Image editors are classified either as destructive (Photoshop and Gimp) or non-destructive (Darktable) editors. The former irreversibly hard-codes effects and edits into the image based on the sequence they are applied, whereas for the latter, all changes to the image are reversible and agnostic to the sequence in which the other effects and changes are applied.

Adobe Premiere Pro, being the video counterpart to Photoshop, must therefore be a destructive video editor, right? Are there any video editors that are non-destructive instead?

  • 3
    I've never used Premier, but FCP & DaVinci, whilst saving a 'hard copy' final version, can be re-edited at any time. The original clips are preserved & cuts/cross-fades/titles/colour grading etc are simply overlays in the timeline. The final output does not overwrite the input files, which would imo, make it non-destructive.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 7:37
  • i think you've mis-interpreted the meaning of non-destructive editing. Destructive editors also treats all effects as overlays on the timeline or side panel, but the idea of non-destructive editing is that each effect is independent of all other effects. This is not the case with Destructive editors, which applies each effect in the sequence they are applied: Effect 1 before Effect 2, will look different than Effect 2 before Effect 1.
    – user610620
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 18:45
  • Not really. Though I'm from an audio background rather than video, Ive been doing this 40 years, since before you could do it on a computer. If you record a clean guitar; then put it through a reverb & a guitar amp, the order matters, but the original signal remains untouched. That's considered non-destructive. I've never heard of video having a different definition to audio.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 6:01
  • Yes, now you understand the meaning. Like non-destructive audio, non-destructive image editing is widely known outside of Photoshop. But when it comes to video editing, is every video editor on the market only destructive then? ... These 2 terms are independent of whether or not the original signal remains. Because of course, when you're in-program, the original signal can always be returned to by pressing undo or hiding layers. Don't worry about that.
    – user610620
    Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 16:33
  • "now you understand the meaning" ...well, I do, but I'm not sure you do. It seems we disagree fundamentally on what the definition is. "is every video editor on the market only destructive" - no, not by my definition & you have yet to clearly explain what your definition is.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro and Da Vinci are all non-destructive video editors, although it hasn't been tested in these programs whether the sequence in which effects are applied are independent.

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