Editing comprises both time and track space. The timeline consists of the time certain media appear on the track going left to right and a set of tracks from the top to the bottom. There are 2 methods of timeline editing – drag and drop editing , also called arrow mode , and cut and paste editing or I-beam mode . Cut and Paste is the default editing mode. An additional, but not often considered editing method is called two-screen editing (or 3 point editing) where the Viewer is used to view media and then the desired clip from the media is transferred to the timeline.

In the timeline, Audio tracks are different from Video tracks so a media including both audio and video will be split into 2 or more independent tracks. There is no Link/Unlink-like function present in other programs, although there are workarounds.

The timeline is where all editing decisions are made (figure 5.1). This is a stack of tracks in the center of the main window. It can be scrolled up, down, left and right with the scrollbars on the right and bottom. It can also be scrolled up and down with a mouse wheel, or left and right while holding down the Ctrl key and using the mouse wheel.

Figure 5.1: Timeline editing session
Image timeline

The active region is the range of time which is affected by editing commands on the timeline. The active region is determined first by the presence of in/out points on the timeline. If those do not exist the highlighted region is used. To reiterate, highlighting is done in cut and paste mode by moving the insertion point with the mouse in the timeline to where you want to start. Then hold down the LMB, drag the mouse to where you want the end point to be and release the LMB. In drag and drop mode, the method to create a highlighted selection is to hold down the Ctrl key and double click with the LMB with the mouse over that column.

If no highlighted region exists, the insertion point is used as the start of the active region. Some commands treat all the space to the right of the insertion point as active while others treat the active length as 0 (zero) if no end point for the active region is defined.

Most importantly, editing decisions never affect source material meaning that it is non-destructive editing. So not only does your original media stay completely untouched, it is much faster than if you had to copy all the media affected by an edit. Editing only affects pointers to source material, so if you want to have a new modified media file at the end of your editing session which represents the editing decisions, you need to render it. Saving and loading your edit decisions is explained in the Load, Save and the EDL section and rendering is explained in the section on Rendering.

Nomenclature: media loaded in the timeline, in whole or in part, are called edits, unlike other programs that call them clips. Clips in CINELERRA-GG are those that are created in the Viewer window or in the timeline via the to clip command and brought into the Resources window, inside the Clips folder, where they can be renamed and a description added. These, once brought into the timeline, are renamed edits. In CINELERRA-GG the difference edits/clips is not important and you can use them as synonyms; however, the difference of clips as it is intended in other NLEs is important. These are media (or parts of it) complete in themselves and indipendent from other clips and the timeline. Edits in CINELERRA-GG on the other hand, can be a media (or part of it) but can also be any region of the timeline between In/Out Points or from a highlighted, on which we can do editing operations. This leads to some advantages (e.g. putting an effect only in a part of the active region) but one must always keep in mind that the edit remains dependent on the track and the entire timeline.

In the following editing sections, references to common operations are scattered within any of the modes where they seem pertinent. However, many of the editing operations work in different modes.

The CINELERRA-GG Community, 2021