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Need a computer for editing - For a RED

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Michael Frymus
Need a computer for editing - For a RED
on Jul 26, 2012 at 4:09:34 pm

I am looking for a new computer. I prefer to buy a laptop because it is portable and I can edit/show my footage anywhere I go.

I want a desktop, but I don't really have that much room right now for one. However, IF a desktop were to be way more powerful than a laptop with the same price point, I would choose it over a laptop. But, Im still hoping on choosing a laptop over desktop.

I currently edit my own footage shot in HD. But, I will be upgrading my camera in the future and I will be shooting on a RED. So, I would like something that can handle RED footage for straight editing in Adobe Premiere.

I don't know anything about computers. Computer talk about all the features is confusing and may be meaning less to me. LOL
If you can explain what Id need and how much, that would be better.

What I am looking for (if possible to have):
-Matte 1920x1080 HD screen
-Properly calibrated for colour/contrast
-A decent amount of Memory (if more=faster, then more memory I guess)
-Good graphics card
-Blu Ray Reader/Writer
-Great sound not required. I have a 5.1 surround sound system I can plug via USB

Under $2000

I found this website where I can configure my own computer:,219,0)
Should I use one of these computers? - If so, what should I choose to be in my computer?

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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: Need a computer for editing - For a RED
on Jul 27, 2012 at 5:11:11 am

Is this primarily for light duty editing/field support for file transfers etc? For a $2,000 budget it would be difficult to source a Desktop, let alone a laptop, that would do high-end finishing.

On paper it looks fine with a few caveats: Don't bother with the calibration service, dump $100-200 into a calibration unit like the Spyder or X-Rite. Screens age and that can change calibration over time, also any time you change your screen brightness you'll need to recalibrate or at least know that a certain brightness = editing time (you learn this on a Macbook Pro since it has hotkeys for screen brightness, so it fluctuates). I would, however, hesitate to think that a laptop screen should be trusted for critical color adjustments, especially for video.

Secondly, look into upgrading the GPU, find something that works with both Speedgrade and can use the Premiere CUDA text file trick so you can use hardware support in Premiere.

As far as working in Premiere, you're looking at editing off a USB3 drive at 1/4th playback quality (set on the sequence monitor). Rendering out a high quality final product at full debayer quality (the level of quality that, in essence, processes the Red RAW file) will most likely be terribly slow and that tends to be the case on most systems without a RED Rocket card. Half debayer quality for export shouldn't be a huge hit in quality but should make render times bearable, especially if you're rendering out preview files for other uses.

I use an older Macbook Pro (2008 I think, Intel core duo) as a field unit on guerrilla shoots where we don't have stable power or we move around so much that we never establish a home base and I can make due in terms of backup speed and play back at lower playback settings.

Optimal? No. Doable? Yes.

Angelo Lorenzo
Fallen Empire Digital Production Services - Los Angeles
RED transcoding, on-set DIT, and RED Epic rental services
Fallen Empire - The Blog
A blog dedicated to filmmaking, the RED workflow, and DIT tips and tricks

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Thomas Pohl
Re: Need a computer for editing - For a RED
on Sep 11, 2012 at 9:35:31 pm

What about a used Z800 or a used Mac Pro 12 core? We just bought these and they work fine with R3D files - even without Cuda. If you later want to spend some money buy Cuda Cards or a Red Rocket.

Thomas. - RED footage and more available in HD, SD and RED RAW R3D

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