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AVCHD Editing and the Best Computer to Edit Feature Film on? i'm looking to buy one...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hey all, so I am looking into options on if I should get a desktop computer and if so what are the options and price ranges for getting a desktop computer. I bought a Sony NEX-FS700 which is a top notch quality HD camera that shoots AVCHD. I hear and read and believe as well that Adobe Premiere 5 plays them natively. My Mac computer, an OS X laptop compresses the video with ProRes HQ converter which makes it 32 bit rather than 64 bit (or so I've read) and the quality is lost a little bit... I'd like to find a way to natively edit the AVCHD clips.

I need an operating system that can handle the AVCHD files and not give me issues. It seems that even at 8 RAM it still won't be enough for my laptop (or so people have said). So I'm looking into other options on CPU's and if anyone has edited a feature length on a CPU on a budget ($1,000 or below). I'm curious if someone can help me find or link me up to desktops that are really solid for editing a feature on, especially in that format.

Any and all help is appreciated.

I've read about: i7 3770K...

But don't know if there's something cheaper out there that's better or if that's the cheapest kind?

And on top of that, how much will it cost for extras in the tower, to make it run smoothly?

Scott
post #2 of 6
Welcome to the forum!

I looked up your camera at B&H. Apparently you bought an $8K camera body (without lenses) to shoot 1080p and want to edit on an under $1K computer with old software.

None of that makes senses to me.

More common on this forum is spending under $1K on a camera to shoot 1080p, editing with $1K+ computers using current $100 software. A few are using gear that is more expensive and may be using up to $3K computers with $600 software.

I remember an article I read in a magazine that may help. I found a link.

http://www.videomaker.com/article/15946-top-5-questions-to-answer-when-purchasing-a-video-editing-computer

Here is a link to an article from the same magazine about what they think is an appropriate computer: http://www.videomaker.com/article/15513-dell-precision-workstation-review

Good luck!

Bill
Edited by bsprague - 1/15/13 at 6:42am
post #3 of 6
Hi SGMovie - you may be able to stay with Mac OS and not lose any quality by transcoding to ProRes with Clipwrap. You can get it from Divergent Media directly or from the iTunes store.

If your laptop meets the requirements for Final Cut Pro X (e.g., Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM, 2.4GB of disk space, OS X v10.6.8 or OS X v10.7.5 or OS X v10.8.2 or later) you should be OK to get started.

You can try Clipwrap for free here and you can try FCPX for free here.

You may end up needing more RAM, but that's a lot cheaper than buying a $600+ copy of Premiere Pro CS6 and a whole new computer and OS.

Good luck with your feature - please let us know how it's going once you start shooting,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
post #4 of 6
As Bill said, your current laptop might work fine for FCPX using transcoded footage, and there are various format options for transcoding (Apple Intermediate Codec AIC, ProRes 422, ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422 Proxy, ProRes 422 LT, etc.) that have various quality levels up to full professional quality. When you import your footage to your computer, make sure you keep your original AVCHD file structure, and don't modify them. That way, you keep all options open for the future. Transcoding will not modify your AVCHD files, but simply will create larger easier to edit copies of the files.

The advantage of transcoding is that it creates files that can be easily edited on not too powerful of a computer, or it makes it easy to edit many streams on a powerful computer without bogging the computer down. Also, if you are doing a feature film and doing color grading, etc., it makes sense to transcode all of the footage, as it will need to be done at some point.

The disadvantages of transcoding is that it takes time (I think that FCPX can do it in the background while you are editing) and it creates files much bigger than the original AVCHD files. However, hard drives are inexpensive these days - I recently bought 4 TB Seagate USB 3 drives at Costco for $180 each.

You have to realize that programs that edit AVCHD natively still have to do some transcoding during the edit process. For example, even cuts only editing need multiple frames to be transcoded at the edit points to generate new AVCHD versions. If that is the only editing you are doing, then it might make sense to edit "natively". But if you are doing many cuts, transitions, titles, color correction throughout, etc, then it begins to make more sense to transcode. If you are making feature length films, that sounds like the situation that you are in.

For more information about FCP and FCPX, see http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/fcp_homepage_index.html

Some years ago I used earlier versions of FCP, but for my modest needs now, I simply use iMovie. If I need to do more in the future, I'll purchase FCPX.
post #5 of 6
Cyberpower PC has the Gamer Scorpius 9500 PC for $889 and up using the top of the line AMD FX-8350 4Ghz 8 core CPU that benchmarks better than any Intel CPU in it's price class.
post #6 of 6
I checked AMD vs Intel benchmarks on Tom's Hardware, and AMD chips are not the best option for video transcoding. If I were building a Windows machine for myself, I would get ether an i7 chip for around $300, or a simpler i5 chip, which would be only about 5% slower, but it costs about $200.
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