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Laptop Editing: what are the MOST important specs

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Stéphane Demers
Laptop Editing: what are the MOST important specs
on Sep 1, 2009 at 12:49:02 pm

Hello everybody, I have been a long time lurker, but I decided to join in and share my voice.

I've been editing, for a while now, various projects of various lenghts shot on my HV20, on an IMac using Adobe Premiere Pro. Actually, I bought the CS4 Extended Production Suite last year after reading The Guide, thinking that it made sense to be able to edit, do the coloring and effects+ sound all within the same suite.
AND, it came with OnLocation, wich is, I think, a fantastic tool. I really want to be able to record and monitor my future shoots using OnLocation. I've seen how useful monitors and scopes are on set, and the idea of being able to shoot in HD and actually checking the focus on something larger than a few inches is very appealling!
So a laptop is in my future. Now, what are the most important specs?
I could buy 1) a barely used Macbook pro early 08- 17" HD led display ,4g Ram ddr2 ,nvidia 8600M GT 512 VRAM ,800Mhz BUS, 200G 7200HD
and have enough money left to buy an Apple Display 30" refurb
OR 2) a new Macbook pro 17, 4 g Ram ddr3, 512 VRAm, 4g Ram ddr3, double procsessors 9400M+9600M GT 512 VRAM, 1066 BUS, 500G 7200HD
and wait for a second display!

Plus, of course, a portable External Scratch Drive on the Express Card. Now, if that fast drive is handling the footage, could'nt I settle for a 5400HD in the laptop,, they seem much less prone to problems-clicking noise, heat-than the 7200, especially in the new unibody model. Is 800 versus 1066 BUS a terrible trade-off? In terms of secondary displays , I've heard less than lukewarm things about the new Apple 24 LED (glossy is no-no for me).

My intentions are to make documentaries and short fictions as well. I make a living as an actor so I don't need to be performing as a director/editor business wise!
I do want to explore that side of the craft, in a professional and enjoyable way though. I know that, in addition to the laptop, I will get a MacPro in a few years.

Thanks a lot for the inputs!


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Richard Herd
Re: Laptop Editing: what are the MOST important specs
on Sep 2, 2009 at 8:28:24 pm

IMO, you should get the biggest baddest computer you can afford. Don't mess around with it. Since you're an actor, think of it this way: You can cut your own reels.


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Ian Johnson
Re: Laptop Editing: what are the MOST important specs
on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:43:55 pm

So this is totally unrelated, but I happened to spend a good chunk of the last spring and summer editing Sophie promos for ABC Family.

A second display makes a huge difference when editing. You can do pretty well using spaces to flip back and forth between bins and timeline, but it's not quite the same. You don't necessarily need to make it a 30" Apple. You might be able to get the more powerful laptop with and still afford a somewhat smaller, cheaper display.


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Stéphane Demers
Re: Laptop Editing: what are the MOST important specs
on Sep 5, 2009 at 3:11:02 am

Thanks for the input Ian,

what a coincidence, you're editing a show I was part of for the last 2 years!

Small world...

Stephane


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