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Advice on audio & video editing

Posted on 2007-12-03
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
Hi there,

I am about to buy a new pc, the main things I want to do is audio and video editing.

I was thinking creative x-fi platinum sound card (as this gives me the front panel where I can plug my audio (guitar), hi-fi, and midi)

Graphics card .. I used to have an aiw 9600 which was ok, but when capturing vhs the audio sometimes went out of sync .. can you recommend anything here?

Apart from that, I was thinking of 500mb hard disk (maybe x 2 to do hardware mirror?) and 2gb ram and a dual core processor?

Cheers, Roger
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Question by:Rogero
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Callandor earned 100 total points
ID: 20408312
For AV editing, I recommend a 2GHz Core2 Duo processor or faster and at least 1GB RAM (you already want 2GB, which is good).  Get a fast hard drive to handle the data - a Western Digital Raptor 150 is as fast as you can get on a desktop.  A second large 500GB drive for storage and backup would be desirable, and you can go for RAID-1 (mirror) if this is your livelihood and backup is critical; otherwise, scheduled backups are ok.

If your video is coming off a VHS tape, you may want to connect it to a digital camcorder and send the video via Firewire to your desktop - let the camcorder do the conversion, and there won't be any sync problems.  Get a reasonably fast video card (the 9600 is old) like the nVidia 8600 or Radeon x2600XT and don't bother with a capture card if you have a DV camcorder.

Creative x-fi is not bad, but for serious audio editors, there are semi-pro cards from Lynx, MAudio, and RME http://www.ramelectronics.net/html/sound_cards.html and Echo http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk/page/shop/news_story/a/news_id/e/984

Look also at http://www.doom9.org/index.html?/virtualdub_procedures.htm for valuable guides on video and audio capture, editing and burning.
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by:lherrou
lherrou earned 100 total points
ID: 20408350
Rogero,

Solution A: Get a Mac. I'm a PC user, but out of the box, a middle of the road Mac will perform as well as a high-end PC at a minimal premium at most.

Solution B: PC with a Quad core processor (see http://videoediting.digitalmedianet.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=83846 from a year ago) and 4gb ram, RAID1+0 (4 drives) and a graphics card which can support 2 monitors (this allows you to watch your video on one screen while having your editor on the other).  If you have analog video, you also need a video capture card. Save a bit on your software by buying a better capture card with a full package of the editing software you plan to use.

Solution C: PC with a dual core processor, 2gb ram, RAID0 (2 drives) and a graphics card which can support 2 monitors, etc.

Remember that the graphics card has little to do with editing, all the processing for video editing is done by your CPU, not by the graphics card. Unless you need it for gaming, you do NOT need a high end card.

As far as audio editing, the x-fi platinum is a good choice.

Cheers,
LHerrou
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by:lherrou
ID: 20408358
p.s. Callendor's suggestion regarding using a digital camcorder is a good one, but compare pricing of the camcorder + editing software vs a capture card which includes software if you do not already have the digital camcorder and/or software.

Also, the RAID0 (striping) is the fastest solution for storage, but does NOT protect your data (no mirror), whereas the RAID1+0 is mirrored striping (4 drives).
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by:ShineOn
ShineOn earned 100 total points
ID: 20408551
I concur with the 1+0 raid, but do it with hardware, not software.  Don't rely on an integrated RAID on your mobo - that still relies on software drivers - get a good, true hardware RAID card and do RAID 10.  It's got good fault-tolerance (not as good as RAID 5 or 5E) but it's got the best performance for both read and write - important for media capture / editing.

If you use Windows Vista Ultimate, go for 4GB RAM (or more if you do 64-bit flavor).  Memory is everything.

If you can, with the memory, get quad-channel memory and make sure you have at least 4 sticks, one per channel.  It screams.
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by:lherrou
ID: 20408562
Yes, I should have mentioned HARDWARE for RAID, not software. :)
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by:ShineOn
ID: 20408592
Also to clarify on the quad-channel memory - that's a motherboard feature.  The memory sticks aren't quad-channel by themselves...
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by:The--Captain
The--Captain earned 100 total points
ID: 20409660
>I was thinking creative x-fi platinum sound card  (as this gives me the front
>panel where I can plug my audio (guitar), hi-fi, and midi)

If you want to get crazy with the audio you could try getting an old Digi 001 rig - I think you can find them on eBay between $100-$200 - they've got 8 1/4" outputs, 8 inputs (2 of which are XLR inputs), S/PIDF in/out, 2 1/4" monitor jacks, MIDI in/out, and a footswitch jack (and my buddy found one at goodwill for $5 but it doesn't have the PCI card - ARRRGGGHH!)

Cheers,
-Jon
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by:CRAK
CRAK earned 100 total points
ID: 20415323
Al this advice sounds good! Makes perfectly sense too: lots of RAM, plenty of free diskspace (on fast, dedicated HDD's), CPU power.... The bigger the better!
But are you looking for a system to edit the every year's holiday shots, or do you really need that much force?
I've been editing my stuff on much smaller systems. A single (-core) 1.5 MHz CPU with 512 MB RAM and hardware RAID (stripe) for example. Works fine if you're not handling 100 Gigs of raw material and aim for a 90 minute show: then you'll certainly be waiting a lot while scrolling up and down your project!
And yes: my projects renders over night, supported by a video editing card (relieves the CPU from a lot of computation strain). I don't need it to be done in one or two hours!
@LHerrou: It does help if the CPU doesn't have to worry about MPEG-2, -4 DivX or H.264 encoding! Choosing (e.g.) a graphics card that supports stuff like that does certainly affect performance!

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Author Closing Comment

by:Rogero
ID: 31412320
Sorry for delay in replying, and thanks for your help!
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by:The--Captain
ID: 20587162
Well, we got my buddy the PCI card for his Digi 001 rig from eBay for xmas - once he gets it installed I'll post back on how well it works (if at all ;-)

Cheers,
-Jon
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