What is Video Editing?
Video editing is the process of deleting, arranging and otherwise selecting raw footage to create a final product that's more appealing than what comes straight out of the camera.
The most obvious advantage that this process affords is the ability to cut out the parts of your video that just didn't quite come out right. If, for example, you have some footage of a family gathering, and certain parts are shaky, overexposed or just plain boring, editing will allow you to get rid of the bad parts and save only the good.
Of course, there's much more to editing than just selecting good footage over bad. There's a fine art to the arrangement of shots within a scene, one which has earned many an Oscar for Hollywood film editors.
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The various methods used to edit video footage include in-camera, assemble, insert and digital nonlinear editing .
In-camera editing is actually a misnomer of sorts; it's really the process of shooting so you don't have to edit. It involves coming up with the final plan of the work ahead of time, then shooting everything in sequence on the original tape. The only editing you do involves stopping the shot, rewinding to the appropriate point, then starting again. This type of shooting usually results in a lower-quality finished product.
Assemble editing is one of the most common ways to edit. It's the process of identifying the "in" and "out" points of the shots that will be in the final product, then "assembling" them end-to-end on a master tape. Most editors do this by working from an edit decision list (EDL), which spells out the location, length and duration of each and every shot in the final work.
Insert editing involves placing video and/or audio between or over the top of material that already exists on the tape. Since you usually want to leave the segments before and after the insert edit untouched, the inserted segment must be exactly the right length to fit into the desired space.
Digital nonlinear editing refers to the use of a desktop video computer to edit your video. In digital nonlinear editing, you use the computer's hard drive, rather than tape, to store and edit your shots. This is called nonlinear editing because unlike linear tape, you don't have to fast forward or rewind a hard drive to get to a particular sequence; every frame of the video is immediately accessible. Nonlinear editing also allows you to use different kinds of software to visually arrange your edits--along a timeline, for example, or within a flow-chart or storyboard.
One thing to watch out for when editing is the dreaded generation loss. Each time you make a copy of taped footage, the quality goes down a little bit. Therefore a good editor will make as few editing "passes" as possible when piecing together a video.
But digital video has yet another advantage: there's no generation loss for successive copies, so you can edit to your heart's content.
Some other editing terms include A/B roll editing, in which you play two sources of video simultaneously and mix or cut between them; and cuts-only editing, which involves laying shots next to one another without any fancy effects like dissolves or wipes.
The quality of editing can make or break any film or video production; it's often the key to creating the right emotional response in a video. Whether you choose to do simple cuts-only assemble edits from the camcorder to the VCR, or you can afford to go out and buy a digital nonlinear editing suite, the fact remains: editing is fundamental. Without it, the quality of video suffers tremendously.
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