Final Cut Pro 6 - About Offline and Online Editing

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About Offline and Online Editing

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Offline/Online Editing Workflows

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Using the OfflineRT Format in Final Cut Pro

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Online Editing on Non–Final Cut Pro Editing Systems

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Trading Project Files Using Email or the Internet

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About Offline and Online Editing

The offline/online workflow allows you to use temporary, low-quality copies of
your footage to edit with, and then finish your project with full-resolution media.
Lower-resolution media files require less hard disk space and less computing power
to process transitions and effects. This means you can edit on an inexpensive
computer or a portable computer and then finish at full resolution on another
system. Once the creative cutting is complete, the online editing phase (also referred
to as the finishing phase) focuses on image quality, color correction, proper broadcast
video levels, and so on.

The two phases—offline and online editing—are connected via an Edit Decision List
(EDL), or other project interchange file, which is used to transfer all of your editing
choices from the finished low-quality session to the final high-quality session.

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Part I

Media and Project Management

Offline Editing
Editing with low-resolution copies of your media files allows you to fit more media on
your scratch disks and improve playback and real-time effects performance (especially
when using slower hard disks, such as in portable computers). This phase can last from
a few days to several years, depending on the scope of the project, the amount of
footage, and so on.

Edit Decision List or Other Project Interchange File
When the edit is complete, you can export all of your edit decisions for use on another
editing system. Older editing systems use a relatively simple text format called an EDL,
while newer interchange formats, such as OMF, AAF, and the Final Cut Pro XML
Interchange Format describe many more details of your original sequence.

Online Editing
Online editing starts with a project interchange file, or EDL, which describes which
media you need to recapture at full-resolution. Online editing actually has very little to
do with editing in the traditional sense. Timing, storytelling, and fine-tuning your edits
should be complete in the offline editing phase. Online editing focuses on image
quality, color correction, maintaining broadcast video specifications, detailed effects
work, titles, audio levels, and so on. Compared to the offline editing phase, an online
edit session goes very quickly (anywhere from a day to a week), and generally requires
more expensive equipment.


Accurate timecode and reel names are critical for keeping track of where

footage is located on each tape, so you can recapture footage at any resolution. Make
sure you log clips and label tapes carefully.