Yes, that is where the distinction came from; the use of video machines 
to do electronic editing where they "laid down" the master tape in a 
linear way from head to tail, while film editors could work in a 
non-linear fashion, pulling out a cut or series of cuts and move them 

In my early days of teaching this new electronic way of editing to film 
editors, they liked the ease of not having to manually handle the media 
(film reels) and using off-line 3/4" video cassettes to do the usual 
trial and error way of editing to get to the final cut.  But, that was 
in essence, linear "dub down" recording to multiple generation tapes 
using time coded computer editing to figure out the final numbers (an 
EDL) to do an auto assembled "on-line" linear master.  Before the 
"off-line" technique, production assistants had to use stop watches to 
time material ahead of the mastering session to be able to figure how to 
edit their production to an accurate final show length.  That was true 
linear editing, and you'd better be right with your numbers before you 
got to the end.

Then came digital and the NLE editor came into being.  Any quibbles film 
editors might have had with the old tape techniques disappeared, but it 
took time to get editors who were comfortable with film to learn the new 
technology.  Michael Kahn, Spielberg's long standing editor still runs 
his dailies on a KEM (film flatbed viewer) and edited "Munich" on a 
Moviola. But, his assistant, Patrick Crane says in an article in the 
Editors Guild magazine says, "Michael and I have worked on plenty of 
shows on the Avid -- most recently "Lemony Snicket" [2004].  In the end, 
the Avid is just a tool and the bottom line is that editing is not about 

As a final note, in one of my trade magazines a review of "The Avid Hand 
(fourth edition)"  has a chapter entitled, "Workflow of a Nonlinear 
Project" which "provides a great overview of the NLE process".  So, the 
term carries on.

Rod Stephens
Family Theater Productions

Richard L. Hess wrote:

> Mike,
> The phrase comes from TV land when two- and three-tape-machine editors 
> began being called linear editors as you assembled things linearly 
> from the start.
> All of our audio editors that I'm aware of: Audition, Samplitude, 
> ProTools, are all NLE (non-linear editors) by this definition.
> This has nothing to do with transfer functions, but rather human 
> interface and operating modes.
> Cheers,
> Richard
> At 01:49 PM 3/11/2006, Mike Richter wrote:
>> Rod Stephens wrote:
>>> Hi Tom,
>>> As a retired (except for sound projects) motion picture film (and 
>>> later digital) editor, much of the work I've been able to do with 
>>> sound tracks, whether they be on 35 MM (16 MM is much more difficult 
>>> to edit) film or a non linear editing system like Audition, has been 
>>> a result of learning the tricks of the trade.
>> This is the first suggestion I've encountered that Adobe Audition is 
>> not linear. My own work with it (and with its predecessor, CoolEdit 
>> Pro) has extended over nearly a decade, so I am curious as to what is 
>> meant by the term "non linear" here.
>> Mike
>> -- 
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> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
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