Poor HD editing performance
April 10, 2010 2:15 PM   Subscribe

Why is my PC so crap at editing HD video? What can I do to make it better?

I'm trying to edit together some HD video for a friend using Corel Video Studio 9.

Editing in the main timeline is fine, but I want to add an overlay video track to cut away to other shots (it's a video of a band playing and I want to cut away to people dancing etc).

As soon as the playhead hits these overlays it drops to 1fps and responds slowly. Ive created Proxy files but it hasnt made any difference.

This is the spec of my PC according to Belarc Advisor.

What can I do? Is there a particular component that is holding it back?
posted by lemonfridge to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Oops, I mean Corel Video Studio 12!
posted by lemonfridge at 2:16 PM on April 10, 2010

I'm not familiar with that program but here's my guess:

Because you have two pieces of video laid on top of each other, it's trying to "mash them together" on the fly, because it needs to form a new image of the two videos combined. This often results in slow playback, until you've rendered. Does Corel have a render command like Final Cut does? As a total guess, it might be CTRL+R, or just dig around on the menus...
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:50 PM on April 10, 2010

Similarly to drjimmy11's guess (and with ZERO knowledge of CVS9) it's possible that when it hits those cutaways, the computer is dealing with TWO streams of HD at once. Even though it can't see the underneath layer, it still has to consider it. Any way of editing the cutaways on V1 instead? So it would be MAIN SHOW>CUTAWAY>MAIN SHOW instead of inserting them above on V2?
posted by Spyder's Game at 3:09 PM on April 10, 2010

You might have some luck if you reencode the clips with a different codec that will use less CPU power. If you're working with 1080p content, knock it down to 720p and see if the machine can cope.

But, to put it bluntly, that computer probably doesn't have anywhere near the horsepower to deal with HD content. I remember my old Pentium D barely being able to play HD content, let alone manipulate it.
posted by jjb at 3:18 PM on April 10, 2010

Your computer is generally underpowered for HD video editing.

You're running a Pentium D processor, which is two major revisions old (succeeded by the Core Solo/Duo/2 Duo/2 Quad family and now the Core i family).

You only have 2 GB of memory, 4+ would be much better.

You only have 256MB of RAM in the video card; 512MB would be better.

Even if you get a new video card and more memory, though, you're still going to be pumping that video feed through a Pentium processor. If you're going to be doing more HD video editing, you'd be much happier just replacing the system. Something like this would be a good start (Core i5 w/ 8MB cache, 4GB RAM, 7200-rpm hard drive, video card with 512MB RAM. You could do better, but of course the price rises accordingly).
posted by The Michael The at 3:22 PM on April 10, 2010

That computer is not sufficient for editing HD video. Flat and simple.
posted by Netzapper at 3:34 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Get a more memory and a second (internal) hard drive and it will go smoother. If the memory in the computer isn't the fastest type it will take, get the fastest.

Processor speed will speed up rendering and recompressing, but for doing the editing itself, you need lots of fast memory and fast storage.

The video card memory has nothing to do with it.
posted by gjc at 4:42 PM on April 10, 2010

Your have a pentium-D processor which is little more than a Pentium4 set to do dual-threading. Its based on 2001 technology. I suggest you replace the board and move up to a core2duo, at least. This also means a new motherboard, new ram, and probably a new card as no one supports AGP anymore.

Not sure what you can do other than replace almost the entire computer.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:53 PM on April 10, 2010

HD editing is a bitch, it gobbles up CPU and RAM like crazy. Even on a 2.6ghz quad core box with 4GB it's still a hassle to edit full HD clips. For segments with a lot going on it's often better to set everything up using low-res versions of the sources first. See that it everything works and then re-render using the high-res sources (and go take a weekend vacation somewhere, just going out for a 'cuppa ain't gonna be enough).
posted by wkearney99 at 11:42 AM on April 11, 2010

As for 'replace' your computer, many cases are compatible enough to allow swapping out the motherboard for something new. Letting you keep your drives (floppy, HD & optical), cabling and power supply. It's possible a new mobo/cpu combo might need a lot more power than what your current power supply can provide. Here again many cases use a standard sized space for the power supply.

I switched all my gear out for 4U rackmount cases about a decade ago and haven't looked back. I've even ripped the guts out of new machines and transplanted them into rack cases. They're much less hassle to service or upgrade. That and monoprice sells terrific high-res video cables, so all the boxes sit in another room instead of making a racket under my desk.
posted by wkearney99 at 11:46 AM on April 11, 2010

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