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DJI PHANTOM DRONE reviewed page 8



Built-in dual-band 5 GHz

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Introducing the XA25, Canon’s full-featured, Wi-Fi® compatible, compact professional camcorder

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Featuring HD/SD-SDI output that integrates with your existing HD workflow, the XA25 is the

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Our precise Canon 20x High Definition Optical Zoom Lens with Intelligent Optical Image

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With built-in dual-band 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, the XA25 gives you reliable signal transport.

You can also manage settings and operations remotely with its wireless control capabilities.

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© 2013 Canon U.S.A., Inc. All rights reserved. Canon and DIGIC are registered trademarks of the Canon Inc. in the United States and may also be registered trademarks in other countries.


and 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi

with simultaneous HD- and Web-version dual recording









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Black and

White Video


In-depth Review: JVC GC-PX100


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Wi-Fi is a registered trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance. All other product and brand names are trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

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Volume 28 • Number 3






Laptops Buyer’s Guides


The Anatomy of Subsampling

You need the mobility that only a laptop can provide, and since you’ll be editing video, you need more power than a tablet has to offer. Find what you seek in Videomaker’s Laptops Buyer’s Guide. by George F. Young

Chroma subsampling is the DNA of color information in the pixels of a video image. It’s a small part of each individual frame, but one that plays a major role in the construction of the overall clip of footage. by Chris “Ace” Gates



Workstations Buyer’s Guide

If you’re ready to update your system, or you’re new to the world of video editing, Videomaker ’s Workstations Buyer’s Guide will help you make an informed choice.


5 Tips for Capturing Creative Inspiration

There are no simple, paint-by-numbers solutions to your creative conundrums, but there are steps you can take to increase your odds of gaining inspiration.


by George F. Young

by Chuck Peters



9 Affordable Approaches to Video Training

Video production rules, secrets and tricks aren’t something we’re born with, or a gift gained via effortless, often unconscious assimilation. by Earl Chessher


The Fastest Processor for Video Editing

Along with acquiring the skills of editing on a professional system, video editors need to understand their system’s processing needs. by Dan Bruns









On the Cover





JVC GC-PX100 Camcorder LaCie 5big Thunderbolt RAID



DVD’s Future


56 Ad Index


GenArts Sapphire 7 Visual Effects Software RØDE iXY and smartLav Microphones

by Matthew York


DJI Phantom Quadcopter


Basic Training

Writing Your First Screenplay




by Kyle Cassidy








Light Boxes and Specialty Setups

by Dan Bruns


by Terry O’Rourke


DJI Phantom





Color Grading

by Brian Peterson


by Chris “Ace” Gates


LaCie 5big

Thunderbolt RAID


by Mike Wilhelm




Shooting in Black and White by Dan Bruns


GenArts Sapphire 7

Visual Effects Software by Mike Houghton


Next Month



The Illusion of Volume by Hal Robertson


RØDE iXY and smartLav

Microphones by Mark Holder



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DLSRs and Lens Filters Buyer’s Guides How to Profit From Training Videos

On Sale September 24, 2013



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An In-Depth Look at Adobe’s Creative Cloud Subscription Program



The Best Way to Become a Video Ace, Fast?

Let the Videomaker experts teach you hands-on, face-to-face!



See page 29 for details









Lightning-fast, portable video capture and playback for post-production professionals.

Announcing the Thunderbolt™-equipped Io XT, a new portable, compact capture

Io XT uses the blazing-fast 10Gbps available bandwidth on the latest Thunderbolt™-

Designed for today’s workflows, Io XT provides compatibility with the most popular NLE

Io XT connects to your Mac with a single Thunderbolt™ cable and provides a second

Io XT Features:

(2) Thunderbolt™ ports (supports multiple Thunderbolt™-enabled

Reference In/LTC In (selectable)


4-pin XLR Power (AC adapter included)

Pair Io XT with a MacBook Pro and Thunderbolt™-based storage solution and you’ve

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ma t t ers



by Matthew York

DVD’s Future


Videomaker empowers people to make video in a way that inspires, encourages and equips for success. We do this by building a community of readers, web visitors, viewers, attendees and marketers.

publisher/editor associate publisher chief operating officer

content director

Matthew York

Patrice York

Tom Urbanowicz

Mike Wilhelm

Jennifer O’Rourke

Harness the power of Thunderbolt™


For current video production, from Hollywood to a child’s birthday cel-


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Greg Olson


ebration, the host of new delivery and


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viewing options removes the hassle of burning a DVD and all the variables


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Susan Schmierer


contributing editors

Kyle Cassidy


that come with that preparation. Move


Earl Chessher


over DVD, but for what?


Mark Holder


We who shoot, edit and create for


Mark Levy


DVD distribution are aware of the


Terry O’Rourke


Hal Robertson


steps it takes, but many others use a new world of distribution that makes


advertising director

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for instant access of videos, without ever having to burn a DVD.

Due to the costs involved, Blu-ray

advertising representative telephone (530) 891-8410 account executive

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Previously, from movies to docu-

hasn’t reached the market penetra-

account executive

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mentaries and archival film and video, moving from one distribution format

tion of DVD. Many popular titles aren’t making the jump. With DVD players

director of marketing

information systems

Terra Yurkovic


to another always resulted in loss.

that can scale up resolution, a goodly

marketing coordinator

Joseph Ayres


Many older films are stuck in limbo

number of consumers are still happy

marketing coordinator

Tyler Kohfeld


as costs for reformatting are often prohibitive. Some of that is changing,

with that method for viewing on their new HD televisions. The USB drive

web analyst

Jordan Claverie


ever since the plethora of options for

or other flash media, while nearly

IT assistant

Seth Hendrick


online and on-demand viewing signifi- cantly lowered processing expenses. Which all begs the question: what is the future of video distribution? The formula that eventually made DVD successful over film, LaserDisc and VHS, with all the competing elements of each, was ubiquity and inexpensive media. As players became a dime a dozen and home burner systems be- came more and more affordable, these allowed just about anyone the ability to create and preserve a DVD. But even with its apparent universal availability and ease of use, DVD has not reached every consumer on the planet. There are drawbacks to each

treated as disposable these days, is still more expensive when compared to blank DVDs. Joining this myriad of options are TVs, most of which can now utilize many storage options but not all of them. Tablets and smartphones don’t accept USB or optical sources. While still plentiful, laptop and desktop computers and their univer- sal connectivity are losing market share to mobile devices. So, how long will the “stationary” computers be an option? The answer is, regardless of your personal, commercial or distribution needs there is still no more ubiquitous

web developer

director of finance accounting assistant fulfillment assistant

Jill Lutge

Stephen Awe

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subscription information Videomaker Subscription Fulfillment P.O. Box 3780, Chico, CA 95927 telephone: (800) 284-3226 e-mail:


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connector for daisy-chaining other Thunderbolt™ devices, such as storage, making it perfect for on set, or in the edit suite. It’s loaded with KONA-grade features that provide 3G/Dual-link/HD/SD-SDI, Component Analog, and HDMI connectivity. AJA’s industry-proven OS X software and drivers provide extensive codec and media support - and superior 10-bit “always-on” hardware-based up/down/cross conversions allow you to seamlessly ingest and output in the video format of your choice.

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device “daisy-chaining”) (2) 3G/HD/SD-SDI inputs and outputs Single link SDI 4:2:2 or 4:4:4; Dual-link SDI 4:4:4 support HDMI input and output Analog component/composite output, 10-bit Video Up, Down, and Cross conversion (hardware-based, 10-bit) 8-Channel embedded SDI audio I/O 8-Channel analog audio output (via standard DB-25-type cable) Front panel LED VU meters and Headphone output w/level control

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current distribution option; from YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, Hulu and others including direct-to-consumer delivery via cloud-based services like Dropbox, Blu-ray and even flash media like USB drives. In spite of all of us who have computers, wireless access, smartphones, smart TVs, etc.,

delivery method than DVD and our best option is to utilize every available method we can to ensure access for the most people possible.

Videomaker (ISSN 0889-4973) is published monthly by Videomaker, Inc., P.O. Box 4591, Chico, CA 95927. ©2013 Videomaker, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part without written consent of the publisher is prohibited. The Videomaker name is a registered trademark, property of Videomaker, Inc. Editorial solici- tations welcomed; publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited material. Editorial-related photos and artwork received unsolicited become property of Video- maker. Single-copy price: $5.99; $7.99 in Canada. Subscription rates: one year (12 issues) $19.97; $29.97 in Canada (U.S. funds); $44.97 Foreign Delivery (prepayment required, U.S. funds). Send subscription correspondence to Videomaker, P.O. Box 3780, Chico, CA 95927. Back issues of Videomaker are available for order online at or by calling Customer Service at (800) 284-3226. Periodicals postage paid at Chico, CA 95927 and additional mailing offices. Canada Post International Mail Sales Agreement #40051846. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Videomaker, P.O. Box 3780, Chico, CA 95927. CANADA POSTMASTER: Please send Canadian address changes to: IDS, P.O. Box 122, Niagara Falls, Ontario L2E 6S8.




there are still plenty of people who

Matthew York is Videomaker 's Publisher/Editor.

Videomaker makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, with respect to the completeness, accuracy or utility of these materials or any information or opinion


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want to play DVDs with their play- ers along with a few holdouts still

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contained herein. Any use or reliance on the information or opinion is at the risk of the user, and Videomaker shall not be liable for any damage or injury incurred by any person arising out of the completeness, accuracy or utility of any information or opinion contained in these materials. These materials are not to be construed as an endorse-

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milking their VHS collections on that dusty-but-trusty VCR.

#15669 in the subject line. You can comment and rate this article by going online:

ment of any product or company, nor as the adoption or promulgation of any guidelines, standards or recommendations.



















as the image is magnified up to 10x. In our tests, we were easily able to tell the difference in brightness between the wide and telephoto zoom lengths of our image. As such, most cinema-

Image Sensor: 1/2.3" Back-illuminated

CMOS Recording Modes: 1920x1080:

Image Stabilization: Optical Manual White Balance: Yes Zebra Stripes: Yes


High Frame Rate,

by Daniel Bruns


tographers would be well-advised to

60p/60i; 1280x720: 60p/30p; 640x360:

LCD Monitor: 3" 460K pixels (16:9)


Low Price


sit close to the action so that zooming isn't required. Great looking shots require a great looking monitor, and the GC-PX100 has just that. Its 3-inch LCD monitor has one of the better looking images we’ve seen at this price. The color is rich and accurate, and the picture is very bright, even in outdoor situations. Additionally, JVC includes a spring- loaded hood that blocks much of the

300p, 240p, 120p; 320x176: 600p, 420p Recording Media: SDHC/SDXC memory card class 6, 10 File Format: MOV, MP4, AVCHD, iFrame Interchangeable Lenses: No Lens ƒ-stop: 1.2-2.8 Focus Distance: 3.76mm-37.6mm Optical Zoom: 10x Filter Diameter: 46mm

Progressive Scan: Yes Video Out: 1/8" (3.5mm) component, Mini HDMI Microphone In: 1/8" (3.5mm) VU Meter: Yes Headphone Jack: 1/8" (3.5mm) Speaker: Yes Wireless Remote: No Battery Type: Lithium ion


F rom its inception, capturing beauti- ful images in cinematography has

provide. Camcorder companies like JVC are well aware of this. That’s why

A Bold New Design

corders in its class. This means that shooting your friend’s or child’s hour-

glare from hitting the screen in bright light. The LCD screen also tilts verti- cally which made high angle and low angle shooting easy. The LCD is not able to hinge horizontally, however,

Focus: Auto/Manual Iris/Gain Control: Auto/Manual Shutter Speed: Auto/Manual

Accessory Shoe: Yes (1 hot, 1 cold) Dimensions(LxWxH): 4.4" x 3" x 7.3" Weight: 1.2lb. (500g) without battery


relied on seeing the world in a fresh, new way. Whether that meant getting incredibly close to a subject’s eyes, or seeing the world from the inside of a mailbox, audiences have always yearned to see scenes from angles that are impossible to see in real life. That’s


they've created the GC-PX100. With it’s ability to shoot video up to 600 frames per second, and at $1,000, JVC makes its mark in the world of afford- able high frame rate recording.

long baseball game shouldn’t require several trips to the weight room before the shoot. Much of the reason for the minimal weight of this camera can be attributed to the small, lightweight battery the GC-PX100 uses. The




one of the main reasons why slow-

One of the first things people notice

1460mAh Li-ion battery is small, yet


motion, and high frame rate cinema- tography are so popular. People sim- ply love studying the detailed nuances that slow-motion cinematography can

about the GC-PX100 is its truly unique design. With its diminutive size and manual controls, JVC seems to be trying to split the difference between the convenience of a DSLR and a traditional camcorder. The resulting

surprisingly powerful due to the ef- ficiency of the internal electronics. In fact, we found that the battery lasted for almost two solid hours of intermit- tent recording. For night games, the GC-PX100 has a fast ƒ/1.2 lens which will allow cin-

strange form factor is a surprisingly

ematographers to capture noise-free

ergonomic and functional camcorder

images, even if the game goes into ex-



that accommodates a large aperture ƒ/1.2 lens, a zoom rocker, a tiltable LCD screen, two shoe slots,

tra innings. As with most zoom lenses though, the f-stop does drop to ƒ/2.8


Up to 600fps recording speeds

an optional viewfinder, an

Manual control dial for aperture or shutter speed


ƒ/1.2 lens


10x zoom

SD card slot, and a bevy of


Solid low light performance

inputs and outputs into its design.



The bold body of the


Touch screen delay

GC-PX100, while unique,



Low resolution when recording at high

does helps us appreciate it’s useful features. One of the



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frame rate

aspect we really liked was the weight of the camera. At


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1.3-pounds, the GC-PX100 is one of the lightest cam-









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which limited our ability to get great shots in tight situations. The menu system on the PX100 is accessible through the same LCD touch screen. Though we felt that the menu system was easy to understand and the touch screen was very accurate, we did notice that the button delay was long enough to be a nuisance. As for controls, the PX100 took a note from traditional camcorders by including a standard zoom rocker,

image looked good no matter what the lighting condi- tions were. JVC’s excel- lent sensor technology and speedy processor also make for excellent image quality. In our tests,

Though the speed of JVC’s processor is quite remarkable, it still only allows for a resolu- tion of 320x176 pixels at frame rates


JVC’s GC-PX100 is one of the most



manual control dial — which can

we found that there was virtually no rolling shutter, which was very

of 480 or 600 frames per second. We


switch between controlling aperture or shutter speed — a dedicated high-

impressive considering that even a

found that this resolution is noticeably blocky during playback, which often


speed recording dial, a focus ring, and

high-end camcorder might struggle

led us to shoot at a lesser frame rate



pair of shoe slots. One of these is a

with the issue. The quick processor

of 300 frames per second in order to


also means that the camera shuts off

get a decent resolution of 640x360

hot shoe that allows users to take an optional viewfinder on and off the back of the camera while still leaving room to attach a microphone or light to the front.

and powers up very quickly. In our tests, it took four seconds to power up the camera and 1.5 seconds to power down. This allowed us to never miss a shot, even if our camera was powered down.

pixels. However, considering where the technology is today and the price of the camera, we still felt like the high frame rate capabilities of the PX100 are truly noteworthy. Also noteworthy

Another great design feature is the


is the ability to play the high frame


plethora of inputs and outputs that come with the PX100. Unlike many DSLRs, the PX100 has both a micro- phone and headphone jack in order to aid the quality of sound in the camera.


JVC also includes HDMI, AV, and USB output on the camera for flexibility outputs.

A Quality Sensor

Great features and versatile controls are wonderful items to have on a camcorder, but it’s all for naught if it doesn’t produce great looking video. To address this, JVC included a 1/2.3- inch backside illuminated sensor in

A Need for Speed

The most exciting feature this cam- corder's quick processor provides

the ability to shoot at frame rates


up to 600 frames per second. This frame rate captures enough to be able to analyze golf swings, run- ning form, and pitching style which makes it perfect for athletes look- ing to improve their game. In fact, JVC has even developed an app for coaches to record video of athletes on tablet devices using the PX100. To do this, JVC includes a Wi-Fi trans- mitter in the PX100 that can broad- cast a video signal in near real-time to a tablet device. Once connected to the camera, it is possible to quickly export up to 12 stills of the most

important part of the athlete’s move- ment. However, even if you’re not

coach, we found the app was still

quite useful for controlling the cam- era from a distance and playing back


rate footage in slow-motion through the camera’s review menu. This meant that we were able to analyze our slow- motion footage just moments after we shot it — a time-saving feature for athletes looking for an instant replay. Overall, we found that the ability to record at 300 frames per second in such a lightweight package, and at a price of $1,000 makes the GC-PX100 a real winner in the world of affordable high frame rate cinematography.

affordable choices for high frame rate, slow-motion cinematography today. With it’s ability to shoot up to 600 frames per second, small form factor, and affordable price, this camera is a solid choice for athletes, coaches, and consumers who need good performance on a budget.

now in both regular and heavy duty models!

for the studio or heavy duty for live outside broadcast! The new heavy duty models are machined from solid aluminum so they look beautiful and are super tough! There are 14 models including HDMI, analog, optical fiber, audio embedding/de-embedding and up, down, cross conversion. Mini Converters are even available as OpenGear cards for when you need a rack mount solution.

formats, including NTSC, PAL, 1080PsF23.98, 1080PsF24, 1080PsF25, 1080i50, 1080i59.94, 1080i60, 720p50, 720p59.94 and 720p60. Updates can be loaded via USB.

through SDI output. Connect a redundant SDI cable to the second input, and if the main SDI input is lost, Mini Converters will automatically switch over in an instant. That’s great for mission critical tasks such as live events.

so you’re always future proofed! 3 Gb/s SDI is also fully compatible with all your existing standard definition and high definition SDI equipment.

with low SDI jitter, so you get the longest SDI cable lengths combined with ultra low noise broadcast quality analog video and audio.



the PX100. Not only is the size of the

the footage in slow-motion instanta- neously on a much larger screen.

Daniel Bruns is an award-winning cinematographer and editor.

balanced audio that switches between AES/EBU or analog. Unlike other converters you don’t need expensive custom


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sensor rather impressive for a cam- corder in this price range, but with the natural noise-suppression capabilities


For comments, email:, use article

audio cables so you’ll save thousands of dollars!

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of back-illuminated sensor technol- ogy, we noticed that dark areas of the

Added value! Sample footage from the JVC GC-PX100: http://www.videomaker.


#15865 in the subject line. You can comment and rate this article by going online:










DJI Phantom


DJI Phantom Quadcopter

A Bird for



DJI Phantom Remote Control Handset


Power Consumption: 3.1W Hover Accuracy (GPS mode): Verti- cal; +/- 31.5" (.8m) Horizontal; +/-


The Intelligent Orienta- tion Control is perhaps the best feature for those of us not used to flying RC heli- copters. It has two modes; course lock and home




Max Yaw Angular Velocity:

Lock, both require you to



enable them through soft- ware. Course lock lets you


by Brian Peterson


Max Ascent/Descent Speed: +/- 13.4mph (6m/s) Max Flight Velocity: 22.4mph (10m/s) Battery type: LiPo Dimensions (LxWxH): 17.8" x 17.8" x 7.5" (350mmx190mm)

GoPro HERO3: Black Edition and set it

fly the Phantom regardless of which way the quadcop- ter is pointed with forward/ backward and left/right controls maintaining their normal function. Home lock works similarly but


H ave you ever dreamed about get- ting into aerial videography but

shuddered at the complexity and high

and perfectly stable tracking shots; flying a Phantom will simply make

laminated so we could leave it lying around on damp grass.


Weight: 1.4lb. (650g) with camera mount but no battery

the left/right control will make the Phantom circle around the recorded Home location.

when we turned off the transmitter. It

to drift up and down a little requiring us to constantly nudge the throttle to


cost? DJI Innovations’ Phantom quad- copter, with its simple operation and

you feel like a kid again. Of course, like kids, we probably didn't spend enough time reviewing

Video Platform

The Phantom is, of course, more than just a fun toy. It is a very capable video


TRANSMITTER Working Frequency: 2.4GHz ISM Control Channels: 6

Finally, we tested the go-home and land failsafe mode. This only works when you have acquired six or more GPS satellites. We were in a very large

maintain altitude. Make no mistake, this is not a replacement for a jib. Perfectly stable and level footage is the Holy Grail, but to get this, you may


comparatively low cost, may be your answer. The Phantom is a ready-to-fly quadcopter optimized for GoPro cam- eras. It comes with all the parts neces- sary for flight, including a 6-channel transmitter, a camera mount, a lithium polymer battery, a charger, a spare set of propellers and software.

the manual before our maiden flight. Fortunately, the online video tutorials helped us get airborne without seri- ously damaging our new airship. It certainly helps if you have flown remote controlled aircraft before, but


ence flying RC gliders but we had never flown a helicopter or multi-rotor

isn't critical. We had a little experi-

and photo aerial platform. To get the most out of this aircraft you will need to reduce vibration to a minimum. You do this by balancing each of the four propellers by using a prop balancer and sanding off the heavier sides of each blade and/or using balancing tape. There is information about how


Communication Distance: 300m Power: AA batteries (4)

to capture video at 720p/60fps. Since we had plenty of rough landings, we also recalibrated the Phantom’s IMU

open field with no trees around, had more than six satellites and very little wind. We flew the Phantom to about 100-feet away and about 100-feet high

was a bit scary, but it did fly to the lift off point, hovered briefly and slowly landed within a couple yards of where

find you have to spend more money and time than you initially thought. A good two or three-axis brushless gim- bal is about the only way to achieve this footage and most are expensive. There are several third-party gimbals currently available and DJI has its own. The Phantom is a well-built, well-


Fun, Fun, Fun

aircraft, so the action of the throttle

to do this using vibration dampening


using the included NAZA-M software.


took off.

engineered and relatively low cost


We have to admit it: flying the Phan- tom is pure fun. For just a moment,

and yaw controls were new to us.

mounts and even selecting non-stock props at .


We also calibrated the Phantom's compass. DJI provides instructions for


aerial video platform. Just remember to save some cash for accessories such


forget about creating cinematic flybys

Blinking Lights

For our tests we used stock propel-


this process, but we also watched their

Flying the Phantom is, above all, fun.

little to no wiggling effect, especially af-

as extra batteries, maybe a gimbal and


DJI Innovations Technology

The Phantom lets you know what's going on with flight modes, acquired satellites and inertial

lers, balancing each one. We used a


helpful how-to videos. The Phantom has several flight modes. The GPS mode attempts to re-

Our test video looked very good, with

ter we balanced our propellers and had

lots of replacement propellers.


DJI Phantom with a mounted HERO3: Black Edition


turn to a hover after moving in one di-


little more experience in the air. The

DJI’s Phantom quadcopter is a well-




measurement unit (IMU) status with an

LED light that indicates red, yellow and green


rection and releasing the control sticks rather than continuing in the same di- rection. We enjoyed flying in this mode

Phantom can get you angles you've never before been able to capture. But profitable? No. At least for now, the FCC

designed, easy to fly, low cost aerial video platform, with sophisticated GPS and failsafe features in a small


Low cost

in a variety of sequenc-


but the Phantom's automated quick

says you can't charge people for foot-

and durable package. It is perfect for


Easy controls

es and rates. It took us


course corrections in this mode made

age from your new toy. (See our feature

hobbyists who want to add camera


Stable flying


while to understand


for very shaky video. We ended up

on the legalities of shooting with drone

angles that used to be reserved for



the important ones, but


using the Attitude Control Mode while

cameras, Attack on the Drones, Is shoot-

only big budget productions.


Short flight time

DJI gives you a handy,


shooting video, as it did not make any

ing With a Drone Camera Legal? from our August 2013 issue, www.videomak-



Best stability requires skill and additional accessories

one-page PDF that is a good reference for all


Camera not included

automated course adjustments other than returning to level flight when we

Brian Peterson is a commercial video producer, con- sultant and certified Steadicam owner/operator.


full screen

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initial flights. In fact, we found we referred


centered the control sticks. There is also a manual mode you

In all modes, we did have some trouble maintaining the same altitude

For comments, email:, use article #16035 in the subject line. You can comment and rate this



to this sheet enough to warrant getting it


enable through software but we did not feel brave enough to try it.

in a hover. Even without any wind or throttle movement, the Phantom tends

article by going online:



going online: print 8 VIDEOMAKER >>> SEPTEMBER 2013 VIDEOMAKER











LaCie 5big


LaCie 5big Thunderbolt






down from my bedroom. On a night I had several overnight renders queued, and with both doors open, the blue light was enough to spill into the hall- way, reflect off my eggshell colored walls, and illuminate my room.

First Thing’s First: Speed Tests

Capacity: 10TB (reviewed) or 20TB Interface: Dual 10Gb/s Thunderbolt Interface Transfer Rate: Up to 10Gb/s Included Disks: Swappable HDDs (5) Rotational Speed: 7200rpm

Video Channels: 10Gb/s independent uplink and downlinks Daisy Chain: Up to six thunderbolt- compatible devices Enclosure: Aluminum


Heavy Lifting With the Power of Thunder(bolt)


To test the 5big, we put it through a cou- ple of tests using artificial and practical methodology, all on a current genera- tion MacBook Pro with Retina display. The first thing we did was a disk speed test using Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test utility. When in RAID 0 configuration,

Cache: 64MB or greater RAID Modes: Preconfigured RAID 0 array, RAID 1/JBOD configuration using Mac OS Disk Utility Data Protocol: PCI Express

Cooling: Noctua magnetic levitation cooling fan Power Supply: 100-240Vca; 47/63Hz Dimensions (WxHxD): 6.8" x 8.6" x 7.7" Weight: 16.8 lb. (7.6kg)


by Mike Wilhelm

O h the woes of being a video edi-

with their out-of-the-box workstation,


we saw write speeds of 533.1MB/s and

Video Protocol: Dual-Mode DisplayPort

System Requirements: Computer with


tor! Most people get along fine

the need to move files to a local drive. We’ve all been there. We have an ex- ternal drive connected to our worksta-

an impressive amount of security, so it’s unfortunate that RAID 5 isn’t an option. The 5big has a brushed aluminum

LaCie 5big docking bay

read speeds of 536.5MB/s. (LaCie reports read/write speeds significantly higher than this, which could be attributed to our maxed-out speed test utility.) When

Data Channels: 10Gb/s independent uplink and downlinks

a Thunderbolt Port, Mac OS X 10.6 or greater


even for professional uses, but not us. While many creative profession- als could use more power and more speed out of their machine, we face a somewhat unique problem: storage space. That’s where devices like the LaCie 5big come in. The LaCie 5big is a five-bay RAID enclosure that uses a Thunderbolt interface to connect to your Thunder- bolt-capable workstation. It is de- signed to be used by the professional video editor who needs a very large, redundant storage solution that’s fast enough to work directly from without

tion, and need to edit video using the files stored on the drive. The problem is, the connection between the drive and the computer isn’t fast enough to handle our editing software's need to constantly read the files and write new render files. What ends up hap- pening is we have to copy all the video files we need from the external drive onto our local drive in order for them to be usable at all; not a great solution. With Thunderbolt, we no longer have to worry about the limitations of the connection between the two peripher- als. In fact, at 10Gb/s, the Thunderbolt

exterior, which nicely matches the look of the current generation of Mac devices. It features a very large blue orb on the front, which lights up when the RAID is active. The 5big looks great sitting on your desk next to your iMac or MacBook Pro, but the blue light can become obnoxious. What looks awesome during the day quickly becomes a distraction when editing at night or in a dimly-lit room. For this review, I had the 5big set up in my home office, which is two doors




LaCie Inc.

connection is faster than the read/write speeds of the hard drives contained

within the RAID enclosure itself.



The 10TB 5big

The model we’re reviewing is the 5big


Extremely fast

10TB. Listed at $1,200, this unit comes


Durable build

with the enclosure itself, a single


Looks cool

Thunderbolt cable, and five hot-swap-



pable 7200RPM hard disks.



Blue light can be obnoxious No RAID 5 configuration

The 5big comes pre-configured as RAID 0, and offers RAID 1 as an option.



full screen


The 5big doesn’t support RAID 5, which is unfortunate considering it’s loaded


full screen



with five drives. Being able to spread data across this many drives would offer















LaCie 5big


Blackmagic Disk Speed Test configurations (L-R): local SSD, 5big RAID 1, and 5big RAID 0


compared to speed tests on the local


no luck. The playback is

difficulty working with DSLR foot-


SSD, which resulted in 322.9MB/s write

choppy at best. That said, remember

the footage does appear choppy. The

age. Even Blackmagic Cinema Camera

and 411.5MB/s read, we can see that it’s actually better to edit from the external

that this footage has an extremely high bitrate. With that in mind, we

files in CinemaDNG RAW at 150MB/s should play back fine.

5big rather than to transfer footage lo- cally first. As expected, the RAID 1 configu- ration was not as strong. Our write

loaded up some variable bitrate H.264 files from an EOS 5D Mark III. Without difficulty, we were able to run four full-resolution videos without a hitch.

The Bottom Line

Is the 5big worth the $1,200 price tag? When you compare the 5big to


speeds were 171.3MB/s and read speeds were 162.5MB/s. In this case, it’s better to edit from our local SSD. However, better vs. worse doesn’t mean anything compared to a simple

Overall we were happy with the results of the 5big in its RAID 0 configuration. But how did it fare in RAID 1? When mirroring data, read/ write speeds are drastically reduced. Again we should be able to turn to the

its nearest competition, it definitely seems worth it. Similar Thunderbolt RAIDs can break $2,000 without a much larger capacity. The real ques- tion is whether or not it’s worth the money versus something like LaCie’s


“does it or doesn’t it” test. For that we brought out the big guns.

Editing 4:4:4 Footage

We just so happen to gain possession of a few hundred gigs worth of ARRI AL- EXA footage. These files are 2k ProRes 444 files; more demanding than most editors use on a regular basis. Since rendering is handled by the

math. At 162.5MB/s, there’s no way the 5big should be able to play back our 330MB/s ALEXA footage. In prac- tice, our suspicions are confirmed:

5D Mark III footage, however, floats around 4.8MB/s, and therefore had no problem playing in real-time.

own 4big Quadra. For the same price you can get 2TB more if you’re willing to give up Thunderbolt for USB 3.0. If you need to archive a lot of video, or are a video editor working with terabytes of footage, having a large, high performance RAID connected to your workstation is a great resource. The 5big performs where it counts


CPU, GPU, and RAM, what we’re mainly looking for is the hard drive’s ability to write and access data. For a video editor, this is most noticeable during standard video playback, so our test was pretty simple. Back in RAID 0, we loaded up a timeline in Adobe’s Premiere Pro with about six different clips edited end-to-end, and attempted to play them back; smooth as silk.

Copying and Transferring Files

For our final test, we simply copied files from the local SSD to the 5big in RAID 0 configuration. Eight gigabytes were copied in around 10 seconds. Any video editor used to working with external USB 2.0 drives will recognize this as astounding. While using a RAID 1 configura- tion was not nearly as fast, for most

and looks cool to boot. If you need the


speed and convenience of Thunder- bolt, and are content without a RAID 5 configuration, the LaCie 5big Thunder- bolt RAID is highly recommended.

The LaCie 5big Thunderbolt RAID is sure to be a welcome addition to any serious video editing setup.




Of course, the math certainly sup- ports this. Since the read speed of the

uses, RAID 1 is the better option. The redundancy provided is too important.

Mike Wilhelm is Videomaker’s Content Director.


full screen

5big is 536.5MB/s, there should be no problem reading 330MB/s video clips.

To those editing DSLR video, I would recommend this setting, even though

For comments, email:, use article

full screen


“What about split screen video?” you ask? Let’s try it!

it means cutting your total usable capacity in half. You will never have

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American Consumer Publishing Association,

Authentic Videomaker renewal notices will only

If you are contacted by any of the

Videomaker Customer Service





GenArts Sapphire 7


GenArts Sapphire 7 Visual Effects Software

Commercial Grade Polish

by Mike Houghton



Version Reviewed: 7.02 for Adobe After Effects Operating System: Windows Vista or greater, Mac OS 10.6 or greater Multiprocessor Support: Yes Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 series and greater, Quadro 4000 or greater required for maximum per- formance

DogVision effect. While an advanced

The Price Tag

Even with all of its amazing qualities,

is: can you make it pay for itself? For freshly minted amateurs, enthusi- asts without a real budget for visual effects or those who aren’t buying it for professional purposes, perhaps not. But if editing and effects are your bread and butter and time is indeed money, Sapphire 7 is an investment definitely worth checking out. A free 14-day, full-featured trial period is available if you’re prepared to try before buying. And who knows? Per- haps after getting lost in the demo, it

No Pixie Dust Here

Remember, there’s no magic dust

Check It Out

GenArts' Sapphire 7 is a professional


If Sapphire 7 is within your reach, it’s

subscription agents asking you to renew your subscription. These companies are not authorized to represent Videomaker nor are they affiliated with us in any way. Please do not give out any personal, payment or credit card information to the companies listed below. Videomaker will not accept orders from these companies and if you choose to renew through them you will likely never receive any issues of Videomaker. Please do not renew your subscription by mail, phone or Internet through any of these unauthorized companies:

Inc. (ACPA) American Magazine Service Associated Publishers Subscription Services Circulation Billing Center Circulation Billing Services Consolidated Media Services Consumer Publishing Association Inc Deal Galaxy Dominate Marketing, LLC


E ver need an old-fashioned, scratched-up film effect for your

video? How about a beauty filter that would selectively soften only skin-

folder includes an online manual, an update checker, an uninstall option and a program that lets you custom design your own lens flares to use with the

Sapphire LensFlare plug-in. Getting

you'll find nearly 250 visual effects and transitions distributed among nine new category folders in the Effects & Presets pane. Just drag and drop them onto a layer and you’re in

capable of run-

GenArts Sapphire 7 interface within Adobe After Effects

Trial Version: 14-day Manual: Yes (digital only)

user might be able to duplicate some

could motivate you to kick your video business into gear.

to sprinkle on a bad video that will

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tones? GenArts Sapphire 7 is a great package that accomplishes that and much more. With a large selection of highly customizable filters and transi- tions, it’s a commercial-grade visual effects playground.

Setup and Systems

The full version of Sapphire 7 down- loads as a single 70.9MB application file, is a deceptively small package for all that’s inside. Open it and a setup wizard installs the necessary files, activates the product, and you’re ready to go. The GenArts Sapphire software

GenArts Sapphire 7


Good learning curve Excellent variety and quality of visual effects Wide platform compatibility


Sapphire 7 installed is pleasantly easy. During the review process, the full version of Sapphire 7 ran without any hiccups inside Adobe After Effects CS4, on a Windows 7 laptop with an Intel Core i7-2820QM 2.3GHz CPU, 8GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M video card. Results tend to vary by system so it’s a good idea for prospective buyers to check the Gen- Arts website and make sure their sys- tem meets the requirements. Sapphire is compatible with a number of host platforms such as Adobe After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro, Autodesk Smoke, Avid Media Composer, The Foundry Nuke, Sony Vegas Pro and open source platforms. It’s also

ning on Linux, Mac and Win- dows operating systems. Again, check the com-

business. If there’s a learning curve, it starts with the adjustments you can make to each one. The average effect has a dozen or more controls to spin, slide and tweak. Most have intuitive labels; a few require some creative messing around. There’s also a reset button to bring the default settings back in case the fun gets out of hand. Overall, the level of customization is enormous. The variety of effects is also quite impressive. You can find BleachBy- pass, FilmDamage, LaserBeam and even some that require long and hard thought for a circumstance you would use them in, such as the

of the filters, the time and effort spent doing so is not nearly as cost- effective as the Sapphire 7 plug-ins. Additionally, a good amount of the effects are unique or complicated and would require a programming degree to duplicate. The new Beauty filter greatly simplifies the process of enhancing and blurring skin tones with just a few clicks. Looking through the list, there are effects for old-time movies, music videos, spy films, sci-fi projects and more. Each one is just a drag and drop away from your video. Sapphire 7 is quite the Swiss Army Knife of effects and transitions in regards to variety and professional quality.

Sapphire 7 distances itself from ca- sual users with its price tag. For first- time users the price is on the heavy side with a new After Effects license

make it into the next cinema block- buster. Tools are only as good as the person using them. Passion, creativ- ity, patience and professional pride are qualities you can’t buy, yet will show in your video projects. While good quality tools like Sapphire 7 can expand your horizons, it won’t work miracles all by itself. Be your own pixie dust.

product that effectively gets the job done. While a pricey tool, its selec- tion and quality is both convenient and time-saving. Professional video businesses and serious enthusiasts should check it out. It’s well worth the look. It’s also a lot of fun!

definitely worth having.

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Price makes it somewhat exclusive

patibility notes on the website for more detail.


going for $1,700. For Sapphire 6 us- ers, the upgrade price is considerably

Mike Houghton is a freelance videographer and an independent filmmaker.

come with zip code 95927 (Chico, CA) on the return address envelope.


full screen

$1,700; $499 upgrade; other

Mixing to Taste


less at $499. There are also different rates for floating licenses, licenses

For comments, email:, use article

companies listed above, please let us know

full screen


platforms may vary

Upon opening

After Effects,


not bound to a particular computer, and rental licenses. The big question

#15884 in the subject line. You can comment and rate this article by going online:

immediately by writing to:

P.O. Box 3780. Chico, CA 95927











RØDE iXY Stereo Microphone

iCandy or Quality Tool?


RØDE smartLav Microphone


for iPhone


Light Lav or Brilliant Purchase?


by Mark Holder


with a number of iPhone, iPad and

nal mic is only capable of monaural


S pace, weight and costs are always important considerations to every

video production. Having the abil-

iPod touch devices. The unit has a

recording, the iXY utilizes a pair of


connector into the headphone jack

Into the Wind

ing up our voices while excluding the

ity to re-task items that we already have in our toolkit can be a great way to get the job done while saving in these areas. Take the iPhone, for

slick, attractive appearance and the build quality is very solid. One word of caution however, regarding the point of attachment: A good bump and both connector and microphone could part ways.

half-inch cardioid condenser mic capsules, affixed in the distinctive X-Y arrangement to deliver clear, stereo quality. The results are fuller, bassier recordings with noticeably less ambi- ent noise and overall better quality

H ave you ever wished you could get your hands on a decent

audio recording device — or perhaps an extra one? Well, if you own either

on your device, attach the tiny lavalier microphone to your talent, fire up your favorite audio recording app and you’re ready to record some signifi- cant sound. The one drawback here is that with the headphone jack busily

extraneous noises of wind and wildlife around us. Drop-off was practically non-existent as we turned away from the mic and back again. The overall sound quality was very good.


example. Many producers already have one. Rather than running out

Although the iPhone already has

than can be achieved with the built-in

an Apple or Android smartphone

recording audio you have no means of

Maximum Performance


and buying a separate audio re- cording device, why not adapt it by adding a quality microphone and

a built-in microphone, as with all built-ins there is plenty of room for improvement. Whereas the inter-

microphone. The iXY even comes with a protective hard case and a foam windsock that does a really great job

then you already have one. But what about the sound quality? Internal mics on smartphones tend to pick

aurally monitoring your recording.

Although the smartLav will work with a wide number of Android devices and any audio recording app that will


making it capable of capturing truly awesome audio?


of blocking out wind noise.

up a great deal of ambient noise and

The mic is small — about a centime-

take input from the 1/8-inch jack, it


Acoustic Principle: Pressure gradient

Lots to Appreciate

the overall quality generally leaves much to be desired.

ter in diameter — with a windscreen to handle plosives and reduce wind

shines brightest when attached to an iOS device running the RØDE Rec


Video Production Companion

Well, that’s exactly what the audio

Capsule: 0.5"

To realize the fullest potential of the iXY, download the RØDE Rec or

Steppin' Up

noise. It plugs in to a nice slim smart- phone and fits easily on the pocket of

app. There is a free LE version of the app with limited functionality, but


wizards at RØDE Microphones have

Address Type: End

RØDE Rec LE app. The LE version is

Enter RØDE Microphones. RØDE has


groom, a wedding officiate, a public

the full-featured version provides ac-


done. They’ve designed an X/Y style

Frequency Range: 20Hz-20kHz

free and provides basic functionality.

created the smartLav to transform

speaker or an interviewee. We tested

cess to editing features and lets you


stereo microphone with Apple’s 30-

The full-meal-deal version features

your smartphone or other Apple iOS


outdoors and found the smartLav to

fine tune your audio with compres-


pin connector so it will pair up easily

Maximum SPL: 120dB SPL (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1K-ohm load)

24-bit/96kHz recording for greater au- dio detail, an equalizer, compression,

device into an audio recording master of superior sound quality. And it’s

do an excellent job of clearly pick-

sion settings, limiting, equalization and more. Once your work is ready


RØDE Microphones Intl.

Sensitivity: -42.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal

volume normalization, gain adjust-

easy to use; simply plug the TRRS


to publish, you can send it directly to

(8.52mV @ 94dB SPL) +/- 2dB @ 1kHz

ments, high/low-pass filter, live moni-


Acoustic Principle: Pressure gradient

SoundCloud, Dropbox or email it to

Equivalent Noise Level

toring and more, including sharing via Dropbox, email and SoundCloud.


Active Electronics: JFET

whomever you wish.


(A-Weighted): 18dB-A

If you own a compatible Apple



Capsule: 0.1"




Excellent sound quality


Excellent sound quality

Power Options: N/A; powered by device

iDevice then consider the RØDE iXY



Address Type: End

For highly portable, quality audio


Very good construction

Compatibility: iPhone 4S, iPhone 4,

stereo mic as an alternative to courte-



Frequency Range: 20Hz-20kHz

recording, editing and publishing on


Headphone monitoring

iPad (third generation), iPad (1st,2nd,

sy-of-your-camera audio on your next


Sensitivity: -32.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal

a device you already own, check out


3rd generation), iPad and iPod touch

production outing.



(25.50mV @ 94dB SPL) +/- 2dB @ 1kHz

RØDE Microphones smartLav.




No headphone monitoring



Connector could be easily damaged

(4th generation, iOS 6+)

No RØDE Rec app for Android


Power Options: N/A; powered by device

Contributing Editor Mark Holder is a video producer


Not compatible with iPhone 5 or newer

Weight: 1.4oz. (40g)

Whether recording lectures, inter-


Weight: .2oz. (6g)

and trainer.


full screen


views, or voice overs, the RØDE iXY


iXY: $199; RØDE Rec LE app: free;

Dimensions (HxWxD): 1.8" x 2.2" x

delivers convenience and high quality

smartLav: $60; RØDE Rec LE


Dimensions: 3/8" (9mm) diameter;

For comments, email:, use article

full screen



RØDE Rec app: $6

1.5" (46mm x 55mm x 40mm)

stereo in one affordable package.

app: free; RØDE Rec app: $6


47" (1180mm) cord

#15878 in the subject line. You can comment and rate this


article by going online:




                16 VIDEOMAKER >>> SEPTEMBER 2013 VIDEOMAKER

















The low-priced laptop, with software, should come in at less than $1,000. For video editing, your laptop needs to have a little more horse-

Processor for Editing, on page 64 for a deeper ex-

of memory, and a 1TB hard drive for $1,000. Dell can send us a 17.3-inch Inspiron 17R Spe- cial Edition laptop with an Intel Core i7 processor,




power with at least an Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of memory. (See our feature, The Fastest

planation.) The internal drive should be around 500GB at this price point. You'll need an external drive to edit with because you don’t want to edit to your system drive.

8GB memory, with a Blu-ray optical drive and a 1TB hard drive for $1,300. The software for mid-priced users might be a little more expensive. At this level, it’s more than likely that you'll be making a video for some- one else besides your own videos. You will need



you take a look at the ASUS K Series with a

more advanced software like Sony Vegas Pro 12 or EDIUS Pro 7 at $600 and $700 respectively.


15.6-inch display, it has an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB memory, and comes with a 500GB hard drive.

Mid-Priced ($1,000-$2,000)

The mid-priced laptop user wants a little more per-


better camera. You’re probably shooting HD foot-

speed. When it’s time to output that project, things

High-Priced ($2,000-$3,000)

High-priced users have more expectations for


something that will perform well under pressure.

You should be willing to pay more, because the

for a complete DVD or video to be delivered. You


high-priced laptop at this level can be found

for less than $3,000. Now you can look for an

i7 processor, 16GB Memory, 512GB SSD, and

17.3-inch screen, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD


can be had for $2,290. This laptop has a larger


At $690 this meets our minimum recommended system configuration and leaves you with money

laptop. You'll have a greater budget and need


left over for peripherals and software.


The Lenovo IdeaPad Z580 can have an Intel


Core i5 processor, a 15.6" display, 8GB Memory, and a 1TB hard drive. Though more expensive

increased power and speed will pay off in the end. At this level there may be clients waiting


at $830, it gives you more memory and a larger internal drive. You still have some cash leftover to buy an external drive.

might be a pro that needs to take work on the road for weeks at a time.


If you're a beginner then you may find the software that comes with your new computer



has everything you need. The next step up the software ladder might be Adobe Premiere Ele-

Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of memory. But in addition to these core features you might


You’ve made up your mind, and you want a laptop. You need the mobility that only a laptop can provide, and since you'll be editing video, you need more power than a tablet has to offer. At this point in time, you don’t quite need the power and

O ne of the most important features of

Low-Priced (Under $1,000)

ments. Don't worry about upgrading until you figure out just what you are going to be doing with your new tools.

formance. You'll have a larger budget and probably

want to add something from the extra features category like a high resolution display. In the high-priced category, you can buy a Dell XPS 15.6-inch laptop with an Intel Core

NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM for $2,300. With this laptop, you can use


expandability a workstation provides or you need to stay portable.

age, so more horsepower will come in handy. And with that additional horsepower comes rendering

can happen a little faster than before.

the dedicated graphics card to edit with, and take full advantage of the Truelife WLED display. And there’s still money leftover for software. Now you may want to invest more in the hard- ware. For example the HP EliteBook 8770w with


a laptop is the portability factor. You can take your editing tools with you wherever you go. Whether you’re

an amateur videographer or a professional

This is a good place to start for the amateur. You may be shooting video with your smartphone or you may even have a nice pocket video camera. Either way, your laptop is going to be your tool

The mid-priced laptop and equipment should come at less than $2,000. For that kind of mon-

screen but the internal drive is a little smaller.


shooter, you need a way to view and edit video

for viewing and editing your videos. At this point

ey, you could stay with an i5-powered laptop and add more memory, a larger hard drive, or go for


you're a Mac user, the 15-inch MacBook Pro


while on the go. You may have a nice workstation at home loaded with software, but the only way to keep working while on the road is with a laptop. In this buyer’s guide, we look at price ranges and features that can be found on laptop comput-

you don’t have a heavy dependence on your laptop, it’s more or less just for fun. If you don’t have the budget for a professional machine, the low-priced laptop is a good place to start. You may be tempted to take a peek in the bar- gain aisle when looking for a low-priced laptop;


say that at this price point you will be looking for an Intel Core i7 processor with 8GB of memory, and at least a 1TB hard drive. With this next level of performance you will notice a big difference in speed. Things like

larger screen. So to eliminate confusion let’s


Toshiba Satellite S70-AST2NX2 has an Intel

Core i7 processor with a 17.3-inch screen, 12GB

with Retina display, Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB memory, and 512GB flash storage can be had for $2,800. The trade-off here is that there is no disc drive included, but you’ll get Apple’s high resolu- tion Retina display and connectivity with Intel’s high-speed interface; Thunderbolt. The high-priced user is going to also want



ers for video editing. We’ll start with the low- priced laptop, take a look at mid-priced laptops,

don’t. Many of you have seen the ads for the $300 laptop. Most of those found in the bargain

rendering, transcoding, and outputting files will all happen faster. A 17-inch screen will also be

professional editing software and possibly visual


full screen

then finish up with some higher-priced examples. We’ll also look into some features you may want

bin will not satisfy your needs when it comes to editing. The bargain laptop has just enough

nice to work with. You will not regret spending more money here.

effects software like Adobe After Effects. Such software can get expensive, but when you are

full screen


to consider when searching for your new laptop, then follow with a feature on desktop choices.

features to get you on the Internet to browse and check your email.

working for business, your investments should eventually pay for themselves.



should eventually pay for themselves. print 18 VIDEOMAKER >>> SEPTEMBER 2013 VIDEOMAKER


pay for themselves. print 18 VIDEOMAKER >>> SEPTEMBER 2013 VIDEOMAKER >>> SEPTEMBER 2013 1 9
pay for themselves. print 18 VIDEOMAKER >>> SEPTEMBER 2013 VIDEOMAKER >>> SEPTEMBER 2013 1 9


pay for themselves. print 18 VIDEOMAKER >>> SEPTEMBER 2013 VIDEOMAKER >>> SEPTEMBER 2013 1 9


Laptop Buyer’s Guide


There is another computer out there that is somewhat portable. Well, not as portable as a laptop but very small and easy to move about. We’re talking about Apple’s Mac mini computer that is less than 1.5-inches tall, about 8-inches square, and weighs less than three pounds. You can get an Intel Core i5 processor, with 4GB of memory, and a 500GB hard drive for $600.

You won’t be able to use it in the airport while you’re waiting, but it is really small. You will have to bring a monitor to the table because it doesn’t come with one, nor does it come with a mouse or a keyboard. PC companies also provide options in a similar form. Technically, it’s a desktop computer, but it is so small we had to mention it.

If you’re still undecided about buying a laptop, this might be for you. Maybe you really just wanted something smaller than your old tower that takes up so much space. You thought a laptop was the answer. This may be the alternative. We’ll let you decide.






Touchpad: found on most new laptops and can


Let’s look at some of the features that you’ll need in a video editing laptop.

offer more features than a traditional mouse, al- lowing finger gestures similar to a tablet.


Battery: an extended life battery will keep you working longer, and note your time, especially during video editing or intensive use.

Bluetooth: consider this handy technology

USB ports: the more the merrier, especially 3.0. Wi-Fi: most if not all new laptops come equipped for Wi-Fi, but you should make sure


before you purchase.


for part of your new laptop. There are many

In Conclusion


peripherals that are Bluetooth capable. Display: expanding the usable desktop space

with a second display can make editing easier.

You'll need an external display port. For critical

Disc burner: to make a disc of your proj-

Have you made up your mind yet? Just look in

your digital media cards. You never know

eSATA port: handy to connect external drives.


your wallet before you make your final deci-


review of HD footage, Apple’s high resolution Retina display is very good.

sion. No matter what you buy there will always be something new coming out that you may want. For now, get what you can afford. The


ect and a good way to make backups from

hardware you buy today will be outdated by next year.


For a first-time laptop editor, once you start


what your client will ask for so it’s good to be ready.

using your new laptop you'll quickly find out that the features you wish you had or don't


need when you're again ready to upgrade. If you


Ethernet port: found on most if not all lap-

become a pro editor, you will probably be look-



ing into a new workstation, and you’ll have your




Fingerprint reader: a great idea when you need more security.

Headphones: great for checking audio

tracks. The speakers that come inside lap-

tops have yet to measure up to a good pair of

Media card reader: wonderful when you have

a camera that uses a matching media card. You

Solid-state drive: an SSD will withstand

laptop to take on the road. Saving part of your budget for external hard


drive is important for video producers. If you use

So you're in the market for a video editing workstation. Do you think you might


your system drive to edit you may find yourself



in hot water very quickly. Video files can be very large and consume lots of hard drive space. Make

ditch that laptop and move into a more expandable workstation? If you're ready


sure you purchase another drive to digitize your

to update or you’re new to the world of video editing, this buyer’s guide will


can take your card right from the camera to the laptop.

footage to before you get started. For a thorough listing on computer specs and features, check out our downloadable .pdf that

help you make an informed choice.


compares over 100 different computers online at:


everyday life much better than a traditional For a look at upgrading

A re you a beginner video producer? Or

levels of performance for your new video edit-


mechanical hard drive. They’re still a little expensive, but are faster and will last longer.

your desktop

see the next page!

are you a professional that needs all the video editing programs and tools?

ing workstation. First we’ll look at beginners with smaller expectations and probably a smaller bud-


Thunderbolt port: a high-speed interface

Should you decide to move up to the

get. Next we’ll examine the intermediate user who


created by Intel, most widely found on Apple computers as of the writing of this article.

For comments, email:, use article #15765 in the subject line. You can comment and rate this article by going online:

next video editing level with a boost in editing software, you may need or want to upgrade your system, too. One of the best features of a

workstation is the ability to upgrade.

has more money to spend and higher demands, but not quite as much as a pro needs. Then, we’ll look at what a pro might want in a workstation.




Apple Inc.


If you’ve had that old computer for longer than you would like to admit, it may be just

The Beginner

A typical beginner is someone who shoots video


full screen


full screen


the right time for a new one. Even if it’s not the exact time for a new one, at some point in time

with a smartphone or consumer video camera. Then the footage will need digitizing, editing, and



it will be. Unlike classic cars, computers don't grow old gracefully. This article looks at three

distribution. As a beginner you’re often not mak- ing movies for anyone but yourself. Your need for



Your need for           20 VIDEOMAKER >>> SEPTEMBER 2013 VIDEOMAKER







Workstation Buyer’s Guide


this new toy to work. This is a very substantial investment that can help you earn revenue in return for your video editing.

package, third-party plug-ins or stock elements to satisfy client requests. Having both the soft- ware and hardware that can be the platform for

The Professional


The Intermediate Computer

these is worth considering. You can use the Videomaker search tool to


The intermediate can aim for great value out of the fullest extent of a computer's features. You can benefit from some of the cooler tools and features, now. More memory, a faster processor, and high-speed drives will all pay off in the end.