by Alessandro Ebersol (Agent Smith)
Shotcut is a non-linear video editor, which I always wanted to use. But first, I would like to disclose my background with audio-visual production.
I started making videos for YouTube, with PCLinuxOS, first with Openshot and all the tools that are available in PCLinuxOS repos: Audacity, Openshot, Rezsound, SSR and others.
Openshot was my choice because it has a direct interface and is super simple to operate. In fact, Openshot is simple, but very complete. It has features that are not accessible right from the start, having to be activated, either through different menus or video clip properties. But, it shows the intelligence of the programmer, who decided not to scare his would be users with an intimidating interface.
Then I started using VSDC, from the Windows platform, but thanks to Wine and Play-On_Linux, working perfectly on Linux, to add more effects and other capabilities with characters and fonts that Openshot doesn't have. VSDC also has a very clear and straightforward interface, and its resources are accessible through MS Office ribbon-style menus (now a well spread paradigm among several applications).
What about KDEnlive?
I confess: The KDEnlive interface, which copies Adobe Premiere, scared me away. I was never able to understand that interface, and I think a user should not fight with an application, but work with it. So, I passed on KDEnlive, and, I think Openshot, with its strengths and weaknesses, will be the standard by which I'll judge other video editing programs. Openshot really took a lot of inspiration from Windows Movie Maker. In a way, Openshot is a Windows Movie Maker that rocked the gym, and now has very well defined muscles and a lot of strength in its punches.
Shotcut: An excellent NLVE editor, but it took too long.
In the meantime, I tested other video editors: Flowblade, Pitivi, even Cinelerra. This I do not recommend to anyone who is starting, because the experience is for professionals, not well-intentioned amateurs.
I also tested Shotcut.
I was overwhelmed by the program: elegant, made with the Qt libraries, in C ++, the program was smooth as silk running. It did not crash, was stable and did not consume too many machine resources (Openshot, working, is a resource hog).
But, not everything was rosy: When it came to exporting projects, nothing happened. Shotcut did not work on PCLinuxOS, which prevented me from using it. There was even a post on the forum about this.
But in the latest versions, all problems have been resolved, and, Shotcut now works as it should. And what are my impressions? Next, I'll tell you...
Shotcut: So good that it seems to be a paid program...
Well, the program is so polished that it doesn't look like free software, but a commercial program.
Let's look at the history of Shotcut now.
The main program interface
Shotcut was originally conceived in November 2004 by Charlie Yates, co-founder of MLT and original lead developer. The current version of Shotcut is a complete rewrite of Dan Dennedy, another MLT co-founder and current leader. Dennedy wanted to create an editor based on the MLT and chose to reuse the name Shotcut, as he liked it a lot. He wanted to create something to exercise the new multiplatform features of MLT, especially in conjunction with the WebVfx and Movit plugins.
Shotcut supports video, audio and image formats via FFmpeg. It uses a timeline for non-linear video editing of multiple tracks that can be composed of several file formats. Scrubbing and transport control are assisted by OpenGL GPU-based processing and a number of video and audio filters are available.
- Format support via FFmpeg
- Precise frame search for many formats
- Webcam and audio capture
- Network stream playback (HTTP, HLS, RTMP, RTSP, MMS, UDP)
- EDL export (CMX3600 editing decision list)
- Written in C and C ++, in the Qt5 framework
- audio Scopes
- peak meter
- spectrum analyzer
- transportation synchronization JACK
- HTML5 as source and filters
- Color grading tools
- Wipe transitions
- Track compositing/blending modes
- Speed and reverse effect for clips
- Blackmagic Design SDI and HDMI for input and preview monitoring
- Leap Motion for jog/shuttle control
- Webcam capture
- Audio capture to system audio card
- Capture (record) SDI, HDMI, webcam (V4L2), JACK audio, PulseAudio, IP stream, and Windows DirectShow devices
- Multi-core parallel image processing (when not using GPU and frame-dropping is disabled)
- DeckLink SDI keyer output
- OpenGL GPU-based image processing with 16-bit floating point linear per color component
Another very important feature is the ability to work with color gradations. Yes, Shotcut can be a colorization tool, both for color correction and to give different effects to your clips.
Color correction in Shotcut
The Basics of Shotcut
Well, as I wrote above, my experiences with video editing are based on Openshot. So, I will judge Shotcut by comparing it with Openshot.
In terms of the interface, Shotcut presents itself in a more complicated way than Openshot, but it is not something that discourages the user, quite the opposite. It is a matter of adapting to the software and its paradigms: In Openshot, making a fade is super easy. In Shotcut, it is also, but, you should look elsewhere: Anything in Shotcut is a filter. Thus, even a fade is a filter. You must look in the Filters menu and add the Fade filter, both in and out, and then with sliders you can control the intensity and duration. Cross fades are super easy to do, just drag one video clip over the next, and Shotcut does the rest.
Getting Started with Shotcut
To start with Shotcut, let's analyze a screen of a video I was editing (in fact, I edited the video in Shotcut to write this article).
A video being edited in Shotcut
So, let's go to a brief how-to, to encourage you, the future videomaker / filmmaker to take your first steps on Shotcut.
- To insert a video, you must press the Open File button.
- Once opened, the file is played in the main player window, in the center of the screen.
- For the video / audio / image file to be part of your project, after opening it, you must drag it to the Playlist box. Do this for each file that is part of your project.
- Each file is assigned a number, which is the order in which the file was added (the first will be number 1 and so on).
- The entire audiovisual file has the representation of the waveform of its audio, which facilitates when the editing of any video needs to be synchronized with what's happening on screen.
- At the bottom of the screen, we have the timeline, where you will place the various files of the project. I made some edits, as in the picture above, and you can see some crossfade and fade in and out effects applied.
- The timeline starts with a layer, but depending on the effects you want to give to your video, other layers can be added and then stacked on top of each other. And, an added layer will always be above the older layer.
- On the upper right side there is an audio meter, which shows the intensity of the audio currently being played.
- All menus and boxes with lists, whether filters or files, are dockable, that is, they can be moved and rearranged to the user's taste.
- When you are satisfied with the result of your video, it is time to export the video.
- For that, there is a box in the upper left corner of presets, where you can choose between the different export formats that the program supports. Once you have chosen the output format, click on export file, option from the timeline, and the program will begin exporting. The progress of the export is shown in the Jobs box on the right side, below the sound meter.
Well, I can only say that I was very positively impressed with Shotcut, and I will make a very direct analysis of its weaknesses and strengths.
- Completely customizable interface, thanks to Qt5, any menu or option box can be rearranged.
- Good final results, a 17-minute video took 20 minutes to render, in a Corei3, a performance, which, if not the best of video editors, is not far behind when compared to Openshot
- Many effects, old film, sepia, and even color correction. In free open source software, they are not very common features.
- Great capacity to work with fonts and letters, even with 3D text
- Memory consumption is consistent, remains at a reasonable level and is not very high.
- Its paradigm does not follow that of other video editing programs.
- Its learning curve is greater than other programs, namely Openshot.
- It does not have integration with other programs, as Openshot does (Blender and Inkscape).
- Some slow motion effects are only possible with the help of external programs.
ShotCut is an excellent video editor, which after the user gets used to it, is able to produce very good audiovisual pieces. Of course, it doesn't have all the effects, but it does have a lot of effects. It is based on MLT and FFMpeg, and it can be used in conjunction with Openshot (or another video editor), to achieve the effects it doesn't have. But, the interface is very good, very customizable, and there was no crash during the operation (for me to write this article). It has great stability, and, being written in C, C ++, under the Qt framework, makes it responsive and not too demanding in terms of memory and processor. Of course, the more cores your CPU has, the better.
I highly recommend ShotCut. It's really worth it! And, I hope you enjoy this great program, now working 100% in PCLinuxOS.