Video editing is both an Artistic and Technical process in which acollection of video material (footage) is compiled and altered from itsoriginal form to create a new version.The artistic process of video editing consists of deciding what elementsto retain, delete, or combine from various sources so that they cometogether in an organized, logical, and visually pleasing manner.The technical process of video editing consists of copying the variouselements onto a single video tape (or CD Rom, or other media) for finalviewing or distribution.
Linear Editing - This process is basically mechanical in nature, in thatit employs the use of Camcorders, VCRs, Edit Controllers, Titlers, andMixers to perform the edit functions. This editing technique is performedin linear steps, one cut at a time (or a series of programmed cuts) to itsconclusion.Non-Linear Editing - Gaining in popularity quickly due to advances intechnology, pricing, and product availability, this method of videoediting utilizes the computer environment to aid in the editing process.This process is almost entirely digital and employs no mechanicalfunctions except for the input of the video sources and its final output toTape or CD. Editing in this environment is essentially is a visual Cut-and-Paste method.NOTE: Linear and Non-Linear video editing techniques becombined, and often are, within the same video production and will bediscussed later.
Linear Editing consists of three main categories:1. In-Camera Editing: Video shots are structured in such a way that they are shot in order and ofcorrect length. This process does not require any additional equipment other than the Camcorderitself, but requires good shooting and organizational skills at the time of the shoot.2. Assemble Editing: Video shots are not structured in a specific order during shooting but arerearranged and unneeded shots deleted at the time of transferring (copying). This process requiresat the least, a Camcorder and VCR. the original footage remains intact, but the rearranged footageis transfered to a new tape. Each scene or cut is "assembled" on a blank tape either one-at-a-timeor in a sequence.There are two types of Assemble Editing:A Roll--Editing from a single source, with the option of adding an effect, such as titles ortransitioning from a frozen image 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 thirdVCR. This technique requires a Video Mixer and/ or Edit Controller to provide smooth transitionsbetween the sources. Also, the sources must be electronically "Syncd" together so that the recordsignals are stable. The use of a Time Base Corrector or Digital Frame Synchronizer is necessary forthe success of this technique.3. Insert Editing: New material is recorded over existing footage. This technique can be usedduring the original shooting process or during a later editing process. Since the inserted footage isplaced over the unwanted footage some of the original footage is erased.
Titles on Glass--Painting titles on glass and shooting the scenethrough the glass, enabling the titles to appear on the video.Titles on Cardboard, Paper, or other Opaque Media --Paintingtitles on opaque media and recording the pages on videotape andinserting or assembling the title between scenes, previouslyshot, during the editing process.Electronic or Computer Titling --Creating titles on a CharacterGenerator or Computer and either superimposing them over the video(electronically) as in the glass process, or inserting the titles betweenscenes. Examples of electronic titlers include products from Videonics -Focus Enhancements, and Sima.NOTE: Some Camcorders have a limited ability to generate andsuperimpose titles over video during the shooting process.
The primary function of a Video Mixer is to enable one to performtransitions in the A/B Roll editing process. Transitions such ascuts, wipes, dissolves, chromakey, and other effects can only beperformed using such a device. Video Mixers are available fromVideonics, Sima, and Datavideo.
Edit Controllers are devices that control all the mechanical processesin a Linear Editing configuration. Edit controllers perform theirfunction by communicating with Camcorders and VCRs via an EditProtocol and to the Titlers, Mixers, and other devices via a GPITrigger (a simple on/off command switch that can be programmed inspecific sequences).Some Edit controllers edit only one event (scene) at a time. OtherEdit controllers can be programmed to perform a series of editfunctions, with some able to edit an entire production frombeginning-to-end including executing all Titles and Transitions bytriggering the appropriate equipment. However, the user must stillprogram each command individually at the beginning, beforeexecuting the process itself. Once again, Videonics, and Datavideocarry a variety of Edit Controllers.
Control L (LANC) -- Two way communication protocol in which the Camcorder(s) are used as theplayback deck and a Sony HI8, SVHS, or MiniDV VCR is used as the Record Deck.Sony, Canon, Yashica, Nikon, and Ricoh camcorders use this Protocol. Also, several edit controllers also usethis protocol.Control M (Panasonic 5-Pin) -- Two way communication protocol in which either Camcorders or VCRscan be used as either the playback or record decks. This Protocol is exclusive to the Panasonic AG productline.IR Control -- One way communication protocol in which the controller communicates with either a VCR orCamcorder via IR remote control. Most controllers of this type can only perform one edit at a time is notnormally usable in an A/B Roll edit setup.JVC RA Edit--Two way communication protocol in which a controller communicates with either a playbackVCR or Camcorder connected to a record VCR. The controller may be built-in to the camcorder orVCR, eliminating the need for an external controller. This protocol is exclusive only to certain models ofJVC Camcorders and VCRS, and is not compatible with other brands.JLIP (Joint Level Interface Protocol) -- A communication protocol developed by JVC. A sort of updatedversion of RA Edit, this protocol enables JVC-equipped camcorders and VCRs to be controlled using a PC(through the Serial Port) as the Edit controller.GPI Trigger -- One way communication protocol in which the controller tells or "triggers" a Video Mixer orTitle Generator to perform a previously programmed function such as a transition, effect, or title.
There are two types of Sound Editing:Sound Mixing -- This can be done in either the original shooting process or in editing. Twoor more sound sources can be connected to a sound mixer and then inputted into acamcorders external mike jack (note: not all camcorders have an external mike jack).Two or more sound sources can be connected to a sound mixer, then inputted into the recordVCRs audio input jack(s). This enables the sound to be altered or added to during theediting process.Audio Dubbing -- This is the technique of adding audio to footage that is already editedtogether or previously shot. The audio is added to the video tape without altering thepreviously recorded video and, in some cases, without altering the previously recordedaudio.In order to do either of these processes, the VCR must have an Audio Dub function alreadybuilt-in. In addition, in order to audio dub without affecting the previously recordedaudio, the recording VCR must be a HiFi Stereo VCR with a built-in Audio Dub function.Audio Dubbing is usually activated by placing the VCR in the Play/Pause mode, then pressingthe Audio Dub function, then letting the VCR play the video while it records the audio.Note: Audio Dubbing on HIFI consumer VCRs only allows for a monoraul Audio Dub - usefulfor narration or effects.
The Home Computer as Editor:The home computer as an aid to video editing has pushed the envelope even more in the area of video creativity.Some of these computer editing tools give results that were attainable only in production houses a few years ago.The basic concepts and rules of the video editing process are the same, but working in a digital environment allowsthe editor more creative freedom at each step in the process, such as being able to preview and correct each editdecision without having to go to tape or disk first. The video editing process, then becomes similar to puttingtogether a document or graphics presentation where the user cuts and pastes the segments together adding effectsand titles. Even audio editing is available. Once the video is finished it can be "dumped" back onto video tape andthen viewed or duplicated.Computer Non-Linear Editing is not foolproof however. You must have the right combination of Ram, Hard DriveSpace, and Operating System. Often times there are hardware and software conflicts with other elements withinthe computer, which can result in crashes. Outputting the finished video back to tape can have mixed results, suchas jumpy or skipped frames.In addition, the home PC also has the ability to perform any one of the functions of the individual components in atraditional Linear Editing setup. In other words, if you have a PC and dont have all the requirements to perform theentire editing process, you can still use you computer simply as an edit controller, titler, or sound mixer with theproper software. In fact, using a computer in a hybrid Linear Editing configuration is fairly standard in manyprofessional and amateur editing suites.The three basic ways to connect a video source, such as a Camcorder or VCR to a computer are:Video Capture Board --Probably the most common way to integrate video with a computer. Video capture boards are bundled withsoftware for editing and other functions and are usually inserted into a computer PCI slot. These boards are usuallyequipped with S-video or Composite video inputs. Many boards also have video outputs, to allow you to copy yourfinished video back out to tape, but not all of them have outputs. If you need this capacity, read the specificationsand connections statement on the box carefully before you buy. Also, make sure you check the systemrequirements for the board. Make sure your computer has the recommended requirements, not just the minimum.By adhering to this, you computer will be less likely to crash during the editing process. Internal video cards can beobtained from companies such as ATI and Pinnacle Systems.
External "Black Box" -- Functioning very much like a Video Capture Board, products such asDazzle Digital Video Creator, and Pinnacle Systems Studio MP10 enable the user to take thevideo editing process away from external devices and controllers and place the entire creativeprocess within the computer environment. These are basically external "black boxes" that pluginto a computers Parallel or USB port (eliminating the need for an internal video capture board)and allows a camcorder or VCR to be more easily connected the computer.IEEE-1394 (Firewire) --With the advent of Digital Camcorders, a new breed of internal video capture/editing board hasarrived on the scene that allow a home PC to be upgraded to accommodate the Digital Videoediting process by adding a new port on the computer referred to as an IEEE-1394 (Firewire/i-link) connection. This port allows extremely fast download and upload speeds that are requiredto do quality video editing within the PC environment. Once again, as with previous computervideo products, your PC must have the suggested requirements for the card to functionsmoothly. Companies such as Pinnacle Systems, Datavideo, Digital Origin, Canopus, and manyothers have introduced "Firewire Cards" for both PC and MAC computers.In order to integrate the camcorder and computer more efficiently, Sony has introduced a line ofhome computers that are optimized for the Non-Linear editing process. Designed to work theirline of miniDV and Digital8 camcorders, these desktops can take the digital video signal straightin (using IEEE-1394 connection) for editing and dump the completed video digitally back out tothe Camcorder, which then can copy the completed video onto a standard VCR. Other computermanufacturers are also address this need, such as Compaq and Apple (G4 and I-Mac).
Taking computer-based Non-Linear editing a step further, Casablanca byDraco, Screenplay by Applied Magic and Datavideo, are new Non-LinearEditing products that look like a typical VCR at first glance, but aresophisticated computers that are solely dedicated to the video editingprocess (no Windows or other program conflicts!). All components (includinginputs and outputs) needed to edit your video are built in; just open thebox, plug in a TV monitor, go through the setup, plug in your VCR orCamcorder with your footage, and away you go.
This has been a brief outline of the basic principles of video editing. There are manypoints to consider when setting up you editing environment. Equipmentcompatability is paramount. In the professional environment there are manyoptions, many of which are interchangable. In the consumer realm there are lesschoices of equipment as well as compatability between equipment. If you wantsmooth, easy edit control (if not using a computer) use all the same brandequipment (Sony with Sony, JVC with JVC, etc...) Some companies, such asVideonics, Sima, and Datavideo, do make cross brand editing equipment, but checkfirst before you buy.When editing in the computer environment, make sure your PC or MAC alwaysmeets the recommended (not the minimum) requirements for the hardware andsoftware to be used. Indeed the Non-Linear Computer environment is the future ofVideo Editing, but there are still plenty of applications for good-old-fashioned tape-to-tape editing, especially if you are editing a long-form video project and want tokeep your expenses down. Although larger computer hard drives are gettingcheaper and more plentiful, they still might not be the best way to edit your video.The real key to being a successful video editor is time, patience, equipment that iseasy for you understand and work with, resourcefulness, and a good imagination.You will be surprised how much a little imagination and resourcefulness can do --remember, Video Editing is both a Technical Process and an Art.