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Building The Ultimate Video Editing Suite

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the pan-and-zoom dept.

Media 68

PlainBlack writes "Once upon a time, I was the Chief Engineer at a small TV station, but got out of that line of work about the time that people were talking about replacing video tapes with hard drives. Now I'm looking to build myself a professional grade editing suite using only open source tools so that I can dump as much money as possible into the hardware. My question to Slashdot is, what are the best open source tools for such a suite? I'll need both video and audio editing; a bank of wipes, fades, and other effects; a great paint program; and a titler (text overlays)."

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68 comments

Kino, Cinelerra (3, Informative)

noselasd (594905) | more than 10 years ago | (#7688392)

Perhaps Kino and/or Cinelerra have some of the features you need ?
The tutorials at http://www.robfisher.net/video/cinelerra1.html
an d http://www.robfisher.net/video/kino.html might show you what they can do.

Re:Kino, Cinelerra (2, Interesting)

LesFerg (452838) | more than 10 years ago | (#7689111)

Also I just found something called Cinepaint, in my Debian sources list, no clue what its like but the description file is impressive :)

Apparently It is the most popular open source tool in the motion picture industry [sourceforge.net]

Re:Kino, Cinelerra (1)

khanyisa (595216) | more than 10 years ago | (#7698940)

I can vouch for Cinelerra. Found it very easy to get up and running, took a few hours to learn the interface, but then found it very powerful ...

VirtualDub (4, Informative)

sreeram (67706) | more than 10 years ago | (#7688408)

I use VirtualDub [virtualdub.org] only for editing home videos (i.e., not on a professional scale). But from what I can see, it is immensely powerful. Also, while it may not have the high-level features like fading-in/out that you seek (someone correct me if VDub can do these too), it does kick ass for low level editing (there is a ton of filters included within).

Of course, it is open source.

Re:VirtualDub (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7688481)

I would not call fading in/out a "high-level feature." I use fades to start and end almost every piece I do. A lot of programs use the same function for fade and dissolve (a fade becomes a dissolve to black). I don't know if Virtual Dub supports dissolves, but I doubt anything that doesn't do fades (which would be easier -- if you just fade to black) would do dissolves.

Fades and dissolves may not be necessary to everyone, but I can't imagine even doing simple projects without them -- It allows a smooth start and end. Even photo collections (which I'm sick of doing) are things I wouldn't bother with if I couldn't fade or dissolve.

Re:VirtualDub (2, Informative)

ip_vjl (410654) | more than 10 years ago | (#7689084)

VirtualDub is an excellent program, but it really isn't an editor. Read the first paragraph at virtualdub.org and Avery Lee comes right out any says this.

If all you need to do is trim or process your video (resize, recolor, etc.) virtualdub is great. If you're looking for real editing (combining scenes, doing a multicamera edit) you need something with a timeline, multiple a/v tracks, etc.

VirtualDub like program for linux? (2, Informative)

shfted! (600189) | more than 10 years ago | (#7688452)

Can anyone mention a program like VirtualDub for linux? I've looked at all the existing software packages, and they were either very featureful and non-intuitive, or quite simple but lacking in basic features (like supporting various codes in avi). What I'm looking for is something reasonably featureful (editing avi and mpeg and conversion, etc) and as easy to use as VirtualDub. Does such software exist?

Re:VirtualDub like program for linux? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7689389)

Yes. It's called Avidemux. Get it here:

http://fixounet.free.fr/avidemux/

Very Little Out There (4, Informative)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7688465)

I've spent a good deal of time searching and there isn't much out there that's open source. My company is currently doing data mining, but that's only to pay for starting and running a video/digital film production company. I found Premiere to work well, but I'm planning to switch to Mac and use some of the tools available there. There is almost nothing available in open source for DVD authoring. There is some simple software out there, but it's command line and, while I'm used to console programs and do a lot of programming, when I'd doing something like editing (or DVD authoring), I want an easy interface so I can focus on what I'm creating, not on what I have to do to make my tools help me. (I've noticed an open-source-denial system that works like this: Question: "Why isn't there open source software that does this?" Programmer's Answer: "Why would you want to do that?" -- instead of admitting there is a desire for a program, but that there is little desire to develop that program.)

I've looked into Main Actor (from mainconcept.com) and am considering using it. I've tried Cinelerra and found it frustrating to get up and running. Under KDE, there is KDEnliven, a video editor in an early stage of development (and, IMHO, the one with the most potential in the long run). There's also Jashaka (or Jakasha-- something like that), which I've heard has a good number of features, but is not well supported or backed for future development.

From my point of view, there has to be at least one solid video editor that works with different formats, allows easy out to DV, VHS, and to AVI and MPG files, as well as a full featured DVD authoring program that makes it easy to import different video format files and allows easy GUI editing of the menus and play sequences.

I've only been in the open source world for 2-3 years, and recently looked back to where things where when I started and where they are now. Video editing is still not a priority and not a task I'd expect to do with open source software. Judging from what I've seen in the past few years, though, I'm hoping it'll be there in another 3-4 years.

Re:Very Little Out There (1)

dbirchall (191839) | more than 10 years ago | (#7691287)

You just said you're switching to Mac... right off the bat, that gets you iMovie and iDVD. $30 gets you the "Pro" version of QuickTime which can handle lots of format conversions and stuff. Then you can get Final Cut Express for a few hundred bucks... of course the high-end stuff (Final Cut Pro, the pro DVD app that I can't even remember the name of, etc.) still costs like a grand each. :(

I'm on a Mac too, and... hmm. I guess I'd feel a lot more compelled to go to the trouble of going out and finding OSS video apps and getting them to work on my machine if it hadn't come bundled with software that pretty much covers every capability the original poster is looking for (and then some). :)

Jahshaka (2, Informative)

Gefd (562296) | more than 10 years ago | (#7688479)

jahshaka.org [jahshaka.org]

This looked like it could be quite good a little while ago, and they seem to be coming along nicely. May be worth a look

- Gef

Me too! (2, Informative)

Zarf (5735) | more than 10 years ago | (#7688649)

Now I'm looking to build myself a professional grade editing suite using only open source tools so that I can dump as much money as possible into the hardware.

Me too... except I don't have any money. At all. I've been browsing through: http://www.linuxartist.org/ and trying different things in their Video - Animation [linuxartist.org] section.

What a bunch of cheapskates and freeloaders (0, Troll)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7688737)

"Now I'm looking to build myself a professional grade editing suite using only open source tools so that I can dump as much money as possible into the hardware."


In other words, you want soneone to write a "professional grade editing suite" and then make it available to you for free. Why exactly would you expect that? Please explain.

Re:What a bunch of cheapskates and freeloaders (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#7688819)

I'm not really an ashole, I just play one on TV.

I'm sorry, but you're wrong. You really are an asshole.

Re:What a bunch of cheapskates and freeloaders (1)

AaronD12 (709859) | more than 10 years ago | (#7691511)

I agree with rudy_wayne. "You get what you pay for", especially when asking for professional-level applications.

There is a lot of time and effort to put together an application like Final Cut Pro or Premiere. Spend a little less money on the hardware and spend some money to get some professional-level software.

Please no flames -- I am not anti-open source software! I just have realistic expectations of what I can and cannot get for free.

Re:What a bunch of cheapskates and freeloaders (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#7698780)

I am not anti-open source software! I just have realistic expectations of what I can and cannot get for free.

I guess all the "professional-level" software that I've found available for free has raised my expectations way above yours. Then again, perhaps Microsoft has been lowering my expectations for "professional-level" software. :-)

Re:What a bunch of cheapskates and freeloaders (1)

clifyt (11768) | more than 10 years ago | (#7689055)

Sadly, this is the type of comment I have come to expect from BOTH sides of the OS debate.

Commercial developers can't understand why anyone would ever give away hardwork and minimize anyone that would ever put forward opinions that they would.

OS Developers claim that everything is nice and rosey on the other side, you just have to join them, but once you do, you realize few pieces of software will ever do what you want...and if you ask a developer to do it, you should be kicked off the collective because its obvious that you aren't doing your fair share of the work.

OS guys don't seem to understand that not everyone is capible of programming, or that if they are, they have other skills much more useful to them and society, but again, since they aren't programmers, they are of the untouchable caste.

I use OS where it is possible, and I've contributed some back to projects I felt I could, but there have been plenty of projects where I came in from a professional POV and mentioned that if certain aspects were cleaned up, and gave very specific ideas (and minor coding examples...I try to do as little programming as I can these days), the software would be useful outside of its small community...and was told that my suggestions were not welcome (and this was on a mailing list solely for suggestions). One example, and no I'm not baseing my entire arguement on just this one example (lest some rabid OS guy comes in and accuses me of doing so).

If it were me, I'd spend the money on a decent G5, pick up Final Cut (hell, I had borrowed a friends copy of Pro, but now using Express and its pretty good for $99 :P). Spend the $$$ and hope OS catches up soon...

Mod Parent Up! (3, Interesting)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7689291)

This post has a LOT to say about problems with OSs. No community is perfect, and the OSS community certainly has its faults. This post points out a major problem with the OSS community, as does this topic. OSS revolves around programmers. There is nothing wrong with that, but it means that most of the strengths and weaknesses of programmers translate into the strengths and weaknesses of OSS. Unfortunately, one of those strengths is the urge to explore intellectually, but the reluctance to relfect on one's weaknesses outside of the intellectual arena.

For example (and there was an article on /. pointing to this earlier, if you want to look it up), a story listed the reasons programmers were not liked and trusted by users and how developers often treated users with disrespect because the users didn't have the computer knowledge the developers did. This is part of the OSS denial reflex. If you are looking for an OSS program that does something, and there is none out there, right away, everyone calls you a freeloader and demands to know why you would want to do that anyway. Instead of saying, "No, there is no OSS solution for that yet," the response is usually to claim that there is no need to solve the problem anyway.

Personally, I think the driving force behind "finished" OSS (by finished I mean programs easily used by anyone who can use a computer) is becoming (and already is, to some point) large corporations that are backing OSS development, like Sun and OpenOffice. Abiword is good, KWrite is good. But until OpenOffice was released there was no word processor with the polish, ease of use, and power of professional word processing software. A lot of that comes from the fact that most OSS projects are not paying developers and programmers to write the GUIs and other work that programmers often shun because it's a pain.

The problem is that, rather than write the interfaces and adding the polish, many in the OSS community would rather attack the person who says, "This is not ready for prime time," than to step back and examine the situation and dare to ask themselves, "Is there a valid reason this person is saying this?"

I use OSS whenever possible, and I look forward to the day when I can use only OSS. I have a list of all the OSS programs I've used in starting my company and we've (me and employees) already started discussions on how to pay back those projects (would donations work better, or volunteering man hours while programmers are on my clock). We expect a major jump in income in the next year, and when that happens, we will be contributing to projects we have used, either by money or time.

It's not about getting it without paying. It's about trusting OSS and not trusting companies who have everything to gain by selling software that has flaws and charging for a new version with those flaws fixed.

Oh, and one last rant -- I've bumped into a number of purists who feel all software should be OSS, and often these people are the same ones who leap into a rant of denial when someone says, "I can't use that program. It lacks features and needs an interface." At that point, they start blaming the user for stupidity, instead of accepting that not everyone is a programmer and there are many intelligent people who are experts in their fields, but don't have time to write their own programs. You can't have it both ways. If you want people using OSS, then you have to make OSS easily accessible and usable by all users.

Trying to solve your more general problem (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7692672)

If you are looking for an OSS program that does something, and there is none out there, right away, everyone calls you a freeloader and demands to know why you would want to do that anyway. Instead of saying, "No, there is no OSS solution for that yet," the response is usually to claim that there is no need to solve the problem anyway.

Actually, the thinking here is that a novice user may have taken a wrong turn in solving a problem and is trying to ask for a specific solution that doesn't exist yet, and a response that you may perceive as meaning "Why would you want to solve that problem?" may in fact mean "Here's a substitute solution to what we perceive as your more general problem."

Example: "Where can I get Microsoft Office for free?" / "No, you can't do that, but try OpenOffice.org instead." Or: "How do I run Adobe Photoshop on Linux?" / "No, you can't do that directly. What do you need that GIMP lacks?"

Re:Trying to solve your more general problem (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7700582)

Example: "Where can I get Microsoft Office for free?" / "No, you can't do that, but try OpenOffice.org instead." Or: "How do I run Adobe Photoshop on Linux?" / "No, you can't do that directly. What do you need that GIMP lacks?"

I wish I could say that was always the case. While I have seen people ask those types of questions (I think I recall someone on the OOo users list asking where they could get Office for free because all they could find was OOo), but I've seen many cases where I, or someone else were only looking for something like that.

For example (just one example), I've asked about WYSIWYG HTML editors. The response is (almost) always, "Why would you want that?" or "I always hand code my HTML. I don't like WYSIWYG editors." My point is that there are a lot of people who don't work that way or would pay for a WYSIWYG HTML editor for Linux. (IBM Homepage Builder works on older distros, but not on newer ones.) As for me, that's a big reason I still have a Windows box. Whenever I (or anyone else) asks that question, they're always deluged with responses like, "I never use one, so it's not important," or "Why would you want to do that? Those editors don't generate tight HTML." It's never, "I'm sorry, but they aren't out there right now." (I know about NVu -- but it's not ready yet.) I once searched the Quanta mailing list. With Quanta Plus now being included as part of KDE, which is, IMHO, a leader in bringing ease-of-use to Linux, I had hoped there would be plans to make it WYSIWYG. The discussion list just included a lot of comments about how hard it would be to do that and how such a program was not needed and it was not Quanta's place to provide WYSIWYG. The whole discussion was filled with rationalizations. I don't feel that there was one person in the discussion actually open to the idea and not just finding excuses to dismiss the idea before examining it first.

Structural vs. presentational markup (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702089)

I've asked about WYSIWYG HTML editors. The response is

Mozilla Editor.

(almost) always, "Why would you want that?" or "I always hand code my HTML. I don't like WYSIWYG editors."

The problem here is that many popular WYSIWYG HTML editors tend to encourage web page authors to use deprecated or semi-deprecated presentational markup (<b>, <i>, <table>, <font>, etc) rather than the structural markup that W3C recommends (<strong>, <em>, <div>, CSS, etc). Does there exist a mature WYSIWYG editor for XHTML Strict, even on the Windows platform?

Re:Structural vs. presentational markup (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702306)

Mozilla Editor.

Use when I can, but it not only doesn't do forms, but form elements can screw it up.

I've tried HTML in OOo, and it works until you add tables within tables to help with formatting.

But thanks for a good point.

Re:Mod Parent Up! [OT] (1)

toast0 (63707) | more than 10 years ago | (#7697620)

I use OSS whenever possible, and I look forward to the day when I can use only OSS. I have a list of all the OSS programs I've used in starting my company and we've (me and employees) already started discussions on how to pay back those projects (would donations work better, or volunteering man hours while programmers are on my clock). We expect a major jump in income in the next year, and when that happens, we will be contributing to projects we have used, either by money or time.

I'd say probably a mix of both... to those projects that pretty well fit your needs exactly already, send money; to those that need some work, send patches.

damn f'ing right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7708562)

it's about time someone actually said the truth about open source.

Actually invest some time into user friendleness in gui, online help, tech manuals, installation ease, and all the other things decently written software has.

Re:What a bunch of cheapskates and freeloaders (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | more than 10 years ago | (#7690883)

"In other words, you want soneone to write a "professional grade editing suite" and then make it available to you for free. Why exactly would you expect that?"

The same reason that I am glad that team of programmers vastly more skilled than I wrote a professional grade operating system and made it available to me for free.

I would assume that writing an OS is much harder than writing A/V editing tools. A large portion of the GIMP code could even be reused for the video manipulation portion.

Re:What a bunch of cheapskates and freeloaders (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | more than 10 years ago | (#7690900)

"A large portion of the GIMP code could even be reused for the video manipulation portion."

D'oh! Just noticed the post about Film GIMP a.k.a. CinePaint.

Re:What a bunch of cheapskates and freeloaders (1)

Grab (126025) | more than 10 years ago | (#7691947)

Trouble is that ppl only generally contribute to open-source if it's something they specifically want. Every PC needs an OS, so the number of people who would consider working on an OS project is massive, because everyone wants a stable, powerful, non-crufty OS. Great.

Trouble is that the market for video editting is pretty damn small. Maybe it'll get larger now that digital video cameras are more popular, and normal digital cameras (and even mobile phones) can take movies. But it's still very much a niche thing, so there simply won't be the number of ppl working on it. That'll affect how stable, useable and featureful any software is. Maybe some company will get generous and donate some of their engineers' time to it, but you can't assume that.

Grab.

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ffmpeg libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7689110)

http://ffmpeg.sourceforge.net/

look at the number of project using it listed there.

Define your terms (3, Informative)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 10 years ago | (#7689155)

"professional grade" can mean a lot of different things, from realtime manipulation of uncompressed streams down to anything that can edit DV.

Once you reach a certain budget level, you will be able to do everything you define as 'professional', after that what you are paying for is either speed of operation or storage capacity.

Honestly, with the state ofthe market as it is, saving a thousand dollars on software might buy you 30 minutes a day of increased hardware speed, while not spending that will probably cost you more than 30 minutes a day of software usability losses.

I know this won't be a popular answer on slashdot, but if you are going to be spending a five digit sum on this, you might as well devote a few percent of your raid-array budget to buy some commerical software, either Premiere or Final Cut Pro depending which sode of the mac/pc divide you prefer, and if your budget is much lower, pick up an recent secondhand Mac and get iMovie for free.

Re:Define your terms (1)

littlerubberfeet (453565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7689364)

To expand a bit: pick up an used AVID. now that symphony is rolled out, the older, but still decent systems can be had for 5 grand. Add some storage. What is gonna cost you are the tape decks to digitize your source material. 7K for a Sony DV deck? Ouch.

Then there is the whole online/offline issue with used systems...

Re:Define your terms (1)

melorama (546258) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703024)

Bad advice.

Avid systems (with the possible exception of Avid XpressDV) are basically dead-end systems. If you can afford to upgrade your hardware and software a lot every year or so, then by all means, get an Avid. But if you want a basically "future-proof" system, Final Cut Pro basically has the edge. Hardware independent, and can pretty much do 90% of what an Avid can/used to do for well under $5k

And before you paint me a Mac/Final Cut nut, keep in mind that video production and editing has been my profession for the past 12 years. I Did the Avid thing, got sick of their horrible customer support and products with planned obsolescence. When Final Cut Pro finally became mature enough for professional use, I gave it a try, and have never looked back since. The fact that it runs on a Unix platform (where you can run Gimp/Cinepaint, etc. if you still want to embrace opensource video/graphics software into yor workflow) is an added bonus.

btw, I would like to know exactly WHICH used, "decent" Avid systems you are speaking of that can be had for $5k. You simply cant get an Media Composer for that much, and not even an old Avid Xpress/Meridian system for that much. Even many old ABVB based Avids cant be had for that much.

Re:Define your terms (1)

littlerubberfeet (453565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703693)

Yeah, I spoke too soon. There is a guy I know offing some fairly bare, older Xpress systems for around 5K because he is retiring and wants a quick out.

I guess a mac is the best choice. Besides, I have only been playing with editing for a year. Take the advice of someone with 12 times the experience. Perhaps we should start a 12 step group: ComputerUser anon.

"Hello, my name is littlerubberfeet, and I use a mac."

"Hello littlerubberfeet."

"It started when I was using apple IIs and my mom was working at Apple. I have not been able to stop since. I now have a G5 with Digital Performer 4 at work. I just can't seem to stop using."

"Uhm, littlerubberfeet, this is the windows user's meeting..."

"Oops..."

Adobe... (2, Informative)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7690247)

Looking at the above posts, Adobe needs to get on board with linux. So many people need things like photoshop for work, and the gimp while comparable, isn't the industry standard (much like the Office vs OO.org situation). Premier is another great aplication, but unfortunatly, IIRC, its windows only (adobe dropped their mac product line, right?). I've used premier, maybe a little too much, you can check out some of my work at my homepage link, and i wish i could have used it booted to linux. We've been playing around with CinePaint some and like it, but were still doing final cuts for the next movie in premiere.
Might as well go for another link...

[shameless_plug] Hoodlumz Productions [hoodlumzproductions.com] [/shameless_plug]

Re:Adobe... (2, Informative)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7690939)

I've seen reports of Premiere 6.0 and Photoshop working on Linux with Codeweavers Wine (Or maybe it was the regular Wine -- not sure). As far as Office vs. OOo, it's quite different. OOo is almost completely file compatable w/ Office. I've already seen evidence it is ready for production. One of my clients, an attorney in the Washington, D.C. area, who is the top name in his field in that area, asked me about OOo and is already starting to use it in his offices, without any reported trouble. He likes it.

As for video, it's a completely different situation. OSS video editing just isn't capable of doing what a professional editor or videographer needs. It won't be up to snuff until there are companies out there who will benefit by having it out there for clients the same as Sun benefits by having OOo as a libre and free solution to not using Office.

Re: Premiere for Mac dropped, but not other apps. (1)

dbirchall (191839) | more than 10 years ago | (#7691233)

Adobe continues to make Mac versions of most of its apps. The buzz at the time was that Premiere was dropped simply because it simply couldn't even come close to competing with Final Cut Pro.

newtek (1)

Sxooter (29722) | more than 10 years ago | (#7690508)

Has anyone used their new piece of equipment, the vt3? Their flyer / toaster combo certainly was impressive.

I'm guessing they're using the same proprietary fractal wavelet compression that provided such beautiful video back in the day.

What's it worth to you? (4, Insightful)

MalachiConstant (553800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7690577)

I''m the editor in a small (3 people total) production company. I think you need to look at how much aggravation you're willing to put up with and how "Professional" you want to be. Are you okay with telling your clients "we can't do that" if they ask for some particualr effect or style the OS software can't do? Are you willing to spend the time and effort an OS solution is going to take?

I think you may be overestimating the need for massive hard drives at the expense of ease-of-use, hardware availability and cost. We use a single 120 gig hard drive for all our editing. We edit an hour-long show each week as well as commercials, some corporate videos and a twice-a-year dance show that runs at about 5 hours of footage without having too many space problems. A second 120 gig drive would be more than enough. The video is compressed when captured to about 1 gig every 5 minutes, but it looks so good the viewers won't notice it.

The two main expenses for us are the BetaSP deck (about $10,000) and the computer itself (about $5000 with capture card). Final Cut Pro is $1000, but you may be able to buy an older version for less. Version 2 is fine, version 3 adds some better titling software, and version 4 has lots of bells and whistles you may not need.

If you're shooting on MiniDV you can cut about $10000 off the cost right there. MiniDV decks are cheap and you can capture over firewire so you don't even need an expensive capture card. You can even use iMovie if all you need are basic transitions and titling, but I think you can only use one video track (plus titling) and two audio tracks.

For editing graphics we use The GIMP until we can afford photoshop, but all titling is done in FCP.

Basically if you're going to be making money at this the up-front costs are well worth it. Especially on something as complex as video-editing software I'm happy to pay for a solution that "just works" instead of having to worry about computer problems when I'm working.

Compare it to 3D modeling. If you're going to spend 40 hours a week doing paid work would you rather use Blender for free and accept the limitations it has, or pay for Maya or 3DS Max and get your work done?

When most of the cost is the hardware (camera, computer, VTR), it may be worth it to pay the $1000 for software that will do what you want with minimal fuss.

Re:What's it worth to you? (1)

burns210 (572621) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695764)

"We use a single 120 gig hard drive for all our editing."

Um... a single drive keeps the contents of your ENTIRE business at any given time? 1. raid5 a few drives together, you get >= the hdd space, plus, you have redundency! 2. dvd burner/tape backup that drive, and store offsite(in a corner closet of your house)... so if the shop burns up, all you need is another PC, and you can install all the software and reload the content you had, pre-horrible accident. couple hundreds dollars could save your business, in this case.

"The two main expenses for us are the BetaSP deck (about $10,000) and the computer itself (about $5000 with capture card). Final Cut Pro is $1000, but you may be able to buy an older version for less....For editing graphics we use The GIMP until we can afford photoshop"

With those 'main' expenses, you can't spend a couple hundred more bucks buying a few photoshop licenses?

Re:What's it worth to you? (1)

MalachiConstant (553800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7698047)

Um... a single drive keeps the contents of your ENTIRE business at any given time?

1. raid5 a few drives together, you get >= the hdd space, plus, you have redundency!

2. dvd burner/tape backup that drive, and store offsite(in a corner closet of your house)

As for #2, we already make backups on DVD. The harddrive only contains active projects. As for #1 I agree completely.

I came on board after the equipment was purchased, the other two partners know very little about computers (which was part of the reason I was brought in). For various reasons the commerical market here went downhill, and the show got picked up by the local WB affiliate (it was on PBS for 5 years before that). So we've been waiting for our ratings and the advertisers to come on board. When that happens I'll be setting up the system the way it should be.

Re:What's it worth to you? (1)

melorama (546258) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703176)

Um... a single drive keeps the contents of your ENTIRE business at any given time? 1. raid5 a few drives together, you get >= the hdd space, plus, you have redundency!

There is absolutely nothing unusual about using a "single drive" in this situation. This is the norm. In video editing, redundancy is not a concern, sustained throughput is (although in many large video companies and "mission-critical" broadcast situations, redundant media arrays are used, but those are very rare exceptions).

If my main media drive crashes, it may be annoying as fuck, but its not a big deal because as long as you back up your main NLE project file/EDL, you can easily re-digitize all the media from the original DV tapes (or any properly timecoded source). The expense required to maintain a RAID5 is simply not worth it in 95% of video-production workflows. That money is better spent on simply striping all those drives together for greater throughput and diskspace.

While I agree with you that a redudant drive system would be ideal (i certainly wouldnt mind it), hardly anyone other than broadcasters do this, simply because its too expensive and theres really not much reason to.

Forget open-source tools for now (2, Informative)

FattMattP (86246) | more than 10 years ago | (#7690737)

I put together an edit suite for myself about a year ago and thought of doing the same thing. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of open-source video tools out there, and of the ones there are, not all of them are very polished. I finally decided to just go the Windows route and use some open-source tools here and there to augment what I had. I wanted to spend time working on video not trying to get different hardware to work together (I already suffered through that with video on the Amiga).

I used to be an Avid editor but didn't have the budget or clients to afford one of those on my own. Based on some feedback from friends I decided to go with a a Matrox RT2500 and later upgraded to a Matrox RT.X100 [matrox.com] . The RTX100 is fantastic. It's basically a PCI card with a breakout box that has stereo audio in/out, and component and Y/C in/out. There's also two firewire ports on the back. It uses Adobe Premiere for its editor and installs a plugin which lets Premiere use the RTX100 for realtime effects. Basically anything you find in an online suite you'll find here as a realtime effect. Titling, wipes, ADOs, keying, colour correction, etc.

The RTX100 also comes with DVD burning software called ReelDVD [sonic.com] . I've only used it twice so all I can tell you is that it works and has lots of features, none of which I've yet to really take advantage of.

I pretty much use that on a dedicated machine with Premiere 6.0, Photoshop, After Effects, and Sound Forge. I also use some open-source tools such as VirtualDub [virtualdub.org] and DubMan [sourceforge.net] . I haven't upgraded to Premiere Pro yet as the Matrox drivers are still in beta.

My only suggestion is that if you do get a RTX100, then buy one of the recommended systems to use it in. The Matrox forums are full of people who complain that the RXT100 doesn't work right or at all yet admit they don't have a compatible system. Especially watch out for via chipsets as the RTX100 won't work on those at all.

Forget open-source tools for now-Pinnacle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7692369)

"Especially watch out for via chipsets as the RTX100 won't work on those at all."

Which is why I went with this [pinnaclesys.com] . It's not a Matrox and it only runs under windows, but it does get the job done.

Open vs Closed Source (2, Informative)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 10 years ago | (#7691158)

For some reason, open source developers seem to like the technical challenges of replicating what already exists in closed form (Linux, OpenOffice, etc) instead of blazing new paths.

You can get them to want to create an attractive interface, but they don't have the deep design skills fostered by the commercial groups.

Because of this, it would be very difficult to get something as good and complicated as Final Cut Pro in an open source project.

I would personally recommend a balanced approach.
  • Buy the best PowerMac G5 you can afford.
  • Get and use Final Cut Pro
  • Install X-Windows and you can use whatever open source products appear
Then you have the best of the open and proprietary worlds, and you can decide on a case by case basis which one you prefer. And your basic platform is about 50/50 open source.

I think it's an unbeatable compromise, and it's what I run personally.

Even CmdrTaco has a PowerBook. What more can I say?

Hope that helps.

D

Re:Open vs Closed Source (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 10 years ago | (#7693696)

but they don't have the deep design skills fostered by the commercial groups.

Bullshit. The Linux kernel, Mozilla, XFree86, Apache, GIMP, Gnumeric, OO.o, and many others are quite complex and well designed, often more so than their commercial counterparts. There's no reason a team of open-source developers couldn't create an excellent DV editor.

That said, video editing is a rather niche field, and an open-source Final Cut Pro would likely not get enough developers to make much headway (case in point: Cinelerra). Possibly in the future something new will spring up, but the best solution at the moment is probably a G5 with Final Cut Pro (or Express).

Re:Open vs Closed Source (1)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 10 years ago | (#7696141)

My position actually seems pretty similar to your own.

I have not made any claims about the quality of the aforementioned programs as programs; I have criticised them for a lack of innovation and design savvy.

I think innovation and design savvy are things that come naturally with market, and not technical pressures. Technical pressures make the guts of something good; market pressures make it pretty and well designed, from a user (not a technical) perspective.

What this means in my view is that there's room for both types of software; they each do different things in different ways.

Think about Darwin and MacOS X as an excellent example; Darwin ensures MacOS X's core is free, and Steve et al make sure it's pretty. Thus, the ideal synthesis of commercial and non-commercial elements.

But what that also means is that few open source applications are likely to catch on when compared to something like Final Cut Pro, which has been honed endlessly and brilliantly by its developers.

D

Re:Open vs Closed Source (1)

HeyLaughingBoy (182206) | more than 10 years ago | (#7694018)

For some reason, open source developers seem to like the technical challenges of replicating what already exists in closed form (Linux, OpenOffice, etc) instead of blazing new paths.

I think this is because those developers suffer from the same problem as most customers: they know what they want, but they can only express those wants in terms of what they already know about.
True creativity is difficult. By that I mean the ability to take a leap to a completely different way of seeing your problem.

One of the neat things about the Ars Digita University idea was taking in people who were experts in other fields and educating them in computer science. I was really hoping for innovative things to come out of that.

Re:Open vs Closed Source (1)

LarryRiedel (141315) | more than 10 years ago | (#7698290)

For some reason, open source developers seem to like the technical challenges of replicating what already exists in closed form (Linux, OpenOffice, etc) instead of blazing new paths. You can get them to want to create an attractive interface, but they don't have the deep design skills fostered by the commercial groups.

I guess it is social psychologists who talk about "representativeness bias", "availability bias", "confirmation bias", etc. I think open source developers do vastly more blazing of new paths, and have the most deep design skills, but I also do not see any particular reason to think those things would be evinced as software for which there is massive aggregate demand from people who are willing to pay some money for it, or for which there is a sufficiently large number of companies who stand to gain or save huge amounts of money by buying it. If I believe that major commercial software applications comprise the most innovative/creative and deeply designed software, then I can imagine it would be natural for me to think open source developers are accurately represented by the software they make which clones major commercial applications.

Larry

Avid DV Free (1)

daylightsavings (732012) | more than 10 years ago | (#7692743)

I know it's not open source but it's free: http://www.avid.com/freeDV/index.asp It's limited in it's features but it's the industry standard interface(80% of Hollywood and TV is edited on Avid). I'd steer clear of Linux for editing. There are some professional grade editing suites on varying *nix platforms but they certainly are not open source or free.

Re:Avid DV Free (1)

melorama (546258) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703351)

I know it's not open source but it's free: http://www.avid.com/freeDV/index.asp It's limited in it's features but it's the industry standard interface(80% of Hollywood and TV is edited on Avid).

It also happens to be a complete piece of crap.

The OP was looking for a "professional" system, and Avid FreeDV is anything but. It is crippled to the point of uselessness by anyone other than someone who just wants to make a quick edit of thier dog running around in the yard.

The crippled interface/features in FreeDV will definitely NOT give you a taste of the "industry standard" Avid workflow.

AviSynth (1)

stickb0y (260670) | more than 10 years ago | (#7695832)

Someone's already mentioned VirtualDub, but I'd like to point out AviSynth [avisynth.org] too. Although VirtualDub provides a simple GUI and can be good for video filtering and for re-encoding, its capabilities are limited to linear editing.

AviSynth, on the other hand, is very powerful script-based non-linear editing system. AviSynth operates as a frame-server--other applications (such as VirtualDub) load AviSynth scripts, and when they request frame N, AviSynth generates that frame and feeds it to the calling application. Most applications don't even need to support AviSynth explicitly; as long as they use Windows' native AVI handlers, AviSynth should work with them just fine.

It doesn't provide a GUI, although there are a number of third-party graphical front-ends to ease the script-writing process. It's harder to learn for non-programmers, but as a script-based system, in many ways it's more powerful, flexible, and precise than traditional methods.

An AviSynth script often looks something like this:

# load foo.avi, and refer to it through the
# variable clip1
clip1 = AVISource("foo.avi")
clip2 = AVISource("bar.avi")

# output a new clip that has frames [0, 1000]
# of clip1, frames [500, 1500] of clip2, and then
# frames [2000, 3000] of clip1
#
# (the ++ operator concatenates, and the Trim function cuts)
editedClip = clip1.Trim(0, 1000) ++ clip2.Trim(500, 1500) ++ clip1.Trim(2000, 3000)

# AviSynth provides filtering support too
editedClip = editedClip.TemporalSoften(4, 4, 8, 15, 2)
editedClip = editedClip.Levels(0, 1.1, 255, 0, 255)

return editedClip

There are quite a number of third-party plug-ins. So far, though, AviSynth has been used primarily as a tool for processing TV captures and DVD rips, and the vast majority of its filters are different types of denoisers. There are few "effects"-based filters, but hopefully this will change as more and more people use it as an editing system. However, there is support for basic fades, pans, and wipes.

More information can be found at the avisynth.org site and on the doom9 AviSynth forums [doom9.org] .

Warez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7695964)

Dude, spend your money on the hardware, and then warez the software. You can buy it later when you have more money.

Re:Warez (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7700448)

Dude, spend your money on the hardware, and then warez the software. You can buy it later when you have more money.

Obvously said by someone who doesn't have the experience of keeping accounting records for professional activities or for a business.

Define your terms (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 10 years ago | (#7696453)

What do you mean by "professional grade editing suite?" My local CBS station uses DV for editing local commercials and news, you can see the difference in quality between their DV productions and work done on full uncompressed SD edit suites. They say they're saving up their money for HD equipment, but it's obvious they're just using it because they're the most amateurish of all the local network stations and they can't afford anything better.

There are no professional-quality open source editing systems. Period. All my video editor buddies (and I) are using Macs with Final Cut Pro, Boris Red, Shake, Peak or Logic, etc. I know one big shop that used Combustion on an SGI Onyx/IRIX box but they switched to Macs when the G5 came out.

Hardware is another issue. If you're just doing amateur work, DV will be fine, you just need a cheapo DV converter like the Canopus ADVC-1000. If you're a pro, you'll need an SD card like a Kona-SD, a realtime effects card like the Matrox RTMac series, and a hardware RAID to deal with high-bandwidth data streams with reasonable speed. One vendor I know claims that 4 IDE drives in a RAID will be sufficient for SD, but I'm more inclined to go with an 8 drive IDE RAID, a 4-drive SCSI RAID with 15kRPM drives, or a SATA RAID, all of which would beat the pants off any IDE RAID, and even do a decent job with HD.

Face it, Apple owns the pro editing market. There are some competitors like Avid and Combustion, those packages even run on PeeCees, sometimes even on IRIX. But those packages are in serious decline. Apple is rumored to be buying out the Autodesk video line (including Combustion, Cleaner, etc.) Why would you want to waste time cobbling together open source junk? Is your time worth nothing? The additional cost of professional hardware and software will pale in significance next to your tape decks and other non-computer equipment, you are trying to save money where that will do the most harm to the project.

Re:Define your terms (1)

melorama (546258) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703681)

What do you mean by "professional grade editing suite?" My local CBS station uses DV for editing local commercials and news, you can see the difference in quality between their DV productions and work done on full uncompressed SD edit suites.

DV as a format can look just as good as Digital Betacam. It's not the format, it's the talent of the people using the format. I use Mini-DV for 99% of my current productions, and I have producers and fellow editors asking me if the footage in my projects was acquired on Digibeta. This is because I know how to work the DV format so it looks better than the average amateur DV videographers final edits (color correction, for one...it's the single most important thing you can do to make your DV footage look "broadcast quality"---a stupid term, btw)

Hardware is another issue. If you're just doing amateur work, DV will be fine,

Of course, you should know by now that this is wrong. DV is not "just for amateur work". Of course, you cant beat the quality of an uncompressed 4:2:2 stream, but color-corrected 4:1:1 DV footage can look just as good as Digibeta acquired footage, provided your DV camera has a top-quality lens and a talented camera operator behind it. I would agree that if youre doing high-profile spots, especially with a lot of motion graphics and keying and compsiting effects, then stay away from DV (blue/greenscreen keying in DV is absolutely horrendous). But it doesn't sound like the OP is doing things like that. For corporate, industrial and even most broadcast projects, MiniDV and talent are more than sufficient.

Face it, Apple owns the pro editing market. There are some competitors like Avid and Combustion

not to be overly pedantic, but Discreet Combustion is not a competitor to Apple's editing products. A competitor to Shake, maybe, but it definitely doesnt belong in the same argument as Avid and Final Cut Pro.

Apple doesnt own the pro editing market yet (although it does own the independent pro market--i.e. 1-10 employee "boutique" editing shops). But it IS true that Avid's days are numbered, as each release of FCP brings with it dozens of more reasons not to stick with Avid's overpriced products. I give them 2-3 years at the rate they are going, whereupon Apple WILL own the professional, mainstream editing market, while Avid will become the next Discreet or SGI, where it serves the super-highend market, yet has a fraction of the profitability of a company like Apple or Adobe.

I do agree with you that opensource video software is largely a waste of time if you want to do anything remotely professional.

Re:Define your terms (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 10 years ago | (#7706535)

well, you're quibbling to say that DV is not only for amateur work. Sure, I see plenty of broadcasters using compressed DV, and their productions look like crap. But then, it is not widely known that until recently, the 3 major networks used VHS tapes as a backup source in case their broadcast feed died and they had to switch to a secondary source. So oftentimes, it's more a matter of expediency than quality. And it's up to you if you want your work to look like crap.
I actually set up a shootout, we did the same short job on DV and SD (using high quality studio cameras as a source) and every single video pro thought the DV looked worse. About 3/4 of the non-video people could tell the difference and thought DV looked worse too.

And BTW, people DO use Combustion for editing. I know it's not what it's intended for, but it can be done, and it IS being done. They're stupid to do it that way, but hell, it's their time and money.

Re:Define your terms (1)

melorama (546258) | more than 10 years ago | (#7707759)

So you're saying DV isn't SD? What "SD" format pray tell were you acquiring on, which cameras were you using and what phase of the production pipeline did this "shootout" occur?

The DV format (as well as any other format) is only as good as the quality of the glass (many popular MiniDV cameras have shitty-as-hell stock lenses) and skill of the operator behind it. There is no doubt that straight out of the box, a prosumer MiniDV camera (like a Canon XL1 or Sony PD150) cannot hold a candle to a DVW700 or something. In fact, this is one of the reasons why this supposed "MiniDV" revolution gives the DV format a bad name among certain jaded professionals (which I will admit to have being before leaving my previous employer to start my own production company...I used to be a BetaSP/Digibeta bigot myself), because there are a lot of rank amateurs out there, getting shit on TV with MiniDV without taking the time to properly massage the footage so it looks as good as something shot on BetaSP or Digibeta.

In case you havent been paying attention, I am a major proponent of performing color-correction of VERY single DV clip in one's project before it goes out to mastering. It's not only a good practice, regardless of format, but it really helps DV footage shot on prosumer equpiment.

Re:Define your terms (1)

1bbd1 (734957) | more than 10 years ago | (#7793202)

Combustion isn't a competitor to Final Cut Pro it's along the lines of after effects and just like after effects it is available for both pcs and macs check it out some time http://www.discreet.com/combustion/ what you really want to compare fcp to is some of discreet's high class editing products fire or smoke which i'm sorry to say leaves fcp in it's dust.

All you need may be there but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7707518)

I have been doing video processing mostly (things like making svcd/dvd copies of peoples wedding videos and 8mm movies and such), and only a little bit of online editing (quite a bit of offline editing, with online previewing with the 'customer' tho)

10 years ago, I did this with a SGI indy and a hardware mjpeg compressor, nowadays I use a pc with opensource software..

Given that I do little online editing, this is very workable for me. The big deal in my case is not user-friendly high quality editing but squeezing the highest quality out of each bit of compressed video that fits on the desired medium.

Doing this with OSS works well if you are prepared to put in the efford to get all the tools (you'll need at least avidemux, mplayer and the mjpegtools) and with the limited support of capture hardware, and when you need resolutions beyond approx super-vhs quality, you will want external, firewire connected hardware.

The advantages:
You have more control, given you have the technical knowhow to change the source code and recompile the tools. You will also need to have scripting abilities to integrate the different tools and make your own offline editing suite with them.

The disadvantages:
No good online editing due to lack of editing software with a decent user interface.
High cost timewise.

If however you do go this way, and you do have the ability to make it work, you will end up being able to provide exactly what your customers want, free from limitations of the original developers of the software you use.

With regards to DV, the biggest problem is not the compression, and then recompression after editing in the format required for the end medium, but the fact that in most cases people lack the space to use uncompressed intermediate files for editing.

This can be overcome by creating editlists using a 'preview' suite, and then using an offline suite which can do all the editing and post processing in memory, and as such you get the space advantage of DV editing without the quality loss that usually occurs with it.

Anyway, if you are in for quick result, get yourself a Mac and get the best of both worlds.
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