Conforming 101

Conforming is the process used within a non-destructive (non-linear) editing workflow that ensures the original camera files are never modifiedor degenerated during the editing, visual effects and colour grading phases of a production. We divide these phases into two specific categories:


This is part of the post-production process of filmmaking in which footage will copied and edited. The original camera files rarely get used in the editing process, instead, footage that is lower in resolution, with a smaller file size, and thus a lesser data rate get used, called proxies. Once the cut is locked and approved, the offline process will transition to the online stage.

Final Cut Pro Logo
Avid Media Composer
Adobe Premiere Pro


The post-production process get performed in the final stage of video production. We reassemble an offline edit (conformed) to the original raw camera files. Once the timeline’s get matched to the offline cutting copy, the visual effects and colour correction of the production take place. The online is also responsible for ensuring the program meets the broadcasters’ technical specifications before final delivery.

Autodesk Flame
Filmlight Baselight
Davinci Resolve

Bridging The Gap

Because of the differences in software and hardware configurations used within the offline and online environments, conforming is bridging the gap between the two. It gives applications with a dedicated purpose a means to quickly and efficiently reassemble the desired edit without having to render and work off a compiled sequence. By taking the timecode from the offline edit via a file called an EDL or an XML and applying it to the corresponding source footage. In effect, creating a duplicate edit at full resolution within the appropriate online application.

bridging the gap

Edit Decision List

An EDL or XML is a breakdown of edits made about the timecode of the footage, and transitions, effects and timing data. It transfers this information between each system via the use of an EDL or XML. These are universal file formats that contain the information required to replace the proxy files with the original camera files. The information required for a successful assembly is:

Clip Name
Source Timecode

Record Timecode
 The filename of the clip used within the offline edit. The source in and out points of timecode in which the clip is used.The timelines in and out points of timecode in which the clip belongs.



How an operator re-links their project to the source largely depends on the application used. Though the principles remain the same, navigating each program’s interface is far beyond the scope of this article. By following the general guidelines illustrated below, the software will hopefully handle the rest.