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Advice on setting up a small Post house

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Josh Williams
Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Nov 11, 2011 at 12:48:29 am

I'm going to be setting up a small one man post production studio and I am looking for some advice on what my set up should be. If any of you have advice working in post houses or have your own editing set up that you prefer let me know.

First off, Computers.

I'm trying to decide between going 27in iMac pro, totally maxed out
or one of the lower range Mac Pro's. Now there are rumors that Apple will update the MacPro early next year, but there are also rumors that they are going to be discontinuing it. Currently I have a 12gb 27in 3.1ghz iMac that I use in my home office and it works great for all editing and even graphics and compositing.
But I do like the upgradability of the Mac Pro and the absolute work horse speed I can get from one.

2nd. What editing software.

I am a FInal Cut guy, always have been but since Apple Discontinued FCP studio in favor of FCPX that presents a problem. I don't really have anything against FCPX, have used it on a number of projects and like it quite a bit but for more professional client based work, I prefer to use FCP 7. Not sure why, just feels more professional to me. And the only place I can get FCP studio is on Amazon or Ebay. Since FCPX is so cheap I could pick it up as well.

I could go for Premiere Pro, which I am not too fond of, but I will be needing After Effects anyway.

3rd. What else.
Will probably be needing some sort of broadcast monitor support and a capture deck that can handle DV and whatever else. I really know nothing about what brands are best for broadcast monitors and capture decks so any help there would be great.

4th. Storage.
I would like to set up some sort of thunderbolt RAID storage system. I know there isn't a lot of thunderbolt drives out right now but they do seem the best. But then again using Thunderbolt storage would mean I wasn't going with the current MacPro.

Basically any help and suggestions I can get would be great.

I am trying to not go over $10,000 for my initial set up.


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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Nov 11, 2011 at 3:30:39 am

Is this studio going to be internal to a few people you know, or external to your local area or expertise?

I would assume, as a post house, you're better off in specializing your rig for something other than straight cutting like After Effects, color correction, or audio mixing.

I fear you may need to tell us what market you're trying to enter and how you want to position yourself before someone leads you down the wrong path.

Angelo Lorenzo
http://filmsfor.us - Helping you sell your film online






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Andrew Rendell
Re: Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Nov 12, 2011 at 9:08:41 am

The first thing is to decide exactly what market you're going for, as that will drive most of your purchasing decisions. What problems are you offering to solve for your clients?

When you've decided that the question becomes; which hardware and software will allow you to make the best income from doing those things with the least trouble?

In my own case, I only own the things that I use everyday (FCP7 and Avid) and I hire those things that I use infrequently. But I'm somewhere where I can get easy access to facilities that range from hiring a deck to software development and everything in between, so it's better for me to work with those guys rather than try to compete with them.


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grinner hester
Re: Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Nov 30, 2011 at 8:37:03 pm

Josh, your budget and workflow needs will depict what gear you get. My feeling is you are not ready for this venture. When you are ready, you'll not have any of these questions.



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Josh Williams
Re: Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Nov 30, 2011 at 8:55:26 pm

Haha. Thanks for the laugh there wise one. "not ready for this venture." Hillarious. Keep 'em coming


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Dec 2, 2011 at 4:36:55 am

[Josh Williams] "Josh Williams Advice on setting up a small Post house"

My advice, don't.
Unless you need a big NOL to offset some other income.
The market is already over-saturated, and on top of that, there are a million others sitting at home right now thinking about jumping in and doing the same thing.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Mike Jeffs
Re: Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Dec 8, 2011 at 11:17:11 pm

What others have said is true. If you don't know what you are wanting to provide then don't spend the money. there are far to many people out there who thought that purchasing gear was all they needed to do. those same people now have no work and a lot of debt. buisness are all about finding a need and then filling it. What do you do now? what experience do you have?

Heck 10k isn't very much money to get real stuff. I spent 20k on color correction alone.

Mike Jeffs
Video Coordinator
BYU-Idaho


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Josh Williams
Re: Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Dec 8, 2011 at 11:26:54 pm

Oh my god people. I asked for advice on equipment. I just wanted a few opinions on whether I should buy this stuff or that stuff. Just some simple helpful "I would wait for the new Mac Pro's" or "Don't bother with FCP anymore just get Adobe software." that's all I wanted. Didn't want life lessons.

Wasn't looking for people to tell me how to handle my career.
I've been a video editor for the past 6 years, I know my craft, know my trade, know my area and the services that are offered and the ones that aren't and where I would fit into the market. I have clients, I will have more clients once my post house is set up.

I just like to ask the professional community at creative cow for their opinions every so often, and in this case I only wanted some opinions on hardware and software.

give me a break.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Dec 13, 2011 at 9:43:15 am

FWIW this should be posted in the Business forum, and not Field Production, but...

[Josh Williams] "Oh my god people. I asked for advice on equipment."
And you finished your OP with this:
"Basically any help and suggestions I can get would be great."


Well, you ask for "any help or suggestions", and then bust our balls when we give you a legitimate (and polite) answers, which was don't do it, you're under-funded and not ready. I'm sorry it isn't what you wanted to hear, but it is not our fault. You are the one coming here asking for free advice.

OK, fine, From the tone of your response post, I feel I can now take off the kid gloves since you want to be a total smart-a$$, know-it-all. So here is your answer:
10K isn't enough budget for anything remotely professional, no matter what platform you are planning for. Period, zero, end of story.
10K might be OK for a hobbyist/dilettante to buy something to noodle around making YT videos.
If you want to run with the big dogs, you need to have at least double, no, triple the budget you're suggesting, not counting operating capital. Do you know what a business plan is? If not, do some research and work one up. And you will see for yourself that 10K ain't gonna cut it. If all you have is ten grand to start up your business with, you should look into selling Amway or Melaleuca. You could probably get into that for ten grand.
How's that?

[Josh Williams] "I've been a video editor for the past 6 years, I know my craft, know my trade, know my area and the services that are offered and the ones that aren't and where I would fit into the market."

Wow! Six entire years. Didn't get that from your OP. You asked a lot of questions that would lead one to think you're a complete n00b, and not someone with your vast experience.

[Josh Williams]"I have clients, I will have more clients once my post house is set up."
LMFAO, I've heard it a thousand times! Rarely works out, especially in this economy.
Curious. So you say you have clients now? What system are you using to service these clients? How can you have clients when you haven't even started your business yet? Do you mean the clients at the company you work for? If so, those are not really your clients.
Not to mention that a single iMac, does not a post house make. What do you tell the clients when your iMac is crapped out, or busy on an all day render? You have no redundancy, no back-up.
I'm sure you think you're going to be so busy, you'll have a waiting list, and spend 50-60 hours a week practicing your craft and never have to do anything dull and uncreative like marketing or sales. Oh, and the books/billing/client meetings/marketing/maintenance/etc is going to somehow get done by magic?
Let me know when the alarm goes off, and you wake up from this dream...

[Josh Williams]"and in this case I only wanted some opinions on hardware and software.

give me a break."


So, you want the herd to spec out your "post house" for free, and can't be bothered to give us any pertinent info like the type of work, rates, client, market, experience, doing it full time or part-time, etc...How about giving us a break? I'm not the Amazing Kreskin, but maybe there are some mind-readers out there that just haven't chimed in yet.
Why be so 'cloak and dagger' about the specifics of what you are doing??? Based on the length of your OP, it wasn't due to brevity. Could be any number of reasons, who knows?
Some possibilities that come to mind are:
A. You don't know what you're doing?
B. You're afraid that your six years doesn't mean squat and are worried someone might steal your clients?
C. You are doing this behind your boss' back, and you're afraid they will find out you're trying to run off with their clients?
D. You don't really want advice, you're just here looking for validation?
E. All of the above?
F. None of the above, something completely different?


I would bet a dollar you won't take any of the 'don't do it' advice, and will probably post some useless retort. But I really hope instead of wasting your time doing that, you take that time and use it to start working up a realistic, honest five year biz plan.
I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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John Young
Re: Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Dec 13, 2011 at 9:14:14 pm

Josh
1) They are right. You need to have a skillset and a plan in order to succeed. If you don't you will fail and even if you do, you might fail.
2) They are wrong. There have been many many successful startups that have began with less than you have right now, both in terms of experience and startup capital. I chuckled at Mr. Sheriff's response "10K might be OK for a hobbyist/dilettante to buy something to noodle around making YT videos." That is the whole point. The market is changing by the day, the technology and tools are changing by the day. There is a huge market for making small videos with small niche audiences (and yes, that means YouTube/Internet and no, that doesn't automatically mean amateur/hobbyist/dilettante). Just because it is not on the Discovery Channel doesn't mean it is not worth doing right. And many many clients out there know this.

That does not mean, by any stretch, that you are guaranteed success, and in fact I think the statistics are stacked against you (as many have mentioned the current saturation of the market) But, I personally think you have it right. Start small ($10,000) and then build as you go and as your business grows. If you wait until you have enough to build a $100,000 editing suite, you will probably never get off the ground.

Maybe you are not ready and maybe you will fail, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is worth doing.

Answer- I would go with the Mac Pro. It will give you that room to grow. I would also look at PC's. They have really improved in the last 2-3 years, and give you much more bang for the buck (which you need if you are bootstrapping it.)

P.S. It is threads like this that makes me worry the Cow forums are becoming more focused on complaining and arguing rather than helping people out.


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Mike Jeffs
Re: Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Dec 13, 2011 at 10:30:02 pm

[John Young] "P.S. It is threads like this that makes me worry the Cow forums are becoming more focused on complaining and arguing rather than helping people out."

I feel like the real problem is my generation’s sense of entitlement. Now I’m not saying that josh is this way or anyone else. But I have read many many many forums on here where people are asking for this community to basically do the hard work for them. Our generation somehow feels like the older generation owes us all the keys to the kingdom, without much effort on our part. There have been quite a few sociological studies to back this up. It’s “the everyone gets a trophy” syndrome.
What I feel like happens is older wiser or more experience members of this community get inidated with this mentality over and over again and it takes a toll. I’m not saying that these more seasons vets don't want to share their knowledge because they do they wouldn't be here if they didn't, but just like a master won't share with his apprentice until after the apprentice has shown he is willing to put in the hours and hard work required.
Josh asked very vague general questions without much info for us to go on. So we answered in a way we thought would be helpful. Nobody here wants him to jump into a business and fail. Which is why there is all the don't do it comments, I believe this comments truly came from people not wanting someone to fail and not from a place of we want to argue and vent and keep the new guy down.
My generation needs to learn how to ask the right questions in the right way to get what we are looking for. Heck I need to constantly learn this myself. I have been help by many of these same guys on this thread countless times so I know that they are not scared old codgers who would rather argue the help out.
Lastly yes demotricatztion of video has made things exponentially cheaper but still if you are wanting to be a “Post house” you will need more then 10k start up. Just add up the basic items for one video editor
Mac $3000 NLE $1200-ish IO $1000 Broadcast monitor $3000-5000(for lower end) Storage raid $5000 So to be a semi legitimate editor you are in the neighborhood of 13k this does not count for color correction, Mastering, Authoring duplication legacy tape media encoding/transcoding etc. that a post house will need to offer.
Sorry for the hijack on the thread josh and sorry for misunderstanding your initial post and now I need to apologize for this rant of my own.

Mike Jeffs
Video Coordinator
BYU-Idaho


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John Young
Re: Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Dec 13, 2011 at 10:47:58 pm

Mike,
Thanks for being polite and articulate in your response. Maybe that is more of what caused me to put that P.S. into my post.

"[John Young] "P.S. It is threads like this that makes me worry the Cow forums are becoming more focused on complaining and arguing rather than helping people out.""


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Mike Jeffs
Re: Advice on setting up a small Post house
on Dec 13, 2011 at 11:00:11 pm

as Red Green says were all in this together :)

Mike Jeffs
Video Coordinator
BYU-Idaho


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