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New Linux tools or Mac OS X for video editing?

For long, video editing on Linux has been disappointing, to say the least. But OpenShot Video Editor is a sign of hope for the future.

Video editing on Linux has, for the expanse of recorded history, sucked eggs. This isn’t a terribly big secret.

Sure, we’ve had a variety of high-end, commercial-grade tools available that we all like to point at - such as Cinelerra (which I still can’t get to run properly) - in order to try to convince ourselves (and others) that the video editing situation on Linux is far less dire than it really has been.

Heck, the major Linux-centric podcasts tend to be recorded and edited on Macs. Even "The Linux Action Show" is recorded, edited and produced entirely on MacOS X. For a time we (meaning myself and my old co-host on that show) tried to simply not talk about that fact. But, eventually, we threw our hands up in the air and declared unto the Internets, "You know what? Linux video editing sucks. Deal with it." And I’ll tell you right now: "The Linux Action Show" isn’t the only big Linux show created entirely on a computer with a big old Apple glowing on the back of it.

Flash forward to the present. I find myself working in audio and video once again, for a new project. Seemed like a good time to take every video editing tool (on Linux) for a spin to see how viable it is to produce a quality production entirely on a Linux workstation.

And I was absolutely thrilled to find out just how comfortable and powerful the tools have become.

Specifically, OpenShot Video Editor. OpenShot has all of the basics that I need:

  • Great support for multiple HD formats and codecs.
  • Stellar built-in video effects, overlays and transitions.
  • Fades (audio and video) and titles.
  • With a super easy-to-use interface.

But what really makes OpenShot stand out as a video editing solution is when you start combining it with other amazing Linux tools. Specifically: Inkscape (the vector graphics editor) and Blender (the 3D modeller and renderer).

With Blender integration, OpenShot is able to provide some absolutely gorgeous animated title sequences that easily rival anything Apple is providing (we’re talking realistic renderings of the Planet Earth, swooping to a specific point with custom 3D text). And with tight integration with Inkscape, OpenShot provides infinitely customizable title stills.

Long ago I had transitioned over to Inkscape and Gimp for my 2D design work. And now that I can make the move to OpenShot for my video work? That removes one of my final needs to keep a Windows or Mac workstation around. And that gives me the warm fuzzies.

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