What Does Someone Interested In Video Production Need To Know In Advance?

Interested In Video Production? Here’s Some Advance Tips

So you’re considering getting into video production, but don’t know much about it…

We’ve teamed up with David Spector Media to go over topics that someone who's considering getting into video production needs to know from a workflow perspective. What software do they like most, what softwares work nicely together, and what different softwares are better at.

While a $5000 workstation is a powerful tool and certainly can improve your business, if you aren’t the best at editing, and shoot low quality content, you might want to review your priorities. Inversely, if you're creating high quality content regularly, and are good at editing, you'll be held back by a lower end workstation.


David Spector Media

When considering a computer for video production many factors will come into play. First is the software that you will be using. I currently use Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Final Cut Pro X, so I have to use a Mac because Final Cut Pro X is only available on the Mac.

Other popular software would be DaVinci Resolve. DaVinci Resolve is mostly free, leaving more advanced features and capacities such as better audio tools, Hollywood-grade color correction, and editing high quality 4K content for the $300 professional version.

Starting With The Basics

If you are a beginner and looking to learn the basics of editing, then I would suggest learning on iMovie if you are on a Mac or Hitfilm Express if you are on a PC. These programs are much easier to learn, however, you will be limited on features.

A Deeper Dive

If you want to dive in and learn Premiere or FCPX, there are plenty of resources online (both free and paid) to learn the software. FCPX costs $300 and Adobe Premiere is on a subscription plan starting at $20.99 a month. Educational packages for Premiere Pro CC are even less.

What Camera Are You Using?

Next up, what camera are you shooting with? iPhone, DSLR, Cinema camera? Are you shooting in 1080p HD, 4K, or even higher resolutions?

Codecs and Such

Every camera will have a different codec that it will shoot in. I shoot with a Sony FS5 cinema camera and a Sony A7ii as my b-cam. The FS5 will shoot in 4K in XAVC-L codec, which is a more compressed codec that allows the camera to record to more affordable SD cards rather than more expensive XQD cards.

This means that the computer is going to have to do a lot more work once you ingest the files to edit them. If you camera just records to MP4 files then your computer can read these much easier.

Editing Workflows

Now that we got that all out of the way, what’s the best workflow for editing?

I edit a lot on the go, so I am currently editing on a mid-2014 13” Macbook Pro with 8GB of memory. If I am editing in FCPX (optimized for Apple) I can edit 4K files without issues, but if I am using Premiere then I need to create proxies.

What are proxies you ask?

Proxies are low resolution copies of your footage that you can use to edit everything together. Once you are finished, you can link it back to the high resolution files with just one click.

I have adopted using proxies all the time even for HD footage as it is less taxing on the computer, and makes scrubbing through the footage buttery smooth.

There are many different options for proxies but I suggest using GoPro CineForm as a proxies. If you are on a Mac you can use Apple Pro Res but I like the GoPro CineForm.

Personal Recommendations for Editing Storage

Another must have in your workflow is a very fast SSD drive to edit the footage from. I STRONGLY recommend using an SSD for this, a hard drive is not a good idea.

Since I am portable, I purchased a Samsung T5 1TB BUS powered USB drive. This allows me to edit very quickly and not have to wait for the drive to catch up.

I would also suggest having a separate SSD drive for your OS and applications to be installed on and only having spinning drives for archival storage.

In Conclusion

Taking all of these factors into consideration will help you decide the best parts for building your system.

If you are an amateur editor and do this for fun, then you do not need to invest thousands of dollars into a system.

If you are doing this professionally, then spending the extra money up front will help you edit faster, add more value to your business, make your clients happier, and put more money in your wallet.

About David Spector Media

David Spector Media is a full service photo and video production company specializing in helping small business and brands get a video presence online.

We also provide freelance video editing if you already have the video and need it edited together to tell your story. We serve the Triangle area of NC and can travel if needed.


Top Flight Computers

Video production is a task that requires a talented team and the right hardware.

Since you can only edit as good as you shoot, it’s important to not waste money on a super-powerful workstation if you’re shooting in low resolution.

Conversely, if you’re shooting in 4K at high speed, using a low-quality workstation will have a large negative impact on your workflow, causing production delays and could damage your reputation.

What Do We Build?

Being that we only build PCs (no Macs), we don’t work with FCPX. We do however, work with Premiere Pro CC and DaVinci Resolve (as well as Sony Vegas Pro and After Effects CC).

All of our major video production workstations have specific hardware optimizations.

How Workstations Can Differ

For instance, Sony Vegas Pro can use fairly high-end CPUs and GPUs.

We use an i9-9900K processor and an RTX 2070 8GB video card by default in Sony Vegas Pro.

Premiere Pro CC has been updated to take advantage of high-end CPUs and GPUs.

We use a Threadripper 2950X processor and an RTX 2070 8GB video card for our default Premiere Pro CC rig.

DaVinci Resolve can use a high-end CPU and multiple high-end GPUs.

Our default Resolve workstation has an i9-9900X processor and an RTX 2080 8GB video card.

A Strong Overall System Design

When designing a workstation for a complex workflow, it’s important to take all elements into account.

If part of your workflow is CPU-speed reliant, another part uses high multithreading, and another part uses video cards well, then you need to find a happy combination of the three.

Sometimes this is harder than initially expected, though we’re happy to advise you on the best path for your scenario.

Is SSD Worth It?

We advise using SSD as much as possible. SSD has always had better performance and lower latency, only now it’s getting extremely affordable as well.

Most of our non “render box” style workstations use a combination of SSD and HDD for boot/programs, project/caching, and long-term archival storage.

Our rendering workstations are typically outfitted with a 1TB SSD for quick storage of rendered content, and can be loaded with a HDD if you need long-term storage on your render box as well.

In Conclusion

Taking all of these factors into consideration will help you decide the best parts for building your system.

If you are an amateur editor and do this for fun, then you do not need to invest thousands of dollars into a system.

If you are doing this professionally, then spending the extra money up front will help you edit faster, add more value to your business, make your clients happier, and put more money in your wallet.


About Top Flight Computers

Top Flight Computers designs high-performance custom-built computers. We specialize in workstations, gaming computers, and water cooling.

We are based in Cary, North Carolina, and we ship across the USA. Check out our previous builds and our page on Facebook.