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I want to edit videos, including cutting, cropping, moving, rotating, resizing, overlaying text, changing speed and volume, the usual stuff. Maybe also trapezoidal correction. Keyframes are also pretty much needed. Now the problem: All video editors I found either don't have these features or are one of these:

  • I used DaVinci Resolve on my Windows PC, but now I use Linux. Resolve is available for Linux, but it seems to require extra hardware for things like hearing sound and might not even work on Debian (I didn't manage to properly install it).
  • KDEnlive freezes when clicking "play" after clicking in an empty area of the timeline, which makes it pretty much unusable.
  • OpenShot was my best choice, until I actually tried to use it: I can't scroll past 18 hours, I can't get moving and resizing to work (it uses some percentages that I don't understand and that automatically round), I can't select multiple elements to move them or do other things with all of them, it's generally not nice to use and, in the case of what I tried to do today, it has many problems with image sequences (but that can likely be resolved differently).

Is there a video editing program with a proper feature palette (not just putting a few clips together) that actually works on Linux?

  • Remark: I did indeed solve my image sequence problems differently: I used ImageMagick to convert the image sequence into an animated GIF and then an online converter to convert it to MP4, which OpenShot could read. And since it's one 30h file, I don't have to do any editing beyond 18h, so it works. It works, but it's still stupid. – Fabian Röling Oct 2 '18 at 23:59
  • As I'm in the same boat with you, I did some search but had not yet the time to test my findings. Shotcut looks quite promising. To take a quick look, you could simply download their AppImage, no install needed. They also offer FlatPaks and Snaps, if you prefer those. Just no APT repo/ppa. Another option would be Flowblade, which offers *.deb (even in the repo) and Flatpaks. If you test one of them, please let me know; until now I was using OpenShot as well, but had my issues with it. – Izzy Oct 3 '18 at 9:58
  • I tried the AppImage now instead of the portable variant and that actually works (I had to make it executable). I thought that was for different Linux systems. And yes, moving works. Seems like adding text is not really easy, since they chose to put it into the effects category for some reason, so it always sticks to a clip. Positions are a bit weird (0 0 seems to be the bottom middle, higher is negative). The resources bin is also a bit weird, I haven't quite figured out how it works yet. Rotating more than 720° is a bit annoying, I have to set one +360° keyframe and on the next frame a -360° – Fabian Röling Oct 5 '18 at 18:08
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    keyframe, to make it exact I would even have to start at a slightly higher value. Keys for frame forwards/back luckily exist. There is a timer feature, which is really useful for me right now. Keystone correction (which I meant with "trapezoidal") seems to not exist, but there haven't been many cases where I needed that so far and in those cases I was able to approximate it with rotation and distortion. Everything else is basically just stuff I have to get used to, but it seems like Shotcut is indeed the best one so far. Can you please post it as an answer? – Fabian Röling Oct 5 '18 at 18:12
  • There you go! Having all the information in the answer, I've also cleaned up comments here a bit. The chain was getting quite long ;) Enjoy! – Izzy Oct 5 '18 at 20:35
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I'd recommend taking a look at Shotcut – which seems to be the candidate coming closest to your requirements:

  • edit videos: that's what a video editor is for :smile_cat:
  • including cutting, cropping, moving, rotating, resizing: Yes.
  • overlaying text: within limits. It's implemented as video effect, so it sticks to the entire clip it gets appended to. Simply place cuts were it should start and end is a work-around. Two effects offered for this: plain text (with formatting), and an HTML overlay.
  • changing speed and volume: Yes.
  • trapezoidal correction: haven't checked for that; but your "maybe" makes this an optional feature, right?
  • Keyframes: Yes, available.

For Linux, I recommend downloading the AppImage – make it executable, and you can start it right away from the shell (that's how I use it). As you experienced, the "portable" version seems to be a bit tricky.

Shotcut
Shotcut (source: Shotcut)

Also, Shotcut needs a little "getting used to" – it was for me, coming from OpenShot. But then, in my experience it is much more fluent than OpenShot (with which I had permanent stutters, so no chanced for a decent preview). When you found the correct export format, that also seems to produce comparable results at smaller size.

Note that, while Shotcut (as well as OpenShot, Flowblade and others) is available from the standard repositories of most Linux distributions, that version is often outaged (on some distris by years) – as they stick to the (major) version available when the current release of the distribution was published (to avoid the mess coming with each app requiring different library versions and the like). Hence the recommendation for the AppImage.

I also strongly recommend you to watch at least the introductional video tutorial ("Getting Started") linked from / embedded into their tutorial page. It's some 20 minutes, but will save you a lot of headaches (see: "getting used to") as it saves you from "figuring out" how things work.

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Kdenlive is the best video editor that I know for linux. It has many advanced features and goes beyond the basic tools of a video editor. But you can face some problems if you're not using a KDE based distribution.

Alternatively you can try PiTiVi or Cinelerra. Both are featured rich video editors programs, but I think they lack features compared with Kdenlive.

As a last resource you can try a distro focused on content creators like Ubuntu Studio. It comes with Kdenlive and Openshot pre installed but have all the necessary packages to deal with them as well.

  • I remember the names "Pitivi" and "Cinelerra", which means that I must have discarded them for some reason previously. I'll check them out again later today anyway. – Fabian Röling Oct 3 '18 at 0:32
  • I checked KDEnlive again and it still freezes when I click play after clicking on an empty spot in the timeline. Their website says that the stable version of Debian only has an old version of it, which is not even supported anymore. I guess I should switch to Ubuntu one day, but probably neither this, nor next year. Pitivi doesn't seem to have keyframes for most effects, including e.g. cropping. Actually, I was unable to find any effect where keyframes actually work, except volume and opacity. Cinelerra plays back extremely slowly. – Fabian Röling Oct 3 '18 at 20:47
  • Is Ubuntu Studio in any way less useful for other purposes? I also want to play games, move around big amounts of files, program, etc. – Fabian Röling Oct 3 '18 at 20:48
  • @FabianRöling yes you can do everything you do on the vanilla Ubuntu. – Fabio Silva Oct 4 '18 at 0:52
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The KDEnlive bug was fixed: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=396644

So now it is a good alternative as well.

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