Professionals Video Editors Only Please

As a professional video editor I know what I desire/need from an NLE but I would like to know what features other professional video editors want/need from their NLE and what NLEs professionals are using.

I would also like to know how many professional video editors there are on here. Anyone who gets paid to edit video or anyone who holds one or more certifications/degrees in video editing please post something here, even if you have nothing to say in regard to the conversation, so that I can get a “head count”.

Professionals have a different set of want/needs then amateurs so, no offense to amateurs but, if you are an amateur video editor please don't post here.

I hope there are enough professionals on here to create an interesting conversation.

I'm not employed as an editor but as one of the guys who solve editor problems, Avid, FCP, premier (learning bones and flint/flame at the moment). I do do some editing. so i'll throw out my 2 cents.

DV - is not a standard worth using for pro work. as far as i understand (still testing though) it not truely constraining us to DV any way. for home use its awesome pros shouldn't touch it.
Color - keeping the color space is essential, but not just in the image but in in the blacks and whites as well. we also need color correction, cause if you on the sounds stage and move your camera, tones change, and its worse every were else.
flx/ale - if you plan on taking your footage through something like IQ, flame, flint, bones, telecine, these will make your life much(!) simpler. especially if you plan on finishing in 2k/4k etc.
color bars - essential if you plan on sending to tv, most station still require them and if you balance the color, it will make any colorist job easer to just balance from the color bars
color safe filter - to block excess luma in whites, as well as a test to warn you if frames fail.
Time code - i haven't had a chance to test this. but original time code needs to be maintainable be able to burn this in easily is essential. something directors/studios ask for all the time.
- exporting and maintaining time codes from time line - again i have not tested this
chroma green - I look but haven't tested chroma green, i only saw chromakey blue....
Track clean - often more amateurish editors use a large amount of track for an edit. more than three is seldom needed and can give us headaches in post, especially going back to film or what ever. auto clean would be nice.
sub tracks - i haven't tried this but a function from FCP i like is to create complex scenes on a separate track and join them to the main track.
PAL 16:9 - 1024x576... haven't tested but just put it on the list.
blue ray - need to test the blue ray support... basicly handles 35mb/s mpeg

Extra's - explanation on how to use red (red cine / r3d) in your work flow, XD Cams as well. as this is possible.

well thats my 2 cents for now ...

I am glad to see a professional editor here ...

I'm sure your contribution to the project will be "high level" ..

Today's my last day at my second 5 month internship as editor so I should be on my way to being a professional.
Haven't had or taken the time to play with Kdenlive recently.

Biggest feature requests I can think of right now would be...

Professional editing doesn't mix with audio stuttering and other performance issues. Compatibility with some sort of MXF standard would be nice (GPLed of course).

Audio meter.
Being able to level decibels by sight, not only by hearing.

Color Mode.
Tool to effectively and easily color correct clips with luma/RGB/hue/etc. settings and Y waveform. And not having to select each effect for each clip on the timeline before setting it's value for one. Maybe this is an interface issue.. can we start a professional interface thread? :D

Anyway I know there's activity from developers in exploring and pushing standards & code used by other FLOSS software/communities and this is important. It should lead to a better future for a more widely developed Kdenlive/Kdenlive components. Or so I hope and that's my 2 eurocents.

I'm a professional editor who has used nearly every editing software available, from Premiere, to Final Cut, Media 100, AVID, Edit, Dvision, Speed Edit, Video Flyer, Pinnacle, Vegas, etc. I now try to use Kdenlive whenever possible. For me, it's getting really close to being a fully usable system. My main two issues are stability and being able to run an effect and a transition at the same time (although for this I may just be missing something). Also, I would love it if Kdenlive was able to recognize an Alpha channel embedded in a Quicktime, or AVI.

(This is LONG, but I have tried to make it easy to read.)

I have suggested elsewhere on the forum that I would like to see the formation of an open source studio/suite, I would like to get your opinion on my concept.

These are needed applications:

- Script Writing – Equal to Final Draft

- Video Editing – Equal to Final Cut

- Image Editing – Equal to Photoshop

- 2D and 3D Tracking – Equal to Mocha, Boujou

- 3D Image Creation – Equal to Maya

- Compositing – Equal to Shake, Nuke, After Effects etc.

- Sound Editing – Equal to Soundtrack, Protools etc.

- Music Creation – Equal to Finale

- Color Correction – Equal to (Apple) Color

- Final Output Compression – Equal to (Apple) Compressor, (Adobe) Media Encoder

- Disk Creation – Equal to Encore, DVD Studio

- Cross Platform Video Player, Codec, and Container – What Quicktime tries to be, but only comes close to.

I would like to separate functions of production into many different components that work together in an open source workflow, where many different GUIs are made (one for each program) to focus on many different tasks. However all programs use the same base set of APIs/frameworks.

For example:
A color correction API/framework (I don't know the correct terms) can be developed that would be shared between the Video Editor, the Compositor and the Color Corrector. The Color Correctors GUI would be far more advanced then the Video Editors Color Correction GUI so as to provide the maximum amount of interaction with the API/framework. It should not be the Video Editing programs task to Color Correct a shot, although the ability should be there. There is no need to complicate a GUI if we don't need to.

Another Example:
The framework used to display video in the Video Editor can be reused in the compositor. However the Compositors GUI would not give access to the editing tools, just as the Video Editors GUI would not give access to high end compositing.

This is already taking place. The FFMPEG library is shared between VLC and KDENLIVE (as well as many other programs). And while FFMPEG is its own project, it was integrated very well into KDENLIVE.

I would like to know if these are the features we professional video creators collectively want.


You take the best of all the existing products, ans you say i wan't to see the same or better in open source ... yes it's very a good idea ... thanks a lot ...


my reply AlanJames1987 wish list.
defiantly will be useful, but i would like to see collaboration between kdenlive and existing products. all the progs you list are awesome but inmany ways need to be separate.

- Script Writing – Equal to Final Draft

- Video Editing – Equal to Final Cut
we hoping for Kdenlive to become this

- Image Editing – Equal to Photoshop
my moneys on gimp at the moment and it is a very effective tool and very pro integration with other packages so long as it doesn't hinder it functionality or development.

- 2D and 3D Tracking – Equal to Mocha, Boujou

- 3D Image Creation – Equal to Maya
Blender 3d defiantly the leading package here. though, like maya, cut first then import videos the best way to go.

- Compositing – Equal to Shake, Nuke, After Effects etc.
blender, cinepaint depending on your needs

- Sound Editing – Equal to Soundtrack, Protools etc.
some good ones but nothing that blows me away. audacitys in the lead i think.

- Music Creation – Equal to Finale

- Color Correction – Equal to (Apple) Color

- Final Output Compression – Equal to (Apple) Compressor, (Adobe) Media Encoder
ffmpeg, but none of the interface I'm blown a way with... (?avi synth?)

- Disk Creation – Equal to Encore, DVD Studio
qdvdauthor, best so far

- Cross Platform Video Player, Codec, and Container – What Quicktime tries to be, but only comes close to.
Matroska, though improved editing and menu support is still in the pipe-line. Codec wise, snow seems to be on track. beating h264 is going to be hard as most of the top people in that field will copyright but oggs looking good.

got no idea what the future holds but if you take packages like blender, there's a lot of power in the community. but i would love to see integration between them and the rest of the visual pipe line.

i would be interested to hear what other people are using.


I'm a professional editor. I started off in the days of 2" Quadruplex tape, and have edited on just about every format known to man! I've worked for major broadcasters here in the UK since 1969.

Nowadays I mainly use Q-edit or Editbox, though I have a passing familiarity with Avid and Final Cut Pro.

Until now, I've always used Premiere Pro for domestic editing work, which is a fine piece of software. Indeed, it is the ONLY reason I still have a windoze partition on my computer!

I'm hoping that Kdenlive will enable me to finally ditch windoze altogether!

However, I'm a relatively new user to Kdenlive, and am still feeling my way round it. Once I've got a grip over its featyres and operations, I'll feel ready to comment on what else it needs!



Professional editor, doing it for a living. Also director for 16mm film work. I work heavily with color correction and rely heavily on "magic bullet looks" (no secondary but the primary is unbeatable) Much much much cleaner color work than final cuts color. Nothing worse than doing all that fine color work then exporting and finding it shifted your blacks and twisted your reds not to mention adding yet another round of compression. Anyhow, what does an editing application need for a professional. Almost nothing. I use final cut and premiere but I won't touch any of their stock effects. I don't even do dissolves with their stock dissolves. I put it in After Effects and use optical dissolves. What I need and what is holding me back from getting rid of that darn windows side to my PC at home (will be using mac at work indefinitely I'm sure) is an editor that can do basic masks and/or mattes. Can cut accurately and buglessly. It should have non-destructive 32-bit floating point color operations. And charts and graphs. I want to see rgb parades, waveforms, vector scopes the works. From what I understand, and correct me if I'm wrong I'm not a programmer, the API effects that kdenlive is using now can't handle color precision. Proper color as everyone who edits professionally knows is about a gagillion times more important than a high pixel count. I'd rather have good color tools and work in SD than lumpy color tools and work with HD. I would produce a much higher quality picture at the end of the day. I feel like titling and many other things can be pulled in from outside sources as opposed to reinventing the wheel. Is it possible to integrate Audacity, Qdvdauthor, Blender and programs already out there that are if not fully functional close enough that with the added spotlight the kdenlive project would bring them they would develop into nice solid linux style programs. Or is it possible to at least create common bridges like EDL's and the like? So far I've just been sitting on the sidelines waiting for either this project or lumiera to develop further and am very eager to produce a piece of work that can win some awards in the festival circuit that had a complete post production life inside FOSS. So what do I really need out of an editor. I need really good color correction tools.

If you don't know what I'm talking about with good color work watch this:

It explains things much better than I can with words.

MillionMonkeys 3 way color correction in Final Cut always seemed a little clunky to me. I like the ability to input numbers, similar to levels, but I agree that 3 way color correction is a feature that should be in KDENLIVE.

However if advanced color correction were removed from the goal of KDENLIVE and a side project were to be created with the soul purpose of color correction I imagine it would be a much easier to use workflow. For example think of how Final Cut Pro and Apple Color work together. You can do color correction in FCP but there is no comparison between the results you can get from FCP and the results you can get from Color.

I feel that this philosophy of separation of features yet integration of programs could and should be brought up when discussing the future of open source video production. Possibly use EDLs to bridge the programs, like MillionMonkeys suggested.

Alabandit I think you and I have the same idea of what should happen in Linux video production. I am not a programmer and would not be able to start a large project like this. I most likely would not even be able to help aside from trying to spread the word and suggesting changes.

I would like to know what everyone else thinks. I want to also find out what we can do to unite production project, create new projects where there are holes in the pipeline and possibly bring about a change to a Linux based workflow.

aleckt wrote: I would love it if Kdenlive was able to recognize an Alpha channel embedded in a Quicktime, or AVI.

MLT 0.4.4 and Kdenlive 0.7.5 should support Quicktime Animation with an alpha channel. I believe it should work for other formats where FFmpeg supports the alpha channel. See this for my demo of that feature:

Ha, AlanJames I didn't make it clear but the video I linked to was supposed to show the difference between apples stock 3-wheel and a third party 3-wheel corrector and how much better the third party one was. With the point being one of the things a professional needs is big color space. Some people are more comfortable with numbers and some with a more 'GUI' kind of thing and most good plugins in the commercial world have both and I would imagine the same would develop in the open world. All that being said it seems like the major thing holding back us 'professionals' is not the editor itself as kdenlive is racing itself toward a useable product (by the way, my hat goes off to the developers it is simply amazing to watch how quickly this project progresses) it seems like we are hunting for an entire production pipeline. Also it would be nice if that pipeline integrated and cooperated amongst the programs much like the Adobe Suite can handle throwing anything anywhere and throwing it back when its done. While I'm not a programmer I would be interested in trying to direct the integration among the programmers if any programmers are interested.

So heres pieces of the list which alabandit and AlanJames have started with the pipes that I think are the best pipes so far, please feel free to add change or comment.

- Script Writing – Celtx

- Video Editing – Equal to Final Cut
we hoping for Kdenlive to become this

- Image Editing – Cinepaint (If I remember correctly this will handle 10-bit color and Gimp only handles 8-bit. Correct me if I'm wrong)

- 2D and 3D Tracking – Missing pipe?

- 3D Image Creation – Blender

- Compositing – Seems like some mutt derived from Cinepaint, Blender and/or Kdenlive would do this nicely.

- Sound Editing – Audacity? but yes I'd like something more powerful or more geared directly toward video production.

- Music Creation – ???

- Color Correction – ??? But I point you toward another video clip The ingenious thing I like about this is it is a batch of effects in one plugin. Upon use it opens into a new GUI just for color and then when you're done it puts you back into your editing application. No recompression, no exporting out/importing in and in real world extremely quick and easy to use.

- Final Output Compression – Winff

- Disk Creation – Qdvdauthor

- Cross Platform Video Player, Codec, and Container – I don't know but don't feel to concerned about this one as far as a complete production suite. Anyone else?

I am not concerned with codecs either. The only reason I put it there would be to maintain a complete open workflow. I honestly don't mind close source components, I just know the community will not embrace or integrate as well.

For example Nuke and Shake both work on Linux and are great compositors, however I doubt open source developers would want to structure their software around these products on the principal that they are closed source and I don't blame them.

I suggested a unified interface for all applications and suggested Celtx to be the script writing software elsewhere on this forum. Here is what user “jmpour” told me “It is a Java application. There are probably better solutions around, even if it means redeveloping.” Several projects may need to be redeveloped to facilitate a suite like this which may be hard to coordinate. The unified interface will be nearly impossible at first.

That brings me to my last point. Now that we know we agree on what we want how do we make this a reality? Who do we contact? What kind of proposal do we put together and who do we give it to?


it's really a good post ... you imagine the perfect open source video suite that professionnal want ...

ok ok, but where are the thousand of developpers needed to do that ?


Nyme there is no reason to be sarcastic or negative. You seem like the type of person that if Richard Stallman came up to you and told you his idea of an entirely open source computer system you would laugh in his face and say “ok ok, but where are the thousand of developpers needed to do that ? “ But that is just my assessment based off of your last two comments.

Wonderful people are out there that want to make great software as we have seen from projects like KDENLIVE. If it weren't for those thousands of mostly unknown developers working very hard every day we would not have half of the great software we have.

As with all projects people need a reason to get involved and to help create. I don't know what motivates a software developer because I am not one. My area of expertise is video production and advertising. Because that is my area of expertise I can inform a developer of what would get me and other professionals like me interested in using their software. That is mostly all that I can provide.

We have stated above what we need and what we want. Until we professionals can get those things we will be forced to continue to use proprietary software from corporations like Adobe, Apple, and Avid, while listening to hard core open source fans making remarks like “why doesn't the movie industry support Linux” and “when will they give Linux a chance”. Both of those came from YouTube comments and there are plenty more like them. I have even heard that the Blender short film “Elephants Dream” is all about Hollywoods rejection of open source tools.

The misconception though is that we have rejected something. There is nothing yet to reject. There is no pipeline or workflow made around open source software; and while projects like KDENLIVE, CELTX and VLC are very useful they won't be used professionally until an entire workflow is developed.

I am putting my best foot forward and asking how do we get what we want/need created? If a polite and positive developer could please educate me and others I'm sure we would get involved as much as we can with the creation of the software we need.

MillionMonkeys I just took a look at the video you posted showing Red Giants color correction software. It looks to be very nice software, but does it support multiple shots? I like that Apple Color can import an entire sequence and keep each shot separate in the timeline.

Check out a demo of the interface.

I will need confirmation of this but could MLT be made to support more advance color correction? If so could a new program with a new interface be made to take full advantage of all the new color correction features built into MLT, basically KDENLIVE without any editing controls and a lot of GUI modifications. If this is possible it seems to be the best way to get a good integrated color correction software for Linux.

Alan, your idea is very good, but for me it's look like a dream ...

Look at the time needed just for have kdenlive .. so try to imagine the time for a complete integration suite ..

so you can begin your help in debugging .. you will see the time needed for a good soft ...


Nyme you are completely correct that this is a dream. You are also correct that it would take an incalculable amount of man hours to complete, but let me make a counter argument.

In 1963 M.L.K also had a dream about racial equality. Last year America saw the election of the first black President.

On September 12 1962 John F. Kennedy made a speech about sending a man to the moon. He said “we choose to go to the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard”. We made it to the moon a mere seven years later.

And more recently in the 1982 when Richard Stallman discussed his dream of an open computer environment I'm sure people told him to think of the time it would take to develop. To think of the work and the man hours and to know that in the end it would only equal what was already available. So why try? But the GNU project was created and is nowadays a vital operating system.

Yes this project would be hard. Yes it would take an unimaginable amount of time, but it needs to start somewhere at sometime. If we are to just say “it will take too long” we would be shooting ourselves in the foot and not living up to the true focus of the GNU project.

The formation of a FOSS video production suite is something that will happen. The community is to motivated and intelligent to not let it. Whether it starts now or ten years from now I can't say, but it will happen one day. I think we should get a jump start on it now.

So even if it is a large dream I want to know the first steps. How do other projects get formed?

From a programing aspect color is currently integrated through the FreiOr, there site is down right now so i can confirm color depth, but i think it is above 8bits per color channel (RGBA). so that should make it possible to have smooth color controls. as long as they user interfaced correctly.

AlanJames1987 - its not a dream, its merely the next step. yes kdenlive needs work, and so do many of the other packages, but integration need to be thought of. I'm no great programmer but user interface is important and often lacks in Linux, but more important is integration on a deeper level. we need to be able to take video/audio/frames into any other package easily. This needs to be defined and clearly. there a number of projects that do this in different ways, for instance the up side of a project like verse is that its network based meaning that the colorist and sound engineer could be working on it at the same time and if the director changed a cut the would have instant access to the change. someone working on the DVD authoring would not have to wait till every one else is finished to start as he would have active access as well. especially if footage could be marked in a unselected/selected/stared/incut manor. If anything i would like to see more incorporation of this type of technology.

uni-verse ( is unfortunately restricted to 3d at present but if that could Incorporated a fuller work flow i think it would be perfect, especially if versions of renders could be maintained.

MillionMonkeys - EDL looks quit possible, form the structure of Kdenlive. though I'm looking at the structure of an edl at the moment cus i have no idea from a technical point of view.

Alabanit, yeah cant get the FreiOr website to come up right now either. From what I understood it was a simple plugin API and there were certain things it couldn't do and was never designed to do though if its at least 10-bit I'm sure it's very usuable for a base of good effects. Possibly MLT can incorporate a more complicated plugin thing that would allow things like secondary color and more complex things.
AlanJames I checked out the video of 'Color' I have used that program before and it does have a lot of great features and would make a great blueprint. Maybe something that opens into a seperate GUI like Magic Bullet Looks but has the more complete features and controls like Color.
As far as EDL's I'm not sure what format they are in but they are universal ie: you can take an EDL and put it into Avid Final Cut etc. and all will read them. They'll get the effects all messed up on you but it is a universal format so it might be nice to find out what that is and intergrate it.

Onto how to make the worlds coolest editing suite. Here are some of the characteristics as I see them:

Needs to be modular/needs to intergrate - Most parts (color corrector/editor) would and could work off of a lot of the same libraries and it would be nice that as those libraries update then that piece of the software updates. So if 4:4:4 can be used in kdenlive that same batch of libraries (MLT,FFMPEG) would automatically make it useable in the other things. Really we're talking about a batch of specialized GUI's and a batch of libraries that need to be written but most of this stuff is at least partly written already.

So considering Kdenlive would be the back bone of all this why don't we find out what things we would need from this project and I'll try to write something out that asks alot about how to make those ideas work and send it to the appropriate people within the kdenlive project. Then I'll contact any other pieces of the pipe and explain our idea and what we would need from them. Then we should have that 'thousand programmers' up and running. I'm not afraid to direct the project but I would appreciate all the pro help because I'll miss things that all you will pick up and so on and so forth. Or if anyone else wants to put their head down and head forward with me that'd be great but I've taken what we've talked about seriously and it's time to start seeing what can be done.

I think what has made blender such a powerful program is that the professionals and the programmers were one thing. So we need to work together pros and programmers to do the same for the what we're doing.

we want at least 10-bit color.
options within the program to call other programs to open them and or even possibly just open the piece thats needed in a seperate window. (need to see your script? a window pops up in your editor working off the libraries in your script writer and is properly formatted blah blah blah) and some bridge so if a change is made in, say, the compositor it pushes those changes back over to your editor automatically so everything just becomes seamless. Anything else we should confront the Kdenlive developers with?
I'm not concerned with what we want out of color or compositor right now just staying on the focus of what we'd need from kdenlive to develop the rest further.

ultimately, if we being serious we need to look at 16bit per channel, 10-bits not bad, but there are those who will need 16bit as professionals. 12bit is great on a 2k image ( and the machines do that already but if you goes as high as 4k, you going to need a minimum of 16bit per channel. that comes down to a desition if they seriously want to include pros or not.

4K is essential, red cameras are using it to shoot at even now. and if you need to composite, rotoscoping or other special effects, it nice to have those kind of options.

I would like to see a deeper level of integration than simply comandline between programs. this means a separate tool that talk not just on one machine but across a network, so colorist, editors, rotoscopers, animators, audio are all in touch real time with the same project. this would be bigger than just Kdenlive....

I think we need to completely conceptually design the perfect system for all of us. We then need to create a (PDF) document outlining what we want. We should include workflow pictures and perhaps a rough design of each programs GUI. Included in this design would also be what currently active projects we feel would be best to use and what projects need to be created.

After that is done we should present it to each active project's head developer. We should explain that we are small group of professionals working in the video and film industry and further explain that this plan is what we would want from an open source workflow. We should also make it clear that we don't want to run their projects or even tell them what to do. The plan presented should be considered an outline and if they feel it is a good idea they should integrate it into their own develop goals.

The creation of this project or the formation of a video project alliance is not something that will be made over night. I think for now we need to plant the seed and let it grow.

MillionMonkey (or anyone) if you need to contact me so we can coordinate my contact information follows:
Phone: 813-310-4868
AIM: AlanJames9Iron

@AlanJames1987: Now that Kdenlive incorporates a complete set of features, it is very likely that the development team will follow some directions from one release to another. But not all directions at once.

For the next releases, we plan GPU decoding, a better H264 support (timestamps). Then, there are other directions like a better color management. Maybe a better keyframe and effect GUI.

All this demands efforts and a lot of development time.

And of course stability is a major issue.

Also, don't forget that Kdenlive is MLT user interface. At each step, you need to ask yourself "How can I interface this feature with MLT and which library do I need". This is mostly a free-software hunt for other free software libraries.

Last of all and pardon me if I am clear as possible:

We NEVER ever look at commercial products. There is plenty of free software to look at. For example showfoto for effects and color management.

If you keep on taking about this and this software which sometimes release patents, we may become very upset. This kind of information "Kdenlive should look like product X" is of no help. We do not copy closed software and do not intend to do so.

Understand we don't even run Windows and I bought a Mac OS X computer for compilation only. But only recently. So a better focussed description of needed features is better. Describe what you need, not what Product X provides.

Don't even make sceenshots of commercial products. We will not read them.

Is that clear?

I understand your reasons for not looking at closed source software for inspiration however I feel that is a very closed minded way of developing. I will not presume to tell you how to run your project though.

I believe that if open source developers will not be open minded enough to give their users what they want or to examine the competition they should expect to not have any users. Ignoring either of those is ignorant and bad business practices.

As much as I would like to use Linux as a production platform I can not currently for lack of software. I don't know how to write code or how to bug test and thus am not able to contribute directly. I can only provide you with what I as a professional video editor would like to see from KDENLIVE and projects like it. If this is not of value I understand.

This has no bearing on this discussion but I feel the desire to inform you that I am currently using Windows 7 and plan on using it into the future. I will also continue to use the Adobe CS4 suite. Until a usable suite is developed for Linux it is of no use to me.

I believe you are making good head way on your project and I wish you good fortune into the future, but for now you have lost me as a user because of your lack of features and integration.

It was with big eyes I followed this discussion and I considered it to be an important step in the KDENLIVE development.

The big question is (or was) to me:
How do we make the professionals take the step into the open source community?

Well, there is a reason (or many reasons) why video editors still work with the big commercial programs and I think devteams should listen to them, even if they don't like it or if the wish list becomes to far fetched. Especially if the professionals even comes freely to talk about it and when they really would like to work in an open source suit.
And if a professional video editor explains a feature it is (to me) pretty natural to show what they mean by explaining a feature they do work with every day. And as the Video editing products within the open source world is very thin, they must show features from commercial products. And I didn't interpreted it as a request to copy/paste a commercial feature, more to show what's, to them, really needed in a editing program.

ahwell... not much to do now. I hope some professional editors stays in these forums and make feature requests, even though they need to do it more subtle now.

I hope this is not the end of the Video Project Alliance... This thread has been great sofar and a wishlist of professional video editors needs and some research into how to implement them will surely benefit everyone. An open and sometimes little emotional discussion is just the open source way to do it.
(I can remember some GNOME, GPL3 and Mono heat in the past :D )

Let the seed grow!

Dyngo and Weevil I would like to see my and other people dream of a united video production suite fulfilled but because I am not a developer I can't do anything but suggest what changes should be made.

I think projects need to follow what they set out to do at the creation of the project. I also think that this is the developers project, but they will not be the people using the software every day. I further think developers should listen to the people that do use this software every day but I will by no means say it is their responsibility to listen to us. I believe in their right to progress their project in any way they choose.

The capitalist system is a rough system and if you can't measure up in the eyes of a user (of any product) the user has the right to leave you of their own free will.

I feel that KDENLIVE is going to be a very good product one day but only by listening to and integrating the needs of a user. If the developers decide it is to hard to create a needed feature necessary to a user then they should expect that users will leave them and use a product that does have that feature.

I will continue to monitor this thread but I leave the ball is in your court developers.

I'm extremely interested in a completely open source video editing suite and what I feel my task is is to play a kind of consultant and possibly a go-between into what is needed and I don't feel the burden is to fall entirely on kdenlive, in fact quite the opposite. I like to see some form of open platform whereby kdenlive can keep working out bugs and making the editing application more solid while who knows who works on some color correction module etc etc. In a modular design all this would be not only possible but if successful would greatly reduce the stress on kdenlive developers as a lot of the pieces the professionals would like to see that don't have to deal directly with cutting the video could be off being tweaked by some other group. I actually really hope some day I'll get to put the open source community in my credits of one of my projects so people can start asking how real results could have come from software thats free. People in the commercial communtiy don't understand that linux meets or surpasses everything they do on a daily basis with closed software, I friend ask me the other day if linux could get on the internet, no joke. However I understand the underlying structure of how open source will naturally brew a better program than closed source, I would like to help this piece of the puzzle attain that same level so I won't be stopping showing how to make that happen. And I won't stop doing what I can to make that happen so I apologize to jmpoure but I will continue to head in that direction. And figuring out how to get others who have already started projects that could be useful to the suite that we are looking to create would ease the burden of trying to 'go in all directions at once' for the developers of kdenlive. No one here wants to integrate commercial software and I don't know if you can use Linux for very long before coming to the conclusion that that is a negative path to go down but if we can be not only be competitive to these programs but actually exceed their capabilities then we will have accomplished what I will be setting out to do. For everyone who has been following this thread and wants to help out in that arena now would be a good time to chime in as I will be trying to put together a list of people who want to help and then taking the next step of getting us all to agree on the minimums we think we need. Then... on to talking to developers. And AlanJames I'm a little busy right now getting ready for a vacation but have lots I want to say but I saved your email address AlanJames and will contact you in the next week or two to discuss more seriously.

and my email if anyone needs me

"I feel that KDENLIVE is going to be a very good product one day but only by listening to and integrating the needs of a user. If the developers decide it is to hard to create a needed feature necessary to a user then they should expect that users will leave them and use a product that does have that feature."

Sure kdenlive is not a jail .... the user coud also learn how to program and help the other developpers ..i know it's not easy but we are talking about dreams ... and mans need a lot of work to walk on the moon ...

I am the lead maintainer of MLT and dvgrab as well as casual contributor to Kdenlive. In the past, on this forum, I have reacted negatively to threads like this, but I am trying to give this one a fresh approach; I do not want to be discouraging. In that light, I suggest that you approach this process carefully with the developers. Many open source developers are sensitive to taking direction and hearing opinion about priorities. Also, take into consideration that some are only hobbyists, some are part-time professional open source devs, and some full-time. Consequently, it might not be good to present them a grand master plan that represents the professional market. No one wants to feel like they are being asked to work for someone for free. It is fine to make a plan and to publicly collaborate on its development. However, please take into consideration the current state and the small steps needed to get to what you want. Then, lightly approach the developers in incremental steps in the form of bug reports, suggestions on how to rework something specific into something better, and sensible, next-step style feature requests. In other words, behave like a contributing power user.

For example, if you write to me now and ask for 10-bit or higher processing in MLT, I would respond by saying that I am willing to work on this under (paying) contract. Currently, I have more basic things to work on in addition to the occassional MLT-related contract side job. Simply put, a contract affects priority. Outside that, I take into account personal interest and things I think would benefit my fellow casual home user. On the other hand, I can forsee that higher depth processing will become more commonly beneficial and that I will develop a personal interest in it. However, it will just have to wait until I feel like more important things have been addressed. But also, this is an open process, and if someone else wants to do it, great! Assuming no one steps up to that challenge, and outside of a contract offer, what do you think you can do to help me get to that point?

Dan you are always very polite, to the point and willing to explain the thought behind an act rather then just acting on the thought. Thank you for that.

I will try to rework my schedule to do bug reports once a week for KDENLIVE. As long as I know there are developers interested in developing the features I want I am (or course) willing to help in the way they need me to help. I don't expect someone to just give me something with nothing given in return, so if its bug reports you want, bug reports you shall receive.

Dan if it is okay with you, MillionMonkeys and I will be in contact with each other to develop a long term plan. After it is developed we will send it to you to revise. You have a better knowledge of the inner workings of how open source software is developed and thus can inform us of how to “pitch” the idea most effectively. I am used to dealing with paying clients and I bet that approach will not work well here. As I said we will only send it to you if you are willing to help us revise it.

Again Dan thank you for being polite and informative.


Please excuse my terrible English, sometimes in this post I will be rude but i's because I don't how to say things in the good way. (Jean-Michel, if you have time maybe we could talk in French at phone or via skype. If you want we can also met)

I'm a French movie director and I know a lot the industry. I worked as editor and know all the existing application. I worked too as a cinema teacher with kids and teenagers.

The only reason why I still have Windows in my computer is my need of a good NLE. For the moment, I can't switch to Kdenlive because of a lake of basic features. This week, for an educative project, I propose to the people I work with to use Kdenlive. Because of those missing features we couldn't and they decide to buy 5 FCP licences. That was very disappointing for me because I want to teach kids how to make movie with no money. I don't want to teach them how to work with expensive not free applications.

I really think that Kdenlive could be a killer apps : the engine is efficient, the design is clear, etc. but it can't be use by professionals right know.

As a professional, I'm not (really) interested by color management, compositng and effects. I just want to be productive and accurate in editing and to be able to communicate with the other actors of the post-production. I have to warn you that I will compare Kdenlive with Avid Media Composer, FCP and Premiere. I don't propose you to copy those, maybe you can imagine how to be as productive than those 3 applications. But I have to explain you what they have and you haven't.

So, after those long preliminaries (a French specialty) here are my suggestions.

I) Productivity in editing.

1) Separation between video and audio.
For a pro, sound and images are always different. We want to see immediately where is the video and where is the audio. But we want also see i we loose the syncro or not. In FCP, you cant easily link and unlike audio. In avid, when you loose the syncro, you cant read, in the track, for how many image. Actually, in kdenlive, the split audio function is nice, but i would like the possibility to choose "alway split" in the settings.

2) Nice layer logic.

As said in this post, the layer logic should be this one :


That's the way the editors use to think, think today and will alway think because V1 and A1-2 are the main tracks. Other are complement and need to be far of the center.

For now I will use this for all my examples.

3) Always know who goes where.

We want to chose witch track of the player goes in witch track of the recorder. For example :

- | V2 |
V1 | V1 |
- | A1 |
- | A2 |
A1 | A3 |
A2 | A4 |

Source V1 goes in V1 recorder.
Source A1 goes in A3 recorder.
Source A2 goes in A4 recorder.

Another example :

- | /V2 | Inactive V2
V1 | /V1 | Source V1 try to go in inactive V1
- | /A1 | Inactive A1
- | /A2 | Inactive A2
A1 | A3 | Source A1 goes in A3 recorder.
A2 | A4 | Source A2 goes in A4 recorder.

In this case, you just put the sound in 2 track and don't touch a the other tracks.

4) 3 point editing. VERY IMPORTANT.
edit: See also 3 point editing —Granjow

3 point editing is the key. A NLE where you can't do 3 point editing can't pretend to be use by professionals. You can imagine other logic but : 1) why reinvent the wheel 2) the editors love 3 point editing 3) (for the moment) Other logic are slower and less permisive.

So, what is 3 point editing ? I'll try to explain but it's not easy for me in English.

This is the content of my source and my timeline (for the examples, I will use only one layer), each letter in a frame :

SOURCE | V1 | 1234567890

Case 1 :
Now, i put a mark IN and a mark OUT in my source (to say, i want this part of the rush) an Mark IN in the timeline (3 marks -> 3 point)

SOURCE | V1 | 123 i 456 o 7890


Now I have 2 solution (corresponding in 2 buttons in the interface or 2 shortcuts in my keyboard).

a) I press REPLACE : my selection of source go after mark IN and replace the same length.


a) I press INSERT : my selection of source go after mark IN and everything after it move.


Case 2 :

SOURCE | V1 | 123 i 456 o 7890



Case 3 :

SOURCE | V1 | 123 i 4567890



Case 4 :
SOURCE | V1 | 123456789 o 0



I hope you will see all the advantages of this logic: rapidity (just one click or key is quicker than drag'n drop), precision (I know exactly what's happens and why) liberty for the editor (for the moment, in kdenlive I can't put a clip between two).

5) Cut and lift in the timeline. VERY IMPORTANT.

No need for words to explain this but a letter drawing (# is a hole in the editing).



6) Trim mode.

I don't know the English word for "raccord" witch is the cut between 2 clips en the timeline.

Well, with a trim mode you cat adjust with a lot of precision the "raccord". For example you can say : I want 2 more images more in the left clip and 3 less in the right one.

Do you need a drawing ?

7) Many editing in one project.

We need many different sequences in the project for different reasons :

- We need to keep older version of the same movie and, the possibility to get back just one part who was better finaly.
- For a long movie I can edit the different scenes in a separate sequence and, after, edit the sequence together.

When I put a sequence in the player I don't expect to get it like a complete movie (like in FCP) but like an editing with many clip (like in avid).

8) Shortcuts for everything.

In Avid, every key of my keyboard is a shortcut and I can change them easily. A good editor barely touch is mouse.
The more important are INSERT, REPLACE, CUT, LIFT and J-K-L that should work like in this post :

II) Communicate with the other actors.

1) With the color-guy (how do you call him ?) and the laboratory.

I won't do the color stuff in my editing computer : It's not my stuff ("Etalonneur" is a difficult job) and I won't paid for RAID hard drive and DLP screen necessary for a good job.

So I need the possibility of "offline" work and to provide to the lab a list of my editing decision. That's the definition of an EDL. So I need EDL, OMF, AAF... something that allow me to have a conformation of my work.

2) Communicate with the sound editor.

Between Avid or FCP and Pro Tools or Nuedo we have OMF.
We need something between Kdenlive and Ardour. That would be a first step.

But I scared to need also to export to Pro Tools for a long time : every sound editor I know paid a lot for Pro Tools and they won't switch to Ardour for me.

Maybe tomorrow if Ardour become the reference it should be.

So, one more time, OMF or AAF.

III) Small little stuffs.

1) Fullscreen in my second monitor.

2) Categorization for effects.

3) Easy access of fade.

Fade should be possible between 2 clips in the same track. Doing a fade is not compositing (for most editors).

3) GUI profiles.

Screen organization for editing, for recording, for titling, etc.

By the way, all the philosophy of editing is to compare 2 images : the one I have and the one I what to add. So the default set should be with 2 monitors (clip an project).

OK, I think that's it for the moment. Sorry for this very long (and hard to read) post. I repeat, I really like kdenlive and hope I can help you to understand professionals needs to make it even better.


Romuald, thank you. Your English may not be perfect, but you communicate these ideas quite clearly. And it's actually quite good to see stated clearly the needs of a professional editor, and to have some exact suggestions for how this app might be molded to become a better tool for this purpose.

I think it's very important that these ideas be considered. They are clear and logical and they are necessitated by the way movies need to be put together, and this goes for both pros and amateurs.

Right now I think Kdenlive is developing into a first rate amateur/prosumer video editor. And by this, I don't mean second rate quality, I mean that typically one person on one computer is going to edit and completely finish and render the final product, with no or very few other outside apps. This is a very different kind of environment than the film industry with it's divisions of labor into editing EDL, colorist, sound, titles, effects etc. as you indicate. So the prosumer NLE must do it all to some degree, and walk a difficult line between power and ease of use. In fact, it must have some color correction and sound features etc. that are maybe beyond what is necessary by someone who is purely editing. In other words, most Kdenlive users will not be correcting color in a special outside app, nor will we be massaging 10 tracks of audio in Ardour, for the most part.

However, Kdenlive seems like a very flexible video tool. I think that it may well be possible for it to be a simple yet powerful 'prosumer' tool, while giving the pro editor some options to work in a more 'industry standard' environment with things like 3-point editing.

In fact I think the 3-point editing and trim editing procedures you talk about are the things I miss the most in Kdenlive as it stands right now. Being an efficient 'cutting' tool is job #1 for an NLE. These cutting modes go to the heart of the editing process and I would very much like to see Kdenlive get these things really right.

For my part, I don't care too much if Kdenlive has the sum of all the features of other software packages considered professional and mimicks each and every one's workflow model.

Is a BetaCam less professional than a 35mm Arriflex? Is a KEM less professional than a Moviola? Is Blender less professional than Maya? Depends.

The lack of a standard format for exchange between media editing software (the second point you make in your last post) is the real issue here, and the one that makes Kdenlive (and e.g. Blender, when it comes to EDL.s) feel less "pro" than their proprietary competition. They may not be open source, but when it comes to interoperability with other applications (be it of the same vendor or not) they certainly seem more open than their FLOSS counterparts.

So, what is long overdue is some sort of OpenEDL or really open open media framework, an HTML of the world wide FLOSS media editing application web. This needs diplomatic skills more than coding wizardry and would be a perfect task for enthusiastic non-coders. I don't know if I have enough spare time to handle this, but I would definitely take it under consideration. And I'm no coding wizard, that's for sure!

ArtInvent (and others, of course), why don't we team up and take this into our hands? First step would be to look for other efforts that go in the same direction and join forces with them.

Hi, my name is Gabriel, I'm a certified instructor for Adobe's Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Autodesk's Maya, 3ds Max and Combustion.
I like Linux, KDE and free software in general and really hope one day it gets to pro status, or at least good enough for prosumer level work.
I'm keeping an eye on Kdenlive for video editing, and like the cleaness of it's interface specially. Haven't tried it yet, so I can't comment, but I think is right headed.

One suggestion I'd give, if I may, by seeing the screenshots would be to optimize the space used by the different elements of the interface with the purpose of maximizing work areas (timeline, monitors, effect controls) over resourse access areas (project panel, effects/transitions selection, undo list, upper buttons bar, etc.).
When I edit I'm constantly looking for ways to have taller timelines and bigger monitor areas in every program I've used. If you manage to provide just that, you'll have gained many editors hearts right away! :)

Kudos to the developers. Keep the good work!!!

AlanJames1987 ....... Are you still around?

Linux badly needs a good video editor and in my opinion it needs to be coded from scratch in C or C++ and not be dependent on external software packages like ffmpeg, MLT and the type of Linux OS you are using such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, etc. Look at all the Kdenlive packages available for the different Linux OS's, should be one like GIMP, FireFox, Open Office.

This of course would be a major job and could be handle the same way GIMP, FireFox, Open Office are developed. And according to the December 2009 issue of HDVideoPro magazine Final Cut Pro was developed by Apple as a "loss leader" to sell macs. So perhaps Mark Shuttleworth - Ubuntu founder - wouldn't mind donating some money to devolop a Linux video editor

I recommend you download ArtistX 0.7 - an Ubuntu based OS. It has tons of preloaded graphics and audio software to try out and a few video editors such as:

Kdenlive (easiest to use)
VideoCut 0.20
Open Movie Editor 0.0.2008

There really is no way not to be dependant on something like ffmpeg. Ffmpeg probably represents several hundred, if not thousands, of man-years of coding. Reimplementing that in Kdenlive would be madness.

Any video editor for Linux, that is "selfcontained", will not be able to handle more than a few of the most basic/simple encodings.

The "split" in kdelinve is basically sound. Mlt on top of ffmpeg is good, and it works.

Not to say that everything is perfect - because it is not.

One could consider delivering Kdenlive with MLT and FFMPEG as "total package". However, this would really mean delivering it in source only. No distro wants that, so...

Thanks for the reply madsdyd.

RE: "Any video editor for Linux, that is "selfcontained", will not be able to handle more than a few of the most basic/simple encodings."

I would like to use DCRAW in this example. As you know DCRAW is a C program that will convert most camera RAW files into TIFF, now apply this to a Linux video editor. I don't understand why a C programmer can't come up with a similar program to convert video/audio formats to other formats, and then implement it into a self-contained video editor. More info on DCRAW:

Dave Coffin - the developer of DCRAW - also offers consulting services and I'm sure would be able to provided lots of help on such a project, for a fee of course. This is were the likes of Mark Shuttleworth, RedHat, SUSE, etc. come in to help with the finances of such a major project. RedHat (RHT) has a market cap of $5 billion and I'm sure Shuttleworth could raise some money.

Apple developed FCP as a "loss leader" for Macs, why can't the Linux community do the same thing for a Linux video editor?

I think it is silly to compare DCRAW with 8000 lines of code against kdenlive and its supporting libraries (mlt, ffmpeg, sdl, libx264, and many more) with easily over 1 million lines of code.

I don't think you have any idea how hard it is to write quality software that is stable in all environments and that is fast enough to do the job. Video codecs in particular require many optimizations that few people are skilled enough to do well. Just as most doctors can't do brain surgery, most software developers can't do speed optimizations in assembly language.

The Linux community as a whole is not a for-profit corporation and it makes no sense for you to expect it to behave like one. If you want Red Hat, Novell, etc to finance a professional NLE project for you, you should be contacting them instead of posting about it here. I predict they will laugh and then have a guard escort you out of the building after you propose that all necessary components need to be written from scratch. :)

If you really really want to make a company make a (/another) videoeditor for linux, why not get some votes together for one of these Ubuntu Brainstorm 'video editor wanted!' ideas?

(Sorry if I've stepped in late here, but...)

As far as music production goes, MuseScore ( has been my finale replacement for quite some time now, and is quickly approaching 1.0. All that's left to do is incorporate an easy way to export individual parts and it's set to compete with finale.

Apart from Audacity (which is great, but the Linux audio framework has gone on without it) Ardour is a powerful multitrack editor with a Track-and-Bus approach.

Regarding functionality in a NLE: I really would like to see as little functionality as possible, regarding importing and exporting. IMHO a NLE should only handle raw audio/video streams and do that perfectly. Conversion from/to formats should be done by tools that are specialised in that, like ffmpeg and mencoder. A I guess a "professional" would know from formats and codecs and how to convert these >:-)

I only want to emphasize that this thread is extremely important to me. I'm writing a variety of articles for beginners editing video in Linux, I'm a newbie myself to the topic, and the comments and suggestions made here have given me some needed background on the subject from the professional POV. It would be a grave error to ignore or discourage the contributions from the pros. I don't get the impression that anyone here is saying "Do it like it's done in [your favorite Win/Mac NLE here]", but they are pointing out that certain features in commercial apps are features that are worth having in Kdenlive.

The Ardour DAW isn't trying to copy Pro Tools, but you can be sure that its devs pay a *lot* of attention to what's going on in the world of commercial DAWs.

Edit: I must add that I do enjoy using Kdenlive, it's a wonderful program.

Two big problems with Kdenlive is the missing codecs, such has MPEG-4, H.264 and Flash. And all the different Kdenlive packages for each linux OS.

I'm on Mint 8 and when I downloaded Kdenlive 0.7.5 it was missing all the codecs listed above.

(Warning: This is going to be very ranty.)

Just two words: software patents. Those are hard to stop. If we succeed on the national level (parliaments), the lobbyists just try it one level up - the EU, the WIPO or any other uncontrollable lawmaking agency they see fit to call into life ad-hoc. Don't blame Kdenlive, don't blame your distro.

Two solutions though:
1) stop using tech altogether. Whatever gadget you buy, from whichever vendor, you are most likely - if only indirectly - shoving your money up the *** of some pro-patent lobbying farts
2) lobby your distro to implement a simple means that lets you install the patent encumbered components if you so chose

Conversion always means quality loss, and most important TIME means MONEY for professionals, which HATES to convert or even CAPTURE. If you are in a news workflow you need somekind of solid or DTE disk to avoid capture, so as you can see conversion is totally aout of the question.

Let`s say you have 80 hours of video (the ussual for an average documentary with many interviews/inserts), how longs would you think it could take to make that conversion into something KDEnlive can edit... well, your customer will run away to some Mac user, profesional means to take less time to do more and having a competitive solution make you even more compettitive don`t you think?

What you propose is good for editing a family video, and having all the time in the world, and the just upload the video to youtube.

Kdenlive needs desperately Sequencing/nesting IMHO (to avoid intermediate renders)

One basic functionality for 35mm / 16mm film editing is EDL list. While capturing the dv footage provided by telecine lab it should be able to capture footage as well as timecode data. This data should be preserved while cutting the clips too. And in the end kdenlive should be able to generate those cut list / EDL list for a negative cutter to cut the film manually. Here in India we follow this workflow with Avid. As of I know there is no one software which is capable of doing this, which is very essential and basic.

More info about EDL:

I'm paid to edit video and I work on a range of things from promotional stuff through productions of live events and other bits and bobs. I produce 2-4 videos a week. I work almost exclusively with final cut however I've been watching the progress of kdenlive and also openshot with great interest.

The progress is very encouraging and I'm really impressed with what I can now do with kdenlive.

For the first time I think I could now actually use it for work but what I'm hoping is that kdenlive will get to the stage where I WANT to use it for work.

There is so much positive stuff I could say about it already.
I like the render options and separate rendering process.

Fairly essential deal makers/breakers...
* Drag to insert a clip between two clips
* Layer modes like dodge, burn, difference etc.
* clip opacity doesn't work for me and I need it.
* hi pass, low pass audio filters.
* stereo audio tracks should be linked mono tracks. With keyframing for pan, vol.
* Sound level meter with peak indicator
* fully parametric eq - ideally with built in analyser
* timecode overlay effect

Things that would be great...
* syncing up camera angles and easy jumping between them. Like the multicam interfaces in other pro NLE packages.
* fluid speed scaling. I set key frames in the video and link them to keyframes in the sound track. The program alters the speed of the video track to line up those keyframes. Ie my video can beat to the music more easily.
* Clip properties like position, cropping, distorts, opacity. I'd like to be able to interact with the preview window as if it was a drawing canvas with keyframes too.
* I don't want to see clip names on the timeline unless I look at the properties - visual clutter.
* I'd like to have left click drag selection to select multiple items on the timeline.
* I'd like an interface for importing clips from sdhc or hd based cameras. I'd want it to be able to handle fixing the aspect ratio of mod/moi files ie. turn them into proper mpeg2 files with a completed header.
* A media/clip library with simple tagging and searching - backend on a media server? A separate but integrated app.
* Would be great to set up a client/server rendering model so that the rendering can actually happen on a separate pc. A separated but integrated app. eg add batch conversions, I can use it without a project just to convert a file? etc.

Just my 2p worth.

Well done on a great app so far.


No way - I get footage from all sorts of sources and in all sorts of formats.

Stock footage I purchase.
3d renders from other companies.
Firewire from our pro cameras.
SD-Cards from handy cams.

I need multi format import and export.

Would be nice if render could be moved onto a different machine though so I can carry on editing.

I understand where you are coming from but each time you convert you loose quality so if I have to convert before it comes in and then convert on the way out the result will not be as professional as when I only convert on the way out;)