Yesterday I wrote a piece on the Basics of video editing and what you need to know in order to edit that footage of the round Australia caravan trip, the grand child’s first steps or footy match, the family wedding or other get together or simply create a short video for your Instagram feed, Facebook page or YouTube / Vimeo / TikTok account.
In hindsight, whilst the article has seemed to fill a required purpose (judging by the number of readers), what probably should have prefaced it was a story on what equipment is needed in order to be able to actually do that editing successfully and painlessly.
Video editing is probably the most hardware specification intensive task there is and having an under horse-powered computer is very frustrating.
There are other tools too – hardware and software – to make life easier.
So here is a list of the basics I recommend and some options too.
I could bore you silly with explanations of fast RAM, specific video cards with super-duper GPUs on them and other nerdy esoteric stuff, but I won’t. Suffice to say that in this day and age, as long as you have the following specifications no matter it be a desktop or laptop or Mac or Windows based, you should be fine AS A MINIMUM.
- 16GB RAM – the more the merrier.
- 500 GB hard disk (preferably what is known as an SSD or solid-state disk).
- Minimum 2 USB ports – one for a mouse as using touch pads for video is p-a-i-n-f-u-l!
- Screen with resolution of MINIMUM 1920 x 1080 pixels
- Intel i7 or better processor
- SD card slot (not just a micro-SD card slot as comes with some Microsoft Surfaces or ASUS laptops)
That’ll get you going
Other hardware (optional)
- A FAST external hard drive such as the SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD I mention yesterday is a good an on and video files stored on this can be edited directly without having to copy them to your main computer hard drive
- A Contour ShuttlePro 2 is a highly recommended bit of kit for precise editing. See a full review here.
- A DECENT mouse such as a Logitech MX Master 3. Your wrists will thank me down the track (See why here).
- A DECENT keyboard. I use a Logitech gaming unit as the keys are orange backlit, but I also recommend those dedicated ones designed with coloured keycaps for specific video editing programs such as Vegas Pro, Adobe Premiere or Grass Valley EDIUS for example. If you are flush with a few dollars and use the very good (and free) Da Vinci Resolve editing software, then the Blackmagic Design DaVinci keyboard is a ripper, albeit expensive.
- A really, really good set of headphones, especially if you create music videos. You want a set that doesn’t “colour” your audio with extra bass or other frequencies and our resident audio expert here at Australian Videocamera recommends the Sennheiser range for just that reason. The best of the best is the HD660S headphone and there is a full review here.
Most of the better video editing packages (also known as NLEs) have a feast of inbuilt features, but as your interest in editing and film making grows, there are add on packages I can highly recommend as superb adjuncts to make life easier, editing faster and give more flexibility.
Kyno is a superb automatic cataloguing system for all your clips, stills and other media used in making videos – including audio. Check our review and get a trial version (you will NEVER go back!)
Techsmith SNAGIT and Camtasia.
For getting screen grabs and quick and dirty image manipulation (SNAGIT) or for more complex grabbing of screen animations (Camtasia) you cannot go past these two. If you make tutorials, they are invaluable. Get trial versions here.
This program is a boon for those that use so-called “action cams” as they have a number of, shall we call, quirks inherent in their design that ProDrenalin (and its bigger brother Mercalli) assist in rectifying including “curved horizon” and the horrible distortion effect seen mostly notably on clips of aircraft propellers. But ProDrenalin is also useful for smartphone and camera / camcorder shooters as well as action cam users to remove any camera shake.
If you have a hankering for fancy titles and text overlays, have a look at Bluff Titler. Not as sophisticated some may say as NewBlue Titler Pro, but not as expensive either while still being a very classy package!
There are many other add-on bits of hardware, plugins for NLEs and 3rd party applications in the wonderful world of video making and I have only covered a tiny fraction of what is available. These are the ones I think everyone should have as a minimum, but we regularly cover all aspects of hardware and software in Australian Videocamera.
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