Digital Editing

computer rightNon-linear digital editing is accomplished through a combination of hardware and software tools. Hardware resources affect the speed at which processor intensive activities such as rendering can be completed. Software suites determine workflow, options, and capabilities. Luckily prices for high powered computer hardware solutions continue to drop putting incredibly powerful tools within reach of new or novice digital editors.

Whether you are Mac or a PC there are many hardware options available. Some basic editing can even be done using a tablet like an iPad. Read on for some general information to consider when selecting a hardware platform for your editing. Read on for some specific things to consider when choosing your hardware.

Fully featured software suites are also available making effects once achievable only with a professional design department available to every digital editor. Whether you are a technophile or a novice computer user you can create stunning, professional looking videos with just a little bit of training and all the creativity you can muster!

There are many different software solutions for non-linear digital editing. There are free versions and paid versions for both PC and Apple based hardware solutions. Packages range in features and complexity from basic versions designed for novice video editors to advanced versions designed for professional video editors. Read on for information on some of the most common software suites. Read on for information about common digital editing software suites.

Digital Editing Hardware

  • CPU +

    icons cpuThe CPU or processor is the main chip controlling all of the activities on a computer. Intel Core i5 and i7 processors are dual core processors that are ideal for video editing.

    The processor speed is important but it is not essential to have the fastest processor available. Processor speeds of 2.8GHz give you plenty of speed.

    Processor cache is memory that is on-board the processor and is very fast memory dedicated to the processor itself. This is often referred to as L3 cache and 4MB or more of L3 cache will speed up processor intensive activities like rendering.

  • Memory +

    icons memoryVideo editing requires a lot of memory. Some basic editing could be done with as little as 4G of memory but 8G should probably be considered a minimum for editing HD resolution or higher video. 16G is common for video editing configurations.

    Memory speed is also important. The faster the memory can be accessed, the faster processing activities can be completed. 1600MHz would be considered fast memory and would be ideal for video editing.

  • Hard Disks +

    icons hdYou will likely need multiple hard disks for video editing. Internal drives are used for storing projects that you are currently working on. External drives are used to store completed projects or backups of a project.

    For video editing hard drives need to be large and fast to access. The fastest drives are often referred to as solid state drives. They have no moving parts and are similar to the memory used for processing but slower and non-volatile. Solid state drives are more expensive than traditional hard drives but prices are dropping. Solid state drives are also less likely to crash. Common sizes for internal solid state drives are 512Gb to 1Tb. Traditional hard drives are often larger than 1Tb.

    External drives should be USB 3.0 drives because of their faster access speeds. External drives are often 2-6Tb.

  • Data Transfer Rate +

    icons datatransferData transfer rates can be affected by many aspect's of the computer's architecture. A 32bit system is slower than a 64bit system because a 64bit system moves twice as much data per operation. The bus speed is the speed at which data is moved within the computer from memory to processor. The faster the clock speed of the bus the faster the data moves. Type and speed of the hard drives will also affect data transfer rates. The faster your combined data transfer rate is the faster you will be able to complete intensive computer operations like rendering.

  • Display Options +

    icon displayWhen considering what kind of display to use on a computer for editing it’s a good idea to work on a display of similar size and capability as the display you will be using to show your finished product.

    If you want to edit HD video then you should be working on a display capable of displaying HD content. Same is true for 4k editing. You should also consider an upgraded video display adapter if that option is available. Upgraded adapters have faster processors, additional chips for specific kinds of activities and more onboard memory to buffer the display. All of these things result in a faster and more realistic viewing experience. The Apple Retina Display is a superb display for video editing.

    You should also consider display options like on-board HDMI ports or adapters that will allow you to go straight from your computer to a large display like an HD TV or projector. These ports can be very convenient when you want do show your video!

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Digital Editing Software

  • iMovie +

    “iMovie makes it easy to browse and share the HD video you shoot on your iOS device. Turn your favorite clips into blockbuster movies or Hollywood‑style trailers. And watch your mini‑masterpieces anywhere with iMovie Theater. A few taps, a few swipes, and you’re ready for your big premiere. “

    icons imovieiMovie is include with most Apple operating systems and is available in the app store for Apple devices. iMovie is a great option for a casual editor or someone who is just getting started with digital non-linear editing. iMovie projects are easily upgraded to Final Cut Pro X projects for more advanced editing.

    Cost: Free with newer MAC OS, approx. $14.99 for iDevices

  • Final Cut Pro X +

    “Optimized for the new Mac Pro, Final Cut Pro X lets you edit and deliver like never before. Work with multiple streams of 4K ProRes at full resolution. Play back complex graphics and effects in real time without rendering. Even output your 4K video to ultra-high-definition displays via HDMI and Thunderbolt 2.”

    icons finalcutFinal Cut Pro X is an advanced digital editing package. It picks up where iMovie leaves off. Although it contains many advanced features, the interface, tools, and techniques will be immediately familiar to an iMovie user. Combined with the Apple products Compressor and Motion, a digital editor will have all the tools they are ever likely to need. All Apple products are available through the app store.

    Cost: $299.99

  • Motion +

    “An interface designed especially for editors. Smart templates for making changes on the fly during editing. And easy-to-use motion graphics tools for creating eye-catching titles, transitions, and effects. Motion is the perfect companion to Final Cut Pro.”

    icons motionMotion an Apple Mac application is used to generate custom titles, effects, and animations. These are activities for more advanced editors but the results can make a dramatic difference in a presentation. If you want to generate a unique look and feel or build a brand for your presentations then consider learning a few tricks with Motion! It’s a great addition for Apple Final Cut Pro X users.

    Cost: $49.99 in the Apple App Store

  • Compressor +

    “Custom output settings. Distributed encoding. And a full range of delivery features. Compressor adds power and flexibility for exporting projects from Final Cut Pro.”

    icons compressorCompressor is used to rapidly encode a Final Cut Pro X project into multiple sizes and formats of outputs for sharing. Compressor includes batch processing, multiple Codecs, and an easy to understand interface. Using Compressor can greatly reduce the amount of time required to generate shareable media. It’s a great addition for Apple Final Cut Pro X users.

    Cost: $49.99 in the Apple App Store

  • Windows Movie Maker +

    “Windows Movie Maker 2012 is a feature of the Windows Live suite that enables you to create home movies and slide shows on your computer running Windows 7 or Windows 8.x, complete with professional-looking titles, transitions, effects, music, and even narration. And when you’re ready, you can use Windows Movie Maker to publish your movie and share it with your friends and family.”

    icons moviemakerIf you are using a PC hardware platform Windows Movie Maker 2012 is a great place for a new digital editor to get started. All the basic tools and techniques are available and there are a number of output options.

    Cost: Free

  • Adobe Premier Elements +

    Adobe Premiere Elements is a video editing app published by Adobe Systems. It is a scaled-down version of the Adobe Premiere Pro and is tailored to novice editors and consumers. The entry screen offers clip organization, editing and auto-movie generation options. Premiere Pro project files are not compatible with Premiere Elements project files.

    icons premierAdobe Premier Elements 13 offers a feature rich editing environment for PC hardware platforms and is all the editing software a non-professional editor should ever need. Premier Elements is often bundled with Photoshop Elements for added value.

    Cost: $79.99, combined with Photoshop Elements $119.99

  • GoPro Studio +

    “Easily import and play back your GoPro media. Create your own engaging videos to share with the world.”

    icon goproGoPro Studio software makes it easy to import your GoPro media, play back your videos and Time Lapse photo sequences, view photos and create professional-quality videos. GoPro Studio includes editing templates for quick editing and presentation.  Or if you want to create edits from scratch, you can do that, too. Trim and mix clips. Add titles, music, audio tracks and more.

    Cost:  Free with the purchase of a GoPro camera

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