Online versus offline editing

on Monday, February 4, 2008

A video file represents a huge amount of information — so it takes up a lot of space in the digital world. You need fast hardware to handle video, and monster hard drives to store it. To conserve storage space during editing, professionals have long used a trick called offline editing. The idea is to capture lower-quality “working” copies of your video into the computer.

After you complete all your edits and you’re ready to make your final movie, the software decides which portions of the original video must be captured at full quality — and then automatically captures only the portions you need. Conversely, if you work with full-quality video on your computer for all your edits, you are performing what video pros call online editing. Offline and online editing are techie terms used by the pros.

In practice, most affordable video editing programs don’t give you many choices. A standout exception is Pinnacle Studio for Windows, which has an offline-editing feature called SmartCapture. This feature captures large sections of video at preview-quality — which means it may not look as sharp as full-quality video, but it doesn’t take up nearly as much hard disk space. Then, when you’re done editing, SmartCapture automatically captures only the full-quality footage needed for the movie and applies all your edits automatically.