Archive for the ‘Tech & Gadgets’ Category

Finding the Right System for Video Editing

Friday, November 19th, 2010
Adobe Premiere Pro Icon

Image via Wikipedia

I came across the following question recently pertaining to the specs needed to run Premiere Pro CS4 and Photoshop CS4 efficiently:

Need a cheap laptop for adobe premiere pro cs4. will this one be okay? what specs will be best?
have been looking at a few on ebay. here is the specs for one of them.
Will it be powerful enough to use premiere and photoshop? thank you!

Dell Latitude D620
Intel Core2 CPU
T2700 @ 2.0Ghz
2.00 Ghz, 2.00 GB of RAM
100GB HD

If you are thinking about diving into video editing by purchasing a computer, there are a few things you need to keep in mind if you want your system to run at peak performance. One – video files take up a lot of hard drive space, especially if you are working with HD files. Depending on the format of your raw footage, HD video files can take up as much space as 1GB per minute. So, you will need a computer with a lot of hard drive space. Most laptops in the $1500 and below price range usually come pre-installed with a 250GB hard drive. That may seem like a lot, but remember that you aren’t getting that full 250GB to use for media storage. Your OS, pre-installed software, and the software you choose to install will all eat up some of that 250GB. And if you plan on using this computer for more than just video editing, you will also need your hard drive for music, photos, documents, etc. My desktop system has four internal hard drives: one 300GB boot-up drive where I install all software and applications, one 150GB drive for all of my project files and scratch disks, and two 500GB drives for all media assets.

Second, video editing software like Premiere Pro CS4 require a lot of memory to run efficiently. If you read the system specs on the PremiereProCS4 box, the minimum memory requirements are 2GB, but if you plan on…

  1. editing a lot of HD footage
  2. running multiple applications at once
  3. working on long projects

you will need extra memory. My system has 16GB of memory.

Third, the processing speed of your computer will determine how quickly your system can access files it needs for editing. Think of your entire computer as a very large filing cabinet. Processing speed determines how quickly your computer can sort through everything in that filing cabinet and pull out exactly what you need, when you need it. A dual, or quad core processor will make a huge difference in system performance. Additional processors allow the computer to divide up the workload, so your system doesn’t get choked. It’s like having a team of people combing through that virtual filing cabinet, each one assigned to a particular task.

Maxing out a computer with hard drive, memory, and processing speed will not be cheap, so the decision depends on how you ultimately plan on using the computer. What type of videos do you need to edit? What format will you be working in? What is the purpose of the videos you plan on editing? I have a pretty hefty system, but that’s because I edit professionally for corporate clients. Like any house-hold job or construction project, knowing the scope of the work will help you decide what tools you need. Each tool is different. Each has its purpose and each has its limitations. You just have to find the right tool for the right job.

Wear Your Video on Your Shirt

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I continue to be amazed at the ways in which brands can use video to get their message out to their audience. As mobile video continues to rise and the demand for video content increases, video producers are creating content at a rapid pace. And they are finding ways to exhibit it in new and creative ways. Take, for example, the iPad t-shirt. The shirt, which retails for around $50, has a clear pouch in the front which allows an individual to insert his/her iPad. This essentially turns the wearer of the shirt into a walking billboard. Artists can use it to show off their work or advertise an upcoming show. Brands can use it to display mobile advertisements. Bands can use it to advertise their latest single, or upcoming shows. Animators, graphic artists, illustrators, etc. can use it to show off a portfolio. Video producers can show off their demo reel. I don’t know how popular this shirt will become, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see brands paying individuals to walk around with these iPad t-shirts. Say good bye to the sandwich board.

iPhone App Review – ReelDirector

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Ever since I purchased the iPhone 4, I’ve been shooting home movies with the built-in 720p video camera. I enjoy the convenience of having a high quality video camera with me at all times, without having to carry around an extra device, like my Kodak Zi8. The iPhone 4 video camera makes it easy to shoot and share videos right from your phone. You can even trim the length of clips, if you just want to share a short clip. But what about video editing on your iPhone?

Well, as they say, there’s an app for that. In fact, filmmakers are now experimenting with producing short films entirely on their iPhones. I don’t know that I’ll be creating any narrative shorts with my iPhone, but the thought of having a video editing app did intrigue me, so I went over to the app store to read about the available options.

Of course, Apple is really pushing iMovie, but I was skeptical when I started reading the user reviews (pretty negative). I also considered Splice, but finally settled on ReelDirector. I used it for the first time last night to edit a short video of my son playing on the playground near our house. There are a few reasons why I chose ReelDirector:

  • VARIETY – ReelDirector offers several different video transitions that you can add to your video. You can also create titles in a variety of different fonts and sizes, and place them almost anywhere on the screen.
  • SIZE – ReelDirector is only about 10MB in size. iMovie takes up about 30MB.
  • QUALITY – As of this writing, Splice cannot export finished videos in HD, but ReelDirector and iMovie can.
  • PRICE – ReelDirector is about $1 cheaper than iMovie.
  • SPLIT – In ReelDirector, in addition to trimming the length of a clip, you have the option of splitting one clip into two, which can be very handy.

Note that there are pros and cons to the video editing apps currently available. ReelDirector may have more features and greater flexibility than iMovie, but render times are incredibly long by comparison. Plus, you can’t preview an edited video in ReelDirector without rendering. In iMovie, you can. I’ll post more of my thoughts on the app as I continue to use it. For now, here is a great side-by-side comparison of ReelDirector and iMovie.

Foursquare + Television = Philo

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

If you love using Foursquare to “check in” at various locations around the city, AND if you love watching TV and discovering new shows, then you will probably enjoy Philo. The goal of Philo is to make television viewing more social. People who install the app tell others in their network when they have “tuned in” to a particular show. Then, they can comment on the show with others in their network in real-time, much like Twitter. It’s a great way to discuss television content and discover new shows. Shows that you watch are shared across the network and on other social sites like Facebook. Check out the article on Mashable about the app where you can read about additional features and view screenshots. Happy viewing.

Get Creative With The iPhone

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

As an iPhone user, I am always on the lookout for useful apps. Some help me with my business, like tracking my time or my mileage. Others help me in my video production work, like when I have to mark shots with a slate and create shot logs. It’s fascinating to see the versatility of these smartphones and as someone who works in the creative industry, it’s great to see people using their phones as an outlet for artistic expression. Just recently, I was reading an article about people shooting short film projects entirely on the iPhone 4. With video editing apps like iMovie and ReelDirector, you can do everything on the phone. Recently, I’ve been using a few apps to process photos I’ve taken on my iPhone. Two apps I’d like to recommend for enhancing your iPhone photos are Photogene and Photoshop Express. A friend also told me about TrueHDR, an app that creates HDR images from photos on your phone. I’ve also been experimenting with the blurred tilt shift lens look with an app called Tilt Shift Generator. Here are a few samples of shots taken with my iPhone and processed with some of these apps.

Restaurant in Miniature

Processed with the Tilt Shift Generator

The Peanut Depot

Processed with Photoshop Express

And here’s an image from a friend of mine, created with the TrueHDR app.