Need a video editor, FOSS fans? OpenShot and Kdenlive both refreshed
Cross-platform so you can run it on a Windows box, too
Two of the leading open source video editing programs got new versions in the same week… and they're both cross-platform, so you don't need to be a penguin-botherer to try them.
Back in 2015, The Reg offered a roundup of Linux video editing programs, and at the time, noted that a new version of OpenShot had been a long time coming:
Unfortunately, OpenShot 1.x is looking largely like abandonware at this point.
Well, it took the project a while, but they got there. OpenShot 2.0 came out in 2016, after "nearly two and a half years" as our scribe said at the time. Its maintainers aren't rushing their job: this week, six and half year later, they just released OpenShot 3.0. To be fair, there have been a whole series of interim 2.x releases, the latest of which was version 2.6.1 in September 2021.
The new version claims over 1,000 improvements, and better performance and stability. The app can now export multiple videos at the same time, and users of HiDPI monitors should benefit from improved 4K display support. This version is compatible with Blender 3.3 They've also done a lot of work on the program's user guide.
OpenShot supports an impressive range of platforms. It's available in both native
.DEB format in an Ubuntu PPA, and as a cross-platform AppImage, which you can also run on ChromeOS (so long as it's an x86-based ChromeBook). There are also macOS and Windows versions. The Windows version can be run as a portable app, meaning that you can run it and use it, without admin permissions, for instance by installing it on a USB key. It does require a 64-bit CPU, though.
Kdenlive 22.12 is also out. This isn't such big news, as that project puts out a new version several times a year, along with the rest of the KDE apps suite, now called KDE Gear. Kdenlive's slightly odd name comes from "KDE NLV Editor", as in Non-Linear Video, and is apparently pronounced kay-den-live. It's based on the MLT toolkit, which was also the basis of OpenShot 1.x before that project moved to its own framework, libopenshot, plus JUCE for audio.
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Even so, the last version of Kdenlive of 2022 still boasts some new shiny. The UI has a new, context-sensitive "guides" dock, which contains all timeline guides and clip markers. When you select a clip, its markers will be shown, and if you click a timeline, its guides appear. This should improve searching and sorting, and it can all be controlled by keyboard, without using the mouse.
The limit of nine fixed categories has been removed, and they can now be named and assigned colors. Markers can now be handled, and imported or exported, in groups. The new version also has improved integration with the Glaxnimate 2D animation tool. The UI had been given an overhaul, with options rearranged and simplified. Optionally, the menu bar can be hidden, in which case its options all move to a hamburger menu.
The latter is an option that the Reg FOSS desk would quite like to see go global in KDE, ideally soon: either traditional menu bars everywhere, or hamburger menus everywhere. (We much prefer the former, as it happens.) Currently, some bits of KDE use menu bars, and others use hamburger menus: generally, apps with a version number (such as 5.x) use a bar, and ones with a date (such as 22.12) tend to use a button, and we find the inconsistency very irritating.
The Kdenlive announcement says that they've taken the first steps towards supporting the future KDE 6:
Kdenlive can now be built against Qt6 […] This is the first step to ensure the transition from version 5 to version 6 of Qt and KDE Frameworks will be smooth.
We do not have a definite ETA for the switch to Qt6 yet, but we currently expect it happen in the second half of 2023.
Sorting out the inconsistent use of menu bars versus buttons, and making sure that window-management keystrokes are consistent with other desktops and OSes, is Number One on the Reg wishlist of things we'd like to see in KDE 6. ®