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Easy, powerful, stable: Pick two with OpenShot 1.3

Easy, powerful, stable: Pick two with OpenShot 1.3

Posted Feb 21, 2011 22:15 UTC (Mon) by cantsin (guest, #4420)
In reply to: Easy, powerful, stable: Pick two with OpenShot 1.3 by rvfh
Parent article: Easy, powerful, stable: Pick two with OpenShot 1.3

But then there's a question about the target group of this publication. I thought it was meant for advanced users. Would it accept an article that explains the basics of a text editor for people who just want to quickly type a letter or memo?


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Easy, powerful, stable: Pick two with OpenShot 1.3

Posted Feb 21, 2011 22:24 UTC (Mon) by rvfh (subscriber, #31018) [Link]

> (...) Would it accept an article that explains the basics of a text editor for people who just want to quickly type a letter or memo?

Probably not, but then, most of us use editors all the time to type code...

This being said, if you could have a go at Openshot and provide a deeper analysis (doesn't need to be very long), or even just your impressions as an expert, I am sure many people would appreciate. Plus it would increase further the value of LWN ;-)

Easy, powerful, stable: Pick two with OpenShot 1.3

Posted Feb 24, 2011 11:54 UTC (Thu) by cantsin (guest, #4420) [Link]

Point taken, but then we accept the fact that Linux, and LWN, is primarily for programmers and system administrators, with the typical user/reader being likely an expert for either vi or emacs, but a beginner in such areas as multimedia editing so that a review of a particular program needs to mostly consist of an explanation of its basic underlying software concept - fine. But for example, the Linux audio application reviews by Dave Philipps and others that are often referenced here on the site don't explain the basics of multitrack audio editing or sequencing either.

Besides, the article fails to mention a detail of crucial relevance for beginners, namely that OpenShot (just like most other Linux video editors) does not support proxy files, GPU acceleration or intermediate editing codecs. This means that editing HD video from your average camcorder, smartphone, recent digicam or Flip camera - typically 720p or 1080p video encoded in h264 - is virtually impossible, or at least not with real-time playback/preview in the editor. I am also suspicious that the many crashes the reviewer experienced may have resulted from trying to edit h264 video directly in the program. (Openshot will import such videos without a warning message, but that doesn't mean that they can be safely played and edited.) Editing anything but video from old PAL-/NTSC-resolution (SD) cameras such as MiniDV will be a problem, or can only be solved with expert workarounds.

Openshot has a nice, friendly GUI, but the underlying MLT engine was not built for today's requirements of HD video. Unfortunately, this is a problem because users will be easily tempted to make use of the real-time multitrack editing features, video effects etc., which all will not work reliably with the video of today's cameras. For beginners who want to painlessly perform some simple trims and cuts on their video files, I would strongly suggest avidemux as an alternative. (Since avidemux is not a real-time editor, the above problems do not occur.)

And unlike what was suggested in the article, (I hate to say that...) iMovie is a great, simple yet powerful and well-designed program, and finding some Mac running it might be a pragmatic solution for the time being. (Think of iMovie as the micro emacs or nvi of video editors.) Professional filmmakers edit in iMovie, one iMovie-edited film even won the Sundance festival.

Easy, powerful, stable: Pick two with OpenShot 1.3

Posted Feb 24, 2011 15:16 UTC (Thu) by zonker (subscriber, #7867) [Link]

At this point, all I can say is that I'm sorry the article failed to meet your expectations. Clearly you know far more about the subject, and I'm humbled by your mastery of the topic.

Easy, powerful, stable: Pick two with OpenShot 1.3

Posted Feb 24, 2011 15:47 UTC (Thu) by foom (subscriber, #14868) [Link]

Not even iMovie can edit H.264 files, unfortunately (as I discovered to my dismay when trying to use it to edit video from an AVCHD camcorder). It requires a *slooow* import/export process to convert to and from its internal editing format.

Easy, powerful, stable: Pick two with OpenShot 1.3

Posted Feb 24, 2011 15:49 UTC (Thu) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

(nor can it encode/decode for commercial purposes iirc. Of course, neither can FinalCut Pro either)

EULA and patent terms FTW!

Easy, powerful, stable: Pick two with OpenShot 1.3

Posted Feb 24, 2011 19:55 UTC (Thu) by cantsin (guest, #4420) [Link]

Not even Final Cut can directly edit h264 very well, but as you said both programs at least support an intermediate codec/internal editing format (Apple Intermediate Codec respectively ProRes). It costs time during import, but at least lets you do your editing properly. OpenShot doesn't provide this solution, at least not out of the box. The only 'real' intermediate codec available for Linux is DNxHD, an AVID codec, which is supported in ffmpeg and Cinelerra-CV. But unfortunately, DNxHD is still too slow for playback in the time line (if I take my 2.5 GHz QuadCore machine as a reference).

A viable workaround for HD video, and OpenShot, is to first transcode to HDV (high definition MPEG-2) or to high quality MJPEG using for example the command line "ffmpeg -qmin 1.0 -qmax 1.0 -i <input_file> -vcodec mjpeg -acodec pcm_s16be <output_file.mov>". Both have comparatively moderate performance requirements. Still, working on a fast Dual Core or Quad Core machine under 64bit Linux is a good idea.

Otherwise, you could transcode your video to MPEG/MJPEG with very low bitrates (but the same resolution), edit, quit OpenShot, swap the files with high quality files that have identical file names, reopen OpenShot and render your edit. (This is what is called "proxy editing".

The only Linux video editor that internally supports editing proxies is the Sequencer of Blender. I confess that I have been too intimidated by Blender's interface to use it productively (although I have used Cinelerra quite a bit...) so, yes, my comments on Linux video editing might have a big blind spot.

Easy, powerful, stable: Pick two with OpenShot 1.3

Posted Feb 22, 2011 14:31 UTC (Tue) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784) [Link]

I'm an "advanced user" of computers in general, but I have only a very vague idea how video editing packages, statistical analysis packages, etc. are used. I think it's perfectly reasonable for a generalist publication to give introductory descriptions of specialist tools.

Easy, powerful, stable: Pick two with OpenShot 1.3

Posted Feb 24, 2011 5:54 UTC (Thu) by zonker (subscriber, #7867) [Link]

"But then there's a question about the target group of this publication. I thought it was meant for advanced users."

Advanced users of *what* though? I appreciate what you're saying - and this review would be wholly inappropriate for a LWN-like publication for video editors. But the percentage of LWN readers who are also experienced video editors is, I believe, relatively small. Going into the finer points of the differences in the OpenShot interface vs Final Cut is probably not going to be very useful (or at least I imagined that it would not be) for folks who are very experienced users/developers of FOSS, but not very experienced with video editors - and certainly not proprietary ones.

I am rooting for the OpenShot folks and other FOSS video editor teams that may help boost the percentage of professional editors working on Linux, though...


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