Maximizing Your 4K Editing Efficiency

Streaming Media by Anthony Burokas If you improve your editing efficiencies and leverage the strengths of your existing system, editing 4K camera-original footage on a modestly equipped $1,000 PC should prove more than manageable. When it comes to maximizing your editing efficiencies, especially when it comes to 4K footage, you have to look at two key factors: the recorded size of the footage you’re gathering (compact camera-original or much higher “production-level” data rates) and the specific processes you use when editing. By carefully choosing or adjusting how you do things, you can save thousands upon thousands of dollars, while also avoiding bottlenecks in your edit workflow.

4K Is NOT Too Big

Your ability to edit 4K footage really depends on the camera you use and how you intend to edit it. For instance, I have the Panasonic DMC-GH4 (Figure 1, below). It shoots 4K footage. But the data stream for 4K is about 10 MB/sec (megabytes per second). Compared to 4K cameras that shoot at bitrates of 100MB/sec or higher, this is quite modest. If you don't have a hard drive system that can handle 10 MB/sec you definitely need a new computer. Realistically, almost any computer these days can handle a 10 MB/sec stream. If you're taking your 4K footage and you're expanding it into ProRes or DNxHD or some other editing codec, your data rate will be higher and other constraints will come into play. In this article, we’re going to focus on editing 4K footage in a camera-original format. In this case, with the GH4, it’s an H.264 codec with a max of 100 Mbps (megabits per second). It actually averages only about 80 Mbps, which is 10 MB/sec. read more...

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