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Re: Cross Dissolves

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Boyd McCollum
Re: Cross Dissolves
on Jun 24, 2008 at 5:47:17 pm


If you want to go by technical definitions, I know "an NLE" refers to one of the current crop of computer-based editing systems such as FCP, AVID, etc. Also, by the strict definition, "linear editing" refers specifically to a tape-based editing system that uses one or more source decks that then record to a VTR. In these cases, film-based editing occupies its own niche.

However, in a broader sense, what constitutes linear and non-linear goes beyond just being able to instantly place your playhead at some point. It's not about "scrubbing" through footage in a linear fashion. What makes tape-based editing systems linear is that cuts must be made sequentially. The most common example would be making an insert edit. You would need to reconstruct in some fashion all the edits that came after the inserted footage. In non-linear editing, the footage after the insert is just pushed down the timeline and doesn't need to be recreated.

As for random access, film is random accessed, if not to the same degree, speed, and precision of a computer-based NLE. In film editing, footage is broken down into discrete clips and organized into bins (a lot of the nomenclature for FCP comes from film editing). In film editing, you don't need to scrub through Takes 1, 2, 3, and 4 to get to Take 5. You grab Take 5. In a tape-based system, you would need to scrub pass the first 4 Takes to get to Take 5. At that point, all editing takes on a linear quality, even in "an NLE", while you look for the exact in and out points to make a good edit (aesthetically, etc.).

One could even make an argument that film is the original "digital" format. One frame is one frame. It's either on or off. (yes, I being somewhat humorous and realize that film isn't really digital and doesn't meet most, or even all, the criteria for being digital. In the same way that I understand the difference between film editing and computer-based nonlinear editing.)

The point of my original comment was that film editing has a lot in common with today's crops of NLEs and the way we edit today has its roots in film editing, hence me saying editing film was the "original NLE". Anyways, for those that want to view film/film editing as being "linear" that's fine. I disagree, and won't belabor the point.



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