The B&H Photo PC Pro Workstation Rain Stratus-Based Entry Level CS6 Production Premium & I/O Card Turnkey centers on Rain's Stratus video editing computer, a Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro capture and playback card, and Adobe's fully comprehensive and highly-powerful CS6 Production Premium suite of creative programs. Stratus features a very fast 3.6 GHz Quad Core Sandy Bridge-E Xeon Intel processor, an NVIDIA Quadro 1GB graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive, and this B&H kit adds another 2TB hard drive to provide you with a total 2.5TB of storage space to support the entire Production Premium suite and any additional applications that you may want to install at some point, and for saving your projects, although saving internally without backing up to an external drive is risky. Storage space is expandable to a total of 12TB, which would allow you to keep a large number of applications and big projects on the computer, and RAM is expandable to 32GB so you can effectively run multiple power-hungry programs at the same time.
Stratus is also configured with a fan regulator that keeps the entire system running cool and quiet, and the installed Windows 7 is fine-tuned in the registry and BIOS settings to provide more system resources and processor efficiency for creative applications. Services unnecessary for such applications are disabled to maximize memory and hence bandwidth.
Stratus has a fast dual layer CD/DVD player and burner for offloading your projects to discs, and a memory card reader that can read from and write to SD, SDHC, SDXC, CF1, CF2, SM, MS, and MS Pro memory cards. For input/output, Stratus is equipped with numerous ports -- eight USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, two 6 Gb/s eSATA 3.0 ports, six PCI-Express 3.0 slots, one PCI slot, an Ethernet port, and two S/PDIF audio outputs, one coaxial and one optical, that support up to 7.1 channels of surround sound audio. In addition, Stratus has slots for installing two FireWire 400 ports for outputting video and audio.
You get a three-year warranty and three years of tech support on Stratus from Rain. Tech support includes phone support, 24/7 help desk support, and remote login tech support. You also get three Rain Ensemble Plug & Play sessions, which offer help with installing, testing and ensuring proper operation of 3rd party hardware and software, like sound cards and editing programs.
The Intensity Pro card, via a selection in an application that comes with it, will let you import footage directly from your camera in an edit-ready codec of your choice, so you won't have to convert in order to begin editing. You'll save a lot of time when you have large amounts of footage to work with. The card can import via an HDMI input or analog inputs by means of an included breakout cable, and it can upscale or downscale the resolution of your footage in the process as well as perform colorspace conversion.
The Creative Suite 6 Production Premium consists of Premiere Pro, After Effects, SpeedGrade, Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, Audition, Flash Professional, Encore, Media Encoder, Prelude, and Story. These programs seamlessly integrate with one another and will let you do pretty much anything you need to with your footage.
Premiere has been one of the few most relied on professional editing programs for years. Other than its being full featured and deeply effective, Premiere is also a very efficient program. It works in real-time, so you won't have to wait as it renders after every change made, and it natively works with almost all common formats, so you won't have to convert to a specified file type but rather can just import your footage and begin editing. Premiere is very editor-oriented, as Adobe has always been open to user suggestions and very often implements them, and so you can expect Premiere to keep growing as you master its use.
After Effects is a full-featured and one of the most widely used digital effects and motion graphics applications. After Effects is in the toolbox of almost every professional editor, regardless of whether his or her editing program is Premiere or another. SpeedGrade is a new and very powerful color grading software with a strong color engine and color science. SpeedGrade allows unlimited layer-based grading and 3D grading.
Photoshop will let you redesign still images and integrate them into your videos. Illustrator will let you create design layouts, from a business card to a billboard, for individual use or integration into your video projects. Flash is for authoring animations and interactive sequences for incorporation into your video projects or for websites. Audition is for audio editing, mixing, restoration, and effects. Story is a screenwriting program. Media Encoder is for creating multiple encoded versions of source files. Prelude is an ingest and file logging and management system. And Encore will let you create DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and web DVDs.
This B&H kit also includes a keyboard with shortcut keys for After Effects and an optical mouse. The 2TB hard drive, the Intensity Pro card, and the Production Premium already come installed as part of a B&H installation and testing service, which is backed by a year of tech support.