2013 open source video editor user survey

What was initially planned as a one-question referendum for Pitivi users (how critical is it for us to have perfect xptv import on the upcoming release) became a full-fledged survey to give us a clearer picture of what users care the most about these days. If you’re a fan of Free Software and video editing, please take a few seconds to fill this survey. Please please share this with everyone you know who is interested in Free and Open-Source video editing. Thanks!

Version française: la prochaine version de Pitivi approche rapidement. Suite à une discussion concernant nos priorités à court terme afin de pouvoir sortir une nouvelle version au cours de l’été (avec un peu de chance), nous avons concocté un court sondage sur votre utilisation des logiciels de montage vidéo libres. S’il-vous-plaît, veuillez prendre quelques secondes pour répondre à ce délicieux questionnaire, et n’hésitez pas à en parler à tous ceux autour de vous qui s’intéressent à l’édition vidéo libre!

No more stuck rendering dialogs!

If you’ve tried rendering projects with Pitivi 0.15 or older, chances are you’ve encountered one of these dreadful situations where the rendering process would get stuck:

  • …at the beginning, with the progressbar saying it’s currently “estimating” — which was a lie that I corrected a little while ago.
  • …at the very end. Extra trolling points for having made you waste a huge amount of time to get a 0 bytes output file (if we’re lucky, that bug is gone).
  • …somewhere in the middle, because caps negotiation failed, some elements were not linked, GStreamer thinks you ran out of available RAM, or because you’ve been very naughty.

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PiTiVi and the 2013 Summer of Code

This year will be a little bit different. In a rather unexpected turn of events, PiTiVi has been accepted as a mentoring organization but GStreamer has not. Fear not however, as GStreamer has no better ally than the PiTiVi team when it comes to pushing our favorite multimedia framework to its limits and beyond. As you may know, PiTiVi makes heavy use of the GStreamer Editing Services library and, in turn, GNonLin and the rest of GStreamer. With the switch to GES and the irrevocable shedding of our old skin, any backend work done for the sake of the PiTiVi project ends up benefitting GStreamer and other projects.

One way to look at things is that there is no such thing as a PiTiVi backend anymore. PiTiVi is a frontend that pushes the latest and greatest open-source multimedia technologies forward.

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Persistent tab states, render UX polish and other things

With some help from luisbg, I finally reworked and merged a 2-years-old patch of mine. It turned out to be less trivial than expected, because we had to change the settings backend to allow loading/reading configuration files at runtime for our dynamically-generated tab components. So, what the heck does this mean to you? Automatically saving and restoring the state of our dynamic detachable tabs/components. This is a nice improvement for those of you who want to spread the PiTiVi UI across multiple displays:

In this screenshot, I used a gray gradient as a my desktop wallpaper (for simplicity)

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Lightworks is not anywhere close to open-source

I’ve seen everybody hail Lightworks as the messiah that will make all other open source video editors irrelevant. So far, I didn’t blog about this (because frankly, life’s too short to be pessimistic, and I was also quite curious as to how it would play out and wanted to give EditShare the benefit of the doubt—after all, I’m a fan of video editing software in general).

However, after all these years, most of the blogs or news sites (including the most popular ones) still don’t bother checking for factual accuracy and just blindly accept what corporate press releases would have them believe. I would have thought they would have grown more careful with time, but the situation has generally not improved, to the point where I am now compelled to say this now, officially, in public: Lightworks is currently not open-source and never has been. Furthermore, if it ever is open-sourced, it most likely won’t be anywhere close to a truly open project.

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How do you visualize grouping?

Here’s a tricky usability question: how would you represent the actions of grouping and ungrouping clips on a timeline? (Un)grouping is used for changing the way selections affect a set of clips. It allows you, among other things, to separate and remove the audio from the video of a clip.

It is very hard to find any relevant prior art that could guide me for this metaphor (most applications don’t have icons for these, they are only available through menu items). Inkscape can get away with icons that show “drag handles”, but we don’t have those in Pitivi. (un)grouping is quite an abstract concept, given that it does not visually change the clips in any way, it just changes the way they react to selections.

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Why you should be using GES

Thanks to our friends from Ubicast, there is a nice recording of the talk I gave with Thibault in San Diego. Unlike what the title says, this is actually not a case study :) it is aimed at those of you who are wondering what GES is all about, why it matters, how it works, and why everybody should be using it to Get Things Done. If you’re interested in audio and video editing with GStreamer, you should definitely check it out.

GUADEC talk video published

No no no, I said video, Not videos. Seems like even though I spent hours editing and rendering a single recording, I’ve still beat the GUADEC organizers when it comes to “time to publish” ;)

My “neko edit” also has good sound quality (from a dedicated USB microphone) and high resolution versions of the slides and videos used during the presentation… all in HTML5 video glory.

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What the duck?!

During the mini PiTiVi hackfest a Coruña, René and I fought valiantly to get our beloved video editor working through GObject introspection.

It was much to my delight that Vivia Nikolaidou kindly lent me her beloved debugging duck (much better than debugging symbols!) to facilitate our efforts. She let it sit by my Thinkpad and quack around at deadlocks for a bit, while she went to a tea shop with Sebastian.

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