Good Morning. My name is Becky. I have been given the rather daunting task of producing high quality videos for the YouTube channel my bosses would like to build. The most I have ever worked with is Windows Movie Maker and I have a Vaio. I have done enough research to know that Movie Maker and my little Vaio are not going to be able to produce what my bosses want. They are willing to invest in a new computer and software and the time it will take me to learn to use both because they recognize the value of being able to produce. their own videos/slideshows/presentations. However, I am now lost. There are so many systems and so much software available that I don't really know where to go from here. So, I am asking for help from people who have experience.
I know I need a system that will support the software I need as well as one that will allow me to render, upload, and burn my videos. The type of videos they would like are what I would consider the equivalent of television commercial quality or music video quality. So, I am asking for advice from the experts:
What Graphics card do I need?
How much RAM?
What Processor do I need?
Would Windows 7 or 8 be a good operating system?
What software program would you recommend for making the videos? I am pretty quick but bear in mind that I do not have a lot of experience so would be starting from scratch.
Would I need a photoshop program as well or would good video software include the ability to manipulate the photos?
I am being provided with video from a lot of different sources/cameras/video recorders. I'd like to recommend a camera that will produce high quality video to start with. It would have to be fairly simple to use as it would likely have multiple operators. Any ideas?
I hope this isn't being presumptuous, asking for your help, but I am truly lost at the moment. I do not want to make a recommendation for a lot of new equipment for the company to invest in and then find out it was the wrong computer/software. Thank you for your time and patience.
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This is all just a guess on our part, because we don't know where you are coming from: budget? platform?
You will need at least:
1. Good camera
2. Good tripod
3. Video lighting kit
4. Good microphone(s) & mixer
5. Capable/"Growable" NLE (non-linear editing) software
6. photo editing software
7. Good PC
#7 A new computer is going to be a Mac, or a Windows (7.x or 8.x) or a Linux computer. If you are fairly new at this, you probably shouldn't go the linux route. If you aren't already married to the Mac platform, you should go the Windows route. Windows is up to v8.1, though you could get a v7 or a v8.0 still. I would NOT get anything older than that now. For requirements, you should check the recommendations expected by your chosen editing software, and then (if you can afford it) DOUBLE the RAM & HDD.
#6 could be photoshop, if you can pay the $$ and already understand how to use it. Otherwise, I'd suggest Paint.net (or if you are ready to try something a little more powerful & arcane - gimp).
#5 I wouldn't expect you to be producing award-winning epics real soon, so you will want something that is a good balance of understandable UserInterface design & extendable power for you to grow into. I would suggest Sony Vegas Movie Studio (latest version is ~v13?)
#4 Depends a LOT on what kind of productions you are going to be doing, so I can't break it down much more without knowing that.
#3 For your needs, a standard 3-point light kit (with possibly an umbrella/softbox) is a good starting point. Expect to pay ~$200-600, depending upon brand/quality & number of lights/options/accessories.
#2 You COULD skimp on this if you aren't going to be doing ANY pans or tilts during recording, otherwise don't skimp: get something as good as (or better than) a Manfrotto Fluid Head tripod (see http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=944776&gclid=CM6f0Myk6L8CFQQQ7A...=REG&A=details for $369). If you do skimp, you can get by for probably ~$129.
#1 Again, I would need to know more. But I'm guessing you're going to start by needing something like a Canon Vixia type hobbyist/consumer cam ($300-$900, depending upon the model). Versatile, economical, semi-compact, reasonable quality.
You need to start reading up on video. and audio. and lighting. and compression.
Scott"When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
Since your bosses are willing to invest, do it correctly.
The system requirements for Adobe creative Suite are here: https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/system-requirements.html
For Vegas are at the bottom of the page here: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/vegaspro/techspec
Don't go for less than an i7, do go for at least 8GB ram -- the more the merrier
Go for an Nvidia graphics card GTX 600 series or better.
I would recommend in your case the Adobe creative suite -- you can try it, rent it and subscribe or replace it. Includes Photoshop and other apps you don't know you need until you do.
I have started doing a lot of reading and research, both through technical sites and forums such as this one as well as recommended reading. I understand that the simple editing I have been doing is nothing compared to what I will be learning.
This is the camera I have been eyeing: http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/camcorders/consumer_camcorders/consume...s/vixia_hf_r52
I had been leaning towards Adobe as I am fairly certain the graphics card will be NVidia and I have been lead to believe that NVidia and Adobe work better together than NVidia and Sony? Is this correct?
Photo editing software I have been leaning towards is Adobe Elements. Do you have an opinion on this one?
Computer will be a PC, probably with Win7.
Microphone I have now is part of a bluetooth headset by Logitech. It seems to have worked well for recording narration so far.
Will eb doing a lot of tilting and pans...the company I work for is a series of martial arts studios who hold seminars, tournaments, classes and participate in special events, indoors and outdoors. versatility is important.
Okay..what is "Non-linear editing"?
Mixer is part of an audio system, i know that much. I have assumed the audio capabilities will be built into the video editing software...this is a mistake?
Budgets is about 1500 for the computer and 500 for the software, give or take? Camera has no budget as it is part of a proposal I will be making.
Thank you for your help!
Thank you for your help! it gives me new questions to ask, which I would not have known to ask
You are wasting time and energy on the video card. You may have noticed few have mentioned it, as it has very little to do with your project. The specs you quoted have absolutely no effect on what you want to do. Get a quiet, fairly cheap card which has the outputs for the displays you intend to use, which will probably include HDMI. More processor, more RAM, second HDD would be a far better use of the saved cash.
You may have noticed your budget is not high enough. The added information of what (fast motion sports) and where (multiple venues, including outdoors) will give the pros here much more to go on. If ALL audio will be added later as narration, that will make an important difference. Note carefully the "ALL".
Did anybody mention GET A TRIPOD? Do not even attempt this without one, if you try it you should be fired and if the boss demands it, you should quit.
Listen to what Cornucopia has to say on this. He is a recognized expert in this area. (Kudos returned, my friend).
Adobe Premiere Pro has optimized some nVidia chipsets and the cards that use them for GPU-assisted rendering, that is a fact. Most of these cards though are the expensive nVidia Quadro types, but there are others like the GTX750i and the preceding GTX660 that are Premiere-tested. Other nVidia cards will also work, if you edit its part in the Premiere config file. Whole websites are dedicated to this topic, so search them; can't link for now. Tough for Radeon lovers.Stop feeling suicidal just because he unfriended you on fezbuk.
You shouldn't get caught up in worry about the video card's capabilities so much. Video editing itself uses very little of a card's capability, except for previews & rendering/compression. Better cards come in handy with UHD & larger scales (specifically good for photo), and for compositiing & 3D modeling/rendering/animation. And for games.
Sony makes just as much use out of a decent nVidia or ATI card as does Adobe! That's a wash. They are equally good and equally capable. I have used both many times.
Elements is ok.
Bluetooth microphones are a BAD idea. Here's why: the wireless connection uses compressed audio (e.g. mp3 or aac). You should never START your production having already made a major compromise. Compressed audio makes sense at the end when you are distributing/publishing (e.g. Youtube), but NOT before.
A mixer exists in the video editing (aka NLE) software, yes. It also exists as a piece of hardware that gathers your microphones together and blends and balances them prior to being piped to your camera. You may or may not need this, depending on the number and type of sound sources you will be simultaneously recording.
IIWY, I'd suggest a total ~$3-4000 budget, with the needs split 4 ways (of roughly equal size, but favoring the input devices - cam, mikes - as they are the prime determiners of quality):
3. Mikes & tripod
4. Lights & software
Scott"When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
For post-production narration, a sound-proof booth is arguably as important as the microphone.
Graphics cards will make a difference when you start adding layers or making complex edits -- but I agree, CPU rules.
...the company I work for is a series of martial arts studios who hold seminars, tournaments, classes and participate in special events, indoors and outdoors. versatility is important.
I have 2 cameras, both tripod-mounted. Since I am a one man show, one of the cameras is unmanned, but I try to place it out of the way of large groups of people.
Ok, the "right" graphics card. But for WHAT purpose/application? The right one for strictly video editing could be vastly different from the right one for 3d animation, or from games. Pinning down what that boss(es)' priority and expectation(s) is will also help narrow down which ones are ok (there will always be a range, and both nVidia & ATI have a whole family of cards that will work fine with many video editing processes.
i7 processor is very good. Not the best (xeon, i9, etc), but plenty good for your needs, present and near future.
RAM is another thing that should depend upon application. If you are already getting an i7 Win 7 64bit machine, it doesn't hurt to get AT LEAST 8GB RAM. More, would depend upon what OTHER things you will be using it for.
2nd (or more) HDD for video/audio use is an absolute MUST. How many more depends upon size, bandwidth/performance & reliability requirements. If you are working usually with highly compressed (e.g DV, HDV or AVCHD @ ~25Mbps) material, you won't need a RAID system unless you want secure fallback (fault tolerance). But you might want multiple drives anyway to facilitate easy copy/author/compression bouncing of your data. If you have higher bandwidth (e.g. less compressed) HD (or 2k or 4k) material, such as ProRes, Cineform, DNxHD, or higher still lossless (HuffYUV, Lagarith, QTAnimation), or higher still uncompressed or RAW files, you will increasingly likely need RAID (multiple drive sets in pairs/quads/etc). This choice should be made in conjunction with an IT specialist. IMO, a 4-drive RAID 1+0 (aka RAID 10), is a good high-performance, fault-tolerant choice for much HD video (I have 2 rigs of them). Again, depends on what you plan to do with it, expectations.
All microphones receive noise as well as the desired signal. And all microphones have their own internal noise (basic physics) - you cannot avoid that. "Noise-cancelling" microphones are actually just specially-designed pairs of very closely spaced mikes. They cancel out certain wavelength/frequency combinations (based on distance to the mike), so they are a mixed blessing (IOW, they cancel out and "color" some desired sounds as well as noise). Better to get high quality DIRECTIONAL mics (those whose sensitivity is biased in certain directions), with maximal output level and minimal self-noise, and even frequency response with minimal distortion. Then, filtering out background noises would be a function of:
1. Placing the mike in the most appropriate spot (aka as close as reasonably possible to the desired sound)
2. Point the most sensitive part of the mike in the direction of that sound (and the least sensitive in the direction of the most noise)
3. Having an environment where you take pains to reduce the noise (baffles, cushions, bulkheads, etc)
4. Applying filtering via EQ, etc on the mike, or during editing in software.
(Notice how little of that had to do with neat technology, but more to do with fundamental physics, and choices in operational practices).
HDMI (or more likely DVI) is available on scores of decently priced cards. I don't know any particular model #s off the top of my head. Note DVI & HDMI are compatible in protocol, so you would just need a simple adapter to convert if necessary.
Scott"When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
Some other items you will want or need - A fullsize case with extra fanS, a battery backup unit (APC), a motherboard with AT LEAST four RAM slots.
On the video card, there is no "right" card and no "wrong" card. Any thing on the market today will work just fine, the few features a high-end card might add you don't really need and the CPU can supply them all. At least one of your bosses is an idiot.
Look for higher clock speeds on the I7. Get 16 GB of RAM. Note the plural on the extra fans above, buy extras and get more airflow. A 10-hour encode will heat up your expensive processor and other parts like nothing else the PC will ever do. It's a $10 part.
I'd get 16 GB of RAM from the get-go, RAM is relatively cheap and it is much more cost-effective to start with larger modules. Get the fastest RAM the board will support, with heat-sinks.
Western Digital Caviar Black hard drives. When I buy parts for myself, these are the ONLY drives I purchase. I am not yet sold on solid-state drives for a production environment.
"When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
Hi- I won't add too much to the good but somewhat complicated advice you've gotten so far.
The two giveaways of amateur video are bad sound & bad/low lighting.
On the sound issue, remember the Blues Bros, and how Elwood traded their Cadillac for a microphone?
There's a lot of truth in that. http://youtu.be/nrKmNkDcDuk
The main weakness of today's prosumer/consumer cameras is they use miniplug connectors and Automatic Gain Control. You need to talk to experienced sound people for the specifics of your needs- try calling your local news-team crew, they can recommend specific gear for your circumstances; studio, location, distant subject, wireless etc.
Here's a freebie: Audacity is a free, top-rated, cross-platform sound editing program that is quite intuitive to learn (for example to insert title music, voiceovers, wild sound, etc). You can download it here:
Be sure to download the manual too. (Note: If you have real trouble understanding this program, the same will be true of any advanced video editing suite.)
When editing, you'll discover that the computer is tied up for long periods doing rendering, or just organizing shots.
You'll quickly want at least two machines, and large (not necessarily excessively huge) fast USB3 hard drives.
You wind up with lots of related material, like alternate versions, possible inclusions, etc.
It is very convenient to have each project on its own drives...
There are any number of good cameras out there, but be sure to test the ones you like in the typical lighting conditions you'll encounter.
How well does it do low light? Does it have a real viewfinder instead of a display impossible to use in sunlight? Does it get wide enough in small spaces, as well as enough optical zoom to throw background out of focus? Will you need it to do macro?
If you find you need two cameras, do they match colors well enough to crosscut?
Here's something that might help you with discussions with your bosses- a $1200 video workstation well-researched by the best:
"Vancouver Film School (VFS), Canada’s post-secondary entertainment arts institution, has deployed 775 HP Z420 Workstations. Students will use the workstations in the animation, film, game design, programming, digital design and foundation programs. VFS uses approximately 300 HP Z420 Workstations throughout classrooms in its Animation & Visual Effects department alone.
The HP Z420 includes up to eight processing cores using the latest Intel Xeon processor E5-1600 v2 and E5-2600 v2 product families, providing up to 64 GB of ECC memory and up to 12 TB of high-speed storage. With AMD Eyefinity Technology, GeometryBoost and DisplayPort 1.2, AMD FirePro W7000 professional graphics help bring the digital world to life. The AMD FirePro W7000 provides an immersive multitasking experience across up to four displays.
In fact, it wouldn't hurt to tell your bosses you want some mentoring; I'd recommend calling VFS (1-800-661-4101) and ask if they could work out some way to get you into a one year program so you'd qualify for a pro mentor...
Hope this helps
Desklady, in the future please use a more descriptive subject title in your posts to allow others to search for similar topics. I will change yours this time. From our rules:Try to choose a subject that describes your topic.
Please do not use topic subjects like Help me!!! or Problems.