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Linear Edit

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The most basic form of video editing. The video and audio to be assembled are played back, and another tape records it.

The most basic form of linear editing can be done with two VCRs. Just hook one to the other, press play on the first and record on the second. More decks and equipment can be added to mix audio, synchronize control tracks, and add transitional effects and keys.

Mistakes can kill this type of editing, so having an extensive plan made up from the Offline Edit is essential. Until sophisticated digital platforms came around, this was really the only game in town for footage shot on tape. Film has always had the advantage of the Non-Linear Edit — tape, glue, a razor blade, and some skillful hands are all it takes — so even after tape was invented many pre-recorded shows were (and are) still shot on film.


Because of the limitations of linear editing, shows that were made on videotape, such as I, Claudius or Upstairs Downstairs tended to be shot one whole scene at a time using multiple cameras, which tends to explain their theatrical look.

Live production is a form of linear edit, except instead of a tape the output goes directly to the transmitter.

Please do not add examples to work pages; this merely defines the term.