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I have used iMovie and Final Cut Pro for video projects. I find them easy to work with and intuitive to some degree. After I finish the project, I may want to change one word that appears multiple times, and I have to do it by hand. Also, the projects take a lot of space.

I am looking for a video editor where the video project file is plain text, which I understand to be an edit decision list. My goals are:

  • to separate heavy digital assets from the light edit decision list
  • to put the edit decision list into a version control system like Git and GitHub
  • to automate some parts of editing with the keyboard, e.g. find-and-replace on captions, change times and durations, and adjust multiple dB levels
  • to have a cross-platform solution for collaborators on different operating systems (Windows, macOS, and Linux)

Two examples outside of video production are OpenSCAD in 3D modelling, which generates STL files from plain-text files that are two orders of magnitude smaller; and Inkscape, which reads and writes plain-text SVG files.

I found this article on opensource.com that mentions Kdenlive and Flowblade, but plain-text files seem an export rather than the proejct file itself.

The closest that I found would be Bash scripting based on FFMPEG for video concatenation and effects, and SVG for graphic overlays.

Does such a tool exist?

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AviSynth seems to be the tool that directly answers your needs on Windows. This is a completely script-based editing approach, with quite powerful instruments (built-in or as plug-ins) for reading, processing, generating titles and general editing.

Coupled with a dedicated editor such as AVSEdit or AvsP, you can have previews, context help, parameter completion and similar things one can expect from an IDE.

A completely different approach is to use an editor that has text-like project files. Adobe Premiere Pro, for example, uses project files (*.prproj) that are essentially XML files. (Newer CC version have it gzip-compressed, but it's easy to unpack them). Now, XML is not quite 'plain-text', and prproj are not made human-friendly, but it's possible to tweak some little things like titles. I wouldn't recommend this approach though.

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    That seems exactly what I want, but it is for Windows only. I updated the question. – miguelmorin Aug 8 at 12:33
  • Did you try it with Wine? – Mawg Aug 8 at 15:28

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