Video Editing

Dec 03, 2020

Basic Video Editing Types for Beginners

Moviemaking is famously complicated. The producer has to raise the money and manage the budget. The director has creative control of the project. But the video editor is often a bit forgotten. That’s unfair as his or her role is equally important. After all, the finished video we see results from how she chooses, edits, trims, orders, and mixes together the hours and hours of the footage created by the director and team. This piece will look at the video editing types he might use to produce the final feature. 

video editing types
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Why are the types of video editing important? 

Wikipedia says it well: “Using video, a director can communicate non-fictional and fictional events. The goal of editing is to manipulate these events to bring communication closer to the original goal or target.”

In other words, video editing is as much a part of storytelling as direction, screenwriting or acting. 

Video editing is time-consuming and the foundation of a still-growing industry. But it’s also increasingly accessible to – and carried out by – people like you and me using desktop and even phone-based apps

Having already discussed the topic of video editing techniques, it’s now time to talk about some of the types of video that have proven popular and useful today and in the past. 

What are the different video editing types?

Linear editing 

In the days before digital video formed the basis of editing, everything was done “tape to tape”. 

Also known as linear editing, this comprises copying sections of recording from one or more master tapes onto a separate tape in a certain order. 

Say you want to create a flashback structure. First, you copy the scene with the hero returning to his mother’s house after several years. Next, you transfer a scene in which the hero is played by a small boy and the mother by a younger actor. Obviously, the transition needs to be smooth, and the rhythm of the cuts needs to be pleasing.

As you can imagine (or maybe remember!), physically whizzing through the tape to try and find the footage you want is time-consuming; properly copying the excerpt at exactly the right time is hard!

Making mistakes is costly. If you bury a mistake on the tape you are recording to, you will have to begin again. 


Old TV shows which were created using linear editing were simultaneously shot, one whole scene at a time on several cameras at once. The editor would then mix the results. This is why they often look a bit “stagey”.

Non-Linear Editing

Thank goodness for non-linear editing and everything else the digital age brings with it!

No more tapes, no more fast-forwarding and rewinding, non-linear editing is done on a computer with software. He has direct access to the video or audio without having to “scrub” back and forth. 

The footage is downloaded to the editor’s computer and then loaded into a non-linear editor (NLE) such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. 

In these programmes, he or she can duplicate, trim, overlay and mix in audio and visual effects. 

When the video is completed, it can be uploaded to the Cloud or transferred to a CD-ROM or USB drive. 

video editing types

Offline editing

As you might have experienced, 4K video contains a lot of information. So much so, in fact, that most computers would struggle to process it. 

The solution is offline editing, which is done on a lower-resolution copy of the raw video in a format such as ProRes. This can be more easily edited in an NLE. This is called the proxy footage and is used to help guide ideas for what’s known as the “final cut”.

After edits have been made, the so-called “rough cut” is exported with the original footage replacing the proxy. 

When the editing process is done, the editor exports the project with a list of shots called an edit decision list (EDL). 

Now, the original raw video footage replaces the rough cut and an online editor makes the changes.

Online editing

Clearly, online editing is the other half of this process: cutting the original high-quality footage together to follow the rough cut and EDL. This is where editors will add visual effects, titles, and optimize color and sound. 

Online editing requires powerful computers with plenty of RAM and fast processors. 

Live editing

Also known as “vision mixing”, this is what happens to create a live TV event like a sport’s competition. 

There is no post-production process, but multiple pre-recorded videos are mixed in a live console to create a live video feed on the fly.

Live editing is routed through vision mixing consoles, which can also produce various transitions and color signals known as “mattes”.

Bespoke editing

Like bespoke tailoring, bespoke video editing is made-to-measure. 

Production companies create edits of events for clients such as a conference. Or maybe a wedding.  

The footage might be edited together from several cameras. The aim is to find the best 45 minutes from, say, 10 hours of footage and then create a narrative sufficient to create viewer interest and meet the movie objective. 

Cloud-based video editing

is what it sounds like: editors, producers, content creators, and directors can work together on the material held in a secure central location without security problems or latency issues. 

These video editing types form the basis of most editing carried out today, although there are obviously different genres of videos which have their own quirks and particularities such as art video editing or documentary film editing. Let us know if we have missed any!

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