Dream Edit Suite for mid/high-end price?
Hello, I'm working with a large corporation on developing it's own internal video production studio. Currently i'm working in the call center using high-end headphones :S. I'll finally be getting my own studio space along with a seperate edit suite. So here I am looking for suggestions .
No need for any suggestions in terms of CPU/software/etc...
More so interested in the 'little' things. Brief list could be items such as specific tables, chairs, fancy mouses, ergonomic keyboards, certain types of lights/lighting, etc...
Budget is around the mid/high-end of things (e.g. a $200 mouse is reasonable). I'd say that my ergonomics would be of the most extreme importance. Even if it's an ugly pink, i'll gladly buy it if it provides for superior ergonomics.
You mean a full studio setup? In-House? In this economy???
This seems a horrible time to do what you're suggesting. IMO, The smart model these days is to keep a minimal in-house operation with a low sunk capital outlay and small, perhaps even one-man staff, and outsource most everything else.
In such a model, you take the role of Producer/Director/coordinator of services/cook and captain bold. Every video project goes thru you, you coordinate the budget and timeline, then arrange the services and deliverables.
And you'd typically shoot the more complex stuff in somebody else's rented studio space, only as and when you need that, instead of disrupting the office by shooting "on location". Only rent a (great) camera for the days you need it. Might even sub out the cameraman and his gear. What gear you do keep on-site would be minimal, and stuff that is cheaper to own than rent; stuff with good shelf life and good re-sale, like tripods, light kits, mics. The only part that makes sense to own for corporate these days, again, in my opinion, is an editing/encoding/authoring suite for the office, and not a whole lot else. "Everything else" is often cheaper to rent as needed.
I say this after seeing many a situation where somebody tries to create themselves a new in-house video job in an organization where video is not the core mission or core competency. Here's a short version of the usual horror story.
They already work with a full-service shop but decide they want to do stuff in-house. This may be because they feel like they have more control over the product, or they want to be proprietary about something. Or (and this is very powerful, don't discount it) having such an in-house unit is "cool".
Without a very clear understanding of actual needs, they enjoy a run thu the web sites and magazine ads and overbuy or buy the wrong stuff and have to do it all twice. Or they buy exact copies of whatever the outside service company uses, regardless of the different reasons they own what they own. What a pro production house owns and what your company should own are not always the same things.
And they usually forget you can't stop at just a camera. There's a tripod and pan head, which can cost as much as the camera. There's lighting, which is almost always ignored at first until the first dailies come back for viewing and they look dull and flat. There's good sound, which is way more important than the new entrants figure on, but always given short shrift. And all the other bric-a-brac that goes along; grip gear, etc. They just don't figure it all in very well, in my experience. And what about converting expensive office floor space to a useable studio, with proper power, cooling, sound-proofing, etc?
They don't usually think about budgeting for training, thinking there is some magic "make this video not stink" checkbox buried somewhere in a drop-down menu. Man, I wish Apple had a plug-in for that one! The new video person either has to slog thru the manuals alone, or be sent off to (expensive) training.
Meanwhile, while all that is going on, no actual video is being shot or produced, you've taken that office person out of whatever it was they were hired to do originally, so either that old work is not getting done or has been shuffled off to co-workers or even a new temp... you're sinking all these costs, and the depreciation clock on all your gear is running, as fast as on a brand new car off the dealer's lot... the camera is sitting on a shelf probably four days out of five, not making money, just costing money. The "studio" is costing floor rental money, even when it's not productive. Now if you have the kind of business where you have to have a studio ready on fifteen minutes notice on any day of the week, it makes sense to own one. But is that really your situation?
And what product do you have to show for it all? All that money and time is spent before the first useable frame is presented. When you could have picked up a phone and had a pro shoot it to your specs, a guy who's already paid all that capital cost FOR YOU.
Is your company in the XYZ busines, or in the video business? Do your company salesmen all take flying lessons and hire out a Cessna for every sales trip, or do they fly commercial with tickets purchased by a travel agent? See, they know they are not in the TRAVELING business, they are in the SALES business.
Most of all, when the accountants show your boss what this adventure has and will cost, and you divide that money into minutes of finished product, is the quality AS GOOD OR BETTER? If not, you've wasted the company's time and money. When the budget gets tight, this section will be the first thing to go, and possibly you along with it!
The best money I think a corporate setup can spend in-house today, in this economy, is on a Producer that knows how to do all these things, and on a Writer who can make decent scripts. Everything else is a commoditized detail.
Sorry to be such a downer, but I've already seen several baby ducks waddle into rush hour traffic this way over the years, and I'm just looking out for ya, best way I know how. If OTOH you've already done all the proper homework and have already considered all these issues I brought up, and the business case is sound, sorry for wasting your time and being presumptive. You are way ahead of many people I've met, is all I can say about that.
For an in-house editing/authoring setup suggestion, first please tell us what the company does and what they want to communicate. Give us a business case for it. Then I'll have an idea of what to suggest for gear, if anything.
comfy chair? Hermann Miller Mirra...even nicer than the Aeron (i've had both!).
Wacom Intuos 3 tablet - you'll never want to touch a mouse again.
Desk - get a custom made one to your own specs....you will never find an off the peg desk that is big enough.
will you have more than one computer? - get a Gefen 4x4DVI KVM Matrix. Lets you have two dual monitor computers sharing the same two screens (or each using one of the screens, etc)
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Thanks adam, you hit on all the categories I had in mind!
there are many other things i could put - but without knowing the purpose of your suite (or the choice of edit equipment) its kinda difficult to say.
I was in a similar situation a couple of years back. I was taken on the buidland run an in-house facility for doing all our tv commercials (which runs close to 80 per year (plus all the associated other uses for in house A/V).
If its any help - i chose the Final Cut Pro route for the video and Protools for audio work. I had previously been an Avid editor but was never a big fan. FCP has its own character but it has proven to be a reliable workhorse. Protools i know from 3 years as a sound editor. As previously mentioned - all the post work (audio/video and graphics) and much of the pre-transmission paperwork is all done by me. So i made sure the kit i got was going to do exactly what i wanted.
One thing i cannot stress enough - SERVICE CONTRACTS !!! pay the extra when you buy the kit, you will be glad you did when a piece of kit goes tits up! What i paid for ours has already paid for itself in replaced bits of kit.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking they are offering a vast sum that can be spent on creating a high end looking facility. Once they start going through the list with you, you will need to justify every bit of kit. Be sensible and don't give them a reason to think you are anything less than committed to giving them the best value for their money. It could all backfire if they approve all your fancy room accessories and then deny you the broadcast monitor because the boss just bought himself a cheap plasma and he thinks its all you need. Its not!!
Get the kit right and the ergonomics of the workspace right, and only then can you think about the nonsense you can't do without.
If you do your homework (do it well - i spent several months researching the options before placing a single order), then you should have a comprehensive list of kit that should do exactly what you need with enough flexibility for the future. An do cost comparisons to and projections to help backup your choices.
When we did our plan, i knew from day one that moving the post production in-house would save vast sums of money. And it did. I spent the kind of budget you mentioned knowing full well that huge savings were being made immediately. Financial directors love to hear that stuff - but don't start thinking that you are a wonderkind because you saved them some cash - thats why they did this in the first place, and it won't guarantee an unending supply of new kit when you feel like it. That initial saving is soon forgotten because the money will be redirected into making more ads, or whatever they want to spend it on.
Have fun !!
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
As a counterpoint, I'd choose Avid Symphony or Media Composer with a Nitris DX.
I find Avid to require much less hand holding than FCP and it is much better suited to offline/online editing.
I'd throw Adobe Creative Suite into the mix (for Photoshop, After Effects and Encore).
As much as possible I'd try to standardise on SDI everywhere, much easier than trying to cater to component and DV.
If you want to go for a Mac Pro you could of course have FCP and Avid on the same system (I'd dual boot to avoid potential driver and software version issues).
I concur with the Nitris DX choice. After a few years of struggle,
we're finally developing our first projects with mainstream
commissioners and we need a new edit HD suite to look after us.
Been using FCP and PPro for years and both platforms have
cost me/the company too much time and money over the years with
their random crashing and other eccentricities, particularly Adobe.
Another reason for Avid is we'll be using their Turnkey setup
on XP Pro (which we'll upgrade to Service Pack 3 ourselves, I
presume) so we won't have to repurchase software and licenses
for OSX or whatever.
Other reasons: Apple's ProRes422 codec apparently isn't up to
its own hype, whereas Avid's DNxHD is. Windows/Premiere Pro
now supporting RED's 4K material does make me chuckle, though.
Saying that, we also need offline and motion graphics and I'll quite
happily allow CS3 to take care of it. Offline setup being Premiere,
After Effects and Photoshop (we've started editing video in Photo-
shop) running a Matrox or AJA card, for example.
Bang for the buck, ya can't beat a FCP suite today.
You'll piece it together as needed and there are no hidden surprises as with companies like Avid. You simply buy what you need and it works.
I'll be shopping for a new suite in ayear or so. I can't find it within myself to write another check Avid's way and honestly, my needs and my clients needs have outgrown what an affordable Media Composer can do and my budget will never allow for a DS.
This leaves FCP over and over again.
I wrote up these articles, which might be of help:
Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Strange coincidence time!
I had alot of unread e-mails in my inbox, so I spent this morning going through them all. One of them was a tech newsletter that had an interesting article. That article lead to a different website with another fascinating article. That article lead to your blog referencing on of your latest posts. I found it to be a great read, and on the side bar my eye noticed the 3 magic words "edit + suite + design". Found it to be a fantastic cache of information!
So as I continued to clear out my inbox, I got an e-mail from CCow alerting me to a new message board post in my thread. Lo and behold... :D
Glad you found it helpful. Thanks for the kind words.
Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC