Best Editing System?

I am looking for the best possible editing software for my new PC. I'm looking at Avid rather than Adobe based on what I've read...

...but even within Avid, there is Liquid and Xpress and FX...which one is the best - most professional. I am working with DVX footage, but want the capacity for HD and as many features as one program can have. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!
 
Definitely a bad idea to run internet/games on your editing machine. I know most people only have one machine and it can be expensive to buy two high tech machines if you want to do both but it really is the best option!
 
Is there a big difference between regular editing and HD editing? How are they different?

The biggest difference is the sheer amount of data you are shunting about -- it means you need a very efficient system set up for your machine to handle the work-load.

The choke points are always going to be the speed of your processor and the transfer rate on your storage device -- I think if you are doing a lot of HD editing, that's the point you have to seriously think about RAID storage rather than just hammering stuff into a couple of firewire drives.

The thing that I haven't quite got my head round with HD editing is the modern trend of editing at full res -- whereas, when machines were slower, we just offlined images at lower res and only knocked the res back up to online when we got to colour correction and mastering.

To my thinking offline editing is still a really sensible approach to data heavy HD -- but I do feel like I'm the only person saying that, these days.
 
That's actually not a half bad plan there Robert. :) I've thought about doing that myself actually.

Regarding my price comparison above. Knightly sent me a PM to kick me into gear since he was curious so I'll quote what I sent him. :) Please bear in mind that this is not a 100% fair comparison since the woodcrest server chips aren't available to purchase individually yet (supply issues methinks) so I'll be using the equivalent dual core Intel Conroe processor instead ('desktop' vs 'server' chip). Once these chips are available a more accurate assessment can be made. Now on to the good stuff:

*All prices are in USD*

2.66 Ghz Mac Pro - $2500

Equivalent PC (besides specific chip)

2 Core 2.67 Ghz E6700 w/ Motherboard - $800 (http://tinyurl.com/nyg65)
1 GB 677Mhz memory - $95 (http://tinyurl.com/rbo7e)
WD 250GB HD - $75 (http://tinyurl.com/9cfve)
GeForce 7300 256MB - $45 (http://tinyurl.com/q88kl)
CD/DVD Reader/Burner DL - $31 (http://tinyurl.com/rmma2)
Case and quality 550watt PSU - $100* (http://tinyurl.com/puazx)

* with rebate, otherwise 130

Total: $1146

Now, granted this is with 1 CPU (2 cores) not 2 (4 cores) but even if you factor that in (add another $600) you're still WAY below the mac. Now, server boards (and sometimes the chips) can cost a little bit more than desktop stuff. Still, we're not going to see a 1400 increase just from that! I also included a very high end motherboard with the Conroe chip so I doubt there would be a price difference in that respect.

Do note that the hardware I've quoted are good components with good reviews. I'm not cutting cost by using lower end components.

You're really not getting that much for 2.5K with the Mac. Basically just 2 high end processors with a skeleton! I have a system I'm designing for myself that has a whole lot better components and comes in just under 2K.

Is the Mac worth it? Certainly if you like Apple software! Shake is great stuff I might say! Still, there's no getting around the fact that building a PC is a lot cheaper (note: this does not mean having a PC built FOR you will be cheaper). And since there really isn't any software out there right now that can take advantage of 4 cores I do wonder at the usefulness of the feature... With the market going the way it is these days I suspect your GPU will be a whole lot more important (and a whole lot more powerful) than 4 cores in the next year or so!

That said I still like Macs and would love to have one :D
 
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oakstreetphotovideo

Pro Member
indiePRO
I knew the Mac Pro had a great price to performance ratio, but the findings in that article came as a surprise to me. After owning personal computers for 26 years (yes, I bought my first one in 1980), and having owned just about everything, I've always felt that Apple machines were a bargain, in terms of total cost of ownership. I've even done a side-by-side comparison with two, similar editing machines; one Mac and one Windows/Intel. After 1 year, logging hardware, software, and maintenance costs, the PC cost significantly more, and had 300% more downtime. Furthermore, those were dedicated editing machines; no Internet or security issues. I also preferred working on the Mac. It always seemed to be more responsive, and it definitely crashed less frequently. For me, it was an easy choice.

I can honestly say that, even when the sticker price of the Mac is significantly higher, I have no reservations about the value of the Apple hardware+OS combination. Of course, a large factor in the equation for me, is that my time is valuable. If your time has little or no value, you may not reach the same conclusion.

People that look at just the price of the hardware are not seeing the big picture, in my experience.
 
That's actually not a half bad plan there Robert. :) I've thought about doing that myself actually.


*All prices are in USD*

2.66 Ghz Mac Pro - $2500

Equivalent PC (besides specific chip)

2 Core 2.67 Ghz E6700 w/ Motherboard - $800 (http://tinyurl.com/nyg65)
1 GB 677Mhz memory - $95 (http://tinyurl.com/rbo7e)
WD 250GB HD - $75 (http://tinyurl.com/9cfve)
GeForce 7300 256MB - $45 (http://tinyurl.com/q88kl)
CD/DVD Reader/Burner DL - $31 (http://tinyurl.com/rmma2)
Case and quality 550watt PSU - $100* (http://tinyurl.com/puazx)

* with rebate, otherwise 130

Total: $1146

Now, granted this is with 1 CPU (2 cores) not 2 (4 cores) but even if you factor that in (add another $600) you're still WAY below the mac. Now, server boards (and sometimes the chips) can cost a little bit more than desktop stuff. Still, we're not going to see a 1400 increase just from that! I also included a very high end motherboard with the Conroe chip so I doubt there would be a price difference in that respect.

Do note that the hardware I've quoted are good components with good reviews. I'm not cutting cost by using lower end components.

You're really not getting that much for 2.5K with the Mac. Basically just 2 high end processors with a skeleton! I have a system I'm designing for myself that has a whole lot better components and comes in just under 2K.

Your comparison is not very accurate.

The XEONs cost EURO 1136 each (price includes tax, so you can say they cost the same in Dollars)
-> http://www.geizhals.at/a189577.html

That alone makes about $ 2200

The Mac motherboard supports 2 CPUs which is only compareable to server motherboards on the PC side. It has also support for 8 pieces of DDR2-RAM, while your board only got support for 4. Plus the board uses the more expensive but less prone to memory faults ECC DIMMs.

-> Memory with ECC -> $189.99

Compareable server motherboards cost well above $ 300.

Fact is, atm the MacPro is the cheapest "PC" in its very own league.

EDIT:
You also forgot to buy an optical mouse, a keyboard, CPU fan and some case fans.

EDIT2:
You have to buy Win2k3 Server to be able to use more than 3,2 GB of memory.
 
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Great points guys.

Freezer: Argh! Yes, I did forget fans, mouse, and keyboard. Great catch. I don't think it fair to consider the price of parts in euros here though. Generally parts are more expensive in euros and I have yet to find a place to buy those parts in the US (my experience at least). Since the comparison was made in USD it's really only fair to stay in that currency.

I do agree though, it is a flawed comparison but the most decent I could make at the time.

Regarding memory: another excellent point but I'm not sure I know too many people that actually have a need for more than 3GB of memory. 3D guys perhaps and maybe motion graphics. Editors? Almost definitely not. That's something that people will have to consider based on their own needs I suppose.

Are the apples a good deal? Yeah. I think so, especially if you don't have the time to build your own (or just don't want to). We all have differing priorities and time.

On a differing note: As for the 'need' for Intel Xeons... I'm just not seeing it. The only real benefit comes from the ability to use ECC ram in the server motherboards. The conroe chips actually perform BETTER than their server counterparts. With quad core chips coming out later this year it seems almost better to go Conroe - even if you want 4 cores. Of course some people will want 8 cores... but that's just power beyond real use. Even 2 cores are underutilized by many apps.

Please do note that this was never meant to bash Macs. I'm just convinced it costs less to build your own machine.
 
Freezer: Argh! Yes, I did forget fans, mouse, and keyboard. Great catch. I don't think it fair to consider the price of parts in euros here though. Generally parts are more expensive in euros and I have yet to find a place to buy those parts in the US (my experience at least). Since the comparison was made in USD it's really only fair to stay in that currency.
The price in EURO incl. 20% tax, which is the tax rate in my country, Austria. But the EURO converts about 1:1,2 to Dollars, so it is save to say the EURO price (incl. tax) is about the same in Dollars (excl. tax).
Those prices will drop a bit, I guess. But the Xeon prices have been quite stable over time, as those are considered for the highend market.

Regarding memory: another excellent point but I'm not sure I know too many people that actually have a need for more than 3GB of memory. 3D guys perhaps and maybe motion graphics. Editors? Almost definitely not. That's something that people will have to consider based on their own needs I suppose.
You are right about this, but I wanted to point out, that it is a system which gives you a lot of opportiunities for upgrading your memory, compared to standard PC systems.
I am already using 4 GB in my PC and it is not enough when working in After Effects and HDV. Windows XP Pro and some applications become a bit unstable with that amount of memory, too.

On a differing note: As for the 'need' for Intel Xeons... I'm just not seeing it. The only real benefit comes from the ability to use ECC ram in the server motherboards. The conroe chips actually perform BETTER than their server counterparts. With quad core chips coming out later this year it seems almost better to go Conroe - even if you want 4 cores. Of course some people will want 8 cores... but that's just power beyond real use. Even 2 cores are underutilized by many apps.

The main benefit for using Xeons is, that you can have 2x2 cores, NOW. So you see, atm you can only compare to the MacPro if you buy those pricy Xeons, otherwise you have to stick to 1 dualcore!

Please do note that this was never meant to bash Macs. I'm just convinced it costs less to build your own machine.

I know your intention wasn't to bash Macs. But your comparison doesn't work out right, atm. It will fit for sure, when the first quadcore Conroes come out, but until then ...
 

oakstreetphotovideo

Pro Member
indiePRO
Regardless of how all of the numbers work out, I hand built my own computer controlled light board in 1981, I've been building my own PC's for more than 15 years, and I've been a Linux administrator and programmer for at least a decade. I've got 4 home-built workstations/servers sitting in the rack in my office right now. What do I use to get most of my work done? ... my G5 PowerMac. The reasons may not be obvious based on raw $numbers$. All I can tell you, is that I get more work done on my PowerMac than any other, single machine I have. It's a combination of an solid operating system with excellent multitasking and virtual memory support, a great development system (with great support for open source software and X11R6), well integrated hardware, some great software, and a very usable GUI.

I've got it all here, and I find myself to be most productive on the the Mac. What is your time worth?
 
I am already using 4 GB in my PC and it is not enough when working in After Effects and HDV. Windows XP Pro and some applications become a bit unstable with that amount of memory, too.

Yeah, Windows really irks me. I'm really not a Windows fan.... despite liking PCs.

Great points as always freezer. I guess all I can say is take the analysis for what it is worth! No more, no less. :)

What is your time worth?

That really is the ultimate question at hand that everyone will have to answer for themselves.
 
If only price matters, and you have time to burn, sure you can use a free Linux solution, although good luck installing an HD capture board (I'm not up on the current state of Linux NLE's however).
Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas are pretty good.. but I can't seem to find any job ads for editors on those systems.. the thing is, if you gain skills on Avid or FCP it's better for you careerwise. Also it will simplify any interaction with audio post engineers or production houses.
But the best editor is a 35mm Steenbeck flatbed! If you shoot one roll of 35mm, edit on a Steenbeck, and project your work print, your theatrically projected short will cost less than many NLE systems. Also bonus points for doing the whole short in one take so you don't even have to edit, just process the film and mail the print to Sundance ;)
 
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