Offline editing occurs when a video editor duplicates raw footage and transcodes it down to a smaller size file. Subsequently, video editing becomes a much easier and lag-free process for editors that are not working on powerful computers. In today’s age of video editing, offline editing is not a common practice, mainly due to the rise in affordable computer technology. The best computers for video editing are those with high quality video cards, and a large amount of RAM, hard drive storage, and CPU process power. As technology continues to progress, editing offline is becoming a less and less popular practice. However, If you don’t have a powerful computer, then offline editing can make life as a video editor much easier for a number of reasons.
1. Fast Workflow
The first and most important reason to edit offline is to speed up your workflow. Editing 4k and 1080p footage can be a very frustrating process if your computer can not handle it. Before I began editing offline, it was ordinary for me to experience problems with high res footage on the fairly new imac I use daily. Problems such as lagging and application crashes were common occurrences. As I started working on bigger and bigger projects, I decided that switching to offline editing would be wise. If you also decide that offline editing is ideal for your situation, you can expect to experience little to no lagging and a much more efficient workflow.
2. Editing on a Laptop
Even with the vast amount of computer technology available, most standard laptops are not built to handle large video files. If editing high resolution clips on your desktop is slow and difficult, chances are your laptop will be even slower. Luckily, offline editing works perfectly on laptops and makes editing on-the-go much easier. Need to edit while you travel? No problem.
3. More Space on External Hard Drives
In the 2 years that I’ve worked for Jexan, I’ve been a part of some amazing video shoots outside of Arizona. During these shoots, I was able to learn not only about video production, but also a great deal about media management. While traveling for a video shoot, it’s extremely beneficial to have plenty of external hard drive space. If you plan on editing during the shoot, bringing past footage with you could be necessary, depending on the type of video you’re creating. In this situation, offline editing will not only save you time during the editing process, but it will also save you space on your hard drives! As long as you don’t have to finalize the commercial on the road, only having the offline footage from past shoots will suffice.
4. Sharing Clips with Others
Another great benefit of offline editing is the accessibility of the footage. Since the file size of offline footage is significantly less than full resolution footage, sharing clips over the internet is a much simpler process for you and the receiver of the clips. For example, let’s say you need to share a 30 minute video interview with a co-worker over the internet. You could send them the full resolution footage, but the video may take quite some time to upload, and it could also experience playback issues depending on the receiver’s internet connection. Having these lower res files will make sharing clips from person to person much more convenient.
I am a big fan of offline editing, but I’d be lying if I told you there weren’t any drawbacks. Firstly, transcoding the footage will slow down your workflow quite a bit. Depending on how much footage you need to offline, transcoding could set you back anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Another obstacle of offline editing is replacing the low resolution footage with the high resolution footage after your initial sequence is set. Once all of your footage in your sequence is relinked to the full resolution clips, you’ll be able to begin color correction. This process of relinking full resolution clips could set you back a few hours as well. These additional obstacles should not discourage you from offline editing, especially if you’re working on a computer that is not built for video editing.