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DIY Video Editing Desk

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 8/13/2010

Here is a look at how you may put together your own home or independent video editing station.

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    Do It Yourself

    A professional video editing desk is not just simply an adequate desk and a computer, but instead a whole series of placed objects and technology that allow you to work quickly and creatively. In any commercial post-production house you will find that the editing stations are much more elaborate than anything you will find in a home or independent operation, though you do have the ability to match many of the features that you find. In your own DIY, meaning "do it yourself," video editing desk you have to make alternative decisions to end up with the same effect that those with professional equipment are able to achieve. Here are some tips for how to put together your own DIY video editing desk.

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    The Desk

    The desk is going to be the most important feature, but do not think that you have to purchase an expensive computer or "video editing specific" desk. Instead, you want one that is going to be sturdy enough to handle heavy objects and also have a large amount of surface area. It is also going to be great if it has a large amount of space under the surface, where you can place a computer tower if needed. You basically are going to need to place video equipment on the computer desk to plug in on a regular basis, so when looking for this desk think about one that will give you the top space of a wider table.

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    Shelves

    Instead of storage units for items like DV tapes, portable hard drives, cameras, and other type of video equipment you will want your DIY video editing desk to serve the interest of any object you have. This means installing a shelving unit behind where your monitors will go. This will allow you to organize the space in any fashion that you want, and you can therefore shift your DIY editing desk's area in the direction that your specific production requires. The ability to store items all the time is going to be key to staying organized, and in the work of non-linear video editing and digital filmmaking this is the most important thing to remember.

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    Books

    Reference books should be within arm's reach at all times in case you want to check on features of different video editing software, or you just need to check up on digital video filmmaking protocol. This is the kind of thing that is going to help you problem solve when you are actually in the trenches of video editing.

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    Monitors

    One of the most expensive features of a proper video editing station is having different monitors to help with image clarity and color grading. A standard video editing station will have dual monitors and an external monitor, usually an LCD or plasma screen, to check the image against. This is going to be too expensive for a DIY video editing desk, so instead you can try to lower the grade you are working with. Find an inexpensive computer monitor to meet your current one so that you have dual monitoring for using in your video editing software, and then use a standard television for the color grading monitor. Make sure that this television is color balanced perfectly, but you will not necessarily need a high end monitor for most home or independent uses.

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    Multi-Deck

    You may need a DV capture deck on your DIY video editing desk, but only if you are still shooting on tape. If you are going to use this you will want to find a multi-purpose deck that will solve many of your needs. Try to find a deck that will take Blu-ray, VHS, and DV tapes, though they will be a little harder to track down. This will actually be cheaper for you in the long run and will save on surface space as multiple functions will be handled by a single device.

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    The Computer

    Your computer is going to be the most central feature of this whole system as it will actually be what controls the video editing station. For most people, a higher end iMac will serve the purpose. All of this depends on what editing software you are going to want to use and what type of video equipment is used in your production process. For example, you will need to have an Intel based Mac if you are going to use RED footage, so keep things like this in mind.

Video Editing Facilities

Here are articles on how to put together post-production facilities for color grading, DIY video editing, and more.
  1. DIY Video Editing Desk
  2. How to Construct a Professional Color Grading Station