Linux Video Production: the State of the Art
A Few Thoughts on Sound
A video pipeline deals with a particular sort of software, but it's not the whole story when it comes to media production. The process of sound design for video is at least as involved as the video side of the equation.
In brief, you'll need a sound effects editor, a synthesizer, a mixer, a recorder and a scoring program. I've found the greatest productivity out of the fewest number of programs using Audacity, Ardour and Rosegarden in tandem, while keeping a handful of synths (like TerminatorX) around for use in a pinch. The process of sound production for a video or motion picture is a story in itself that deserves telling, but not today. In the meantime, a full discussion of the sound tools available for Linux can be found in the excellent article by Dave Phillips in past issues of Linux Journal (the September 2004 issue has a good technical overview of many contenders, and the September 2005 issue has an extensive article on Rosegarden).
Open-Source Blue Screening
Of special note in the open-source compositing field is the newcomer MatteLab (www.nccn.net/~w_rosky/evan/evan/programs/mattelab/index.html), a Java-based one-task utility that is very nicely designed and written by 16-year-old high-school student Evan Rosky. Although, at the moment, it does not support multipass keying, it is the best keyer I've yet seen in the open-source space on Linux. Outputting as it does to transparency-enabled PNGs, it allows for multiple instances of single passes to be run on the footage without quality loss, and when used in conjunction with Blender or Jahshaka for compositing, it is a very powerful tool indeed.
Dan Sawyer is a freelance director/producer running the backbone of his small studio on Linux. He has been an enthusiastic advocate for free and open-source software since the late 1990s, when he founded the Blenderwars filmmaking community (www.blenderwars.com). Current projects include the independent SF feature Hunting Kestral (www.blenderwars.com/kestralmannix) and The Psyche Project, a fine-art photography book centering on strong women in myth.
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