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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...

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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...

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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.

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[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:

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]

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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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A new version of the OpenShot Build Wizard is now available that supports AVCHD, H.264, AAC, and MTS. Download the newest version of the build wizard, 1.0.3, and use FFmpeg option 3 (on the step that has three options).

This will download the newest FFmpeg and x264 libraries, and will make the following codecs available to you in OpenShot: libx264 & libfaac. You can use the mp4 and mov video formats with these codecs. In fact, there are other formats that also support H.264... but I'm not sure which ones.

Even though the Totem media player can't play H.264 encoded videos very well, you will be able to edit them just fine in OpenShot. In fact, if you want to enjoy smooth, clear playback of H.264 content, use the VLC player. It works great for me.

I just recently purchased a new Canon Vixia HF S100, which records it's videos in AVCHD format (i.e. MTS files). The demo video I uploaded to the "Videos" section was filmed with it. Man I love this camera!



NOTE: You will need to have lots of CPU to edit HD videos that are encoded with H.264.

Legal disclaimer: OpenShot Video Editor does not contain or use any proprietary codecs. We support free and open-source codecs, such as Ogg Vorbis and Theora. However, since we use the FFmpeg library, it is possible to use any FFmpeg supported codec, assuming you have legal permission to do so.

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We have added a new menu item for clips (video, image, audio, and image sequence) called "Duplicate". It makes an identical clip on the timeline (every property is preserved, including IN and OUT settings).

Here is the new clip menu:


Transitions have also received the "Duplicate" menu item. It creates an identical transition (or mask), and retains all of the original settings.

Here is the new transition menu:


Also, based on a user suggestion, I have added a new key mapping:
TAB = toggles between the arrow and the trim / re-size tool.

When you combine these 2 features, it really feels good. You can quickly switch to trim mode, set the IN / OUT, and then duplicate the clip, and drag it somewhere else on the timeline. Very nice!

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I am very excited to announce our new advanced mask feature, as well as some new advanced transition options! OpenShot already has a powerful grey-scale based transition system, but now you have even more control over how it wipes across the transition.

This is the new transition properties window:


New Transition Properties:
  • Direction: Track A to B, or B to A (i.e. Up or Down)
  • Softness: The size / sharpness of the wipe (really large blurry fade, or a sharp clean fade)
  • Mask Threshold: Keep reading...
Sometimes you only want to allow part of a clip to show through, but not the entire clip. There are 2 ways in OpenShot to accomplish that. You could use the alpha channel, and edit a clip frame by frame (i.e. takes a lot of work). Or you can convert a transition to a "mask". This mask will allow only a portion of the lower track to show through. Depending on which transition you use, and the transition properties, the size, shape, and softness of the mask will change.

Here is a circle transition as a mask:


Now let's look at the final setting in the transition properties window, "Mask Threshold". If you imagine a wipe transition, it wipes between 0% and 100%. If you use the circle transition as an example, 10% would be a tiny dot in the middle of the screen (i.e. the transition is only 10% completed), 75% would be a huge circle (revealing much of the lower track). Think of a mask as a transition that never progresses. It sticks to the point you tell it. Small circle, large circle, soft circle, sharp circle, you decide.

Here is the mask threshold property (only for masks):


Here is the best part... any grey-scale image can be a mask. It could be black and white (i.e. a super sharp mask) image, or contain grey-scale and allow you to control the softness / sharpness of the mask in OpenShot. It can even be a grey-scale image sequence (i.e. an animated mask).

To create a custom mask, simply drop a grey-scale image (SVG, PNG, or PGM) in the ~/openshot/transitions/ folder. Drag and drop it as a transition on your timeline. Resize it over the clip you want to mask. Right click on the transition and change it to a mask. Use the properties window to edit the mask's properties. Enjoy.

There are still a few usability things I would like to do with the "mask" feature, but the core masking engine is in place. I hope everyone realizes that this is much more powerful than a simple rectangle... or a simple polygon shape, as some video editors have implemented.

Also, I would like to thank all the people who have sent me suggestions on the advanced mask feature. As always, I listen to feedback... unlike many other projects. =)

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Although this sounds like a fairly basic feature, we have just added the ability to preview media files and clips. There are many ways to preview a clip, including:

  • Right click on a media file, choose "Preview"
  • Double-click on a media file
  • Double-click on a clip on the timeline
  • Trim the edge of a clip (it will preview the trim in real-time)
Once you load a preview, use the video playback buttons (i.e. seek, play, puase, etc...) to control the preview. Use the slider bar under the video to quickly seek around the preview. Also, you can use the J,K,L and Arrow keys to seek around the preview.

When you are done previewing a clip, simply click anywhere on the timeline ruler (or the play-head) to return to "timeline" mode. Once back in this mode, all the video playback controls and key mappings will return to normal.

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We have enhanced our Export Video screen to include the following features:

  • Progress bar to show the progress of the export
  • Message box confirmation when the export is done
  • The export screen no longer auto-closes. It stays open, so you don't loose your settings. It lets the user double check the exported video... tweak any settings, and export again.
  • New export defaults: mp4, mpeg4
Here is the progress-bar in action:


Here is the confirmation message box:

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Someone pointed out to me that trimming a clip on the timeline in OpenShot is like being blind-folded with a pair of scissors in one hand. That sounds dangerous doesn't it! So, we have improved the trim / resize feature in OpenShot to work like this:

  1. User switches to 'Resize' / 'Trim' mode (i.e. which you can now do with the TAB key)
  2. As the user starts to trim the edge of the clip, the video window switches to 'Preview' mode for that clip
  3. As the user drags the edge of the clip back and forth, the preview window automatically seeks to the trimmed frame. In other words, it shows you a live preview of exactly where you are trimming.
  4. When you user stops trimming (i.e. they stop clicking their mouse button), the video window returns to it's original preview of the timeline
We only preview trims of video or image sequences, not audio or images. Although this isn't exactly how Adobe Premiere works, it seems to work really nicely. It's really the same concept as a separate trim widget with IN and OUT markers... but just integrated into the timeline.

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We have added a few new features to our great title editor. Before, we were limited to 2 lines of text (Title & Sub-Title). We have improved it to now introspect the SVG title and allow the user to edit all text elements. Also, it now defaults the values of these text-boxes to the text in the SVG.

For example, this title has 7 lines of text:


Also, once a title has been added to OpenShot, you can now easily launch Inkscape for additional editing. Just right click on any SVG title, and you will see a new menu item:


If you select multiple files, it will open Inkscape for each title. It even waits for you to finish your edits on each title, before launching Inkscape for the next title. Once you save your changes in Inkscape, the changes are immediately reflected in OpenShot.

Lastly, we have added a new title template for Creative Commons content. The idea is, anytime you use some creative commons licensed content, you can now easily fill out the text in the CC template, and boom... you have attributed the work in your video.

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