Jayna Neagle <[log in to unmask]> asks; >what is linear and non-linear editing? what is off-line, on-line editing? Linear editing. Taking selected shots from a stack of videotapes and assembling them one after another according to an Edit Decision List (EDL) written by someone who decided these things beforehand. Linear is also vernacular for tape-based editing in which a set of tape machines are linked together to play the tapes in tandem and the visual layering is done in "real time" by people actually pushing buttons and pulling levers. Non-Linear editing Taking selected shots from a hard drive and arranging them into order one after the other according to an EDL written by someone who decided these things beforehand (insert smiley here - : ). Non-linear is also vernacular for computer based editing processes which allow the operator to select from any one of hundreds of shots without having to spool up a tape and find the shot. The random access nature of large capacity storage devices allows a producer / director to change their mind much more often in non-linear editing situations. The undisciplined producer will spend much more time assembling their program than an experienced one. Non-linear editing also requires special effects to be done by the computer. Layering images, titles, and transitions are all composed on the computer system and then "rendered" to the finished edit. In early systems this rendering time was ponderously slow and allows for much drinking of coffee. Off Line editing This process involves taking all the shots which were taken for a project, scene, or act and working out all the cuts and transitions to tell the "story" of the scene. Decision making during this phase produces an EDL which is then handed to the On Line editor for mastering. Off Line editing is where decisions are made regarding pace, action, reactions, close ups, continuity, mood, and effects. The amount of time for offline is usually a multiple of the time spent in Online editing. On Line editing This is the final composition stage of videotape editing. It usually involves a system with many playback machines chained together and controlled by the edit computer. All the shots have been selected and identified in the EDL and the online operator must follow this "score" and orchestrate the many elements together into a "seamless" viewing experience. Not for the faint of heart. On line editing is also some of the most high pressure work in television because it is the last chance for the producer or director to make subtle (or catastrophic) changes to the program. Where Off Line may not deal with titles, layers, or effects (except to mark the shots involved and time the transitions for them) On Line must accurately produce these elements and make them look "pretty". If I may be permitted an indulgence here, I've found that the best editors I know learned their chops either handling film or dealing with handwritten EDL instructions. Although they are extremely adept at working the machinery, they understand their role in the process of storytelling. The most confounding editors I've worked with are married to their machines and have little else in their lives. Editing, for them, seems the pinnacle of acheivement. In my own work I begin the process of editing before I start shooting. Dave Trautman Media Specialist for ATL University of Alberta ---- Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the University of Alabama.