My first kdenlive production

In the past I've really only made fairly simple videos that can be done in avidemux. However, I had a video in mind where my ambitions were set higher, high enough to demand kdenlive...and persistent enough that I had the project on hold for over two months just so I could get a hold of a release that didn't crash just from trying to drag clips on the timelines. (Actually even with this release it crashes sometimes when I do that, but only after I go through some other steps that I don't have to do and hence don't.)

Anyway, my wait is all over now, and here's the result:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQN8D846XHE

Various usability issues I ran into while making that:

-In the bottom right, there's a dropdown button that lets you select a time format of "hh:mm:ss:ff" or "frames". Unfortunately, it doesn't do much of anything. It affects only the time format in the statusbar, reflecting the time that the cursor is hovering over, and not to any other time formats anywhere in the program, where it would most certainly be helpful. (Getting down to the right frame in mouseover is no easy task until you get up to about the top 3 zoom levels anyway, so the statusbar time display is near worthless on its own even with the choice of two formats for it.) I can imagine other format options like hh:mm:ss.000 would come in handy at times too.

-Setting pixel-precise resizes in transitions is a lot harder than it needs to be. Even the "Custom" resize filter only takes on percentage values, and there is no preset option that separates the zoom values for height and width, so I can't easily resize a clip, say, from 864x486 to 320x240. When the transition is selected with the mouse, you can move it up and down in perfect 1-pixel-at-a-time increments with the keyboard, which is nice, but then attempting to move it left and right that way doesn't work! No matter if you've clicked on the red clip rectangle or not, left and right are stuck mapped to "move forward/backward 1 frame in clip," not "move clip 1 pixel left/right!" I'd call that unintuitive at the least. I ended up having to muck around the XML file and set a whole bunch of positions that way, which I guess it's nice that kdenlive works with a format that at least gives you the option, but that's hardly a selling point as far as general usability.

-I really wish there was a better way of handling text/subtitles. In order to make the scoreboard that's there for most of the video, I had to create 88 separate transparent title clips. This took a lot longer than I was hoping, and even in the clip construction there are a couple things I'd think could be better: have a way to keep "Show background" checked by default, so that I don't have to keep checking it every time (or else scrounge around attempting to find white text in a white-and-light-gray checkered background when the text often doesn't even cover any of the light gray), and have a way to right-align text. As it is, in order to keep the desired alignment I had to move the text boxes in every clip 13 pixels left once the numbers crossed from 9 over to 10, and then an additional pixel left once they crossed from 19 to 20. A simple, graphical handler for creating clips of revolving text and subtitles would be much appreciated.

-And finally there are some issues with frame accuracy when changing a clip's speed. When you render something that has a clip that plays back slower than full speed, my observations are that about 16 frames are chopped off the start of the clip, and then the clip's last frame is cloned 16 times to compensate. No idea why. In any event, maintaining frame accuracy was a requirement for me, so I ended up having to render four separate times at different clip speeds, adding a bunch of buffer frames on each end, then assembled them all in avidemux so that I could cut out the excess frames, before I had something I could import back into kdenlive and have it work.

-Oops, one more thing. inigo, or whatever the renderer is here, doesn't seem to grasp the idea of bitrate selection. I tried rendering to H264 at bitrates of 2000k and 1000k, and in both cases it seemed to simply ignore my selection and spit out a 10Mbps, 2.5GB file which I didn't really want. Fortunately for me, avidemux sticks to the bitrate I tell it to, which enabled me to feed the oversized product to that and get back one that's easier to chew, so while I certainly couldn't have pulled this project off without kdenlive, it's somewhat ironic that the video file ultimately had to be produced by something else.

So anyway, that's my experience and the result thereof. Any other questions?

You don't say what release you are using or platform. A lot of stuff is much better with 0.7.4

It is 0.7.4, on Fedora 10 (about to upgrade to 11 immediately after I write this), because 0.7.4 was the first release that actually allowed me to make progress without crashing.

H24 dual pass rendering really works fine in 7.4. I was impressed by the quality.

I personally fixed the H.264 rendering just prior to the 0.7.4 release - both rate control on single pass and 2 pass crashing (easy fix). I find it hard to believe you were using a _release_ version of 0.7.4 and ran into this problem. If you build kdenlive out of SVN, then you can be using an unreleased version of 0.7.4.
(In mlt, I use an odd number in the last place so I know if people are using unreleased version. :-)

I was using whatever form of 0.7.4 that Grof had packaged into his F10 repo at the time. Not sure what the mlt version was at the time...could it have been 0.4.1 and had the broken rate selector?