Linear vs Non-Linear Editing. Explained
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What is linear video editing?
Linear video editing is the process of selecting, arranging, and modifying the images and sound recorded on videotape. In the early 1990s, many people used the term video editing instead of linear video editing.
Linear video editing is a mechanical process that uses linear steps one cut at a time (or a series of programmed cuts) to its conclusion. It also uses Camcorders, VCRs, Edit Controllers, and Mixers to perform the edit functions.
Linear video edition consists of three main categories, in-camera editing, assemble editing, or insert editing.
Video shots are structured. In such a way that they are in order and have the 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.
Video shots do not have a specific order during the shooting. In this process, the original footage remains intact requires. It requires at least a camcorder and a VCR. A new tape contains the new rearranged footage, without unneeded shots. Each scene or cut is assembled on a blank tape, either one by one or in sequence.
There are two types of Assemble Editing:
A Roll. Editing from a single source. It has the option of adding an effect; such as titles or transitioning from a frozen image to the start of the next cut or scene.
A/B Roll. Editing from a minimum of two source VCRs or Camcorders and recording to a third VCR. This technique requires a Video Mixer or Edit Controller to provide smooth transitions between the sources. Also, the sources must be electronic “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.
We can use this technique during the raw shooting process or a later editing process. New material replaces existing footage, deleting some of the original footage.
What is non-linear video editing?
In digital video editing, non-linear editing is a method that allows you to access any frame in a digital video clip regardless of the sequence in the clip. This method is similar in concept to the cut-and-paste technique used in film editing from the beginning. This method allows you to include fades, transitions, and other effects.
Initially, hard disks or other digital storage devices store the video and audio data. In other words, the data comes from a storage device or another source. Once imported on a computer, you can use a wide range of software to edit them.
A computer for non-linear video editing will usually have a video capture card to capture analog video and a firewire connection to capture digital video from a DV camera. It also includes video editing software. Modern web-based editing systems can take video directly from a camera phone over a GPRS or 3G mobile connection. If the video edition takes place through a web browser interface, a computer does not require any installed hardware or software beyond a web browser and an internet connection.
Digital non-linear systems provide high-quality post-production editing on a desktop computer. However, if storing images with lossy compression, you will lose some details from the original recording.
What is the difference between linear and no-linear video editing?
The biggest difference between linear and non-linear editing is the number of tracks on the timeline. Linear video editors have just one track; non-linear video editors have multiple tracks. Basically, a linear editor is like using a typewriter. Linear editors can only lay down shots in sequential order from beginning to end, you cannot move back and forth at will within the project. Non-Linear editing, by contrast, is like using a word processor. It allows you to make changes at any point in the project simply by cutting and pasting. You can also undo changes you do not like, and preview the results of your edits from any arbitrary starting and stopping point.
In the early days of electronic video production, linear (tape-to-tape) editing was the only way to edit videotapes. Then, in the 1990s, non-linear editing computers became available and opened a whole new world of editing power and flexibility.
In the 21st century, non-linear editing is the king, and linear editing is obsolete. That is an understandable attitude considering the advantages of non-linear editing, but we urge you not to judge. Linear editing still has some advantages:
- It is simple and inexpensive. There are very few complications with formats, hardware conflicts, etc.
- For some jobs, linear editing is better. For example, if all you want to do is add two sections of video. It is quicker and easier to edit tape-to-tape than to capture and edit on a hard drive.
- Learning linear editing skills increases your knowledge base and versatility. According to many professional editors, those who learn linear editing first become better all-around editors.
Although linear vs. non-linear argument is often subjective, some editors will disagree with the statements above. There can be little doubt that increasing your skill base is a good thing. There is no gain by rejecting linear editing, but much to gain by adding it to your repertoire.