A non-linear editing system (NLE) is a video (NLVE) or audio editing (NLAE) digital audio workstation (DAW) system that performs non-destructive editing on source material. Non-linear editing is the most natural approach when all assets are available as files on video servers or hard disks, rather than recordings on reels or tapes—while linear editing is tied to the need to sequentially view film or hear tape.
Video and audio data are first captured to video servers, other hard disk-based systems, or other digital storage devices. The data are either direct to disk recording or are imported from another source (transcoding, digitizing, transfer). Once imported, the source material can be edited on a computer using application software, any of a wide range of video editing software. For a comprehensive list of available software, see List of video editing software, whereas Comparison of video editing software gives more detail of features and functionality.
In non-linear editing, the original source files are not lost or modified during editing. This is one of the biggest advantages of non-linear editing compared to linear editing. Read more at Wikipedia.