Rendering long videos
First of all, it is not my intent to cause either OS or NLE wars.
I have a project where I need to edit together 27 large (in some cases > 1Gb) video files into an approximately 45 minute presentation. No special editing, just put them all back-to-back and render. Output will be 720x480 SD NTSC.
I've done things in the 5-15 minute range before, but this will be a new experience.
Because rendering them and reviewing the render will take a long time, I want to get it right the first time. So I am looking for advice. Especially from anyone who has done large renders like this before.
My choices for NLE are Sony Vegas x64 on the PC, or FCP or Premiere Pro CS5 on the MAC. Vegas is my usual NLE, but since all I have to do is put things back-to-back for purposes of rendering, I am willing to change if there is any advantage.
The PC and MAC are reasonably close in terms of performance. Both have 8GB of memory, and lots of free disk space. The PC is quad core and the MAC is dual-core. The PC has 2 GBs video memory, and the MAC has 512 MB (not that video mem usually matters for rendering). So, some advantage to the PC.
My two big fears are either a) the NLE choking altogether when rendering a video that long, or b) introducing video or audio glitches, so I have to keep redoing.
So, looking for advice/experience/tips.
I've worked on both platforms and with a dozen or so different NLEs for nearly 20 years now (including all of those you mentioned) so I have no loyalties to any platform or NLE other than need-specific strengths. In other words, you won't get any platform or NLE wars, nor unfounded biases from me.
With that said, the limited info you provided sounds like your PC may do the job a little faster for two reasons:
1) it seems to have twice the processor power (although the number of cores alone doesn't necessarily equate to overall speed)
2) you would be working in the NLE you're already most familiar with (working with unfamiliar tools is often the slowest part of any video work)
Even so, any of the NLEs you mentioned can handle the need you described (and far more) so the weakest link is really the available resources of the computer you choose to use (processor power, RAM and drive read/write speeds are the most important factors), but both sound like they can easily handle the job.
It's unclear why you expect a lot of rendering since you mention "No special editing, just put them all back-to-back and render". In any NLE, you usually only have to render if you work using a different codec than the source footage or make significant changes to the footage, both of which sound unnecessary in this case. If you use transitions between the clips, you may or may not have to render only the areas where the transitions are, but that should be a pretty insignificant amount of rendering since it sounds like it'll only be something like 27 transitions that are each one-second or so.
In other words, all you should need to do is bring the 27 clips into your NLE, drag them all into a timeline that's set for the same codec as the source footage, place transitions between the clips, possibly render just the transitions, export the timeline out as a file of that same codec and either burn that to a DVD or convert it to a web video file of your choice (H264, WMV, MP4, FLV, etc.). In fact, all of those NLEs are capable of generating some types of web files and other formats directly.
By the way, I referred to limited info because you didn't mention the codec(s) you're working with (DV25, etc. ... both source & delivery, if different) or what your intended delivery medium is (DVD, web video, etc.) ... each of which could be a bigger factor in how long the job will take than file size, which is generally only a consideration when it comes to having ample drive space (for input, possible render and cache files, as well as output).
I hope this is helpful. Good luck!
Thanks for the response. Yes, it was one of those funny projects where I was getting footage from a lot of different groups, all in different sizes, codecs, etc. So you can see why I was worried. :-)
The good news is that I was able to successfully render it today. I used Vegas, for many of the reasons you listed above.