The creative editing process which uses copies of the camera tapes on a typically "cuts only" inexpensive editing system. All creative decisions and approvals are made during this process.
In computer technology and telecommunications, online indicates a state of connectivity, and offline indicates a disconnected state. In modern terminology, this usually refers to an Internet connection, but (especially when expressed "online" or "on the line") could refer to any piece of equipment or functional unit that is connected to a larger system. Being online means that the equipment or subsystem is connected, or that it is ready for use.
"Online" has come to describe activities performed on and data available on the Internet, for example: "online identity", "online predator", "online gambling", "online shopping", "online banking", and "online learning". A similar meaning is also given by the prefixes "cyber" and "e", as in the words "cyberspace", "cybercrime", "email", and "eCommerce". In contrast, "offline" can refer to either computing activities performed while disconnected from the Internet, or alternatives to Internet activities (such as shopping in brick-and-mortar stores). The term "offline" is sometimes used interchangeably with the acronym "IRL", meaning "in real life".
Another example of the use of these concepts is digital audio technology. A tape recorder, digital audio editor, or another device that is online is one whose clock is under the control of the clock of a synchronization master device. When the sync master commences playback, the online device automatically synchronizes itself to the master and commences playing from the same point in the recording. A device that is offline uses no external clock reference and relies upon its own internal clock. When a large number of devices are connected to a sync master it is often convenient, if one wants to hear just the output of one single device, to take it offline because, if the device is played back online, all synchronized devices have to locate the playback point and wait for each other device to be in synchronization. (For a related discussion, see MIDI timecode, word sync, and recording system synchronization.)
Offline editing is part of the post-production process of filmmaking and television production in which raw footage is copied and the copy only is then edited, thereby not affecting the camera original film stock or video tape. Once the project has been completely offline edited, the original media will be assembled in the online editing stage.
The term offline originated in the computing and telecommunications industries, meaning "not under the direct control of another device" (automation).
Modern offline video editing is conducted in a non-linear editing (NLE) suite. The digital revolution has made the offline editing workflow process immeasurably quicker, as practitioners moved from time-consuming (video tape to tape) linear video editing online editing suites, to computer hardware and video editing software such as Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Avid, Sony Vegas, Lightworks and VideoPad. Typically, all the original footage (often tens or hundreds of hours) is digitized into the suite at a low resolution. The editor and director are then free to work with all the options to create the final cut.
Film editing used an offline approach almost from the beginning. Film editors worked with a workprint of the original film negative to protect the negative from handling damage. When two-inch quadraplex video tape recording was first introduced by Ampex in 1956, it could not be physically cut and spliced as simply and cleanly as film negatives could be. One error-prone method option was to cut the tape with a razor blade. Since there was no visible frame line on the 2-inch-wide (51 mm) tape, a special ferrofluid developing solution was applied to the tape, allowing the editor to view the recorded control track pulse under a microscope, and thus determine where one frame ended and the next began. This process was not always exact, and if imperfectly performed would lead to picture breakup when the cut was played. Generally this process was used to assemble scenes together, not for creative editing.
The second option for video editing was to use two tape machines, one playing back the original tapes, and the other recording that playback. The original tapes were pre rolled, manually cued to a few seconds prior to the start of a shot on the player, while the recorder was set to record. Each machine was rolled forward simultaneously, and a punch in recording, similar to punch in / out of early audio multitrack recordings was made at the appropriate moment. Beyond not being very precise, recorders of this era cost much more than a house, making this process an expensive use of the machines. This technique of re-recording from source to edit master came to be known as linear video editing.
This was the way things were for television shows shot on tape for the first 15 years. Even such fast-paced shows as Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In continued to use the razor blade technique.