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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:28 pm 
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UPDATED FOR 2011

Hi everyone, this thread is dedicated to tips on editing HD video captured by the latest DSLRs, camcorders and compact cameras. It replaces an existing thread which had become dated.

To accompany this thread I have prepared a new article describing my own PC configuration for smoothly editing HD video. For many years I struggled to edit HD video, and like most people suffered from unresponsive software. As I've explained in the article, the solution for me was not to constantly upgrade my PC hardware, but instead switch to new software that's designed for the job. Now I'm smoothly editing HD video without a hitch on PC hardware from late 2007.

See my Editing HD Video article.

My solution is however only one that's available, so we'd love to hear success - and failure - stories from anyone else who's editing HD video. What software and hardware do you use, and how well does it work?

Gordon


Last edited by Gordon Laing on Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:07 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:04 pm 
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Recommended hardware for editing HD video in 2011

All software companies state minimum system requirements, but they normally represent a bare minimum to run their programs. If you want to edit HD video smoothly, I'd recommend the following as a good base:

1: Quad Core CPU.
2: 8GB RAM.
3: 64-bit operating system (Microsoft users, go for Windows 7 64 bit).

Those are the basics behind a good system for video editing, but you can enhance it further by going for a processor with more cores if your editing software will exploit them, along with more RAM if your motherboard and chipset support it.

Of equal importance is to store your video and project data on a different drive to the one which boots your operating system and applications. As a minimum, simply install a second hard disk, but for the best performance, consider installing a RAID array which uses multiple hard disks to improve speed, reliability or both. I use a hardware-accelerated RAID 5 array which is quicker and more reliable than a single disk; note RAID 5 is only fast when hosted by a hardware-accelerated controller. Software-based RAID 5 is too slow for this application.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:44 am 
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very interesting read, I run a vista 64 ultimate 64 bit with CS4 on my reasonable grunty desktop.
Just curious, would I get similar improvements just going to CS5 or do I need to upgrade to Windows 7.


But this might well be a mute point. We recently bought a new laptop for my wife and settled on a ASUS G73 Windows 7, with 12Gb of ram ( 4 gig was extra bonus) and comes with the GTX460M video card.
We choose a Laptop designed for Games to get the most grunt and video card with decent cooling, as she is studying and teaching multimedia she was keen on a laptop. We are going to de-activate CS4 on my desktop and install it on her Laptop, but we are still in the process of setting it all up.

My main question is is the improvement you have seen due to windows 7 or CS5, I was hoping to avoid spending more money at the moment ?


For the "fix " of the video card we found this useful http://www.studio1productions.com/Artic ... ereCS5.htm

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:47 am 
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Hi Maxjj, without having installed CS5 on Vista, I can't give a definitive breakdown, but generally speaking, the OS takes care of the interface and I/O, so every time something needs to go from RAM to disk or back again, or when you make a request, it's the OS that's doing it.

Upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 will improve your startup times, and particularly the response immediately after logging in. But once the application has started and the files loaded, the performance is greatly influenced by the application.

So I'd say once your project is opened, you'll notice a big difference between CS4 and CS5 even under Vista.

So yes, if you can't afford to upgrade to Windows 7 yet, I still think you'd enjoy a big difference going from CS4 to CS5 on your desktop.

But that said, I'd also be more tempted to deactivate CS4 on your desktop and install it on your laptop before then upgrading it to CS5. With Windows 7, 12GB RAM and the possibility of a mobile GPU which might be hackable to accelerate the engine, it could be a really nice video editing system - so long as the disk is sufficiently quick.

Let us know how you get on...

PS - once you deactivate CS4, you probably won't need to install it on your laptop. You should be able to install the CS5 upgrade, then just enter your CS4 serial code to approve it. You still won't be able to install CS4 on anything else, but at least you'll have a clean CS5 installation.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:37 pm 
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Hi Gordon,

This is a VERY interesting read. I will be moving home to Australia soon and desperately need a new system. I currently use PowerDirector 8 to edit my GoPro HD footage and it is struggling on my 2008 Toshiba Laptop.
The results are still OK but it is very hard to work properly and get the transitions correct. Here is an example of a vid that I did for a local Ski hill here in Vancouver: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee1KTbcnVoQ

Another thing which needs to be added is a large Hard Drive (1TB or more). HD video takes up heaps of space.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:49 pm 
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Forum newbie here.
This is an interesting read and I'm wondering if you got lucky or I got unlucky?
I went the exact same route as you about three months ago with an almost identical spec machine. I can't afford Premier Pro CS5 so I downloaded the demo to see what the video handling was like.
I know from previous experience that their Elements versions don't do hardware encoding/decoding hence the demo of the Pro version.
I was quite disappointed. After trawling many sites and blogs, it turns out that CS5's hardware support is very sparse - only two or three Nvidia cards are supported and the same for ATi.
The interface was sluggish and trying to watch full HD video even at 30p was nigh on impossible.
After some sleuthing I discovered that in order for ATi cards to properly do hardware encode and decode, you need to install their add-on AVIVO drivers which are well hidden on their site. Sadly, that didn't make any difference.
To cut to the chase, I ended up with a distinctively budget video editor - Cyberlink PowerDirector. Their v9 is 64-bit native and fully supports AVIVO.
The difference was staggering. For a 2 minute video edit at 1920x1080x30p, PowerDirector could play it back silky smooth, where Premiere Pro made it feel like I was falling down the stairs. The real difference was the encoding speed though. PowerDirector encoded the video after editing in just under 5 minutes. My GPU usage was maxed out and my CPU cores were almost idling. Premiere Pro took 58 minutes with nothing offloaded to the GPU and all my cores pegged at 100%.

For what it's worth, I found the same to be true on video coming out of my Canon EOS60D as well as a Vixia HF-S10 camcorder. Two different video formats but the same net result.

Now I don't know if there's some magical speed boost in Adobe's Mercury engine that is only unlocked if you pony up for the full version but in their downloadable demo at least, I just didn't find it to be very good.

Chris.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:40 pm 
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Hi Chris, thanks for your input. The PPro CS5 trial does not include some codecs for DSLRs, so that might be an issue.

But yes, Adobe has definitely sided with nvidia, so if you're using their software, I'd recommend using an nvidia GPU rather than an ATi one, even if the former does not support their hardware acceleration.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:12 pm 
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It's a shame the software and hardware guys won't talk to each other. It would be nice if they'd write code that could utilise the hardware capabilites of both major vendors then we wouldn't have to pick and choose. It's probably them siding with Nvidia that caused my issue then - I have an ATi card which I bought specifically because ATI's history is with video work.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:42 am 
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Maybe there was a deal involved, who knows?

But there is a technical reason too. As I recall, Nvidia was first to market with a set of instructions which allowed companies like Adobe to harness the GPU as extra processing muscle. They called it CUDA.

Ati has something similar, but as I recall it came out after Nvidia and it's also incompatible.

SO anyone wanting to exploit GPUs for extra muscle early on had to side with Nvidia. And of course now Adobe would presumably have to write different code to support both systems. Perhaps that's too difficult, or again perhaps there's some deal going on.

It is frustrating though, I agree.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:01 am 
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I wonder if OpenCL will be the solution? I've no idea how it performs relative to CUDA. :?

Bob.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:19 pm 
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Has anyone tested Premiere Pro CS 5 while working on files that are not on your local HD but on a NAS or server over GB-LAN?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:15 pm 
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I could do some tests for you Thomas, but it won't feel as snappy even over a Gigabit LAN. You really want to have the video files on local storage while you're editing them if possible.


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 Post subject: Smart Rendering in CS5?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:49 pm 
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Great article! I'm running Vista and Premiere Pro CS4. In CS5, is it possible to re-use the codec from the original video clip in the final output? I've heard some others refer to this as Smart Rendering.

For example, I have a compliant 1080 24p clip direct from my camera. I want to add a title and fade the ending. In CS4, the entire time line needs to be re-encoded for the final output. Can CS5 only render the parts that have changed?

This would save a large amount of time on longer clips, and reduce computing requirements.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:16 pm 
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Hi Mike, that's a good question, but I can't give a definitive answer.

I just tried it with a 1080p 30fps clip from a Canon DSLR and simply trimmed the clip to half its length. The original file was 24MB and 13 seconds, so I halved it to 6.5 seconds and exported, ticking the box to 'match sequence settings'.

The exporting process certainly happened very quickly - took about three seconds on my 3GHz Quad Core with 8GB RAM. The resulting file was stored with an MPEG wrapper, but un-reassuringly, it still measured 24MB. So not sure what happened there. But my PC isn't that quick, so I suspect any process that takes only three seconds can't be re-encoding.

On another note, I know MainConcept does some plug ins for smart rendering on some pro formats. Let us know how you get on...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:09 pm 
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Gordon, this might make things a bit clearer:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/vid ... 39-13.html

also have a look at Handbrake tor the final encoding
see here:
http://viconco.blogspot.com/
and just for fun download this here
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/u ... directlink
it is a screen capture from the The Dark Knight. The two and a half hour Blue Ray movie was compressed to 1GB at full 1080 resolution and this is the level of detail it still has.

you see the commercial programs have a long way to go what the free encoders are capable already

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