Recently I have been asked by colleagues and students for tips on setting up an Avid Editing suite. My response could have been easily just directing them to the Avid System requirements page, however I always feel that leaves the question unanswered.
I often try to fill in the gaps by suggesting various PC or Mac setups based on budgets, and current gear available. As many of you know I have both PC and Mac set ups for both Avid and Final Cut Pro. These were set up as the budget and workload demand it. Too often people want to buy both without having the work to justify it. However, after having these discussion with various people about suggested PC set ups. I am often asked “what is the best tip /tips you can give for setting up an edit suite?”
The most important tip I can give is please do not cheap out on the processor. Editing can be very processor intensive and therefore getting faster computer will help. Try to purchase at least an Intel i7 and then build from there. you can always add on more ram and graphic cards as your budget makes them available. Too often my students will come to me with an issue transcoding or consolidating within the Avid. The issue is often lengthy render times, exporting or even importing. Mainly because they have bought an entry level PC and expected it to perform just as well editing, as it does word processing. They also often claim that ” Avid does run on it. I have done it before”. Well, just because you can instal Avid and do some basic things in it, does not mean you can now go ahead and edit HD video, a documentary or even process RED camera workflows. Yes I have seen people try to edit RED on a cheaper PC.
Why does this happen often? Well technology changes so fast and many of us are just not educated enough. Consumers often believe what the box says, ” HD capable” or sales rep. They often refer to HD capable editing PC. That means you can edit HD footage on it, but they are often referring to those cheaper handy-cams with very low bit rates, and not professional shot footage, from the larger cameras like the Canon C300 or Sony F3.
Buying a PC or MAc with a proper processor that you can build on will save you time and headaches. Adding ram or a better graphics card to an Intel i7 machine is a lot easier than buying a whole new PC because you bought the wrong one.
FOr anyone starting out in post-production, who wants to set up their own Avid suite really should start looking at the processor first and build from there. The added benefit of having the faster processor is the PC is more likely to last few years, as its easy to upgrade, unlike the cheaper processors.
In the end you must purchase according to your budget, but if you don’t have enough funds, then do yourself a favor and please wait until you do. Simply put, a cheaper processor is no going to cut it!
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