Breaking The First Rule Of Non-Linear Editing, Part One
Update? Are you nuts?
By Bruce A Johnson | January 27, 2010
When last we spoke, I had announced my intention to break The First Rule Of Editing - to actually upgrade my editor in the middle of several ongoing productions. My reasons were threefold:
* Against all odds, I had the money;
* My 4-year-old dual-Pentium Dell XPS600, which had been rock-steady, had suddenly become pretty flaky, with USB ports disappearing and reappearing at unpredictable times - and when your keyboard, mouse and ShuttlePro are all USB devices, that can be a bad thing;
* And as a Adobe Creative Suite CS4 user, the demo of the upcoming Abobe Mercury engine in combination with new-technology CUDA video cards and a hot Windows machine is quite impressive. Check it out.
For the last ten years, I have made something of a specialty out of taking inexpensive, low-to-midrange computers and making DV editors out of them. Back in the days of the Canopus DVRaptor, I could take the puniest machine, add RAM and a hard drive for media, and build a pretty functional editor (by the standards of the early 2000's) for less than $700. I built more than 50 editors like this over several years, but times have changed. The budget this time was going to be a whole different beast.
I currently edit with a Matrox RT.X2 card, purchased several years ago along with the old Dell XPS600. My Matrox dealer is Lyn Norstad (www.lnainc.com), based outside of Chicago. After I saw the Adobe Mercury/CUDA demo, I asked him what kind of machine I would need to run that, and how much it would cost.
When I saw the initial quote, I almost lost interest in the project. The HP Z800 workstation - one of very few computers on the current RT.X2 compatibility list - with two Intel Xeon X5550 2.66 8MB/133 quad-core chips, but no RAM, video card or DVD drive, came to about $5400. Even the Dell XPS600 had only cost a little over $2K. Yet it was becoming obvious that if I wanted a computer with a future longer than a year, it was going to have to be a big one.
I thought about the purchase for several days, and looked at my upcoming project schedule. It was then I realized I was being a fool. I had more than enough shooting and editing work booked through 2010 to easily pay for the Z800. To top the deal off, I decided to have HP include 12Gb of RAM, which brought the price up to...
I don't know where you live, but where I live that is still a pretty big "gulp." But, I bit the bullet, gave Lyn the go-ahead, and between Christmas and New Years took delivery of a shiny new computer. Of course, it wasn't really ready to use; it lacked a DVD drive, a video card, and a video interface.
My original (short-term) plan was to recycle those parts from my old Dell. Seemed like a good idea, too, until I opened up the side of the z800 and had a look at the motherboard.
A quick aside: The case that comes with the HP is a work of art. It is a totally screwless design, with eight fans (but still manages to be virtually silent), two large shrouds that cover all the guts and channel airflow, four internal SATA drive bays with screwless drive carriers and three external bays. The cabling is routed elegantly and cleanly, and there is a map of the motherboard connectors on the inside of the side door. And this is no pressed-tin cheapo, either - it weighs about 40 pounds, and luckily features two hefty handles on the outside top to make it possible to carry.
I pulled the DVD drive from the Dell with little difficulty, and thought about how to hook it up.
Oooops. The DVD drive has an IDE connection. There is no IDE on the Z800 mobo. Let's go shopping!
Newegg sold me a LG Blu-Ray burner - with a SATA connection, thank you - for about $150, including one blank disc. I figured I should buy a few more blanks to experiment with, so I added them and sent the order.
Two days later, I spy a BluRay-drive-sized cardboard box on my front stoop. Whispering a little "woo-hoo!", I opened the box to find...
...blank BluRay discs, and nothing else. Turns out the drive and discs shipped from different warehouses, so I was at a dead stop again.
Three days later, the BluRay drive arrives and I am ready to rock! I remove the three external drive bay blanks with ease; all you need do is pull up softly on the drive cage and both sides widen slightly, pulling back pins that drop in where screws would normally secure the drive. I slide in my brand-spankin'-new BluRay drive into the top slot, and....
Continued in Part 2!
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freshdv - Sun, May 19 2013 - 5:24 pm
RT @jasondiamond: @OFFHOLLYWOOD yeah except that video says literally nothing except we're gonna make a cool gimball that will look great & a good price.
freshdv - Sun, May 19 2013 - 5:21 pm
RT @OFFHOLLYWOOD: Move over MOVI - here comes the DEFY 3-axis camera gimbal http://t.co/Yd4ZBUfNG4 #r3d