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The EditDroid was a computerized analog NLE (non-linear editing system), developed by Lucasfilm spin-off company, the Droid Works and Convergence Corporation who formed a joint venture company. The company existed up through the mid-80's to the early 90's in an attempt to move from analog editing methods to digital. EditDroid first debuted at the NAB 62nd Annual meeting in Las Vegas in 1984 concurrent with another editing tool that would compete with the EditDroid for all its years in production, the Montage Picture Processor. The EditDroid was never a commercial success and after the close of The Droid Works in 1987 and subsequent redevelopment of the product for seven years, the software was eventually sold to Avid Technology in 1993. Only 24 EditDroid systems were ever produced.
The system was Laserdisc-based, relying on several laserdisc players and a database system which would queue up the clips in the order needed from the laserdisc players in the most efficient way, so as to minimize skipping. This however wasn't always possible. So if the edits weren't sufficiently close, the system wouldn't always be fast enough to cue up the next clip.
It had three screens connected to it: one was a Sun-1 computer display (the graphical UI for the product), plus one small video (preview) monitor and one large rear-projected containing "the cut" and was controlled by a custom controller. The controller, called the TouchPad, featured a KEM-style shuttle knob, a trackball, and a host of buttons with LED labels that changed in function depending on what the system was doing. The EditDroid pioneered the use of the graphical display for editing—introducing the "timeline" as well as digital picture icons to identify raw source clips.
The EditDroid no longer exists as such, and the market for nonlinear editing systems has changed radically since its inception, with products like Final Cut Pro available at consumer level. In many respects the EditDroid was a concept demonstration of the future of editing, with a laserdisc being a good 1980s simulation of what digital access would be like, and an editing interface and workflow that was more like today's methods than any of the videotape linear or analog nonlinear products leading up to the Avid/1 in 1990.
Advantages and disadvantages 
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The advantages of using a digital editing solution over the older analog solutions (like the Moviola), were many. Not only is it much faster to locate the clips needed, keeping track of what can in some cases amount to a staggering amount of footage, is also much easier digitally. Also, editing film digitally is a non-destructive process, where the analog process requires the actual cutting and taping together of pieces of film as well as manual syncing of sound.
That said, in his book In the Blink of an Eye, editor Walter Murch mourns the loss of the older analog solutions where you had to move back and forth in the available material a lot to gain an overview, thus getting you very well acquainted with it. Since undoing an edit is such a laborious process there is a high incentive to get the best edit cut the first time. This process which is not necessary to the same extent with NLE solutions in which one edit point can be made and undone very quickly.
Furthermore, laserdisc had a fixed resolution where film could be focused to look ideal at any display size.
While the Laserdisc format was brought to market in the late 1970s (as DiscoVision and later, LaserVision) and despite persistent promises from the Music Corporation of America, a cheap method of recording laserdiscs never surfaced, making it exceedingly hard and cumbersome to create the needed laserdiscs for the EditDroid (at this time the storage available on a hard disk was very small and extremely expensive).
Furthermore, many potential customers of the EditDroid were put off by the fact that while Lucasfilm Ltd. were the creators of the EditDroid, George Lucas had never in fact used the EditDroid on a movie (despite the EditDroid having been shown with Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi clips on numerous occasions at tradeshows and at demonstrations). Lucas eventually used his EditDroids in the early '90s on his series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
See also 
- "Company History". Lucasfilm.com. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
Further reading 
- "Droidmaker: George Lucas And the Digital Revolution" by Michael Rubin, 2005, San Francisco, CA: Triad Publishing Co. [ISBN 0937404675]
- "Skywalking: The Life And Films Of George Lucas" by Dale Pollack, 1999, New York, NY: Da Capo Press [ISBN 0306809044]