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What is the Definition of Video Editing?

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/25/2010

To talk about the definition of video editing is to involve its 3 types. Linear, non-linear and vision mixing video editing all follow the same principle of modifying video images to achieve something new, but they have different methods to accomplish this.

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    Definition of Video Editing

    The definition of video editing can be broken down into three sub-definitions of the term. Video editing can refer to non-linear video editing, linear video editing, and vision mixing. The general definition of video editing, however, can just be summarized by the following: it is the process of manipulating and modifying video images to create something new. Manipulation and modification include cutting segments, re-sequencing video clips, adding audio clips, applying enhancements, creating transitions between clips and adding special effects.

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    The Goals of Video Editing

    Before we break down video editing into its three categories, we'll talk about the reasons why video editing, in the broad sense of the term, is conducted. The most basic goal of video editing is the removal of unwanted video clips. Once the flaws of the video have been removed, the best parts of it are to be determined. When the only remaining clips are what you want to be in your new creation, you try and create a flow to give your film structure and substance. Once this goal is achieved, your next goal is to make it look good with special effects, beautiful transitions, dazzling music and other marvelous imagery. The last goal for video editing is giving your new work a sense of meaning. Why does it exist? Why did you create it? Answer those questions and you have successfully created a new work via video editing.

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    Linear Video Editing

    This was the original form of video editing. It involves the basic process of selecting clips, rearranging clips and modifying the images and sound on clips all by using a video tape. It was originally done by physically cutting the tape and splicing it to achieve a new sequence. This was a very complicated and arduous process and it was avoided whenever possible. Computerized systems are the reliable means to conduct an old school linear video editing, and it is still being used today even with the advent of non-linear video editing.

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    Non-linear Video Editing

    The basic idea behind the video editing process remains the same in non-linear video editing. However, the tools are different. The destructive nature of linear video editing is eliminated by the computer-based cutting and pasting of clips. The original recording remains intact even with multiple modifications because it is never touched. A copy of the original is used in editing, leaving the original untainted and unmodified. This is a way faster method considering that an editor can work on any part of the film at any time. It's much cheaper too since video editing software can now be purchased at affordable prices. Video editing can be done at home thanks to the advent of new technology.

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    Vision Mixing

    Also called production switching, this type of video editing is usually done in TV broadcasts. The process involves selecting from several video sources and featuring it on the broadcast. Sometimes, multiple video sources are mixed together with some special effects added to achieve a dynamic look for a broadcast.