An edit decision list (Edl) is a special kind of database for video editing. It is a list of events that includes the source to be recorded and where to record it. It also includes information about transitions (cuts, dissolves, wipes), transition durations, and so on. An Edl is saved on diskette with a file name that must include the .edl extension (MYEDL.EDL). The target editing system identifies a file as an Edl when it has the .edl extension.
Most Edls are simple ASCII files. They contain only alphanumeric characters, or text. This is true of the Edl formats of most manufacturers (CMX, GVG, for example), regardless of the diskette type they are saved on (CMX, GVG, DOS). ASCII Edls can be viewed and edited with a word processor if the diskette type can be accessed (most word processors can't read a CMX or GVG diskette).
The Edl formats (CMX, GVG, Sony, and so on) vary slightly in the exact location of the fields of information and in the exact encoding of these fields. These variations make each format incompatible; you can't load a Grass Valley Group format list into a CMX editor. They are similar enough, however, so the basic edit information can be converted from one format to another.
Sony saves the Edl as a JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards) file, which is a modified ASCII file. You can't see these lists with a word processor. However, the data in Sony format Edls can usually be converted to a format similar to those of other manufacturers.
EdlMax supports the following Edl formats:
CMX 3600 - Probably the most common Edl format, CMX 3600 was the model design of most other Edl formats and remains the most reliable "lowest common denominator" amongst edit systems. It should always be your choice if the target edit system does not support GVG or Sony 9100. It supports 4-channel audio. It has one important limitation - it is limited to 999 events.
CMX 3400A - A format that was an intermediate version between the original CMX 340 and the more useful CMX 3600. Avoid it if you can. Not recommended.
CMX 340/3400 - The first and original CMX format. It has important limitations, especially it's 3-character numeric reel-name requirement, and supports only 2-channel audio. You probably want to avoid it, but it may be useful for some old target edit systems. Not recommended.
Grass Valley - The GVG format was designed for the Grass Valley linear edit systems and supports "SMPTE Timecode". It is generally an excellent format, with capabilities similar to CMX 3600 and Sony 9100, including 4-channel audio. It has one notable limitation - it's reel-names are limited to 6-characters. Its a good choice in many workflows.
Sony 9100 V2 - The format used by the Sony BVE 9100 linear edit system. The format is still used in many Sony produces today. It has similar capabilities to CMX 3600 and Grass Valley, including 4-channel audio, with some additional Sony-specific features. As mentioned, it is not an ASCII file, but rather, a JIS. Use it if the target system requires Sony 9100, or as an alternate to CMX 3600 or GVG.
Sony 910 - A format for the legacy BVE 900 line of Sony linear edit systems. It has sever limitations, especially that it does not support mixed count-mode (DF and NDF) source timecode. Avoid it if you can. Not recommended.
For more detailed information, see Guide to Edl Management.