TGN Focus – Move Over, James Cameron

We’ve all seen those epic movies – Avatar, 300, the latest Star *cough* Wars movies – the ones with so many special effects that the overdone storylines seem a ‘little’ bit less redundant.

Well, YouTube is nothing like that.  Content is king in our experience – but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with editing along the way.

But like the box-office blockbusters, we might need a little bit of help beyond just Windows Movie Maker – which I discussed in an earlier article.  As we move forward, maybe it’s time for something more professional.  Here at TGN, since this is what we do, we all have a decent understanding of hardware and software that helps us take our quality to the level that we’re looking for.

“Why is hardware important?”

The Techy Stuff

Why is hardware important?  Higher level video editing requires some pretty powerful equipment – but we’re in luck because a lot of the stuff we’re looking for is also important to gaming.  It’s like a match made in heaven!

What are the top 5 things that the TGN team would be looking for?  In order of importance (highest to lowest):

1.  CPU Power

2.  RAM

3.  Storage

4.  Graphics Card

5.  A good (preferably large) monitor

Now, we’re not all comfortable (or financially capable of) upgrading each and every one of these.  That’s why I listed them by importance.  CPU and RAM are the workhorses here (and RAM is cheap), though a graphics card can do some spot coverage.  I would list some specifics, but the ‘top level’ equipment continues to change.  Check out the specs of the latest AlienWare gear if you need a really good reference point.

The only reason that I’ve listed storage as a higher priority than your graphics card is because videos take up so much space.  Like, a ton of space.  An external hard drive is a good way to deal with this issue (remember the good old USB 3.0 HDD).

The bigger monitor isn’t a “must-have,” but it definitely helps things along.  If you are posting your videos in high-resolution, which we do highly recommend, then you get the most out of having a monitor that can see the details.  A 27” monitor helps mimic the experience of your top-end viewer.

Investing in Quality

This is where things can get a little bit expensive, and that’s why I touched on the low-cost alternatives in my earlier article.  Good video editing software will burn a hole in your pocket for several hundred dollars – even for the cheaper versions.  Since this is the stuff that we all use at TGN, I’ll touch on some of the key candidates that we all keep hearing about.

“Ultimately, you get what you pay for with this solid piece of software.”

Sony Vegas Pro 12 – $599.95 – The Safe Choice

Man, that price tag…  Ultimately, you get what you pay for with this solid piece of software.  A winner in pretty much every aspect, Sony Vegas originally started out as a sound editor and has evolved quite a bit since its original version.  What does that mean for you?  The sound editing in Sony Vegas is definitely one of its strong points, and everything else is up to a pretty high standard as well.

What’s the drawback?  Vegas isn’t made for cross-application integration – this means that it’s best used as an all-in-one tool as opposed to a piece of the editing puzzle.  That can be a blessing and a curse, as some projects might require a bit of tweaking to integrate elements from other programs.

Adobe Premiere Pro – $19.95 Monthly – The Recurring Option

Hmmm… it feels a little less expensive at just under $240 a year, but if you’re in it for the long run you’re likely to end up paying a little bit more.  Is it worth it?  Well, Adobe Premiere Pro is a pretty solid option for anyone with all the gear that I mentioned above, but at the end of the day it’s still pretty taxing on your computer.  It’s arguably better than Sony Vegas Pro at a lot of things, but it doesn’t do nearly as well in the sound editing department – a big decision-maker for a lot of people.

The main appeal to Adobe Premiere Pro is the suite of other products that adobe can offer, and their compatibility with the video editor.  This means you can pretty seamlessly hop from one application to the next without struggling with formatting.  Is this a great selling point?  It depends on what you prefer.

Final Cut Pro X – $299 – The (Surprisingly Good) Mac-Friendly Option

For those of us that are Mac users (an increasing number of gamers), FCPX is a smooth-running solid piece of software that is very easy to use.  While its price tag does come with some shortfalls behind its Adobe and Sony counterparts, it does a heck of a lot while offering the most user-friendly and fluid experience.

It won’t make your computer chug because it was engineered for Macs which traditionally don’t have as much power as PCs, and some really intuitive drag and drop functionality is always a plus.  It also sports a pretty slick interface.  I like slick.  Slick is good.

“You’ve probably heard a little bit about this program as you’ve browsed forums and video editing articles…”

Honourable Mention – Adobe After Effects – $19.95 Monthly

You’ve probably heard a little bit about this program as you’ve browsed forums and video editing articles.  It’s important to point out that After Effects is very different from Premiere despite that they look a lot alike on the surface.  After Effects is a video compositing solution, meaning that it is intended for animation, green-screen work, or anything along those lines.

What’s the difference?  It more or less renders every frame it plays which slows things down… a lot!  It fits well with Premiere because it’s like a brother program – this is why Premiere is a cross-compatible solution.

I hope this helped you a little with your decisions.  High-end video editing requires a big investment, so I encourage you to do your research and come back to us at TGN with any questions about how we do certain things in our videos.

Stay tuned for next week!

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