The first time I heard about digital nonlinear editing was 1992. An insane visual artist named Adam walked into my video editing room to finish a trailer for his film. He explained to me that he had already cut the trailer offline and that all I had to do was make a few tweaks and assemble the rest.

During the course of our conversation, he kept bugging me about how smoothly the edit had gone. Adam is Hungarian, but the language he spoke was English. Still, I didn’t understand a word of it.

“We cut all of this on an Avid. It works nonlinear. You can make a change just like that!” he exclaimed, snapping his fingers. When we set up to finish the trailer and were checking H/SC phase, Adam said, “You never have to do that in nonlinear.” Every ...

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