Video editing with Kdenlive: Might be the sweet spot

Video editing with Kdenlive: Might be the sweet spot


So far, my favorite video editing app is Kdenlive. I found that it provided a relatively shallow learning curve and a familiar multi-track interface, but it also didn't make it hard to get to the kinds of controls I need for the precise control I want to have on vocational editing jobs.

Availability may be a bit of a problem -- I was disappointed to find that the Kdenlive installation in Ubuntu Studio 11.10 "Oneric Ocelot" is broken. The programs crashes on start-up with an error relating to the MLT and SDL library packages. On Debian "Squeeze", however, the installation was completely painless.

The interface metaphor is very similar to OpenShot and both are somewhat similar to Blender's VSE. All provide a multi-track "strip" interface, where strips of audio and video footage can be put together.

Also like OpenShot, Kdenlive allows you to load up a small library of clips and then drag and drop them into place in your edit. It then allows you to edit the duration of the clips and to apply various effect to them (in fact, you can stack the effect so that they modify each other). I'm not certain about the details yet, but it appears that effects can be added through a plug-in system, and that kind of extensibility is very encouraging.

It does not give me the full range of flexibility that I can get with Blender's VSE if I'm willing to set up the shots. But what Kdenlive can do, it makes very easy. So for the range of 2D compositing tricks that I'm likely to get a lot of use out of, Kdenlive is a far easier choice. Setting details about the video format is simple and timecodes can be adjusted to read out in whatever format you feel comfortable with. The window layout is very similar to the default layout I use with Blender's VSE, but I don't have to fiddle with it so much to make it happen.

Finally, there are a lot of fine details in the way that strips behave in the editing menu, including the snapping properties and the display of audio track data, which makes the editing process go much more smoothly. With Kdenlive, it was easy to get into a nice "flow experience" with editing, and I like that.

I haven't tried everything else yet, but Kdenlive may be the app I was looking for.

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Biography

Terry Hancock is co-owner and technical officer of Anansi Spaceworks. Currently he is working on a free-culture animated series project about space development, called Lunatics as well helping out with the Morevna Project.