Video Editing On Linux: Looking Up

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that just about all of us, that have tried editing video on a Linux desktop, have been… less than fully satisfied.

And, as has been discussed, this is a big challenge.  Developing a solid, usable video editor is no simple task.  It’s just not something that can be done completely in developer’s spare time (at least not in a reasonable time frame).

colablogo(Get ready for some kudos.)

Luckily, a rather awesome company in the UK called Collabora is helping things move forward.

Back in November they announced that they were assembling a team to focus on open source multimedia and, specifically, GStreamer and PiTiVi (the video editor).

I thought, “Sure.  A great idea.  We’ll see where it goes.” and filed it away under the “follow up on this in a few months” category.

400px-capture-pitivi_v01301Then, about a month and a half ago, there’s this post over on Edward Hervey (who works on PiTiVi)’s blog.

In a nutshell: Collabora hired a gentleman (Brandon Lewis) who worked on PiTiVi for the previous 2 Google Summer of Code’s, they’ve refactored much of the codebase, and have many new (and key) features (including multiple layers, propper trimming, speed improvements and much more).

Then, earlier today, he announces a pre-release version with those changes – complete with instructions on how to grab it from the Ubuntu Jaunty PPA, etc.  And word that the final “0.13.1″ release (I know… not a huge fan of that version numbering system… but that doesn’t mean this software is any less awesome) could be available as soon as this next Monday (the 25th).

And it’s looking incredible.  You dudes should be proud.  And a big thanks to Collabora for helping to make this happen.

This is exactly the kind of thing we need to see right now.  And it makes me very optimistic about where things are heading.

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  • Matthias Heil

    Excellent news – I thought I’d be stuck with kdenlive’s buggy and strange behaviour forever. – Thanks for that uplifting post (just right for Ascension Day)…-)

  • Jeff

    Good to hear!

    I, at least for now, have no use for video editing software. However, I appreciate that there are plenty out there who DO have a use for it, and realize that Linux options are… less than ideal. Any progress here is good news for all.

    On a related note, I’m kinda happy there are companies throwing time/money/developers/code at gstreamer. In my experience (three different rigs, four different distributions), gstreamer’s performance is well behind Xine and Mplayer. If more programs are going to use gstreamer, I’m all for it sucking less!

  • demon_kyo

    Nice post.
    I’m beginner video editing.

  • Flamekebab

    I shall try it out ASAP and pray disappointment doesn’t await me.

  • rtownsend

    It was one of the better video editors when I did some editing back in March (and tried several out).

    I’d like to see HD support. Maybe it’s in the plans.

  • JimTux

    Very cool. I was just thinking the other day about what can replace the Microsoft Movie Maker. When I get back to my Chu I am going to give this a test on my Ubuntu box. Thank for the info.

    Do you happen to know what formats are supported?

  • Edward Hervey

    Little correction on the article : you forgot to mention Alessandro Decina which was also hired by Collabora Multimedia in October to work on PiTiVi.

    @rtownsend: HD video should just work :) If you have problems with your footage, don’t hesitate to file a bug. Due to letting GStreamer handle 100% of the media processing… we support anything it does (and it does support HD content).

  • Tommy Brunn

    I’ve been using Avidemux for my (quite modest) video editing needs. And it’s not awesome. It’s not super bad either, but getting its ass kicked by Windows Movie Maker isn’t a very good sign. I’ll be sure to try PiTiVi out next time I need to edit some videos.

  • TBOL3

    Hmmm… I’ve been using blender as my main video editor. I wonder how this will stack up to it.

  • Julian

    Great to see. I’ll be giving this a try very soon.

    @Matthias Heil

    Have you tried the latest version of Kdenlive? I’ve found it to be leaps and bounds better than 0.6.0 (the version currently in Debian and perhaps Ubuntu 9.04).

  • Kevin

    I try every video editor I find for Linux. Kdenlive always crashes when I try to do something basic. PiTiVi seems to have trouble even starting. Blender works well, but you have to relearn everything you thought you knew about user interface design. After filing bug reports every time something else crashes, I always end up going back to Cinelerra. I would like to see more of the effort being put into other projects go towards the one that works, and works consistently, on every computer I install it on.

  • Eric

    I used Cinelerra for a recent project and it worked fine, but if Collabora can help me get the job done better and faster I’d gladly switch. I won’t hold my breathe.

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  • Jack

    I tried it out. Seems to work well enough (never tried rendering anything yet), but there doesn’t seem to be any effects available. No transitions, you can’t write text… etc

  • blenderbsd

    cool … if pitivi uses python ! blender uses some python bits too (for scripting etc) and there was a project to make NLVE more doable/usable in Blender.

    Is there anywhere where there are common python libraries (for calling up transcoding or searching to a given point in a video object etc)? Pitivi is doing a big service helping to improve and test GStreamer too :-)

    Great work!

  • Niels L Ellegaard

    Pitivi is pretty cool. It is fairly simple, but I think it covers most peoples needs.

    In the future it would be nice to have some kind of undo framework. If I press delete by mistake then it takes a while to recreate the lost data.

  • Johnny

    Now if we could get a good screencasting program I’d be a happy camper.

  • Edward Hervey

    @blenderbsd: Yes, there is such a module… ‘import pitivi’ :) The pitivi application just imports pitivi, instantiates the gtk-based application (subclass of the UI-less one).. and starts a main loop.

    @Niels: Yes, it’s on the todo list for 0.13.2 (the following release).

    @Johny: I’d recommend gtk-recordmydesktop or istanbul.

  • oyvind

    Excellent news. I’ve tried almost all NLE options for Linux to be able to do just the simplest editing tasks. But PiTiVi was just too simple and very buggy for a long time, nice to hear that it has now picked up the pace ! I’m currently using Cinelerra 64bit, and although it crashes now and then and is a bit quirky at times, it’s quite usable and impressive once you learn the basics of how the beast works. I actually took the time to learn it by going through lots of tutorials, and I don’t regret it.

    But I’ll keep an eye on PiTiVi. And please developers, after much mucking about in the Linux NLE world, the by far worst and most common problem with any editor is *stability* and *user interface* ! If PiTiVi can manage to succeeed in those areas (it already has a nice and simple interface), you’ll be miles ahead of many of the sucky alternatives. Just don’t crash :) Again, don’t crash :). Don’t blow up in my face when I’m in the middle of creating my amateur video masterpiece ;). And don’t present a GUI that makes me want to barf up my lunch.

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  • Heru — Indonesia

    Perhaps it can 100% help to find the way out from kdenlive buggy… and lead me find the reason to work under linux for about video editing…