Cinelerra 1.1.6: An open-source video editor for Linux

Last Updated on April 17, 2017 by Dave Farquhar

I noticed today that Cinelerra, possibly the best-known video editor for Linux, has hit version 1.1.6.
I’ve played around with Cinelerra a bit, and found it competent, but not intuitive. While it’ll do things that Adobe Premiere won’t do, or that Premiere makes exceedingly difficult, there are an awful lot of things that Premiere will do that Cinelerra won’t. Want to mix stills with your video clips? You’ll have to convert those stills to single-frame MPEGs first. (That means becoming good friends with ImageMagick.) Want to pan and zoom? Forget it.

Now, if you’re trying to make the next Blair Witch Project, Cinelerra is more than up to the task, feature-wise. The only question is stability, but that can even be a question with Premiere or with Final Cut Pro. And Cinelerra gets minor point releases a lot more frequently than the commercial big boys.

But if you’re wanting to make documentaries, or, more likely, edit your home movies, Cinelerra will probably frustrate you. Kino will be easier to learn and possibly more feature complete. If you’re willing to pay some money, you’d be better suited with one of MainConcept’s offerings. (MainActor is included in the purchase price of SuSE Linux 8.2.) Or, assuming you run Windows some of the time, you can mess around with the video editor included with Windows Me and XP.

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3 thoughts on “Cinelerra 1.1.6: An open-source video editor for Linux

  • May 14, 2003 at 1:32 am

    The recommended hardware requirements for Cinerella have been somewhat of a turnoff 🙂 How does it manage speedwise compared to something like Premiere?

    /Dave T.

  • May 15, 2003 at 12:55 pm

    I haven’t compared on like hardware. On my dual Celeron-500, Cinelerra is slow. Not unusably slow, but slow. It leads me to believe that on a more recent system, it would be reasonable, and maybe their requirements/recommendations are a bit inflated. Really it depends largely on what you’re wanting to do. Stringing together 720×480 frames and syncing them up with audio isn’t terribly hard work, so for basic editing, probably any Pentium-class CPU would be usable. But if you’re going to put transitions and other effects in there, that can be very hard work. For some effects, even that quad-CPU monster I built at work a couple of weeks back will leave you waiting for a bit.

  • September 17, 2003 at 5:31 pm

    While I haven’t tested Cinelerra on my new computer (still need to flash the bios to make it work with the cpu) I tried it on an Athlon 700Mhz with 512Mb of ram and only 40GB harddrive. It performed quite poorly on this computer, but not poor enough for me to give up on it. I have an Athlon 1800+ with 1,5GB ram and still waiting for my 120GB HDD but I think this computer will do what it is supposed to. I seriously doubt that Cinelerra will not run fast enough on this computer unless I start working with 10 video tracks in a 3 hour long film or something like that.

    This software was not designed for the amatuers but for the real professionals – how well it performs at this task, though, I shan’t be the one to tell.

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