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Editing Systems Overview

What is possible for sound mix in NLEs?

The Non-linear editing market is now very mature, with a number of comprehensive packages available to edit video and mix audio.

The user interface of editing programmes share a lot of common features: the timeline, project folders, effects, audio mixing and export controls.

Some of the biggest editing tools are:

Adobe Premiere Pro CC
• Apple Final Cut Pro X
Avid MediaComposer
Blackmagic Design Da Vinci Resolve
Editshare Lightworks

All of the editing tools can output in different formats and codecs, either from within the application, or via the use of additional tools included with the packages.

As the processing power of computers has steadily improved over the last 10 years, the ability to assembly edit HD productions on laptops and desktop computers has become a reality, however high quality mastering and finishing suites are still needed to produce the final output if delivering to broadcasters.  The one exception to this is UHD/4K RAW workflows, which require high performing equipment and dedicated graphics cards and processing to enable real-time editing and image manipulation.

As the edit capabilities have many similarities, it’s important to explore the audio mixing options available within the tool if you are planning on mastering completely within one package. All the tools listed above have complex audio editing features to allow the mixing of stereo and surround tracks within the tool.

Currently the market for editing systems is split between single purchase costs (with support contracts), software as a service subscriptions, and free tools. 

One of the newer categories of editing tools is Cloud editing. This process involves productions uploading their rushes to a cloud tool, and then using an internet service for editing. Forscene is one of the pioneers of this with their cloud editing tool, however new players are entering the market offering virtualised editing systems, accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. These tools include BeBop and SunDog Media Toolkit.

The challenge for any production is managing the bandwidth required to upload rushes to the cloud, as well as have suitable bandwidth for live editing on a cloud platform (c.20Mbits/s for consistent performance).