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Since starting this journey, I have had the pleasure to meet many people inside the Linux video editing community. The PiTiVi project (lead by Edward Hervey) has contacted me about joining their project. PiTiVi is a Python, Gstreamer, and Gnonlin based non-linear video editing project.

I have also been in contact with many members of the Cinelerra project (which is arguably the largest and most complete FOSS Linux-based video editor). The Cinelerra community is designing version 3 (named Lumiera), and they are actively collecting ideas. I have been keeping track of the best ideas. Don't worry, I'll give credit to them for any ideas I use. =) Thanks guys.

Recently, I have been contacted by the creator of a brand new non-linear video editing project, called the Saya Video Editor. I'm not sure what the term Saya means (Wikipedia claims that it is a Japanese pop singer). Let's hope that's not what it stands for. =) They are using a different multimedia backend than all the previous editors I mentioned, so good luck to them.

I'm not sure where my project will end up in this community. There are many smart and creative people, and a huge community of users that really want a good video editor.

One thing is for sure, Linux will have a good video editor soon:


I have completed my first real Python program, which is a video / audio file inspector (and player). Simply download the source code, and run the "" script to start the program.

Click here to download the source code.

Here is a screen shot of my program:

This program has accomplished 2 important things for me. 1) It has been a great learning experience, which has given me lots of confidence. 2) It's going to provide code that I can use in my real program: a much more complicated non-linear video editor for Linux.


Ever wanted to export a frame of video to an image file (such as a PNG file)? Well, here's how to do it with gstreamer. These examples use the gstreamer command line syntax (gst-launch):

Export a DV file frame to a PNG file:
gst-launch filesrc location=/home/jonathan/capture003.dv ! dvdemux name=demux ! dvdec ! ffmpegcolorspace ! pngenc ! filesink location=foo.png

Export an MPEG file frame to a PNG file:
gst-launch filesrc location=/home/jonathan/Cow.mpg ! mpegdemux ! mpeg2dec ! ffmpegcolorspace ! pngenc ! filesink location=foo.png

My next task to figure out how to create this same pipeline via Python, so I can do this programmaticly. I'll post a Python example once I figure it out.

UPDATE: I've finally figured out how to accomplish this in Python with an even more flexible pipeline than the examples above... Click Here to read how.


I've spent the past few weeks putting together a working Python example, which allows a user to select a media file (audio or video) and display all the various information I can find (such as height, width, duration, position, frames per second, codec, etc...). One of my blog readers informed me of a module (which is already written and included in the Python bindings for Gstreamer) called Discoverer. This is far cleaner than the code I was writing, and super useful.

Give this example code a try in your favorite Python IDE. Be sure to pass 1 argument to the script (the file path of a media file):

#!/usr/bin/env python
# gst-python
# Copyright (C) 2006 Andy Wingo <wingo at>
# This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
# modify it under the terms of the GNU Library General Public
# License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either
# version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
# This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
# but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
# Library General Public License for more details.
# You should have received a copy of the GNU Library General Public
# License along with this library; if not, write to the
# Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330,
# Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.

import os
import sys

import pygtk
import gobject
import pygst
import gst
from gst.extend import discoverer

def fail(path):
print "error: %r does not appear to be a media file" % path

def succeed(d):
def pp(prop, val):
print '%s: %s' % (prop, val)
pp('media type', d.mimetype)

pp('has video', d.is_video)
if d.is_video:
pp('video caps', d.videocaps)
pp('video width (pixels)', d.videowidth)
pp('video height (pixels)', d.videoheight)
pp('video length (ms)', d.videolength / gst.MSECOND)
pp('framerate (fps)', '%s/%s' % (d.videorate.num, d.videorate.denom))

pp('has audio', d.is_audio)
if d.is_audio:
pp('audio caps', d.audiocaps)
pp('audio format', d.audiofloat and 'floating-point' or 'integer')
pp('sample rate (Hz)', d.audiorate)
pp('sample width (bits)', d.audiowidth)
pp('sample depth (bits)', d.audiodepth)
pp('audio length (ms)', d.audiolength / gst.MSECOND)
pp('audio channels', d.audiochannels)


def discover(path):
def discovered(d, is_media):
if is_media:

d = discoverer.Discoverer(path)
d.connect('discovered', discovered)

def usage():
print >>sys.stderr, "usage: gst-discover PATH-TO-MEDIA-FILE"

def main(argv):
if len(argv) != 2:
path = argv.pop()
if not os.path.isfile(path):
print >>sys.stderr, "error: file %r does not exist" % path

return discover(path)

if __name__ == '__main__':

Here is the output of this example script using a short mpeg video file:

media type: video/mpeg, systemstream=(boolean)true, mpegversion=(int)1
has video: True
video caps: video/x-raw-yuv, format=(fourcc)I420, width=(int)192, height=(int)192, pixel-aspect-ratio=(fraction)16/15, framerate=(fraction)24000/1001
video width (pixels): 192
video height (pixels): 192
video length (ms): 6831
framerate (fps): 24000/1001
has audio: True
audio caps: audio/x-raw-int, endianness=(int)1234, signed=(boolean)true, width=(int)32, depth=(int)32, rate=(int)44100, channels=(int)1
audio format: integer
sample rate (Hz): 44100
sample width (bits): 32
sample depth (bits): 32
audio length (ms): 6831
audio channels: 1

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