Why is My Computer Having Troubles Editing Video

GrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,591 Enthusiast
edited July 2017 in General

"Why is my computer having troubles editing video"

----This post is going to draw all kinds of responses for sure but I'm talking from experience and lessons learnt.----

I've seen this same comments for about the last 10 years and to go along with that a ton of responses to the problem ranging from GPU's drivers, SSD's ect, etc etc. I know it's hard for some to understand why a 1500$ Mac/PC won't edit smoothly or as they progress the troubles become more pronounced.

The truth is that editing videos is one of the most intense things that you will ever do on your machine and let's face it....MOST casual users don't have machines that are made to edit video.

The response I see most is CPU and GPU questions. The truth is there is a ton more involved...like storage space, over heating, corrupt registry's, fragged storage, memory, anti-virus, websites uploading malicious elements , etc, etc, etc. This is a small sliver of the many things that can effect performance.

This problem is not just a Hitfilm problem. It happens with every software from FCP, Motion, After Effects, Premier, Lightworks, Pinnacle, etc etc etc. 

So....speaking from experience when I used a low cost ($2000.00) PC and Mac.
(1) Start by defragmenting your hard drives...REGULARLY.
(2) make sure you have enough free space on the HD....at least 15% free.
(3) Don't browse unknown websites.
(4) If you're editing videos seriously have a dedicated machine just for the purpose. Don't browse websites, don't install conflicting software, don't play games...use the machine for what you want it to do. VIDEO editing!!

I have a dedicated PC sitting to my right now. It does nothing but editing. No browsing, no gaming....JUST VIDEO.  It runs like a champ. I do regular maintenance all the time. While my 2 MAC's'OK" for  edits without a ton of VFX they are still slow compared to my dedicated PC. If I'm serious I use the PC.

Here is a good analogy - I splice fiber for a living and there are about 15 manufactures of Electric Arc Fusion splicers...ranging from 5K to 35K BUT there is only ONE that preforms flawlessly..and it runs 25K. The rest are mediocre by comparison. I'm serious about fiber splicing and have learnt a lot the past 25 years-  if you buy cheap you get what you pay for...low performance - loosing  project(s) and reputation because the quality of work is sub-par. Network operators are serious about their performance and so am I.

- I purposely didn't touch on transcoding, GPU, Ram, CPU etc, etc...that's been beat to death already and I have nothing to add to the advice already given.

If you want to edit video without issue then spend the money - if you want to game, browse websites, install all kinds of software, etc. etc. then you are going to have problems and you are going to have to live with poor performance. Period.

It's not the softwares fault - it's yours.

Don't beat me up to bad folks- this is just my 2 cents  derived from my experience since 1984 with everything from a TRS-80(trash 80's), Commodores (Amiga), Mac's and PC's


  • Stargazer54
    Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,321 Ambassador
    edited July 2017

    What @GrayMotion said. 

    Editing video on a computer is resource intensive.  Buy the meanest screamingest system you can afford for editing and leave it alone to do just that.   Then start saving your pennies again . . . in less than 3 years its outdated.

  • Yeremyah
    Yeremyah Website User Posts: 995 Enthusiast
    edited July 2017

    "It's not the softwares fault - it's yours." <-- But now people can't blame external forces which is a lot more comfortable to do, now they have to take personal responsibility, ouch that gonna hurt  lol ;)

    I have spoken a lot about the need to upgrade the PC, myself included, I am due and my PC is only 2 years old.

    As software gets more powerful so the users can create more stunning and visually beautiful results, the more need for more powerful hardware to take advantage of the new software capabilities.

    You just reminded me of the old days, my Commodore 64, then I got an Amiga 500, and now look at the PC's we have:)

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,933 Ambassador

    Amen! Although my flashbacks include the Atari 800 and Apple II along with the Trash-80, Commodore 64, Atari ST and Amiga. 

  • tddavis
    tddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 5,058 Moderator

    I was deprived, I guess.  I started with a TI-99 then graduated to a Atari 800XL to a Commuter Laptop that was the size of of a briefcase...I'm not lying.. Had dual floppies but no HD 

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,933 Ambassador

    @tddavis ah the good old Ti-99!

    Wait, what did they call the Sinclair ZX81 in the USA? TIMEX something? 

  • NormanPCN
    NormanPCN Website User Posts: 4,065 Enthusiast

    Wow, lots of old time computers listed. 

    C64->Atari ST->PC (first one AST 10Mhz 286).

    Got to dabble with Cray super computers (1, 1S, XMP, 2) in the 80's for an undergrad class. 1.5D Simulation of plasmas.  A grad student was going to Los Alamos to run his code in full 2D. So some of us nimrods were able to use his Livermore cray account(s) and code. I did not have to but I would have trampled anyone who got in my way getting in on that.

    A couple of years before that on a class field trip touring the fusion research at Livermore I saw the Cray-2 being beta tested. Only a 1/4 setup at the time but the shocking thing to me was when walking up to it and looking inside, top down, I could see it was liquid cooled. Coolant flowing over non-insulated circuits. Daaaaamn! Obviously non conducting liquid. All the circuit boards were packed so densely that you could not blow air through it fast enough to cool it.  That's one of the crazy thing about big computers of that era. The speed of light was a very real limiting factor even at their slow speeds (by today's standards)

  • tddavis
    tddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 5,058 Moderator

    Triem23  you sent me to google.  I had never heard about that one which is odd that I didn't.  Wiki says it was released here as the Timex Sinclair 1000 & 1500, but initially sold as the ZX-81 in Scotland where is was manufactured.  Who knew?  It saved to cassette tape like the TI though. Ah, memories...

  • Aladdin4d
    Aladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester Posts: 2,481 Enthusiast

    @GrayMotion Well said!

    Commodore PET, VIC-20, 64, 128, several Amigas. Things that passed through - Atari 400 & 800, Fat Mac, Timex Sinclair 1000, Apple IIc, Tandy 1000


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,933 Ambassador

    Sigh... I never shoulda sold off the Atari 800. I should have kept that forever just to play Star Raiders. Still damn near the best space combat game I've ever played, and all the remakes and reboots junk it up with too much, well, junk.

  • tddavis
    tddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 5,058 Moderator

    I still had my ancient collection up until the break in at my off site storage unit in December '15.   Lost an old Apple Mac from the 80s, the 800XL , an Atari 2600 and a Nintendo game system and a ton of other collectibles...

  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,307 Ambassador

    AMEN to @GrayMotion  :)

    I got my start with our family's VIC-20, even managing to write a little assembly-language program for it (just one, but it was fun for my middle-school mind to tackle). My dad eventually migrated to a Windows system, but I went C-64, then Amiga 500, then Windows for a while, and finally Mac for the past 9-ish years.

  • GrayMotion
    GrayMotion Website User Posts: 1,591 Enthusiast

    Man there's a lot of old timers here. Makes me feel right at home!

    But alas I don't think anyone that's having "issues" with Hitfilm and performance will get the gist of my post..

    Pretty irritatating to see nothing but "export problems, Hitfilm crashes all the time, I can't do this, I can't do that...etc etc etc. My moderators of old days would have all thrown in the towel...constantly answer the same questions over and over and over. Kudos to the moderators for sure.

    Let me ask...why isn't there a sticky post regarding the problems and fixes or non-fixes? I understand that FXHome wants everyone to use their software but realistically it just not going to happen. Minimum specs to me means "Good luck. You can splice footage together and hopefully render it but not much more than that."

    There is a ton of knowledge here from the pro's about what one can do with the software, presets and effects but it seems to get lost in the plethora of  "I can't.........".

  • Yeremyah
    Yeremyah Website User Posts: 995 Enthusiast

    Why not create a FAQ with all the questions that keep getting asked over and over, and point people to that FAQ link instead of always typing out the replies over and over?

  • ScottReid
    ScottReid Website User Posts: 145 Enthusiast

    Maybe I haven't spotted it yet but what is a good setup for a dedicated editing PC?

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,933 Ambassador

    GrayMotion, I've always said part of the Hit-U project was getting tired of reanswering certain questions. Certainly NormanPCN and Aladdin4d both created detailed threads on transcoding for the same reason. 

    Ugh, I'm probably going to need to actually start using my reddit account and take info to reddit Hitfilm threads.. 

    @Yeremyah FXHOME actually has a lot of FAQ's for common questions over in the support section of the site. Sometimes I will just link to the support article. Problem with sticky FAQs and even support FAQs is a lot of user don't look for them or ignore them. We've all seen "why is Hitfilm crashing" questions from a user under spec. System requirements are listed on the download page, so those are users who didn't read past the "Download for Free" button. We've all seen the "Why can't I open Ignite?" questions from those who missed that the product page and launch video clearly define Ignite as plug ins for non-Hitfilm hosts--again, the user not reading anything other than the "Download for Free!" button. We've also all seen a range of questions that could be answered with a Google search in less time than it took to type the question. 

    So, despite FAQs and available information, people are going to jump to asking questions (without providing relevant information) no matter what. 

    @ScottReid in general, Hitfilm is doing rendering tasks via GPU. The most powerful GPU you can get is the most important bit of the rig. The CPU is used for drive I/O, base video decode and particle physics calculations. Video decode operations are single threaded (one thread per stream), so the CPU is less important than the GPU. RAM is always good. If nothing else more RAM is great for larger RAM previews. Drive space is always a question. Particularly for Proxies and caches, a fast SSD can speed things up. But SSDs are still so expensive that 4k footage can eat space for lunch... HDDs are cheap, but slower--probably unsuitable for 4k. Professional editing desktops would have several drives. An SSD for OS and software, an SSD for proxy/cache, an SSD to hold active projects/media, an SSD for renders and a large HDD (or RAID) as a media library. Specific hardware recommendations are always difficult since hardware changes yearly and there are multiple major platforms for CPUs and GPUs. 

  • NormanPCN
    NormanPCN Website User Posts: 4,065 Enthusiast

     About FAQs and sticky threads.

    You can lead a Horse to water but you can't make him drink.

    FxHome does not help as much as it could at times here. Take the recent Ignite Express thing. 4 or 5 word additions in the top banner should have eliminated those questions. Of course that assumes someone reads that before they download. I'm think of simple words added like, for editors other than Hitfilm.

    I would not discount the CPU in performance considerations. What has been the single most common performance gripe on the forums? People import their media, place it on the timeline and playback stutters. The GPU has done nothing up to that point. No amount of extra GPU is going to help here.

    This forum knows the Hitfilm issues and some ways to workaround some and transcoding is often a cure for many in this regard. Bottom line is you need enough CPU to get and keep the timeline pipeline moving. Then the GPU takes over with the effects, 3D models and such.

    The GPU does run your filters , ...Effects. Many of these are not very GPU compute intensive. Things like the color grading effects like curves, wheels and such. Levels Histo sucks. So if your CPU can get the timeline moving then even most base GPUs could/should be good for basic editing with grading. Even 4k.

    Once you start using effects that are compute intensive then often/most times we never have enough GPU. Me want 1080. Consider many of Javert's recent tutorials. Glow has often been used and in multiples. Glow is very a compute intensive effect.

  • avantad
    avantad Website User Posts: 1

    Great answer guys on a computer having troubles editing video