Need new computer for DV editing

Discussion in 'Computers' started by streeter, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    My family's current computer is about 4 years old and we're ready to buy a new one, plus I graduated from college and won't be able to use my University's video editing facilities anymore. Furthermore, my family's home videos are beginning to deteriorate, and we want to convert them to DVD. Anyone have any advice on what to get?

    Here's some details:

    -I have a Sony PD-150 prosumer mini-DV/DVCAM camcorder and have footage in both mini-DV and DVCAM that I need to edit and ultimately put on DVD.
    -We have a lot of tapes from older camcorders (as far back as 20+ years ago) that we want to put on DVD. The camcorders still work.
    -I know how to use both Adobe Premiere and AVID. I've never used Final Cut Pro but I wouldn't mind learning it. AVID Express Pro/DV would be ideal but they're a bit expensive.
    -We also want to use this computer for our daily needs - Internet, Office, Photoshop, etc. None of us are gamers, though.
    -Mac or PC? no preference there.

    I read Seth--L's set-up in an earlier thread and it sounds interesting:



    Any recommendations?

    As for our budget - $2000-2500 range. Also, are there any websites with a lot of information on this that I should check out?
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Do you need a monitor or do you plan to use one you already have? Also, does that budget need to include money for the editing software?

    I just went to Dell and built the following for $2158:

    Deminsion 8300
    P4 3.4 GHz
    XP Pro
    1024MB RAM
    250GB SATA HD
    16x dvd drive
    8x dvd burner
    19" LCD Monitor
    128MB GeForce FX 5200
    SoundBlaster Live 5.1

    That's a great price for that much computer. This thing would more than handle your video editing needs. If you don't need a monitor that will take about $600 off the price.

    About the Mac vs. PC issue. I feel that they are about equal. It comes down to preference. You said you don't have one, so I guess it really doesn't matter either way. I like Apple hardware and MacOS X, but the only computer you could get in your price range is a single 1.6GHz G5. This will do a great job for editing, but I'd really want a dual-processer Mac if I was going to get a Mac.
     
  3. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    Yes, that budget does include the editing software. However, I don't think I need a new monitor.
     
  4. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    I just did the same without the LCD monitor and got $2007.
     
  5. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Dayum all that for $2k, what a steal.
     
  6. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Ok, I went back and did it again without the monitor and came up with $1479. Here's what I did for each step after you click the 8300 and click "Customize It":

    Select Pentium 4 3.4 GHz
    Select Win XP Pro
    Leave Free Fuji camera promotion
    Leave Free TurboTax software
    Leave Free upgrade to 1024MB RAM
    Select 250GB SATA HD
    Leave NONE for 2nd HD
    Leave No Floppy Included (or add one for $20 more)
    Leave NONE for Zip
    Leave Dual Drives: 16x DVD + Free Upgrade 8xDVD+RW
    Leave NONE for enhanced software
    Leave Keyboard
    Leave Mouse
    Leave Productivity Software
    Leave Security Software
    Leave NONE for Multifunction TV/Monitor
    Select Video Ready with NO Monitor
    Leave NONE for Dual Monitor
    Leave NONE for 2nd Monitor
    Leave Video Card at 128 MB GeForce
    Select SoundBlaster Live 5.1
    Select Dell Gigabit Ethernet
    Leave everything else

    Comes out to $1479. Sorry this post is so long, but there are so many variables. I really think this is a great deal for a system with this much power. Also, it will leave you $1000 to find some good video software. Oh, and you may need to pickup a firewire card (not sure if that's standard on the Dell or not).
     
  7. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    Thanks a lot. I'll try that.

    Anyone have any further suggestions?
     
  8. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    My Dad is a university professor so we should/might be able to get AVID Xpress Pro for $395. Anybody know more about that? There's also a discount of up to 10% at Dell.
     
  9. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    The 10% off is perfectly legal if he works at the university. The other is kind of a gray area. Sure, he can get the software for that amount, but it should only be used for educational purposes. Would you get caught? 99.99% No, but I guess it could happen. Just kind of an ethical question I guess. The 10% off though, that's perfectly fine. An educator can purchase for work or home use using the discount.

    Oh, but you might not be eligible for the free stuff (RAM upgrade, etc) if you use the discount. Just play with it a little and see what you come up with.
     
  10. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    heh, interesting to see myself being quoted.

    My setup should fall within your budget because I paid about $2500 for it a year ago.

    While you're still registered as a student, pick up the educational discounted version of Avid Xpress Pro for $400 at www.journeyed.com. Don't pass up the opportunity to get the program so cheap. NOTE: the educational version does not come with third party software to convert your projects to MPEG2. I see this as a minor issue because I almost always output my stuff to DV tape since no audio/video quality is lost that way. Also, a lot of organizations do not accept DVDs for audition/portfolio material because they do not want to take the risk of their DVD player not being able to play your DVD (I believe that most DVD-Rs can only be played back on 75% of existing DVD players).

    A few things I would drop that people are including:

    Don't get the large HD. Take the one that comes standard and buy an external.

    I think that the DVD-R is a debatable purchase. It's a cool toy, but if your budget is tight, there are components that I would place ahead of it. Though I see you want to convert your old VHS tapes to DVD.
     
  11. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    One thing to consider is that often academic versions of software cannot be upgraded. While it might be a lot cheaper now, if you decide to get the new version next year you would have to pay full price while if you bought a regular copy you could simply upgrade for about 1/5 of the price.
     
  12. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    SethH,

    Good point, but Avid in the past has allowed users with the educational version upgrade to the latest educational version for $99. The MSRP of Avid Xpress Pro is $1,695 and the upgrade to it is $299, so even if they didn't allow you to upgrade the student version ($399), you'd only be out $100.

    Also, Avid also isn't like a Microsoft program where you have to get whatever the latest version is. Xpress Pro is going to have a very long life, even after new versions become available.
     
  13. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    According to the AVID website:


    As for converting to MPEG2 - I always transfer my projects to DV as well. I'd just need a separate DVD capture program, right?

    Thanks again for your help [​IMG]
     
  14. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    Yeah, just another program to do the encoding.
     
  15. streeter

    streeter Screenwriter

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    What are good DVD authoring/menu creation counterparts to AVID Xpress Pro?

    DVD-lab sounds good.
     

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