One of the greatest delights of high technology entering into the consumer realm is the fact that as home computer users we can do things that used to only be possible if you were involved in corporate audio and video production. Now with a small notebook you have the power to do complex digital editing projects.
Choosing the right Windows laptop for digital video editing depends on exactly what needs the home producer has. Selecting between professional and amateur editing software should be your first step.
Windows Movie Maker
Many people only want to be able to do simple cuts on home movies and do not care about larger projects that require lots of options. If you just plan on doing quick home edits then the best option is to use Windows Movie Maker which comes standard on newer versions of the Windows operating system.
This program is very small and does not have many system requirements to run, and there is no reason to make laptop purchasing decisions based on the desire to use this program.
Recommendation: The software is designed to run on any standard home computer, so you should try and purchase a laptop that would better for more general use. There are many budget laptop conscious choices.
High End Editing Software
Now that professional editing programs are accessible for home producers it is not uncommon to find people who want to run superior editing software like Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere, or Sony’s Vegas Pro. These programs require powerful imaging resources and large hard drive space. You must keep in mind the specific requirements the editing software has for the system it will be running on. One of the best, and most economic, of the Windows running editing software packages is Sony’s Vegas Pro.
It requires a system that with a processor at least 1GHz, but if you want the option to edit High Definition video then you are going to want to have at least 2.4 GHz.
This is going to be the standard for any laptop that you want for editing, and somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0 GHz will be best.
You are also going to want a sizable hard drive since you are not going to want to deal with external hard drives when you are already using a portable computer. Though small projects will only run you a few GBs, it is a good idea to get somewhere between 150 GB and 250 GB. If you are planning on using all of the programs in one of these editing suites then you need to purchase a computer that has the speed and power to run simultaneous programs at once.
Sound and Video Cards:
You are also going to have to keep in mind the quality of sound and video cards you are going to be working with. Video editing requires you to focus on image and audio details on a very minuscule level, and you need hardware that will render this.
One of the companies that puts together laptops with these higher end hardware needs in mind is Alienware.
Many of their laptops are designed for video games, which means that their multi-media capabilities are top of the line. Though Alienware is one of the best, it is also the most expensive. Hewlett-Packard makes a quality machine that can be built exactly to your specifications. Make sure to get quality graphics and audio cards. nVIDIA makes great graphics cards while Audigy sound cards are best for real-time editing.
The most important thing to remember when picking out the best Windows based laptop for video editing is exactly what type of editing you will be doing and what else you might be doing with that computer.
Complex video editing requires a powerful and speedy machine, so if you are expecting to do large edits on a mobile computer expect to empty your bank account.
This post is part of the series: Deciding on an Editing Program
A series of articles on choosing the perfect editing software.