How video editing works

Are you like me? When you take home movies, do you have one minute of the kids blowing out birthday candles, and 20 minutes of sky and ground because you forgot to turn the camera off? That’s why there is video editing. The good news is it is easy to get rid of those unwanted moments, while keeping the precious ones.

Simply put, video editing is removing all the bad parts of a tape and keeping the good ones. Back in the old days of film, editors cut out the bad parts with a razor blade and taped the good parts with ordinary Scotch Tape. Today, a few clicks on the computer and you have the results you are looking for. Whether done on a computer or with the traditional “video controller”, the basics are the same.

These days, there are two forms of editing, “linear” and “non-linear”. Let’s start with linear. This is “old fashion editing” because it won’t be long before linear editing is obsolete. Linear editing is physically taking video from one tape and recording it on another tape. A “video controller” performs these steps for you. Most videotape consists of a video layer and two audio layers. When editing, you can use all the layers at once or any combination of the three.

Using “in” and “out” points, you can make your final product just the way you want. With linear editing, you need two video machines and a video controller. One machine is the player, the other is the recorder. Here’s how simple editing is. Find the section of tape on the “player” machine you want to transfer. At the beginning of the section, hit the “in” button on the controller. Now find the spot on the “recorder” machine where you want to start the transfer and hit the “in” button.

Find the end of the section on the “player” machine and hit the “out” button on the controller. Choose the combination of layers you want to transfer, usually labeled V1, A1, and A2 on the controller hit the “edit” button, sit back, and watch your edit to take place. That’s all there is to it. Repeat until you finish your production. With TV news, for instance, the reporter’s voice will use one of the audio channels.

Natural sound, which is extraneous sound, will use the second audio channel. The video will go on the video channel. Sometimes the editors will get fancy and use the video channel with neither of the audio channels to cover the voice of the interviewee. However, the steps you just learned are the same.

With “non-linear” editing, the process is getting “high tech”. This is what the “proud father” will most likely use to edit video taken on graduation day. Again, there are “in” and “out” points. The difference is all the video is loaded onto a computer where you do the editing on a “timeline” on the screen. When you finish, you play the video on the computer and record it on tape. You just need one video machine for non-linear editing because all the work is done on the computer.

However, with non-linear editing, you can do a lot more than you can with traditional linear editing. You can add extra audio channels if you want. With these extra channels, you can put a music background on your production, for instance. You can also add extra video channels.

With an extra video channel, you can put one section of the video on one channel and another section on the second channel. With a couple more clicks on the computer, you can perform all sorts of fancy wipes and dissolves to get from one video channel to the other.

Non-linear editing is so common these days, many computer operating systems come with a non-linear program of some sort. If your computer doesn’t have a non-linear program, you can easily get one.

Companies like Avid, Adobe, and Pinnacle all make programs that are affordable for the amateur to buy. So no longer do you need to fast-forward through hours of videotape just to see that one memorable moment. Now all you have to do is edit the tape and enjoy the show.

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