Linked by Roberto J. Dohnert on Mon 6th Oct 2003 01:36 UTC
Multimedia, AV In the past in order to make good home movies one needed either a Mac or a Windows PC. There were no good video editors for Linux in the past. Today with Jahshaka and Main Actor the things that could only be done on a Mac or a Wintel machine can now be done on a Lintel machine as well.
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Linux Video Editing
by Mutiny on Tue 7th Oct 2003 13:59 UTC

I have heard the comments that Linux is used in high end video editing, however this is only partially true. Linux in the film industry is used for 3D animation and compositing, not video editing.

To some, these are the same thing, however, as a video professional, I assure you, they are related, but quite different activities.

In 3D apps (Softimage XSI, Maya, Blender, etc.), you are creating video footage for later inclusion into a finished product. It is like synthetic shooting in a way. You are creating video content for later editing.

Caracter generation or titling (nothing on Linux really) is making the text you see before, during and after the video. This is usually done in another app that while accessable within the editor, is usually really a stand alone program. For some reason, even on Mac or Windows it is not easy, but possible to find a really good CG application. Again, you are making more footage,

In compositing (Shake, Cinepaint, etc.), you are taking multiple pieces of footage such as rendered 3D images, things you shot earlier, masks made in Cinepaint, titles and combining them in each frame to achieve a new look, erase things you wanted hiden, even change locations. This is very open ended, but in the end, you are still making raw footage for later editing.

Editing (Cinelerra, etc.) is taking all the pieces and putting them together in a finished video. This includes trimming the beginning and ends of video clips (thing you shot or things made from the compositing or 3D steps) to make the timing right, making the audio line up with the video correctly, putting titles in place, everything that is left timing wise.

Editing is the most troublesome part of production on Linux. The upcomming Discreet Smoke 6 is the first "Real" editor I have heard of on Linux but I am sure it will cost close to, if not well over $100,000 and include an IBM workstation. Cinelerra has a vomit inducing interface, is poorly documented, doesn't work well with standard DV footage last I checked and is known as a buggy, hard to compile package at the authors admission.

There are a few other tiny editing packages available, but they are very early in their development so it is too soon to use them for any real work.

Also note that most programs span many of the previous steps of production. Finalcut Pro does some compositing, Main Actor (more a compositor really) does basic editing, etc. However none of the Linux editors currently shipping are usable by even a Pro-sumer level editor. I call Pro-sumer the FCP/Matrox RT level editor on other platforms. Mild editing with effects, does small local commercials weddings or wedding videos for a price if not for a living. Probably shoots on a 3 CCD DV camera.

For the consumer nothing I have seen is easy to use or has enough of all the various steps listed above to be usable to the consumer. Generally, the more "consumer" the editing application, the easier the interface gets, the more esoteric features get dropped and the more steps in the pipeline are included in one app. iMovie is a great example as is Pinnacle Studio.

Let's hope someone get video editing on Linux going real soon as it is one of the most glaring sore spots in this otherwise highly usable OS.

Mutiny