Editing Set-Up For HD Video Production

Apple Mac Pro
I left early to work from home on Wednesday lunchtime, I had a head-cold and was deteriorating as the day went on and I had no meetings in the afternoon. When I got up bright and early yesterday I was happy to see my editing set-up had arrived.

I had constructed a spec list for the basic equipment and software that would be necessary for the task but was unsure the exact items that would be provided. I have a Mac Pro on my home set up, with an Apple Cinema Display and secondary monitor and most of the software I’d like, so I knew what would work. I was definitely looking for more cores and more RAM as my system does get slow rather easily.

There’s a lot of discussion about where and when and what it is possible to edit with; there are minimum requirements for editing software and there are lists of people’s ‘ideal scenario’ set-up (which would usually increase the price dramatically). There isn’t so much talk of solid real-world systems or “What hardware and software SHOULD I be using?” because it is different for different people and purposes and also changes rapidly, as software and hardware are in a constant state of change.

So here is what I will be working with initially, let’s see how soon this becomes archaic:


Mac Pro
2x 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6GB 1066 MHz DDR3

2x 22″HP L2245wg monitors


OSX 10.5.8
Final Cut Studio
Abode CS 5 Production Premium

The total price of this is around £6980, with tax and without any discounts. The hardware and software are quite evenly divided.

So that’s the core of what I’ll be using. Obviously monitoring speakers are coming in (but are part of the camera budget..), I will be using a tapeless workflow (SDHC cards), so good card readers will be added. The monitors are not 1920×1080, like I wanted (they top-out at 1680×1050) but they will do for now. I have ordered in a pair of Western Digital 2TB drives for all the HD footage I will bringing in. I’ll probably cover this stuff in workflows, archiving, etc. sometime soon.

As for the software, I am likely to use Final Cut Pro to edit, After Effects and Photoshop for graphics and basic effects, Compressor for conversions and DVD Studio Pro for making hard copies. I will probably also be using: Cinema Tools (conforming), MpegStreamclip (transcoding), Soundtrack Pro (audio), Color (colour correction) and other applications that I have missed but are probably absolutely essential – but I forget about them until I have a real problem!

Now I just need some footage to play with!