Video Editing in Linux

PCQ Bureau
New Update

Thought Linux was only for geeks? Or worse still, that it was just about command-line programming, software development and servers. Well, what about video editing?


Many Hollywood movies have already been made using Linux boxes. We checked Cinelerra, the successor of Broadcast 2000. It’s a full-fledged, multi-track, video-editing software. Though it may initially look like an amateurish and tacky little video editor, under the Ambassador hood lies a Ferrari engine. It has loads of real-time audio/video effects and advanced editing features, with background rendering options, and the Cinelerra render farm that allows you to render on multiple machines on a network. Its very easy learning curve can be useful for both novices and professionals alike. 

Cinelerra is a full-fledged, multi-track, video-editing software


There are two different installers for Intel and Athlon platforms. Both are given in the PCQ DVD in the Unlimited OS section under Linux>Cinelerra. The program can be installed from the terminal window by running the following command on your PCQ Linux 8.0 system. 


rpm -ivh cinelerra-1.1.6-1.i386.rpm

Add, edit video clips

Adding video clips is as easy as drag and drop. Choose “Load Files…” from the File menu. In the popup that is shown on the screen, there is a popup for insertion strategy. Choose Create new resources only. This will not overwrite any clips that are already loaded in the project. In the resources window you will see the imported clip. To preview the clips, drag them to the viewer window. Click on the play button in the viewer window to preview the clip. 


We will now edit the clip to insert a part of the same in a new composition. First press the Jump to End button in the main timeline to go to the end of your composition. 

If you’re a multimedia developer or enthusiast who doesn’t want to spend on expensive tools for audio/video editing, then has something great to offer, called

Dynebolic. It is a free GNU Linux distro that runs off a CD and has all that a multimedia person may desire. We’ve put an ISO image of the same in the Unlimited OS section of this month’s PCQEssential CD. You just need to extract and burn this image on another CD and you’re all set since it will create a bootable CD. 

Pop the new CD into any CD-Drive and boot from it. Dynebolic will be up and ready for use. The software will recognize most commercially-available hardware and configure it automatically. The graphical environment is XFree86 with


Some features that will get you hooked are Audio/ Video players, recorders and editors; Graphic editors, Audio/ Video Streaming, Text Editors, full featured browser and mail client. 

The distribution will mount all partitions of your hard disk, and it even contains a Samba client that would help you connect easily to other computers on your network. Also included is Lin-neighborhood (also covered in this issue), which makes it easier to browse a network. 

Incidentally, the distro also includes Cinelerra.

You may not want to use the whole clip. So, we will cut the clip first. Rewind the clip to the beginning using the Rewind button, which is the first button on the Player controls in the Viewer window. Click on the first button on the row of buttons above the Player controls or press “<” to mark the start of clip and conversely click the next button or the “>” button on the keyboard to mark the end of the clip. Click on the Splice button or press “v” to add the clip to the composition. 


The video along with the audio (if any) will be added in the timeline. Audio can be added and edited in the same manner as video. But before adding audio you need to add another audio track that will contain the new audio. Select “Add Track” from the Audio menu or press “T” on the keyboard to add a new track.

Add effects

 Once you’ve added all the audio and video clips, you’ll see them on the Timeline. Open the Compositor window from the Window menu by choosing “Show compositor”. You can attach breathtaking effects to the same. Open the resources window from “Show resources” under the “Window menu”. Here you would see folders for audio/video effects and transitions. While effects are supposed to be applied on tracks, transitions are used when clips are combined. Simply drag the effect that you want to use in the composition on the timeline from the resources window. This can be done in real-time also when you are viewing the movie. 


Once the project is ready you need to render it to a video format. Choose render from the file menu. This will show a popup for rendering video. The video can be rendered in various formats using various audio and video properties that can be changed from the spanner beside video and audio compression drop down boxes. After this, just click on Render and your movie is ready.

Geetaj Channana