Most of today’s emerging videographers are more familiar with non-linear video editing. But did you know that there is also the so called ‘linear video editing’? Prior to the introduction of computer-based editing software in the nineties, video editing was mainly linear.

The process involves selecting and arranging sounds and images on a videotape. Such sounds and images are also modified whether they are generated from computer graphics or video camera.

The medium used was primarily the television. Shot edits were done mostly in live TV productions. More than two cameras are used and the shot edits were executed by switching from one camera to another. Video switchers allowed the handling of several synchronized inputs and at the same time, mixing them into one output. With the use of the switcher, cuts are easily done in various video sources and in wipes, dissolves, and fades.

Modern live TV productions follow the same linear editing system but due to technological advancement, the productions are much more effective and efficient. The airing of shows over and over again was only possible with kinescope but that was before the videotape was invented. With kinescopes, picture degradation was a major problem as well as evident scan lines and image distortion. Delay on broadcasts was also another problem since the kinescopes were processed in film labs.

Because of the tiring procedure with kinescopes, the videotape was developed. After some time, videotape editing became viable just like film editing.

The first accepted videotape was the quadruplex recording, about two inches in width. The tape was cut and spliced to carry out editing tasks. The process was arduous and not many videographers performed it. It involved many disadvantages such as Â? you can’t use edited tapes again, you need to be skilled enough to carry out the process, lose sync, and each editing task requires several minutes (too time consuming).

Are you familiar with the TV show – ‘Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In’? This show utilized the arduous linear editing process. The hand editing was first developed in the 1960s. But since it involved problems like short buzzing (audio), it was not used all the time. This method was impractical for most producers. Producers are not familiar with the process and they can’t give their personal opinions. Documentary television productions hardly used video because of these problems.

Edit suites were developed by 1970s. It already involved the use of computers. Time codes were used to synchronize auxiliary devices and tape machines. CMX, Ampex, and Sony created the edit systems. Only high-end productions were able to access the edit suites because most of them are very expensive.

Today, linear video editing is still being used in newsrooms and some production facilities where newer technologies are not available. Because of the improvement in today’s technology, linear editing is less complex. As compared to non-linear editing, linear editing will require you to carefully learn the skills of a good videographer. However, if video editing is just your hobby, you can opt for non-linear editing.

Video editing has a very interesting history. Just imagine the videographers cutting tapes and putting the together again to create a final production; it was really expensive, time consuming, and arduous. Thanks to the modern technology, video editing is already possible even in the comfort of your home.

Still, if you want to try linear editing, start gathering experience now.

Joshua Shoemaker

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