I'm wondering if it's time for a new computer as I spend more time working on video projects.
My iMac is a few years old. It serves me very well–I've written and done all the image processing for both editions of my HDR how-to, Practical HDRI, on this trusty computer.
But as I'm getting more and more into SLR-based time lapse photography, as I've blogged here before, I'm getting a little itchy for a bigger, faster iMac like this one to possibly speed up my render times.
There's something passingly ironic about wanting to speed up time lapse rendering, I'm sure. And I'm not quite ready yet, from a sentimental perspective, to send my trusty iMac out to pasture, but it seems I'm getting to a point of personal backlog with various rendering projects.
Check out this recent experimental time lapse video I made that studies melting ice and watercolor paint.
All in all, this two and a half minute final video took close to seven hours render time between Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended and iMovie over the course of three days.
Meltpainting 1 from Jack Howard on Vimeo.
I've been continuing my experiments with melting ice and different angles and attacks on this subject, like this black light and glowstick juice sequence below that is rendering away, slowly, but surely, in Adobe After Effect CS5. I've now got a few days worth of rendering tasks I need to get into the queue for my next macro melting time lapse project. I just need to find the time!
Rendering still frames to time lapse video takes time...
And then once all the source sequences are animated from the still frames, it's then a matter of stringing and splicing them together for the final project.
And yes, if you catch a mistake, like some accidentally mis-aligned frames that didn't get rotated in Lightroom or Bridge prior to animation, it is back to square one and the render queue gets longer.
I did mention that I'm teaching myself time lapse this year, didn't I? I've made more than my fair share of errors so far, and there's just something about the way it feels to check back in on your computer the next morning after setting something to render while the video program can glom as much memory as it wants, only to have all that waiting on your part and chugging on you CPU's part to be in vain because you did something silly like made the first test shot in the image sequence a larger size in pixel dimensions than the second through three-thousand eight hundred and fifth shots. And yes, I really did this, and yes, it took me three rendering attempts totalling over four hours to discover where my mistake was!
But at the same time, there is something so amazing and rewarding when you view a time lapse sequence for the first time that rendered and animated perfectly, and then those hours of watching the spinning beachballs and fill-up timers running in the background as thousands of still frames turn into a single fluid composition that makes it all seem worth the wait. But I'd still love a bit of a faster processor, and maybe a full HD monitor to boot!
We want to know: Was video editing and rendering a consideration in your last computer purchase? Will it be a consideration in your next computer purchase?