amateur video editing on linux (ubuntu)

Date: 14 Apr, 2008
Posted by: admin
In: linux, open source & software

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I’m trying to edit a small clip from a larger program, add titling and post to YouTube. The clip is a section of TV program called Best of Friends and shows a pottery challenge throwing a pot on the potters wheel at Barefoot Ceramics.

Anyway, FOSS linux apps I’m auditioning (at least I think they’re all FOSS, definitely free-gratis):

  1. Cinelerra [Update: look out if you get cinelerra from Akirad, it installs an app called akiranews, this seems to be some sort of spam gateway (as yetunexploited. I’m a little concerned about it as a security risk too. So I’ve uninstalled it as a precaution and removed all akirad repositories.]
  2. Kino
  3. Kdenlive
  4. Open Movie Editor
  5. Jahshaka
  6. Avidemux
  7. Cinepaint

Now the less time pressured of you can bitch that this isn’t an exhaustive study or that if I’d only had the zubzub plugin it would have worked perfectly and poured me a beer. Let me know in the comments and if I’m feeling bored I’ll check out your suggestion and make an addendum. Here we go.

  1. Cinelerra – seems fully featured but it’s an MDI application so you have windows all over the place, which I find cluttered (but I don’t mind it too much with The gIMP); apart from that tehy seem to be going out of their way to make the interface “unique”. It sucks. Even the file menu doesn’t have “quit” at the bottom. I thought they’d not included a quit menu item, or perhaps this wasn’t the “parent” window. I’ve heard this app is pretty powerful and does all that is required; but it seriously needs the interface fixing IMHO.
  2. Kino – requires importing to DV format, or appears to, before you can do anything with it, I don’t really like the layout but apart from the importing it looks pretty good at a basic level.
  3. Kdenlive – this one crashed on me, but probably only becuase I did the most on it in my short test. It follows the unwritten standards wrt where things are and seems pretty logical to me. Very easy to add markers, new tracks, text overlays, separate off audio, add transitions, etc.. The couple of problems I had were not being able to select a section by click-and-drag across the timeline and then not being able to select all tracks at once to remove the section of the clip I didn’t want. Oh, and then I couldn’t move everything back to the origin – because I couldn’t select and move all tracks together … minor issues but nonetheless issues. This was definitely most usable and easy to do what I’m after. Perhaps I’ll have to read the manual!
  4. Open Movie Editor 0.0.20061221 – good, slightly goofy interface but nowhere near as crazy as Cinelerra.Pretty easy to get stuff done but I couldn’t quickly add transitions and text like in Kdenlive.
  5. Blender – wouldn’t let me import my .mov (quicktime, from a Minolta Dimage Z1 digital camera) so couldn’t really test it. Again a weird interface which is really geared to creating animations. No doubt a powerful app, but not what I was looking for here.
  6. Jahshaka – not yet tested, it appears to require building formy 64bit Ubuntu, UbuntuStudio referred to it but their package and application lists don’t include it.
  7. Avidemux – looks like a tool for re-encoding, can do trimming and probably transitions (didn’t get that far), doesn’t appear to have a timeline view with keyframes, probably more useful for transcoding.
  8. Cinepaint – this was touted as the “film gimp”several years ago, it’s used by the like of ILM I gather. However it’s more for correction and manipulation than for simple linear-crop and titling so I imagine the learning curve will be too high. Added to KDE menu as a graphics app (not multimedia) – couldn’t even see how to open/import my mov file.

All of these were tested under Ubuntu 7.04 (“gutsy”) either simply by adding with “apt-get install AppName” or by adding the repos to apt-get (via the synaptic GUI) and the installing. No extra effort was made, that’s not the purpose of this test. Since I moved from Slackware I’ve given up on hours of trying to get apps working – if it doesn’t work I try to find something that does, or give up and wait for further developments!!

So, in case you missed it my choice so far is Kdenlive based on ease of install and use for my stated purposes.

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