How I Learned To Build An Avid Editing Bay For Under $1,500

On some low-budget sets, they have what is called a “skeleton crew,” which is defined as: “The minimum number of personnel needed to operate and maintain an item at its most simple operating requirements, and to keep vital functions operating.”

On the set of Problem of Evil, Jessica Silvetti and I had only each other. We embarked on a journey to shoot a feature film over a 14-day shooting schedule, and filled the key positions of Writer, Director, Cinematographer and Editor ourselves. We decided it would be most efficient and budget conscious to purchase the necessary equipment and teach ourselves to use it rather than renting and dealing with insurance. Using personal funds (read: debt), we purchased a Canon DSLR and three professional Canon L-Series lenses. We built and designed a custom shoulder rig out of parts from Home Depot based on a few tutorials on sites like, and We used nothing but practical lights found on location throughout the entire production, which proved difficult at some times and a blessing at others. Shooting a feature that was predominantly improvised, dramatic scenes were feats in and of themselves. Owning all of our equipment allowed us great flexibility during shooting, and we wanted to experience that same freedom during postproduction while keeping costs down. The decision was made to build a PC based editing bay from scratch, and to utilize an Avid NLE to edit the film. We did all the research. Here’s our setup:

EQUIPMENT – Yes we all want blazing fast speeds, and we all want every  available feature, the “turkey with all the trimmings” philosophy of life. But,  when cost is a factor, you need to be realistic about what you need right now,  and where you might be going with your system. Compatibility among all  parts is key. See the REFERENCE section for good links…

Check out the rest of How I Learned To Build An Avid Editing Bay For Under $1,500, written by WMMer Ethan Kogan for our reinstated blog on!