I don’t know about you, but every couple months I seem to get tasked to do something that I have never ever done before. I’m usually delighted, until realizing I’m also expected to execute on a professional level. It is one of those aspects of life that is both exhilarating & terrifying (like having children?). One area that this happened in for me recently was to help plan out two separate edit suite environments. Not quite like having children, but still a big undertaking.

Unfortunately, I have never found a how-to book for edit suite design that takes you step-by-step through the process like a cooking book would with a recipe. Why? Probably the same reason there’s no step-by-step book on how to build a house. Every house is unique with varying needs and purposes. Edit suites are the same way.

Just having fun…

Many decisions will boil down to your specific production and personnel needs, but there are certain elements that almost every edit suite needs. Hopefully these blogs will help you decide what is best for you:

1) Oliver Peter’s Blog
He has some of the most clear and practical advice for designing an edit suite that I’ve found. Start here with a list of every post he’s done about designing edit suites, and choose what applies to you. The two that have been most helpful for me has been the following: DIY Edit Suite Design Pointers, about how to properly do power, HVAC, ergonomics, acoustics, and equipment. Slightly out-dated, but still very helpful is the Edit Suite Design 2011 post that goes into specifics on the most common configurations of equipment and software, providing pricing for it all.

2) Walter Biscardi’s Blog
His Anatomy of an Edit Suite is extremely comprehensive, covering everything from room layout to software, also providing links to everything. I am currently designing an edit suite based on much of this info. Also, if you’re building up your facility from dirt up, then check out the series of posts that chronicle their studio’s construction from planning to moving in.

3) Heavy Iron
This Creative COW article by Zed Saeed gives a candid look at their studio from how it was designed to how it works practically now.

4) OneRiver Media Blog
I stumbled upon these guys pretty recently. The blog isn’t quite as organized as the others, but they have some good behind-the-scenes posts about their facility – things like Building Your Own RAID, how they upgraded their audio control room, and others.

5) Acoustically Treat Your Editing Suite
This post by Gavin Haverstick on StudioDaily.com is great for anyone who may be a video expert, but an audio n00b.

6) Should You Mix Your Film in a Dubstage?
Good thoughts here on the importance of mixing in a dubstage, with advice on what to do if you can’t. Even Morgan Spurlock recently said that he JUST added sound mixing to his studio, because of the amount of projects he’s doing. Basically, either pay tens of thousands for your project to be mixed elsewhere, or hundreds of thousands (millions?) to build a dubstage.

7) Planning Your RAID
This is an area I recommend bringing a specialist on board, but even then you need to know the lingo so you can collaborate your way to a solution. That’s what this post is about.

8) Meddin Studio’s Facility
It’s interesting to seeĀ  what specific hardware and software a studio uses, but it’s also rare. However, as a facility who rents out their rooms to others, it makes sense for Meddin Studios. Get the whole breakdown on their edit, audio, and color suites.

9) Hire a Consultant
Okay, so this isn’t a link, but it is advice that you will hear from anyone who has built a facility, and I echo it from my own experience. Learn what you can. Go the DIY route as able. However, there are certain things that simply need specialists. I’m working with some now to help with specific tasks, but if you need someone to bring consultation to several or every area, then consider the folks at Digital Factory Inc. or Key Code Media.

Final Thought: As my storage specialist & buddy David Gagne told me recently (summarized), “Your storage and technology shouldn’t have 5-10 year plans. It’s not realistic these days. Plan for 2-3 years, then replace as needed.”

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