motherboard.
    Would I have any problems with , say, losing the sync between visuals
    and audio if i were to use this setup?

    4. Are the Pinnacle packages any good? they had several, and all
    retailed around 200 Euros, quite a way above the price of the

    5.I saw an analogue-digital PCI card with s-video and composite RCA
    inputs. Howver, no audio - i would have had to input that thru the PC
    soundcard in my motherboard. Would I have any problems with , say,
    losing the sync between visuals and audio if i were to use this setup?

    4.My OS is Win2000 and the cpu is AMD Athlon 1.8 ghz on a m7viq
    motherboard, which i believe uses Via KM266 / VT8235 chipset. FSB is
    200/266 mhz (I'm quoting from the manual). Before I go out and buy any
    editing peripherals, are there likely to be any compatibility or
    performance issues here? (I know i will need to upgrade the 256 mb

    Thanks once more for the help guys
    b, Sep 14, 2004
  11. b

    b Guest

    Yeah, i went there, got that and bought the t-shirt. Loved those
    systems - of course, now the technlogy is light years ahead, and
    there's so much choice, but "back in the day" there was no choice -
    Amiga was the way to go, offering stable performance and impressive
    results when a PC was something you found only in an office running
    Word Perfect on a green screen monitor! :p
    b, Sep 14, 2004
  12. b

    david.mccall Guest

    Yeah, i went there, got that and bought the t-shirt. Loved those
    systems - of course, now the technlogy is light years ahead, and
    there's so much choice, but "back in the day" there was no choice -
    Amiga was the way to go, offering stable performance and impressive
    results when a PC was something you found only in an office running
    Word Perfect on a green screen monitor! :p
    At one point, I had 1x 4000, 2 x 2000s, 1 x 1000 plus a 2-ME switcher
    all timed together. There were 2 Toasters, and even a DCTV. I sold most
    of the Amiga stuff for $1100 (2 car-loads).

    I never bought a shirt, but Kiki did give me one once, and various people
    have given me Lightwave hats (a couple were won at demos).

    david.mccall, Sep 14, 2004
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    kay & wand Guest

    sorry, qsdi (sony's proprietory for dvcam - still no loss though). used to
    have two dvcam decks, now i simply have a dsr 80 and 1600 sp - edit to es7
    nle section. from there either edit in es7 or fine cut down to export to
    vegas 4 for finishing. love vegas, but don't have time or interest in trying
    to sort out hours of tape in pc. ALSO, do a lot of paper cut stuff for
    clients and nothing comes close to the es7 for compiling. punch 'em in, go
    have lunch (or stick around and change tape when asked!)

    kay & wand, Sep 15, 2004
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    Derry Argue Guest

    (b) wrote in
    I know absolutely nothing about nle, but I was impressed by the
    information at

    IF I go that route, I think I would try to keep a separate
    computer for video editing and probably build the diy one
    described on that site.

    Would I be doing right, folks?

    I'm also looking at (metaphorically speaking) a secondhand
    slightly obsolete up-and-running Mac system, possibly off eBay,
    as the most complicated effect I need is the occasional dissolve
    and logically there ought to be a lot of stuff on the secondhand
    market as others up-grade.

    Which way would you go?

    Derry Argue, Sep 15, 2004
  15. IME, that is good advice.
    Likely depends on exactly what you mean by "slightly obsolete"
    The usual cautions apply.
    Be sure to get everything necessary for long-term support
    (OS & application original installation disks, etc.)
    I would go with a PC-based NLE of recent vintage. I can see the
    POV of the Mac crowd. But they apparently have different priorities
    for their $$$ than I do.
    Richard Crowley, Sep 15, 2004
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    rIO Guest

    At one point, I had 1x 4000, 2 x 2000s, 1 x 1000 plus a 2-ME switcher

    Demos ?? I got my t-shirt from Dixan ^SpinningKids maybe it was
    TUM 2004...
    rIO, Sep 15, 2004
  17. b

    david.mccall Guest

    Cool. By demos I'm referring to the presentations at trade shows.
    Sometimes they challenge the audience at the end, and give away prizes.

    david.mccall, Sep 15, 2004
  18. b

    rIO Guest

    Cool. By demos I'm referring to the presentations at trade shows.
    My mistake, I tought you where talking aboud demoscene....
    rIO, Sep 15, 2004
  19. Why on EARTH would you *want* to "ditigize it all?"

    Sounds to me like you're adding a whole 'nother layer of pre-production
    to your workflow - (of course it's YOUR workflow so it's your choice!)

    I thought the whole point of "log and capture" was to do the "rough
    cutting" simultaneously with your tape logging?

    What's the point of duplicating your efforts, doing ONE round of rough
    cutting on a linear system, so you can THEN come back and rough cut some
    more when you finally log and capture your clips?

    I suppose, if you've got the gear around, no reason not to use it. But
    I'd be worried that hanging onto old technology-based workflows MIGHT
    keep me doing things in a traditional manner that COULD be done more
    efficiently by investing in and mastering newer technology.

    Case in point:

    I remember thinking that an A/B roll system would make doing stuff like
    short video inserts in long form programs easier than digitizing the
    whole tapes.

    Then I discovered that my digital decks were amazingly accurate even
    with simple "record/pause crash edits."

    Now if I need to change a slate on a master, rather than digitizing
    anything or worrying about the lack of A/B roll control, I just feed the
    firewire stream to the deck, and use record/pause to replace the opening
    or whatever part of the program needs changing.

    Until I understood that unlike analog decks, preroll isn't strictly
    necessary for glitch free edits with decent DV decks - I was wasting
    time trying to do things with an "old" mindset rather than learning
    about the strengths of the new gear.

    Analog is dying fast. Time to let it go.
    William Davis, Sep 16, 2004
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    Ryan Boni Guest

    Yes, I agree that linear still has a place in the world. What will finally
    be the death knell for it is when we truly have high quality, highly
    reliable tapeless acquistion.

    In Public Access, for instance, we still continually shoot a lot of long
    single or multi-camera switched events (sporting events, concerts, plays,
    etc.) that only require an opening title graphic or sequence and a end
    credit roll added to the footage. Even thinking of doing that from
    videotape into an NLE is crazy. Items such as the Firestore, XDCam, etc.
    and whatever the next generation of hard disc/drive acquistion will get us
    closer to total NLE post-production. Because you figure if you're capturing
    to a hard drive, can just drag the files from it to your timeline with no
    digitzing required, make any quick changes and additions you need and then
    burn it to DVD faster than real-time, what else would you ever need to do.
    Unfortunately, we're only at the beginning stages....


    Ryan Boni
    Public Access Director
    Peters Township Community Television
    McMurray, PA
    Ryan Boni, Sep 16, 2004
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