Setting up an editing studio.

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ARKSTONE
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Setting up an editing studio.

Post by ARKSTONE » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:49 pm

Hi folks,
I have yet to find a book with the topic "how to make and organise an editing studio". I have read in Premiere Pro Classroom in a book that some folks like the "cave like" studio to work in (presumably very dark), under such conditions I dont suppose the decore colour matters. However I would value any info on how fellow editors set up their editing room.
Cheers Gerald.

col lamb
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by col lamb » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:23 pm

Gerald
I see this is your first post so welcome to the Forum.

Being in the rhubard triangle you are surrounded by Movie Making Clubs, if you are not in one I would suggest that you join your nearest, meet the members and then go and see their "editing studios".

My own is just a built in desk in an alcove in my small third bedroom (the box room), the desk measures 5 1/2 feet x 2 and has the monitor, keyboard, scanner, A3 printer and graphics tablet and so is pretty tight. The PC base unit and external hard drives are under the desk so I always have hot feet from the heat given off by the PC tower.

This also serves as my sound recording studio, now when I am recording commentary I add a couple of duvets vertically suspended to act as a damper for reflected sounds (this last technique is sure to get our fellow forum scribes going).

For many in my club their editing studio is simply a PC on a PC trolley or desk in some spare area of their house.

Studio colour matters, if you make serene peaceful movies then you should go with earth shades, alternatively if you are a rock god then vibrant reds, purples, black and amber should prevail. All colours and furnishings should harmonise with the colour wheel........so here I would suggest getting a book on colour theory, a few paint matchpots, a B&Q discount card and plenty of brushes.........................sorry about this I could not resist the wind up.

If you would like to post again, advising what video recording kit you have or are looking for, how you want to edit (PC, MAC, Casablanca, celluloid), the type of movies you would like to make, budget available and I am sure you will have a plethora of advice.

Good Luck
Col Lamb
Preston, Lancashire.
FCPX, Edius6.02, and Premiere CS 5.5 user.
Find me on Facebook, Colin Lamb

ned c
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by ned c » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:02 pm

Add my welcome. First and foremost position the screen(s) so that there are no reflections in them. Have the largest possible; 23 inch plus or two screens, this makes the work so much easier. My edit room has a large window so is fairly bright so a blind to increase the contrast when required. I have my "tower" on top of the bench so that it is easy when I have to make connections to import and make DVDs. Have everything so that wiring is accessible; most things connect at the back so easy access to the back of things is desirable. Here a wheel mounted edit desk will have some positive advantages. Don't forget the uninteruptable power supply (UPS) to protect from power outages. I have a small trolley that can be pulled up beside my chair for scripts and other bits and pieces A comfortable chair!! I don't subscribe to the "cave" approach so the walls are painted a neutral earth tone. Let us know how it goes,

ned c

Arthur Bates
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by Arthur Bates » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:48 pm

Hi Gerald, Welcome to the most useful forum ever. Two points worth consideration. Put plenty of mains surge protected sockets above your desk, I never seem to have enough. You will need a telephone socket too for e-mails and downloads. Being an animator I have a camera connected to the computer by fine wire which I use constantly. I've found this useful on occasoins for other editing; not necessary but worth thinking about. I haven't found the right colour to inspire me yet, I think any colour as long its magnolia! Arthur B.

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Mike Shaw
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by Mike Shaw » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:24 pm

I go along with the 'as many mains sockets as you can get ' ... I have over 40 (truly!!) - and only a few aren't in use!! ... 6 external hard drives bought over the years, 4 powered USB hubs (for three computers - I made the mistake of 'designing' the layout so the computers sat with their backs to the wall, making access to connections at the rear a nightmare task! Take note of what the others say - and use trolleys or something!), two editing and one workhorse computers, charger for the laptop, twin switcheable 19" monitors for the two editing computers and 1 23" monitor for the workhorse, a TV/Monitor, a DVD+VHS VCR machine, a Hi-8 VCR, a Sony DV1000 miniDV VCR, router, hi fi player, loudspeakers, printer, scanner, 2 video camera battery chargers, transparency+negative film scanner, laminator ... the list goes on and on. When I had my studio room 'built', I asked the electrician to fit 1 dozen sockets on the wall thinking that should be enough ... but like memory, you can never have 'enough'!

If I could do it again, I'd arrange for the video editing desk to be in the middle of the room and not against a wall - so that the rear of the equipment could be accessed easily. That was my big mistake, which grew worse as the years have gone buy and the rig grew, and spread... Now I simply couldn't face uprooting everything and re-building.

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Dave Watterson
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by Dave Watterson » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:56 pm

Hi Gerald

Welcome to the forum - and keep generating such interesting topics, please!

I would start planning at a more basic level:

1) Are there kids, cats or other sources of trouble who might - accidentally - mess up your editing work? If so make the studio somewhere you can shut away.

2) Are there others in the household who may dislike loud noises - either as you tweak soundtracks or as you curse the software from time to time? If so try for a separate room into which you can shut yourself away. You could even consider lining it with sound-deadening materials if your house has thin walls and celings.

3) How messy are you? In theory video editing can be a very clean, tidy process. In practice most of us need a rash of post-it notes, handfuls of discs and tapes, tea/coffee, production notes and all sorts of stuff around us. Try to keep the editing kit and the mess separate. (I like Ned's idea of a separate trolley.)

4) Are you a techie who will want to upgrade and change your kit every few months? If so the notion of kit on trolleys is good because you can wheel them around to change wiring connections etc. Some of us stick with one editing system for 5 years or more at a time and so seldom need to get at the backs of the computer/monitor etc.

5) Do you like breathing? Everyone has spells when they sit for hours on end at the editing machines, tweaking, adjusting and getting things right. A stuffy cupboard makes that a headaching misery. Ideally have a window you can open. Second best is a simple vent system like you get for cooker-hoods but set up to blow fresh air into your studio when you switch it on.

After thinking through those issues then you can start to worry about what kit and how big a power-station you need to squeeze under the desk!

Having said all that I know one international award winning movie maker whose editing kit is in a cabinet in the living room of his tiny flat. He works when his family are out, by opening the cabinet, using the inside of its twin doors for post-it notes and hangs a couple of speakers on hooks in the doors. When he hears the family returning it can all be switched off and sealed away in what looks like a piece of furniture.

Dave

col lamb
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by col lamb » Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:27 am

For years my editing station was a largeish wooden cabinet, with full wood sides and doors with a slide out shelf for the keyboard, it looked just like a piece of furniture except for the monitor and speakers on the top.

It was on castors and I fitted a pair of 6 socket anti surge socket blocks, one to the rear for the PC, monitor, printer, speakers etc and one accessible inside for the additional hard drives and camcorder.

Getting to the cabling at the rear was very easy, a printer also lived inside so the whole set up was fully mobile and although my main editing system is now more fixed this cabinet still is in use as my internet PC.

You can build and build custom systems but eventually they will not be fit for what you want so I'd suggest that you keep the set up flexible.

I also have a laptop and edit on that very successfully hence I am not limited to specific locations.

So rather than worry about actual layouts, I would concentrate on actually editing your video rather than how the kit is arranged. Your layout will naturally flow and develop how you want just as long as you steer clear of fixed built in furniture. That can come later if you like once you have a system that works for you.

I would suggest that initially your main priority should be to get the editing system aquisition and hardware system correct, but that is a new whole can of worms.
Col Lamb
Preston, Lancashire.
FCPX, Edius6.02, and Premiere CS 5.5 user.
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ARKSTONE
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by ARKSTONE » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:07 pm

ned c wrote:Add my welcome. First and foremost position the screen(s) so that there are no reflections in them. Have the largest possible; 23 inch plus or two screens, this makes the work so much easier. My edit room has a large window so is fairly bright so a blind to increase the contrast when required. I have my "tower" on top of the bench so that it is easy when I have to make connections to import and make DVDs. Have everything so that wiring is accessible; most things connect at the back so easy access to the back of things is desirable. Here a wheel mounted edit desk will have some positive advantages. Don't forget the uninteruptable power supply (UPS) to protect from power outages. I have a small trolley that can be pulled up beside my chair for scripts and other bits and pieces A comfortable chair!! I don't subscribe to the "cave" approach so the walls are painted a neutral earth tone. Let us know how it goes,

ned c
Hi, NED

I agree with your position of screens, over theyears I have had to put up with poor light control which also soon causes fatigue!
To get to the back of equipment has always been a problem, but at last computer manufacturers are realising the problem if only the purpose builders. I am glad you mentioned the UPS; we are not adverse to Electric storms here at any time of year!

All the best and keep filming!

ARKSTONE
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by ARKSTONE » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:39 pm

Mike Shaw wrote:I go along with the 'as many mains sockets as you can get ' ... I have over 40 (truly!!) - and only a few aren't in use!! ... 6 external hard drives bought over the years, 4 powered USB hubs (for three computers - I made the mistake of 'designing' the layout so the computers sat with their backs to the wall, making access to connections at the rear a nightmare task! Take note of what the others say - and use trolleys or something!), two editing and one workhorse computers, charger for the laptop, twin switcheable 19" monitors for the two editing computers and 1 23" monitor for the workhorse, a TV/Monitor, a DVD+VHS VCR machine, a Hi-8 VCR, a Sony DV1000 miniDV VCR, router, hi fi player, loudspeakers, printer, scanner, 2 video camera battery chargers, transparency+negative film scanner, laminator ... the list goes on and on. When I had my studio room 'built', I asked the electrician to fit 1 dozen sockets on the wall thinking that should be enough ... but like memory, you can never have 'enough'!

If I could do it again, I'd arrange for the video editing desk to be in the middle of the room and not against a wall - so that the rear of the equipment could be accessed easily. That was my big mistake, which grew worse as the years have gone buy and the rig grew, and spread... Now I simply couldn't face uprooting everything and re-building.

Hi Mike,

I have followed your forum for many years and it has been most inspiring! Well I was aware of that great glow in the south east now I know when you are editing!!

Your idea of a Central island in the middle of the room is something I have never thought of before and has got me thinking.

PS my electrician looked alarmingly at me when I mentioned 40+ sockets in the room; "Not many Amps?" he said,
"No" I said, "just plenty of Watts and Volts!"

Now Mike, many thanks and keep spreading your knowledge, you know we all benefit from it!!

Good luck and keep filming!

Ken Wilson
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by Ken Wilson » Tue May 03, 2011 3:00 pm

Hi to all you technical people out there.
I am now looking to update my PC for HD editing. I know that there are those of you out there who know lots about the technical specifications of these things, which I don`t! Although interest in HD in my neck of the woods (the wilds of bleak Yorkshire) seems minimal, I think I should now look into an upgrade. I want to stay with Premiere for editing so guess that CS5 is the one I should look at based on bits of chat I have picked up on here. Is this correct?

The last 2 machines I have bought have been DELL and more or less worked right out of the box, which suits me fine.
A chap at work had to do a minor tweak on one of them as the two hard drives had been "mirrored" instead of working seperately, but apart from that, it has all been fine for most of the time since.
Both of these machines are still in use. One is for the internet, e-mails and so on, the other is my editing PC which works fine on Premiere Pro for SD. The Sony cameras are shooting on HDV so I don`t need anything to be able to handle the AVCHD format.

So in plain speak (!!!) what do I need to look out for? Dell do an on-line chat/ help service, but I probably need to know what I am asking for. The last time I did all this was a few years ago and at that time I had some idea what all the numbers and letters meant, but it`s all moved on so fast that it is now all chinese again. So any help would be appreciated. Thanking you in anticipation.

Ken

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Mike Shaw
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by Mike Shaw » Tue May 03, 2011 4:23 pm

I'm most definitely not the person to ask - especially when it comes to Dell and Premiere! (I avoid both for various reasons - but that's me, not because of the products). But here goes anyway!

I prefer the HP range of PCs when it comes to 'off-the-shelf' stuff - because, from the little experience I've had, its easier to 'change the bits inside for proprietary branded stuff. Dell I believe tend to use their own components and that can mean going back to Dell if you want anything changed. The editor you choose is really the one you're happiest and most comfortable using: if it does what you want, why bother to learn a new system.

My approach would be to look at the PC spec requirements for the editor I want to use: there will be a 'minimum spec' and a 'recommended' spec - just like they do for games. I would (and do) have the PC then built to the best I can afford, bearing in mind the spec that is required. In fact I have just done that - had Dave of DVC build me a machine to run Media Composer, to the 'recommended' spec rather than the 'minimum', for a change.

It does work out a bit more expensive than an off-the-shelf machine of course, but you get exactly what you want: for example, I wanted four 1GB hard drives - for Programs and OS, Capture, Renders and Assets. That's probably a bit OTT, but my old machine filled up quickly and I don't think you can ever have too much memory. I also have a networked 1 gigabyte drive for sharing stuff between the other PCs (like you - for internet and publishing stuff, and a laptop for lugging around).

Go for the fastest processor - I went for an i7 but I believe Sandy Bridge (?) processors are now available and even faster (but tested ??) - and as much RAM as you can afford; I know Win7 has a limit as to what it can use - but its called future proofing! Also, for HD editing I'd definitely choose win7 64 bit (if Premiere doesn't do 64bit yet - it will before very long, that's almost guaranteed).

You'd need a very good graphics card - Adobe will recommend one, either ATI or nVidia - and it will want to have a healthy sized RAM on board. The problem with 'off the shelf' stuff is you get what they fit - that can be changed of course, but there again, I've always found it easier to get a proprietary card working in a Hewlett Packard than in a Dell. In fact having a stock machine 'adapted' can be a good way to go - you don't pay (or shouldn't) for the bits they take out, and you get the bits they fit at a better 'OEM' price.

Someone who is computer literate (not like what I isn't) will no doubt have a completely different take on it all. I must say though that I am over the moon with the machine I now have - just for video editing.

col lamb
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by col lamb » Tue May 03, 2011 5:17 pm

Ken

Mike is pretty near the mark with his advice, but I would not go for an off the shelf PC as they are built on a tight budget for maximum profit.

Premiere CS5 is 64 bit now.

For HD and by that I do not mean HDV but AVCHD 1080i 1920x1080 video you really need a very specific PC and definately not a Dell. I build my own edit PC's and upgrade them as I want and also update friends

You will need a fast PC + 4Gb RAM as a minumum + a very good quality nVidia graphics card (the more you spend the better the performance) as Premiere uses the graphics card to process the timeline, other editing software like Edius use the processor so a PC for Edius is cheaper than a PC for Premiere

If you can wait a few months the Sandybridge range of processors is being expanded and their hex core should blow everything else away, these will then result in the current CPU's becoming cheaper.

I can help more but first can you answer a few questions?

1 what editing software do you want to use
2 how much do you want to spend (please be realistic as £1000 is what you will need for a new basic AVCHD PC)
3 do you want a completely new PC or to upgrade your existing.
4 what camcorder format do you have or consider buying
5 do you want to be able to edit video from a compact digital camera or DSLR as well as video from a dedicated camcorder
6 do you want to capture and edit analogue video
7 do you want to produce Bluray discs
8 do you know anyone handy who can build you a PC to a given specification
Col Lamb
Preston, Lancashire.
FCPX, Edius6.02, and Premiere CS 5.5 user.
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Ken Wilson
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by Ken Wilson » Wed May 04, 2011 1:29 pm

Hi Mike and Col.
Thank you for your replies. I will try to give more info without this being a long and boring saga.

My first encounter with editing video on a PC was over 10 years ago. I remember going into PC World and asking about it around 1999 and no-one knew what I was talking about!
Some colleagues at work were into computers, mainly for gaming and put together a list of components they said would do the job. A local company built this and I ordered a consumer version of AVID to use as my software to edit my films. But it drove me mad as it never worked and many times we tried different things to sort it out, without success.
I took it to a local company who specialised in video editing about 3 years later. They changed many components including memory upgrades and 3 motherboards. Each time they told me it "WAS FIXED!" But it wasn`t. It spent more time on their test benches than it did at home.
Around 4 years from the starting point (see many old issues of FVM where I detailed the long story) I contacted DELL and on the phone asked them to modify a fairly hi-spec machine to include 2 hard drives and a firewire socket. (I had acquired quite a bit of the jargon by this point.) On delivery, the Dell machine had the two drives working together so one of the aforementioned colleagues fixed them to work seperately as I had wanted them and all was well. This set up with Premiere 6.0 and then later Premiere Pro has served me well for about 6 years. Dell was my saviour.

My opinions and acquaintance with the HD formats so far have been mixed. I had a Blu-ray player bought for christmas but have not been impressed with it so far. Some HD Freeview TV looks great (like the royal wedding) but a lot of the rest of it, almost no difference.

We shoot wedding videos and almost no-one has shown any interest in HD. About 3 people have casually asked about it in the past couple of years. But ONE person asked about their wedding being filmed and edited in HD about a year ago and booked us to do it and their wedding is now coming up in June. I assumed that many more people would have asked about it by now and I would have upgraded, but they haven`t and I didn`t.
So here is the situation...I need a PC able to edit in HD and also to produce a Blu-ray disc. It seems a lot to pay for one job, but I am expecting that more people will ask at some point in the future and I can then edit my own films on HD too.

So that`s the story.
On Cols questions...



For HD and by that I do not mean HDV but AVCHD 1080i 1920x1080 video you really need a very specific PC and definately not a Dell. I build my own edit PC's and upgrade them as I want and also update friends

I am not thinking about AVCHD as our Sony cameras are HDV.

You will need a fast PC + 4Gb RAM as a minumum + a very good quality nVidia graphics card (the more you spend the better the performance) as Premiere uses the graphics card to process the timeline, other editing software like Edius use the processor so a PC for Edius is cheaper than a PC for Premiere

As Mike has said, you tend to stick with what you like and what you know and like him, I don`t really fancy learning a new programme. If a PC for Premiere costs more, then that will have to be the way it is.

If you can wait a few months the Sandybridge range of processors is being expanded and their hex core should blow everything else away, these will then result in the current CPU's becoming cheaper.

As detailed above, unfortunately I can`t really wait for a few months.

I can help more but first can you answer a few questions?

1 what editing software do you want to use Premiere in whatever version works best.

2 how much do you want to spend (please be realistic as £1000 is what you will need for a new basic AVCHD PC)
£1000 is what I expected to pay but as stated, why AVCHD?

3 do you want a completely new PC or to upgrade your existing. New

4 what camcorder format do you have or consider buying
We have two Sony Z5s HDVs bought new last year. Shooting on mini DV just now.

5 do you want to be able to edit video from a compact digital camera or DSLR as well as video from a dedicated camcorder No, just a dedicated camcorder.

6 do you want to capture and edit analogue video I don`t think I would need this. The other machine would do it.

7 do you want to produce Bluray discs Yes

8 do you know anyone handy who can build you a PC to a given specification

There is a small local computer shop just out of town. They advertise "Computers built to your own specifications." But I have no knowledge of them reputation or competence wise. The place has been there for a few years which would suggest they do well as they must get business. But it might tap into my previous phobias about building a PC and another 4 year battle.

There is also a specialist video editing company about 15 miles away who keep e-mailing me special build deals on their editing machines, but it all seems very expensive and I wouldn`t get any change from £2000.

I hope that this is enough and thanks again for any help and advice.
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Mike Shaw
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by Mike Shaw » Wed May 04, 2011 2:03 pm

Being biased, I think you're wise to stick with miniDV - though many will pooh pooh that statement on the grounds that 'miniDV is dead, long live HD/AVCHD' and solid state everything. miniDVs will be available for some time to come and although the cams have moving parts and one has to 'capture' the video rather than simply transfer it as a file, the demand on a PC compared with AVCHD demands is less. HD boosts it up a little.

I'd be interested to know what the Avid edtor was all those years ago - their editor is now the industry standard in the professional Film world (and costs around £2k just for the software), closely followed by Final Cut Pro: in the middle range - and more than adequate - Premiere and Edius are the top dogs, with Vegas in there fighting. At the bottom end there is Pinnacle Studio, Magix, Serif and now at a slightly higher cost, a new Avid Studio.

Always stick with the editor you know and are used to - unless it doesn't do the things you want to do.

Equipment wise, for HD editing £1000 should cover you - it would just about be OK for AVCHD - but that is a fine format for people who shoot, not so clever for those who want to edit (long GOPs).

I would still be tempted to look at the 'equipment requirement' specification for the editor you want, start with the minimum spec and add 'improved' levels until you reach your budget level. In order I would put the motherboard and CPU top, followed by the graphics card (VERY important component!), followed by RAM followed by hard drives - I'm referring to 'adding to the basic minimal spec. here.

col lamb
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Re: Setting up an editing studio.

Post by col lamb » Wed May 04, 2011 5:15 pm

Ken

Here is a specification: -
CPU Intel i7 960 3.2Ghz c£220 or i7 970 3.2GHz c £440 (the 960 is 4 core and 970 6 core)
Motherboard ASUS P6X68D-E c£145
RAM Corsair CMP12GX3M3A1600C9 which is 12Gb and about £140 or a 6Gb at about £100 is CMT6GX3M3A1866C9. Either is three memory modules which MUST be fitted in alternate memory slots.
Graphics card nVidia GTX560 at c£180
Hard drives Samsung 1.0Tb 7200rpm at c£40 each, I'd go for four, one for operating system and programes the second as a backup store and discs three and four configured as a Mirrored RAID.
Optical drive LG 32078 at c£80
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 have the 64 bit version installed cost about £140

When built and the operating system (Windows 7) is installed and Windows 7 updated, the latest ASUS motherboard drivers MUST be downloaded and installed

The above are bought components from Scan and using the lower prices where I have given option the total cost of parts is £1025, but a local pc builder will get them much cheaper you will also need a case and power supply.

This system will be fast and stable as the components have been used in thousands of editing systems, the ASUS motherboard and the equivalent Gigabyte are by far the best available for edit system.

To me the Sandybridge processor based systems have not been in use long enough to prove themselves but given another few months that will change as early indication is that they are OK.

Once built if you get CS5 there may be some software tweaking to undertake if you do go into AVCHD otherwise it will be fast and stable straight out of the box.
Col Lamb
Preston, Lancashire.
FCPX, Edius6.02, and Premiere CS 5.5 user.
Find me on Facebook, Colin Lamb

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