Editing video on Linux or on OpenShot program

Well, I wanted to publish some video from a recent Lambda Lounge we had, with Garret Smith talking about Reliability Features of Erlang.

I used OpenShot which I found easy to use, fast and generally to my liking but I wouldn’t blog about it (I don’t blog about every tool that works as I want it to) save for this blog post which details a terrible experience with it.

My OpenShot version was 1.7.6. I had libmlt2 0.5.4-1 and melt 0.5.4.


While I offer a different view point I’m not trying to say that author of “Avoid OpenShot” is misguided, lies etc. My experience differed widely from his and it is this discrepancy that caused this post to happen.

My aim here is not to discredit Christian Weiske’s (or any other people’s) experience, but merely to say something about mine.


There’s a number of problems that linked article mentions:

  • frequent crashes – I had none during two days of my work
  • localization problems – my locale worked without a single problem, I have commas instead of UK/US dots as well, perhaps I didn’t play with audio enough?
  • transition problem – none spotted
  • general slowness and eating 100% CPU while doing nothing – none spotted. When I’ve been adding 6GB of video files or exporting videos or playing with tracks I’ve had rather fast response times and worth noting I had been copying large files at the same time and running STS version of Eclipse and I can’t say my laptop was not responsive – and it’s also a 4 CPU machine, nothing brand new even back in 2011, when I bought it.
  • timeline is useless, there’s problem with accessing 50th+ minute of your movie – my movie had over an hour and I could access it by pushing forward, markers and setting the timeline and sliding. Not sure how else I could’ve accessed it.

Why the discrepancy?

Excellent question, I have few ideas and have contacted Christian about them.

  • since 2011 something HAS changed – though with update to Christian’s site, with this link this seems not the case – I’ve however been using the very same version the other guy used and had none of the problems he had.
  • OS plays a role – I used OpenShot on Ubuntu 10.04.
  • Different library in my version? That seems to be worthy of investigating.
  • Different usage. I had a project that took much less effort (and had no crashes, bugs and any hindrances from the tool). It wasn’t a short movie though, I ended up with few minutes over one full hour of video material.


So why this blog post?

  • Christian’s experience was terrible, mine was great. I had easy time editing my video, I even had fun doing it.
  • I am curious why the difference in experience. Awaiting Christian’s reply to my email. His honesty was promising, I liked the fact he didn’t just complain, he investigated, spent time and opened bugs where he found things should work better.
  • Try OpenShot out. If you will experience things similar to those in linked post, post in Launchpad bugs with your settings.

Some of you might think I’m with OpenShot dev-team. No, I’m not. But I’m a programmer and users reporting bugs with information that can help track it down are a treasure in general. 🙂



    1. Thanks Gianluigi, will fix the typo once I’m back from vacation! Good luck with your project – if it makes you feel better, just yesterday I finished another project with Openshot and all went well.

  1. I got here by way of the critical blog posts that linked to you. I am commenting here since it allows comments. 🙂 Let me point out something. You wrote this blog post in August, 2013, and the version of MLT you were using was release in source code form in April, 2010. The others who had bad experiences were using less dated software, but dated nonetheless. As you know many open source software projects need to rely upon feedback for quality assurance. So, how is that supposed to work when user and developer are years apart? Also, there have been numerous problems with MLT apps that went away when the distro package was rebuilt or the app was rebuilt using one of our build scripts suggesting some problems with the binary packages. Sometimes we observed distros using an old version of MLT with a much newer version of FFmpeg/libav – not a good idea. Behold the new approach taken by http://www.shotcut.org/.

    1. Hi Dan and thanks for stopping by. Also, apology that your comment had to wait this long, I was ill.

      Ad rem though. Your points are valid, through and through.
      Why dated software? I needed nothing more than what I had with default Ubuntu install – turned out quite enough for my purposes.
      Feedback chain – that’s a hard one for libraries, I imagine. It’s one thing for end-user to use a program and complain on it (and we all know how often this happens), but to trace that faults lie not within it but with some library it uses under the hood? And moreover, go there to complain? Yeah right.

      As for shortcut… looks promising. Shall use it one day and see.

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