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Richard Smith
Editing specs?
on Jan 7, 2011 at 5:32:06 pm

Can serious editing & compositing be done on a regular (as in "NOT a Workstation") Windows PC?
Or the horsepower just can't be attained with it?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Editing specs?
on Jan 7, 2011 at 5:36:26 pm

Please define what you mean by the term, "serious".

I may have one concept of what "serious" means, and you may have a totally different one. We need to be on the same page for a straight answer.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Richard Smith
Re: Editing specs?
on Jan 7, 2011 at 6:04:29 pm

For example, a full-length, regular movie.
(Regular meaning "no 3D CG involved". I understand those things really up the requirements.)

What I'm most interested in is: when upgraded, can a PC edit the above movie at speeds comparable with the Workstations or Macs? Does it stand a chance? Or it's limited just for small-time stuff- ads, shorts etc.?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Editing specs?
on Jan 7, 2011 at 7:51:05 pm

[Richard Smith] "For example, a full-length, regular movie."

When I think of a "regular movie" with no 3D CGI, I think of that recent chick flick, "Eat, Pray, Love", which may very well have been shot on a RED at 4K. A regular computer will not do, not at all, not ever.

It would lack processing power. It would lack the massive storage required. It would lack the throughput you'd need to play back those monster-huge, high-resolution images. It would lack the proper monitoring equipment, which would be an absolute necessity to keep the images looking their best.

Is that an adequate answer?

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Richard Smith
Re: Editing specs?
on Jan 7, 2011 at 8:45:00 pm

Firstly, by "regular computer" I don't mean "with average specs".
By "regular computer" I mean PC's, as opposed to Macs and Workstations.
Also, 4K is too much. How about 1080/2K?
So my question is:
Can a Windows PC, with top-of-the-line specs, have a chance of editing full-length movies, within a reasonable time (not a whole year:))? Or, even with top gear, this is a domain reserved for Macs and Workstations, PC's just can't cut it?


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Steve Brame
Re: Editing specs?
on Jan 7, 2011 at 10:39:36 pm

Let's straighten out the semantics here. A 'workstation' is simply a computer(with ANY OS), that is an extension of a network. There is also the 'mainframe aspect' of the term, but that's not relevant here. Manufacturers are coining the term for their higher-end computers to indicate that they are better suited for heavier lifting. HP is one example.

While some seem to use it to intimate that a computer is of a lesser nature, the term 'PC' is commonly used to refer to a Windows-based computer, while it's basic meaning is 'personal computer', again, regardless of what OS is installed.

So, you can have a 'PC' that may be considered a 'workstation, and at the same time have a Mac that may fit into the realm of what some would consider a 'PC'.

Our system is an 8 core machine with 24GB of RAM...and it's a PC. Very little slows it down. I seriously doubt that many full length films are edited in After Effects, but many are done with a comparable machine...both PC and Mac in any flavor of editing software.

While a high powered system may make you wince at the price tag, that feeling will soon pass once you start working on it...especially if you've experienced life on anything less than a 'workstation'.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Editing specs?
on Jan 8, 2011 at 12:50:14 am

> I seriously doubt that many full length films are edited in After Effects


If by 'edited' you mean "cut" as in what an NLE would do, of course you're right. After Effects isn't a video editor at all. But After Effects is used for finishing, conforming, color correction, compositing, effects, and graphics work on many, many feature films.

To address the original question:

An eight-core computer with 32GB of RAM and a couple of fast hard disks should serve you well. A quad-core with 12GB of RAM may occasionally make you wish for more, but you can get work done... just more slowly.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Steve Brame
Re: Editing specs?
on Jan 8, 2011 at 1:46:36 am

"But After Effects is used for finishing, conforming, color correction, compositing, effects, and graphics work on many, many feature films."

Of course it is...but not all 80-210 minutes of footage in one comp...at least it shouldn't be! Nor should all 80-210 minutes of a feature film be on a single working timeline in an editor. While a massively constructed computer may be needed to work with such a large timeline, or comp, a much lesser one such as mine would similarly have no problem at all if the work was broken into several logical pieces, as should be the norm.

Bottom line - build the best you can, and then try to go beyond that if possible. The more powerful the machine, the happier you'll be. It's a logarithmic scale...

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Editing specs?
on Jan 8, 2011 at 2:29:44 am

> Of course it is...but not all 80-210 minutes of footage in one comp...at least it shouldn't be! Nor should all 80-210 minutes of a feature film be on a single working timeline in an editor. While a massively constructed computer may be needed to work with such a large timeline, or comp, a much lesser one such as mine would similarly have no problem at all if the work was broken into several logical pieces, as should be the norm.


We're in agreement there. I just didn't understand what you were saying before.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Steve Brame
Re: Editing specs?
on Jan 8, 2011 at 2:44:28 am

No problem. I was just responding to the 'feature film' aspect. The only 'physical' difference between a 'feature film' and a 10 minute corporate video is the program length. A computer that can easily handle the corporate piece, should also be able to handle a feature film - IF the editor breaks the film into a logical structure. If you want to color correct a full 100 minute timeline, then you'll need a monster machine. A 5 minute scene would be no issue. The same for twenty '5 minutes scenes'.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Richard Smith
Re: Editing specs?
on Jan 8, 2011 at 11:19:49 am

[Steve Brame] "Nor should all 80-210 minutes of a feature film be on a single working timeline in an editor."

Excuse me for the off-topic, but won't it be necessary, in an editor (eg. Premiere), to have, at one point, all the footage on a single timeline? How else could one merge all comps into the final render of the movie?


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Steve Brame
Re: Editing specs?
on Jan 8, 2011 at 2:19:10 pm

"won't it be necessary, in an editor (eg. Premiere), to have, at one point, all the footage on a single timeline?"

Perhaps...but that will simply to allow you to provide a final output as one single file, which may or may not be necessary - and that would generally be done only after all of the logical pieces have been completed as separate entities.

My point is that if there are serious budgetary concerns that may limit the magnitude of the editing machine you can build(or buy), then you may not need to think in terms of the length of the full program, but only on the lengths of the contiguous pieces. Editing 100 minutes of footage on a single timeline for several months would take much more computer power than editing twenty separate 'five minute scenes' for several months, then piecing them all together on a single timeline for a final output.

At any rate, it would be a rarity for a 'feature film' to be edited, composited and graded on a single machine.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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