Kdenlive 0.8 Released
April saw the release of Kdenlive 0.8. I'll take you through some of the new features, along with some notes on how I built it for Debian Sid.
Kdenlive 0.8 is a release that fixes bugs and adds new features rather than being a complete departure from the previous version, probably welcome news to the regular users. New features aside, my hope for this revision is that it can overcome the main shortcoming of Linux video editing programs: poor stability. It didn't crash while I was testing it, but user feedback in the long term will be the real indicator of improvements that have been made in this area.
The Kdenlive main window looks much the same as before, but it's actually a bit more configurable.
The Kdenlive team run a website that resembles the quality of that of a commercial software vendor, and many of the new features have their own mini articles. I'm not going to replicate what's on the Kdenlive site, but in brief, the heavy hitters are:
Rotoscoping - a way of placing irregular objects into moving video.
Corners - a way of placing objects into the videos that are adjusted for perspective. This feature has been updated and showcases the new effects GUI. Rather than adjusting sliders and then previewing the results, the user can now drag points about within the monitor itself.
Widget layouts - Layouts can be customized, named and saved as profiles. This is particularly helpful as there are now quite a few optional GUI elements that are not needed at all times.
Audio scopes and spectrogram - The level scope indicates when the audio is clipped. The spectrogram allows you to tell, at a glance, if the audio is good quality.
There are about 20 other significant new features. See the release details page for a complete list. I'm pleased to see that the list of bug fixes includes a lot of crash fixes.
As the 0.8 series isn't in the repository of my distribution yet, I built Kdenlive from source. Building an application like Kdenlive can be somewhat difficult as it depends on a lot of libraries. The Kdenlive project have tried to ease this problem by providing detailed instructions. There is also an automated build script that fetches the latest snapshot of the Kdenlive source and all other needed sourcecode. Helpfully, the instructions on the website list all of the needed libraries so that you can type
sudo apt-get install
and then cut and paste them in.
The build script didn't quite work for me until, after a bit of forum searching, I changed the line FFMPEG_SUPPORT_LIBVPX=1 to FFMPEG_SUPPORT_LIBVPX=0. Churn, churn, churn, and the script placed a snapshot of 0.81 into the directory. I'm not quite sure how you go about installing this to the system, or even if you would want to as it is a snapshot.
Conclusion (including rant)
Kdenlive is arguably the best video editing software for Linux, and the best just got a bit better with this commendable update. The project also has a great site that hosts an enthusiastic community.
The following is the kind of remark that can lead to outcry in the comments, but the most important target for any Linux video editor should be stability rather than features. Flashy features aren't much use if the application crashes all the time. As it stands, I can confidently recommend desktop Linux for web browsing or office tasks. However, a couple of my friends who put videos up on YouTube have tried using Linux for video editing, and the consensus was that that the tools would have been adequate, if it weren't for the fact that they crashed all the time. Kdenlive 7.x series was getting to the point when it could be used on a day to day basis by casual users such as myself, if you saved a lot.
Perhaps, when 0.8 is in the repositories of the major distros, it'll will add up to something that I can recommend to switchers.
UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.