PiTiVi – A brief overview.

The next release of Ubuntu Linux, code named Lucid Lynx, will come with some new apps that will be making their first debut. If the rumors going round is correct, then one of the newbie apps will be the video editor PiTiVi. We also know that the very powerful but overly complex looking GIMP will be dropped but will of course remain in the repos for those that use it. So today, I’d like us to just take a brief look at PiTiVi, what it is, what it can do and more.
PiTiVi is an open source video editor, written in Python and based on GStreamer and GTK+. PiTIVi provides several ways of creating and modifying a timeline. Ranging from a simple synopsis view (a-la iMovie) to the full-blown editing view (aka Complex View) which puts you in complete control of your editing.

Other interfaces can be added via the plugin system, aimed at more specific uses like a SlideShow creator or a subtitling editor. It is even possible to use Pitivi without a user interface in order to do batch rendering. The authors of PiTiVi/GNonLin have been part of the GStreamer core developer community for many years and make sure any issues are solved as quickly as possible in the lower levels in order to avoid any bloated feature at the application level.

While not boasting as many features as other common video editors, PiTiVi has:

  • Importing support for all video/audio/image formats provided by GStreamer plugins
  • Desktop environment integration and consistently designed user interface
  • Drag and drop for importing, adding and manipulating clips on the timeline
  • Native GTK+ theme integration
  • High quality translations and localization by the GNOME translation teams
  • Full compliance to the GNOME HIG (human interface guidelines)
  • Unlimited video/audio track layers
  • Full undo/redo history
  • Basic clip manipulation
  • Trimming
  • Snapping
  • Splitting/cutting
  • Rendering in any container and codec supported by GStreamer plugins
  • Frame stepping, keyboard controls and shortcuts
  • Audio editing
  • Sound mixing of multiple concurrent audio layers
  • Trimming, splitting/cutting
  • Volume keyframe curves
  • Fast audio waveforms
  • Video thumbnails
  • Fast, playhead-centered zooming
  • Mousewheel integration with modifier keys for timeline navigation
  • Scrubbing
  • Linking/grouping of clips
  • Clean, modular code with extensive test suite (test-driven development)
  • Extensive user manual
  • Configurable appearance and behavior (clip colors, snapping sensitivity, thumbnail and waveforms generation, etc.)
All in all, PiTiVi is a simple application that will make Ubuntu even more attractive to more people should it be included in the default installation. Seeing that video editing is one of the weak points of Linux, I think initiatives like this is a welcome note.

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