Alright, I just want to say this upfront... when I say "budget", I'm talking about a few thousand dollars. A fully built out professional editing space can cost you north of $50,000 so just to add some clarity, I'm talking around $4,000 for a bay that you'd be proud to show off, and runs 4K ProRes Raw smooth as butter.
I'm going to talk about a few options, plus tell you what I use to cut every day in my studio.
Every editing bay is built around one thing... The computer. I'm nearing two decades of editing experience now and I've gone through more processors I can count.
Never... EVER... has there been a processor like the Apple M1 family. It started with the M1 in the 13 inch MacBook Pro. That changed the game. I was easily able to cut off of the Samsung T7 SSD, 4K footage shot on my Canon C300 Mk II.
Then Apple dropped the M1 Pro & Max in the MacBook Pro and it BLEW ME AWAY. I got the M1 Pro and I will tell you it's all the power a professional editor needs.
Then Apple did the impossible and only a few days ago, they dropped the Apple Studio with an M1 Ultra! The most powerful computer Apple has released yet.
So my first piece of advice when building your editing station is BUY APPLE. Trust me when I say ever since the release of the M1, my life as an editor has gotten so much easier.
I'm going to recommend the M1 Pro. It's more than enough power. You can buy the MacBook Pro M1 Pro and run it off of a bigger display... which brings me to my next point.
Buy that MacBook Pro M1 Pro for $2,000 MSRP and couple it with the new Apple Studio Display at $1,599 MSRP. This is exactly what I will do when it comes in tomorrow.
What good is a an editing bay with a killer computer that cuts as smooth as butter if you can't see your footage well or in the correct resolution?
Yes, there's all this talk about 6k and 8k but believe me when I tell you as an editor that survives off of gig work and indie filmmaking 4k is the gold standard right now and for the next few years.
That's why this 5k display is a perfect option for a beautiful, sleek, powerful visual aid in making incredible art.
What I love about Apple is they make all their devices to seamlessly work together and that's exactly what this display will do with your MacBook Pro M1 Pro, Max, or Ultra. Even the regular M1 is an option for you.
Plus... and this is a big plus... you might be able to skip the studio monitors because of the ridiculously gorgeous speaker system built into this display that supports spatial audio. I can't confirm this yet because... well I haven't tried it out. But from what I see off of YouTube and other sources, they rock.
If this is true, cutting the speakers out of the equation saves a few hundred bucks on speakers and stands, and could justify the price tag on the studio display even more.
Comfort is a BIG DEAL when building your editing suite. Trust me.
You'll be working on projects for hours and hours and I'll tell you it'll take a toll on your back.
That's where a company called Secret Lab comes in.
These chairs are COMFY. And they last! I've had mine for three years now and it's just as comfy as it was the day it came in. You can recline, you can spin, and you can receive full lower and upper back support.
Look into these because it's worth the $500 price tag. Solid investment.
Lastly, you'll need a good desk.
Here's the one I bought! It was only a little over a hundred bucks and is pretty stable plus comes in a bunch of different colors.
I recommend choosing something low to the ground like the one linked so you can be over your work instead of uncomfortably craning your neck upwards for hours.