Cinelerra – Making Movies on Linux

As some of you know from having been to my drop the bomb productions site you can see some of the stuff I’ve done. Of course, I haven’t done much serious stuff yet, but have mostly just done work for others to showcase my editing abilities. However, I am constantly making videos for different reasons. For example, I just completed making a two DVD set video of my own wedding. I also made a graduation video for my brother, Dan, a couple of years ago. So I love to keep up to date with the latest in video software. Other than photography (and lite gaming), it’s my biggest reason for using a computer.

Two things have brought me to decide to explore Cinelerra, a video editing package available on Linux. First of all, I have a commitment to open sourced and free software. Idealogically, it is the type of software I have chosen to support. Therefore, I try to use OSS wherever I can because by supporting the software through use and reporting bugs, I will allow it to get better and better until no one is forced to use Windows just because Linux can’t do task A or task B. Thre is also another reason, which should appeal to a lot of people: software for video and photography editing is VERY expensive. Why? Because usually people use them to make blockbuster movies or photos to sell for advertising. If they’re going to make all that money then Adobe, et al figures they can charge a lot. And that works fine, unless your’e a hobbyist like me. I don’t have the thousands of dollars to buy the latest versions of Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere, and all the other programs. So open source helps people like me out. It also helps poorer people who could be the next Tarantino but can’t afford the programs the big boys use.

On Windows I use Sony Screenblast Moviemaker to create my movies. The name sounds like a Mickey-Mouse program, but it literally is the closest anyone can get to professional level software at a fraction of the price. It costs ~$100 vs $600 for Premiere. It used to go under the name of Video Factory when it was owned by Sonic Foundry. Moviemaker is a consumer version of the professional program Vegas Video. Vegas gives the user unlimited video and audio tracks while Moviemaker gives three of each.

Cinelerra is completely free of cost and gives unlimited audio and video tracks as well as the compositor function of Adobe’s After Effects. It’s a VERY good deal. I just have to figure out how to use it at the same proficiency level with which I use Video Factory. In fact, I have a movie script Andrew and I wrote way back in high school which I’d like to produce. I’d like to practive what I preach and not only release it under the Creative Commons License, but also create the film using only open source software.

So, the main purpose of this post is, not only to communicate all this, but to say that I am going to be giving back to the community! That’s right, I know there are Cinelerra tutorials out there, but, frankly, I haven’t found any good ones. So you will get the chance to learn as I learn. The tutorial will be a newbie’s look at Cinelerra. I will posting screenshots and everything! So get ready!