Kdenlive not really ready for HD

I wanted to migrate to GNU ("Linux") for years, but could not because of the lack of some programs or functions in programs. This changed with one of the recent versions of "Openoffice". So I looked for the last thing to make me happy: A video cutter.

And I found it! Of 2 acceptable Linux Cutting-Programmes, one, Kdenlive, was supporting the .m2ts-files of my camcorder. Voila!

Then I needed some time to install it, because the installation via Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mint or however you call it only works with two additional lines in some configuration file, and it took a very long time to google for that. In the end i found it, but not on the Kdenlive site.

Ok, now it finally worked! Heureka!


a) if you want to open .m2ts-Files, you have to select "all files" first, because it's not one of the "supported" filetypes.
b) finally you can import .m2ts-files. But the PREVIEW is SLOW like a snail!
c) trying to click something in the clip-window nearly freezes the system

The additional problems are

1) Simple preview only uses one core
2) There is no native GPU-Support
3) Working with Proxies does not work for me

I don't say that all those problems cannot be solved with some tricks. But is the user, that migrates to a GNU-System, really expected to do all that things, inform about bugs, learn to compile programs for broken dependencies, install the vdpau-version of ffmpeg and risk instability, etc. just to cut his HD home videos?

Not even simply buying the latest hardware solves all that problems, because the only solution would be more MHz, and in CPU-production they go other ways now because of physical reasons.

HD is not future, HD is real now. And the support of .m2ts is not given only by letting slap that files onto your timeline, but by creating an environment that works fine with those formats.

Not only to do bad critics, I love Kdenlive. And I'll wait for it, until it meets my cams requirements.

Hi and sorry, but this is not true!

your point 3 is the key: use proxying! If it does not work, you use a bad packaged kdenlive or an old version. (I guess: x64-bit system with codec mishmash.) Once you set-up proxy support HD-editing is very fluid and works completely transparent.

It looks like your problems are more migration type problems. Linux is not Windows and you have to learn a few things before stuff works and this needs a little bit of time. As Linux distributions can not offer unfree (patented) codecs its double hart to start with Linux in productive multimedia area.

When you learned, what kdenlive IS, than you will notice that your points do belong mainly to dependencies of this project, hardware-support, libs and codecs kdenlive uses but does not maintain.

So my tip: try to analyse, why proxying does not work. I'm sure, this forum can help you, but we have no crystal balls ;-)

Have Fun


1 - I wouldn't say that kdenlive is quite ready for the general public yet. If you aren't familiar with cloning a copy of the git repo, taking care of dependencies, compiling, getting a back-trace when it crashes, etc then it is going to be a bumpy ride.

2 - For what it's worth, I use it for HD content without any issues that I don't know how to work around. Having a good understanding of how codecs actually work, their strengths and weaknesses, and how well they are supported by libraries like FFMPEG, is also key to creating a sane and usable workflow.

3 - Commercial video editing suites also have all sorts of technical issues to deal with, but they are mostly (not always) hidden from the end user by taking care of all that in the installation process. Kdenlive does not directly control how packages are built and distributed in distros, so there can be system integration issues arise from that aspect.

Kdenlive is the only Linux NLE that actually does work with HD in my opinion. I use it edit DSLR 48MB h264 and 25MB HV30 m2ts files without transcoding and do it on an old Sempron 3400 using proxies amongst other machines.

Adding those two PPA lines which I think is what you're mentioning to Synaptic because you actually have the benefit of a Ubuntu based distro has made it even easier for you to get the latest builds without need to compile, the method doesn't take hours of googling its mentioned repeatedly in the forum here. Generally the best place to research an app is the authors site, usually.

I think the problems you are experiencing are down to a lack of Linux knowledge and unfamiliarity with kdenlive, to say kdenlive is not ready for HD is vastly incorrect.

Be aware also that although you may want to do this move to Linux and who hasn't, (I've been using it for over 15yrs), your disappointed with software performance but no one owes any of us anything, if software is not up to anyones standard than we can just move on, we can work within the problems or if able help in some way.

The devs here work hard in their free time to provide kdenlive / MLT.

Stick with it and you'll find kdenlive is very good. :-)

I have to add a few things.

1.) Yes, I am a GNU noob, and all what I was saying is that Kdenlive is not HD-ready for noobs.

2.) Yes, I am working on a 64-bit-system, which is installed extra for kdenlive. So if there is a "driver tohuwabohu", that would be a failure of the Ubuntu project. And no, as a noob, I am not ready to compile my whole GNU system for myself.

3.) Now, tell me, if system requirements rise, where will Kdenlive go? More MHz will not be the future. This is a very interesting question for me.

As mentioned, I repeat that it is possible to get kdenlive HD-ready. But not out of the box.

I am definitely not complaining. But I want to do constructive critics, by asking, how I can recommend GNU to other friends, when after installation of the new, user-friendly releases like Ubuntu everybody tells you "no wonder, that nothing works, you didn't compile your whole system for yourself!".

Again sorry your noobness is showing, I recently installed 64bit Ubuntu on a new drive, added sunabs PPA and used xfce as desktop manager with absolutely no problems to get kdenlive from svn running.

No compiling straight of the box. Sorry but your criticism is a little unfounded.

If you have specific issues there are many here to help.

I tried Kdenlive a time ago, it is ease to use, but at that time it did not handle the x264 encoder/decoder for AVCHD.
Other programs like openshot had the same problem at that time.
A design philosophy in Unix since the early 70s, is to reuse software, now it is a common place but revolutionary at that time (see Kernighan and Pike book The Unix Programming Environment.) It can be done calling other programs, like kdenlive call ffmpeg and mlt to do the work. It is not easy to compile those programs in particular and only recent releases handle HD.
Other problem that slows free software development of video is a patents issue, nobody wants a threat from patent holders, so many distributions do not include software that may not be free.

To end my comment, let me say that Ubuntu does not automatically upgrade to the last version of a program, but the last release of the version available a the time of the installed release. For example if you have 9.10 if you upgrade you do not get the same version as if you have 10.04 installed. I learned that after installing the 11.10. Ubuntu took the very bad decision of making too much changes in the interface, so I noticed that moving back to 10.04 the last upgrade of some programs was not the same in 11.10.
If you install kdenlive or any other program from the ubuntu repository, you wont get the last version.
Multimedia programs are improving day to day, for that reason you should download the last version from the developers site, the ppa signature file should be added to synaptic (which uses apt) to allow that.

With respect to the hardware ffmpeg allows the use of multi-thread processing for some codecs, you can use it for x264, maybe it should be configured somewhere. It works with multi-core and multi-thread CPUs, but as far as I know there is not yet support for h264 processor wired in some video cards or even GPUs in this program and even in many of those non-free written by the supporters of the patents.

If you record your videos in full hd (1920x1080) at the highest bit rate, you may not see a smooth play (even with proprietary software in windows).
You may have a powerful computer, but the things are not going as fast as you may wish. One thing that you can do to work this is to use the limited software that came with your camera to convert it to a lighter format, even loosing some quality, or an easier to decode, then use a more creative editor like the one in this site.

Also try HDV instead of MTS, with cameras like canon HV30 , mentioned above, it should be easier, it may use more hard disk space, but may be easier to decode/encode.

Keep upgrading your software, take into account that it is under constant development. If you read the specifications of some proprietary software you may see that also has some limitations with AVCHD.

I see that you have a canon hv30, as far as I know that camera uses HDV not AVCHD (blu-ray).

I feel that your comment is well intentioned, asking to place the most complete binary to download, but it is not as ease as you can see for reasons above and not always under the control of kdenlive or the free software movement. However, under constant development, it is improving everyday.

Companies like MS place obstacles from time to time.
The last one is a change in hardware that may make impossible to install other software than Windows 8 in a computer, learn about that in the fsf.org page where help is asked by signing a petition for the manufacturers to do not accept that, you may also help asking your pc and camera manufacturers more support for linux, they may be aware some time that it is a good business for them too.