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Forums Apple Final Cut Pro Legacy online vs. offline editing

  • online vs. offline editing

  • Kyle Troxell

    November 28, 2007 at 2:55 am

    What’s the difference? Is one better over the other? I’ve heard people saying they do their offline edit first and then their online edits. Does that make it go faster? How do you start and offline edit and an online edit?

    I’ve never really understood anything about offline or online edits. I haven’t, and probably will never, look it up in the manual, mostly b/c I don’t have the patience for it.

    ANYTHING would be great.

  • walter biscardi

    November 28, 2007 at 3:02 am

    Offline is typically editing with low rez footage on a large project where storage is an issue. You capture and edit with all low rez footage until you have the project cut.

    Then you recapture all the final footage at full quality and finish the project for the Online.

    Walter Biscardi, Jr.
    Biscardi Creative Media
    HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

    The new Color Training DVD now available from the Creative Cow!

    Read my Blog!

  • Dylan Reeve

    November 28, 2007 at 3:11 am

    This comes up a lot with the ‘younguns’ of the DV era…
    Here is a thread from the Avid forums about it.

    Basically in older times, when non-linear editors were quite different the editing process worked very differently. Limitations of computing power and disk space meant that digitised footage was often much lower quality than the original recording. This was ‘offline quality’.

    The offline editor digitised all the source footage at low res and edited from that.

    The online editor took the EDL from that offline edit and then recompiled the problem at full quality with only the clips required to make the finished product. This online process is also where effects and transitions were created, as these features were often unavailable on the offline system.

    Increasingly the distinction between the two is blurred, as computers get more powerful and video is increasingly all digital (and often file based). It is now possible (and common) to have all the footage available to the editor at full resolution for editing, and it can all be finished in one pass.

    Often now, the online editing process would be more accurately referred to as ‘finishing’ where an online editors polishes the edit for final broadcast. This may include standardising transitions, tidying up or adding baseline keys and graphics, colour grading and ensuring all necessary standards are met.

    Still in large productions the offline/online workflow is somewhat maintained, with an online editor reconforming the program from a supplied EDL or timeline from the original tapes.

    The specific expectations and roles vary from place to place and job to job, but generally the offline editor cuts the show, and the online editor finishes it for release.

  • Sean ONeil

    November 28, 2007 at 4:04 am


    I GUARANTEE you that he isn’t going to read your post. His self-proclaimed A.D.D. wouldn’t allow it :).

  • Paul Provost

    November 28, 2007 at 4:37 am

    also you could look at offline editing as the creative process (choosing which part of which shots to use in which order – the storytelling)
    and online as the technical process of making sure all the video/audio levels are correct, using the highest quality possible, while adding all final graphics, effects, titling etc.

  • Dylan Reeve

    November 28, 2007 at 8:03 am

    Yeah, many people look at Online as ‘button pushing’ which can be a bit demoralising. I had one Online job where I was very much seen as a monkey – and then another where my work was really respected.

    With online editors doing more and more colour grading that brings a bit more ‘creativity’ into that part of the process too.

  • Rafael Amador

    November 28, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Off-line and On-line are terms from the past. People used to shoot in Betacam or 1’C and make a copy in VHS or U-matic with the TC burnt up. You edit in a cheap format and them bring a shoot list or EDL to re-make the editing with the high quality format. Video desks were (are) expensive, and like that you save money.
    Now we are in a NL world. In the moment that you download to an HD, you’r Off-line. You may edit with a lower standard and recapture when the editing is finished. Save space in the HDs.
    Daily news programs still working on-line When you are in a hurry you just push the tape inside the desk, and turn the shuttle. No waist of time downloading.

    PPC G5 2x2Gh 4GbRAM/BlackMagic SD/PMBP 17″Core2Duo 4GbRAM

  • Winston A. Cely

    November 28, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    I think this depends a great deal on the freedom the editor has in general on the project. Many of the projects I’m involved in, the offline section could be viewed as the more button pushing section because the producer or director are much more involved in calling the shots. While in the online section, the editor (in my experience) has more freedom in how the edit is tweaked and polished and how the graphics and other finishing touches are used and completed.

    Winston A. Cely
    Editor/Owner | Della St. Media, LLC

    “If God could do the tricks we can do, He’d be a happy Man.” – Peter O’Toole – “The Stuntman”

    Mac Pro 3GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    4 GB RAM | Final Cut Studio 5.1.4 | Aja Kona LHe

  • Kyle Troxell

    November 28, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    Actually that all made sense! I had to read it a few times but it all makes sense.

    My question is how would i bring in HD1080i footage to low res? Would I bring in the footage and go to the RT button on the side of the timeline? Any tutorials on logging footage or setting up offline or online?

  • Peter dewit

    November 28, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Depends on what you have available. What format are you using? If it’s HDV the file sizes are usually small enough you don’t need to work with low-res versions. If it’s HDCAM most HDCAM decks have a built-in firewire port that will allow you to output downconverted DV footage right into the computer.

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