How Was Video Editing Done in the 80s?

In the 80s, video editing was a whole different ball game. Unlike today, where video editing can be done on a laptop or even a smartphone, the technology available back then was rather limited.

However, that didn’t stop editors from creating some of the most iconic films and television shows that we still watch and admire today. In this article, we’ll dive into how video editing was done in the 80s.

The Editing Equipment
The first step in video editing is to have the right equipment. In the 80s, this meant using an analog tape-based system.

The most popular format for video tapes back then was VHS (short for Video Home System). The VHS tapes were relatively large and had limited storage capacity compared to today’s digital storage solutions.

The Editing Process
Once you had your footage on VHS tapes, you needed to start the editing process. This involved using a machine called a “video switcher” or “vision mixer”. This machine would allow editors to switch between different sources of footage by adjusting various dials and switches.

To make precise edits, editors would use a technique called “assemble editing”. This involved playing the source footage on one VHS player while recording it onto another VHS player. The editor would stop recording when they wanted to make an edit and then start again once they had made the necessary changes.

The Audio
When it came to audio, things were also quite different in the 80s. Unlike today where audio can be easily manipulated using software like Adobe Audition or Logic Pro X, audio was edited in a much more analog way back then.

Audio tracks were recorded onto separate tapes (typically cassette tapes) and then mixed together with the video footage during post-production. This meant that if there were any mistakes made during filming (e.g., background noise), it would be nearly impossible to fix during the editing process.

The Final Product
Once the editing was complete, the final product was typically transferred onto a master tape. This tape would then be duplicated multiple times to create copies of the final product, which were then distributed to broadcasters and/or released on VHS tapes for home viewing.

In conclusion, video editing in the 80s was a much more analog process compared to today’s digital workflows. Editors had to be extremely precise and patient, as each edit involved physically cutting and splicing tape together.

Despite these challenges, some of the most iconic films and television shows were created using this technology. It’s fascinating to see how far we’ve come since then, but it’s also important to appreciate the creativity and innovation that went into creating some of our favorite pieces of media from that era.