Linear (editing)

The process of editing footage that can only be accessed or played in the sequence is was recorded. Tape and film are linear and they have to be spooled for access to any particular material and can only play pictures in the order they are recorded.

With spooling, jogging and pre-rolls, so called ‘mechanical considerations’, absorbing upwards of 40 percent of the time in a VTR edit suite, linear editing is slow for everyday editing. The imposition of having to record items to an edit master tape in sequence limits flexibility for later adjustments: e.g. inserting shots between existing material may involve either starting the job again or re-dubbing the complete piece. For simple changes however, linear suites are still fast for tape-based material, but random access storage, solid state chips or hard disk drives, provide a far faster and more flexible platform for editing.

See also: C-mode, Digital disk recorder, True random access