Video Editing For Ubuntu

I have spent the better part of three months researching this closely and can honestly say that I have located viable, non-crap options for those of us needing to make true video editing a reality.

One of the first things I have discovered is that while KINO is great to run as sudo and set to use 1394-RAW for extracting video off the ‘ol video camera, it sucks for editing. It’s basically Windows Movie Maker for Linux in my opinion. I needed better tools and a real dynamic editing time line in order to make Windows dependence a thing of the past for me. Because up to this point, video editing was still a fact of life in many respects. And while I will need Windows for application review/involvement for work, on my time I’d prefer to leave it out of my life.

So what did I come up with? Depends on what your skill level is. For the video editing newbie, I would use a combo of KINO for cam extraction only with KDENLive (yes it works in Ubuntu) for easy to navigate editing. You can install it one of two ways. The easiest is to use this link here, then start installing .deb files beginning with mlt_cvs, then mlt++_cvs and so on. Speaking for myself, I also ran the installation listed under “List necessary booksellers” just to make sure all was dandy in a shell/console. It’s just simple cut and paste into the shell/console, folks. And last but not least, you will want to run Synaptic from System, Administration so you can search and install “dvgrab” should you wish to extract video using this program without help from KINO. If KINO is installed, then this step shouldn’t be needed as dvgrab is already installed.

Should you get an error or dependency thing (not likely on Ubuntu Edgy), then use this method as it will work just fine.

Oh, remember to use KINO to grab the video off of your dv cam in the first place. If this is a struggle and if I receive a request for help, I will make an executable script for you to make this a single click action. I can offer scripts for installation of KINO and to run it as sudo. Just hit the comments with the request.

Something else to consider as well is that this is not a cake walk unless you are familiar with how most Windows styled video editing applications. Here’s a little head start: First run the application from your Applications menu. Then load a video clip to be edited by going to (inside the program) Project, Add clips. Browse to your media, then add it. Looking a little bit like Adobe Premiere Elements yet? OK, now you should click on Windows; make sure that the following are enabled: Project Tree and Clip monitor. Now click the tab marked Clip Monitor and right click on it. You’ll also want to make sure that Display On Screen Info has an X next to it. If that does not work, just click on it once with your left mouse button and your added clip will display and play – just hit the square button (universal for stop like on a VHS player). Now head back over to your project tree and drag your clip into Track 0. Now you are ready to edit this baby!

Now selecting some of the important tools you need can be rather difficult, this I admit. So let’s make it easier: Look really close at the time marker in Track 0. Do you see the time slot 00:00? Great, look closer right next to it and you will see two arrows. One points down and the other to the right (this one is nearly invisible in my opinion.)

These allow you to select content for viewing during an edit by dragging the right pointing arrow until you see a yellow bar appearing. Also, the downward pointing arrow allows you to select spots that you might like to cut/insert/or delete. Sorry I cannot keep going, but this will get to be too long if I am not careful. I will tell you this however: a *huge* how-to do video editing with KINO and this app is coming eventually. I will announce here, but it will be part of a project that is going to be interconnected with among other projects. The other non-recipe related projects will bring some relief to people struggling with current Ubuntu related issues. So yes, Linux will be the main point of the project collection, but all platforms will always be supported with the recipe site. After all, everybody eats! But I digress, let’s get back to the video editing, shall we?

For those of you who are like ninjas with the video editing, but perhaps not so much with Linux, I have an alternative for you. It’s called Elive and it looks promising. My only concern is the complex application known as Cinelerra. Can’t recommend it as something to run on Ubuntu, but if you already have DV video extracted onto a DVD, this might be something to look into. Just because it’s not for me, does not mean that it wouldn’t fit the bill for you just perfectly.

Quote of the day: “When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge.” – Terry Bradshaw

[tags]DV Camera, editing, video, Linux, Ubuntu, kino[/tags]

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  • subwolf

    Slight typo, it’s KDENLive, but nice. I’ve been sitting in the developer’s channel for it on FreeNode, hoping when I have some time I can contribute.

  • subwolf

    Heh, posted before I remembered to include that I’m afraid I still (for now) run Sony Vegas inside VMWare for video editing, but will give your post more thorough attention in the morning, and see if I can find a good alternative – don’t know if I’ll find something better, but certainly faster, being native.

  • Matt Hartley

    Ouch, thanks for pointing that out subwolf. I will fix that right now. 😉

    That’s right up there with GNOME vs Gnome…heh.

  • Matt Hartley

    There is nothing wrong with proprietary software, just as there is nothing wrong with open software – I think both are important and support both.
    As a matter of fact, take this proprietary video editing app for a test drive:
    It’s there for both Windows and Linux, costs a pretty penny, but has a definite Adobe Premiere feel to it and MainActor also offers an Ubuntu friendly demo as well.

  • Jesper

    Thank you so much for this… It really solved all my problems because I was looking for a decent video editing program for Ubuntu… Yes!

  • Matt Hartley

    Jesper: If you need a hand with it, just email me at matt at 😉

  • LiVES user

    Actually Matt, there is a problem with proprietary software, and you have just nicely demonstrated it. Mainconcept have withdrawn their Linux port of their software. If it were Free software, somebody else could take the code and continue developing it.

    In the meantime, I suggest you all check out LiVES:

    which is a suitable free replacement for the now discontinued MainActor.

  • Ramon Ecung

    Actually, that’s not a *problem* with non free software, it’s just a difference.

    The developers are free to choose what to do with the source code they develop, and as a user you can choose to use a free option (free not meaning price) or not.

  • Alex Forencich

    I would have to say that it is a problem, since open source projects can change hands to whoever has the time and motivation to work on it whereas closed-source stuff can simply drop off the map entirely with little warning leaving all the users high and dry.

    Anyway, there is another version of Cinelerra available that is community supported and has an Ubuntu-specific package available:

  • Bob

    Sweet Thanks

  • Alex

    Thanks for this. I only need to do some very simple editing and found avidemux ( very easy to use.

  • Benett Freeman

    KDEnlive crashes when rendering some of the time. I have played around with file formats, extensions and other parameters, but it seems to be hit and miss. I get maybe one in 5 projects to render properly. Awful software.

    Linux is still really far behind in this regard.

  • Matt Hartley

    Yes Benett, a single piece of crappy software clearly illustrates how an entire platform is totally behind others in this area of software.

    Wait, here’s a counter thought! Perhaps it’s a crappy application and using a great alternative like OpenShot instead might solve “Linux being so behind”?

    Agreed, KDENLive has become crap….lol 😉

  • Rahul Ghosh

    Yeah! gr9 News finally i have a solid reason to say to my dad to get an apple Macbook Pro :)