quick guide to the editor’s lingo video
Time codes are the numbers by which a shot or sequence can be
identified on a videotape. They’re the digital equivalent of the
clapperboard: imprinting on the tape an hour, minutes and seconds
code which allows the editor frame-by-frame identification of
Or off-line editing, which is the first process in editing. Basically,
it means putting all of the material which is going to be used in
an edit into a computer, then assembling a ‘rough cut’ of the programme.
Once everyone’s happy with this, you go onto the linear, or ‘final
Or on-line editing, which is when you take all of the original footage,
and reassemble it into a final cut. This also involves adding titles,
graphics, voice-overs, clocks, and any additional sound effects.
At the end of this process, you’re left with the ‘Master Tape’ –
the final tape that is used for broadcast.
The first thing an editor wants to know when a producer or director
turns up with a sackful of tapes is ‘what format are they on?’
Unlike film, video footage can now be shot in a number of different
mediums. If the material is not for broadcast (eg. it’s a training
or corporate video), it might be shot on Hi8, Mini DV, or even
S-VHS. If it’s for broadcast, DV and Mini DV are becoming more
and more popular (because they’re really cheap), though Beta and
Digi-Beta remain the industry standard. In any event, each format
needs a different machine in order to ‘digitize’ (ie. ‘feed’)
the footage into the computer on which you are editing.
These are the two major formats in which a television station broadcasts
a programme. Depending on what format is being used, the aspect
ratio needs to be changed. For example, BBC1 and BBC2 broadcast
in analogue. This means the picture delivered has to be in a 14
by 9 aspect ratio. Whilst BBC Choice, using digital technology,
broadcasts in widescreen, which allows an aspect ratio of 16 by
9 (or a wider picture for your money).
The ‘rushes’ or ‘dailies’, are the first prints from a day’s shooting,
which are ‘rushed’ back from a printing laboratory for the director
and their crew to look over in their raw, unedited form. From
these, the director can guage whether or not they are happy with
the footage, or whether they might want to re-shoot something.
This is the name of the machine used to view film and sound in
a cutting room.
Cuts and spares
‘Cuts’ are the bits of film from a scene which are not used, ‘Spares’
are whole scenes that don’t get used.
This is the ‘rehearsal’ copy of an edit put together by the editor
and director of a film. This is done for two reasons:
that the director and editor can experiment and try things out
before moving to the final edit,
so the director can show their producer a version of the film
for their approval.
The final cut is the one that we see on the screen: complete with
all added effects, sounds, titles, and incidental music.