Cutting it fine

Dubai-based editor Karen Davies shows off her new laptop, custom-made to provide maximum support for on-site editing and HD workflows.
Karen Davies, more popularly known as KC in the editing world, says the new laptop provides power and portability.
Karen Davies, more popularly known as KC in the editing world, says the new laptop provides power and portability.

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Dubai-based editor Karen Davies shows off her new laptop, custom-made to provide maximum support for on-site editing and HD workflows.

Dubai-based post-production editor Karen Davies recently invested in a custom-made laptop that would give her the flexibility to do storyboarding, ingesting, editing and compositing from one single machine.

Designed and constructed by UK-based company, Hybrid Media Production & Distribution, the high-specification laptop has been configured to support high definition (1920 x 1080i) workflows.

 

"The client wanted a laptop that would give her the flexibility to do all her work from one portable workstation ... so we built and configured a very high specification laptop to take advantage of her HD workflow. - George Francis, Hybrid."

"I do a lot of on-site edits and wanted a powerful, flexible, and portable non linear edit solution," says Karen Davies. "I always have very tight deadlines i.e watching the video before the event closes. The faster the machine, the easier it makes my editing workflow."

George Francis, digital media specialist, editor and proprietor at Hybrid explains that being in the post production business has helped him understand the challenges of editing on machines that are not designed for the purpose, which is why he set out to cater to this market with tailor-made solutions.
 



"Being an editor myself and being aware of the limitations of current on-location editing kit, I set about designing a useable, portable and flexible solution for the Non Linear Editing (NLE) market and my clients. We have been providing individual NLE solutions for our clients since 1996. In this instance, the client wanted a laptop that would give her the flexibility to do all her work from one portable workstation so we built & configured - using the best components out there - a very high specification laptop to take advantage of her HD workflow."

The laptop was built from scratch by Hybrid. One unique feature of this laptop is its X-Glass 17" wide high definition (1920 x 1200) display. "This takes care of viewing HD files natively in full screen as well as giving the client a larger desktop area to work from easily & tidily," explains Francis.

Another important inclusion in this laptop is a dedicated graphics card that drives the display. "This is powered by a 512MB Nvidia Quadra FX Open GL graphics card which in combination with Thomson Grass Valley's new EDIUS v5.0 software, takes full advantage of all the new integrated, multi-layered timeline GPU effects," explains Francis.

The CPU again is worthy of mention. Constructed with an Intel Core 2 - Duo 2.8GHz processor and combined with a 4GB RAM and a 200GB 7200 rpm SATAII fast hard disk drive, this laptop specifically addresses the issue of working with intensive workflows.

"This kind of a spec will enable our client to easily deal with her high definition data intensive workflow," says Francis.

"Another cool integrated hardware functionality of this laptop comes into play when my clients shoot with the new Sony PMW-EX1 & PMW-EX3 HD camcorders, both of which use the new high speed solid state S x S cards for recorded media. Built into the laptop is an S x S card slot giving Karen the flexibility to upload/copy her recorded media directly to the local drive quickly (or perform an on-line edit directly from the card) eliminating the need to have an external slower USB 2.0 card adapter attached to the workstation," adds Francis.



In the meantime, Davies, who has had a chance to play with her new system, explains that the high specification of the laptop empowers her to do more long form edits on-site.

"Functionality on this laptop is perfect as it allows me to do all that I need and more. As with all portable solutions, one's only limitation is hard disk capacity, which is overcome by using external larger capacity drives to enhance the built-in media drive," she explains.

For Hybrid, the main challenge with such projects is trying to incorporate and integrate all the features that a client requires and also making it work well, says Francis.

"Making it useable and powerful enough to work in my clients' data intensive environments is the key challenge" he explains.

The UK-based firm is now working closely with a well-known PC component manufacturer to try and push the envelope further in portable high-end graphic solutions.



In the meantime, if there's anything Davies would like to distinguish her laptop within an environment that has traditionally been thought of as a man's world, "it's a diamond encrusted finish", she declares.
 

Laptop specifications

CPU: INTEL Core 2 Extreme X7850/2.8GHz

Chipset: Intel 965PM + ICH8M

Memory: 4Gb

Displays: 17" X-GLASS WUXGA (1920x1200) Display Screen

Graphics: 512Mb NVIDIA QUADROFX 1600M PCI Express

Keyboard: Full size 86keys, Windows hot-keys, inverted T cursor, 12 function keys and separate

Numeric keypad

Pointing Device: Integrated Touchpad with palm-rest typing surface, including scroll functionality

Interface:

Internal 2.0 mega-pixel camera

Internal bluetooth module

Internal 7-in-1 card reader (MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/MMC/RSMMC/SD/Mini SD)

Serial port

IEEE 1394 Firewire port (400Mbps) (mini)

S-Video Out port, One DVI output

Four jacks for S/P DIF Out, headphone out, line-in & microphone Out

USB 2.0 ports

RJ-11 jack for modem

RJ-45 jack for 10/100/1000Mbps LAN

Line-in jack, One DC-in jack

Express Card 54(34) slot/SONY S x S media slot

Software: Windows XP Pro 32-bit (VISTA ready partition), Thomson Grass Valley EDIUS v5 Non Linear Edit Solution, Adobe Photoshop & After Effects CS3.

Power: AC mains universal auto-switching 120W (100V~240V) adapter

Battery: Rechargeable 8 Cell Lithium ION battery pack

Audio: INTEL High-Definition Audio Interface, 3D stereo enhanced sound, SRS WOW surround sound, built-in microphone, subwoofer and two speakers. Soundblaster Pro Compatible

Storage: 200GB 7200 rpm Hard Disk Drive and Dual Layer DVD-ReWriter

Weight: 3.95kg (with battery)

Dimensions: 397(w) x 284(d) x 22~44(h) mm

Extras: Intel Pro/Wireless LAN, Laptop Carry Case
 

 

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