May 10, 2011

My Portable Edit Studio

Much of this year has been about upgrading, refining, and organizing all the aspects of my editing equipment and software.  Balancing the demands of corporate editing with my future goals of making more ambitious personal films has been at the forefront of all of these decisions.  I've already started tackling my home edit suite, but for the moment I've become focused on creating a studio that I can use on-the-go.

It's perhaps a bit surprising, but up until last week I'd never owned (or even saw the value in owning) a laptop before.  So I suppose the real question is, why now?  Here are the main reasons I finally changed my tune:

1. Shooting on Flip Video
Since I began using my Flip HD I've loved capturing home videos and random events on the fly.  For an evening out it's no problem, but for any extended period of time it doesn't quite cut it by itself.  Having a laptop with a powerful video card and a large hard drive means that not only can I preview what I've shot on a larger screen, but I can also batch my footage right there and then.  In the meantime, the Flip HD can recharge itself through the USB port making it an ideal companion for travel.

2. Easy Communication
From blogging to email to YouTube it's nice to have that connection available through your laptop when you're away from home or just looking for a change of scenery (I could get used to blogging in bed).  The real feature here is the integrated webcam and microphone though as Skype has become a bit more essential when discussing editing projects between various locations.  

3. Separating Work and Play
There are times when my desktop edit studio is bogged down with hours of HD footage rendering, multiple pieces of software open, and the desk itself is covered in notes.  The laptop provides an alternative way to access email, waste time on facebook, etc. while eliminating the possibility that I might accidentally close the wrong program.  In that sense, a portable option keeps my main editing hub more efficient and dedicated to the task at hand. 

4. A New Way to Screen Media
The ability to access the web or bring a library of video files with me on my laptop means it's easier to share a lot quickly.  With an HDMI output it's so easy to plug into my TV and screen high definition footage from the web or directly from the laptop without any hassle - no DVDs, no uploading, no FTP required.  As an added bonus, it makes watching online television on my big screen a breeze.

5. Backup
Purely for the sake of having another option if I need it, this portable addition to my edit studio is a great investment.  Photoshop, editing software, final draft, etc. it's all there if my desktop is tied up or having issues.

In short, my portable edit studio isn't about replacing my main edit suite at all, it's about complimenting it.  Versatility is only becoming more and more important, especially in the case of an independent editor like myself. It always feels better to have options.

On a personal level it's also a great feeling to know that you have room to breathe and expand with the projects you want to take on - a bit of flash doesn't hurt either.  Like all equipment, it's only as good as the use you can get out of it.  As far as I'm concerned I can already see how much use I'll get out of this, and for that I feel this upgrade has already paid for itself. 

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