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I very often capture desktop recording/capture videos, either of the whole desktop, or of a single window. That means, that generally these videos have non-standard resolutions/sizes.

Furthermore, sometimes I record over VNC, and sometimes the automatic conversion process to final .mp4 is not that good, so I export PNG image sequence from an intermediate capture file, and then re-encode those to fixed rate (say 25 FPS).

In any case, there may be some effort in producing the source videos, which I don't want to lose, in case I want/need to add some text titles ("explainer"/"infographics") on the source videos. Which is why I'm looking for an open-source GUI video editor software, that:

  • If there is no current project loaded in the editor (like after it is started), and it is instructed to open an input video file (.mp4) - either via command line, or via the GUI - the software:
    • Automatically creates a project, where the output (render) settings for the output video are EXACTLY the same as the newly opened input video (.mp4) file: FPS, resolution, audio/video codecs (x264), number of audio channels ... (everything) - and opens the newly created project
    • Automatically adds the newly opened input video (.mp4) file to the "project bin"/"playlist"/"project files" of the newly created project
  • Allows the possibility to completely disable audio/remove audio tracks in the output video (like ffmpeg -an)
  • Allows for interactive GUI cutting, rearranging, and speed-up and slow-down of clips
  • I just need the simplest transitions (fade to/from black/flat colour; and dissolve)
  • Allows for adding text with arbitrary fonts ("explainer"/"infographics"):
    • Keyframe animation of text with position, scale, and rotation within the area of the video frame would be awesome
    • Handling vector graphics (SVG) in similar fashion would be even better (by "handling" here, I mean: if I "zoom in"/scale an SVG in a keyframe, then the SVG gets re-rendered at the video resolution for each video frame - like Macromedia Flash used to do for PNG export :))
      • Handling arrows in the same way (i.e. I set start point, end point, thickness, color and arrowhead, which I can keyframe animate - and software figures out the rest) would be amazing

Most important for me, however, is the first requrement - I want to open an input file, and have the project settings for the output file be exactly the same.

I am aware of kdenlive, openshot, and shotcut, but whenever I open these applications, I get some "HD" or "DVD" project settings by default - and when I realize I have to manually look at my input file properties and copy them manually to the project settings, quite possibly making a mistake in doing that, I get extremely pissed and irritated.

So, is there any software like this out there? A confirmation whether the mentioned three programs can do it would be great, as well ...

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    Maybe you should ask a Youtuber directly. Someone who produces tech-videos on a regular basis and is willing to talk about his or her setup and workflow. In German Then ask in the comments section. Or spend $10 on a videoediting course on a paid platform (e.g. Udemy) and look for someone who is very active in a Q+A sections.
    – knb
    Apr 3, 2023 at 7:53
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    Did you try Davinci Resolve? I'm not a video editor, so I don't knowif it has all the listed features, but it's usually recommended everywhere.
    – Destroy666
    Apr 3, 2023 at 13:20
  • Thanks @knb - awesome link to German video, skipped through, seems they recommend kdenlive. I followed your advice to look further, did not ask on comments, but found Toonly vs. Vyond: Best Explainer Video Maker - YouTube - both of these are web-based, so I doubt one has much choice in codecs, and seem to be mostly oriented to character animation, which I don't need (I just need text animation)
    – sdbbs
    Apr 3, 2023 at 13:54
  • Thanks @Destroy666 - I did not know Davinci Resolve, looked it up, they advertise with "color correction, visual effects,", which I don't really need for these types of tasks, so that would be a bit of overkill
    – sdbbs
    Apr 3, 2023 at 13:55

1 Answer 1

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Here is a note for kdenlive 22.12.3:

If you try to open a video file from command line:

kdenlive-22.12.3-x86_64.AppImage /tmp/test.mp4

... then you get:

kdenlive error

Cannot open the project file. Error:
Cannot open file /tmp/test.mp4:
error occurred while parsing element (line 1, col 1)
Do you want to open a backup file?

... but if you say Cancel here, then drag-n-drop the /tmp/test.mp4 to the (empty) Project Bin, then you get a prompt:

kdenlive switch prompt

Switch to clip (test.mp4) profile HD 720p 25 fps (1280x720, 25fps)?

... and if you say Switch here, the project settings change:

kdenlive switched

So, at least kdenlive is capable to preserve the input file resolution and frame rate (not sure about other video codec params) - which was my first requirement - so that is great ...

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