An edit decision list is used in the post-production process of film editing and video editing. The list contains an ordered sequence of reel and timecode data representing where each video clip can be obtained in order to conform to the final cut.
EDLs are created by offline editing systems or can be paper documents constructed by hand such as shot logging. These days, linear video editing systems have been superseded by non-linear editing (NLE) systems which can output EDLs electronically to allow auto conform on an online editing system – the recreation of an edited program from the original sources (usually videotapes) and the editing decisions in the EDL.
They are also often used in the digital video editing world, so rather than referring to reels, they can refer to sequences of images stored on disk.
Some formats, such as CMX3600, can represent simple editing decisions only. Final Cut Pro XML, the Advanced Authoring Format (AAF), and AviSynth scripts are relatively advanced file formats that can contain sophisticated EDLs.