Tag Archives: Video Editing

Alex Amelines

Building the ultimate video editing PC: Part 2

In the second of our posts looking at building the ultimate video editing PC, animation designer Alex Amelines provides additional advice on choosing the best component for building the ultimate video editing PC. This post looks at the best software to use, and discusses how much storage and memory you need to get the best experience.


As with the other components, speed is important. While size might be the only thing people think about when it comes to storage, the longer it takes to write data to a hard drive, the longer it will take to perform tasks such as graphic rendering. The key is ensuring that whatever video software you are using, it has access to dedicated storage for reading and writing data. Using an SSD for the OS and traditional HDDs for standard read/write operations means that you can take advantage of SSD speeds to boost start-up times, while using HDD for its low cost to storage space ratio. If you decide to do this, you’ve got a couple of options. You could set up two fast internal HDD drives (7200 RPM) using RAID, which would further increase the drives’ speed (although you would only be able to use half of the combined storage – you can read more on this here), or using three drives could use RAID 5, which gives you speed and protection against HDD failure (but only two thirds of the combined storage). Alternatively, you could use an external RAID storage box over FireWire or USB 3.0. A final option, which is especially good if you’re rendering graphics, is to use one drive as your main scratch disk, and another one for rendering to, as it is faster to read from one disc and write to another one. It almost goes without saying, but having a backup plan in place will ensure that you won’t lose your latest masterpiece in a freak accident. Speed is less important here, so a standard external USB drive can fulfil your needs.


The type of software you need will depend entirely on the type of videos you’re making. For 2D animation, a great place to start is Adobe PhotoShop and After Effects. From there you can move to 3D, and while there are many options, the most user friendly is probably Cinema 4D. However, a more pocket-friendly alternative is Blender as it is free to download. There are also programs such as Lightwave, Modo, 3D Max and Maya, although whether you will need these depends on how much 3D you will be doing, and whether it will be VFX or character animation. However, they all have PLE versions available, allowing you to judge what’s more suitable for you. If you’re interested in editing software, Adobe Premiere is a good choice, especially as it comes in the Adobe Creative Suite, which also includes Photoshop and After Effects.


Memory is relatively cheap, and you’ll notice if you don’t have enough. To ensure smooth performance, you’ll want to go for at least 8GB, although 12GB will mean you won’t have to worry about upgrading for a while. As with the other components, speed is very important. This Corsair memory is designed to keep up with fast processors such as the Intel i7 series, so it shouldn’t cause any system slowdown.

In the first part of this series, Alex looked at motherboards and processors for a video editing PC, and in the third and final post he will look at graphics cards and peripherals. Alex will also recommend the other components you’ll need, such as cases and power supplies, to put you ultimate video editing PC together.


Building the ultimate video editing PC: Part One

If you’ve been reading our blog recently, you’d have seen that we’ve just put together a guide to making the ultimate photo editing PC. Not wanting those of you who prefer moving images to feel left out, we’ve got a guide to building a video editing PC. The guide has been put together by talented animation designer Alex Amelines, and you can see more of his work over on his website at www.studiotinto.com. We’ve split the guide into the main components you’ll need, and Alex has chosen the parts for their compatibility with each other. Of course, once you’ve got the parts you’ll need to put them together, but there are plenty of guides out there to show you how to do this. This is the first in a series of posts which will cover all the components you need, from the motherboard and processor to peripherals and memory.

If any of you have tried editing a video on an average, mid-range PC, you’ll know that it can be a frustrating task. The average PC simply doesn’t have the speed in any of its components to be able to deal with the vast amount of data that needs to be processed and stored. Even if one component is too slow, it can hold everything else up, and can cause the computer to become unstable if you try to make it do more than it can handle.

For the kind of non-linear editing that is standard when editing videos, many people recommend off-the-shelf workstations, such as those provided by HP or Dell, or even a Mac Pro. Although these simplify the process of finding a system, they can end up costing a lot of money – at least £2000. Building your own workstation means you can be much more specific in your choice of components, and ensures that you only pay for the things you want. The components I’ve listed are the ones that make the most difference in a video editing system. Everything else is a matter of personal choice, although I’ve made a couple of recommendations to make the process even easier for you.


The key thing when choosing a motherboard is to ensure that it is capable of keeping up with the speeds of all your other components, and that it has enough room for all the components you want to use. For example, the Asus motherboard has room for up to 64GB of memory, as well as support for the latest USB specification, USB 3.0.


This will be one of the most important components in your machine, and it is worth spending as much as you can afford on it. Many of the programs that you’ll be using (which we’ll discuss below), use multi-threading to speed up processes on machines that have multiple CPUs. Multi-core processors support multi-threading, which will give you a significant speed boost in many video and graphics programs. The Intel S1366 Xeon E5520 Quad Core 2.26GHz 8MB will be exactly what you need. It would also be worth investing in a processor fan to keep things running smoothly, as the longer you use the machine, the hotter the processor will get, and excessive heat can cause stability problems.

We’ll be uploading the next post soon, and it will look at the storage requirements for a video editing PC, as well as the software and memory you’ll need to get the most out of it. If you’ve got any questions in the meantime, why not drop us a line?