Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Openshot 1.3.0 is a major step forward

Linux users probably know of Openshot, a python-coded non-linear video editor. When Openshot was first released, its ambitious list of features put a smile on the face of GNOME users, for they would at last get a worthy video editor, capable of taking it up with Kdenlive. Unfortunately, early versions of Openshot failed to live up to the expectations they were raising. Many thought Openshot 1.0 and some of the following releases were examples of rushed, untested and unreliable software, not worthy of the v1.x label. I have to admit I agreed to a certain extent and it would have probably made more sense to start with OpenShot v0.1, perhaps clarifying that the application was still under development.

In my experience, earlier OpenShot versions were somewhat unreliable, but most of the functionality was there. Effects worked as expected for the most part, and while the interface was a bit awkward to work with at times, most of what the application was offering was there to be used. Having said so, my main problem with OpenShot was performance. Even when working with videos well below HD quality, the application would choke on them. Simply trying to add a single audio track to a single video track was a nightmare, for the preview render would be useless, thus leaving me editing blind.


Fortunately, come OpenShot 1.3.0, things have IMPROVED. Yes, that's an improvement worth the uppercase. To begin with, there is a host of new features which make OpenShot an even stronger and more powerful editor (the latest Blender 2.5.6-powered 3D effects are truly something, specially fun is the world maps feature!). Granted, great features were already there in previous releases, but what good are they if the basics are not tight? The good news is that things are way tighter in this release, including a major performance improvement. In fact, I was able to do some video editing on old laptops with poor on-chip video cards... Impressive!

Here's an OpenShot 1.3.0 video introduction from Jonathan Thomas himself:

I recommend checking out the OpenShot 1.3.0 Vimeo PAGE for some more interesting videos, demos and information.

If you have never tried OpenShot or if earlier versions disappointed you, I definitely recommend giving 1.3.0 a try. It's still not what I would call a professional video editor, but it is a huge step in the right direction.


Ubuntu (and its derivatives) users have a dedicated OpenShot PPA from which they can easily download the latest releases and keep up to date. Simply follow the instructions below if you want to install OpenShot 1.3.0.

1.- Open a terminal, add the repository.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jonoomph/openshot-edge

2.- Update software sources.

sudo apt-get update

3.- Install OpenShot 1.3.0 and the accompanying documentation.

sudo apt-get install openshot openshot-doc

Happy video editing!


  1. Hi Chema!

    Thanks for the heads up. I followed you instructions (I am in Dream Studio 10.04, based on ubuntu lucid) but it seems that this PPA is not enabled by default with "add-apt-repository". I edited /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jonoomph-openshot-edge-lucid.list and uncommented the relevant line before doing "apt-get update".

    Cheers! Pablo

  2. Orlando said

    I just tried it today after watching the video of jonathan tomas showing the snowing intro...
    I used OS a long time ago, like 1 year or more, but never used cause the video preview always messed up when trying to add a very simple effect (it slowed down so freaking annoying), and the fact that the video player that uses desynchronize the sound and video, it was a mess...
    but after trying this new release 1.3.1 I have to say... STILL A MESS... same problems but in a newer version. The most easiest task of cut a clip is such a problem with it and kdenlive. Pitivi works perfect in that task for me, it doesn't slow down, neither make the sound desynchronize...

    Hope OS improves cause in my opinion has the best ideas, but it is not functional. At least not for my computer (Acer Aspire 5315-2415 Intel Celeron 2.13GHz 1.5G RAM 120GB ROM Mobile Intel Graphic Media Accelerator X3100)