… for Codecs & Media
Tip #1102: What is a Render File?
A render file is a media file calculated based on the effects applied to a source clip.
Since all NLEs are non-destructive editors (leaving original media intact), render files are created when you alter an original clip, create a clip via a generator or use a still image in the Timeline. Those alterations need to be turned into media. That process is called “rendering.”
Essentially render files are new media files that match your project/sequence settings that your NLE uses instead of the original clips. They effectively ‘replace’ the original media and the NLE will refer to them instead of the original media once they’ve been rendered.
If you make additional changes to a rendered clip, the NLE will delete the old render file and it will be replaced by a new render file.
Generally, render files are retained by the NLE if you delete a clip from the timeline, which saves time in case you put it back in.
To pick up storage space, you can delete render files. If that file is needed again, the NLE will re-render it.
Once a project is complete, render files can be deleted. If they are needed in the future, the NLE will re-render them, as well.