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Building your very own Video-Editing Rig

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Old 02-09-2004, 07:24 PM   #1
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Building your very own Video-Editing Rig

Getting the right system to do video-editing, is as important as choosing the correct NLE solution. It does not make sense to purchase a $2000 product, only to have it stutter, because you are trying to make it run on a substandard PC......

Having said that, there are two options for most people

1. Purchase a turnkey solution
2. Build your own

Before I begin explaining the options, I would like to say a few things

a. Throw almost everything you have learnt in HW Clinic / Overclocking school away. Video-Editors are more concerned about stability than getting the most bang for the buck. Unless the System Integrator knows what he is doing, you should not even think of overclocking your system! Ram timings, Fancy Heatsinks / HSF / Casings are also just aesthetic designs, not necessary but nice to have.

b. Choose your editing solution first. It is much easier to tailor a system, to suit your NLE's needs. rather than to try tailoring the NLE solution, to suit YOUR system's needs.



Option #1
=======
Call the distributor of the NLE solution, and ask them to recommend a dealer, that also assembles PCs for Video-Editing needs. This will save you alot of trouble, as not only can you go back to the dealer, for support issues, you also benefit from their expertise.

Alternatively, the same distributor may also be in a position to provide turnkey workstations ( More expensive, but workstation class ). This option provides the least headache for most people.

Option #2
========
Building your own system is rather fun, but be prepared to spend a fair bit of time troubleshooting.


1. Motherboard.
Whenever possible, always try going for a motherboard based on an Intel chipset, rather than the others. Nothing beats a chipset that was designed by the original chipmakers themselves!. The original AMD Chipsets come in a close second.


2. CPU
The type of processor you choose, will depend on your budget and needs. A low-end CPU for budget systems, can be the Intel Celeron D series, while higher end systems will go for the mainstream CPUs, like the Pentium C or E class chips ( Either will do. It does not matter )
Dual processor systems, while nice to have, are not necessary unless coupled together with a fast disk array. It is not merely about doubling the cost but more on ensuring it works as it was supposed to. These are usually found on workstation class PCs, and will help you out during the encoding process, when paired with the right solution.


3. Ram.
Be it DDR333 or DDR400, low or high ram timings, it makes very little difference. Whenever possible, go for rams that run at a similar bus speed to the CPU. Eg: FSB800 = 200FSB rams.


4. Hard Disk.
One can never go wrong with an excessive amount of hard disk space. At the minimum level, you should use at least 2 physical hard drives. A 160gb or 200gb is ideal for Temp storage these days. Storage systems of half a terabyte are not unheard of these days, for people who are lazy to do housekeeping...

A Raid Array is not required for basic home Video-Editing ( In fact, it is discouraged unless your system integrator knows what he's doing ). More often than not, a raid array introduces certain complications which may affect the performance of your system. For workstations, choose your redundancy level as your need arises.


5. Optical Writers
Choosing a good optical Writer is important if you want to churn out good quality discs. Makes from brand name smanufacturers like Pioneer / Lite-On can't go wrong.


6. Video-Editing Solution.
When people want to archive their memories, it is often better not to be penny-wise, pound foolish. Analog Video is all about quality and you really get what you pay for. Ask the experts if they'll ever use a TV tuner class card to archive their videos, and you'll get interesting answers. Its also more the capture quality of the device.

When you want to archive your stuff, you want it to be of the highest quality possible, within your means. If you search the forum, you will see that many people will often recommend video-editing hardware from the major players, such as Pinnacle, Canopus, Matrox. They will at least ensure a certain level of quality that is respected by many.


7. Video-Display Units
Depending on your needs, you may be looking for either a CRT or LCD. If you need to do colour matching, you'll also need a television set, with the appropriate editing card. Get something that supports 1280x1024. Multiple display units ( eg: dual monitors ), are nice to have, but not entirely necessary. They may also require you to purchase additional GFX cards to support the extra displays..


8. Graphics Card
Unless you happen to be gunning for Pinnacle Liquid Edition as your editing solution, the choice of a good Graphics card does not really matter. A basic ATI Radeon 9200SE / Nvidia FX5200 with at least 128mb should tide you till Microsoft's Longhorn release. IF you are going for Pinnacle Liquid Edition, make sure you get one that is at least a mid-range GFX card ( Something that costs about $200 - $300 ).



If you hang around here much, you'll see that there are certain people who are experienced in certain matters. Feel free to approach them, and seek their opinions / assistance in matters eg: System Integration, NLE solution guidance, which camera is good...etc

Of couse, don't expect them to do everything for free. A meal or fee, depending on the services rendered, is often appreciated.

Hope the above helps.

Above all, good luck and happy editing!

Last edited by tmfwy; 05-09-2004 at 02:23 PM..
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Old 02-09-2004, 07:25 PM   #2
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WOW! I didn't realise that what i wrote 6 years ago is still very much applicable!
I'm keeping the original thread for nostalgic purposes but will continually update this one

Updated as of October 2010

Before one embarks on this quest, look in the Compatibilty list of the chosen NLE solution, as well as the System Specifications. This will tell you exactly what you need.

1. Motherboard.
Whenever possible, always try going for a motherboard based on a reliable chipset. Getting an el cheapo motherboard will give you oodles of headaches trying to troubleshoot a problem at a later date


2. CPU
The type of processor you choose, will depend on your budget and needs. With todays ever increasing CPU prowess, even a low-end CPU is decent enough to do Standard Definition Editing. A guideline will be a P4 3.0ghz for SD, and a PentiumD 2.8ghz for High Definition

Dual processor systems, while nice to have, are not necessary unless coupled together with a fast disk array. It is not merely about doubling the cost but more on ensuring it works as it is supposed to. These are usually found on workstation class PCs, and will help you out during the encoding process, when paired with the right solution.

With regards to processing power, a Core2Duo 3.0ghz spec should be sufficient for AVCHD editing purposes in applications be it Pinnacle / Ulead / Adobe / Avid...etc


3. Ram.
Whether it is valueRams or rams designed for overclocking, it makes very little difference. Ensure your chosen Rams meet the minimum specifications for your CPU to avoid bottlenecking the system.


4. Hard Disk.
One can never go wrong with an excessive amount of hard disk space. At the minimum level, you should use at least 2 physical hard drives. A small drive is enough to act as the Operating System drive. For a Storage Drive, get the biggest hard drive you can afford. Rationale: It is easier to spend the extra $$$ at the time of purchase, than to seek approval later, or to migrate data over.

A Raid Array is usually not required for basic home Video-Editing ( In fact, it is discouraged unless your system integrator knows what he's doing ). More often than not, a raid array introduces certain complications which may affect the performance of your system. For workstations, choose your redundancy level as your need arises.

5. Optical Writers
Choosing a good optical Writer is important if you want to churn out good quality discs. Makes from brand name smanufacturers like Pioneer / Lite-On / LG can't go wrong.


6. Video-Editing Solution
When people want to archive their memories, it is often better not to be penny-wise, pound foolish. Analog Video is all about quality and you really get what you pay for. Ask the experts if they'll ever use a TV tuner class card to archive their videos, and you'll get interesting answers. Its also more the capture quality of the device.

When you want to archive your stuff, you want it to be of the highest quality possible, within your means. If you search the forum, you will see that many people will often recommend video-editing hardware from the major players, such as Pinnacle, Canopus, Matrox. They will at least ensure a certain level of quality that is respected by many.

Another option worthmentioning is a relative underdog known as BlackMagic Designs. They offer quite good value for the money, but they do not offer editing solutions bundled with their products.


7. Video-Display Units
Get something that supports a min of 1280x1024. If you intend to do High Definition editing, get something that supports the HD standard minimum. Eg: 1366x768 for 720pm, 1920x1080 for 1080. Multiple display units ( eg: dual monitors ), are nice to have, but not entirely necessary. They may also require you to purchase additional GFX cards to support the extra displays..


8. Graphics Processing Unit
In today's context, graphics card has replaced dedicated accelerator cards for mainstream editing.

Accelerator cards are very much graphics cards that have been integrated into the editing application. Their main purpose is to ensure REAL-TIME preview and export. This function may not mean much to the noob editors but it does matter to professional editors. However, the caveat is that they only work with pre-designated REAL-TIME effects that have been pre-programmed to make use of the cards.

With todays ( circa 2007 & above ) video-editing software, graphics cards have replaced dedicated accelerator cards for the prosumer market. Certain software utilise industry standards, eg: Nvidia's CUDA, to make use of the GPU's computing prowess. In this sense, OpenGL ( read expensive professional Quadro/FireGL cards), followed by normal graphics cards will be supported by the application

Also, for most software based applications, the graphics card is only useful during preview. Once you hit the "export" button, it will mainly depend on your CPU power.

A <$200 graphics card should be sufficient for light HD editing. a >$250 graphics card will be required if you intend to do prosumer editing. It all depends on the creative flair inside of you

The noob in you will dump in all the fancy effects without regard for its processing needs.
Once you are more experienced, you will look at the effects on a need to use basis.


If you hang around here much, you'll see that there are certain people who are experienced in certain matters. Feel free to approach them, and seek their opinions / assistance in matters eg: System Integration, NLE solution guidance, which camera is good...etc

Of course, don't expect them to do everything for free. A meal or fee, depending on the services rendered, is often appreciated.

Hope the above helps.

Above all, good luck and happy editing!

Last edited by tmfwy; 20-10-2010 at 02:10 PM.. Reason: Updates
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Old 24-09-2010, 03:09 PM   #3
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This is very useful...
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:56 PM   #4
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thou i frequent this videoediting threads.. din read this till nw haha!!!
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Old 20-02-2011, 04:56 AM   #5
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gladz to see that it is updatedz....
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Old 17-06-2016, 11:35 AM   #6
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Okay this is seriously useful.. Thank you so so much
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