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Chapter 1. Getting Started > Introduction to Nonlinear Editing

Introduction to Nonlinear Editing

Editing both film and video in the past was a very long and expensive process. It was also very technical. Editors practically had to be engineers to work at their craft. Much of an editor’s day was filled with patching cables, setting up decks, and searching footage. This all changed when nonlinear, digital editing was invented. In the past all video editing was done in a set process. Edit A had to happen before edit B. There was no way of getting around this process. It was time consuming due to the fact that all edits were done in what is called real time and in a linear fashion. (You’ll learn what real time and non-real time are in Chapter 8, “Introduction to Effects”.) If your first edit was nine minutes long, it would take you nine minutes, plus set-up time, to make your first edit. This process is fine if you know exactly which edits start first and which come next. However, problems would arise when producers, directors, or any of the other numerous individuals whom had a voice in what the final product looked like decided to make a change.

Consider this analogy. The difference between linear editing and nonlinear editing is similar to writing a paper on a typewriter or writing a paper on a word processor. Changes, deletions, corrections, and additions are simple if you choose to write a paper on a word processing program. But imagine writing that same paper on a typewriter. You are forced to start at point A before progressing to point B. If you worked on a word processing program or a nonlinear editing system, you could start at the end of your story and decide to build the beginning at some other time. Changes could be made at any time without correction fluid or wasted paper. With nonlinear editing, all your footage becomes computer files—files that can be changed, trimmed, moved or deleted very easily.


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