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Video Editing Workstation

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Kevin Willis:
You can use an off-the shelf computer, but you will likely find that it is extremely limiting. First, the integrated video cards are basically worthless when it comes to editing. Second, when you go to render, assuming you are rendering a full service, expect these computers to take several hours. For editing, I always recommend either building and good quality gamer-type pc or buy a multi-processor Intel-based G5 MAC and make sure to add lots of RAM, 8GB minimum. Newegg is an excellent source for ordering pc parts.

The main issue with capturing tape, regardless of the media, is that is real-time, meaning that a two-hour service will take two hours to capture. Focus Enhancements makes some great portable firewire hard drives that capture uncompressed video that can then be transferred to your the editing computer. This is a huge time saver!!! Recording to a DVD recorder uses compression which will degrade the image quality.

I'm not sure if this answers your questions, but I hope it helps.

Arnold B. Krueger:
Kevin Willis wrote on Sat, 01 May 2010 23:16
You can use an off-the shelf computer, but you will likely find that it is extremely limiting. First, the integrated video cards are basically worthless when it comes to editing. Second, when you go to render, assuming you are rendering a full service, expect these computers to take several hours. For editing, I always recommend either building and good quality gamer-type pc or buy a multi-processor Intel-based G5 MAC and make sure to add lots of RAM, 8GB minimum. Newegg is an excellent source for ordering pc parts.



I'm wondering what kind of video editing software runs that poorly, so it requires major CPU horsepower to even achieve 1:1 rendering times? Is it even trying to use multiple cores?

The same applies to video cards. What is it about your editing style that seriously taxes a modern on-board video interface?




Kevin Willis:
Arnold B. Krueger wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 08:08
Kevin Willis wrote on Sat, 01 May 2010 23:16
You can use an off-the shelf computer, but you will likely find that it is extremely limiting. First, the integrated video cards are basically worthless when it comes to editing. Second, when you go to render, assuming you are rendering a full service, expect these computers to take several hours. For editing, I always recommend either building and good quality gamer-type pc or buy a multi-processor Intel-based G5 MAC and make sure to add lots of RAM, 8GB minimum. Newegg is an excellent source for ordering pc parts.



I'm wondering what kind of video editing software runs that poorly, so it requires major CPU horsepower to even achieve 1:1 rendering times? Is it even trying to use multiple cores?

The same applies to video cards. What is it about your editing style that seriously taxes a modern on-board video interface?






Most real editing software, specifically Vegas or Premier, will take advantage of mulit-core or multiple processors, which greatly reduces rendering time.

As far as the video card, you need all the video ram you can get to be able to preview in as high resolution as possible, especially when color-correcting.

Arnold B. Krueger:
Kevin Willis wrote on Thu, 06 May 2010 13:55


As far as the video card goes, you need all the video ram you can get to be able to preview in as high resolution as possible, especially when color-correcting.


I don't have any PCs with on-board video on hand that *won't* run 2 1920 x 1200 displays at their maximum resolutions.

1920 x 1200 seems to be the point where further increases in display resolution have questionable practical benefits, and costs ramp up dramatically faster.

AFAIK memory for modern display adaptors, whether on-board or PCI-E have been sizing their RAM allocations to support complex 3D rendering processes at ultra-high refresh rates, as opposed to just being frame buffers.

For example, the frame buffer for a 2D 1920 x 1200 display supports about 2 megapixels, so running 32 bit color would take about 8 megabutes of RAM for each frame buffer. If you double that so that there is 16 bit color and intensity per pixel, there is still ony 16 megabytes per frame buffer.

Modern high performance graphics cards for gaming currently run 512-1024 megabytes, supporting my contention that their RAM was not sized to support high resolution displays.

Karl P(eterson):
Arnold B. Krueger wrote on Wed, 05 May 2010 08:08
Kevin Willis wrote on Sat, 01 May 2010 23:16
You can use an off-the shelf computer, but you will likely find that it is extremely limiting. First, the integrated video cards are basically worthless when it comes to editing. Second, when you go to render, assuming you are rendering a full service, expect these computers to take several hours. For editing, I always recommend either building and good quality gamer-type pc or buy a multi-processor Intel-based G5 MAC and make sure to add lots of RAM, 8GB minimum. Newegg is an excellent source for ordering pc parts.



I'm wondering what kind of video editing software runs that poorly, so it requires major CPU horsepower to even achieve 1:1 rendering times? Is it even trying to use multiple cores?

The same applies to video cards. What is it about your editing style that seriously taxes a modern on-board video interface?




Not to stir the pot more than it needs, but there are needs for more advanced machines in video editing.

Our current spec for a new editing station (Windows or Mac) is an Octo-Core 2.6 or 2.9 machine with 12GB mem and enterprise grade disk to get close to 1:1 render times in our DVCPROHD/Prores422 workflow. When we get a complicated timeline it obviously still stretches way beyond 1:1, even on this class of hardware.

This is all using Vegas or FCS.

Even those machines are close to 1:2 times for even a "simple" bounce from HD to high compression h.264 for the web. On the mac side we are using matrox compresshd cards with compressor to get that down to useable times, unfortunately matrox doesn't like vegas yet or they would be standard issue for us.

However you are correct in that any graphics card with access to over 256meg of memory (either onboard or shared from the main system) seems to work just fine for video editing. Unless we start getting crazy with GPU accelerated effects plugins/programs that is....

For a purely DV workflow you are correct however. We can still edit DV quite comfortably on a 6 year old workstation long since retired from our main workflow.

Karl P

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