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Thread: New PC for HD editing - do I need one and if so which ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Roslin Glen, Scotland
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    Default New PC for HD editing - do I need one and if so which ?

    This is my first post so thank you for having me on forum.

    I have read differing advice here as to what kind of PC is required for HD video editing. On the one hand I read that 'any PC is an editing PC' and on the other read about folks spending $4-5K on an editing PC. I'm willing to spend some money but only if I see a decent advantage in it.

    My current PC is a Compaq Presario; Intel Core 2 6400 2.12 GHz CPU; 2GB RAM; Windows XP Home Edition (not 64 bit); 320 GB internal HD and 1TB external Maxtor drive via USB2 connection; GEForce 7600GT card. The monitor is a ViewSonic VX922 which has a maximum resolution of 1280 x 1024 - clearly not enough to display full HD. I use Adobe Premiere Elements 4. This system was fine for editing SD video but I made the move to HD in January and now record using a Canon XL H1A camera. My main subjects are birds and my intention is to produce short documentaries / DVDs as I give talks to wildlife / conservation local groups.

    My main current problem is that, when I play video back directly from the camera onto my HDTV (a LG 47LG50 LCD TV) the footage looks really nice - sharp, rich colours etc. When I acquire the video for editing on Premiere Elements it looks very poor in the monitor window, even if I render the edited video. Now, I know this may be down to a couple of factors - the low budget monitor I use or perhaps PC performance. Furthermore, I know that my SD videos, once burned to DVD, looked miles better on playback on TV than they ever did on the PC monitor.

    So my questions are as follows: should I simply upgrade the monitor on my PC and buy a Blu-Ray drive to burn my own HD DVDs ? Or, should I buy an off the shelf video editing PC (yes, I know it's more expensive but I will never build one myself) ?

    I rather suspect the latter would be better. If so, could I have some specific recommendations ? I have a flexible budget.

    (I'm not going to get into the PC vs Mac debate; I use PC for other applications and intend to stick with it!)

    Thanks and great forum BTW.

    Neil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Default

    Upgrading the PC makes the editing go quicker, depending on the hardware, but the quality remains the same. In other words, ungrading your PC will increase the speed at which it does the sums but won't alter the result.

    Since ram is very cheap at the moment (and easy to install yourself) it may be worth having 4Gb ram instead of your 2Gb. Apart from that, your PC will edit HDV without any problems. It is worth switching off any non-essential programs (such as anti-virus sofware) whilst editing though.

    In your position I would use your PC as it stands until it starts to annoy you because you feel it's getting too slow. Then bite the bullet and buy a new system (if that's an option) rather than adding bits and pieces. Before you dismiss Macs out of hand, have a look at a mac when you're considering your new purchase. Bear in mind that the current Macs will run PC software via an application.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Roslin Glen, Scotland
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Thanks for this, gives me spare cash to invest acquiring the footage. Just had an amazing evening filming a pair of flycatchers - found a nest very near my house! I much prefer the filming over editing!

    Neil

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