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2009 has been a great year for OpenShot. I thought it might be fun to look back at the highlights of 2009, and reflect on our journey so far.

History of the OpenShot Timeline

Even though I started this project in late 2008, releasing my first screenshots in December 2008, the real development work didn't start until March 2009. On March 16th I moved OpenShot away from the Gstreamer framework and to the MLT framework. This was obviously a big decision, and one that I felt I had to make. By the end of April 2009, OpenShot had integrated the MLT framework and could generate thumbnails, arrange, and preview videos!

As the months rolled on, we continued to add features and refine the user experience. Here is a quick recap of how OpenShot evolved throughout 2009. One of our users (Diode) has put together a more detailed list of blog posts and dates, if you want to dig into more details.

By June 2009, we had added the ability to composite layers of videos, support for image sequences, and we introduced our Build Wizard (providing users a way to actually install OpenShot).

By July 2009, we had implemented transitions, providing a way to blend different video clips together. We also added a Title editor and an export video screen. Now that OpenShot could export video, we could finally call ourselves a "Video Editor"!

By August 2009, we added the ability for alpha masks, duplicate clips, key-frame animation, audio & video fading, speed control, distortion of images and videos, and pre-set animations.

By September 2009, we integrated translations into our source code and began the process of translating OpenShot into many languages (we are now in over 40 languages). We also introduced our first DEB installers, making it easier than ever to install OpenShot in Ubuntu and other Debian-based distros.

By October 2009, we announced our first PPA, once again making OpenShot easier to install. This PPA was greeted with much excitement from our users, but quickly turned into an issue with FFmpeg conflicts. News spread quickly that OpenShot would break VLC, Totem, and any other FFmpeg based application. Unfortunately, this was a step backwards for OpenShot, but we pressed on.

By November 2009, we introduced 33 effects (30 video effects and 3 audio effects). This added some great new features, such as video rotation and chroma-key (i.e. green screen). We also added a static timeline and changeable themes.

In the last 2 months of 2009, we added a 50 page help manual, which has now been translated in 3 languages (many more on the way). We launched a new users website, with forums. We have also removed the old PPA, and added a new PPA that does not touch FFmpeg at all. It only works for Karmic (Ubuntu 9.10), but it is safe to install side by side with VLC, Totem, and other FFmpeg applications. We have focused a lot of attention on Debian packaging, and hope to soon be included in Debian and Ubuntu repositories.

So, that about wraps up the progress we have made in 2009. Version 1.0 will soon be ready, and along with that version will come a few new features, and a few surprises. =) I hope everyone has had a great 2009, and on behalf of the entire OpenShot team, I wish you a happy new year!


OpenShot Video Editor has been named one of the top 12 applications of 2009 by one of our favorite websites: OMG! Ubuntu! So, thank you for including us in this list, and thank you to all the users, supporters, and contributors that have helped us make OpenShot the great app that it has become!


If you would like OpenShot Video Editor to be packaged and included in Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), then please help us out. We have a Request For Packaging filed with Ubuntu, but we need you (our users and supporters) to mark the bug as "Yes, it affects me".

[You must be logged into LaunchPad to vote]

We want to be sure that OpenShot Video Editor is a highly requested application, and thus have the best chance for Ubuntu to include us in their repository. By marking this bug as "Yes, it affects me", we should quickly rise to the top of the packaging popularity list that Ubuntu maintains.

If you are a packaging expert, and would like to help package OpenShot for your favorite Linux distribution, please join our LaunchPad team and help us out.


Have you ever thought to yourself, "Gosh... I wish I could learn how to use OpenShot"? If so, then you will be very excited about today's announcement.

Open-source projects are often judged on the quality of their documentation. With that in mind, we are proud to announce the immediate availability of the OpenShot Help Manual (Available in English, French, and Spanish)! It contains over 100 topics, 100 illustrations, and even a topic called "Learn OpenShot in 5 minutes"!

We have been hard at work on this for a long time. I would like to especially thank Olivier Girard and Helen McCall for their dedication and hard work. Countless hours have been spent researching, writing, editing, translating, and proof-reading.

The help manual has been added to our PPA in a new package called "openshot-docs". So, if you have already installed OpenShot from the PPA, you should be able to install the openshot-docs package via Synaptic or apt-get.

To launch the help manual (after installing), use this command:
$ yelp ghelp://openshot

To view the HTML version, use these links:
But wait, is your language missing? Do you want to read our help manual in your own language? If so, please join us and help translate our help manual. It is super easy to do, and 100% web-based. To start translating, and get your name in the credits of OpenShot, follow these steps:
  1. Login to LaunchPad (or create a free account)
  2. Visit the openshot-docs translation page
  3. Click on your language
  4. Start translating phrase by phrase
It's really not difficult at all, so we hope you will jump in and contribute to our project. =)

I was hoping to have version 1.0 of OpenShot completed by Christmas, but it will likely slip to January 1, 2010. I have many updates included in version 1.0, so stay tuned for more information.


I am proud to announce that OpenShot Video Editor has just hit an important milestone. We have been included in our first Linux distribution, AV Linux 3. AV Linux is a LiveDVD based on Debian, running the LXDE desktop environment. It features a full complement of the best FOSS Multimedia Applications available, allowing users to enjoy multi-track Audio Recording and Mixing, Video Capturing, Editing and Converting, DVD Authoring and Creation, iPod Tools and more.
Download AV Linux 3.0 LiveDVD

This now offers a new way for people to run and evaluate OpenShot, by using a LiveDVD. For those who do not know, a LiveDVD will allow you to boot into Linux without modifying your computer. You can check out the latest and greatest audio and video applications (including OpenShot) for Linux, and then boot back into your regular OS when you are done. If you haven't ever tried this, I encourage your to give it a try.

We hope to continue this trend, and have OpenShot included in as many distributions as possible. We are getting really close to a 1.0 release, so please help us out and contact your favorite distribution about packaging OpenShot. Many distros have a ticketing system for packaging, so please log a ticket for us. =)


Over the past 20 days we have been hard at work on many new features and enhancements. One of the unique things about OpenShot has always been our close interaction with our community (that's you). We listen to your feedback, and fix what you don't like. In that spirit, I have brought with me many fixes that should bring a smile to your face.

In no particular order, here are the new features in version 0.9.54 (our newest version in the PPA and DEB installers):

Snap to Play-Head!

Our snapping tool has been improved to also snap to the play-head. The play-head is the red line that designates what part of the video you are previewing.

Once you get the play-head into the perfect position, simply drag a clip close to the red line, and it will snap. Now you can line up clips across different tracks with awesome precision!

Auto-Extending Timeline!

Have you ever had a video clip bigger than 10 minutes, and been annoyed that OpenShot does not auto-extend the timeline to fit the clip? Now you can drag or resize any clip past the end of the timeline, and it will simply extend the timeline... as it should!

Improved Zoom!

Zooming now adjusts your scrollbars to keep your clips in view. Also, you can now use CTRL + Scroll Wheel to zoom into the timeline.

End of Ruler Fixed!

We have fixed the end of the ruler to have tick marks. Before this fix, the ruler always had a bald spot at the end. Not that big of a deal, but annoying.

Play-Head Tracking!

When previewing your project, the scrollbars will now keep the play-head centered and always in view during playback. Think auto-scrolling timeline.

Translations Updated!

All 7 of our default language translations have been updated to the newest text from LaunchPad.

Any of our 40+ languages can be used. Just drop the .mo file in the /openshot/locale/ folder.

OMG! Ubuntu! Articles:

If you haven't already seen these articles, please take a look.

A Quick Chat With OpenShot Creator Jonathan Thomas

PiTiVi On Course To Become A Default Application In Lucid

Thanks to Andy, there is a new OpenShot Users website now! And guess what... it's got forums, tips on how to create your own transitions, alpha masks, and themes, and even how to add new effects. Check it out!

So... what's next you ask? Over the next few weeks I will be focusing on completing our help file, fixing a few remaining UI issues and paper cuts, and polishing up the new version 1.0 sticker. =) Stay tuned...


Happy Halloween to Everyone!

[credit: jdudney1]
I have been hard at work on an experimental OpenShot PPA for Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala). This PPA installs the newest version of OpenShot, Python bindings for MLT, and most importantly... uses all of the default packages in Ubuntu 9.10 (i.e. FFmpeg, libx264, and Frei0r).

It is safe to install and uninstall, and is now friends with VLC, Totem, and all other FFmpeg-based packages! I repeat... it "should not" screw up your FFmpeg version or uninstall VLC. Of course, this assumes you are using the default FFmpeg and VLC. If you have a custom version of these packages, please do not install from this PPA.

I have tested this PPA successfully on both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Ubuntu 9.10. However, the 32 bit version of Ubuntu 9.10 has presented a few issues with our video output. If your video output is squished into the top of the preview window, has green or pink bars, or any other strange output, please post a comment and let me know. Also, in the 32 bit version, if you have trouble, try disabling desktop effects to see if that helps or not. If you are successful installing OpenShot from this PPA, please post those comments as well. With your input, this should help narrow down the types of issues that need to be addressed.

Here are the details of this PPA (Detailed Instructions):
deb karmic main
deb-src karmic main

Signing key: 1024R/EDFBD1F9
It is my goal to have OpenShot perfectly working on both 32 and 64 bit versions of Ubuntu 9.10 before I release version 1.0. So, any help testing this PPA will be greatly appreciated.

It has been a good learning experience to create my own PPA, and I am very impressed with the entire Debian build process. It is very thorough... if not a bit overwhelming and intimidating. But I figure if I understand the packaging better, then I will be in a position to help other distrubtions package OpenShot, and hopefully we can keep a PPA up-to-date at all times. And that is a good thing for the OpenShot community.


In our most recent update of OpenShot (version 0.9.52), we have added a shiny new effect, Rotate! The Rotate effect can apply either a fixed rotation or an animated rotation to all 3 axes, X, Y, and Z. As always, effects can be mixed together to create all sorts of exciting combinations!

Rotating pictures or videos can be a super useful effect, especially when so many hand-held phones (and cameras) can capture video. I record videos all the time with my phone, which are recorded side-ways, since that's the way I hold my phone. So a quick "Fixed Rotation" of 90 degrees does the trick!

On some occasions, animating a rotating image, video, or title can be a really nice effect. I have put together a demo video which showcases both the fixed rotation and animated rotation. This video is quite pointless, but hopefully it succeeds in showing the rotation features. =)

We have also improved our simple export settings to include a new mode, called "All Formats". This mode lists each video format / codec and let's you choose the exact format you want. It also presets the audio codecs, and only shows compatible format / codec combinations.

Your project's video profile is automatically selected, to match your project's profile, but it will allow you to export to any of our profiles. Three quality settings are listed for each format.

[Here is the new "All Formats" mode in our export screen]

We are rapidly approaching our official release (version 1.0.0). Before we can reach this point, we need some more translation help. We have added many new strings and have a few new screens. So, please jump in and help us out with our translations. If you've never tried to help with translations before, don't worry. It's not difficult at all. We use a website which let's you translate one phrase at a time. No command line skills necessary. =)

We hope you enjoy these new features, and please share your feedback with us after you have tried them out. Enjoy!


OpenShot Video Editor was built with the idea that it's User Interface could be skinned or themed, but until now we've only had our default theme. That all changes today:

Today we are releasing our 2nd theme for OpenShot (version 0.9.52), in the spirit of the Tango-style. It was contributed by our friend, jEsuSdA 8)! Great job! The 3 screen-shots in this post were taken from jEsuSdA 8)'s website. I know there are some people who were not crazy about our default glassy blue interface, so I hope they enjoy this one.

I expect many more themes in the future, so this is just the beginning. If you are interested in contributing a theme, please locate the /openshot/themes/ folder, and take a look around. It should be fairly straight-forward how things work. =)

So, I know what you are thinking. "Great... a new theme. But how do I switch my theme to this new one. Since it's Linux-based, I bet I have to type some commands in the terminal, right?" Not at all.

Step 1) Get the newest version of OpenShot (version 0.9.52)
Step 2) Click Edit / Preferences

Step 3) Choose a Theme
Step 4) Click Apply

Oh yeah, did I mention we now have a preferences window? Well, thanks to Andy we now have a very functional preferences screen. Take a look at the first few options we added. They are all highly requested features, so we hope everyone enjoys them!

One final note to everyone. We've updated the 7 most downloaded language packs, and now they are included in our default DEB installer. In no particular order, they are Spanish, Dutch, French, German, Portuguese, Swedish, and Italian. However, if you want to add your own language, just download the .MO file for your language from LaunchPad, and put it in the /openshot/locale/ folder.

UPDATE: To get version 0.9.52 of OpenShot, you must use the .DEB installers or the Build Wizard. Our PPA is being fixed at the moment, and is not being updated until we can resolve some of the dependency conflicts with VLC.


OpenShot Video Editor now has a fan page on Facebook. I've added a fan box on the right-hand side of this website. As you can see, there is only 1 fan at this time... me.

So, show your support for OpenShot by becoming a fan on Facebook! It's a great place to meet other OpenShot users, share ideas, and follow our project. Hopefully I won't be the only fan for long. =)

UPDATE: I'm not the only fan anymore!


We all have a favorite open-source application. Maybe it's Firefox,, Eclipse, PiTiVi, Gimp, Kdenlive, or any one of the tens of thousands of other open-source apps. After running my own open-source project for the past year, I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject. That is... what are 5 ways to help improve your favorite open-source application.

HINT: None of these involve programming.

1. Contribute Ideas
Everyone has an opinion. Why not share it with the project. I see so many ideas, suggestions, and complaints posted on forums. These ideas never make it to the project team, and thus never improve the project. Most projects have some preferred method of sharing feedback. Whether it's IRC, mailing list, or a bug tracking system, communicate your ideas back to the project.

2. Help with Bug Reports
Your favorite project probably gets many bug reports each day. These bug reports slow down the developers, and in many cases they do not result in a bug... but rather a confused user or a common issue that has a documented work-around. Most bug systems let anyone jump in and help out. Answering a bunch of bugs will definitely make the developers of your project happy (assuming you are helpful to people), and give them more time to focus on programming.

3. Donate Money or Equipment
Running an open-source project can be an expensive endeavor. Hosting fees and legal fees alone can kill a project. Most projects accept donations, and are very grateful... even if they don't "thank" you. But trust me, donations can really be helpful for a project, and in some cases fund airfare and hotel fees for events that bring developers together.

4. Spread the Word
It's exciting to see a project grow and expand. Every project has to compete in a really noisy environment, and try to gain the attention of prospective users. Post links, blogs, videos, and articles about your favorite projects. Drive as many users to the project's website as possible. This has many positive side effects. Some of the people you direct to the project, might one day turn into contributors, bug trackers, testers, packagers, documentors, etc... The larger the user-base, the more ideas and contributors will come to the project. And that is really important to the life of all open-source projects.

5. Send a Nice Email
It sounds so simple. We (open-source developers) are regular people, just like you. We enjoy getting a nice email as much as the next person. I can not tell you how many times a nice email has motivated me to work extra late... fix an extra bug, post a new article, and generally makes me want to do better. So, don't be afraid to send a nice email to your favorite project, and say "Great job people... keep up the good work!".

One of the most surprising things I've encountered while running an open-source project is the ridiculously rude comments and emails I have received. Here are a few quotes I've saved up for your reading pleasure: "How dare you make a project that crashes my computer...", "why don't you go learn Python before talking to me...", "I hate this program...", "We don't need another video editor... go away...". Imagine sitting at your computer, knee deep in programming a bug fix for a volunteer project, and getting an email like this. Kind of kills the motivation, if you know what I mean.

Hopefully this post will motivate a few of you to jump in and help out with your favorite projects. Sometimes the smallest contributions can make the biggest difference.

[image credit:]


In the following screencast I demonstrate how to use the chroma-key effect in OpenShot Video Editor. Watch me create the newest demo video (also shown below).

In this video, you will also see our 2 new features, our static timeline and simple export options. I created this screencast with version 0.9.43 of OpenShot, and used gtk-recordMyDesktop.

Here is the demo video I created in the above screencast. I used the simple export setting "Vimeo-HD" to create this video.

If you get the itch to create your own screencast of OpenShot, please let me know so I can link to it from this website. =)

I need to stop blogging now and get back to my email. It's overflowing at the moment. If you are waiting on me to respond to one of your emails, please be patient. Thanks!


I have two more features to announce today. Some of you might have already noticed these (maybe even used them), but here is the official announcement.

Static Timeline
You asked for it, and here it is. The timeline ruler no longer scrolls with the timeline. It is now static, and is always in view, no matter where you scroll the timeline. A few other fixes to scrolling are included in this feature, and it just feels much more natural now.

[Example of the static timeline, halfway scrolled down]

Simple Export Options
Thanks to the help of lots of readers / contributors, a lot of work from Helen and Andy, we now have a "simple" way to choose export options. Before, you had to know all the specifics of a format, codec, supported bit rate, etc... Now you just have to click a few drop-downs and boom... you have a video! =)

[This screen shows the new simple export options]

DEB and PPA Improvements
We have fixed a bug where the DEB installers were not removing all of their files during an uninstall (specifically the Python bindings for MLT), and the PPA was unaware of these remaining rogue files. This has been addressed in two places. I have updated all 6 of our MLT dependency DEB files to include a new post-remove script. And the PPA now has a pre-install script that checks for these files and removes them. So, if you installed OpenShot as both a DEB and a PPA, and OpenShot will not start, please try and use the PPA again. It should work now.

Source Code Tarball
Our download page now has a new option, source code tarball. It contains an exact copy of our bzr branch. I will update this tarball periodically, just like the .DEB installers. This is really only intended for people packaging OpenShot, and not for the average user. Also, this tarball doesn't contain the dependencies, so OpenShot will only work if it has all it's dependencies installed (especially the MLT Python bindings).


If the PPA wasn't big enough news to get you excited, how about this: Effects have finally arrived for OpenShot!!!

We have included 33 video & audio effects (30 video and 3 audio). This feature is available now (in version 0.9.42). You can install OpenShot from the PPA or .DEB installer to get the newest version.

Effects are used to modify the video, image, or sound a clip outputs. For example, an "echo" effect will cause the audio of a clip to echo. A "black and white" effect will cause the video to be in black and white. You get the idea. =)

[Drag and drop effects from the tree onto a clip]

Chroma Key effects are also included in this update. Chroma Key (or Green / Blue Screen) is an effect where you choose a color in the video and make it transparent. You can adjust the variance (i.e. how exact a match you want). This is commonly used to replace the background of a scene with another image or video. I put together a quick video demonstration with a few different effects. Check it out. And yes, that is my hand. =)

Not only do we have lots of exciting effects, they can all be stacked and combined in any way you can dream up. And in the spirit of OpenShot, it's as easy as dragging and dropping an effect on a clip. That's it. Of course, every setting can be manipulated also, but it's not required.

[View and edit effects on the clip properties screen]

Another big feature is our new "preview window" on our clip properties screen. This allows you to "try before you buy"... so to speak. Any settings applied to a clip (including effects) can be previewed over and over again to be sure it's just right. This is also an effective way to trim a clip, especially audio clips, since you can keep previewing the IN and OUT points. Once you are happy, click Apply. If you Cancel, then your changes are not saved, and everything goes back to normal.

Here is a nice big image which has all of our effects showcased. Click the image to view a larger version. Enjoy!

I would like to sincerely thank Andy, Helen, TJ, Olivier, and all of our bug reporters, and feature suggesters. I am very proud of our international team of programmers, contributors, and enthusiasts. Just think how far we've come in such a short time. OpenShot is just barely a year old.

To put this into perspective, consider PiTiVi, and their feature set (Sorry Edward... not trying to start a fight). They have been working on a video editor since 2004. They have been funded by a company since December 2008. They have 2 full-time paid developers (according to the Wikipedia). PiTiVi still lacks the following features that OpenShot already has: basic blending and compositing, transitions, effects, key-frame animation, and titling support. The point? We are moving really, really, really fast. Just to point out, I said nothing negative about PiTiVi... just laying down the facts. I wish them well. =)

I hope everyone enjoys the new effects. Also, please be sure to report any bugs you find (just don't submit duplicate bugs... it tends to slow us down). I do have some additional news to report, but I think this blog post has gone on long enough. Stay tuned...


I am pleased to announce the PPA for OpenShot Video Editor (instructions below). We have been hard at work on this feature for a while, and it took a lot of effort for us to get to this point. But thanks to TJ (our packaging expert) and lots of hard work from everyone on our team, we finally got there.

What in the world is a PPA you ask? It is an acronym for Personal Package Archive. Here is how our friends at LaunchPad define it:

"Using a Personal Package Archive (PPA), you can distribute software and updates directly to Ubuntu users. Create your source package, upload it and Launchpad will build binaries and then host them in your own apt repository.

That means Ubuntu users can install your packages in just the same way they install standard Ubuntu packages and they'll automatically receive updates as and when you make them."
This is now the preferred way to install OpenShot for Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10. If you use an older version of Ubuntu, you will still have to use our .DEB installers. Also, I highly recommend uninstalling any existing version of OpenShot before you install via the PPA.

WARNING: Our PPA uses a special version of FFmpeg, which does not work with VLC & Totem, and a few other movie players. This is due to how we are packaging FFmpeg in our PPA. We are working to fix this, but if you install via the PPA, you will not be able to run VLC at this time.

Step 1: Copy the first line from the above list (Be sure to choose the correct version of Ubuntu). The line that start with "deb http://ppa..."

Step 2: On your Ubuntu computer, open System > Administration > Software Sources.

Step 3: Click the Third Party Software tab.

Screen shot of the top tabs in the Software Sources app

Step 4: Click the Add button.

Step 5: Paste the line you copied in step 1 and click the Add Source button.

Step 6: Now copy the second line from the above list and paste it in just as you did in steps 4 and 5.

When prompted, reload the software sources information. Don't worry if you see a warning about unverified software sources; we're going to fix that next.

Telling Ubuntu how to authenticate the PPA

Now Ubuntu knows about the PPA. It also needs to know how to check the software hasn't been tampered with since Launchpad built it.

Step 7: Open your terminal and enter:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys B9BA26FA

Step 8: Finally, tell Ubuntu to re-load the details of each software archive it knows about:

sudo apt-get update

Step 9: You're now ready to install OpenShot from the PPA! To install OpenShot, either use Synaptic and search for openshot (note: use the "search" button, not the "quick search"), or you can install it from the command line:

sudo apt-get install openshot

It's important to mention that this PPA also contains the latest versions of the dependencies that OpenShot requires, such as FFmpeg, MLT, Frei0r, and x264. Every time we update OpenShot, you will be prompted to update to the newest version. It's a great way to test our latest features.

Please help us spread the word about OpenShot. The Linux world still doesn't know about OpenShot for the most part. By the way, if you post an article or blog entry about OpenShot, please let me know and I will try and collect up many of the URLs and share them with all of our readers!


OpenShot Video Editor continues to gain popularity, even though we haven't released an "official" version yet. We just recently exceeded 10,000 downloads of our new .DEB installers!!! I think the message is loud and clear. People want a video editor that actually works on Linux!

I wanted to share a chart of our download stats with everyone. I thought you might find it interesting how our downloads break-down between the various versions of Ubuntu, and between 32 & 64 bit CPU architectures. As you can see, Ubuntu 9.04 is easily the most popular target for OpenShot.

[Click to enlarge the graph]

As a "thank you" to all the supporters, I have updated the main installer file (openshot.deb) from version 0.9.22 to 0.9.34. There are a ton of bug fixes, and the project has been re-factored a bit to simplify packaging. Also, we have moved some of our "writable" files to an ".openshot" folder in the home directory.

There are a few new features hidden in this version which I will be blogging about over the next few days (as I find time). Also, I have some big news on the PPA front, but you will have to wait for that news as well. =)

Thanks for the strong support everyone! Please keep spreading the word about OpenShot, and we'll keep developing new features. Deal?


On September 3rd, the Ubuntu UK Podcast mentioned (@50:30) OpenShot Video Editor and had some interesting comments about our project. One question they asked was "Does Linux need another video editor?" Of course, you know what my answer will be. =)

Another comment was "I'll believe it when I see it." Well, if seeing is believing, then here is a video for you guys (and gals) at the Ubuntu UK Podcast. Drum roll please....

Re: Ubuntu UK Podcast from Jonathan Thomas on Vimeo.

Thanks for helping us raise awareness for OpenShot, and we look forward to hearing what you will talk about next! Hopefully some more OpenShot news! Good luck to your podcast!


Start the timer! I'm going to type real fast so I fit this into 60 seconds. =) Over the past 30 days we have made a ton of progress on OpenShot Video Editor! Even though I haven't had time to post a ton of blog updates, we have been busy fixing bugs, adding features, answering questions, and generally having fun!

So, here is a quick rundown of what's been happening:

  • Lots of bug fixes
  • Lots of bug and question management (Thanks to Helen!)
  • Good progress on documentation (Thanks Helen!)
  • Complete re-structuring of folders to ease packaging (Thanks to TJ!)
  • Integration of distutils (i.e. the preferred way of installing a Python program) (Thanks to TJ!)
  • Good progress on implementing the "Simple" Video Export interface (Thanks to Andy!)
  • Good progress on implementing Effects
  • Good progress towards having OpenShot in a PPA, which will be great! (Thanks to TJ!)
  • We now have 29 translations, which is just awesome! The more languages, the more users can enjoy OpenShot! (Thanks to all the translators!) Here is a sample:

    (credit: Jihui Choi)
We have more contributors than ever before! We have more web traffic than ever before! I get more emails than I would ever wish on anyone. =) Things are moving faster than ever before!

Please continue to talk about OpenShot. It's really helping us raise awareness and spread the word about our project. As soon as we have a PPA ready for testing, I'll post an update. Thanks!

Beep, beep, beep... Just under 60 seconds.


One of the most popular feature requests we get is for OpenShot to provide a simple list of video export options. Well, we would love to add this feature, but first we need your help!

We want to compile a comprehensive list of these formats, codecs, fps, aspect ratio, interlaced vs progressive, size, and bit rates for a variety of common uses, such as DVD, Blu-ray, YouTube, Vimeo, iPhone, Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, and any other common video use.

We are going to make it very easy for you to contribute to this list. It's as simple as putting a ball in a cup! (family guy joke). Seriously though, it's as simple as updating our Wikipedia page (thanks to Helen for giving us a jump start). If updating a Wiki scares you, you can also add your format to this open question (in LaunchPad).

I know that not everyone can contribute to the actual programming of OpenShot, but here is a great opportunity to jump into our project, and really contribute to the end product! We hope you will help us out.


After many long nights, and many frustrating days of work, I am proud to announce a set of 25 Debian Installers, spread out across 6 Ubuntu distributions! Why 25 installers you ask? Well, let me break it down for everyone:

OpenShot is just a Python program, so we just need 1 installer for that. Check.
x264, Frie0r, FFmpeg, and MLT. That's 4 more. Check.

Now, since these "dependency" packages are not Python, we need to be sure and build these 4 packages against the following versions of Ubuntu:

  • 32 Bit - Ubuntu 8.04
  • 32 Bit - Ubuntu 8.10
  • 32 Bit - Ubuntu 9.04
  • 64 Bit - Ubuntu 8.04
  • 64 Bit - Ubuntu 8.10
  • 64 Bit - Ubuntu 9.04
So, that's 6 distributions X 4 packages = 24 deb installers. + 1 OpenShot installer, so that equals 25 deb installers.

I have created an archive for each set of dependencies, and added them to the official download page. After you get everything installed, you will only need to update the main OpenShot.deb file as I release new versions. In other words, you only have to install the dependencies one time. Also, just to be clear, OpenShot is still very much in development, and is changing rapidly. This is not an official release... just an easier-to-install developer snapshot.

Soon I will be adding the completed language translations to the download page as well. These will be .deb installers as well. Please be patient with the translations, as it might take a few days to get these setup and uploaded. =)

I'm going to come right out and say it. I am not an expert Debian package creator, and I'm sure there are better ways to create these .deb files. If you happen to be an expert in this area, please join our LaunchPad team and help us improve our packaging. =) Thanks.

Enjoy the .DEB files everyone!


Thank you to everyone who has helped translate OpenShot! I'm blown away by how many translations are already completed. We now have 15 different languages being worked on.

After listening to the feedback from the translators, I have just updated the template in LaunchPad to include some strings that were missing from the first template, and also removed some of the strings that are no longer needed (such as the GPL, stock icon names, some dropdown lists, some numbers, etc...). Only the new strings need to be translated.

I don't think there will be any major changes to the template after this, other than a few minor wording changes. So, we are not quite done translating OpenShot. Please take a look at the new strings and help us translate them! Now is your chance to participate (if you haven't already). Thanks in advance!


Do you want to see OpenShot in your native language? So do we! Please help us translate OpenShot for as many languages as possible. We have uploaded all of our English words and phrases to our LaunchPad Translation website.

You don't need any special software to help us translate... all you need is a web browser and the ability to read English and type the phrase in your native language. Sounds easy, right?

Don't have time to translate the entire list of phrases, no problem... you can translate one word or phrase at a time. Your contribution can be as small or as large as you want! Thanks for helping us make OpenShot better and more accessible.


The Blender Open Movie project has officially started taking pre-orders for their next movie, Durian! If you want to have your name appear in the credits you must pre-order before September 15th.

Of course, your money is used to help offset the cost of producing the film, and in return you will receive 3 DVDs, your name in the credits, and the good feeling that comes with supporting a great open-source project, and indirectly supporting Linux Video Editing!

Even though Blender doesn't directly cross paths with OpenShot, it has a very important role in the Linux Video Editing landscape. It sends a message to the world that Linux can produce films. Professional quality films. They also promote the fact that they use Ubuntu, Inkscape, Gimp, and other open-source applications in their credits. I pre-ordered my copy. Now it's your turn. =) Learn More...


Now that we have added in the ability for key-frame animation with OpenShot, it's only logical that we make it better and faster, right? Announcing Pre-set Animations!

What is a pre-set animation?

It's really quite simple. It's just a key-frame animation that has a simple name, and is already done for you. They are common animations that can be tedious to enter by hand.

A few examples include:

  • Zoom In
  • Zoom Out
  • Animate Left to Right
  • Animate Top to Bottom
  • Animate Center to Left
  • And many more...
[Right click on a clip to see the new menu options]

There is also a new pre-set layout feature, which can quickly change the size of a video clip and position it on the screen. The only difference from the pre-set animation is that layouts are static. In other words, they don't animate.

A few examples include:
  • 1/4 Size - Top Left
  • 1/4 Size - Center
  • 1/4 Size - Bottom Right
Also, I have listened to your suggestions, and I have improved the clip properties screen to use checkboxes instead of yes/no dropdowns, added more padding to the widgets, and renamed a few of the more confusing options. It is now quicker than ever to set properties on a clip!

On top of all this, many bugs have been fixed, including a few sneaky ones that have been around for awhile. Mainly dealing with dragging and dropping clips on the timeline.


If you are reading this blog, then you probably understand the state of video editors on Linux. There are many video editors, but they are either buggy, ugly, incompatible, abandoned collecting dust, or in perpetual development.

You've heard all of the excuses, "It's too complicated for volunteers", "The libraries just aren't ready yet", "There is no demand for this type of application", etc...

Cinelerra was started by a commercial company, and later open-sourced. Is that the answer? Does it take a corporate backer to make a good Linux video editor? PiTiVi was started as a volunteer effort, but is now being funded by a corporation. MLT, Kino, and Jahshaka have also had corporate backing. Is that what we need? More companies funding video editors? Do we need smarter developers? Better libraries? More creative users... and thus more demand? Why don't we have a good Linux video editor yet!?!?!?!

I feel somewhat qualified to answer this question, having built my own video editor over the past year. In my opinion, the reason so many video editors fail has nothing to do with corporate backing. It's not related to money at all. It's related to the quality of the libraries they are using, and their associated APIs. When an API is not easy to use, it creates a very real problem: overly complex code required to implement it. When a program has overly complex code, 2 things begin to happen. 1) Bugs - hard to debug bugs buried in overly complex code. This leads to problems in stability. 2) Contributors - the barrier to enter the project becomes very high. In other words, it takes a much larger commitment of time from contributors to understand the code base, and thus... you get less contributors. I believe this eventually leads to a dead project.

So... is that it? Is there no hope for the future of Linux video editing? Of course there is hope! In fact, there is an amazing video editing library that already exists! It's open-source, and amazingly powerful. It puts all these other video editing libraries to shame. It's the library that every single video editor on Linux should be using: MLT Framework. I believe this is one of the most under appreciated projects out there today.

Great libraries = simpler code
Simpler code = faster development & fewer bugs
Fewer bugs = happier users
Happier users = more contributors

Ok, maybe that equation is BS, but the point is... Linux has never been more ready for a video editor. The libraries are ready. The community is ready. If you only take away 1 thing from this entire project, please take away this: It is time for a Linux video editor! It is time!


The last of my feature announcements is some additional video clip settings that enables all sorts of strange and wonderful things.

[Additional video clip settings - on clip properties window]

Video Settings
  • Fill - Make a clip fit the screen (without changing the aspect ratio)
  • Distort - Make a clip fill the screen (edge to edge, no matter what)
  • Composite - Mix the clip with the tracks below it (i.e. enables key-framing, alpha channel, etc...)
  • Horizontal & Vertical Alignment - left, right, center, top, bottom, etc... This is where MLT starts your clip. The X and Y start from this setting. It defaults to centered on the screen.
  • Video Fade-In / Fade-Out (no transitions required)... these settings move with the clip, and act like a simple dissolve transition
  • Fade amount - How many seconds to fade in and out
To stretch or squeeze a clip, set Distort = Yes, and then only change the Height... or the Width. This is an easy way to make a clip appear from the center, or stretch really wide as an effect. If you set the Start and End settings differently, it will animate the squeeze or stretch effect.

To zoom into a clip (up to 300%), set Distort = Yes, and then change both the Height and Width to 300. Again, if you set the "End of Clip" to 300, and the beginning to a smaller number, it will animate between them. Combine this with the X and Y, and you've just created a simple Kens Burns effect.

Want to fade between 2 images, but they are different sizes. This can sometimes look strange because of the auto-compositing. In other words, the bigger image might suddenly appear before the other image has faded. To fix this use set Composite = No, and each clip not show the track (i.e. other image) behind them. However, in most cases you should leave Composite = Yes. Just about every cool feature requires this setting to be Yes.

Want to have a simple fade in & out on a clip, but don't want to go through the trouble of having to add transitions? Just set the Fade Video In / Out settings to Yes. This makes it much easier to move your clip around... without having to move the transitions also.

This concludes my 4 feature announcements... although I'm pretty sure I mentioned more than 4 features. =) I'm going to spend the next week building .DEB install files for OpenShot (if everything goes smoothly). Just to be clear, I'm not releasing version 1.0 next week. I'm merely preparing for the alpha / beta phase of this project.

Also, I will be working on bug fixes, and trying to tie up all the loose ends. Some of those loose ends are translation related. Thanks!


I have worked really hard, and I am now granting you the ability to slow down and speed up time! With great power comes great responsibility... Actually, you can only slow down and speed up videos... not time in general.

[OpenShot speed settings for a clip]

You can choose between 1/16 speed all the way to 16x speed. If you need more precision than a simple dropdown, use the Advanced mode. Also, the advanced mode can go slower than 1/16 and faster than 16x... if you need that.

Unfortunately, when you are not in "Normal Speed", there is no audio support. In other words, you can't slow motion audio or speed it up yet. This is a MLT limitation, but they are aware that this feature is wanted / needed.

[OpenShot's advanced speed settings]

When you slow down the speed of a clip, it increases the size of the clip on the timeline. When you speed up a clip, it decreases the size of the clip on the timeline. Make sense? Oh yeah, if a clip is going to increase in size, the OUT is magically adjusted to remain the same as before, so it won't go and overlap other clips to the right. But because the clip IS longer now, you can still adjust the OUT with the resize tool, or with our new advanced trim controls!

[Set the length of a clip with great precision]

The "Length" tab on the clip properties window lets you adjust the IN and OUT with great precision. Maybe too much precision! However, if you decide you only want to hear the audio of a clip, or only see the video, you can use the "General" tab on the clip properties window. These are the same toggles that are available on the timeline (i.e. the icons on the clips).

[General settings for a clip]

[OpenShot allows you to go between 1/16 speed to 16x speed]

You can also set the direction of a clip (forward / reverse). Although... just a warning, this seems a bit buggy with MLT. Especially if you slow down a clip, and then set it's direction to reverse.

If all these new features aren't enough, I have improved the auto-compositing capability of OpenShot to include all tracks (including the bottom track). What does this mean? It means that you can now key-frame, animate, transition, fade, mask, etc... any clip, on any track. A clip won't freak out anymore if there is no clip below it on the timeline. If you still don't understand, just know that this is really cool, and it will help you. =)

Tomorrow is our last feature announcement in this marathon. I am getting very close to a version 1.0 release. With the "official" release, there will be .DEB installers and hopefully a PPA. Thanks again for the support! I really love reading all of the comments, and it gives me a lot of motivation to keep on going. Stay tuned...


Have you ever wanted to separate the audio from a video clip, chop it up, move it around the timeline as just an audio clip?

This is actually quite easy in OpenShot. It's accomplished by duplicating a clip, and then clicking the 'Hide Video' toggle button. So long as the video is hidden, it will behave just like an audio clip. By duplicating the original video clip, it will have the exact same IN and OUT settings.

Even though OpenShot doesn't show the graphical audio waveform yet, it still behaves like a real audio clip. For added effect, you can duplicate a clip multiple times, hide the video on all of them, and offset the audio on each clip... creating a cascade of audio.

On the other side, if you want to have a video clip with no audio, you can click the "Mute" toggle button, and it will only play the video. Combine those two toggles together, add in the ability to duplicate clips, and you can create just about any combination of audio & video mash-up you want to.

We also have some new exciting audio features to announce (although they seem quite basic now that I think about it): You can now set the volume of a clip (both audio and video clips). And you can now fade in and fade out audio. When fading, it respects the volume you've selected (i.e. it fades from your volume to 0 or from 0 to your volume).

[Audio Tab - Right click on a clip, and choose "Properties"]

I know what you are thinking. I can only set a single key-frame (i.e. volume)!?! What if I need to have the volume go up and down... and then back up.. and then back down, etc... This is easily accomplished by using the razor tool. It cuts a clip at a point in time, thus creating two clips. Each of these clips can have separate volume and fade in / out settings. You can make as many cuts as needed... which gives you much more control over the audio settings. Before you email me, I also plan to add a more traditional, graphical way to key-frame audio volume over a clip. But you will have to be patient for that one.

[Close-up of audio clips being duplicated and mashed up]

[Entire timeline for my audio demo video]

Here is a demonstration video that takes a Big Buck Bunny clip, adds an additional sound track, and repeats many sound effects from the original clip. This is a good example of separating the audio and video of a clip, trimming each clip independently, and then mixing them back together (which is actually many different layers of audio).

It's not real obvious, but if you listen closely, you will hear the squeaks in the beginning repeated, and the laughing... which goes on longer than normal. Also the background music is different than normal.


[Animated title - moving from top-left to center]

I'm sure you can tell by the title what this feature is all about! Key-Frames! Don't know what a key-frame is? No problem. Check out the definition:

A key frame in animation and filmmaking is a drawing that defines the starting and ending points of any smooth transition. They are called "frames" because their position in time is measured in frames on a strip of film. A sequence of keyframes defines which movement the spectator will see, whereas the position of the keyframes on the film, video or animation defines the timing of the movement. Because only two or three keyframes over the span of a second does not create the illusion of movement, the remaining frames are filled with inbetweens.
In other words, you can now position and animate your videos and images anywhere on the screen. While you're at it, you can still have masks and transitions, and they are also interpolated into the key-frame animation!

There is a new "Clip Properties" screen, which you can access by right clicking on a clip and choosing "Properties". On this screen, there is a tab which let's you set a variety of key-frame related settings for the "Start" and "End" of a clip. The rest is simply magic.

[Key-frame screen in OpenShot. Just right click on a clip, and choose "Properties"]

Still don't understand? Hopefully the pictures and video below will help demonstrate the power of key-frame animation.

Feature Highlights:
  • Set 'Start' and 'End' key-frame properties of a clip
  • ...Height
  • ...Width
  • ...X
  • ...Y
  • ...Alpha (i.e. transparency)
  • Ability to layer many videos together on the screen (Brady Bunch style):

  • Animate clips moving across the screen
  • Grow & shrink clips
  • Combine with the razor tool (i.e. multiple cut points), you can create a very advanced animation
  • Supports any # of transitions
  • Supports masks
  • Supports alpha channel for compositing

[Set both the "Start" and "End" key-frames of a clip to create an animation]

[Here is the timeline for the demo video]


Ladies & Gentlemen, I have so many new & exciting feature announcements, that I have decided to do another feature marathon!!! Starting tonight at 12:00 AM (CST / GMT-6), I will be revealing the first of 4 new features! These are big-time features that OpenShot was missing... until now. Oh yeah, I will also be releasing many new demo videos, to be sure everyone can see how they work. Stay tuned!

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