Editing videos with Pitivi and OpenShot

Slashdot it! Delicious Share on Facebook Tweet! Digg!

Fading and Titles

The option for setting transitions is also located here. Setting a transition requires laying the desired clips on a track and arranging them such that they overlap a little bit. Next, you can highlight the overlapping sections and select the Transition tab. The available cross-fades become activated when they are tapped. Options for modifying the sharpness of the display and the direction are underneath this tab (Figure 4).

Figure 4: To add a cross-fade, you can arrange two clips in a track such that they overlap and then select the overlapping area.

As a final option, Pitivi offers the possibility via the Title tab to superimpose text on an image. This is done by selecting the generate button and then switching into a simple editor for constructing the text. Pitivi will then automatically deposit the title at the end of the time bar in the track that has the longest run time. Just as with a clip, you can drag the title to the desired track and extend it to the desired length. To subsequently modify a piece of text, select the text in the time bar. Pitivi will automatically switch to the correct tab.

After completing all of the work, you can export the video by clicking on Render in the top bar. An assistant then helps select suitable codecs and settings. The time required to finish this process depends on the length of the video and the effects that have been embedded. The results of this process proved unreliable in testing. Pitivi rendered some of the clips successfully but it attached audible artifacts to the end of the video. With other test projects, Pitivi interrupted the export with a message stating that there had been a "general error in the data stream."


Even though OpenShot [6] and Pitivi look similar at first glance, they are actually very different. Unlike Pitivi, OpenShot relies, just as does Kdenlive, on the MLT Multimedia Framework [7] instead of on the GStreamer libraries. Also, version 2.0 of OpenShot, which is currently available in Beta [8], has switched to the Qt interface. (See the "Installing OpenShot" info box.) This change gives OpenShot a flexible layout similar to the one in Pitivi and makes it possible to take operating elements out of a window and transfer them to a second monitor. With respect to operation, the programs work almost identically to one another (Figure 5).

Installing OpenShot

Ubuntu doesn't come with the latest OpenShot software, supplying packages only from the quite ancient 1.4.x branch. Fortunately, OpenShot supplies its own PPA with an up-to-date version of the editor, which will work fine on Ubuntu 14.04 and higher.

To begin, add the PPA to your list of repositories, update the software cache, and install:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openshot.developers/ppa
sudo apt update
# Use "apt-get" on older versions of Ubuntu.
sudo apt install openshot-qt
# or "apt-get"
Figure 5: The interface for OpenShot version 2.0 has been switched over to Qt, making it appear more modest than the Pitivi interface. Also, it does not have the same customization features.

OpenShot divides the editor window into three different areas. The time bar and the window for the video preview will be familiar from Pitivi. OpenShot, however, arranges the tools needed for editing above the time line. The third area contains a media library organized with tabs and a large selection of transitions and effects. Like Pitivi, OpenShot uses drag and drop to move clips and audio tracks from the library to the time line.

Unlike Pitivi, OpenShot still displays a bar without audio track but with several thumbnails of the video. This feature complicates the process of cutting a clip in correlation with the sound. Moreover, putting the desired segments together in the time line is not easy. Scissors may actually be required or the user can set the length in the clip properties on the time line. Practically speaking, working with OpenShot proves somewhat less convenient than working with Pitivi.

In OpenShot, you can drag transitions and effects from the corresponding tabs onto the desired clip in the time line (Figure 6). A small cog wheel next to the preview image indicates that the clip includes an effect. As with the length of a clip, you cannot adapt the length of a transition simply by dragging the edges of the bar in the time line. Instead, you must open the context menu for the element, choose Properties , and specify the duration. The context menu is also used to turn off the video image and mute the sound. These actions are not as easy to perform in Pitivi.

Figure 6: You can insert cross-fades between two tracks in OpenShot. In Pitivi, clips with cross-fades must be located in the same track.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF

Pages: 6

Price $0.99
(incl. VAT)

Buy Ubuntu User

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content