Computer for video editing?

Can anyone help. I have a digital camera and I’m interested in editing what I have shot on a computer. So can anyone help in providing information on video editing? I’ll be using Premier 6, so can you tell me what I’ll need in a computer for this task. Would it be better to get a desktop or laptop?

If you wanna do Premier, you better get a good hardware requirements otherwise your system will soon go to doom.
Here’s perhaps what you can get.
A PC specs:
latest intel pentium 4 processor will do.
get a SCSI harddisk, large amount of data manipulation by premier is better handled with SCSI harddisk.
Get a good Video Card. Read something that supports Premier or Maya. I got a hacked Gloria III at home, it’s best for Video Editing.
that’s about it. Get a burner of course. Once you finish your stuff immediately burn it to CD:)


anton xie

I’ve worked in Taiwan for two years at a consumber image editing and video editing company. Here are my thoughts and questions to you:

  1. What kind of camcorder do you have? If you have an older model, then you’ll have to be bothered with getting a “capture card” for your computer, which has compatibility issues with particular video editing software packages. If you have a more recent camcorder, perhaps it is a digital video camera. If so, it will have a IEEE 1394 port (also known as Apple’s FireWire or Sony’s iLINK). This makes life easier because you are not restricted by software package. It is also easier, as capture cards don’t ever seem to work right unless the planets are in alignment. Several laptops come with IEEE 1394 ports (for example some IBM/Acer/Macintosh models), which means you could caputre video and edit on the go. If you have a desktop computer without IEEE 1394, you could go down to the local market and pick up a PCI card for around 1000 NT. The card should not come with drivers, as it should be plug-n-pray with Windows 2000 and above (Windows 98 after some service pack).

  2. What software package do you have in mind? (I know you say you are using Premiere, but for the benefit of others…)Adobe Premeire is not a bad package, but is not a good idea for beginners. If you are thinking about a PC, a robust but easy package to get going on is Ulead VideoStudio:

Such a package is several hundred dollars less than Premiere and would take you several weeks less to learn. It’s system requirements would allow you do do work on a faster PIII, not only a P4. It also gives a wide range of options that are not included with Premiere, such as VCD and DVD authoring. Note, if you don’t have a DV camcorder with a IEEE 1394 port, then you’ll need to check the capture cards that will work with this program:

If you are going with a Mac, then you’ll have the best with iMovie and iDVD included with purchase of a system:

Of course all Macintosh computers Apple sells now come with FireWire (IEEE 1394).

If you want to go prosumer/professional right away, then here are some options:

PC: Adobe Premeire

PC: Ulead MediaStudio Pro

Mac: Final Cut Pro (rated the best by professionals)

  1. What kind of computer? A Mac will come ready-out-of-the-box, so that is not an issue. A PC? Well, yes, a P4 would be nice, but a fast PIII (around 800MHz) will do fine. Most laptops are still moblie PIIIs and do just fine. Again, you just have to make sure your camcorder supports IEEE 1394, and then check to see if the laptop has the port too. The same goes for a desktop.


Not an expert but I read you should have a fairly large, possibly 2nd hard disk drive for the video, something in the area of at least 40 Gbyte if not 60 or 80 (to store the original and manipulated video stream).
That usually excludes most laptops … especially if you opt for a SCSII HDD.

For desktops a P4 2.4GHz seems to be of good value, around 20k without operating system but including all accessories like DVD drive or CD-RW, 256Mbyte RAM and a 64MByte video card. Add price for 2nd HDD, too.

If you’re getting a new system, go for a Pentium 4, they were made for that.

RAM 512 or more. The more the better.

Hard Drive: 80GBs IDE 10,000 RPMs. They’re pretty cheap now. SCSIs are nice, but too expensive and not that much of a difference. You’ll get ~2 hours of DV on ~30GBs. Cutting, editing, and burning need some xtra space.

OS: Use Win XP or 2000.

Since you mentioned digital camera, I suppose you have Firewire in it. Get a Firewire board for your PC if you don’t have one yet. While at it, you might want to get those FireWire+USB2, a little more expensive, but worth it. Also, some cards include video editing software like Dazzle dv-editor and some other bunch, pretty cheap, shop around.

Software: Premiere is a wee more complicated. No make that, a real bitch, if you’re just starting off. If you haven’t bought it yet, get Ulead VideoStudio 6. Its much better and easier to learn. Or see above.

Output: Whats your intented audience and media? You’re safe with VCD. Burn to your CD-R and get to watch on pretty much all VCD and DVD machines. Quality is comparable to VHS.

Another thing, rendering effects and burning VCDs take a loooooong time, so do it overnight.

And remember, Google’s your friend.

You will be able to edit videos on any computer that was made in the past 2 years and has IEEE 1394 (firewire, ilink, whatever). However, your experience will be better with a nicer system. If your camera doesn’t have firewire you’ll need a DV breakout box (<$400US) for home movies or a capture card for pro stuff. As the previous poster mentioned, hard drive space could be an issue. With the DV video format drive speed is not an issue. You can work on a 4200rpm laptop IDE drive or a 15,000 rpm SCSI drive. Unless you need massive storage for a pro project stick to the cheaper IDEs. Most desktops have extra drive bays, just add what you need. Add external Firewire drives to a laptop. Are you going to be doing home movies and such or are you thinking about professional output?

I’ve used Premiere, FinalCut Pro and iMovie. FCP is a better package than premeire but it is a tad more expensive. $1000US vs. $550 for the Adobe product. FCP and iMovie will only run on a Mac while Premiere is available for a PC or a Mac. iMovie is free with any new Mac and couldn’t be easier to use. I’ve had better luck getting newbies to use iMovie than email! But it is not an inferior product because it is free or easy to use.

Sounds like you’ve already chosen Premiere, though. I’ve heard good things about Ulead but I’ve never used it. I would not recommend FinalCut or Premiere to a new moviemaker. It would be a shame to get frustrated on your first attempt and give up - it’s too much fun when you know what you’re doing!

I’d recommend you get a how-to book (or take a class if you can find one) for whatever package you go with. You might also check out Digital Video for Dummies - it will help you shoot better footage. Once you make your first movie you will realize that most of the footage that home moviemakers shoot (pros too!) ends up on the cutting room floor!

Also, with DVD burners getting so cheap there is no reason to make a great movie and then burn it onto a CD. Really consider a DVD burner - you WILL be glad you did.

One more thing! Jeepers mentioned rendering overnight - if speed is an issue check out FinalCut Pro. On a G4 you can render many effects in real-time and most of them in near-real time. You can also render in increments - ie, the phone rings so you let the machine render for 10 minutes while you take the call. come back and stop the rendering to continue working. A 1.25GHz G4 encodes to DVD format almost 50% faster than a P4 2.53GHz machine. However, the faster solution is not the cheaper one! You have to decide what you want.

Check out the computer sgop on Bader Road. Going west from Chungshiao its about halfway up on the left. They specialise in Video. Speak good english and really friendly.

Unfortunately, DV on a PC is not as easy as the advertisements would like you to believe. There are many websites about DV editing on computers and also a number of video related newsgroups. You can find a lot of complaints there and a number of solutions. It is funny what you have to take care of on a PC before everything is (hopefully) running:
The 1394 card needs an own interrupt, it must not be shared.
DirectX should be at least version 8, and of course you also need the DV patch.
1394 drivers from MS are usually better than those from TI.
ACPI must be switched off.
I went through almost all the above steps (the setup just doesn’t let me switch off ACPI…), especially the IRQ game took me some time, but still I can’t properly transfer footage from a D8 to my K7.
Then I came across an iBook (white), plugged the camera in and everything worked - at once. Especially for DV I can only recommend to use a (Power)Mac - if you want to keep your hair in the color it is now…

PCs are fine for hundreds of tasks, but DV isn’t one of them.

Spend a little more up front and spend a lot more time doing what you want – editing video. It’s all there and it just works, period.

If you need a quote on a Mac, tutoring on DV, disk burning, etc… If you want a live demo (using your camera), that can be arranged. Walk in off the street and you’ll be capturing and editing in under 5 minutes… Just pop me a mail.

I viewed the powermac G4 costing US1699, which is quite pricey. What would one cost in taiwan? Is this the best option or are there other computers available?
In regards to software, I already have Premier 6.5. And I think I maybe able to get my hands on Final Cut Pro as well. But the thing I don’t have is a computer. Trying to decide what is the best computer for the task of making short films and documentaries? Sorry about all the questions, not an expert in computers at all. So all advice appreciated and welcomed. I remember using Mac computers back at my Uni that was compatible with PC stuff. Are these computers suitable & there possible cost?

I use a P4 with win XP with a 1394 PCI card, it works.
plus I use ULEADs DVD workshop, if you have a CD/DVD cutter installed it will make a VCD/SVCD/DVD online ( no need to wait for 12 hours for rendering to finish) so if have a 50 min tape and planning to make a VCD it takes about 1 hour for the whole job, it is great for home use.