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Editing Software Can length of raw footage effect editing and ram?

Beanie Draws

Mythical Poster
Subscriber Goal
This is a question that popped into my head while watching someone doing a review of Davinci Resolve 17 beta, they were using lots of short clips, and it made me think to myself... my raw clips are usually at least 20 minutes long, sometimes ranging as long as 2 hours long.
Does the length of your unedted footage effect the overall performance of your editing software?

Back in the day when I was using Windows Movie Maker, I'd often find myself running into problems about a quarter way into a project where after a large amount of slicing on a 2 hour footage segment to bring the footage down to a more manageable 20 mintues, the software would start crashing and exporting was near impossible. The computer I used at the time had somewhere in the rhelm of 2-4gb of ram, no graphics card and an i3 processor.

Fast forward to today, ryzen 7 1700 procressor, gtx 1080ti, 16 gb of ram (going to be upgrading to 32gb ram) but I'm still using massively long footage segments sometimes up to 2 hours long, and the amount of trims I'm using, I'm sure each trim = data that effects the processor and ram, and just like how the bigger a photoshop file is, and the more layers it has, the more taxing it can be, I'm wondering now if it's simply the size of my clips, and how many trims I actually have on the full project that's effecting lag.

Here's a slightly zoomed in shot to give an idea of the amount of trims I have in a 12 minute segment
trims for days.PNG

And here's the full timeline. So LOTS of trims.
full timeline.PNG

Would I simply be better off editing smaller portions, exporting them individually, and then combining all the edited portions together later once it's all done?
I'm seriously starting to think it's my raw clip length and amount of trims that's effecting playback performance.


Professional cat wrangler
Subscriber Goal
Short answer - it depends.

Let's say you have a 1 hour clip. In Davinci (actually in FCP and Premiere as well), you can create multiple clips by setting in and out points on the video to create subclips. These are actually just references to the original file, so there is no actual duplication. There is some memory use, but "by reference" is actually one of the most memory-efficient ways to do things. This was the whole point of "pointers" for those of us that wrote code during the "C" days.

With that said, there is some footage caching, so a single master file that is 2 hours long may cause a lot of spooling to and from disk as you move. It could literally be your disk access speed as much as memory or processor.

An interesting experiment for you would be to cut the master clip into smaller, maybe 10 minute clips and see if that helps. That way it isn't trying to cache the whole long video but is only caching the clips you are working with.