Linux video editing 2015

Video editing in GNU/Linux. It’s something that I always end up revisiting every couple of years or so.
Ever since the demise of MainActor in 2007 (I just realised that I’ve been using Linux as my main desktop OS since 2002…) I’ve struggled to find a reliable video editing program.

My main requirement is editing image sequences as I do a lot of 2D animation and I’ve found that Blender is best suited to this. Most people think of Blender as just
3D modelling and animation software but hidden away inside is a very capable video editor called the Video Sequence Editor, or VSE.
It has support for chromakey and various filters and effects but I find the interface a little overwhelming if I need to do more than edit together a 10 minute short with soundtrack. Node based compositing has never been my thing.
Blender does have the advantages of being very stable, cross platform and has a huge community of users though.

I recently tried Open Movie Editor on Ubuntu 14.04, it looked as familiar as every other consumer level video editor but repeatedly hung whenever I tried to trim a video clip so that was that.

I also gave Pitivi 0.94 a try, it comes in a new distro agnostic executable so doesn’t install itself
to your PC. The interface was interesting and the program was fast.
The only problem was that every time I tried to render out a video, it would hang at 21%.
I tried various combinations of codecs and container formats but with the same result.
Strike 2.

Last night I thought I’d try something new.
I’ve always overlooked Kdenlive as it’s based on the KDE framework and I’ve always found KDE quite ugly but after I installed it and fired it up I was pleasantly surprised.
The interface is the same familiar, generic interface shared by most video editors (although this is far from a bad thing when learning new software, no need to reinvent the wheel after all) but the speed and stability are fantastic. I could scrub through the timeline on my underpowered laptop with no stuttering and it rendered multiple versions of a short video without hanging or crashing once.
So I’ve only used the program for a day but, on the basis of what I’ve seen so far, this could be my go-to editor for the foreseeable future.

This is the result of playing around with multiple edits in Kdenlive.

The audio was cleaned up in Audacity.


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