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A form of editing in which footage can be assembled, inserted, rearranged and re-edited. Possible for video when the footage can be stored in a random access storage device, like a computer hard disk.

In order to perform a non-linear edit, the footage to be edited must be recorded to the hard disk. If the footage is analog, it must be digitized. If the footage is already digital, it must be captured. Next, appropriate software is used to trim and assemble the footage, add transitions and graphics, mix the audio, and render the visual effects. Then, the footage is "printed" back to a tape, or reformatted to a digital video file and stored on DVD or a video server.

To allow maximum efficiency when dealing with the large video files, most non-linear systems use hard drives running in parallel to store their footage (RAID arrays).

Non-linear systems revolutionized video editing, and with the falling price and increasing power of personal computers it is available even to the amateur video producer. Since many camcorders record directly in digital form and have direct digital output (via Firewire), home computers can do what was impossible even for broadcasters as few as twenty years ago.

In film, non-linear editing is accomplished by physically cutting the film up (with a razor blade) and gluing it back together. This is an advantage that tape doesn't have, since you can't see the frames on a video tape to accurately cut them. (One can assemble tape in this way, but it is crude at best. Nonetheless, some audio editors do it as a matter of course.)

Popular Non-Linear Editing systems

  • Sony Vegas
  • Adobe Premiere
  • AVID
  • Media 100
  • Final Cut Pro for Macintosh
  • iMovie (Like a consumer version of the above)
  • Kino
  • Kdenlive
  • Cinelerra
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