Vinod Kurup

Hospitalist/programmer in search of the meaning of life

My Video Editing Process

I use kino to edit the videos that we take of the kids. I haven’t found a Linux program which was as nice as iMovie was on the Mac, but kino is pretty good. It’s easy to splice and reconnect video clips together. It has nice special effects, though my needs are pretty simple. It’s able to export in plenty of formats, possibly too many, for my simple mind. But, I’ve figured it out and have a stable process for getting video from camera to youtube.

I have 3 camcorders - a Flip, my Canon digital camera, and a Panasonic DVD camcorder. I can just copy the AVI files directly off the Flip and the Canon’s SD card. The Panasonic records all of the video clips into a single file with a .VRO extension. I found a great utility called dvd-vr, which reads that file and splits it into individual AVI files. Once I have a directory full of AVI files from the various camcorders, I use emacs to rename them consistently. I open up 2 buffers: an editable dired buffer (wdired-change-to-wdired-mode) of the movies directory, and a shell buffer in that same directory. I run a macro which takes the first file in the directory, plays it via an mplayer command in the shell buffer and then renames the file using the date/timestamp of the file. The macro leaves the cursor in a spot where I can enter a brief description of the video and then run the macro again to do the next video. It works pretty well. I then batch convert them to DV format, which is what Kino accepts. Finally, I launch Kino and edit the files, add titles, export them to AVI again, and then upload them to youtube.

I did this today and ran into a problem with kino. The video played at breakneck speed and there was no audio. Google helped me figure out that this was a problem between PulseAudio and kino. Kino is no longer actively developed. The lead developer considers it stable and finished and he’s moved on to other endeavors, which is perfectly understandable. He’s however, taken the time to describe a workaround. He recommends running padsp kino which routes all audio requests from kino to pulseaudio. This worked, but the audio had a lot of feedback. I found an even better workaround on the ubuntu forums. Use pasuspender kino, which suspends all PulseAudio activity, gives kino direct access to audio devices, and then resumes PulseAudio once kino has quit. This worked with perfect audio quality, though of course, audio from any other program gets muted completely.

I am still on the lookout for a better video editing solution on Linux. Eventually, I’d like to make DVDs of the hundreds of little clips that I have. They don’t need to be fancy, but I would like to have some basic menus and they need to work on standard DVD players. I’ve started doing a little research on this, so will post once I’ve tried some things out.