What is Linear and Non-Linear Video Editing Methods?

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Linear and Non-Linear Video Editing Methods

Let’s talk about the difference about the Linear and Non-Linear video editing methods.

Linear Editing Method

Linear video editing is a video editing post-production process of selecting, arranging and modifying images and sound, in a prearranged ordered sequence. Captured by a video camera, tapeless camcorder, recorded in a television studio on a video tape recorder (VTR) the content must be accessed sequentially –meaning you have to tamper them manually, so consider giving them to an expert to avoid film discrepancies. For the most part of today, video editing software has replaced linear editing.


Non-Linear Editing Method

In non-linear editing, the original source files are not lost or modified during editing. Professional editing software records the decisions of the editor in an edit decision list (EDL) which can be interchanged with other editing tools. Many generations and variations of the original source files can exist without needing to store many different copies, allowing for very flexible editing. It also makes it easy to change cuts and undo previous decisions simply by editing the edit decision list (without having to have the actual film data duplicated). Generation loss is also controlled, due to not having to repeatedly re-encode the data when different effects are applied.

Some editing software’s can now be accessed free as web applications; some, like Cinelerra (focused on the professional market) and Blender3D, can be downloaded as free software; and some, like Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker or Apple Inc.’s iMovie, come included with the appropriate operating system. But, due to several video enhancements and image quality certain codecs are used by groups, organization and companies. They could further improve the quality of the videos by themselves by that matter.

Featured Codecs Packs are:


Pros vs Cons

Although the “linear vs non-linear” argument is often subjective and some editors will disagree with the statements above, there can be little doubt that increasing your skill base is a good thing. There is nothing to be gained by completely rejecting linear editing, and much to be gained by adding it to your collection.

In the 21st Century non-linear editing is king and linear editing is widely considered to be obsolete, or at least primitive. This is an understandable attitude considering the advantages of non-linear editing, but we urge you not to be too judgemental. Linear editing still has some advantages:

  • It is simple and inexpensive. There are very few complications with formats, hardware conflicts, etc.
  • For some jobs linear editing is better. For example, if all you want to do is add two sections of video together, it is a lot quicker and easier to edit tape-to-tape than to capture and edit on a hard drive.
  • Learning linear editing skills increases your knowledge base and versatility. According to many professional editors, those who learn linear editing first tend to become better all-round editors.


Taken from Wikipedia.org,

Some contents Revised and Summarized for educational purposes.

 I did not mean to replace the original piece of the contents; neither shall I contradict with it for that matter.  This Blog serves as a guide, a modest explanation for video enthusiasts.


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2 comments for “What is Linear and Non-Linear Video Editing Methods?

  1. February 14, 2012 at 12:51 am

    Cool posts i always wondered what the difference was between linear and non linear editing.

  2. Benross N.
    February 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Thanks for Reading Adam, I’m glad you liked it.

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