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Thread: Can You Edit a Rendered File?

  1. #1

    Default Can You Edit a Rendered File?


    I'm in the process of creating a feature length documentary on my 88 year old father-in-law.

    I have about 20 hours of footage I shot the past holiday, plus about 5 hours of archival footage.

    I'm using Sony Vegas Movie Studio Premium 9 to edit.

    Here's my problem:

    When you edit in Sony, you need two files to see your edited version. The original raw footage file, plus the (much smaller) Sony file that contains all the information about how you've changed the raw footage file. In order to display the edited version, Sony apparently needs to be able to access both files (raw footage and Sony editing information file.)

    However, I may decide to move those files around to different folders as I organize, and who knows? I may decide to open the edited file in a different editing software.

    So my question is, How do I create a copy of my edited file that is not dependent upon Sony's edit information file? A file that can open in any software with all the edits and additions intact? An MPEG-4 file?

    If I render the edited file, can I then edit that rendered file? In any editing software?

    Any advice is hugely appreciated. I'm a newbie, I'm a writer, I love working with videos, but I am running into this sort of problem, where it's hard to find answers to basic questions. I did a Google search, and search of this site, but I haven't found an answer.

    Can rendered files be edited?

    Thanks for any guidance you can give me.

  2. #2


    The basic answer to your question is yes you can. I would recommend rendering to an avi file as this is the most compatible file format for most editing programs. This will create a larger file than an mpeg4 but will maintain a better quality image than a condensed file.

    When you have all the footage how you want it you can rendered it to an mpeg2 to put on a DVD.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3


    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I always think of the Internet as people selflessly sharing knowledge, and you certainly fall in that category of helping others. Thank you!

  4. #4
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    A sterling reply from Mr Blue, but I thought I'd add some background information. I must admit I read your post twice before I understood; you essentially summarised the process of non-linear editing without using jargon. Rather like describing how to walk (i.e. move one foot in front of the other moving in an upward direction, then extend whilst exerting downward pressure until your leading foot touches the ground. Repeat with trailing foot), describing something you "just" do can be confusing.

    But I digress. As I say, you described the process of video editing. The ultimate aim of most of us videographers is to convert a bunch of video clips into one video. But we don't want all of the video, so we trim bits out. We sometimes move the order around or add effects, but the principle is converting a series of clips into one. All of this is done whilst maintaining the original video. And that's the beauty of non-linear editing. Many years ago, you have a physical strip of film that you'd "cut" into pieces and then stick together. Hence linear.

    Now your questionwas whether you can edit the video you create from other video. And as Midnight says, of course you can! Your other question was whether you could move the video off your computer or to another location. Again, this is perfectly possible. But what you need to do is tell Vegas where you've put them if you want to save the project. You see the "small file" you mention is the project. It contains all the information about where the videos are stored on your PC, and just as importantly, what you want to be done with them. In its simplest form, it's an edit decision list (EDL).

    So to edit video, you need raw video (the big files). You then need to use a video editing programme to stick them all together (or edit bits out, or both!). This will create a project file (the small file) which saves information about the edits. Finally, you export (or render) a seperate video which combines all of your video. Much easier to have one video, eh? And use videographers then keep the project, the raw video and the output video... cos we like to play around in the future!

  5. #5


    Dear Marc,

    Thanks for your answer.

    I'm just starting out in film editing, which is why I wasn't familiar enough with the jargon to use it in my first post. I'm sorry if my description of the process I'm involved in caused some confusion.

    However, I don’t know if you understand my question (I probably did not explain it very well.)

    As you say, I have a raw footage file and a project file. The project file lets Sony know how the raw footage should be edited. When I open the edited file, the project file "instructs" the raw file as to what should be cut, rearranged, etc. to produce the edited version.

    Here's my question:

    Once I've edited the footage the way I want it, I would like a single file that is independent of the raw file and the project file. In other words, a single file that contains all the edits (without having to refer to a raw file or a project file.)

    It appears that type of independent file is created when the edited file is rendered. (Or am I misunderstanding?)

    The reason I want the edited file independent of the raw file and the project file is that I may decide to put the file in a different folder, or on a different computer, or open it in a different editing software program. I want an edited file that no longer needs to link to the raw file or project file.

    So my question is, if it's true that rendering a file means that file is now independent, it no longer needs to refer to a raw file or project file to play properly, may I still go back in that rendered file and, using proper software, edit it further? (I probably won’t, but do I still have that option?

    I appreciate your time, and expertise.

  6. #6


    The simple answer is Yes. Once you have an rendered file of your original edit it is independent of any of the raw footage of and project files. It can be put on another computer, uploaded to the internet, put on DVD or what ever you choose to do with it.

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