Apr 27 2009
By: Brian Burnham
Alright, last time we set up our system and were ready to begin editing. Now we’ll take a look at a couple potential problems to avoid and some ways to maximize the potential of your new editing system.
We had only one hang-up in our installation. Learn from my mistake!
Pixels, pixels, pixels
Many industry-standard non linear editors work off of the 640×480 pixel depth, using the square pixels your computer generates. However, the RTMac is set to work instead with the 720×480 pixel ratio. This does not mean the video frame is any wider. This new ratio is founded upon 4:3 pixels, rather than the square default on your computer. What does this mean? In short it means that your RTMac will only work on it’s default of 720×480
When working on a Mac used primarily for video editing, there is another caveat: beware of constant upgrading. In many cases you will find that the $1,000 editing system you purchased doesn’t work with the free QuickTime upgrade that shows up in your Software Update. You should exercise extreme caution when upgrading system components to a version newer than your video software. In fact, unless you are updating all of your video software, don’t update anything else that could remotely conflict. In our case here, it has been brought to my attention that you will likely find the 5.0.2 QuickTime update incompatible with the RTMac. Let me summarize this point by saying that, in the interest of stability, you must sacrifice the urge to update your video editor.
Okay, sorry for the lecture, but I think you’ll find configurations and updates to be the primary causes of problems on your Mac. Now, let’s make your Mac all that it can be.
If, for some reason, your video editor needs to be used for other purposes, let me suggest you use some of the internal customizing features of your Mac OS. Extensions are the number one cause of grief and conflict on your Mac. If you have to install a bunch of extra something on your computer, use the Extension Manager.
I’m not going to explain to you the ins and outs of the EM. Take a moment to make a separate setting for video. Disable things like File Sharing, printers and other unrelated drivers. Don’t get to crazy, many system components are still necessary. Experiment. Now, leave yourself another set with all these extensions enabled for the other uses of your Mac, printing, etc. When you are ready to do some intensive editing or capturing, change your extension set and restart.
Okay,now that we have selectively deactivated extensions that are unneeded, lets cut your Mac loose from some other restrictions. First, deactivate AppleTalk, Web Sharing and File Sharing. Background activity on your Mac can interfere with your video work.
Working the Disks
If you ordered your Mac with optional new drives (this is a good idea), go into Final Cut Preferences and click on the "Scratch Disks" tab. Here you can tell Final Cut which disks to use for video capture, etc. On our system, we have 2 extra drives. In order to take the load off the system disk and increase speed, we will set the audio and video capture on a separate disk than the one we are running the OS and final Cut from. Then, to further optimize our system, we will set our Audio and Video Render to still another disk, to increase the speed of our editing. Finally, get a disk defragmenting program, such as Norton SpeedDisk and defragment your disks frequently. This will prevent I/O errors with your video data. A word on stripping (that’s with one "p") Many professionals stripe their hard drives. This increases the read/write speed of their drives. However, this is not a native format that can be read by your system, and requires third party software. Because of the instability that comes with third party drivers, I recommend against this – in our situation here. There are times
to stripe, but this isn’t one of them
Next time we’re going to take a step back and have a look at what we’ve done. In this final installment we’ll asses our equipment and software and decide what’s good, great or fit for the trash heap. For those of you who have experience with these products, send me your opinions! Tune in next time to find out how these video tools rate!