The Avid/1 Media Composer changed editing because it finally freed editors from the mechanical constraints of their craft. No more lost trims or analog video errors. It delivered digital nonlinear editing for professionals and soon after Apple's iMovie and Pinnacle's Studio 400 delivered editing for all. The machines that had served editing faithfully before the digital revolution were left to gather dust in back rooms but they deserve far better than that.
In the spring of 1924 a German company called Lyta-Kino-Werke built the first editing device for film editors called the Lyta. A few months later the Moviola would go on sale in Hollywood and become a huge success but it would be sixty five years before a digital equivalent, the Avid/1 arrived, and another decade before editing was available to everyone. In the intervening years individuals and teams imagined wondrous tools that could turn images into entertainment in the blink of an eye as they battled technology, sought finance and rushed to ship their products.
This book is about all the people, and their editing devices. It is a journey from Lyta's workshop in Freiburg to an oily warehouse in Burlington and finally to an air conditioned cubicle in Silicon Valley.
Timeline is less the perfect tale of editing's history and more a narrative of accomplishment, innovation and invention.
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January 01, 2001
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