Different Types of Video Editing
There are several different ways to edit video and each method has its pros and cons. Although most editors opt for digital non-linear editing for most projects, it makes sense to have an understanding of how each method works.
Technically this isn't video editing, it's film editing. But it is worth a mention as it was the first way to edit moving pictures and conceptually it forms the basis of all video editing.
Traditionally, film is edited by cutting sections of the film and rearranging or discarding them. The process is very straightforward and mechanical. In theory a film could be edited with a pair of scissors and some splicing tape, although in reality a splicing machine is the only practical solution. A splicing machine allows film footage to be lined up and held in place while it is cut or spliced together.
1. Tape to Tape (Linear)
Linear editing was the original method of editing electronic video tapes, before editing computers became available in the 1990s. Although it is no longer the preferred option for most serious work, it still has a place and remains the better option in some cases. It is likely that linear editing will be a useful skill for a long time to come.
In linear editing, video is selectively copied from one tape to another. It requires at least two video machines connected together — one acts as the source and the other is the recorder. The basic procedure is quite simple:
Place the video to be edited in the source machine and a blank tape in the recorder.Press play on the source machine and record on the recorder. The idea is to record only those parts of the source tape you want to keep. In this way desired footage is copied in the correct order from the original tape to a new tape. The new tape becomes the edited version.
This method of editing is called "linear" because it must be done in a linear fashion; that is, starting with the first shot and working through to the last shot. If the editor changes their mind or notices a mistake, it is almost impossible to go back and re-edit an earlier part of the video. However, with a little practice, linear editing is relatively simple and trouble-free.
2. Digital/Computer (Non-linear)
In this method, video footage is recorded (captured) onto a computer hard drive and then edited using specialized software. Once the editing is complete, the finished product is recorded back to tape or optical disk.
Non-linear editing has many significant advantages over linear editing. Most notably, it is a very flexible method which allows you to make changes to any part of the video at any time. This is why it's called "non-linear" — because you don't have to edit in a linear fashion.
One of the most difficult aspects of non-linear digital video is the array of hardware and software options available. There are also several common video standards which are incompatible with each other, and setting up a robust editing system can be a challenge.
The effort is worth it. Although non-linear editing is more difficult to learn than linear, once you have mastered the basics you will be able to do much more, much faster.
3. Live Editing
In some situations multiple cameras and other video sources are routed through a central mixing console and edited in real time. Live television coverage is an example of live editing.
Types of Video Transition
The most common transition — an instant change from one shot to the next. The raw footage from your camera contains cuts between shots where you stop and start recording (unless of course you use built-in camera transitions).In film and television production, the vast majority of transitions are cuts.
b. Mix / Dissolve / Crossfade
These are all terms to describe the same transition — a gradual fade from one shot to the next.Crossfades have a more relaxed feel than a cut and are useful if you want a meandering pace, contemplative mood, etc. Scenery sequences work well with crossfades, as do photo montages. Crossfades can also convey a sense of passing time or changing location.
Fades the shot to a single colour, usually black or white. The "fade to black" and "fade from black" are ubiquitous in film and television. They usually signal the beginning and end of scenes. Fades can be used between shots to create a sort of crossfade which, for example, fades briefly to white before fading to the next shot.
One shot is progressively replaced by another shot in a geometric pattern. There are many types of wipe, from straight lines to complex shapes.Wipes often have a coloured border to help distinguish the shots during the transition.Wipes are a good way to show changing location.
Most editing applications offer a large selection of digital transitions with various effects. There are too many to list here, but these effects include colour replacement, animated effects, pixelization, focus drops, lighting effects, etc.
a. Insert Shots
Many cameras also include digital effects, but if possible it is better to add these in post-production.
An insert shot is a close-up of something that exists within the basic scene. The latter is typically visible within the establishing or wide shot. (Note close-up shot above from the scene on the left).Insert shots add needed information, information that wouldn't otherwise be immediately visible or clear.
Unlike insert shots that show significant aspects of the overall scene in close-up, cutaways cut away from the main scene or action to add related material.
4. Relational Editing
Many years ago, the Russian filmmakers Pudovkin and Kuleshov conducted an experiment where they juxtaposed various scenes with a shot of a man sitting motionless and totally expressionless in a chair.
The scenes included a close-up of a bowl of soup, a shot of a coffin containing a female corpse, and a shot of a little girl playing. To an audience viewing the edited film, the man suddenly became involved in these scenes.
When the shot of the man was placed next to the shot of the coffin, the audience thought that the actor showed deep sorrow. When it was placed next to the close-up of the food, the audience perceived hunger in his face; and when it was associated with the shot of the little girl, the audience saw the actor as experiencing parental pride.
Thus, one of the most important tenets of editing was experimentally established: the human tendency to try to establish a relationship between a series of scenes.
In relational editing, scenes that by themselves seem not to be related take on a cause-effect significance when edited together in a sequence.
5. Thematic Editing
In thematic editing, also referred to as montage editing, images are edited together based only on a central theme. In contrast to most types of editing, thematic editing is not designed to tell a story by developing an idea in a logical sequence.
In a more general sense, thematic editing refers to (as they say in the textbooks) a rapid, impressionistic sequence of disconnected scenes designed to communicate feelings or experiences.This type of editing is often used in music videos, commercials, and film trailers (promotional clips).The intent is not to trace a story line, but to simply communicate action, excitement, danger, or even the "good times" we often see depicted in commercials.From continuity, relational, and montage editing we now move to a technique for enriching editing and stories by adding extra "layers."
6. Parallel Cutting
Early films used to follow just one story line -- generally, with the hero in almost every scene. Today, we would find this simplistic story structure rather boring. Afternoon soap operas, sitcoms, and dramatic productions typically have two or more stories taking place at the same time.The multiple story lines could be as simple as intercutting between the husband who murdered his wife in the previous scenario and the simultaneous work of the police as they try to convict him. This is referred to as parallel action.When the segments are cut together to follow the multiple (different) story lines, it's referred to as parallel cutting.
By cutting back and forth between two or more mini-stories within the overall story, production pace can be varied and overall interest heightened. And, if the characters or situation in one story don't hold your attention, possibly the characters or situations in one of the other storylines will. Today’s dramas typically have eight or ten major characters, and although intertwined with the main drama, each has their own continuing story.