November 20, 2017 at 3:29AM
Editing Equipment for Newbies and Students
If you are a filmmaking newbie like me, you are probably thrilled by all the opportunities this new medium opens for you, but also a bit anxious about your limited skills and some technical constraints as well.
First things first: is your computer up to it? Do you have to rush into purchasing a top-shelf professional equipment? What software is the best? You might be an amateur, but you do not want your creations to seem too amateurish.
Do not worry. You can start even with your smartphone camera and your old laptop. Your vision and inspiration is what matters the most. If you still want more concrete advice, you will find it below.
There is a preconception that Macs are better for video editing than PCs.
This is not exactly true. It all comes down to the particular software you wish to use and for which platform this software was developed in the first place.
For example, I am fond of Sony Vegas Pro which an excellent software, but Windows-only. Luckily, I have two machines that run Windows and macOS respectively, so I am ambidextrous, so to speak. On my Mac (that I use for many other things), I am quite happy with Final Cut for occasional editing of my amateur videos. Choose whatever gets the job done for you! Among video editing laptops today you will see a wide variety from both worlds.
Another thing is whether you want to have something powerful on a budget or portability is a crucial thing for you. If first – that try a desktop. If second – I advise looking more closely at MacBooks. They are powerful enough to edit 4K videos and lightweight enough to be your constant companion.
What if choosing a new laptop for video editing is not an option? Alternatively, you do not want to invest in a high-end model before you actually know what you want or you aren’t sure whether filmmaking is your thing yet? You can still try to get the best of the machine you currently have, especially, if it’s a MacBook.
Here are a few tips:
- Even MacBook Air is a suitable choice for visual art students and other folks that want to do heavy editing on the run. However, you should always go for as much RAM as you can possibly get for this model. Powerful processor is also nice. In fact, it is advisable to have both. If you have only this much to spare, I would recommend getting more RAM. 8GB or more must be enough, but 16GB is better by far. This amount is available even if you have your eyes on a pre-owned model circa 2013. Another entry-level requirement would be at least the 750m graphics card.
- If you model is upgradable, get more RAM for it, if not, you can still redistribute the use of what little you have, so it will be optimal. Some maintenance apps have such an option. If you ever wondered how to make your Mac boot up faster, they can do the trick as well.
- Make sure you have enough space on your disk if you want to edit video: the files are huge! You may want to have an external storage for them. For editing them on a MacBook, it makes sense to have proxy files. They are the smaller files with lower resolution that have same names, frame rate, etc. You do not really have high-resolution originals to make your editorial decisions.
- Stick to the native apps, such as iMovie or Final Cut Pro. The integration between software and hardware is what made Macs their name in visual arts in the first place. If you use native apps, Macs are indeed much faster and beat other machines in pleasant and hassle-free video editing. For instance, Final Cut Pro uses the AVFoundation which is a multimedia layer built into the OS. Thanks to that, you can have, for example, real-time previews, without waiting for rendering.
Hope it helps other newbies like me. Feel free to comment and suggest some helpful tips – I am still learning the ropes and will be grateful for your advice!