Inventing the non-linear edit suite

PVC by Chris Zwar

How five different products were created from five different philosophies

If you're developing a groundbreaking new product, where do you start? The desktop video revolution was driven by the emergence of non-linear editing systems running on home computers, but adapting them for video production was a gradual process. The products that were being developed and launched at the start of the 1990s were very different from the products that are available now, and apart from the technological challenges every one of them was innovative in some way or another.

With the benefit of hindsight, we can look back and see how 5 different products from the early 1990s were developed from five fundamentally different philosophies.

Following on from my Desktop Video Revolution series, I’m sharing a few brief thoughts and personal reflections from my experiences during the 90’s.

Lightworks was first released in 1989, making it one of the very first non-linear editing systems to become a commercial product. It was developed for the feature film market, and so it was designed to be appealing and easy to use for seasoned feature film editors. Nothing reflects this philosophy more than the iconic Lightworks controller.

Back then, feature films were almost exclusively edited using Steenbeck flatbed film editors, which used a distinctive lever to control playback. The Lightworks system copied the Steenbeck controller and made the new system feel instantly familiar to anyone who’d ever used a Steenbeck. read more...

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