What is the minimal system required for video editing?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by shoemakerted, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. shoemakerted

    shoemakerted Guest

    What is generally considered to be the cheapest computer hardware on
    which one can do video editing?

    Of course, it would be nice to have the newest stuff. But there's the
    realistic concern of a budget.

    People were making videos on their computers in the 1990s. (This
    newsgroup has been around since the 1990s!)

    So, it is possible to make videos with old stuff. But how old?

    For example, assuming that I can get the right software, would this
    computer be good enough, for making a 10-minute video:
    300 MHz processor
    128 MB RAM
    CD player and burner
    DVD player, no burner
    4 GB hard drive
    Windows 98

    If not, what is the least upgrade that would be required?

    Thank you very much!

    Ted Shoemaker
    shoemakerted, Aug 25, 2007
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  2. shoemakerted

    Ken Maltby Guest

    Define "videos".

    Define "edit videos".

    Ken Maltby, Aug 26, 2007
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  3. shoemakerted

    Mr Blobby Guest

    A DC10+ would run on a lot less than that, but you would definitely
    need a bigger hard disk.
    Mr Blobby, Aug 26, 2007
  4. shoemakerted

    STeve Brogan Guest

    That would seem painful to me.
    There are so many cheap NEW $400 Dells out there that would beg for the job.

    But if you had to, I would bump the memory as high as possible, assuming it's
    not some flakey type that is expensive.

    Borrow a Select copy of XP and forget 98
    Is the processor a Pentium or Celery-on? Big diff.

    maybe buy a new mobo and P4?
    STeve Brogan, Aug 26, 2007
  5. shoemakerted

    iws Guest

    My first video editing was done on a WIN 98SE 400 MHz PII using an old
    version of Media Studio Pro. However, I had 256 MB memory and a 20 GB hard
    drive. Also, if you are capturing from a camcorder, you will need a Firewire
    card with the appropriate drivers for WIN98. You will also have to use old
    software (eBay maybe?) as I doubt any recent editing packages will run on
    WIN98. Your 4 GB hard drive is really too small since even 10 minutes of
    captured DV video will take up about half of it. And the large hard drives
    now sold will likely prove problematic with your old BIOS. Obviously without
    a DVD writer (and your system is probably too slow for one anyway) you'll be
    putting your edited video onto a CD. Really, by the time you consider all
    the effort you'd expend to upgrade your system to "make a video", you'd be
    far better off buying a new one or even one that's a couple of years old.
    iws, Aug 26, 2007
  6. shoemakerted

    Mr Blobby Guest

    Not if you're using a DC10+. The XP drivers won't let you ignore minor
    video faults, so it will drop frames even when there is nothing
    visibly wrong with the video.
    Mr Blobby, Aug 26, 2007
  7. What is the source and format of the raw video?
    What do you mean by "edit"?
    What do you want to do with the finished video?

    Yes some of us were editing video many years ago on
    300MHz computers. But they had a lot more than 128MB
    of RAM and a 4GB hard drive. And Win98 seems like a
    non-starter to even find any modern video editing software.

    If you work "backwards" from what your source video is,
    how you intend to capture it, what kind of editing you want
    to do, and what you want to do with the finished video, then
    you can figure out what your software application alternatives
    are, and from that you can figure out what the minimum
    hardware requirements are.
    Richard Crowley, Aug 27, 2007
  8. shoemakerted

    shoemakerted Guest

    If I knew the answers, I would tell you. The truth is, I don't know
    where to start, and I don't know what I'm talking about.

    My kids want to make movies, and I want to help them and encourage
    them. They don't go to public school, so they don't have access to
    the newer hardware. They will need to learn how to do the tasks, and
    I will need to supply some of the equipment.

    And a computer for "only" $400 is out of reach.

    But I thank everyone for your help and advice.

    Ted Shoemaker
    shoemakerted, Aug 27, 2007
  9. So can we surmise that you are talking about video that
    you are shooting yourself? Not something from a DVD
    or from Youtube or something? Do you already have a
    camcorder (or access to borrow one)? If it is a cam-
    corder source, then you can say that it is "8mm" or Hi-8"
    or "mini-DV" or "mini-DVD" or whatever format the camera
    The disk space and RAM capacity would appear to preclude
    you from using the computer you specified. The operating
    system is also so old that you may not find any editing SW
    that would run on it.

    You could investigate whether there is a "cable access" facility
    in your area where they train people to use their equipment
    (cameras and editing systems) and then they put the finished
    videos on the cable system for all to see.
    Richard Crowley, Aug 27, 2007
  10. shoemakerted

    Scubajam Guest


    Please don't give up yet!!

    1) Editing and producing videos is a passion. More than equipment, it
    takes time. I know what I'm doing (sort of), and it takes me 2-3
    hours of editing (after the initial shooting) for every minute of
    finished video. a 10 minute DVD would take me 20-30 hrs (and I have
    about 20 of these short "productions" and about 50 DVD's in all that
    I've done (plus other productions)), but a "newbie" might easily take
    40 to 50 hours. Of course, there are those who take half an hour, and
    it shows. If this is a passing fad, it is just not worth the effort.
    Put it in the pile of astronauts and other kids dreams. I don't mean
    to put it down, but realize it is a major committment, especially for
    you to put something together before even the first minute of shooting
    or editing.
    2) Yes, many of us started editing decades ago, producing VHS tapes.
    It was a royal pain. Don't go there unless you have incredible
    resistance to frustration. Get decent equipment. I'll tell you how
    3) Start with a camera. Do you have one? Is it digital? Gotta start
    here. Can't edit without clips. Or, you can use photos, preferably
    digital. In fact, that's a good way to learn and see if they will
    stick with it. Pan and zoom around the photos to give motion. learn
    to add titles and music. You can produce VCD on your CD burner, but
    DVD is definitely better. Presuming, of course, you have a DVD player
    and TV? Or you can just watch on the computer.
    4) If you are borrowing or getting a camera, get a digital one that
    has Firewire. IEEE1394, same thing. Working with analog will
    probably be more expensive and lower quality, in the long run.
    5) Now, finally, let's consider that computer. Many of us on this
    forum and others throw out computers many generations better than what
    you have. I have 5 motherboards, about 7 cpu's, and about 8 cases now
    ready to take to recycle (can't throw them in the trash anymore). You
    can have something from this pile, for the price of postage, and I
    might be able to help with that. And I'm sure others can help with
    even newer stuff. I recommend getting a case and power supply
    locally, as that's large and will cost more shipping. Motherboards,
    cpu, memory, and a couple cards will make for a small package.
    6) Get at least a 40 gig hard drive. Digital video takes 13 gigs/hour
    and you'll need double to triple the size of your initial clips
    because of rendering, music, etc. Again, I've stepped up to 250+gig
    units and can probably dig one or two old drives out from somewhere.
    7) You should have a DVD burner. New down to $40, used can get one
    for $10, or again, the price of postage.
    8) The operating system will be most difficult. XP would be best.
    You can ask around and probably get something Windows. I think I have
    a ME system somewhere not being used.

    If you just asked for something free, I wouldn't have responded. But
    you came here asking only for advice, and that for video work, which
    is appropriate on this forum. I can certainly remember decades ago
    when I thought $10 was a sum I could never save or have for
    discretionary spending. I worked at $0.50/hour, gave half to my
    parents, and after required spending, finally bought my first stereo
    amplifier from Radio Shack, a very small tube set, for $14.95. I
    don't do video for a living, as some on this forum, but do spend 20-40
    hrs a week as a hobby making DVD's of my scuba diving, flyfishing, and
    flying to give away to friends.

    So tell me more of the story. What area you are in. Is this
    homeschool or ?? Certainly it sounds like a more modern computer
    would help regardless of whether the kids stick with video or not.
    Does anyone around you have a better computer you can use? I'm
    thinking maybe all you need is a hard drive with external case to
    connect via Firewire (may need a card) or USB2 (don't mess with USB1
    for this), then you can take your project to different computers and
    save buying or assembling one. I can probably do this for $5
    shipping, but it would only work if you have a more modern computer
    available somewhere, preferably an XP system. Any XP comuter would be
    powerful enough, and Windows XP comes with free Windows Movie Maker
    for editing. Just take your hard drive around, can even use different
    computers (library? if they let you connect).

    There's ALWAYS hope, and help.

    Jim McGauhey
    Washington State
    Scubajam, Aug 28, 2007
  11. shoemakerted

    phorbin Guest

    Used machines (around here, anyway) can be found now and again at garage
    sales, yard sales, and boot sales, for $10 - $30 Canadian (be sure to
    dicker). They can also be found at local institutions and local
    universities/colleges for $50 to $150. A local forsale newsgroup might
    be useful to you too once you get a handle on the honest sellers and
    learn about asking prices and offers.

    The amount of memory and size of hard drive varies from machine to
    machine but virtually all the ones I've found recently in the lower
    range of $10 to $50, are p3 733 or better with 256K and up to 30gb hard
    drive. The higher price range is p4 of varying speeds and memory types.

    Church rummage sales etc. have occasionally been good for old software
    (sometimes whole disk cases of software with original disks) or the
    occasional printer, set of speakers, keyboard or scanner. I've found
    good size CRT monitors at church functions but never a decent, recent
    enough computer.

    If you're in a university/college town, keep a lookout in the student
    areas because they, or their ex-landlords will throw away the damnedest
    pieces of equipment. p3's and sometimes p4's.

    Do connect with Freecycle and/or other local recycling groups. You may
    find useful machinery there too and or, you can ask for what you need.
    Someone may respond.
    phorbin, Aug 31, 2007
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