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Old January 20th, 2007, 04:00 AM   #1
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What's the point of off-line editing?

I've been trying to get my head around this for a while.

I have an awesome computer that can do anything so I can capture HDV and edit HDV and output HDV and can't see the need for offline editing - what is the point of it? Is it specifically for PCs that can't necessarily handle editing at full resolution?

-- John.
John Hewat
Mammoth Media Productions
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Old January 20th, 2007, 07:35 AM   #2
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Off Line editing is a concept dating back from the old linear tape editing days. Back then, a full-blown edit room, one in which you could do A/B roll editing, CG, Graphics, and effects, was a very expensive proposition. It cost about $250,000, or more. Than meant that the hourly editing rate was very high, ranging from $400 to $1,000/hour.

So many people would do a "rough cut" which would consist only of the clips that would constitute the program, without any transitions, CG, graphics, or effects. This could be done with much less equipment, typically just two tape transports and a simple edit controller, at a rate of perhaps $50/hour. A lot of the editng could be done without using an expensive edit suite. When the rough cut was done, the edit list (all of the time code in and out points, reel numbers, etc.) would be transferred to the on-line suite, where all of the transitions, effects, etc would be done.

Today, all of the power of the old suites is included in one computer, so it usually doesn't make sense to do an off line edit. I still sometimes do a rough cut to show the client before I start working on effects, just to make sure I ahve the content right before I get too wraped up in the look and feel of the program.


Last edited by Mark Hislop; January 20th, 2007 at 09:30 AM.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 07:44 AM   #3
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Offline editing is still done in the film world for many of the reasons Mark pointed out. Additionally, storage space was also a problem. Film files were transfered at a lower rez, because they took up less space. Do a rough cut 'off line' at lower rez, then up rez in the suite for finishing. Still a major reason to do 'offline'. Plenty of film editors will work 'off line' at low rez on their laptops, because it conserves disc space, then uprez and conform later.
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Old January 20th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #4
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It still happens on the high end HD formats. there's a serious amount of data in the system with these, especially if you dealing with uncompressed HD.

An editor friend worked on a HD drama series and he never saw it on HD while he was working on it. First time he actually saw a HD version was in an electronics showroom demonstrating a HD set, everything he'd worked on was off line.
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