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Computer editing programs, are simply the most practical method for complicated edits. If you are going to have many short scenes and various transitions the computer will save you much time. On the other hand if you are simply going to place titles and credits on the tape - you will save time by only building them in the computer, or with your other titleing equipment, and then simply copying from tape to tape.

A primary advantage of using the computer will be the tiny degration of the video signal, I say tiny because - as it works out there are no editing solutions which do not have their own inherent problems.

Editing is changing from one picture or scene to another. If you have noticed in the movies or a television program the scene simply changes - cuts - this is called cuts only editing. When the movie film was being edited, every scene would be one long strip of film. These strips were sorted and hung on pins/nails with all of the loose film hanging into a bag below. As the film was edited together one strip would be glued to the next in the edit process. This was the first cuts only editing.

With Video editing you will copy from one tape to your new edit tape. This means you will be forwarding and rewinding the tape from scene to scene, rather than cutting the strips and sorting them. With videotape any cut on the tape will show up as a glitch when the tape is played. We will use the term cuts only, meaning the scene has no transitions (dissolves, page rolls and such) between them.

A/B Roll editing allows you to use transisitons, In this type of tape to tape editing, two player VCR's are both playing at the same time, and the record VCR is running. You will have a edit control unit on which you will select the IN POINTS AND OUT POINT FOR EACH OF THE PLAY TAPES, ALSO THE IN POINT ON THE RECORD TAPE and on your switcher you will select the type transition you are going to use. I really recomend that you learn one of the NLE (Non Lineal Edit) systems if you wish to perform this type of editing. The NLE systems are much easier and faster for A/B roll edits.

You will be learn the essentals of editing faster, if you use cuts-only for all of your beginning projects, and You can do it at home with simple equipment.

This is a list of possible things to include in your first finished video.

1. Titles,
2. Narration,
3. Music,
4. Sound effects,
5. Credits.

Editing is a process, which you will do well if you have a plan. On other pages you have learned scripting, and to shoot the scenes, make shot lists, here is where it all comes together.
I cannot suggest, or guess what your final video will be, or how it will look. In editing you can and will make your work exciting, informative, or whatever you wish it to be.

You will be buried in all the possibilities in a moment, so now try to keep in mind - that - some of the best movies ever made were edited very simply. Your content, story, pictures, and sounds do not have to fancy to be great. Learn the simple methods and add complexity gradually. To many people try to cover a bad script, poorly shot video with fancy NLE effects.

Shooting video and editing video are two completely different disciplines, The photographer in looking at the finished product, thinks "they only used a few seconds of that scene so I dont have to shoot long scenes" The Editor thinks "I wish the shooter had given me a longer shot". What this should suggest to you is, when shooting make long clips/scenes and when editing dont be afraid to throw shots away or cut them very short. MTV started the use of very short (less than one second clips), this practice can now be found in everything from film movies to news stories.

Before you start editing you have to discover what and where the scenes are you are going to use in your program.
The logging of your tapes is all important regardless of what editing system you use, because this "SHOT/SCENE LOG", will be used in every editing system.

There are three different logs kept on the tape themselves, depending on the tape format.
1. TIME CODE - time code is a number on the tape, which tells you the exact location of any frame on the tape. This number is on all the digital tapes.
2. TIME AND DATE - this is the time hour-minute- and sometimes second the tape was made. Again the tape format will determine this. On the older VHS cameras you had to turn it on, and the date would be showing on the screen, on the newer DV formats this is embedded/hidden on every frame and can be used. This is a fast way to find a clip.
3. TAPE COUNTER - this number is the least accurate, especially when you are changing the tape from one player to another. It depends upon the tape being completely rewound to have any degree of accuracy.

If you are making a serious video, you will have a shot-log sheet in the field when you shoot the footage, and you will write the following on the sheet:
1. time code number - the start and the ending number of the scene
2. the date and time of day
3. the description of the scene
4. the script page and line numbers
5. make appropriate notes about the scene.

Under construction are, these pages, specific for the Fayetteville Community Access Television facility and producers. These pages are only linked here, and are not available on the index page. I really want you to develop a general concept of editing before you jump into the NLE systems.

1. Video Toaster - A/B roll edit suite
2. Fast Edit - NLE SUITE
3. Screen Play - NLE SUITE
4. Adobe Premiere - NLE SUITE

"I am waiting for my access station to submit the information for these pages, August 2000."

Please refer to the Adobe Premiere links page for specific information on Adobe - each of the NLE stations available at CAT will have their own page. The following page is a general article on editing. This will provide you with a basic background.

I maintain that tape to tape editing will never become obsolete, because it is fast and efficient. Not every program requires multiple audio tracks, transitions, other A/B and NLE editing effects. The tape to tape editing allows the creation of nice simple programs with basic cuts between scenes.

FIRST, This page will give you the tools to edit with simple home equipment

Editing the footage you shoot will make the difference between an interesting video and a boring one.
As a beginner you will have a lot of unusable footage. You will have times where you for got to turn the camera off and you have long scenes of your feet or the sky, there will be the out of focus shots, the embarrassing ones and so on. In editing you will simply get rid of the bad stuff and make a story of the good stuff.

Were you to review the footage of a professional film camera operator, you would probably see - scene after scene of the same thing - and - all of the scenes would look really good. But the scene would have been taken many times just to get the perfect delivery from the talent, or the exact kind of crowd movement.

The Editor, will normally work from a script, and study the footage choosing the best of the scenes. These scenes are put together and audio and effects are added, titles and credits are created and placed in the production.

Lets start with the idea that you do not have professional equipment.

What you have is, a video camera, a home VHS VCR and a television. With these basic tools you can ASSEMBLE a video.


First you have to go through your tape(s) and learn where the scenes are you want to use.
1. Rewind the tape completely you are going to use as the source tape and ZERO the counter. Now watch the tape, and every place you want to use a scene write the counters number, writes a description of that scene.
2. Repeat this process with every tape you are using.
3. Your home VCR must be have a flying erase head, this is common with them, This allows the VCR to record over a section with out a glitch, (snow and static being recorded)
4. You are playing the tape from your camera to your VCR. Make sure you have plugged the wires in correctly. They are color coded - the yellow plug to the yellow socket - that is video - and - the red and white audio to the red and white sockets for audio. If your VCR only has one audio it will be white - simply plug the white to the white.
5. To begin you video it is nice to have a title
You can make a title screen by writing a title on a piece of paper and making a video - have at least a minute of the title - 6. Record this title on your VCR edit tape
I suggested a minute because you need to record a little on the beginning before you start your edited video.
...a. record your title
...b. stop the recorder and push play
...c. push pause
...d. push rewind - push pause when you see the picture on your television
...e. push play and be ready to pause when you are ready for the next scene to begin
...f. with the recorder paused, push record, the VCR should be now be in the pause, record mode.
...g. you will have already found the clip you want to record next. Now remember this is on-the-fly editing, -so- you find the clip using the numbers - then back the tape up before the scene is to start.

now - you start the camera/player and watch being ready to UN-PAUSE the record VCR when you want the new scene to start.

...f. stop the record VCR when the scene has ended - note - let a little more be recorded than you want to use - re-cueing the record VCR will be easier.


What you have just read is a simple - but time consuming way to edit your video at home.


Here you move up to professional level editing equipment. This is commonly called tape to tape editing, and was the only type of editing available until the invention of the NLE (Non Lineal Editor). The NLE systems are computers and all of the editing is done from the hard-drive. I will go into these NLE systems following the tape to tape section.


The tape has 4 to 5 distinct and different signals recorded on it on different places on the tape.
1. the top - has the control track and (time code - if available DV and pro )this is a narrow track
2. a wide area where the video is recorded in tiny diagonal stripes
3. two standard lineal audio tracks are below the video track. One for each track the left and the right audio.
4. If the video has hi-fi audio this signal is recorded in the diagonal tracks, but the signal is slightly different and is described as being recorded beneath the video.
5. The lineal audio tracks can be edited and changed, the hi-fi track cannot, because the video and audio are essentially the same recording.


The simplest Tape to tape editor, had one tape player and one record deck, in-between the decks is a control unit. The control unit allows you to cue both of the decks. With the control unit you set an IN-POINT on both decks, and the OUT-POINT, on the appropriate deck.
APPROPRIATE DECK?? Now I will introduce - ASSEMBLY EDIT AND INSERT EDIT - the choice of assemble or insert editing is the feature which allows for really professional editing with these systems.
ASSEMBLE EDIT - Assemble edit is the process I described for the home editing unit, This simply means you start at the beginning and one scene at a time assemble your video into a program.
INSERT EDIT - Insert editing, is recording over already recorded tape. The advantage here is a continuous control track has been recorded, this control track allows the editor to be accurate. This can be an almost foolproof method of editing, here is the process to make it so.
1. Record a tape with no sound and black for video - this will become your edited program -
2. You will choose INSERT EDIT on the edit control, this function gives you the choice of recording video, channel 1 audio, channel 2 audio, or any combination. 3. to start you will choose all three - and you will record both the video and audio. 4. You will put your video together one scene at a time. You will now be able to go back and change both the video and the audio.
For example, you have recorded an after dinner speaker, and have the entire session on your tape, but want to illustrate his remarks. You don't want to change the audio, just the picture.
5. On your edit control you will choose - video - to record. 6. on your program tape you will set an IN-POINT and an OUT-POINT where you want the new video to be. 7. on your play deck you will cue up the scene you want and just set the IN-POINT. 8. You will push PREVIEW, and the deck will run and you can see if that is what you really want. . 9. Push record, and you will make the insert edit. 10. AUDIO INSERT - since you have two different tracks for the audio, you can add audio to either or both of them, exactly where you want it. The process is the same as for the video insert.

One of the most frustrating things which can happen to you is to find a break in the control track, this results in snow on the television screen when the tape you have edited it played. The following link, describes how to fix a BREAK IN THE CONTROL TRACK on select editiors.
Videoexpert Article, exact instructions on fixing the break

AB ROLL EDIT - Here we have the next level of editing, and more equipment to control.
1. two play decks
2. one record deck
3. one edit control - this will set the in-points on all the decks and the out-point on the appropriate deck.
4. one switcher - this unit will allow you to choose the type of Transition, used - cut - dissolve - wipe, and so on -
5. the switcher may be a stand-alone unit or a computer such as the Video Toaster. This unit is controlled by a GPI trigger, which synchronizes the tape change and the transition.

AB ROLL EDITING can be a very time consuming process, because of the time necessary to find and cue all of the scenes.
Both decks both must back up, cue and roll at the same time. This process alone is time consuming and makes the A/B roll editing, slow.

TITLES - all of the editors will have some sort of titler connected with them, this unit will allow you to make the title and place it over the video or allow you to make a title page.
The titler will have the ability to superimpose the titles over the moving video, or will make a colored title page, and some of them will capture a frame for a still picture.

AUDIO - Most edit suites will also include an audio board. This board allows you to adjust the volume and the pitch of the sound. It also gives you the option of playing Cassettes, CD's, for record on your program.

There are many different companies, which make this type of editor, and a certain amount of practice will be necessary to learn them. Tape to tape editing is a fast and efficient method of editing a program, every videographer should learn both cuts only and AB roll editing.


With the development of the PC, has come the ability to edit video in the computer. This form of editing will produce the best programs, but is also the most time consuming. With that said will ignore the time consuming part.
The Advantages
1. Many layers of Video
2. many layers of Audio
3. Better titling
4. Transitions are easy
5. everything can be changed - (in tape to tape if you want to remove a section in the middle - you have to start over with the edit at that point)
6. the video footage can have the color and quality adjusted.
7. there is no GENERERATION LOSS - (generation loss is the big problem with tape to tape editing - every time you copy a tape you loose quality)
8. Paint shop programs can be used
9. word processing programs can be used
10. Internet pages can be included.

AUDIO RECORDING SUITES - Here is where our PEG facility falls short.
you will find two types of sound rooms in a professional facility-
1. A small soundproof - sound dead (non-reflective walls) room for the creation of voice over audio. 2. Sound stages - These rooms are designed for large production of audio, the room is "tuned" to the audio mixer, this room will also have walls which do not reflect sound and is sound-proofed from the outside.
3. The Theatre sound stage, these rooms are large and the microphones used are selective, the room sound, and other sounds simply are not heard, or if heard will be accepted - as in a live production - or the session will be stopped and restarted.
Always keep in mind the audio on your video is at least as important as the picture. Some authorities say the audio is 80% of every video.


NLE Editing - this is such a new field that the bugs are still being worked out. There are dozens of editing programs available and many entire systems for sale.

Any computer used for NLE must have:
1. 20 to 40 gigs of hard-drive
2. 128 Megs of RAM (memory)
3. A good video capture card (analog - SVHS and VHS)(this card will have I/O in VHS and SVHS so you can record out of the computer)
4. a DV (ieee-1394) capture card - this card is for the new DV format - there are many individual cards for analog and DV capture, but only a few that include both.
5. at least a 17" monitor
There are other details but these are the basics to keep in mind if you are going to buy a system.

The off the shelf system I would recommend today is The new Apple G4 video editing system. Apple has been the leader in graphics for years, and now with the introduction of their newest system. I believe that they may once again take the lead.

This is such a fast moving field, I do not feel comfortable recommending any given system or computer other than the Apple, and truthfully I have not used the Apple. Yet, overall Apple has such a good reputation for dependability and quality in graphic and general operation I feel confident their video computer will measure up.

I will say this - regardless of the computer - the software is going to change rapidly in the next few years, and you may soon have to upgrade. It is certain that you will have to keep learning and studying the programs.


SOFTWARE IS THE EDITING PROGRAM, I will recommend the Adobe Premiere program for many reasons, this program has been on the market for years now and the problems have been solved, the program has been continually improved over the year, and many plug in programs have been written for it. All of the programs in the Adobe software package will work compatibly with the video-editing program. Plug in programs, are software programs which make the original program able to do more.

There are many other programs which edit video - they are all similar and all are different. I would say that no matter what program you have available you should be able to create a good program.

Remember this - you will use cuts more often than any other transition - so it doesn't matter how many the editing program offers - it is doubtful that you will use them.

Fact - about the only place you use many different types of transition is the creation of commercials.

ON LINE EDITING - On Line Editing, is what is going on when you watch a live news broadcast. I will loosely describe the process.
This is a major production, with a large crew, you have:
1. A producer who is keeping up with the script and directing the director and the talent,
2. The Director will operate the main switcher, and direct the crew,
the crew will include
3. a staff of camera operators
4. tape operators
5. Character generator operator (Titles)
6. Audio operator.

This is a fast paced process, which cued to the script, reacts second to second, switching from various input sources, including the cameras, tapes, live feeds from remote locations, satellite feeds from networks, Still stores from computers, and assorted audio sources. All of these inputs are pre planned and scripted and the changes called for and executed on an exact to the second rate.

Live News, Sports productions, Theatre, and other events use on line Editing on a daily basis, and all of the network programs live and taped. This is the most common of all professional production techniques.
In practice you will see variations in the crew size, but the stations will be loosely the same.
There will also be a prompter operator, this person is responsible for playing the script, which the talent reads,
This is a studio operation and I will elaborate on this in the studio chapter, other chapters will have references and descriptions also.
In the Studio, On-Line Editing, you will learn team effort.