Even the finest footage, can require some editing. But what if you can’t wait to get home? What if you want to edit while traveling? Luckily, there is gear to help you do that.
I spend (at least until now) almost 6-7 months a year traveling with documentaries and other projects. My office is wherever I am and so my gear has to be optimized towards that goal. Portability is the main thing but I don’t want to sacrifice on performance either. Is it possible?
Well, I have not used a normal desktop computer in a long time and the more technology is moving forward the more the difference in performance between laptop and normal desktop is shrinking.
Let’s check some of the best(and some on the budget too) equipment for traveling video editors. I rounded up all of the essential gear, and it’s all portable, so you can get your job done anywhere in the globe!
This is the main thing you’ll need for editing. You can’t edit videos without a computer, and a laptop is always a more convenient option than a desktop.
Let’s just get some things out of the way,
4K or HD? In my personal opinion, since I have 4K screen on my Dell G5 for the past 2 years, definitely HD.
Why? Well, there is just not enough space to use full potential of 4K. You will hardly see any difference on a 15” monitor, not to mention you have to scale everything, otherwise, the icons and details on your desktop will be extremely small. So for the past year, I actually used only HD resolution on my desktop. Oh, and it eats away your battery in a matter of minutes. HD 1920×1080 is perfect for everything you want to do, believe me, save yourself some money and battery life.
Intel, Intel and Intel. i7 , i9 or Xeon are all very good choices in regards to editing, graphics etc. As to the generation, 8th and up. The speed of the clock is not as important, but if you have money, go for the fastest i9 or Xeon.
My personal advice is 32 GB ram and up(you can easily do the work on 16GB too). You can always buy a laptop with less and add it afterwards, just check beforehand that you can actually add more to your laptop of choice. In some models the capacity tops up in 16GB. In my Dell its at 32GB.
NVidia, for sure. Stay away from intel graphics. I have right now NVidia 1060 GTX with 6GB and it’s doing ok. The newer and with more RAM, the better. Have not tried cards from AMD so I can’t say anything about them.
SSD! Only, I would say. This is the place where you will see huge difference in speed. Go for 2 SSD if you can. One 1TB or more for the system and one more for the footage you will be rendering. Again, you can add that afterwards, just check that there is space for 2 hard drives in your laptop.
The rest I would say are details and preferences that everybody can adjust to their needs, USB-C, SD-card slots, touch screen, etc.
So in some kind of order here are my choices for 2020:
Microsoft Surface Book 2 and 3 (15 inches) – Good looking and Lightweight but Expensive
This laptop from Microsoft weighs 4.2 pounds. The outstanding feature here is that it’s detachable. You get to remove the screen from the keyboard and use it as a tablet. There’s a special pen that you can order, but you can always use your finger. There is something even more useful, it’s called Microsoft Surface Dial and it really can speed up a lot of the work you do in editing software, scrubbing, zooming, etc. I love the feel of it and how it responds.
It supports USB-C, USB 3.1, and a slot for SD cards, which means that it’s compatible with most devices. It also supports Bluetooth and WiFi.
Speaking of performance, it features up to 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, with up to 32GB RAM. That means great performance. You should be able to open as many tabs as you want easily 😉
For an exquisite graphics performance, the laptop features up to Nvidia GeForce 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB RAM. This is perfect for gamers, so it should do well when it comes to video editing.
The storage of the laptop is SSD up to 2TB, so you’ll have enough space.
The battery is quite strong too, as it lasts for up to 17.5 hours of video playback. Regarding the screen, it comes with a 3240 x 2160 display that can allow you to see clear and bright images, and it’s probably the only laptop I saw that is not affected too much by that on the battery life.
In addition to all of that, the keyboard has just 1.2 mm of key travel, so it should let you type more easily. Besides, you’ll always have the touch screen.
It’s not the most affordable laptop(it’s actually one of the most expensive laptops I saw on the market, right next to the Apple products), but you’ll be getting a powerful laptop, with great performance, and it’s superbly lightweight for what it”s packing. It looks amazing and it feels amazing.
This laptop isn’t budget-friendly, but it’s worth the money.
Razer Blade 15 – Extremely Powerful
One of the favorite of many gamers, an extremely powerful laptop with a lot of customization options. It’s not as compact or lightweight as Microsoft Surface Book but it is cheaper, not much but still.
The laptop itself is on the heavy side, at around 5lbs(2.2Kg) and it can get a bit warmy during your editing phase. It packs a lot of choices, i7(9th and 10th generation), GTX 1660 Ti or RTX 2060, SSD from 256GB up to 1TB, 16GB of RAM.
It has a sturdy build quality, it’s built with upgrades in mind, all of the components are easily available just under the bottom plate.
Few of the cons are noisy fans, especially when working on demanding applications (which in editing is always), you can get used to them but they are there. Also support, from what I hear around, the support is very lacking, long waiting times for response and sometimes not quite effective. But it’s minor things in my book. Definitely worth checking out.
When picking external drive for storage, it needs to be fast, yet light. One drive might not be enough. That’s why I’d recommend getting one for working and one for backup, just in case.
G-Technology 5TB ArmorATD External Hard Drive
This drive can keep up to 5TB of videos safe. It’s among the best options for travelling since it’s dust-resistant, rain-resistant, and shock-resistant. It’s made of sturdy aluminium, that has a nice blue colour, and a rubber frame.
It’s compatible with Windows and Mac, without any reformatting. It also supports different connecting options like; Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, and USB 3.0. In the pack, you’ll find the drive, a cable, and an adapter.
The drive can transfer up to 140MB/s. If you’re looking for a faster speed, you can go for G-DRIVE mobile SSD or G-DRIVE Mobile Pro SSD, but in that case, you’ll pay more.
The speed might be the only downside, however, you’ll be getting a drive with high quality, and huge storage, at a quite affordable price. Here you can find a list of some of the best portable/travel storage drives.
Let’s say you’re in somewhere noisy, and you need to listen clearly to the video you’re editing. That’s when a suitable headphones step in. They should give you the sound quality you need to focus on editing. I did also a proper review of some of the best headphones for video editing here.
COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
There are many extremely good headphones for video editing, here you can check the list of some of my favorites.
Whether you’re editing while being stuck in traffic or in a noisy hostel, these headphones will do the trick. They feature noise-cancelling technology.
You can use them with a wire, or wireless. When used wireless, they can last up to 30 hours. The protein ear pads are soft and breathable, which should give you the comfort you need. However, it’s always better to take them off every 2 or 3 hours so as not to harm your ears.
They come with a micro USB cable for charging and a 3.5 mm cable. They also feature a wide variety of colours, so you can edit in style.
With these headphones, you should be able to listen to a clear sound, with high quality. They’re also pretty light, with 0.6 pounds, you won’t be carrying too much. I’m still a fan of my Sennheiser PXC-550 but Cowin headphones you can get for under $100 and you don’t worry about throwing them inside a backpack.
Now we have everything, we’ll need a backpack. It has to be durable, with extra compartments to keep all of your gear safe.
USA GEAR DSLR Camera Backpack Case
Let me tell you why this can be the perfect backpack for you. The key is versatility. This backpack features a main compartment, with a storage space that you can customize according to your needs. Moreover, you can access this part from a side pocket if you want to get your camera without taking everything outside.
Then there’s a top compartment, suitable for any personal stuff, with a small mesh pocket inside. There are two additional small pockets outside, and a padded compartment for your laptop.
If you travel with a tripod, this backpack has a foot holder for it, with straps for extra security. If not, then you can use this foot holder for a water bottle.
You get to carry it on two shoulders or adjust it to be carried only on one shoulder. Pick whatever makes you more comfortable. It also comes with a waist strap.
This is a durable bag that has enough space for all of your gear. Furthermore, it’ll withstand different weather conditions while travelling. Why? Because it features a rain cover. It’s a good bargain for the price as well.
You can also check this list of some of the best bags and backpacks for video editors and cinematographers on the go.
With your editing kit, you can start editing anywhere and anytime. The right equipment will give you the opportunity to have good quality videos, right after shooting.
Even in times when you’re not editing, this gear won’t be useless. Each item on the list can be used for tons of things.
Editing-on-the-go is no longer an issue!