About online and offline editing

For online editing, you edit clips at the level of quality required for the final version of the video program. This is the default method of working in Premiere Pro. Online editing works well when the speed and storage capacity of the host computer are adequate to the demands of the video formats used. For example, most modern computers can handle the data rate of DV in full resolution. They may be challenged, however, by the greater demands of, for example, HDV or HD footage. For many videographers, that’s where offline editing comes in.

In offline editing, after capturing high-quality clips, you make low-quality copies of them for editing purposes. After editing, you can unlink the clips in Premiere Pro from the low-quality media, and relink them to the high-quality originals. You can finish, render, and export your final product in high-quality. Editing the low-resolution clips allows standard computers to edit excessively large assets, such as HDV or HD footage, without losing performance speed. It also lets editors use laptop computers to edit—for example, while on location.

You may edit a project entirely online. On the other hand, you may edit in a two-phase workflow: making your initial creative decisions offline, then switching to online for finishing tasks like fine-tuning, grading, and color correction.

You can complete an offline edit of, for example, an HD project with Premiere Pro and then export your project to EDL for transfer to an editing system with more powerful hardware. You can then perform the final online edit and rendering, at full HD resolution, on that system.