1 Introduction

1.1 About Cinelerra

For years, some people have wanted a way to edit their audio and video in one place as fluidly as writing text. Cinelerra tries to be a single location for all your audio and video editing needs. All the recording, editing, and playback are handled here. It can be used as an audio player. It can be used to record audio or video.
It can even be used as a photo retoucher.

There are two types of moviegoers: producers who create new content and revisit it for further refinement, and consumers who want to acquire the content and watch it. Cinelerra is not intended for consumers. Cinelerra has many features for uncompressed content, high resolution processing, and compositing. Producers need these features in order to retouch many generations of footage, which makes Cinelerra very complex. Consumers should consider other tools such as Avidemux, Kino or Kdenlive.

Quote from Miro’s Wiki:
"The key difference between Cinelerra and many of the commercial editors is that Cinelerra hides much less from the user, exposing much of the inner workings to direct interaction. This can be harder to use, but does make it tremendously powerful, and for some operations blistering fast."

1.2 The two versions of Cinelerra

There are two branches of Cinelerra. One can be found at http://www.heroinewarrior.com and the other at http://cinelerra-cv.wikidot.com . This documentation is focused on Cinelerra-CV (Community Version).

The official Cinelerra source code is developed "upstream" by Heroine Virtual, Ltd (HV). HV shares its code base with a community version of Cinelerra (Cinelerra-CV), but does not actively participate with the community of developers responsible for Cinelerra-CV. HV likes to work on its own copy of Cinelerra, releasing code on a periodic basis every 6 months or so.

Cinelerra-CV was founded by developers who wanted to extend the functionality and fix bugs inherent in the HV code base. They decided to develop Cinelerra in a community fashion and not create a separate fork of the original HV code. So, the Cinelerra CV code is very similar to the official release. CV coders apply bug fixes (http://cinelerra-cv.wikidot.com), enhancements to the GIT and compliance fixes. Programmers occasionally send patches upstream. In this way, Cinelerra CV has a number of features that the official version does not.

Unlike other programs, the HV release can not be described as "stable". After HV’s Cinelerra is released, there are often bugs or unusable new features. When there is a new release, a CV member (j6t) merges HV’s code with Cinelerra CV code, taking the enhancements from HV and reformatting the CV code (white spaces, function naming, directory naming) to be more similar to HV’s with slight changes to implementations. After the merge, the latest Cinelerra CV release is a little unstable as users find bugs. Time permitting, the CV programmers will address as many of these bugs as possible. In this way, Cinelerra CV can be seen as the community’s attempt to stabilize HV’s release.

As mentioned, the community adds new enhancements to the HV source. Members will comment on each other’s implementations in order to create a more fully functional and stable product. Occasionally, HV will give feedback on implementations that the members of the CV submit to it. However, not all of the enhancements that the community create make it upstream; for example, YUV pipe rendering.

Given the above discussion, obtaining the GIT just before a merge will generally be more stable than a post-merge CV version. Be aware that existing project description files, or Edit Decision Lists (discussed below), may not be compatible with the newly merged CV version. With any version of Cinelerra, the task of finding bugs is relatively easy. However, clearly and concisely documenting these bugs for the community that fixes them is a task that we ask of all users of the software. The community is very responsive. Please help them by creating well-formed bug reports. You may join our mailing list at http://cinelerra-cv.wikidot.com/main:contact

1.3 About this manual

This manual edition is 1.65.EN, for Cinelerra CV version 2.3. You may redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License, as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This manual originates from "Secrets of Cinelerra", an excellent primer written by Adam WILLIAMS from HEROINE VIRTUAL LTD. In 2003 Alex FERRER created a Wiki based on that manual and added many screenshots and topic descriptions. At that time, Cinelerra CV still did not have its own manual and information regarding the Community Version of Cinelerra was scattered across the Internet (mailing-list, IRC, websites, wiki, etc). In 2006, Nicolas MAUFRAIS combined the original "Secrets of Cinelerra" with the contents from Alex FERRER’s Wiki into a unified document.

Cinelerra-CV documentation maintainers:
English: Nicolas MAUFRAIS (coordinator - 2006-2007), Raffaella TRANIELLO (apprentice sorcerer - 2007-2008), Nicola FERRALIS (coordinator - 2014-2018), Igor VLADIMIRSKY (coordinator - 2023-Present).

Manual translators: French: Jean-Luc COULON
Brazilian Portuguese: Flavio SOARES (maintainer), Willie MARCEL
Spanish: Alberto RAMALLO, Gustavo Iñiguez GOYA (chapter 17 - Keyframes)
Basque: Iñaki Larrañaga MURGOITIO "Dooteo".

Other contributors: Alexandre BOURGET, Kevin BROSIUS, Carlos DAVILA, Cillian DE ROISTE, Rafael DINIZ, Pierre DUMUID, Mike EDWARDS, Martin ELLISON, Graham EVANS, Alex FERRER, Scott FRASE, Joe FRIEDRICHSEN, gour, Gus Gus, Terje HANSSEN, Mikko HUHTALA, Ben JORDEN, Nathan KIDD, Marcin KOSTUR, Joseph L., David MCNAB, Valentina MESSERI, Sean PAPPALARDO, Paolo RAMPINO, Herman ROBAK, Dana ROGERS, Jim SCOTT, Andraz TORI, Raffaella TRANIELLO, Hermann VOSSELER, Norval WATSON, Craig LAWSON, Joe STEWART, Nicola FERRALIS, Igor VLADIMIRSKY.

Thanks to the GNU project team, and particularly to Karl BERRY, maintainer of GNU Texinfo, for the precious help he gave us during the elaboration of this manual.

The sources of the manuals are Texinfo files. They are in the same GIT repository as Cinelerra’s source code (/doc folder). They can be converted in many formats. The doc/README_en file contains instructions for building the manual in PDF, HTML (single page) HTML (one page per chapter, in a folder), plain TXT, TXT in DokuWiki syntax (one file per chapter, in a folder), Docbook.

A version of this manual for Cinelerra-CV is available online http://cinelerra-cv.wikidot.com/

If you would like to translate this manual in your language, see the doc/TRANSLATIONS file and contact the Cinelerra-CV Community through the mailing list.

1.4 Getting help

Help can be found at:

1.5 Tutorials

Some Cinelerra tutorials are available on the internet:

  • Cinelerra video tutorials, by The Source (Aaron Newcomb) - tutorials (talk and screencast) inside The Source Show
    • #1 is in Episode 6 "The Return Of The Pixel" from min 45 to min 60 (Introduction to Cinelerra and non linear editing, the 4 windows interface, project attributes, loading files).
    • #2 is in Episode 1 "The Filesystem Menace" from min 32 to min 54 (Arming tracks, sample zoom, selection boxes, two screen editing, cut and paste editing, adding and moving tracks, drag and drop editing, trimming, transitions).
    • #3 is in Episode 2 "Attack Of The Elephants (Dream)" from min 45 to 1:12 (Keyframes, camera and projector, masks, titles, effects).
    • #4 is in Episode 3 "Revenge of Cinelerra" (A guy makes music with his hands).

See more resources HERE

1.6 HOWTOs

Some HOWTOs for specific needs are available on the internet:

  • SimAV’s HOWTOs, by Simeon VOLKEL - How to create a picture in picture effect, How to create overlays, How to change theme.
  • FFMPEG compatibility - HOWTO produce videos that can be played in common proprietary multimedia players

See more resources HERE

1.7 Miscellaneous links

Miscellaneous links: