Linear Editing Of News Video

Use two VCRs to transfer video from one VHS tape to another.

Linear video editing is a style of video editing that was used prior to the existence of video editing programs. For news video, programming was recorded onto VHS tapes and then spliced together using two VCRs, one that would relay the recorded material and the other that would record onto a master tape for the evening news. If you are interested in linear editing, you can learn how in a few easy-to-follow steps.


1. Connect your VCRs to your monitors. Using your RCA A/V cables, plug one end of the first cable into the RCA outputs on the back of the first VCR. Then plug the other end of that cable into the RCA inputs on the back of the first monitor. Do the same with the second cable on the second VCR and second monitor.

2. Connect one end of the coaxial cable to the Video Out port on the first VCR and then connect the other end of the cable to the Video In port on the second VCR.

3. Cue up a clip on the first VCR. Place a tape that already has video footage on it into the first VCR. Then, using the play, stop, fast-forward and rewind controls, find a clip you want to transfer onto a blank tape.

4. Place a blank tape into the second VCR. You use the blank tape and the second VCR to create your linear edit. Place the blank tape into the second VCR and then press “Play.” Let the first minute of the tape run and then press “Stop.” You should do this because the beginning and end of tapes are often damaged, so its best to edit after and before those segments.

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5. Record a clip onto the blank tape. At the same time, press the “Play” button on the first VCR and the “Play” and “Record” buttons on the second VCR. This makes the second VCR record what is playing on the first VCR. You can see what is playing or recording on each VCR on the monitors.

6. Continue to add clips to your blank tape. If you want to change the order of a set of clips, you need to rewind the tape in the second VCR and then rerecord over that section with a replacement clip.