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Ask Slashdot: the State of Free Video Editing Tools?

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the what-are-you-happy-with? dept.

Graphics 163

New submitter Shadow99_1 writes I used to do a lot of video editing (a few years ago, at an earlier job) and at that time I used Adobe Premiere. Now a few years later I'm looking to start doing some video editing for my own personal use, but I have a limited budget that pretty well excludes even thinking about buying a copy of Adobe Premiere. So I ask slashdot: What is the state of free (as in beer or as in open source) video editing tools? In my case... I support a windows environment at work and so it's primarily what I use at home. I am also using a camcorder that uses flash cards to record onto, so for me I need a platform that supports reading flash cards. So that is my focus but feel free to discuss video editing on all platforms. I've been looking forward to the Kickstarted upgrade to OpenShot; based on the project's latest update, early versions of an installer should start appearing soon. Video editing is a big endeavor, though, and ambitious announcements and slipped schedules both seem to be the norm: an open-source version of Lightworks was announced back in 2010. Some lighter open-source options include Pitivi (raising funds to get to version 1.0) and Kdenlive, also in active development (most recent release was in mid-May). Pitiviti's site links to a sobering illustration about many of the shorter- and longer-lived projects in this area.

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What about Lightworks? (5, Interesting)

myoparo (933550) | about 2 months ago | (#47808665)

It's free and pretty powerful.

Re: What about Lightworks? (4, Interesting)

yope (656090) | about 2 months ago | (#47808797)

Unfortunately you'd probably find more options if you decided to switch to Linux. Cinelerra comes to mind, or Kdenlive. Cinelerra is very powerful, but needs a lot to get used to and learn to avoid its bugs. IMHO, in the end it's well worth the effort, because it has some really nifty features. If a steep learning curve is not your thing, stay with Kdenlive.

Re: What about Lightworks? (1)

BootSpooge (61137) | about 2 months ago | (#47809705)

One vote for Cinelerra. It has its quirks, but if you work around them and save often, it's a decent package.

Re: What about Lightworks? (0)

buckfeta2014 (3700011) | about 2 months ago | (#47809987)

Sorry, but I've tried both Cinelerra and Kdenlive. They don't hold a candle to Adobe Premiere.

Re: What about Lightworks? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47810099)

Sorry, but I've tried both Cinelerra and Kdenlive. They don't hold a candle to Adobe Premiere.

Premiere sucks. Just hire a team to do it all for you and let them wrestle with the HW/SW issues. What's that? You're too poor to hire someone else to do it? Budget is a constraint? Maybe RTFS then where the asker says "Premiere costs too much" and answer the question asked instead of pontificating.

Re: What about Lightworks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47810581)

Is English a second language for you? It's right there in the summary that he can't afford Premiere.

How about you stop gargling your boyfriend's balls for 2 minutes and at least RTFS.

Re:What about Lightworks? (3, Insightful)

HaeMaker (221642) | about 2 months ago | (#47808833)

Not open source yet, but it should be pretty soon. The plan was to release the code when the Mac client was complete. The Mac client is in beta (and pretty solid), so if they stick to the plan, should be "real soon now". Lightworks is my favorite, by the way. Extremely powerful, albeit with some quirks. Familiarity with ffmpeg is very helpful as the conversions are the toughest part. I image someone will integrate an ffmepg front-end once the source is released.

Re:What about Lightworks? (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 months ago | (#47808879)

It's free and pretty powerful.

It's only free if you're OK with 720p [] output, limited input [] , and not being able to move your source material to a different editor. The latter is actually the bigger risk because if Lightworks goes away (let's hope not) there'd be no way to buy the 'pro' version and get your data exported.

Otherwise it's $279 or you're on a subscription plan. It's probably still the best choice available, but be aware you don't just go buy a GoPro or a Nikon and plan on dazzling folks with the HD output with free Lightworks. From what I've seen, even iMovie parity on Linux costs $79/yr.

Even if you're very frugal and can use Free, it's probably smart to buy a month once in a while and export your projects.

Re:What about Lightworks? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47809133)

"there'd be no way to buy the 'pro' version and get your data exported."
But there will be ways to get the pro version.
Frankly If a company is out of business, I don't have much of an issue with downloading their product simply to export my work.

Re:What about Lightworks? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 months ago | (#47810673)

Fucking crippleware, that's all that bullshit is...

Re:What about Lightworks? (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 2 months ago | (#47810623)

Free, yes. Powerful, yes. Easy to use, NO!! Closing windows by feeding them to a shark? Priceless.

CS2 (4, Informative)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 2 months ago | (#47808717)

Unless you have an aversion to closed source or need some features it does not provide, adobe has made CS2 versions of their products available for free for some time. You do need to register and login if you do not have an Adobe account, but presumably that could be done with fake info for the paranoid.

Re:CS2 (5, Informative)

thedbp (443047) | about 2 months ago | (#47808773)

This isn't actually true. Technically, you still need to own a copy of CS2 to legally use the software: []

Will it work? Yes.

Are you supposed to do this if you don't own CS2? No.

It is ethical? That's for you to decide.

Re:CS2 (1)

Cammi (1956130) | about 2 months ago | (#47809081)

Incorrect at the beginning. The links you provided was added after the fact. Therefore, not everybody who downloaded are under the NEW terms. Nor can those new terms be applied retroactively.

Re:CS2 (2)

ProzacPatient (915544) | about 2 months ago | (#47809433)

I doubt that. The EULA; End User License Agreement, for proprietary software often contain language in their agreements that the license agreement can be arbitrarily changed at any time for any reason by the proprietor and that by installing or otherwise using the software you agree to that possibility and will abide to any changes. Microsoft in particular has been known to do this and I would think it would be difficult for an end user to contest this.

Re:CS2 (1)

Cammi (1956130) | about 2 months ago | (#47809457)

Doubting is ok :) doesn't change what happened.

Re:CS2 (2)

linuxrocks123 (905424) | about 2 months ago | (#47810383)

Not quite. Such a contract -- "we can change the terms at any time" -- would almost certainly qualify as an adhesion contract. Websites get away with this in terms of service because they're free to use. But if you shell out money for something and the contract says, "we can decide to give you nothing at all for your money whenever we want to", that probably wouldn't hold up.

Most likely, however, the CS2 terms always were, "you're only supposed to download this if you bought CS2", and Adobe just wasn't publicizing that requirement enough. My understanding with the giveaway is, from a technical perspective, you can register with a throwaway account and download it whether you bought CS2 or not, but you'd be pirating it if you didn't legally buy CS2 in the past. I never bothered to create an account and download the stuff because I had no need of the software. It might be cool to run it in WINE, I guess, but the GIMP is awesome, and mkvmerge + ffmpeg + handbrake works okay for the tiny amount of video editing I do. Also if Acrobat Reader and Flash are any indication, Adobe's software is bloated, unstable crap.

Re:CS2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809745)

Nothing in the licensing changed. At no point was CS2 released under a free license. You were always required to own CS2 prior to downloading the release that lacks product activation.

What changed is they added some non-legalese information in the form of a blog to clarify for people who don't read license agreements.

Re:CS2 (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | about 2 months ago | (#47808785)

The CS2 versions tend to be depreciated - and I think you need to actually have a registered version to actually download them now (i.e. you need to pass some entitlement.)

Also, at least one of the packages required for video editing (I think it's Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0), doesn't work at all on Windows Vista or later. There may be a fix, but I couldn't find it offhand.

Re:CS2 (0)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 months ago | (#47810715)

Here's the fix. []

Re:CS2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47808863)

I do.
I do have an aversion to closed source.
More specifically, I especially have an aversion to Adobe.

I readily admit that some people will likely find your post to be useful. Count me as not being one of them.

Davinci Resolve Edit (4, Informative)

entertainment (749138) | about 2 months ago | (#47808723)

Blackmagic has lots of hardware and likely will be supported in the future - davinci is sweet, if this system proves stable it will create a much needed solution. https://www.blackmagicdesign.c... []

Resolve (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47808731)

If you're looking for free but not "libre" check out BlackMagic's "DaVinci Resolve". It started out as a color correction software. Now it's a full fledged editor. It's free unless you need uber advanced noise reduction etc.

i just migrated to it from Adobe Premiere because premiere isn't great for team work.


Re:Resolve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809559)

i second this. using the resolve 11 beta on a project now. It's got all the basics covered. and a full color correction suite if that's your sort of thing. i think they're hoping I'll be lured in by free and if i ever become a pro "colorist" i'll spring for one of their $30,000 color correction consoles.

just like the crack dealer, the first hit is always free... hah!

Re:Resolve (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 2 months ago | (#47810691)

Nice! I don't know where I've been for all this time, but this looks great. I'm still using pre-X FCP and this might be a nice upgrade.

Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (3, Insightful)

thedbp (443047) | about 2 months ago | (#47808743)

The first one that springs to mind is Cinelerra: []

There's also the Community Version of Cinelerra: []

Honestly though no open-source solution is going to come CLOSE to Premiere. And since you can get Creative Cloud for $50/month, it isn't THAT big of an expenditure up-front, and if you're making money from the editing (and, if you're looking at a Premiere-level video editing platform, I would hope this would be something you're monetizing) $50/month isn't much to get all the tools you'd need for editing, compositing, graphic design, etc etc etc.

So, yeah, my suggestion is to find a way to afford $50/month for Creative Cloud, and barring that, check out Cinelerra.

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (1)

blueshift_1 (3692407) | about 2 months ago | (#47808823)

I was thinking creative cloud as well. Naturally it's not the FOSS solution, but it's always nice to be able to utilize the tools that you are used to. Though of course it is more expensive in the long run, you get access to everything as well as all of the updates.

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 2 months ago | (#47809241)

You can buy a basic version of Sony Vegas for $80, one-time cost. It does a *lot* for $80.

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47809315)

Last time I checked, the cheaper version of Vegas sucked, mainly because it had a *very* limited limitation on the number of video tracks allowed on the cheaper non-pro version. That makes it fine for amateurs, but off-limits to anyone looking to do serious work. I love their professional version though, and it blows Premiere away as a stand-alone product (though Premiere has a lot more add-ons).

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 2 months ago | (#47809351)

The $80 package I have allows 10 video tracks, which is more than enough for me. I think I've hit the limit once in 100+ videos, and it was really easy to work-around. Without knowing what this guy is doing, it would be hard to say whether that meets his needs or not.

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (2)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | about 2 months ago | (#47810545)

Well as the one who originally posted this...

My personal project is very simple. I have raw H.264 compliant 1980x1024 (@ 30 fps) video from the camcorder I use and I don't even need to do much if any editing of the video itself currently. The biggest things I do need right now are: Ability to add a title screen to the beginning of a video (and probably and ending screen as well), occasional text overlays, and enhancing audio gain (for when the gain ended up being to low to hear over ambient sound). I am also arguing whether I should combine two videos of 18-24 minutes each into a single video with a transition or leave them separate. Right now the only one likely to view the video in question are people I know online (because online is twenty times easier than making a bunch of discs for people and hoping their DVD/Blueray player can even play the video in question).

Before I ever touched Premiere I had used Pinnacles video editing software nearly a decade ago... But I've always wanted to replace shelling out a ton of money for video editing. It seems like their should be some solid solution to the need to edit video on a PC after years and years of people doing this that is not expensive or not so expensive, but limited...

Anyways... I thought Slashdot might be able to give me some things to look at and I have found a few things to take a look at from peoples suggestions. It's also pointed out how many failures are out there as well...

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (2)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 2 months ago | (#47809485)

Last time I checked, the cheaper version of Vegas sucked, mainly because it had a *very* limited limitation on the number of video tracks allowed on the cheaper non-pro version.

I have about 30-40 credits on Hollywood features in sound editorial. I've seen a picture editor maybe go out to three video tracks. More than one is unusual, unless you're on an NLE that puts titles and dissolves on second tracks.

Some guys need dozens or hundreds tracks of layers for compositing, but that's not the same domain as a "video editing tool."

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809685)

Thats because you're at the ass end of the edit process doing sound and working on Hollywood pictures. Of course the tracks are flattened by the time they get to you.

  An edit based on a screenplay is going to be very linear in nature. It also depends entirely on what you're editing.A documentary is a totally different edit process.

I know because I've done both, I work in the edit bay and am constantly flattening projects for simplicity before sending them off for sound and scoring. I'm literally staring at a rough edit with 7 tracks and a flattened version with 2 tracks that i'm almost done with. ;)

Granted the old pros used to do it with one track, tape and scissors

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47809867)

More than one is unusual, unless you're on an NLE that puts titles and dissolves on second tracks.

That's exactly what Vegas is and does. And believe me, on the front end of the editing process, it can go WAY over 10 video tracks, even for a relatively simple video. Hell, I've used more than that just for one title sequence.

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 2 months ago | (#47810309)

And believe me, on the front end of the editing process, it can go WAY over 10 video tracks, even for a relatively simple video. Hell, I've used more than that just for one title sequence.

I'm not sure title sequences are editing. I mean, like, Eisenstein didn't write a book about the 6 forms of Matte Keys. Editing is rhythm and storytelling and capturing the best of the performances. It's not kewl explosion transitions with 6 background layers that make the client piss his pants.

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47810663)

Even a simple sequence with no major FX can involve composting many video layers these days. I can count probably two dozen layers in the opening sequence for my local news. The old days of a single video layer and single title overlay were becoming obsolete even before MTV and Avid came along.

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | about 2 months ago | (#47810579)

For the money, it's hard to beat Magix Movie Edit Pro. It's feature rich and not as limited as the Sony product. That being said, it does tend to run slow, but you can throw hardware at it. It's not free; it's not open; and it's not Adobe, but it is better than most of the Windows free/open options. []

Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809855)

$30/month if your a student

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47810131)

Has anyone ever been able to evaluate the usability of Cinelerra? I mean, when you on average have five seconds before it crashes, it's hard to tell if it could be used for editing.

Re:Cinelerra or Creative Cloud (1)

richlv (778496) | about 2 months ago | (#47810251)

i never got anything done with cinelerra, i guess i was too dumb :)
the ones i could get some simple things done with were avidemux and kdenlive

no real winners (4, Informative)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 2 months ago | (#47808781)

My desktop power user workflow wrt video is:
cat (unix command) to piece together the 2gb splices the camcorder makes (avchd)
ffmpeg to change the container from whatever the camcorder uses to a more editor friendly mkv, you can use the copy option for blazing fast remuxing without reencoding.
kdenlive or cinelerra. They are both prone to crash so save often. Cinelerra has best curves for fading but it's a very peculiar GUI.

If you know your stuff, you can do pretty decent videos.

Re:no real winners (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47809125)

You must get pretty tired of hard cuts.

Blender (4, Interesting)

SaXisT4LiF (120908) | about 2 months ago | (#47808791)

I found that Blender [] has a surprisingly intuitive Video Sequence Editor. It might be worth looking into.

Re:Blender (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 2 months ago | (#47809439)

blender is good for video editing, but there's no way on earth that you could call it initutive. The quirky UI takes a steep learning curve.

Re:Blender (2)

butalearner (1235200) | about 2 months ago | (#47809603)

blender is good for video editing, but there's no way on earth that you could call it initutive. The quirky UI takes a steep learning curve.

This is definitely true of their modeling UI, but I found the video editor quite intuitive, and my last video editing experience before that was several years prior, Adobe Premiere 2.0 or so. With only the tooltips, I quickly figured out various helpful keyboard shortcuts without referring to a tutorial or cheatsheet or anything. The only thing that tripped me up a bit was how to change the output settings (you have to go back to the Scene view/window/whatever it's called in Blender parlance).

Re:Blender (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 2 months ago | (#47809927)

If it was to be intutitive, at least they should have the basic commands accessable from the menu. For instance, to cut the track can only be access via a secret shortcut.

Re:Blender (1)

deathguppie (768263) | about 2 months ago | (#47810223)

Not trying to flame here, but I'm kind of tired of this. Blender's interface has a ton of tools. That's not quirky, it's called depth. It takes a ton of time to learn because of the amount of stuff there is to learn. Not because it's difficult to understand the UI. IMHO blenders interface is easier than some professional interfaces for similar software.

Re:Blender (2)

deathguppie (768263) | about 2 months ago | (#47810193)

I've used Blender for years, and use it for tons of stuff. But really when I want to edit, I use KDENLive. There are just to many things that take a lot longer to do in blender than kdenlive. For instance if your output video is a different framerate than your input video you will have to ditch the sound in it, split it out using another program and then import it into blender so that it matches the output video. Also keyframing for audio and video effects are available in kdenlive. I know that I can actually do a ton more in Blender but the amount of time I spend creating nodes and working with sound just makes it not worth it. I actually create content in blender then edit everything together in kdenlive.

Blender... (4, Informative)

Qybix (103935) | about 2 months ago | (#47808803)

Blender is mostly for 3d animation, but it does have it's own video editor built in. Added bonus that you can animate things like callouts, thought clouds, etc... Added bonus that the community for Blender seems massive.


Re:Blender... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47808847)

Blender has a very good build in video editor and can be used just for video editing.
You need to know a few tricks and get to know the interface, but there are plenty tutorials out there. It's not that hard.
I also started out with adobe premiere several years ago in school, but for my personal projects I nowadays use blender and am satisfied with the workflow and result.
Here's a thing I edited with blender:

Free as in TPB (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47808805)

If Adobe Premier is what you know and are most fluent in, why don't you keep using it? Why do you feel the need to reinvent the wheel?

Grab a free copy from TPB and get to work on what you love. You'll not be profiting from your work, so no harm done.

Re:Free as in TPB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809839)

Copyright infringement, even if no profit is being made by it, is not a victimless crime.. each time it occurs, the copyright holder unwillingly sacrifices some of the exclusivity they were supposed to have on controlling who is allowed to copy the work.

Now that said, you may very well be of the opinion that the copyright holder should not have been promised such exclusivity of control in the first place (because it is too difficult to enforce, or impossible to guarantee or what have you), and that's a perfectly valid opinion. Bear in mind, however, that this exclusivity is the entire point of copyright in the first place, so doing away with that control means doing away with copyright. Perhaps that is a position you support, and you are welcome to believe it. But merely believing yourself to be right does not automatically make it so, and at the moment, the law would still disagree with that assessment.

Re:Free as in TPB (1)

linuxrocks123 (905424) | about 2 months ago | (#47810505)

Oh shove it up your ass. The guy's posting on Slashdot and said specifically, "this product is what I used to use but it's out of my price range, so what else is out there?" He's not going to buy Premiere. If he WERE going to buy Premiere, he would have DONE it already and not wasted his time posting to Slashdot.

If he's not going to buy Premiere no matter what, Adobe loses NOTHING if he pirates it. Piracy hurts the cppyright holder WHEN IT'S A LOST SALE. He's not going to buy Premiere. It's too much. He said so in the question. Would it be illegal for him to buy Premiere? Yes. So is ingesting a plant known to treat epilepsy, schizophrenia, and chronic pain (marijuana). So was marrying someone of another race until not terribly long ago. The law is often in conflict with reason/morality.

So back to the topic in question. This guy probably isn't going to pirate Premiere anyway, because he would have just done that and not posted to Slashdot if he was inclined to do that. Reminding him he has that option isn't unreasonable, but he's probably not going to do it. Instead he's going to use what he would probably consider an inferior tool because he can't legally get Premiere for himself. In the short-term, this is a pure economic loss. He and Adobe both lost out. Longer term? If his use of FLOSS video editing software leads to improvements in the products, maybe not. Improving FLOSS forces Adobe to lower its prices and makes better video editing software available to those who can't afford and won't pirate from Adobe.

Re:Free as in TPB (1)

linuxrocks123 (905424) | about 2 months ago | (#47810525)

Ugh. Should have used preview. I meant to say, "Would it be illegal for him to PIRATE Premiere?" Sorry.

Re:Free as in TPB (2)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | about 2 months ago | (#47810643)

As the original question poster...

It has less to do with copyright infringement (even though I don't want to run the risk of being sued for it), but the simple crazy amount of hurdles to do it with Adobe products. The last time I looked into it was(because I'd lost physical copies of the disks for the old master suite work had bought me and I'd had to do all the editing at home as my work PC at the time was a meager Celeron cpu with barely 1 GB of ram, which was no match for my home system with a dual core Athlon cpu running twice as fast and 4 GB of ram and multiple HDDs. However I guess I was stupid and had actually taken the disks back to work to store them, so when I rebuilt that PC I lost the Master Suite install... Looking online the sheer hoops to pirate a copy (permanently making sure it couldn't phone home, replacing certain files after install, the chance that it just refuses to work even after jumping through the hoops) was enough that I didn't go through with it.

I haven't needed the power of Premiere since then... Well until now. But I doubt jumping through a ton of hoops has changed, Adobe is fanatical about piracy (even though in a lot of cases it helps them in the long run).

Trolling much ? (3, Funny)

alexhs (877055) | about 2 months ago | (#47808809)

I need a platform that supports reading flash cards.

What are you trying to do? Referring to [] ? It's a completely different technology!
Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!

Re:Trolling much ? (2)

multisync (218450) | about 2 months ago | (#47809487)

What are you trying to do? Referring to?

On the assumption you're not trolling, I believe he was referring to these [] .

Re:Trolling much ? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 months ago | (#47810755)

I don't really understand why the software cares about the media?

KDEnlive (4, Informative)

TyFoN (12980) | about 2 months ago | (#47808811)

I've been using KDEnlive a lot, and I find it really nice for my personal use.
It hasn't crashed in about a year either, and uses MELT underneath.

Slightly OT: I've also replaced adobe lightroom with darktable now, and I like it a lot.

Re:KDEnlive (1)

deathguppie (768263) | about 2 months ago | (#47810329)

Kdenlive, is far and away more advanced than Openshot. It has tons more effects, some of which are keyframeable. It has a built in title page creator and allows importing/exporting of almost any format. It's biggest problem is very large projects that seem to overwhelm it and make it slow and unstable. As long as my scenes aren't to long I don't seem to have a problem, even on my 4 year old AMD desktop.

Are you a programmer? (4, Informative)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 2 months ago | (#47808813)

AviSynth is extremely versatile and often leads in state-of-the-art filters long before any other video editor gets them, including professional ones. The trick is that there's no UI for it -- to edit videos, you write scripts.

Re:Are you a programmer? (2)

GuB-42 (2483988) | about 2 months ago | (#47809233)

Yep, AviSynth is a wonderful tool, escpecially for encoding. It has among the best filters for duties like de-interlacing, scaling and enhancement. Is also does a good job at split and merge operations.
However, if you intend do actually produce something like a short film from camera footage, the lack of good GUI frontends make it very teidous.

Another thing is that AviSynth is Windows only as it relies on DirectShow. This is somewhat surprising considering how "linux-like" this software feels. The cross-platform "AviSynth 3.0" project hasn't seen updates since 2007.

Re:Are you a programmer? (4, Informative)

Sydin (2598829) | about 2 months ago | (#47809245)

Actually AviSynth does have a (very basic) UI: AvsPmod [] It's not the fanciest thing in the world, but it does the job. You're still writing scripts, but it comes with some nice options like error reporting and previewing, which make life a lot easier.

Re:Are you a programmer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809469)

There's AvxSynth [] for Linux. As far as I have understood, it's primarily missing source filters (only FFMPEGSource)

Impossible (2, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47808821)

Free software hates patents and most modern camcorders use H.264, hence a free video editing tool is impossible.

Or has Mozilla been bullshitting us all this time about H.264 support in HTML5?

Re:Impossible (0)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47809073)

I thought all you had to do was obtain a job offer and work visa in a country that doesn't recognize patents on MPEG codecs.

Re:Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809195)

Have you *read* the licence agreement of your camcorder? Mozilla hasn't been bullshitting us about the state of any MPEG-LA controlled video codec.

Re:Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809375)

Free software hates patents

And the movie industry hates piracy, so I torrent all my movies in x264. I figure it balances out.

Re:Impossible (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 months ago | (#47810101)

Free software hates patents and most modern camcorders use H.264, hence a free video editing tool is impossible. Or has Mozilla been bullshitting us all this time about H.264 support in HTML5?

Practically, all you need to do is install a non-crippled copy of ffmpeg or x264 because if you can transcode a video - that is, decode and encode it again - you can edit a video. Whether using those codecs without a patent license is legal depends on your jurisdiction, but the editing software doesn't have to deal with that as it could just use the system codecs. By default you would have Theora and H.264 would either come with your distro or be one command away. Mozilla could have done that, but they refused because they wanted HTML5 video to work out of the box, everywhere. That's not possible, but that's no excuse for why there aren't any good free video editors.

Blender (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47808839)

Not many people know that Blender [] has a Video Editor. Its not the most intuitive, but once you get used to it you find that it is very stable just the the rest of Blender.

A quick search finds this video:

It still sucks. (5, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47808845)

Nothing is really useable and stable enough. Lots of people dabbling, NONE doing feature length or even 30 minute tv episodes.

I go down this road every year and crawl right back to the single Windows box with Sony Vegas and After Effects on it. I really wish I could replace it with a linux system but it will never exist as the open source options are still not as good as even Adobe Premiere in 2004.

All pro and prosumer cameras record in MOV or AVCHD and if your editor can not handle those natively it is a major failure. I have no interest in spending 8 hours converting video and introducing generational losses right off the bat.

Re:It still sucks. (4, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 2 months ago | (#47809727)

Reading this thread, the conversation of "video editing" seems to lead directly to

  • hundreds of tracks
  • 3d modelling
  • Writing your own video filters (probably in Lua or something)
  • extensible command line interfaces
  • free codecs

"Video editing" actually requires

  • never crashing
  • interop with industry standards like AAF and SMPTE MFX (patented or not)
  • long timelines
  • Well-designed and stable UIs (like, buttons and icons don't change for decades)
  • Thorough sound and audio metadata, sound matchback workflows, video (or even film) matchback workflows
  • never crashing
  • 98% of the time, cuts. 1% of the time, an A/B dissolve, 1% of the time, something more complicated a vendor has done for you.

Professional video editing is all about workflows and reliability. "Open source video editing" is all about hacking for 10 hours on a python script for animating the title transitions in your Kickstarter Dr. Who Fanzine Screencast.

I tried the free/open source route (2)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 2 months ago | (#47808877)

I tried the free/open source route on video editing and ended up falling back to a commercial tool (MAGIX Movie Edit Pro). I still use Camtasia at home. For me, the key things that saved me time ($$$) when looking at commercial tools were:
- ability to quickly integrate still shots and movies (without a separate save/load process like some editors - e.g., VSDC)
- ability to see the voice-over waveform (makes it very easy to close up dead spaces, do in-line retakes and edit out "ums" and stumbles)
- ability to control every audio track independently (without an explicit "split the original video" step)

I just took another look out there for a quick project at work and STILL ended up with a non-open-source (but free) editor in VSDC (and CamStudio 2.7 for screen recording), but I'd be embarrassed to put my name on the resulting videos if they weren't just for internal use.

Re:I tried the free/open source route (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47808981)

You can get Sony (Vegas) video editor for $50 or the full suite for $90. Be a man and make your life easier. The time/money tradeoff is worth it. Or are you Stallman's grandson or something and insist on purity? Well you already lost that mind battle because of video codecs.

Re: I tried the free/open source route (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809017)

Or just buy premier elements which is also dirt cheap.

Vegas Movie Studio (cheap not free) (1)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | about 2 months ago | (#47808977)

If you are open to using Windows, buy a copy of Sony Vegas Movie studio for fifty bucks. It's a stripped down version of Sony Vegas, which is a very powerful professional editing package, I prefer Vegas to Premiere and Final Cut.

Basically I did not see any limitations with the movie studio edition that would prevent you from making nice, clean HD videos. The editing interface is far better than Premiere's as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Vegas Movie Studio (cheap not free) (1)

bugnuts (94678) | about 2 months ago | (#47809371)

I have the full version of Vegas, and for shorts I don't use more tracks than the cheap version allows. IIRC, that's the main limitation, so it's a great deal. The thing I like most about it is the speed of rendering.

You might want a compositing engine to go with it, though. That's something I miss, and sony vegas isn't good at it. Even a simple greenscreen is difficult with bugs and threshold issues.

Uhh... it's cheap (1)

Cammi (1956130) | about 2 months ago | (#47809045)

Mow 2 lawns and you have enough for Premier.

Blender is okay as a video editor (1)

Mercury2k (133466) | about 2 months ago | (#47809095)

While I have been using blender here and there for a few years now, the Video Sequence Editor (VSE) in Blender isn't something that I have used often, but I will say that it's not too shabby. It can deal with a decent variety of formats, and when it comes to chopping and slicing video up, it works fine. I don't know that it can demux/mux audio and video together yet, though. You also get a great node based compositing system tossed in for free.

That being, Blender seems to have a very strong community behind it, which is always a good sign of health for any OSS project. Plus you can't beat the price (free! \o/) or the ungodly number of tutorials for it out there.

Well, maybe I am just a tad bias... :)

Yours truly,

THE administrator ;)

Re:Blender is okay as a video editor (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47809165)

If your product need an ungodly number of tutorials, you have an interface issue.
I'm sure it's not as bad as blender..wait.

Re:Blender is okay as a video editor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809329)

The 2.4x was UI was pretty nasty but was very fast. The 2.5+ UI is way better I think. Plus since it's written in py lots of people customize it. There is also even a group that forked blender to rewrite the whole UI to create a separate product:

and while I am at blendernation, here is a recent post of the VSE:

Re:Blender is okay as a video editor (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#47809811)

On that basis, all Adobe products, WIndows, OS X and every firearm in existence has UI problems.

Oh. Wait.

Re:Blender is okay as a video editor (1)

imatter (2749965) | about 2 months ago | (#47809917)

when you software has an ungodly number of uses!

Free Video Editor Roundup (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809197) recently posted their Best Free Video Editor Roundup [] . Although, the field of contenders doesn't look too promising considering Windows Movie Maker was the runner-up.

Virtual Dub (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809209)

For Windows basic resizing I still use virtualdub32, which is open source. I didn't like Windows Movie Maker which is free. I bought Adobe Elements 10 and am content with it, even though its buggy and really hard to configure 1080p video. If you're really trying to pinch pennies you can buy old software on eBay in the box with a manual, also maybe a student version isn't crippled too badly.

Re:Virtual Dub (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809341)

For compressing videos I have also purchased divx compressor and quicktime pro.

Re:Virtual Dub (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47810237)

Since when Windows Movie Maker is free? Can I download it for free and launch with WINE?

Premiere Elements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809225)

Have you tried Premiere Elements?

It's their cheaper home product but still has a lot of functionality.

Any frame-accurate editors out there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809261)

For years, I have been looking for a video editor under Linux to enable me to edit MKV video material with specific, single frame accuracy. So far, zilch. In my naivete, I figured that, bearing in mind that this is a digital world, this would be a piece of cake. But it ain't. It is very frustrating.

Re:Any frame-accurate editors out there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809423)

I thought the whole point of MKV that it simply serves as a container that you can put almost any kind of video file into. In other words, there are MKV containers, which contain video data, along with audio, subtitles, and whatever else is thrown in the container. That video can be any of some huge number of video formats.

I suspect the problem is that you don't actually know what you're looking for.

Nothing free comes close to the commercial stuff (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 months ago | (#47809277)

Just the way it is. Particularly if you want something that can do native, no proxy editing of AVCHD which I presume you do from the "flash card" part.

Best economical solution is Sony's Vegas lineup. The basic Sony Movie Studio 13 can be had for $13. The Platinum version, which is probably worth the extra, can be had for $55. They'll ingest AVCHD and edit it native. Also can ingest lots of other common formats like WMV, MPEG 1/2, MP3, and image files. Very easy to use workflow.

Should you find you need more, you can upgrade to Vegas Pro, it takes the same files, just has more capabilities. Vegas Pro 13 Edit will run you around $300-400 and Sony does offer upgrade options from the Movie Studio version though you don't get a whole lot off.

Not saying don't try the free stuff, but you'll be sorely disappointed coming from a professional program. None of it is very good.

Not precisely video editing.. (1)

bwcbwc (601780) | about 2 months ago | (#47809475)

But OBS (open broadcaster software) does a good job of video mixing/overlays greenscreening. []

Corel Video Studio isn't quite free, but you can get it for around $50 on sale (or less if you go with a backlevel version 3 or 4) and it is pretty full-featured. It's not designed for full blown professional use because the front-end does more hand-holding than a pro would want, but the key features are all there.

Windows Essentials - Movie Maker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47809549)

Windows Essentials - Movie Maker

That one is free from Microsoft if you just need very simple, very simple stuff.

How about for simple animations? (1)

guises (2423402) | about 2 months ago | (#47809739)

I've been thinking about doing a series of videos covering some basic math for a while now, but I'd like to be able to do some (very simple) animations of equations and graphs. How do people do those? I see all these Youtube videos with effects and I have no idea how people are pulling it off.

imovie (2)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47809899)

if you're open to other platforms, check out iMovie on mac. it's cheap like $20, and runs OK on older hardware. Trolls in three, two, one...

Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47810475)

I suppose it depends what you need to do, i've used windows live movie maker for the small project I do and it does the job for me. Theres also Adobe premier elements, a cheeper less advanced version of premier..

cost on ebay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47810701)

for premiere seems pretty i missing something ?
I have bought a lot of software on ebay, mostly MS office 2003 and 2007, and have been 100% happy

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