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[Feature Request] From a filmmaker/offline-editor

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Dear KdenLive team,

I hope you are all well and healthy through this tough time.

I am a filmmaker - screenwriter/director/editor. I am based in Sài Gòn, Việt Nam. It is very strange introduce myself as such when the whole industry (and the world) is at a stand still in effort to battle against Covid-19.

Less than a month ago, due to frustration of WindowOS keeps crashing for no apparent reason, I have been discovering the GNU/Linux and the open source community.
My guess is that the rest of the world will very soon discover Linux by the announcement of the Steam Deck just a couple of days ago.

I mostly use Adobe Premiere because it is everywhere. Generally, in the world of proprietary software, NLE software all have similar tools to do similar things. It takes only a few days (maximum a week) to get things set up and running switching between software.
However, I am struggling to move my offline-editing workflow to Linux.

I have look through and try most of the NLE for Linux and thought KdenLive have the best chance of becoming the NLE of choice for professional editor.

You have pretty much everything right. The layout is clean and very flexible. ffmpeg is quite a beast of a program.
I am learning to code and can barely imagine the enormous amount effort that must have poured in this project for KdenLive to be at this level.
But there are crucial features that needed for professional work.
My guess is that you have very little feedback from a professional editor in order to develop the software and take it to the next level. Thus I thought I might share my thought on the feature that is needed for me (and probably most pro-editor) to choose KdenLive on Linux for professional work.

1) Swap clips
As offline editor, we manipulate raw footage to finalizes their duration and their order - referenced to one another. This includes both audio and pictures.
Swapping clips around is done very often when editing. I guess there must be similar feature like this in other proprietary software. I have look but there isn't seem to be a feature like this in KdenLive. If I'm mistaken please somebody guide me. Much would be appreciated.

2) Slip, Slide, Ripple, Roll
Without these tools I feel like I have entered a gun battle with a spoon.
These tools are very crucial for an offline editor to do the job right at a professional speed.
And to prove that all the NLE are pretty much the same, please click on any of the links below.


3) Multiple Timeline
Offline-editing's goal is to finalize an Editing Decision List. To do this an editor has to have full control and knowledge over the footage that is available.
As creative as we individually are, we all takes very similar steps to get to this final EDL. (Most editors that I know of anyway).

* First, we sync all the audio with the picture and dump all the footage into one timeline/sequence.
Depends on the size of the project we also make timelines for each date recorded.
This way we know how much footage we are working with in the unit of time.
Often this is the work of an assistant editor.

* Then we watch through 1-3(or more) times, constantly making notes along the way.
Here, we get the initial ideas of how we might cut the film together.
Software now have tags/markers which helps a lot with this process and to find clips later.
Me is a bit old-school so I like pen and paper before touching anything else. This way I can go to the park and still look at my notes. This step is very personal.

* Then we copy chunks of clips in to multiple timelines naming them with scenes or story sequence.
We do this follows the notes from the previous step and the director's note.
This step helps us breaking up the story that we are trying to tell into workable chunks.
If there are more than one editor, the work is split at this point.

* Then we selects parts of those clips from those timelines and copy them into another set of timelines to assemble them together.
Personally, I like to move the clip I selected to the track above.
I like to select like this coz later I can just open the timeline and see exactly where I've initially selected the clips within the original camera file referenced in the track below.
Also if I must switch to a different software while in a middle of a project, I can export the .xml files because all NLE should be able to import *.xml.

* Then we takes those assembled sequence and join them together and make the final adjustments.
This timeline is where all the magic happens for filmmaking.
We shape time, story, actors and crew performance, hide bad camera works and crazy drama on set...e.t.c.
This is the timeline where a bunch of individual clips finally becomes coherence film.

* Then we present/release the first rough cut to the rest of the filmmaking team and or client.
This is usually is the time on some project we regret our life decisions....

* We then have feedback to make adjustments. Each round with a new copy from the duplicated timeline/sequence that we sent out from our workstation.
This is the very reason why the non-linear part in editing is very powerful.
We can cut the film as many time as we want and still have access to every steps of the process even the very first timeline that we just dump everything in.

* Finally, we lock the picture and export the EDL. The film will then be send on to many other line of post-production before we render the master version.
The picture goes for color grade & VFX composition. These process usually get done on a higher spec machine.
The audio goes for more sound editing/dub & sound design/mix.

Without multiple timelines available in one project file, you can imagine things get very messy very quickly with all the feedback from various people. Also a lot of time would be wasted trying to look for a clips that is in some other project file. There's also a backup problem for project file too.

Personally I like Premiere because I can open and see multiple timelines simultaneously and drag clips from one timeline to another very quickly.

Me (and I guess some of my friends) would want to move all our work onto a Linux platform but without the tools mentioned above, it would not be possible. I really want to help with the code but I think I might cause more harm than good with my ability.
I hope this message will at least be useful to somebody.
Again, I hope everyone is well and healthy through this difficult time.



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