Offline and online editing??? : LUSENET : Editing DV Films : One Thread

What the heck is the difference? Im in the dark here.

-- Chris Penney (, January 05, 1999


I'm going to give you the short answer, okay? An off-line edit is basically a first cut or rough cut of the program. We at Showtime use it to give us a precise feel for the program's look, content and length. Changes are easy to make on an off-line and, assuming you have the time, you can even play around with alternate versions to push the creative. Your footage is digitized at low res for this non- linear edit. Once you have your final off-line cut ready an EDL list is generated by the Media 100 (or whatever system you're using) for your on-line. Now your footage is re-digitized at high res for on- air and the editor follows your final EDL list precisely. This is where you do a final lock for picture, to use a film term,and there should no major changes since this session is the more expensive of the two. If you have to go back to fix an online someone screwed up. That's it, in a nutshell. Hope it helps.

-- Chris Ward (, January 13, 1999.

For some reason, firewire card makers haven't offered the option to capture video at "offline" quality. The exception might be Promax, who say they let you do a draft mode capture. This would appear to be a really good thing.

-- nate ford (, March 07, 1999.

I'd like to add a thought here -- most everyone touts the quality of the firewire, dv to dv and only dv, non-linear editing systems like Canopus DvRex.... and they are wonderful, offering tremendous bang for the buck. However, a 5:1 compression ratio eats up a lot of drive space.... and, if your making a dv feature, you'll probably want to digitize at least 3 takes of every scene. That means you'll need a tremendous storage capacity (although, as technology progresses, drives will be getting humongous).

I, personally, favor an MPEG offline editing system like the Fast Video Machine Studio Plus. This system, like the Avid, can compress at 20:1 or higher (although I don't like going beyond 20:1). You can digitize plenty of takes, edit to your heart's desire, and, when you feel you're down to detail work, re-digitize at 5:1 or even 3:1, only using the selected final takes in your movie.

The final output may not be as pristine as the dv to dv systems - but it's Beta SP quality and damned good. Certainly good enough to use to screen your movie for festivals and potential buyers. AND - this is important - if you decide to transfer to film, the quality doesn't matter. Why?

Because what you're really going to be advised and want to do is go back to your dv ORIGINAL and do a professional online. FAST, like Avid, outputs an EDL (edit decision list) that your online house will read and use when they reassemble your movie off the original. In the online, color, pedestal, chroma, etc. adjustments will be made professionally that will help your original footage look as good as it can look on film. This is the way its done.

Can you do without this step and go straight from your output to film? Sure. But the film transfer will be expensive (and, hopefully, someone else will be paying for it)... and if you're spending that kind of money, the online session will look cheap. Most post houses are or will be able to handle DV.

What about audio? Again -- if you're going to film, you should probably start from scratch and do a professional mix on a stage.

Anyway.... that's my two bits. Fast VM Studios, considered old technology now, can be had in the 6 G range used. Worth a look.

-- Jim Parriott

-- Jim Parriott (, July 15, 1999.

Having just re-read the above post of mine, and, it being a good six months later, I'd like to ammend it; it's dated.

Avid, realizing that new, lower cost systems we're doing what they essentially were doing, has now introduced an amazing all-in-one system. Basically, you digitize, edit, mix, color correct and output your product on one machine. They've made a professional, super high end system that will by-pass post houses completely... and mimics exactly what Canopus, Matrox et al, are doing for the home filmakers and small production operations. I work primarily in network TV and can see the day coming in the very near future (like this pilot season), where we'll never do an on-line or set foot on the dubbing stage.

This, for the moment, applies to TV only... but, of course, as digital release systems begin to replace film projectors, it's only a matter of time before movies will be posted this way, too.

So, for the moment, I suppose, my post above applies. But five years down the line.... not a chance. Then, the ulitmate release form will be digital. Hi-Def. Wide screen. Even for TV. Transferring to film simply won't be a question. Deciding which digital web format to release in will be the order of the day. And all of our equipment now will be obsolete.

Wow. Now that's depressing....

-- Jim Parriott (, January 16, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ