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  1. #1

    Getting started from scratch

    I need a new computer/moniter and camera. Mostly I will be updating our website (Frontpage) and making basic video's (10-20 min) of our horses and dogs. I would love to be able to send customers DVD's, and a camera that I could also use for stills for our website would be nice. A laptop would be convienient, but I don't know if the money would be well spent. Price is an issue, but I would be willing to pay more for less headaches and simplicity.

    Any suggestions for where and what to buy to get me up and running would be much appriciated. Currently I have Windows 98 in a hand me down computer and make videos with a big old standard VHS camera and VCR.

    I'm ready to move into the 21st century, but I still do my taxes with a pencil and paper!

    Thank you,
    Chris Cox
    Cox Ranch
    www.coxranch.com

  2. #2
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    I'm an Adobe fan because it offers powerful features at a realistic price. Not a cheap price unfortunately, but in the world of professional video production Adobe is relatively low-cost. I would recommend Adobe Premiere running on a fairly grunty PC (4Mhz processor, 1GB ram or more, plus the biggest and fastest hard drive you can afford). If you can stretch your budget to buy Adobe products you should never find yourself short of features and flexibility.

    Premiere can output directly to DVD with fairly good results, but you can't make titles or menus. For that you would need Adobe Encore DVD, which is another cost. If you want to go that way, you might want to consider the whole Adobe Video Collection which gets you a complete package of products for a significant discount. That's what I use and it meets virtually all my production needs.

    A video laptop is ceretainly nice but you're probably better off getting a desktop - you'll get much better performance for the same bucks. With video, computer power is very important so get the best you can afford, even if it's a clunky desktop stuck in your office.

    For my money, MiniDV is the best video camera format to use. It's so easy, and integrates like magic with Premiere and other video editors.

    FWIW I wouldn't recommend FrontPage either. Macromedia Dreamweaver is much better.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  3. #3
    I would suggest looking at a product called Sony Vegas on the PC.

    http://mediasoftware.sonypictures.co...egasfamily.asp

    I use it at home, and while it does use a different workflow to other applications like Premiere or Avid, it is a very very nice system. It's very stable, easy to use and powerful. Also, because Vegas was made by a company called Soundforge, who made the Acid line of audio tools, the audio features in Vegas are pretty superior to anything in it's price range. Vegas runs for about US$500 or US$750 if you want Vegas + DVD Architect for making DVD's.

    As mentioned by Dave the more memory and gruntier processor you can get, the better, but Vegas itself is a very low specced app in that it will run pretty well on low end machines (<1Ghz processor and 128MB RAM for intsance)

    Also, if you're looking for very cheap and basic, you can try out Avid Free, from the avid site. It's a cutdown version of their Avid XPress software. I don't like avid as I've found that unless you have a turnkey (prebuilt) system setup for it, it can give you a lot of headaches.

    On the other side, you say you're willing to spend a little more for less headache? Then I would suggest you get an Apple Mac. They sell desktops and laptops and the operating system is more userfriendly and more stable than Windows. In the initial cost, you pay more than a PC, but the software bundle, and other intangible advantages of it can outweight this. I have recently bought a Mac (Mac mini) to try out the platform and I am VERY happy with it. I will switch to Mac completely, eventually. Depending on what you want to do, the Mac comes with basic video and dvd editing software as well as software to make music tracks and so that might suffice for now. If not, you can get Adobe Premier for it I think, and you can always get Apple's own Final Cut Express and Final Cut pro.

    Cheers
    Aaron

  4. #4
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    Interesting what you say about the free Avid. I was thinking about downloading it to see how it goes but maybe I won't bother just yet.

    Small point about Abobe Premiere: It's no longer available for Macs
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

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