Free Linux video editors [3]

Well I have written about free video editors for Linux a number of times, this is the third article in this series. It’s taken me a few years to get to this point of discovering good quality software for Linux because there are so many open source projects that people have started and then abandoned, and finding the really good ones, which are mostly being produced by professional companies, has taken a while.
Here is an article from Linx Magazine and it lists a few options
For my setup, AppPC which has potentially sufficient storage and RAM, will be the system that long term is set up for tasks like this. Obviously it doubles at the moment with Gimp editing mosaic projects for NZ Rail Maps but this won’t be happening forever and so, it is natural to look at using its ample resources for video production, and possibly in the future, audio editing as well.
There are some really good high quality video editors out there. Last time I wrote I was taking a look at Blender and Handbrake among others. I am currently working on a tricky project that has involved bringing together a number of clips shot in two different formats. About half of it was shot at 640×480 in MOV format and the other half in 1920×1080 MP4. The problem is melding together these two resources that are greatly different in size as well as aspect ratio. After a lot of mucking around I finally used Avidemux with two video filters to put black borders onto the original video clip (changing its resolution to 1920×1440, which gives it a 4:3 aspect ratio) and then scale this to 640×480. A little trick to remember is that video filters in Avidemux will not work unless you choose a different video mode other than “Copy”, in other words you tell it to re-render the video output. This also gives you a chance to downsample the video at the same time. The combination of these settings brought the final clip down from 14 GB to 0.5 GB in size. Handbrake was useful for converting the MOV clips into M4V but I could not work out how to re-aspect the HD clips in it so that ended up being what I used Avidemux for, as well as joining a number of separate clips into one.
So I now have two separate clips each about 80 minutes in length and the same format, to put together in a video editor, along with a few still shots. I am trying out several different software applications to see what is going to work best. Here is what I have attempted so far:
  • Blender is FOSS and has a lot of support for it, but not as a video editor. This function is not well supported in the wider community. When I tried using it, I found it was clunky and not very intuitive. This led me to look into other alternatives.
  • Da Vinci Resolve is a free version of a commercial product. It is complex to install, and wouldn’t work out of the box for me. Because of this I haven’t looked further into it.
  • Lightworks is also a free version of a commercial product. It looks promising, but so far I haven’t tried installing it.
  • Cinelerra is another of the few that are FOSS. There are two versions, HV which is the full deal, and GG. If you want to use HV, you have to compile it yourself from the source code. GG is a whole lot easier, with native packages in a repository that install directly onto Debian (and a few other distros). So I have installed it, for testing, and will see how it goes. The software looks reasonably good but the interface so far is confusing, it has also crashed once. 
  • Kdenlive is another fully FOSS package. It is officially part of KDE, and is produced as an AppImage. This makes installation very simple and straightforward as it involves just a download. So I have this installed as well, for testing alongside Cinelerra-GG. At the moment Kdenlive is the one I am trying the most.
So we will see how things go with the last two packages with this project and which option is the easiest to use and gives the best results. I hope to have this project finished by the end of this week.
%d bloggers like this: