Multitrack Video Editor Roundup
Blender is justly and primarily famous for its standing as the premier free/open-source 3-D graphics package, but that's not all it can do. Because it is intended as an end-to-end finishing system for animation, it has integrated a full-featured, OpenGL-driven video editor called the VSE (Video Sequence Editor).
The VSE is, to say the least, pretty strange. Like all things in Blender, the interface is built for efficiency and speed of use over user-friendliness, so the learning curve is a bit steep, although knowing a good bit about how the rest of Blender works will help out handsomely.
Blender's major shortcomings to this point, as a video editor, have been threefold:
As it started life as an animation editor, it hasn't had support for fractional framerates such as are found in NTSC (29.97), which causes sound sync problems when editing NTSC footage with sound. This is now fixed in CVS, and with any luck, it will be in the next main release before this article goes to press.
Its export paradigm is obtuse and hard to cope with, setting an entry bar too high for most editors to be willing to consider. A bit of practice makes this a non-issue.
It also has no asset management system—all that work has to be done outside the program by editors carefully structuring their directories and assets if they care to keep track of everything. This probably never will be addressed—thus far, there isn't a significant cry from within the user community to change it, and I suspect it would take some nontrivial code refactoring to pull it off.
However, despite these initial weirdnesses, Blender's VSE has a lot to recommend it, not the least of which is its easy integration with the other parts of Blender. It can accept as inputs both rendered and unrendered strips from the animation subsystem and the compositing subsystem—a very powerful bonus. The compositing system itself (reviewed in the November 2007 issue of LJ) is a full-fledged professional nodes-based system that goes far beyond the video effects available in any other Linux editor. Additionally, Blender's VSE is itself a layers-based compositor, with quite a few native and community-generated plugins for color correction, greenscreen compositing, PIP work and so on.
In practice, this means that, when properly used, Blender's VSE has, by one path or another, all the power of After Effects (sans easily usable rotosplines), particularly for plane-based animation, a trick I use regularly to design animated DVD menus. It also has a professional color-correction tool that is totally absent from the other editors in this article, a vectorscope.
For format compatibility, Blender shares the FFmpeg backbone with KDENLIVE and OpenMovieEditor (initially integrated into Blender by Ian Gowen as a Google SoC project), and it deals excellently with image sequences (which is only natural, as it was originally an animation editor). Its audio compatibility also is FFmpeg-based, and although Blender's audio tools are paltry to the point of vanishing, it is quite suitable for video editing where a separately mixed soundtrack is conformed to the video in the VSE.
Like OpenMovieEditor and unlike KDENLIVE, Blender's VSE is format-agnostic—the final output profile being controlled by the output settings in the RenderButtons window.
Alas, Blender VSE has one more shortcoming: unlike KDENLIVE or OpenMovieEditor, it has no option for direct stream copy to prevent generation loss when rendering out to the same format you are using for your source footage. If you're using Blender as a finishing system, this isn't an issue; most of your footage will have effects applied and thus be recompressed on export anyway.
I personally don't use Blender as my primary video editor, though I have found myself using it more and more as a finishing system and may give it a go doing a full project on it sometime in the not-too-distant future. It's an odd mix of best-of-bunch and worst-of-bunch, which might not seem like a glowing recommendation, but it is an indispensable tool for a Linux production pipeline.
Of course, there are a number of projects I haven't mentioned here. Without exception, they are all unusable. They either haven't achieved usability yet (Pitivi and Jahshaka), they are poorly designed, unstable and resource-hungry (Cinelerra), or they are dead on the vine (MainActor and Diva).
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.View Now!
|The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database||Jul 29, 2016|
|Stunnel Security for Oracle||Jul 28, 2016|
|SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager||Jul 21, 2016|
|My +1 Sword of Productivity||Jul 20, 2016|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!||Jul 19, 2016|
|Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)||Jul 18, 2016|
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- SourceClear Open
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide