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jnorman34

My puter can't handle 4k. Now what?

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I have a gh4 on order to replace the d5300 I have been using. I have downloaded a couple of 4k video clips to try editing them, planning to shoot in 4k and render in 1080. My computer, a think pad i7, just can't handle the files. I tried trial versions of movie studio platinum and powerdirector ultra. My current premiere elements 12 won't work with 4k.

I really don't have another $1000 to throw down for a new puter right now. And I am wondering what might be my best bet for working until I can get a honkin new puter.

Should I just shoot in 1080 for now, or should I go ahead and shoot in 4k and just archive the footage for a while?

What kind of laptop will it take to render 4k video?
Thanks.

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Hi Jon I have 3 1TB external drives that I use for file storage.

If you're editing video of any kind, you need to be hosting your files on an internal drive or something with a fast enough data transfer rate to handle playback. External drives are generally only to be used for archiving files. That could be the issue. Try putting the video files on your internal laptop drive and then see if you have any issues. 

 

Also, post the full specs for your laptop so we know what it is you're working with. 

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If you're editing video of any kind, you need to be hosting your files on an internal drive or something with a fast enough data transfer rate to handle playback. External drives are generally only to be used for archiving files. That could be the issue. Try putting the video files on your internal laptop drive and then see if you have any issues.

Also, post the full specs for your laptop so we know what it is you're working with.

There really are so many variables: different codecs, NLEs, how long your projects will be, etc. I know several filmmakers have successfully edited 4K on underspecced machines by lowering screen resolution and creating proxies. Here is a link that may prove helpful for both laptop and desktop requirements for editing 4K.

http://www.videomaker.com/article/17135-editing-in-4k-minimum-system-requirements

I guess whether you choose to work with media on the computer's drive or an external solution really comes down to personal preference. So if your external drive has low read and write speeds, it would make sense to use the computer's drive.

As for shooting in 1080p or 4K, the latter is going to require enormous amounts of storage space - I think that's something all of us are going to struggle with soon enough.

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External drives are actually more common with serious editing, usually some kind of raid solution, sometimes sharing between multiple editors, etc.  This provides greater access to the drives themselves for maintenance and expansion while lowering downtime on the host editor.  Home editing of course doesn't have to be overkill though and a couple internal drives is okay for small stuff.

 

The speed of the drives and implementation used as well as the speed of the connection play a big part in external solutions.  FW800 connected to an inexpensive raid is plenty fast for 422HQ Prores realtime, for instance, and for at least playback I'm getting realtime QT proxy playback off a single G-Drive with RED footage over FW800 and that's an interface that's fairly long in the tooth now.   eSATA and USB3 are way faster.

 

Of course, you don't need to be editing with 4K footage and if your machine can't handle it you make offline proxies, edit just fine and concentrate on editing, and then do your online conform at 4K and render.  Like a real editor.  An overwhelming majority of the films you see in the theater aren't finished in 4K and of those that are none of them are edited in 4K with camera original files.  

 

Tyler Durden would have a lot to say about all this prosumer/consumer 4K business...

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Austin. The external drives are only used for storage. All active files for editing are on the internal hdd. The think pad is a t410 with a 2.6ghz i7, 4gb ram, 500gb hdd, and nvidia GeForce 9100m.

I'm not familiar with think pads... Could you add at least 4GB RAM and replace the hard drive with a 256GB SSD? It shouldn't cost more than $350 or so and would improve your performance dramatically. 

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jnorman34--

 

Not trying to be snooty here at all, I just want to clarify that rendering and playback are different terms. Playback at a locked framerate is what you want. That depends on compression of the source and speed of the drives. As Sean stated, external drives are usually the fast ones, not internal.  I wouldn't advise recording 4k 8bit 4:2:0 as a workflow for an i7 laptop, separate issue but if possible I'd go with the BMPCC, save the $700 bucks and get a nice external RAID (or SSD if you're into portability over space).

 

Then, working with 1080 10bit (whatever compression depends on the camera), You might be able to work in RT with the SSD/RAID solution and a good video card. It will cost more for you to get there, to high quality 10bit HD with the GH4 than it will with the BMPCC. I don't see the advantage to recording 4:2:0 4k 8bit unless you have a 4k TV set, otherwise I'd go for higher quality HD. Good Luck.

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@sunyata: say jnorman cancelled his GH4 order and got a BMPCC instead: wouldn't the workflow place even greater demands on his computer? (I'm assuming RAW here). I don't think he could even edit in Resolve unless he made some pretty serious upgrades (graphics card, RAM, etc.). I know that my 2013 MacBook Retina 15" with 8GB RAM is insufficient. And even with FCPX, if you plan to use plug-ins like Neat Video or LUTs, 16GB should be considered a minimum. I'm just asking... 

 

I suppose, just like >Bartek Beben's post asking for camera advice, it would be useful to know what kind of shooting and editing the OP does or plans to do in order to make a meaningful recommendation. We also got to hear some great guitar playing as a result :)

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In Premiere CC, I dont have any difficulty editing 4K 100Mbps files from the GH4. I hardly notice a difference with 1080p. Haven't tried grading in resolve yet, probably this will be a bit more intensive, will try soon.

 

I'm running a 3 year old desktop: Core i5 2400, 16GB ram, Intel 180GB SSD (programs), 4TB internal HDD (video files), Nvidia GTX660.

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@Julian You can certainly get more bang for the buck with a desktop than with a laptop! Resolve is one hungry little beast... Even in their user manual, many of the sections begin with something like, "if your computer isn't powerful enough...", or something to that effect. And just to clarify, I can edit in Resolve, but not at peak performance.

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What are the full specs of your laptop?

I'm just saying that I don't notice a big difference with 1080p or 4K at reasonable bitrates. So maybe with the right software your laptop can handle it.

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I have a gh4 on order to replace the d5300 I have been using. I have downloaded a couple of 4k video clips to try editing them, planning to shoot in 4k and render in 1080. My computer just can't handle the files. 

I really don't have another $1000 to throw down for a new puter right now.

Should I just shoot in 1080 for now, or should I go ahead and shoot in 4k and just archive the footage for a while?

 

Well, it's really quite simple, isn't it. It depends what you are buying the new camera for.

To actually shoot, edit and publish real video footage, or just to admire and fondle a cool new gadget? 

If you couldn't edit and publish the footage now, what would be the (practical) point of going for a new tech camera in the first place? GAS, perhaps?

 

If you ask yourself those kind of questions, I believe the answer will be pretty clear. It has very little to do with external vs. internal drives or  other such computer trivia.

 

FWIW, I'd be happy to shoot 'only' 1080p with something like a GH4 or an A7s if I had the chance, because the 1080p they produce is probably pretty good. Then again, I'd probably wait until I can afford both the 4K camera and a 4K-capable mojo, and until then, I'd just keep on using my existing 1080p camera. Not much point in shooting for an archive, just for the sake of having a shiny 4K logo on my camera. IMO, anyway.

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I just checked the specs of your computer, and it's not looking that good for you. Your i7 is a dual-core, not quad core. Your GPU is outdated and very slow. Also, 4 GB of RAM is too few for any kind of editing.

 

I wonder if you actually had smooth playback while editing 1080p native h.264 camera files on this system.

 

Since you can't upgrade this laptop to the extend that you want, I think you should start saving for a new computer or try to get a few more months out of it by trying to convert all the camera's files 1st to a less compressed format such as prores or anything. Then set the playback resolution in your NLE to 1/4th and take it easy on the effects.

 

Good luck. I wonder how my setup would handle 4K. Probably not great either.

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External drives are actually more common with serious editing, usually some kind of raid solution, sometimes sharing between multiple editors, etc.  This provides greater access to the drives themselves for maintenance and expansion while lowering downtime on the host editor.  Home editing of course doesn't have to be overkill though and a couple internal drives is okay for small stuff.

 

This is true. I mentioned storing internally because I can't tell you the amount of newcomers I've met who are using some USB 1.0/2.0 Western Digital drive to edit off of and wondering why 'their computer isn't fast enough'. :rolleyes: 

 

 

Austin. The external drives are only used for storage. All active files for editing are on the internal hdd. The think pad is a t410 with a 2.6ghz i7, 4gb ram, 500gb hdd, and nvidia GeForce 9100m.

Simply put, your processor is too slow and you don't have enough RAM. For $300-$400 you might be able to upgrade and improve things a bit, but in all honesty, if it was me, I'd get a dedicated editing machine that's up to snuff. Your computer is as much an investment as your camera is. I generally stay away from laptops all together, as the lifecycle is only about 4 years max. 

 

Your best bet if you want to stick with the machine you have is to render out proxies and edit those. But truthfully, your laptop specs are rather low for what you're trying to do with it. 

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

My advice is use Premiere and set the playback resolution to 1/4.

It's still bewildering that 1/4 actually = 1080p!

These 4K files are not an easy task to edit in realtime. 

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