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Basic Video Editing

Concepts and Tools



Video editing is both an Artistic and Technical process in which a collection of video material (footage) is compiled and altered from its original form to create a new version.

The artistic process of video editing consists of deciding what elements to retain, delete, or combine from various sources so that they come together in an organized, logical, and visually pleasing manner.

The technical process of video editing consists of copying the various elements onto a single video tape (or CD Rom, or other media) for final viewing or distribution.


Linear Editing - This process is basically mechanical in nature, in that it employs the use of Camcorders, VCR's, Edit Controllers, Titlers, and Mixers to perform the edit functions. This editing technique is performed in linear steps, one cut at a time (or a series of programmed cuts) to its conclusion.

Non-Linear Editing - Gaining in popularity quickly due to advances in technology, pricing, and product availability, this method of video editing utilizes the computer environment to aid in the editing process. This process is almost entirely digital and employs no mechanical functions except for the input of the video sources and its final output to Tape or CD. Editing in this environment is essentially is a visual Cut-and-Paste method.

NOTE: Linear and Non-Linear video editing techniques be combined, and often are, within the same video production and will be discussed later.


Linear Editing consists of three main categories:

1. In-Camera Editing: Video shots are structured in such a way that they are shot in order and of correct length. This process does not require any additional equipment other than the Camcorder itself, but requires good shooting and organizational skills at the time of the shoot.

2. Assemble Editing: Video shots are not structured in a specific order during shooting but are rearranged and unneeded shots deleted at the time of transferring (copying). This process requires at the least, a Camcorder and VCR. the original footage remains intact, but the rearranged footage is transfered to a new tape. Each scene or cut is "assembled" on a blank tape either one-at-a-time or in a sequence.

There are two types of Assemble Editing:

A Roll--Editing from a single source, with the option of adding an effect, such as titles or transitioning from a frozen image the start of the next cut or scene.

A/B Roll--Editing from a minimum of two source VCR's or Camcorders and recording to a third VCR. This technique requires a Video Mixer and/ or Edit Controller to provide smooth transitions between the sources. Also, the sources must be electronically "Sync'd" together so that the record signals are stable. The use of a Time Base Corrector or Digital Frame Synchronizer is necessary for the success of this technique.

3. Insert Editing: New material is recorded over existing footage. This technique can be used during the original shooting process or during a later editing process. Since the inserted footage is placed over the unwanted footage some of the original footage is erased.

Proceed To Page 2 - Titles, Audio/Video Mixing, and Edit Controllers

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