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The myth of digital video editing on an apple


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#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Seth--L

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Posted October 08 2003 - 01:24 PM

For a production class this semester I'm going to have to do quite of bit of digital video editing - I'm shooting a documentary on DV. Since the doc is going to take a while to edit, it made sense to edit it on my computer so I could edit whenever I wanted for however long I wanted. I have a PC though - Dell Inspiron 4150, 2.2GHz pentium, 32MB video card, 1GB RAM, Windows XP - and it seemed like it was common knowledge that if you're going to do digital video editing, a Mac was the best choice. So I asked some industry people what they thought about editing on my PC, and they all said sure, it shouldn't be a problem. So I purchased Avid Xpress DV Pro, and sure enough, it runs perfectly smoothly, no notable difference between running it on my PC than on a G4 (I've played around with it on a G5, but haven't compared rendering time). People still gasp in disbelief when I tell them that I'm doing the editing on a PC. People in my class too still can't get over it (I'm the only PC owner out of the 8 of us).
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#2 of 13 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted October 08 2003 - 03:18 PM

[quote] People still gasp in disbelief when I tell them that I'm doing the editing on a PC. People in my class too still can't get over it (I'm the only PC owner out of the 8 of us). [quote] i think the answer is right there. you are the only PC owner, but they cant get over how you use a PC to edit. i'm willing to bet that anyone who bought a mac out of that group who didnt have one before, bought one on advice from someone else that said they were 'better' than a PC for media stuff. video and photo editing are what macs are known for. however, i have yet to see a big difference, at my school, they have the new hotshot mac (not sure what the name is) and it is pretty fast, but they are no faster than my 18 month old PC using premiere or photoshop. maybe it is a little faster, maybe a little slower, but its nothing like twice or three times as fast. i quite like my PC and windows, guess it just comes down to which OS you prefer, because i dont think either the PC or a mac is gonna blow the other one away in the editing department.

CJ
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#3 of 13 OFFLINE   JamesHl

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Posted October 08 2003 - 03:55 PM

Actually, the 'new hotshot mac' would definitely be a lot faster than your 18 month old pc, though I doubt they have one, as they are highly expensive.

#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Seth--L

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Posted October 08 2003 - 04:07 PM

Christ Reynolds, You're thinking of the G5. I'm going to try and do a rendering time comparison soon with the one in our lab. I suspect the G5 will beat out my PC. At the same time, most of the Avid fx that you would want something as fast as a G5 for I'll probably rarely use. I think that Microsoft has finally eliminated almost all problems with plugging external devices into the computer with Windows XP (no more conflict errors or having to download a dozen drivers). This is obviously helpful with digital editing when connecting a DV camera or DV tape deck to the computer. For all of two minutes I couldn't figure out why Avid wouldn't let me capture video to my external hard drive. Immediately a mac owner thought it was a Windows driver issue...
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#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Francois Caron

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Posted October 08 2003 - 04:17 PM

[quote] For all of two minutes I couldn't figure out why Avid wouldn't let me capture video to my external hard drive. Immediately a mac owner thought it was a Windows driver issue... [quote]

You mean you forgot to plug it in? Posted Image I've done that!

#6 of 13 OFFLINE   Seth--L

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Posted October 08 2003 - 04:47 PM

No. Sorry if this sounds confusing: when you go to capture video there's a drop down bar where you can select which hard disk you want the video saved on. My external hard drive was grayed out, but it was plugged in and working fine. After trying to select it for two minutes with no success, I consulted the help file. The default setting for Avid purposely do not allow you to dump to an external drive. I had to go elsewhere in the program and make my external an option for dumping video when capturing. It seems odd that this was a default setting since most users are probably using an external disk for raw footage - only recently have 150+GB drives become standard features in desktops, and I don't think anyone makes a laptop with even a 100GB hard drive.
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#7 of 13 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted October 09 2003 - 07:59 AM

[quote] Yes, but by how much time? If it costs two or even three as much to purchase a computer that can do rendering 25% faster than a reasonably priced PC, where's the value in that? Let us know the results! [quote] well i'm sure the new g5 would be a lot better than 25% faster than my PC, but i agree with what you are saying. i know for sure it isnt 3 times as fast. and about macs, i dont hate them, i figured out what i hate about them, and it is the mac os. you can run linux or beos on a mac, right? anyone know if it would be any different than running either on a PC? if so, i'd be interested in picking up an old mac and playing around with it, for familiarity and knowledge. if it is the same as a PC, i'd skip it, i just wanted to learn about mac hardware without having to use mac os Posted Image

CJ
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#8 of 13 OFFLINE   Max Leung

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Posted October 09 2003 - 08:39 AM

[quote] default setting for Avid purposely do not allow you to dump to an external drive. [quote]
I would guess that Avid assumes people are using Firewire external hard drives with their firewire DV camera. Most people would just assume that plugging in the DV into the breakout Firewire plug on the external hard drive would work, but would in fact kill your firewire bandwidth, resulting in choppy video and extremely long copy times.

Thus, it is disable by default so that people won't complain (and it does protect Mac and non-expert PC owners, who are likely to not be aware of this issue).
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#9 of 13 OFFLINE   gregstaten

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Posted October 09 2003 - 11:53 AM

[quote] No. Sorry if this sounds confusing: when you go to capture video there's a drop down bar where you can select which hard disk you want the video saved on. My external hard drive was grayed out, but it was plugged in and working fine. After trying to select it for two minutes with no success, I consulted the help file. The default setting for Avid purposely do not allow you to dump to an external drive. I had to go elsewhere in the program and make my external an option for dumping video when capturing. It seems odd that this was a default setting since most users are probably using an external disk for raw footage - only recently have 150+GB drives become standard features in desktops, and I don't think anyone makes a laptop with even a 100GB hard drive. [quote]

Seth - what you're seeing is called "Drive Filtering." External drives are checked to ensure that they are fast enough to pull multiple streams of video off without dropping frames. (Avid checks the firmware on the drive against a known list.) The fact that they weren't available simply means that your firmware wasn't "on the list." This is a feature that comes from the high-end Avids where the editor may simultaneously pull multiple uncompressed streams off a drive (or more likely, drive array).

Go to the Settings tab of your Project window and scroll down until you see the Media Creation entry. Double-click it and select the first tab (Drive Filtering). Disable "Filter by Resolution" and click OK. You should now be able to capture to your external drive.

(Not Avid Tech support, but I know Avid Media Composer (Xpress DV's big brother) like the back of my hand.)

-greg

#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Seth--L

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Posted October 09 2003 - 12:58 PM



You have to use both at once to capture.


Greg,

Thanks, but read my post. I figured this out after two minutesPosted Image

Avid should put that in the tutorial. Like I said before, I'm sure that a significant number of users are using external hard drives and probably run into this situation when they first go to capture.
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#11 of 13 OFFLINE   gregstaten

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Posted October 09 2003 - 03:14 PM

Sean, as I mentioned, it depends upon the hard drive. I rarely have to disable that option because of the drives I have on my system (primarily Ultra SCSI 320 or Fibrechannel depending upon which system I'm editing on). Only if you have a drive that Avid doesn't recognize will you have to disable that. BTW - the reason that option exists is that Avid guarantees a level of performance for qualified hardware. For example, on the system configuration I work on, I can get five streams of uncompressed video. If I push it I can get eight, but five is pretty much a given. -greg

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   Francois Caron

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Posted October 10 2003 - 04:34 AM

[quote] What's really funny is that in our lab, all the computers (all Macs) run Final Cut Pro for editing, except for the new G5 which has Avid. Everyone is intimidated by Avid and thus doesn't want to use the best computer we have. [quote]

Ooooo... Avid... Posted Image

Actually, I've never used it. In fact, I've never worked with film/video editing software because that's not my field of work. I create automated weigh scale systems for a small software company. But I already know of Avid's reputation and wouldn't mind trying it out one of these days, possibly spinning off a new career.

Now I understand why the drive was greyed out. And it makes sense too. Could a Firewire connection even come close to satisfying the bandwidth requirements of a broadcast quality capture? It's no wonder the Avid software tries to protect itself.

#13 of 13 OFFLINE   gregstaten

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Posted October 11 2003 - 02:17 AM

[quote] Could a Firewire connection even come close to satisfying the bandwidth requirements of a broadcast quality capture? [quote]

Technically, a 400 megabit FireWire connection can support a single stream of uncompressed ITU-R BT.601 video. The issue isn't the connection, but the drives. Few FireWire drives can approach the bandwidth limit of FireWire. Indeed, many FireWire drives are barely faster than 100 megabits/sec.

-greg




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