Video editing PC

Upgrade

We used our standard PC & GoPro Studio for our smaller videos without a hitch so were hoping we could get by without a Video editing PC. As the videos got larger, Studio would hang periodically.

Building a Video editing PC

We  hoped to build a Video editing PC without breaking the bank.

We built the PC back in October 2017 but only recently ironed out some of the kinks with MSI and memory.

AMD or Intel

We have historically stuck with Intel but you can get a lot more bang for the buck with AMD processors. Key to video editing is multiple cores and AMD is tough to beat in that regard.

We built our video editing PC with a AMD Ryzen 5 1600. This 6-core CPU was much more powerful than a comparably priced Intel CPU.

System Board

Once we had decided on a CPU, we looked for a compatible system board. The MSI -350M Pro-VDH fit the bill.

None of the newer system boards were without issues and we had no intention of gaming.

We had numerous issues rebooting the PC until recently. BIOS updates for our system board and SSD M.2 drive have been key.

Current BIOS

E7A38AMS.AB0

Memory

We wanted the fastest memory we could fit into our budget. Team DDR4-3000 was considered a bargain for the price so we decided we would give that a try.

Note that any memory speed above 2667 MHz is not officially supported by AMD and is considered over clocking (OC). Historically we have been wary of over clocking anything but it’s pretty common with AMD.

Additionally, you should use memory that is on their approved hardware. When our memory performed less than expected we tried more expensive memory that was on the list. That memory did no better than ours so we stuck with our original choice.

Through a series of BIOS updates we are currently getting 2933 MHz which is great but it hasn’t been easy.

Up until the latest BIOS update, the max we ever saw was 2800 MHz. We still can’t use MSI A-XMP but Try It works fine.

Our Memory

Team – T-Force / Night Hawk 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory – THWD416G3000HC16CDC01

SSD M.2 Drive

These days you need a SSD drive for your operating system but there are many to choose from. The M.2 version is much faster so this is the route most take.

It’s a breeze installing software from a fast USB thumb drive to a M.2 drive. There were issues seeing the M.2 drive on boot but we sorted that out without too much difficulty.

More disturbing was issues with restart. There was almost zero chance that the PC would boot on a restart. We found that entering BIOS (delete)  seemed to allow the system to find the drive. Even exiting (F10) with no changes was enough to get the system to boot.

This was not critical to our operations so we lived with this for months.

Recently we got a firmware update from MyDigitalSSD and the PC reboots without issue.

Our SSD drive

MyDigitalSSD – BPX 512GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive

Graphic Card – GPU

We opted for a GPU that was solid without being too pricey. We haven’t had any real issues with it other than downloading huge drivers for NVIDIA GeForce Experience.  I am not sure we even need those since we don’t do any gaming.

The GPU works fine even running dissimilar monitors. Currently we are running a 4K 32″ monitor (Display Port) & a 1K 28″ monitor(HDMI).

Our GPU

EVGA – GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB ACX 2.0 Video Card

 

Is it Worth the Effort?

We are now able to edit videos without too many issues. GoPro Studio has been left behind for Premiere CC and we are editing 4K videos.

We definitely like the speed of our video editing PC but it has not been without some headaches and it cost around $900 in parts & Operating System (Windows 10 Home). That didn’t include the recently acquired 4K monitor which is another story in itself.

 

4K Video Editing, Premiere CC & YouTube

The Perils of 4K Video Editing

We have uploaded hundreds of videos to YouTube so we had high hopes for 4K Video Editing. Mostly we used our GoPro Session 4 to shoot the videos and were pretty pleased with the results. The newer Session 5 was reasonably priced so we decided to take the plunge with 4K videos.

Software & Hardware

Software & Hardware

Initially we used GoPro video software and a standard Windows 10 PC for 1080p (1K) video editing but had to upgrade the PC when videos became longer.

Look for an upcoming post on upgrading PCs for video editing.

Premiere CC

GoPro Studio became problematic freezing up on long 1K  (1080p) videos so we reluctantly migrated to Premiere CC. Premiere CC is an awesome program but  very complex with a steep learning curve.

We did have issues with panning  1K videos. There was significant lag between the pan and the edit window.

PC Upgrade

Our upgraded PC was geared towards 1K video editing (1080p) but we figured we would give it a try before upgrading to faster PC that could handle 4K.

Here’s our benchmark tests from October 2017.

Research revealed that editing 4K videos in Premiere was not that much different than the 1K videos we were currently creating so we were hopeful.

GoPro Session 5

The GoPro Session 5 works as expected and does a few things better than its predecessor  including seeing video while shooting. Switching the GoPro Session to 4K mode at 30 fps was straight forward.

We now have 2 Session cameras so we can fire up our secondary camera when the battery runs down.

For those that are not familiar with GoPro  Session cameras, they are sealed units so changing the battery is not an option. The Session 5 will shoot videos while attached to a battery pack so that’s another option.

Our First Surprise

We tried editing the videos in Premiere & it didn’t seem that different from 1K editing.

Our 1st attempt to open a raw file (mp4)  from the Session 5 only in something other a video editor. We could hear audio in Windows standard software but no video. VLC would show the video but it looked awful. Our problem was that our monitor didn’t support 4K so we upgraded once again. Truthfully, it was well past time for a new monitor.

We set up dual monitors using our old 1080p monitor as our secondary monitor. Interestingly it now will open 4K videos now that is tied to a primary video. It doesn’t look nearly as clear as our 4K monitor but it suffices for mundane tasks like email & web browsing.

Premiere CC 4K & Proxies

Editing 4K videos didn’t seem to be much worse than 1K but we figured we would make it as easy possible for our hardware with proxies. With proxies, we are effectively editing at 1K and publishing at 4K.

Proxies require an additional encoding step so it makes our work flow a bit slower but editing is much easier.

It still doesn’t fix our original problem with panning 1K video but that’s to be expected.

YouTube & Our Second Surprise

We were anxious to see our 4K videos on YouTube and checked as soon as processing was done. The available quality was a mere 360 p so we feared something was amiss in our Premiere setup so started reviewing the mp4s we were uploading. Everything seemed in order and a little research showed that 4K could take a bit longer to show up as YouTube has to generate videos for every resolution.

Eventually our videos did show up as 4K  but you still need a 4K monitor to see them.

 

 

4K worth the extra trouble?

Our main goal with 4K was to have extra resolution, hoping zoom and panning would be clearer. The jury is still out on that since we haven’t processed enough videos to make a definitive decision.

We still have our Session 4 so we could shoot the same scenes with 1K & 4K for a one to one comparison.  However the Session 5 only shoots 30 fps (frames per second) at 4K while the Session 4 shoots 60 fps at 1K so maybe it’s not a foregone conclusion that Session 5 video will be better. I could always slow down the Session 4 to 30 fps but our goal was to have better videos than the Session  4 provided.

Perhaps the fps only applies to changing the motion of the video. If

Movies Word On Stage Shows Cinema And Hollywood

that’s the case, we won’t see many changes since we rarely adjust video speed.

Without a doubt the files are much larger so we have to make accommodations in cloud storage.

The proxy files are also large but we don’t store those permanently since they can be regenerated. We did the same with huge GoPro Studio AVIs.

Speedup My Computer – Remove Malware

SpeedUp My Computer is a common request.

Typically we look for malware slowing down a computer but there are other issues  that can have a big impact on performance.

 

SpeedUp My Computer by Cleaning Files

cCleaner is a useful tool to speed up your computer even if malware is not present. It optimizes your computer and removes unnecessary files and registry entries.

It’s sometimes useful to run this before your anti-virus scan since it will remove lots of temporary files which won’t have to be scanned.

Faster Computer

Is your computer running slow? As it gets older it collects unused files and settings which take up hard drive space making it slower and slower. CCleaner cleans up these files and makes it faster instantly.

SpeedUp My Computer by Upgrading Hardware

Overworked hardware can also be an issue where an older computer

SpeedUp My Computer With CPU Replacement

got upgraded to the latest Operating System. In this scenario, you should consider upgrading memory, hard drive and or processor (CPU) depending on cost and the

 

In this scenario, you should consider upgrading memory, hard drive and or CPU depending on cost and the resource you need.

In general, a memory upgrade is useful. If you have very little space moving files to an external drive and/DVDs might be the answer.

If you are trying to get the last bit of speed out of your old computer consider a new CPU.

SpeedUp My Computer by Removing Malware

Usually, I can scan a client’s computer with a remote connection like TeamViewer.

Virus warning on laptop

On occasion, that’s not possible so the client has to bring the computer in or I have to go to the client’s site. Site visits are the most expensive for the client since they typically incur travel charges and higher hourly fees.

 Virus Scan

Either way, we generally start out with a MalwareBytes scan. This can be problematic if the computer cannot access the web.

Local Computer Scan Without Access to the Web

If we come to the client then we have the software on removable media or have the means to download same.

We bring the anti-virus software to the disabled computer and kick off a scan.

Remote Computer Scan Without Access to the Web

In the case of a remote computer, we need the client to copy the software on removable media and insert into the slow one or need access to another computer on their network.

The former solution requires some technological skills and removable media. The latter assumes that some shares are accessible via their network.

Assuming we get the anti-virus software installed on the slow computer, we can begin our scan.

Computer Scan Results

Depending on what the anti-virus program finds we will schedule other scans like AdwCleaner, Avast Browser Cleanup, Junkware Removal, and Hitman Pro.

Occasionally, AdwCleaner may flag legitimate software so be careful what you allow it to remove. You can restore quarantined software as long as AdwCleaner is not removed so it’s best to leave it on the computer.

I like to Google the malware found and find put which anti-virus scans are required. A typical sequence for us is to use the following.

Antivirus
  1. Malware Bytes
  2. AdwCleaner
  3. HitMan Pro

Bleeping Computer is my favorite site for finding anti-virus solutions and downloads.

SpeedUp My Computer by Stopping Windows Search Service

Any number of programs want to use Windows search including Windows Explorer, Cortana and Outlook so you should be prepared to see prompts from these programs when you turn off Windows Search.

You can usually find services by clicking Start and typing “Services” in

the search bar. Click on the Services program.

Scroll down until you find Windows Search and stop the service. Switch the Startup type to disabled.

Synchronize Your Cloud Files Without Slowing Down Your Computer

Synchronize Your Cloud Files

Clouds are a great storage option to protect your files. Even if your computer dies the files still live on in the cloud.

Issues With Clouds – Synchronize Your Cloud Files

The problem is that Synchronizing Your Cloud Files may slow your computer down to a crawl if you are synchronizing too many files. We certainly don’t want that.

Problem & Solution

Another problem with Synchronize Your Cloud Files is that it’s somewhat limited unless you purchase a premium plan.

Limited Space in the Cloud

When we use clouds with limited space we have to ensure we don’t try to back up unnecessary files.

The best Synchronize Your Cloud Files solution is to back up files that are the most important taking precautions with sensitive materials by encrypting.

Scroll down or click for help with Synchronizing Select Cloud Files

We can also spread out files among various cloud plans by maybe putting family photos on one and business documents on another.

If you have Office 365 you get 1 TB to backup your files so space should not be a major concern.

Slow Computer

The more files you have to synchronize the longer it takes the cloud software to index your files and upload.

Even if you only change one file the software has to evaluate them all. This can make your computer unusable when the cloud software is indexing.

Slow Zone

Synchronizing websites can be particularly bad since they may have lots of little files.

If there are repository file like Git then the situation is even worse.

If Windows Search all by itself can slow down your computer. Add that to cloud synchronization and you may think your computer is broken or infected.

Synchronize Your Cloud Files – Too Many Files

One Solution that addresses speed and space is to limit the files you synchronize.

If you have plenty of space but don’t want to drag your computer down every time it indexes your changes you can select which folders you need synchronized.

In our case, we have lots of websites and customer backups that don’t need to be constantly synchronized.

First we backup these sorts of files to an external drive or internal section of our drive that’s not associated with the cloud.

Test Case

We download a lot of stock photos from GraphicStock.com that we may want to use someday and we have 1 TB of cloud storage available on OneDrive thanks to our Office 365 subscription.

Initially we download the stock photos to our external RAID (12 TB) into a folder that shows it has not been synchronized to the cloud.

Problem Folder

Then we copy this folder to an appropriate place on our local OneDrive folder which gets synchronized to the cloud.

OneDrive Problem Folder

Once the synchronization is complete we remove the folder from synchronization by opening OneDrive Settings.

  • Start OneDrive if it’s not running
  • Right click OneDrive icon in tray
  • Navigate to Account Tab
  • Choose folders
    • Only Choose folders that are likely to change

      OneDrive Settings – Account

What This Does

Removing the folder from synchronization removes the files from the local PC which is why we have it backed up outside the OneDrive folder. We don’t need these files in 2 places on our computer.

More importantly OneDrive doesn’t have to scan through all these files to see if they have changed. Since they are stock photos we won’t be changing them.

We might however create new versions from the stock photos but we will be sure to back these up.

It does not remove the files from the cloud so the files are still available on OneDrive.com

Windows Search

Windows Search is also known for slowing down your computer so this added to a cloud backup can really bring your computer to a crawl.

This is especially true if you try to open Windows Explorer. Just clicking on a drive may take a long time to open. Think minutes instead of seconds.

Disabling Windows Search

Microsoft constantly recommends Windows Search for Outlook and Windows Explorer. They suggest that searches may take a long time unless we turn it on.

Search performance will be impacted because Windows Search service is turned off.

In our experience, Windows Search slows down any drive with a lot of files. You probably want to turn it off even if you are not synchronizing Cloud files.

Perhaps Windows Search is useful if you are looking for text within files but it’s a significant drag on our resources.

Disabling Windows Search is easy enough. Crank up the Services and disable Windows Search.

Windows Services

You can find Services by typing in the search bar. Double click Windows Search service and set it to disabled or manual.

Conclusion

It’s possible to synchronize your files to the clouds without impacting your computer performance by selecting specific files and folders to keep synchronized.

Turning off Windows Search will help even if you are not synchronizing files to the cloud.

Troubleshooting Your Laptop Webcam

Troubleshooting Your Laptop webcam usually requires some research on the vendor’s site.

Case Study

Dell laptop – Inspiron 3721 purchased September 2013.

The webcam worked when running Windows 7 but failed later on when it was upgraded to Windows 10 in October 2015.

Client is in a remote location so we don’t have physical access to the machine.

Laptop History

Laptop had issues with Windows 7 so it was an easy decision to upgrade to Windows 10. The assumption was that the laptop had malware.

Webcam had worked at some point under Windows 7 but the laptop.

It’s unclear how much time has passed since the webcam worked but the Windows 10 upgrade was done in October 2015 (8 months ago).

Teamviewer Remote Access

We were able to connect to the laptop remotely and review the problem as well as create a live USB drive to boot into Ubuntu.

Troubleshooting Your Laptop Webcam

As expected, the webcam was not found when running camera.

The unusual part was that it was not listed in Device Manager under Imaging devices and nothing was flagged as not working or listed in Other.

 

Vendor Site – Dell

Our 1st inclination was that we needed a driver but found no reference of drivers for the webcam on Dell’s support. Apparently the laptop uses Windows drivers.

We updated BIOS & chipset but that had no effect.

Live O/S

It’s usually wise to get a view of the machine from a neutral Operating System.

We could have created a live Windows 8 or Windows 7 disk but  this is not as simple to do as creating a live Ubuntu disk.

Ubuntu

What is a Live O/S?

Using a live Operating System (O/S) doesn’t require you to install anything but rather boot into the O/S on some sort of removable media.

In our case, we used a USB drive.

Ubuntu has a Try feature that runs off the drive without impacting your current O/S.

We often use live O/S to recover files from a broken Windows O/S.

Troubleshooting Your Laptop Webcam with Ubuntu Cheese

Within Ubuntu we could open a terminal window (CTRL-ALT-T) and invoke the webcam via cheese.

The camera was not found with cheese either so it appears that the camera is broken somehow. maybe a loose connection.

Conclusion

In our sample case, the Dell laptop was diagnosed as having hardware issues since it exhibited the same problems using another O/S.

Webcam Video

Our recommendations were to use an external webcam supported by Windows 10 or have the laptop repaired.

Since the laptop is a few years old it’s probably best to use an external camera. An external probably has better specifications and it’s designed specifically for Windows 10.