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Non-Linear Edit

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A form of editing in which footage can be assembled, inserted, rearranged and re-edited. Possible for video when the footage can be stored in a random access storage device, like a computer hard disk.

In order to perform a non-linear edit, the footage to be edited must be recorded to the hard disk. If the footage is analog (i.e. VHS, Video8, Hi-8, Betamax), it must be digitized. If the footage is already digital (such as MiniDV or Digital8 cassettes), it must be captured. If the digital footage is recorded onto an internal hard drive or flash memory within the video-recording device or a memory card, the footage files can simply be imported into the computer via drag-and-drop. Next, appropriate software is used to trim and assemble the footage, add transitions and graphics, mix the audio, and render the visual effects. Then, the footage is "printed" back to a tape, uploaded to the Internet, or reformatted to a digital video file and stored on DVD or a video server.


To allow maximum efficiency when dealing with the large video files, most non-linear systems use hard drives running in parallel to store their footage (RAID arrays).

Non-linear systems revolutionized video editing, and with the falling price and increasing power of personal computers it is available even to the amateur video producer. Since many DV camcorders recorded directly in digital form and had direct digital output (via Firewire), and modern consumer and prosumer camcorders often record directly onto memory cards or internal memory storage that simplifies the import process (usually via direct USB connection or an SD card reader/slot), home computers can do what was impossible even for broadcasters as few as twenty years ago. It's even gotten to the point where simple-to-moderate video editing capabilities can be performed on Smartphones and tables, thus enabling shooting, editing and sharing video all within the same device!


In film, non-linear editing is accomplished by physically cutting the film up (with a razor blade) and gluing it back together. This is an advantage that tape doesn't have, since you can't see the frames on a video tape to accurately cut them. (One can assemble tape in this way, but it is crude at best. Nonetheless, some audio editors do it as a matter of course.)

Popular Non-Linear Editing systems:

  • Magix Vegas Pro
    • Magix Vegas Movie Studio (the consumer version of Vegas)
  • Adobe Premiere Pro
    • Adobe Premiere Elements (the consumer desktop version of Premiere)
    • Adobe Premiere Rush (an even lighter cross-platform version designed for use on both computers and mobile devices)
  • AVID Media Composer
  • Cyberlink PowerDirector
  • Media 100
  • Apple Final Cut Pro X for Macintosh
  • Apple iMovie (Like a consumer version of the above)
  • Pinnacle Studio (comes in regular, Plus and Ultimate versions)
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  • Windows Movie Maker (a basic editor that came with Windows ME, XP and Vista)
  • DaVinci Resolve
  • Corel VideoStudio
  • Kino
  • Kdenlive
  • Cinelerra


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