What is a Movie Editor?

Jacob Queen

In the context of software, a movie editor is a computer program that allows consumers to polish and reorganize their video footage. Individuals bring raw video into their computers and use the software to edit it into something more coherent. Most movie editor software packages have a wide range of functions. Their main purpose is for trimming footage and pasting useful clips in whichever order a person chooses. Most also allow consumers to add effects like transitions, and many have significant audio editing functionality.

Many major Hollywood films are transferred to computers for editing purposes.
Many major Hollywood films are transferred to computers for editing purposes.

In the early days when computers were more primitive, editing video was considered more difficult. There was a time-consuming process called linear editing that required expensive equipment. It basically involved recording video from one tape onto another one. Editors would have to go through the footage, finding the exact moments for in and out points, and then wait for the machines to transfer everything. This was generally much more difficult and less flexible than editing for film at the time, which was a non-linear process involving the literal cutting and pasting of films strips.

Movie editors include equipment that allows amateur and professional film makers to organize and polished their finished work.
Movie editors include equipment that allows amateur and professional film makers to organize and polished their finished work.

Movie editor software made things much simpler by allowing video footage to be edited in a non-linear fashion. Once the video is inside a computer, it’s much easier to deal with than it would be on tape, and the process allows for even more flexibility and speed than traditional film-editing methods. Movie editor software has become so easy to use that most major Hollywood films are now transferred to computers for editing purposes, and this has helped increase the use of digital special effects.

Early computer-based movie editor software showed significant problems with compression, partly because most video footage was analog and partly because computer storage was very limited. The increased popularity of digital video cameras, along with the drastic increases in computer storage space, have mostly remedied this issue. For most software packages, it still takes significant time to render a video into its final form, but there are exceptions. Certain movie editor software packages actually come with special video-rendering cards that have to be installed on the user’s computer. These editors allow for instant rendering of special effects, which generally makes things much faster.

Some of the more popular movie editor software programs include Adobe Premiere®, Sony Vegas, Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Avid. Many of these packages have very different interfaces, and users tend to be very picky about which packages they prefer. In terms of actual capabilities, the products are fairly similar, but some packages are slightly more expensive or higher-end than others.

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