Folks trying to get into video editing today ask me questions like, "What brand of laptop should I get?" "What factors do I look out for?" and the most common one - "MAC or windows laptop?" There are also video editors who still find it challenging to edit on the go because they do not have the right laptop. If you fall in either of these two categories, this article has been put together just for you. In this article, we will be exploring the factors to consider when buying a laptop for video editing. It is also important to note that the brand of the laptop is not significant in this regard; specifications are what matters. That said, the most important specifications to consider are CPU, GPU, RAM, and Storage. Let’s get into the details!
The CPU is commonly called the heart of the computer and that is why it is the first and the most important thing to consider. It contains cores which helps it to process information. Simply put, cores equal speed.
The speed with which a laptop will run depends on the number of cores contained in that laptop. This also means that having more cores would enable you to edit videos faster. Ensure that the CPU in the laptop you intend to get for video editing is a Quad-Core Processor at least, that is, contains 4 cores. When compared to a Dual Core Processor, the former is faster and it ensures a smoother playback.
As the name implies, GPUs are specifically designed to handle the graphics workload of your laptop.
A graphics card or board holds together the components of a GPU, "graphics card" and "GPU" can be used interchangeably. There are 2 types of graphics cards: integrated graphics card and dedicated graphics card. With video editing, I recommend a laptop that contains a dedicated GPU, rather than an integrated GPU. This is because an integrated GPU does not have its own memory and storage- VRAM (Video Random Access Memory), it shares memory with the CPU on a laptop.
Whereas, the dedicated GPU has its own memory (VRAM) for image processing, which means that it works faster than an integrated graphics card.
There are two major GPU companies, NVIDIA and AMD. In my experience, NVIDIA cards are more compatible with video editing softwares. Kindly note that the minimum GPU memory for video editing is 2GB. If you'll be editing on a software like Davinci Resolve, I'll advise you start from 4GB.
The RAM is used to temporarily store information. So, when video editors edit and make changes to a video, the RAM is what helps to temporarily store those edits and changes. This means that the more video editing you do, the more RAM you need.
Take, for instance, you’re editing a 4K video, you’ll need about 16GB. Notwithstanding, bear in mind that your video editing laptop can do a lot with a minimum RAM of 8GB. You can always bulk up on RAM in future. Kindly remember that when buying your laptop.
The storage factor is most times the least talked about when it comes to choosing a laptop for video editing. It is, however, just as important as the CPU, GPU, and RAM.
There are two kinds of storage to consider for video editing: HDD and SDD. While there are many options to choose from as far as external storage is concerned, it is best to stick with one that ensures sufficiency. The SDD (Solid State Drive) is a newer and faster version of the HDD (Hard Disk Drive), so it is highly recommended because it makes video editing smoother and faster. However, because it is quite expensive and can be a bit of a challenge, especially where budget is a concern, it is okay to work with the HDD instead. It might not be the fastest, but it functions well enough.
Contrary to what most people think, the brand of a laptop does not determine whether or not it is good enough for video editing. Whether it is HP or Dell, if they do not contain the above specifications in the right measure, then you might not enjoy editing while using them. There's always a budget constraint so its okay to be working with a particular price range, however, it is best to know these specifications, then factor them into your budget.
There are many pitfalls and frustrating experiences when working in Nigeria and by extension - Nollywood and of course other filmmaking meccas. Hopefully, my shared experiences and lessons will help educate, protect and prepare readers for the challenges that come with being working professionals. Thank you for taking some time out to read this, feel free to comment and ask me questions below. If you want to connect with me, please find my social media handles at the very end of this page.