Why Desktop Editing
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Why Desktop Editing

 Why desktop editing?

We're in the midst of a digital video revolution. Video has come down to the desktop. You're the most important beneficiary, because advances in both hardware and software are permitting ever more people to learn the art of communicating, educating and entertaining in video. No longer are sophisticated special effects the exclusive domain of Hollywood.

 Once you've converted your tape into digital form, the video (and audio) is treated as a document like any other (e.g. audio, text, graphics) by even low cost, desktop computers. You can squeeze, chop, filter, and reassemble the video material in a different order, quickly and, if you've a modest amount of skill, seamlessly too.

 What is "non-linear" editing?

Traditional, so-called "analog" editing systems require that you lay each shot in sequence on tape. The editing tape is, in effect, a copy of the original footage.

 Two things follow from this.

First, you're "going down" a generation in tape from your camera original. Unless you're using expensive, high-end, video editing hardware and you've recorded your footage at the highest possible quality using professional, broadcast tape formats (e.g., Betacam SP), you may notice a drop in image quality on this second generation, editing tape compared to the original, first generation footage. You may even detect a slight loss of sound quality.

Second, and perhaps more frustrating, if you're half way through editing a piece and decide you want to change things, hard luck. You can choose to start over. Or, you'll have to copy everything on the editing tape up to the point where you want to change things, then resume your edit from there, on what is now a third generation tape.

 Such are the drawbacks of editing video in a linear mode. On the other hand, imagine if you could edit nonlinearly. Now you can shuffle your shots around as you please, until your piece has reached true perfection; without having to start over every time you change your mind about this or that shot, or the piece as edited so far. And what about being able to do all this without any loss of image (or sound) quality whatsoever?

 That's what you gain with nonlinear video editing on the desktop. It's like having your cake and eating it!

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