Edit decision lists are integrated in every pipeline nowadays. I've seen different types of it, but wikipedia only knows CMX 3600 EDL and a xml modification.

Which other formats exist and what are the differences of it? Is there a standard type which supported by all editing systems? Which open type has most features?

1 Answer 1


CMX 3600 (or earlier 340) is very common and understood by many systems. GVG (Grass Valley Group) format is almost as common. For simple cuts, dissolves and keys the two are highly compatible, but for more complex edits, including speed changes, there are significant differences. Neither deals well with multiple layers or multiple sources in one event.

Many other companies use proprietary formats that are often only slightly different from basic CMX/GVG. Things like the size and contents of the source ID, the use of notes for special effects, and so on, may change from version to version as well.

To list the specifications would take a very long post. If you have specific questions about what each can handle, try asking here. But in general, for interchange you'll probably find XML-based EDLs to be most flexible, and CMX/GVG will be understood by the most different systems, within their limitations.

Google "EDL XML AAF" for a lot more information on the topic.

  • Thanks for this overview Jim! Sounds like you are very familiar with it. :) Can you elaborate why xml formats are most flexible and what you mean by significant differences? I think proprietary formats are not interesting, because we can discuss about it :) Specifcations we can discuss in another question, will edit the question. Thanks again!
    – p2or
    Feb 1, 2015 at 14:13
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    Since the older formats are frozen in a time decades old (CMX340 goes back to the early 1970s), they're limited in their ability to describe newer effects and methods, and lack source file tracking. XML-based formats are self-describing to some degree and so can be much more flexible. As for differences, a CMX EDL and a GVG EDL describing the same off-speed events would be an obvious example. There's a SMPTE standard for EDL exchange (258M-2004) that allows more audio channels and layers etc, but it's somewhat bogged down in its own details and has little manufacturer support AFAIK.
    – Jim Mack
    Feb 1, 2015 at 19:45

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