How to pick the perfect video editing laptop?

Picking the perfect laptop for video editing can be troublesome. I mean out of all the laptops that are out there, it’s just hard to know what to look for. You’ve got big, small, fast, slow laptops. But you expect your laptop to give you the best video editing experience. So, how do you pick the perfect video editing laptop?

Let me be upfront and honest, I’ve done some ‘video editing’ with Invideo, to start and learn how to create videos, but I’m not a professional video editor like Peter McKinnon. Wait wait wait, before you close your browser and go on with your life, I want you to know that I love doing research. I genuinely want to know how video editors use their laptops. What do you expect your laptop to do, how do you use your laptop and what don’t you use? To answer those questions I read articles from tech and video editors experts, got on fora, and watched youtube videos to know exactly what you need for your video editing laptop.

TL;DR

How do you pick the perfect video editing laptop?

In short, a video editor wants their laptop to support their editing software. Look at the website of the editing software for the recommended specifications. The laptop needs a screen to give the video editor the best possible view of how the video looks and feels. With a CPU like an Intel I5, AMD Ryzen 5, or Apple M1 Pro, 16GB of memory, 1TB of storage, and at least a Thunderbolt 3 port for fast external storage transfer. For graphics card, any would do, you could go with an Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060.

Screen

SpecificationAt least
Resolution2560 x 1440 pixels
Space CoverageDepends what the video is shot in, as close as 100% sRGB, AdobeRGB, P3, DCI-P3, or REC 709 coverage
Color accuracyDelta E 2 or less
Brightness200 nits
HDR support1000 cd/m2
Video editor screen expectations

Laptop specifications

SpecificationAt least
CPUIntel I5 or AMD Ryzen 5 or Apple M1 Pro
Memory16GB
Storage1TB
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 3060
Ports1x Thunderbolt 3 or 4
1x SD card slot
1x 3.5mm audio jack
2x USB-A
Specifications for a video editor laptop

What is a video editor?

A video editor is someone who creates a video from the footage that is shot with any camera. When they are deciding how the story is told, they cut the shot videos and manipulate them in a way so every shot falls into place. When the video cutting is done, video editors change the colors, add special effects, animations, and add audio in the right places. From background music to small stuff like the wind blowing to create a fully immersive story.

What Software Do You Use For Video Editing?

Your new editing laptop should have the capability to run the software that you are used to. This can be Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Davinci Resolve, Vegas, or whatever. These video editing programs have different kinds of recommended specifications to work well. Look at those requirements to know if your new video editing laptop fulfills the needs of your software.

How to pick the best video editing laptop screen

When you are editing you want your laptop’s screen to represent the best color possible, so you can make sure that everything looks great. For this, you’ll need the right resolution, a color-accurate screen, and the right brightness.

1. Should You Go For 4K, 1440p or 1080p?

The resolution of a laptop screen determines the number of pixels in a screen, the more pixels the more details you can view. On a laptop screen, the best resolution for video editing is a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels also known as QHD or Quad HD. This is enough to read the text and to see the fine details. You can go for a higher resolution, but the tradeoff is not worth it.

2. Color accuracy and space coverage

When looking at the color accurateness of a screen, you’re looking at how well the colors represent real-life colors. You can look in the advertisements for a factory-calibrated screen with less than Delta E 2. For the color accuracy, I would look for reviews from the laptop you would like to buy. In those reviews into the sRGB, AdobeRGB, P3, DCI-P3, or REC 709 coverage. Pick the color space you use to shoot your videos in. To know more about color space, see this blog post. The closer those are to 100% coverage, the more realistic the video quality.

3. Brightness

To make your screen shine bright like a diamond, you need a brightness of 400 to 500 nits. Most laptops have 300 to 400 nits. Lower brightness values can also make it harder for you to see your work, especially if you are in a dark space. If you’re buying a laptop for gaming, the ideal brightness should be between 500 nits and 1000 nits. If you watch videos all day, try to choose a laptop with 800 nits of brightness or higher. The quality of the screen itself isn’t as important as the brightness. Screens that are identical to the one you’re reading this blog have a brightness of 300 to 400 nits. That brightness is good enough for your work, so don’t worry about that. The smaller the color space,

What Screen Size Do You Need For Video Editing?

Most of the video editing software split up your screen, one for previewing your video and the other for all your edits. This makes your screen size very important, If you do a lot of edits, you might want to consider a larger screen. For example, a 16 inch instead of a 14 inch, but this makes your laptop bigger as well and heavier to carry around. Another option to save screen space is to go for a portable monitor, they are getting better and cheaper, with some decent battery life.

What Ports Do You Need?

You probably don’t think about the ports on your laptop until you need them. While many laptop manufacturers are taking off the ports to try and slim down the laptops, you don’t want that for your editing laptop since you may need to connect to an external hard drive for additional storage. Make sure your laptop has a Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4 port as well as at least one USB port.

A headphone jack and SD card are not necessary, but they might make your life easier if you like working in public or transferring footage directly from your camera.

Sources

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/video/tips-and-solutions/10-factors-to-consider-when-selecting-a-monitor-for-video-editing

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