#cinelerra: Linux non-linear video editor: it rocks!

Yesterday, I reported on my attempt to create a video on Linux (http://is.gd/jroBgT). I was scathing about cinelerra: “the software is so buggy as to be unusable”. I have since had a chance to build cinelerra from the latest commit (Fri 18, cee90eb CinelerraCV.git), and I must say, I have completely reversed my opinion about it.

It did not crash on me once, which is more than I can say for openshot.

Cinelerra did not seem to display my MPG files; but I wasn’t concerned. Converting to DV files, and rendering the final project to DV format seems to be the way to go. Rendering was fairly fast. I’m given to understand that it is the nature of DV files, which do not do much compression. The files you work with are quite large, so you will need a lot of disk space.

Cinelerra seems quite powerful, and is likely to be able to do nearly everything other packages can do, and more. I like the way that there is an oscilloscope on the audio channel, for example. You can be quite precise about how you perform the cuts.

Like all NLVE’s, a lot of experimentation is required before you can grasp the underlying logic of the software. For example, at first the visual effects seemed buggy to me. However, I discovered that you should set start and endpoints for the effect, and then drag the effect icon over the timeline. Then it worked as expected.

I am very happy with cinelerra, and I will definitely be using it for my next video project. I do not recommend using a version from your distro’s repo, though. It is likely to be too old and buggy. Even on Arch Linux, the most up-to-date Linux there is, you are likely to have a version that is too flaky. Instead, you should build from source. I found the process fairly straightfoward: it’s the standard configure/make/make install. I only had to install one extra library. Your mileage will probably vary, though, as I already had a number of build tools and codecs installed already.

If bugfixes, never mind features, continue at the current rate, cinelerra will definitely be Linux’s premier NLVE. Cinelerra still has its oddities, but I hope that many of them will be fixed in the forseeable future.

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About mcturra2000

Computer programmer living in Scotland.
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One Response to #cinelerra: Linux non-linear video editor: it rocks!

  1. schmatzler says:

    “I do not recommend using a version from your distro’s repo, though”
    Yes, we have some really bad candidates like Gentoo that ships a 4 year old version of our code (and patched it for GCC5 O_o), but in general distribution support is pretty good, at least for the latest stable version 2.3.

    I’m maintaining Slackware and another member of our team is doing Ubuntu packages, so you could say those distributions have “official” support.
    We’ll also have a LiveDVD with all latest versions very soon (hopefully tomorrow).

    Glad you didn’t give up!:)
    -Danny

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