March 8, 2014 at 5:51 pm

SXSW: Pitivi Aims To Bring Real Video Editing to Linux


Quite obviously, musicians and the people around them have a great need for video editing software — not only because YouTube is a popular place to listen to music, but because videos have so much promotional value. Tour diaries, talk-to-the-camera confessionals, live show videos, viral stunts, and other types of videos are all part of the gameplan for recording artists these days.

However, there’s no good way to edit video on Linux, meaning that freedom-loving open-source types have to switch to Mac or Windows if they want to put together a video.

Sriram Ramkrishna, director of GNOME Foundation, told us he’s trying to change that at SXSW 2014, by raising funds to hire full-time programmers to build the beta Pitivi Linux video editor (pictured above), based on the GStreamer multimedia framework, into a full 1.0 version that anyone can use.

“This is about trying to improve the video editing experience that we have in GNOME,” explained Ramkrishna. “We don’t have, under Linux, a very good experience with media, at all. And video editing is one of those things, which a lot of people do… [Pitivi] also improves GStreamer, because we have to work with that lower-level library, so then, everybody benefits. Video editing, even music — everything gets better by supporting this program.”

According to one Linux music tech person we found at SXSW 2014, Andrea Goetske of New Thinking in Berlin, the need for something like this is very real indeed.

“We have been using only open-source software, and have been promoting Creative Commons and open ideas,” said Goetske. “Even though we’re coming from really hardcore open-source values, and ideas, at the point when it comes to video editing, everybody has shifted to a Mac, because there is just no good software [for making music and other videos on Linux].”

If you’re a Linux music and/or video person who wants to see this happen, you can donate here.

And as a side note, if you’re looking to get into Linux, you might check out GNOME 3, which Ramkrishna demonstrated on a ThinkPad, and which looked pretty simple and slick, especially for Linux, with no need ever to use the terminal interface, and a nice music player control extension right there in the toolbar.

  • Namida12

    I thought Cinelerra was being groomed for this task, but it is still not ready or properly funded to release a usable prime time or professional version

  • Michael Pavletich

    Real video editing has been available in Linux for quite some time now. Has the writer of this conveniently forgotten that KDE users have enjoyed kdenlive for some time now. How is kdenlive not a real Linux video editor? Could it be that the writer is too afraid to point others to a different DE that has the tools he claims Linux is missing? You don’t even have to be using KDE to run kdenlive. You can use XFCE for the DE and kdenlive works a charm and you can even put it on short sighted garden gnomes. (that’s a dig at the article writer)
    Before anybody makes a claim that appears to encompass all that is Linux, they need to make sure the full picture is displayed.

  • Anonymous

    I donated to OpenShot project but I wasn’t impressed. I suggested to the dev that he should use the FREE filter from MIT. Something that no editor has anywhere! Free. The code is given by MIT for nothing. The dev shot that idea down without much consideration. Linux users don’t want something basic, we want something better than Windows software. We’re using Linux because it’s better.

  • Phil

    Check out Lightworks.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for saying something, I find these days I don’t really have the patients to explain anymore.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    and I for got to mention blender.

  • Barney Holmes

    Blender has a video editing mode.

  • Anonymous

    There is also lightworks, cinelerra, kdenlive, openshot, ffmpeg and a few others I cant remember the names of. One more couldn’t hurt tho.

  • Aidian Holder

    I’m huge linux fanboi … but there’s no decent open source software for cutting video. The new version of lightworks looks good…old versions sucked… but it’s not open source, likely never will be, and the company strikes me as a little shady. Otherwise, none of the available programs have the features, the interoperability, and the stability needed to actually use them for professional or prosumer editing.

    I wish it wasn’t so. Really. Until you can replace an AVID or FCP install, it ain’t done, and linux video editing ain’t done.

  • Rob Wentz

    I would hardly call kdenlive “real video editing”… while you are right that “Real video editing has been available in Linux for quite some time now” it was called *Discreet/Autodesk SMOKE*… (not to mention flint, flame, fire and inferno if you want to count IRIX)

  • Alex Cox

    As the commenters observe, there are LOTS of open source editing possibilities. Openshot raised money via a kickstarter campaign, too. I edit professionally and would love to use a free software option with the capabilities of Final Cut 7 — including a timeline with audio tracks!