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OS X Software The Almighty Buck Windows Linux

Video Editor OpenShot Wants To Kickstart Windows, OS X Versions 55

There have been video editing apps available for Linux for years, from ones meant to be friendly enough to compete on the UI front with iMovie (like the moribund Kino, last released in 2009, and the actively developed PiTiVi and Kdenlive) to editors that can apparently do nearly anything, provided the user is a thick-skinned genius — I'm thinking of Broadcast 2000/Cinelerra. Then there's VJ-tool-cum-non-linear editor LiVES, which balances a dense interface with real-time effects for using video as a performance tool, and can run on various flavors of UNIX, including Mac OS X. Dallas-based developer Jonathan Thomas has been working for the last few years on a Free (GPL3 or later), open-source editor called OpenShot, which aims for a happy medium of both usability and power. OpenShot is Linux-only, though, and Thomas is now trying to kickstart (as in, using a Kickstarter project) a cross-platform release for OS X and Windows, too. I've been tempted by dozens of KickStarter projects before, but this is the first one that I've actually pledged to support, and for what may sound like a backwards reason: I like the interface, and am impressed by the feature set, but OpenShot crashes on me a lot. (To be fair, this is mostly to blame on my hardware, none of which is really high-end enough by video-editing standards, or even middle-of-the-road. One day!) So while I like the idea of having a cross-platform, open-source video editor, I have no plans to migrate to Windows; I'm mostly interested in the promised features and stability improvements.
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Video Editor OpenShot Wants To Kickstart Windows, OS X Versions

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  • More for existing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bmsleight ( 710084 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @06:52PM (#43252675) Homepage

    Good, but why not pay for more development of the GNU/Linux version.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Technically, if you pledge 10k, you can request a feature that takes at max 3 weeks to implement for the linux version.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you actually RTFA (yeah, I know, novel idea) you will see that it isn't for making it cross-platform per se. It's actually for integrating a new, mostly complete engine, and the engine is cross platform. The new engine will provide new features and greater stability. So it will improve the program for Linux as well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timothy ( 36799 ) Works for Slashdot

      The new library is probably the most important thing, and that will be found in all three.

      I think of having a cross-platform release as good advertising for the Linux verson; if the same software and files work on Linux as on Windows, the user is slightly less likely to be "stuck on Windows." (Or on OS X. With OS X, my fantasy is that the presence of iMovie will be a spur for keeping the interface friendly ;))


    • by pieterh ( 196118 )

      This is for the core engine, GNU/Linux and other platforms. I've used OpenShot and loved it, have pledged $250.

      It's great to see KickStarter used for open source like this.

    • Good, but why not pay for more development of the GNU/Linux version.

      The port to OSX and Windows has the potential to draw in 10 to 100 times as many contributors.

  • Sorry but no thanks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 )

    The Windows world has an awful lot of video editors you can get your hands on of all ranges. Personally, I'd spend a bit more and get Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 12, which runs you a bit under $40 from Amazon. It has a better interface, more features, and is quite stable in my experience.

    I like the Kickstarter concept and I've Kickstarted a number of games but you either have to offer something that isn't available, or something that is in some way better. Having tried OpenShot as one of many I tried i

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Sony Vegas Studio 12 utterly kicks the crud out of OpenShot. I wish the guys making Open shot would actually get some experience doing real video editing and give us something that was pro level. I would LOVE to get away from OSX and MS to edit on. But there is absolutely nothing out there that even comes close to even Sony Vegas Studio, or Premiere, AVID, etc...

      • by soundguy ( 415780 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @01:47AM (#43254991) Homepage
        I've been earning my living with Vegas/Vegas Pro since V3.0 (currently at V12.0) and it's the only thing keeping my workstations on Windows. If they ported it to Linux (an Enterprise distro, not bleeding edge) I'd run away from Windows like shit thru a goose. In fact I'd drive over to Balmer's house the same day it was released and punch him in the throat on camera, edit the video with Vegas on Linux, upload it to YouTube, drive BACK to Balmer's house, and force him to watch the video 42 times on a Nexus 7 while punching him in the throat again.
    • There's also Lightworks from Editshare. It'll be open sourced at some point soonish and it's already has a working Windows, Linux and OSX build running. []

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Since Lightworks was bought by Editshare they've failed to deliver on all of their promises. Also, the whole 'free open source' thing is bullshit. There's a crippled version that's free open source, which is about as useful as a demo. If you want the real version you have to pay $60 per/year for a license. At that point, over a couple of years, Final Cut looks like a better deal.

  • I'm mostly interested in the promised features and stability improvements.

    Indeed. I tried OpenShot once, and it was a complete waste of my time.

    Let's put it this way: If it were anything but crap, they wouldn't need a Kickstarter project to port it to other operating systems.

    I'm tired of people just cobbling things together. Please, start thinking first.

  • by steveg ( 55825 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @07:03PM (#43252809)

    I saw his presentation at SCALE and he owned up to many stability problems in the old code. That was the reason for the ground up rewrite. The old code depended on third party libraries, and many of the bugs were not accessible to him, so he's written his own engine. And he says it's much more stable--his demos at SCALE seemed to demonstrate that.

  • by undeadbill ( 2490070 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @07:05PM (#43252827)

    He would be better off at smashing bugs and developing with Posix compliancy in mind. THEN tackle multi-platform issues.

    I mean, unless he thinks it is *done*, as in no code on the original project is going to change significantly from this point forward. Wait, that would be Cinelerra. Why doesn't he just make a dumbed down interface for Cinelerra? This way, he doesn't need to code for a bunch of codecs and transforms that have already been coded for? I mean, he could take his existing interface, slap it on Cinelerra with a bunch of Easy Bake presets, and then help out optimizing Cinelerra's code so it could run across all Linux platforms, much less anything else. Which would be nice, because Cinelerra has solved a lot of issues this guy wants to introduce on a cross-platform basis.

    You see, this guy is basically making the same mistakes of thinking that all Linuxes are alike. They aren't. There are big differences between various distributions now, and even getting something as dependent upon multiple sources trees with different compile time options to work seamlessly is going to be a major pain in the ass over the long haul. And the guy who has been working on Cinelerra is even saying this after almost 30 years of hacking on video and audio editors.

  • Pipe Dream (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529@y[ ] ['aho' in gap]> on Friday March 22, 2013 @07:13PM (#43252885)

    I've been editing video on Adobe Premiere since the 6.1 days, on a 733MHz PIII with 256MB of RAM, 80GBytes of storage on a SCSI Raid-5 array with an offboard Adaptec controller, and a dedicated Matrox effects/MPEG-2 render card. You can stay on my lawn, but avoid the gnomes...

    (Note: I edit on Windows; the following will skew in that direction, iMovie and Final Cut are both good, yadda yadda, platform wars aren't the point here)

    Adobe, Sony, Corel, and Cyberlink basically own the market here, and the reason is fairly straightforward: if Windows Movie Maker doesn't work for you, $100 or less will buy you software that does. If $100 software doesn't cut it for you, you need the $600 versions of Premiere or Vegas.

    I remember trying Jahshakah with its promises of being the best-of-both-worlds between Premiere and After Effects...and while pretty, trying to get clips to reliably appear and be manipulated on the timeline is an uphill battle, and there I'm being kind. The last time I used it, NOTHING was labeled; it was a 'hieroglyphics interface'. That may have changed as of late, admittedly it's been some time.

    Kdenlive is about the best NLE I've seen on Linux, and seems to be largely stable. If I found myself on a Linux box and forced to edit a video, it would indeed be my weapon of choice. It does, however, suffer from many of the same problems as the rest of the FOSS video programs; more on that in a bit.

    Cinelerra seemed to have LOTS of potential; I really liked its ability to network render things. However, it was clear that whoever designed the UI was likely a programmer, not as much a video editor. I found it incredibly complicated and once again, couldn't get my feet off the ground when attempting its use.

    All of that being said, the common thing all these titles had that kept them miles behind their for-profit counterparts on Windows: effects. Now yes, many, MANY people use effects poorly. I hate overly effect-heavy clips as much as the next guy, especially the cartoonish transitions that Pinnacle Studio nickels and dimes you for. However, even things like color correction, EQing, reverb, split-screen, and DVE transitions were all sorely lacking as opposed to what came bone stock with all the rest of the editors. Partial dissolves, alpha channels, and any number of subtle-yet-effective things were all but nonexistent. Additionally, Adobe and Sony have excellent plug-in ecosystems. If you don't like what comes in the box, Pixelan, NewBlue, BorisFX, Panopticum, Magic Bullet, and a swath of others will be all too happy to sell you their solutions. Linux doesn't have this at all. DVD Flick will burn a DVD and add a menu to it, but even its functionality is limited in comparison to the ten-year-old Ulead DVD Workshop.

    On top of that, format support has traditionally been inconsistent (AVCHD, I'm looking at you). You're guaranteed to run into some real hurdles if you're planning on spitting out MPEG-4 and keeping your source GPL'd.

    Now...the UI of OpenShot looks like they solved many of these problems, which is awesome. However, OpenShot will end up with yet another hurdle in its path: Crash Acceptance. Premiere Pro CS2 crashed. a LOT. I can't begin to count the number of hours I lost to having lapsed memory of hitting Ctrl+S. Vegas was somewhat more stable, but it wasn't using the Matrox hardware. But after a $2,000 investment between hardware and software, we accepted that it was a fact of life. I fear that OpenShot will run into significant hurdles in this regard. If a company the size of Adobe or Sony can't get their software stable, supporting one platform (Yes, Premiere used to support MacOS, then it didn't, then it did again; Vegas never did, PowerDirector never did, and Video Studio was also Windows-only), I have my questions regarding the stability of such a title on Windows. Don't get me wrong, I'd LOVE to see Adobe and Sony quake in their boots over it, but this too raises the question as to whether either company will simply let a largely-successful OpenShot li

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Granted my experience with the Linux video editors is starting to 4-5 years old, but at least back then I would have been happy with an editor that'd let me import video, cut clips together and encode it back out in a sane format without crashing. With mplayer/mencoder I could play and convert clips no problems, but open a HDV clip in kdenlive and it'd crash instantly with no sensible error message and the others didn't fare much better. If they're already at the level where what they miss the most is more

    • Re:Pipe Dream (Score:4, Informative)

      by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @07:58PM (#43253303)

      I did edit some stuff on my linux laptop a while back and I have to say it's gotten a lot better although I tend to agree with you somewhat. I've edited some stuff with kdenlive and openshot on linux and both worked okay but I keep Macs around for video work. It's just so much easier to work with the applications there. Since I bought a Quad I-7 mini video editing has become drastically quicker as well as easy.

    • Re:Pipe Dream (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @08:00PM (#43253319) Homepage

      Cinelerra seemed to have LOTS of potential; I really liked its ability to network render things. However, it was clear that whoever designed the UI was likely a programmer, not as much a video editor. I found it incredibly complicated and once again, couldn't get my feet off the ground when attempting its use.

      Cinelerra has a really, really steep learning curve and a quirky UI. However, I found it was worth the time to learn it because once you get past the initial intimidation, it's immensely powerful. I would rather kickstart a project to write comprehensive and useful documentation for Cinelerra than put anything towards yet another video editor.

      • How about a project to fix Cinelerra's UI? Writing good documentation for a bad interface pays off a lot less than making an interface that doesn't suck.

        I've also never been able to build Cinelerra, which means I'm stuck using always-outdated packages. The one time I ran it, it asplode. So I know it's not worth spending the time and effort to learn, because it will probably fail spectacularly as a project in the long run.

    • Re:Pipe Dream (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Telvin_3d ( 855514 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @08:12PM (#43253413)

      On top of that, format support has traditionally been inconsistent

      I think this is going to be a major one. You can't aim at mass support and then ignore camera and format compatibility. And there is an absolute mess of formats.

      It's among the major reasons (and there are a few) that I've seen people ditching Avid over the years. Now there's a software package as uptight and rigid over ideological design decisions as any OSS project you can find. Very different ideological hangups, but just as strictly enforced on the users, like it or not.

    • What is it about video editing hardware that professionals accept the fact that they are constantly crashing and are generally unstable? I have been using capture hardware since 1999 or so, and its the same story. The hardware drivers and the capture interfaces are unstable and generally suck. It still hasn't changed (see any Black Magic Design product). Granted the editors have matured quite a bit. Premiere 6.x was pretty bad and managed to drive many people to FCP.

      I'm surprised nobody has made a serious a

    • Cinelerra seemed to have LOTS of potential; I really liked its ability to network render things. However, it was clear that whoever designed the UI was likely a programmer, not as much a video editor. I found it incredibly complicated and once again, couldn't get my feet off the ground when attempting its use.

      Did you ever try building Cinelerra? It's clear that whoever wrote it wasn't much of a programmer, either. I tried three different sets of official build instructions and retired in ignominy.

      What I've noticed about FOSS video editing is that everyone wants to run before they can crawl. When they're trying to do fancy-pants effects before they've even reached feature parity with avidemux I know that they're just engaging in shark-jumping.

  • So while I like the idea of having a cross-platform, open-source video editor, I have no plans to migrate to Windows; I'm mostly interested in the promised features and stability improvements.

    So do you notice an increase in stability in programs if they're designed with running on OS X and Windows in mind? Is it your experience that cross platform programs are inherently more stable?

    • by timothy ( 36799 ) Works for Slashdot

      It's not that cross-platform-ness that I'm thinking of when it comes to stability, but the new OpenShot library; greater stability is one of the key things that it's supposed to be bring. (That library would be in all three versions, though ...)

      More users might mean more developers, too, since the source is open, and that might lead to stability fixes in itself.


  • Reverse video (Score:4, Informative)

    by houghi ( 78078 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @07:32PM (#43253071)

    I use both Kdenlive and OpenShot and what I miss in both is the ability to play a segment reverse. e.g. play for 20 seconds, play reverse 10 seconds and then start playing again from that point on.
    As long as that is not implemented, I am sure most people will still be using applications where this is possible.

    My guess is that OpenShot will be the first to have it.

    Great thing about OpenShot is the integration with Blender. I am sure there will be a lot more things coming from the Blender part as plugins once Windows people start using it and perhaps not only for the Animated Title part.

    • Under Linux, I found Blender's editor, although far from perfect, was a much better option than OpenShot. Crashing is the norm with OpenShot. I wouldn't even think of doing anything other than very simple editing under OpenShot. Anything more than nipping out the wanted portion of of a video clip and adding a single audio track would be a no-go for me with OpenShot. Anything more complicated and you are likely to eexperience crashes.

      Blender worked for me on a project with about a dozen video clips (~5 minut

  • Not a comment on the feasibility of this particular kickstarter, but....

    I remember when open source software was about "scratching an itch." Now with kickstarter, it's about "fuck you, pay me." The other day, I saw a project that boiled down to "I'll work 1 month for $15,000". The point isn't the money (I'm not donating so I don't give a shit) but I don't believe it can be done one month. Then what?

    I don't know if I've ever seen a successful open source project from kickstarter. But I have seen ma

  • by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @07:47PM (#43253209) Homepage
    If you're using Linux, it already works there (albeit not terribly stably, from what you've said), and I would doubt that the OSX/Windows version would have much effect on that as that'll only add UI layers and probably not change the core much.

    If you're using OSX or Windows already, there are decent editors available for low cost. Open source is fine, but sometimes a commercial product is finer, if it does the job and isn't overly expensive.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday March 22, 2013 @09:12PM (#43253793) Homepage

    "There have been video editing apps available for Linux for years, from ones meant to be friendly enough to compete on the UI front with iMovie " none of them are useable.

    I would pay for one that was like Sony Vegas, Final Cut or even Adobe Premiere from 5 years ago... NOTHING on linux is useable. I try and re-try every year and they all are either toys for editing short videos of your cat, or are buggy garbage that just do not work.

    Nothing allows 6-8 video tracks and 10+ audio tracks all with frame accurate sync and cutting.

    • Which seems like a good reason to support this kickstarter, and I have.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This * 1000. It's like GIMP. Nobody aside from hobbyists needs are met, everyone seems to think thats good enough.

    • Amen to this. My needs are very, very small and yet I can't get anything to work right. I always end up just putting everything together using ffmpeg.

  • Lightworks is coming soon to Linux, nuff said
  • by tetrahedrassface ( 675645 ) on Saturday March 23, 2013 @08:20AM (#43256031) Journal

    A few weeks ago my family business was contacted by Pilgrim Studios in Los Angeles about them doing a show on us. Since I used pretty much use Linux exclusively and they wanted lots of video of our interactions, interviews, and lots of other other stuff I knew I'd be in trouble on the editing side.

    Actually however it wasn't bad at all! I was using an older Handycam and would rip the mini DVD's via HandBrake then feed them into OpenShot. It did crash a few times at first, but I always backed it up as a project file and after a few days of trail and error seemed to have a processing system that worked.

    I don't know if we got the gig yet, but Openshot handled what I threw at it fairly well. I can't wait to donate to them. At the least we have a 1.5 hour movie now that one day we might cherish as a piece of our history.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wow, Hobbies was right - eventually language will be an impediment to understanding. "VJ-tool-cum-non-linear editor" indeed!

  • []

Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley