Add dissolve and wipes

When you edit video and film, there are really only a handful of effects needed. And by far, the most used one is dissolve.

Dissolve needs to be super simple to add, click one button, set duration and placement and hit add/apply/ok.

A good example could be the Quick dissolve dialog that Avid MediaComposer has. A simplified version of that would be nice.

For wipes, it would be nice to have the standard wipes in a menu that is easy to pick from. I tried adding a wipe and understood absolutely nothing. I got a little box in the timeline. When I clicked on it, I got a strange interface. All I wanted was a simple wipe... And I need it with as feww clicks as possible.

A video editing system needs to do the basics real fast and real simple. Anything beyond that is just a bonus. :-)

Kdenlive now has dissolve, but it's kind of odd.

First, it's called the Luma transition, which pretty much means nothing to me and I would and did not guess that it meant a dissolve. I would think that it would either be called dissolve or cross-fade.

Second problem is that to dissolve between two clips, you have to put them on different adjacent tracks, overlap the out point of the first with the in point of the second, and apply the luma (or whatever) trans. The overlap time is the time of the trans. This is kind of a pain for one, and fairly primitive. Most other NLE's these days allow you to simply put all the main clips on one track and apply transitions between them, automatically overlapping their in-out points as you specify the length of the trans.

The big problem with this two-track approach is compositing: right now in Kdenlive you can only composite a single title clip (for instance) over a single track, far as I can tell. If you put a clip on another track and do a transition - the composite no longer applies, and you just get whichever clip is on top. This is quite crippling. It's quite common to want to splay a title out over 7-15 seconds or so, while having a number of quick clips transitioning. Right now you can only do that if everything is on the same track, so no transitions, straight cuts only. The only way to composite over transitions would be to pre-render that part of the movie and add that resulting clip it back to the timeline on one track. Not good.

Now, Cinelerra does the same two-track dance and I've never liked it, but at least in Cinelerra you can just set one track to be composited over ALL the tracks below it (as I recall). Not ideal but at least you can get what you want. I would certainly prefer the one-track approach eventually but perhaps the Cinelerra trick might be easier to implement as a stopgap?

I really hope to play with Kdenlive as it develops and try to get into a dialog with the people that are working on it. But for serious editing, I do not consider anything on Linux useable for the moment. But Kdenlive is the one that really have my hopes up.

My suggestion right now would be to focus on editing and drop all that has to do with compositing. Make it into a real efficient cutting system, and then expand to the compositing later. Of course, always keep it in the back of your head when you develop, but fix all the basics first.

There is a basic three step process for all harddisk editing.

1. Get the stuff into the system
2. Do something about it
3. Get it out of the system


The default transition is a dissolve; it just has a different name. Did you click the arrow in the clip on the timeline to introduce the transition?

A traditional wipe is as simple clicking on the transition after adding it, and choosing an image file. On the other hand, the "Wipe" transition is not actually a wipe but a slide-type of transition. On the mailing list, I did actually recommend these changes to make the expected more obvious.

As far as compositing goes, yes, you can composite multiple tracks. See my recent Memorial Weekend video in the Theater forum. For the "Lauren Riding" title, I applied text on a motion background atop the video. However, yes, there are some quirks when compositing across transitions. Last time I checked, I could get it to work, but it was sensitive to the order in which I added the transitions and then I only tried to cross one transition.

Alright, I got a composite over two tracks. With a title on track 0 and the two clip tracks on 1 and 2, I select-highlighted the composite with a red outline, and near the top of the Transition window there are two drop downs. I left the first one 'composite' but the second one 'with track' is what threw me. At first it was on 'auto' and I can only assume that means to composite with track immediately below, which is 1. By changing the value to 1, nothing changes, still just composited with 1 only. But by changing it to 2, it composited with both 1 and 2. This doesn't really make sense, you would think from the value that this would just composite with 2 and nothing else. How to make this clearer? Maybe instead of a dropdown with only one possibility, all extant tracks are just listed with a checkbox, you check off the tracks that you want to composite with. This way you could composite with 2 and 3 but not 1, for instance, and it would be quite clear.

So then just to see, I spread clips across three tracks, set the dropdown to 3, and the title was successfully composited across all three. Sweet.

I saw your video of Mem. Day and wondered how you did the sliding title (with the cool animated starburst effect). I changed the first drop down to 'wipe' instead of 'composite' and the title slides in from left to right. So this is cool, but as you indicate, it's actually a 'composited slide' not a wipe.

For that matter, it's confusing that compositing is added under 'transition'. It's not really a transition at all . . . it's compositing. I can see that the transition window is a nice convenient place to put the compositing controls and options without adding yet another window - but still.

I also like how you didn't tell me how to do this stuff, you made me figure it out on my own. That's some tough love, man :)

Yes, it bothers me too that Composite is listed as a transition. However, I do not want the overhead of some composite processing when there is none to be had. Even though MLT's composite tries to optimize away the non-work, it still has to figure this out, and it might make decisions about whether something should be deinterlaced or rendered with field motion. Maybe I am paranoid and these corner cases just need fixing where they exist. Maybe detection of alpha channels and certain filters should automatically invoke composite. Stuff to think about.

In my video, I only used Composite for the titles. I used key frames to animate the motion background and the opacity level and the rectangle widget with the Fill option for the sizing. Oh, since the motion background was 4:3, I applied a Crop filter on it to make it long and short.