Choosing, Using and Maintaining Your Workstation

Here are some hints from Pinnacle technical specialists on choosing, using and maintaining a computer system with video in mind.

  • Hardware
  • Graphics card settings
  • Studio and computer animation


Hardware

To use Studio effectively, your hardware should be optimally prepared and configured.

Preparing your hard drive

Prior to capturing video, consider working through the following steps, especially if you have an older system, if your capture drive is running low on space, or if you have already seen evidence of possible hard drive problems:

  • Close down as many other applications and background programmes as possible. This includes important security software such as anti-virus and anti-spyware utilities, so Pinnacle recommends strongly that you also disconnect from the Internet (or set your firewall to block all Internet traffic) when taking this step. Software utilities are available to assist with closing background processes.
  • Right-click on the name of your capture drive in Windows Explorer, and select Properties on the pop-up menu. On the Tools tab of the Disk Properties dialog, click Check Now and run a detailed scan of the drive to make sure that it is error free. When this is complete, click Defragment Now; the system defragmenter utility will arrange your drive contents to leave the largest possible contiguous free area for your capture files.
    Scanning and defragmenting a drive are both lengthy operations, so you may wish to let them run during times when you are planning to be away from the computer.
  • Temporarily turn off your screen saver and any power management features you have set up on the Windows Screen Saver dialog box.


Note: Video-editing programmes do not multitask very well. Do not use any other programme while outputting your movie to videotape or optical disc, or when capturing. You can multitask while editing.


RAM

The more RAM you have, the easier it is to work with Studio. You will need at least 512 MB of RAM to work with the Studio application, and we highly recommend 1 GB (or more). If you work with HD video, or are running Windows Vista, the recommendation rises to 2 GB. Editing AVCHD video requires a minimum of 2 GB.

Motherboard

You'll need an Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon 1.4 GHz motherboard or higher - the higher the better. Windows Vista and AVCHD editing both demand a more powerful CPU. The minimum recommendation ranges up to 2.66 GHz for editing 1920-pixel AVCHD video.

Graphics card

To run Studio, your DirectX-compatible graphics card needs:

  • For typical use, at least 64 MB of onboard memory (128 MB preferred).
  • For Windows Vista, at least 128 MB (256 MB preferred).
  • For HD and AVCHD, at least 256 MB (512 MB preferred).

Graphics card settings

If you need to minimize system load while maintaining acceptable colour performance, Pinnacle recommends setting your display to use 16-bit colour.


To adjust the display in Windows XP:
  1. Position your mouse over your Desktop, right click, and select Properties, When the Display Properties dialog box appears, click on the Settings tab.
  2. If you have multiple monitors, select the one to which the new setting should apply.
  3. Under colour Quality, choose "Medium (16 bit)".


To adjust the display in Windows Vista:
  1. Position your mouse over your Desktop, right click, and select Personalize. In the "Personalize appearance and sounds" window click the "Display settings" link. The Display Settings dialog box appears.
  2. If you have multiple monitors, select the one to which the new setting should apply.
  3. Under colours, choose "Medium (16 bit)".

The colour setting affects only the display on the computer monitor. Recorded sequences will appear in full colour and resolution at the video output.


Studio and computer animation

If you are editing computer animation with Studio or wish to combine animation with digital video, remember to create your animations using the same frame size and image refresh rate as your original video:


Video Capture for Mac

Failure to do this will result in unnecessarily long rendering times and the possibility of visible flaws when the animation is played back.