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Post Production
| equipment | editing | foley

In order to start the editing fun, you need a computer that can handle the work load. Not just any computer will do. You are going to need a computer with a decent speed processor, a good amount of ram, a fast enough hard drive, an IEEE 1994 capture card, and the right software.

Getting the right equipment

Processor Speed
Try to get a computer with at least a 300 megahertz Pentium 2 or G3 processor. Rendering video is as intensive on a computer as you can get. Obviously, it is best to get the fastest processor you can afford.

There can never have enough ram installed on the computer when doing post production work but, as a minimum, you should have at least 128MB of ram. When a computer has less ram, the computer will have to swap information back and forth from the hard drive to ram more often. But when a computer has more ram, it doesn't have to jump back and forth as often. Not having to jump back and forth will greatly enhance the overall system speed, subsequently reducing the chance of dropping frames when capturing or exporting video

Hard drive
In order to capture full motion video without dropping frames, you are also going to need a hard drive that can keep up. Because DV video is about 3.6-MBps, you will need a hard drive that can capture information that fast. Most manufactures recommend getting a hard disk with an average sustained transfer rate of 5 megabyte per second or faster. As a minimum, look for a hard drive that is 5400 rpms or faster. Many of the UltraDMA(ATA or EIDE) that are 5400 rpms should meet your speed requirements.

With DV video consuming 3.6MB per second, 1 minute of video takes up 216MB. You are going to need a drive that is big, gigabyte big. Unlike a word processor, video editing can completely max out a systems resources. So if you can afford a hard drive with faster and bigger numbers, get it.

Capture Card
Many companies make after market capture cards, one example is Look for a capture card from reputable company and expect to pay about 100 to 120 dollars. Beware, there are cheaper capture cards(western digital), but many times you get what you pay for. In addition, make sure the card adheres to the OHCI protocol.

Prepackaged systems

When you buy a prepackaged video editing system, you are given the peace of mind knowing that all of the components have been tested to work together. So if something breaks, you only have one company to call, instead of three other companies who will most likely try to shift the blame to another company.

Currently the two biggest consumer prepackaged systems are the Apple Macintosh and the Sony Vaio systems. With the exception of the entry level iMac Indigo and entry level iBook, every single Macintosh product is built capable of capturing DV video. The Sony Vaio product line has also made sure all of their products are capable of capturing digital video.

The Apple products carry a big advantage in that they are compatible with a very large selection of cameras by different manufacturers. Unfortunately, the Vaio is only compatible with Sony brand DV or Digital 8 cameras made after 1998. So if you bought the Sony VX-700 dv camera and are using a VAIO, you are out of luck.

Video Editing Software

With Apple Final Cut Pro costing $999 and Adobe Premier costing $699, buying a good video editing program is not cheap. Most prepackaged systems and IEEE 1394 cards come with a light version of these two popular video editing programs. Apple includes iMovie 2, which is a very stripped down video editing program. If you plan to not just cut together kids birthday parties, you should plop down the big bucks and invest in a full featured editing program.

next >> What to do with all your equipment.

Introduction | equipment | editing | foley




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