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Cinelerra basics in 30 minutes and 10 steps
Table of Contents
This page will guide you through a quick but complete video editing process in Cinelerra.
It assumes you have already installed Cinelerra.
Step 1: Get media
Click on the DOWNLOAD link below and select Save File in the Firefox Open file window to download an archive of media ready to be edited.
DOWNLOAD (the archive is only about 260KB in size and it will take just few seconds to download)
Right click on the SourceFiles.tar archive icon and select Extract here from the pop-up menu.
Step 2: Adjust settings
The quickest way to adjust Cinelerra settings is downloading the configuration file I prepared just for you and saving it in the .bcast folder.
wget http://www.g-raffa.eu/Cinelerra/HOWTO/Cinelerra_rc-PAL.tar.gz && tar xvf Cinelerra_rc-PAL.tar.gz && mv PALCinelerraSettings/Cinelerra_rc .bcast/Cinelerra_rc && rm Cinelerra_rc-PAL.tar.gz
wget http://www.g-raffa.eu/Cinelerra/HOWTO/Cinelerra_rc-NTSC.tar.gz && tar xvf Cinelerra_rc-NTSC.tar.gz && mv NTSCCinelerraSettings/Cinelerra_rc .bcast/Cinelerra_rc && rm Cinelerra_rc-NTSC.tar.gz
This operaton creates in your home directory a directory called PALCinelerraSettings or NTSCCinelerraSettings. Inside, you have a README file that explains the changes I’ve made just for you.
If you have time to waste, you can also perform this operation with no command lines. For instructions see the Adjusting settings page.
Step 3: Open Cinelerra
Step 4: Load files in Cinelerra
Step 5: Arrange edits in the timeline
Drag the .png files from the Resources window and drop them onto the Video track in the timeline.
Playback your video using the navigation controls in the control bar of the Program window or in the Compositor.
Drag and drop your images around the timeline, till you are happy with their order.
You can also cut, copy and paste your images. Just double click on the picon to select the image. Use the Cut or Copy buttons.
Step 6: Tweak edits in the timeline
You can adjust the length of the edits of your masterpiece.
Pose the mouse pointer so close to the right end of the edit to make it change shape. Drag the edit boundary forward or backward to lengthen or shorter the edit duration.
Step 7: Add transitions
I’m sure you want to add fancy transitions between edits. This seems to be the favourite operation of newbies of all ages.
Step 8: Add a title
Your movie is nearly finshed. You just need an opening title.
First make some space for it.
Now add the Title Video Effect on the timeline.
Step 9: Save
Saving is extremely easy in Cinelerra. Just like in all programs, select Save from the File menu.
Understanding what you have saved, though, is not as easy. It is an intesting adventure to grokk one of the basic concept of digital video editing: the EDL.
When you edit text in a text editor you end up with text. When you cut and paste paper picture from a newspaper you end up with a paper collage. When you mix edible flour, yeast and sugar you end up with edible biscuits.
You don’t believe me? Open the just saved Cinelerra project with a text editor and watch! Right click on the project filename and select Open with gedit text editor. You are now facing an EDL.
EDL stands for Editing Decision List. It’s a document very similar to the shopping list you write on scrap paper before going to the supermarket. It’s a list that collects all your desires/decisions about how you want your movie: which clips to use, starting from point x to point y, which music to add and when and so on. Note that Cinelerra didn’t produce any video file. No videos are created.
Shocking, isn’t it? But what’s the point of having Cinelerra working not as a videomaking machine but rather as a typewriter?
That’s why a Cinelerra file is called project.
Just like the sculptor papers, the quality of the preview is a little inferior to the final one.
Step 10: Render
Cinelerra can make your dreams come true. She can make a real videofile reading and executing the decisions about editing you wrote on the list. She won’t destroy your original clips. Instead she will copy the relevant portion of them and process them as you ordered. This is called non-destructive editing. It’s good to have all your source files safe and sound for future reuse. On the other hand, though, a lot of disk space will be used.
To render your project:
Sit and watch your masterpiece in full quality. Congratulations, Grandma!!