Pick your Pony: part 2

Posted: July 28, 2010 in computers and tech, Essays on filmmaking
Tags: , ,

Last week, I talked about how much RAM I want (the answer is: all of the RAM. I want all of it everywhere) and if you spend enough time on tech forums, you will hear (through your eyes as you read) someone say, “You don’t need more RAM. You will never use it.”

So let me clarify with an analogy. Your computer is like a rock smasher. If that were a thing, and if smashed rocks were desirable. The processor does the actual smashing. The hard drive is the quarry, where the big chunks of rock are undisturbed, and your RAM is like the conveyor belt to the smasher. The rocks there are about to be smashed, but the smasher hasn’t gotten to them yet. If you check email or write documents, you are smashing little rocks. A megabyte here, a megabyte there. But if you are editing a film, each file is a gig or two. So you need something stronger to carry those big rocks.

For The Making of Iridium Consequence, we shot seventeen hours of footage. It takes up 250 gigs of hard drive space. Compared to your average document, that’s the difference between gravel and Stone Mountain. Which is in Georgia, and is one giant chunk of granite. Really big, people. Really.

So I will use it. Oh, I will.

For an editing computer, you want a fast processor. But the hard drive turns out to be not that big of a deal. Sure, you could get a terabyte, and you could edit from that, but with enough RAM, you can edit from an external drive and not see any difference. And the great thing about the external drive is, when you are done, you unplug it and put in the shelf and you still have space to play World of Warcraft. For example.

For video editing, you may want to get a video card. You don’t need it, but it can be very nice to set up an array of monitors to work from, so that you can see the whole picture, not just a little corner of the screen.

So what did I end up getting? A Sony Viao, F series, with an i7 processor, 6 gigs of RAM, and a 640 gig hard drive. I’ll tell you if I like it after I take it for a good long spin. For some rock crushing. Cause analogies are awesome.


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