PC specification for DV editing

Discussion in 'Video Cameras' started by Pandora, May 23, 2004.

  1. Pandora

    Pandora Guest

    I am looking to buy a new p.c. for DV editing with semi-pro
    aspirations. I can capture the video from my Sony Mini DV camcorder
    using a fire wire connection. I then want to author the edited
    material on to DVD.

    Can some one suggest the spec for a suitable p.c. + monitor(s) at
    about £3K including Adobe Premiere or Vegas software?

    I have some VHS I need to capture but intend to use the AV
    pass-through facility on my camera. Therefore, I believe that I will
    only need a firewire card on the p.c., not a capture card. (That is,
    unless anyone can think of a could reason why an analogue capture card
    is superior to the pass-through method.)

    I prefer Windows 2000 to Windows XP. Is this going to limit my editing
    software choice?

    Finally, can anyone recommend a supplier that specialises in
    video-editing p.c.s (Poweroid? Planet PC? Other?)

    Pandora, May 23, 2004
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  2. Pandora

    Tony Morgan Guest

    In message <>, Pandora
    Evesham produce specialist Video Editing PCs.
    Tony Morgan, May 23, 2004
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  3. Pandora

    Jerry. Guest

    The words barge and pole come to mind......

    IMO keep away from PC 'sheds' that a/. don't understand the issues around
    video editing and b/. are just jumping on the digital video band wagon.

    There are many specialists around, many have been around for a good few
    years, they don't survive in this day and age if they don't know what they
    are on about....
    Jerry., May 23, 2004
  4. Pandora

    Bob Hope Guest

    You could try www.absdigital.co.uk , they have two guys there who are into
    professional editing, but they can build machines to almost any budget. I
    to work for them, and can honestly say, they know a hell of a lot about
    digital video pc's.

    Bob Hope, May 23, 2004
  5. Pandora

    Jerry. Guest

    Defiantly go for two if not three monitors (TFT's ?), and if you can budget
    a bit higher perhaps even think about a duel CPU system (either AMD or
    Intel), then the need for RT cards is less important (for Adobe Premiere /
    Liquid Edition / Avid etc).

    IMO have at least 1 Gig of fast memory [1], it's not vital but think about
    it as insurance.

    [1] dons flame proofs and arrival of TM <g>

    Beware of 'Creative' combined Audio boards w/ onboard Firewire capture,
    there seems to be many stories of them giving trouble when used in a NLE
    system (crashes, dropped frames etc.).
    My advice would be the new Canopus ADVC 300, this unit has a TBC (Time Base
    Corrector) included and help in keeping the signal 'jitter' free. Camera
    pass-through is OK as long as you have a stable signal in the first place,
    you can't improve picture quality but you can improve signal quality IYSWIM.
    It will do if you want to use Adobe Premiere Pro, it's XP only.
    Don't make us laugh.....

    Try [ given in on order what so ever ]
    DVC (Sussex) http://www.dvc.uk.com/
    Planet PC (West Yorkshire) http://www.planetdv.net/
    Red Sub http://www.sub.co.uk/
    Siren Technology (Manchester) http://www.sirentechnology.co.uk/
    Creative Video http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/

    Oh, and one final word, I you are serious about digital video then get
    yourself a copy of Computer Video http://www.computervideo.net/ if not a

    HTH ?
    Jerry., May 23, 2004
  6. You shouldn't have to pay that much. Though if you go to a maker with
    that budget, he'll manage to fill it :)

    Try it. If the quality is acceptable, fine. If not, and maybe you
    have problems with sound/picture sync, consider the Canopus ADVC 300
    or ADVC100. But try the camera trick first. You don't need to
    buy everything at once.
    Why? Premiere is XP-only I think. More and more software will be in
    the future. Why do you want to install an obsolete operating system?
    I'd avoid these places. Computers are trivially easy to put together
    if you know how. Get an idea of what you want, get a friend's
    14-year-old son to source best prices on the Internet and spend an
    hour with a screwdriver :)

    If you stick with crt monitors (you'll get better colour, and
    flat-screen are still way over-priced) you should be able to find a
    nice Trinitron-type screen quite cheaply. This technology isn't a
    Sony monopoly any more (though the name is).
    Laurence Payne, May 23, 2004
  7. Pandora

    Pandora Guest

    Jerry, it does, thanks. And thanks to the other posters for their

    My system will be stand alone, so I have complete freedom of OS
    choice. Having poured over the NGs, I've decided to go for PC over

    I like the fact that the Canopus is external so that I can easily add
    it at a later date if the "pass-through" method has hiccups.

    Now I have to decide between Adobe Premiere Pro 7 and Vegas...
    Pandora, May 23, 2004

  8. try either of these companies



    both of which have a very good reputation.
    Gary MacKenzie, May 23, 2004
  9. Pandora

    Tony Morgan Guest

    Perish the thought. I totally agree.
    Tony Morgan, May 23, 2004
  10. Pandora

    Jerry. Guest


    I must apologise for the comment above, sorry I miss read what you typed,
    lets just say it had been a late night and an early morning IYSWIM. :~(
    Jerry., May 23, 2004
  11. Pandora

    SjT Guest

    There's nothing i like more than finding a love letter from
    Having a higher Spec machine will not affect quality, it will only
    affect the speed and stability of what you are doing.

    If you are simply cutting and pasting together scenes and burning onto
    a DVD you could build a machine within £500 to do what you want

    If you are going to be using a LOT of real-time effects and previews
    etc. and capturing from analogues sources then that's when you need to
    spend the money.

    IF you get these kind of specs you will be fine, and to be honest they
    are dirt cheap now:

    Any CPU above 1200mhz
    Quickish Memory over 512MB
    HDD 120GB or over
    Case with decent PSU and Cooling
    And make sure the motherboard doesn't come loaded with loads of
    onboard extras, i.e. audio/video/network as you will regret this.

    If you are using Premiere Pro then make sure your processor has the
    right SSE Instruction sets.

    In my opinion anyway :D
    SjT, May 24, 2004
  12. Pandora

    Tony Morgan Guest


    I've read all the views in this thread, and all the opinions are valid,
    based on circumstances and aspirations.

    You can go anywhere from "get the minimum and make do" through to "get
    the best though it will costa lot".

    But I'd like to put my business hat on. Pandora's "Semi-pro aspirations"
    suggests that he either wants to earn a little money on the side, or
    wants to earn a living at it. Both aspirations will require knowledge of
    some elementary business principles. Yes, I know, this ng is all about
    digital video - and recreational digital video to boot.... but since the
    question's been asked (and has before and will no doubt be asked
    again... I'm going to bore the pants off everyone and continue :)

    The BIG question that Pandora should be asking is what return on his
    investment can he expect and how can he achieve it. Turning it around he
    should be asking "what return do I expect, and what investment must I
    make to achieve it".

    First of all, not meaning to be critical, I might observe that the very
    fact he's asking the question "what kit should I get" suggests that he's
    something of a beginner. This concerns me, since both earning a little
    money on the side and earning a living at it requires so much more than
    owning a camcorder (or even two) and having a PC (or whatever spec) and
    a capable video editor.
    And the fact that he's rather undecided whether to go for Premiere or
    Vegas suggests that he's not all that experienced on the editing side.

    So before anything else, he's going to have to factor in the time it
    will take him to (a) learn to plan, script and take professional-quality
    content for his video - as well as learn the equally daunting
    skills/knowledge for sound, and (b) learn to use the editor of his
    choice *well* - and by that I mean not have to piddle around at each
    turn learning how to do this or that. Remember - time is money for the
    professional or semi-professional. That's where us amateurs have the
    edge on the pros - we can tinker, the pro's and semi-pros can't afford
    the luxury.

    OK then let's put a handle on what we've got so far. I estimate at the
    bare minimum, based on what we know (or have assumed), that it's going
    to take two weeks shooting/learning and a further two weeks to get
    hands-on competence with his video editor - and that I would suggest is
    the very bare minimum. So how much value does Pandora put on his time?
    How much can he afford to live on? Let's be really modest and assume
    that he has no mortgage, wife and kids to support and say he can manage
    on the princely sum of £10 per hour (£400 per week/£20,800 per year).
    Now we add on the employees and employers NI contributions which come
    due to require £24,960 per annum. All his assumes that Pandora will bear
    his IR charges from his revenue.

    Back to the learning phase - and what it will cost Pandora... by my
    estimate somewhere in the region of £3,000 - and that's before he takes
    the lens cap of his camcorder(s), or fires up his video editor in anger.
    This time/money is non-productive and must be factored as a "fixed cost"
    - at least over the first year.

    What other fixed costs must he budget for? Cost of a couple of
    camcorders, cost of his PC (whatever the spec), cost of his video editor
    and any other software he might require, and cost of sound equipment
    (and mixing kit). Taking the bare minimum we're now at £5,200. Add on
    the service charge for financing and you're now at over £6,000.

    Remember - this is a fixed cost, and must be found no matter how much
    work Pandora can get/complete.

    OK, now we can get down to the nitty-gritty and discover how much he's
    going to have to charge to just break even (though we'll include his £10
    per hour salary).

    Pandora will be very lucky to generate enough business to provide
    gainful work during the first year for more than 50% of his time - so
    we'll work on that (somewhat optimistic) figure. So accounting for his
    "salary" of £10 per hour plus NI (adds up to £12 per hour), *each week*
    he's going to have to secure work paying a minimum £500 - and this is
    each and every week of the year.

    Things are even more gloomy if we factor in the cost of advertising, and
    the time spent knocking on doors trying to drum up business.

    Sorry to sound so discouraging - but please don't shoot the messenger.
    It's all too easy when you find a hobby that interests you to dream
    about turning it into a job/business (or even a means of boosting your
    income) - but things are never that simple. A few days exercising Excel
    will give you a balanced perspective about the difference between dreams
    and reality :)

    If you do decide to go ahead, I'd suggest (for reasons which should now
    be obvious) that Pandora get the *minimum* specification kit that will
    get the job done. I've seen a lot of industrial and training videos in
    my time, and I'd suggest that most could have been produced with a £500
    PC, a £500 camcorder and the free MM2 (plus Nero for DVD burning).

    Which reminds me - it's no good producing DVD-R or DVD+R for
    distribution of industrial and training videos - you're going to have to
    pay out for the transfer to commercial DVD disks which for small
    quantities is disproportionately expensive per-unit. - something else
    you're going to have to factor in.

    I know that all this might seem OT, but I hope the majority will see it
    to be very relevant to Pandora's aspirations which prompted his
    Tony Morgan, May 24, 2004
  13. Pandora

    Just D Guest

    Not always. I use WMM2 under Windows XP Pro. The machine is IP-IV-3.2HT,
    1Gig RAM, 60/7200 HD, 800 FB, ATI 9600 (128 mb). Not so bad machine. I
    noticed one trouble when I allow both processors to be involved in a coding
    process. The WMM2 can hang up, die for some reason with error like Can't
    access some address 0x0000, etc. If I change the Affinity (Task Manager =>
    Set Affinity) and allow only one processor to work with WMM2, it works much
    more successful. So the more powerful machine sometimes is not a better
    solution for a Microsoft Windows Software like WMM2. That's bad, but fact.

    Dmitri Shvetsov
    Just D, May 24, 2004
  14. Pandora

    Rob Davies Guest


    I'd bet my business that Pandora's a..............she!


    Rob Davies, May 24, 2004
  15. Pandora

    Jerry. Guest

    All very true Tony, but most people start off in the 'video media' trade as
    part time, many people have part time jobs or even full 9 to 5 jobs and
    produce their video work at the weekends and in the evenings - classic
    wedding Videographers territory - only the lucky few go straight into full
    time employment within the video media trade. Also the OP could well be a
    media student wanting to set up an NLE suite that will last more than a few
    months, in other words, as his ability / standards grow the system won't
    fail behind.

    Also, he might not be doing the filming. many people are crap when it comes
    to camera work but are wizards at editing or vis-versa. As to what editing
    software to use, yes he could be questioning which way to go, a couple of
    years ago there was only one way to go (unless you had a very high budget
    and could afford to go the Avid or Media route) but know the playing field
    has more players on it and all are becoming worthy editors within the
    semi-pro world and IMO Vegas 5 has just come off the bench with it's recent
    release . A good editor does not need to be, and should not be, trained on a
    single system - it's the principles that matter and not the nitty-gritty of
    the software that needs to be learnt. Just because the OP hasn't chosen a
    editing platform yet doesn't mean he is new or doesn't know what he is

    All the above affects your 'Excel' spread sheet and it's print out,
    Jerry., May 24, 2004
  16. Pandora

    Tony Morgan Guest

    And there was me thinking that it as us guys who had (or used) a "box".

    And of course, if we open the front, all the troubles of the world come
    tumbling out :)
    Tony Morgan, May 24, 2004
  17. Pandora

    Tony Morgan Guest

    Indeed. However, you seem to be unaware of the thousands of media
    students (often with a degree and a portfolio of their work) who can't
    get jobs. What you say was true five years ago perhaps, but I know who
    I'd commission for anything from a wedding to a training video today.
    Dangerous ground these days. I know (not well - I was a hanger-around at
    the wedding) someone who was pissed off at the video he got for his
    money and sued the guy. Turned out he was a wannabe amateur and got done
    for an £800 plus £1200 costs. Solicitors these days are prepared to
    proceed without any money up-front.
    Luck? Is that what it is?
    There was a young guy on one of the morning "look at me - see what a
    prat I am" shows only three weeks ago. He'd got a degree in film media
    and wouldn't take *any* job unless it was as a director. On being
    questioned he wasn't prepared to take a menial job in the film industry
    to get on the ladder - he thought he should be able to start out as a
    David Putnum.

    The real problem is the Unis and colleges though though. If they can
    start a course and fill it, they can get funding for the course -
    irrespective of whether the dreamy graduates stand a chance in Hell of
    getting employment at the end of it. Of course it keeps the lecturers
    (who've never done a real job in their life) in well paid employment.
    Tony Morgan, May 24, 2004
  18. employment.

    Up until about three years ago I often did the on-site training for
    purchasers of some very expensive editing equipment. One job took me
    to a media college which had bought (I suspect at public expense) some
    fifty or sixty thousand pound's worth of kit and the lecturers needed
    to know how to use it. They were scared stiff of it and really didn't
    want to learn and employed a variety of tricks to defer all attempts
    to show them the basics. Most of them absented themselves for most of
    the time. On one particular training day no one at all turned up so I
    took a stroll into town to pass the time and bumped into a bunch of
    them in the local shopping mall. FTR every single one of them was
    Ma1colm Knight, May 24, 2004
  19. Pandora

    Jerry. Guest

    Can I ask how, were you in NY at the time or were you 'helping out' at a
    edit suite / broadcaster?
    Some earn 00p per hour whilst getting their foot in the door, hence the part
    time job, Also I know of one person who worked a night shift at a ILR
    station (play-out server minding IIRC) whilst attending a full time college
    course between 09:00 and 17:00 hrs - I never did find out when he slept !
    Jerry., May 24, 2004
  20. "Semi-pro" means a bit on the side, doesn't it? Else what would "pro"

    AS he's starting from nowhere, I assumed that was just wishful
    thinking that he might make a little money back. Or an excuse for
    the expenditure, to placate his
    wife :)

    I think we're agreed that the only realistic way to make money from
    home technology is to publish a book called "Pleasure and Profit from
    your Home Computer" :)
    Laurence Payne, May 24, 2004
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