n this technological age of disposable video toys you probably have more than one VCR in your home. Take a 3 prong AV cable (yellow, red, white plugs) and connect the two together. Put a blank tape into the right machine and your last VHS vacation in the left. Find a favorite visual moment and put that left machine in pause. If you put your right machine into record and then release pause on your left machine, congratulations…you just made an edit! All editing is based on that concept. Transfering, moving, copying or placing video or still footage from one source to another. Now that computer editing is available to the consumer, it’s a system called non linear, meaning you can move footage around on a sequence or timeline, and you aren’t limited by video tape. As you can see in your two machines side by side, you have some limitations. If you decided you didn’t like that video you edited first on your right machine, you would have to start over and replace that shot with another one (with professional tape editing systems there is something called insert and assemble editing which allows you to replace shots without ruining your video, but that’s a discussion for another lesson). Nonlinear computer editing has given editors limitless freedom to create and change a video without the confines of tape. But regardless of technology, editing rules and creative concepts that make a visually pleasing video are basic and apply to those two machines hooked together in front of you.

You have boxes, draws and shelves full of video tape, old film and now DVDs and CDs … family memories, favorite TV shows, lil’ John’s 1st grade graduation, lil’ Sally’s first dance, Joe’s big homecoming football win… images you just don’t want to throw away but now what do you do with them? Learn how to edit!

Wouldn’t it be great if you could upload a clip for your blog or website? All that old footage won’t last forever. Video tape that’s 20 years old should be a concern, as the tape gets brittle and the mechanics of the tape housing itself may fail. It’s time to get them transferred and then, most importantly, edited into something that won’t put your relatives to sleep!

But where do you start? Ten years ago this discussion wouldn’t have been possible. A professional video editing system for just one type of format…VHS, DVC Pro, Beta or 3/4 inch would have been at a minimum $15,000 and more likely $100,000.