Pick your Pony: A Filmmaker’s Guide to Computers part 1

Posted: July 21, 2010 in computers and tech, Essays on filmmaking
Tags: , , ,

There isn’t just one filmmaking computer. There are many. The sound can be recorded to a computer, if you are shooting on a camera that records to a hard drive, you need another onset computer for data dumping. The script is written on a computer. The movie is edited on a computer, and maybe the special effects and CGI are built on another.

I don’t know of any screenwriting software anywhere that needs a powerhouse system behind it, and if anyone invents any, that software better do a whole lot more than just crunch words. I am interested, however, in when the I-pad is going to pick up that function, because I could see myself writing on the go with an I-pad. But until the I-pad gets there, I am not personally interested in a separate system for screenwriting.

But lets talk about the computer everyone is interested in: the editing machine. And let’s get the Mac out of the way first. The Mac is great. Yes. But it is expensive. Moving on.

When you go out shopping for a computer, they have all these handy classifications. Business, gaming, entertainment. Video editing doesn’t fall naturally into any of these categories, but might end up being somewhere between a gaming and an entertainment computer.

Video editing software is powerhouse stuff, because video files, especially hi def, or heaven forbid, 4k, are some of the biggest files a computer will ever have to handle. So your computer needs the tools to handle those big files, which means lots of RAM and lots of processor.

As far as I am concerned, I can’t have enough RAM. The HP Envy 15 comes with a possible 16 gigs of RAM, in four slots, and that makes my mouth water. To make space for all that RAM, it doesn’t have an internal optical drive, which is where the future of data storage already is. I use thumb drives where I used to burn CDs. But it isn’t where the future of watching movies on your laptop is (so what? I watch movies on my Blu Ray player) or the future of burning a DVD of the rough cut of your movie so you can mail it to the composer is.

Unfortunately, The HP Envy 15 has issues with the video and with overheating. It’s a first generation configuration, and technology this new is bound to have problems. But the second generation, with an external Blu Ray burner, is my new dream computer.


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