roXor media

martial arts, computers, dorks

Roxor goes open source

In the name of exploration I’ve been fiddling with the Fedora Core 4 distro of linux. I’ve got everything up and running smoothly and started my search for a good Non Linear Editing system that will run on a linux OS. First stop, cinelerra.

Cinelerra is an excellent tool that has all sorts of goodies including a variety of transitions and effects. You can create your own text overlays (and animate them on a spline) and import an array of media formats. It even supports multiple audio and video tracks. It only has one glaring flaw. You can’t manipulate the horizontal position of a track. If you want to drop in a sound track and make it start 8 seconds into the whole movie, you can’t just drag it along the horizontal axis to the 8 second mark. You have to go type the number in the nudge field. Even after you nudge a track, it doesn’t visually move at all. That, simply, sucks and isn’t intuitive. Okay, that aside, it is a very good, open source product. I shot a small video and edited it wholey in cinelerra. Give a looksee at the Toothpaste video in our media section.

The second piece of software I tried was a beta product called Jashaka. Now, it is a beta app, but still was very unstable on the Fedora Core 4 distro when I was running RC1. Hopefully RC2 will be better, but I couldn’t actually edit anything yet. It did seem to have the ability to import a lot of different media types and had a builtin animator, text creatore, editor and compositor. Although, I just couldn’t figure out how to work anything because they stray from the traditional user interface. It’s got a unique feel about it, somewhat reminds me of Kai’s Power Tools in that the UI has a unique twist on traditional UI interaction. Keep your eyes on this one.

Lastly, I downloaded the MainActor 5.5 video editing system. The only version of 5.5 was geared specifically toward SuSe 9.3 distros, but it worked fine on my system. In fact, I thought it was awesome. It reminded me of Premiere in it’s untuitiveness. I preferred this over cinelerra by a long shot just because it worked so much like Premiere, which is an interface I’m very familiar with. It’s just easy to pick up and use and I would recommend this product to anyone looking for a good NLE system for linux. There are only two problems with it. Firstly, was that I had a serious problem with the audio track that was linked to my video. On playback it often times just output a screeching static. Now, I’m not running SuSe linux, and since the build was tweaked out for that distro that may be my problem and not a software bug. Secondly, it’s not open source and runs in the neighborhood of $199. However, that price is very acceptable since it is very much like Adobe Premiere which costs closer to $500. On a quick side not, Premiere only runs on windows, whereas MainActor runs on both windows and linux. Score one for Main Concept for supporting linux!

Overall, the biggest problem I had was exporting any finished video to a small, web streamy-type file format. But, that is likely more from my inexperience than it is a lack in the applications. So, there you go. A quick review of some of the low end technology available to us garage film makers. You can’t get much cheaper than open source solutions. Good luck, and good filming!


Written by Sterling

September 27, 2005 at 12:46 pm

Posted in uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Personally, I wouldn’t buy anything from MainConcept. MainVision, their original non-linear editing suite, hasn’t been updated in years yet they still demand $199 to register it. MainActor has been out for about two years with no major improvement or version changes. MainConcepts bread and butter business is codec plugins and standalone codecs, so almost all of their development time goes into those products not their editting suites.



    October 4, 2005 at 1:02 am

  2. Hey Mike,
    Thanks for the heads up on the MainActor software. I didn’t really get that impression from their website, but, then again, they wouldn’t really advertise that 🙂
    I’m dying for the cinelerra folk to make that timeline a little more user friendly, as overall that software was the best. Soooo close to being great IMO.


    October 4, 2005 at 8:21 am

  3. Sterling,

    Check out blender ( Although it is primarily a 3D graphics suite, it has a pretty good built in non linear editor. I’ve played with it a little, and it has most of the core features (multiple tracks, fades, wipes, etc). The blender documentation project probably has all the information on how to use it.



    October 4, 2005 at 1:27 pm

  4. Mmmm, interesting. I didn’t realize blender had editing capability. I’ll check it out. Thanks!


    October 4, 2005 at 2:44 pm

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