Friday, July 16, 2010

Green Beret parachutes in to help Cinelerra

Unbelievably, just in the past week, the Cinelerra CV community ( has had a heavyweight developer parachute in and start fixing stuff all over the place. The guy is Chris "Monty" Montgomery who developed the Ogg multimedia container and Vorbis audio formats ( He is a developer currently working for Red Hat.

Monty, You're The Man!
His primary effort has been to yank out the kludgy and incompatible file loader in Cinelerra and replace it using good old FFmpeg. FFmpeg has problems of its own, but a helluva lot less problems than the Cinelerra loader. This is a task that the original developer of Cinelerra, Heroine Warrior (, has wisely done with the 4.1 version of Cinelerra. Much props to Father HV, for without him, this blog and Open Source video editing would be very different, if exist at all.

Monty is patching the version of FFmpeg that comes with the Cinelerra CV source code ( In Cinelerra CV's source code tree, FFmpeg is found under quicktime/ffmpeg. This means that once you compile Cinelerra from source code and add Monty's code fixes, files like the Canon 5D/7D H264 AVC files (the 1080P files spat out of the Canons') will load natively in Cinelerra.

AVC, oh AVC, Why Are You So Stubborn?
Problem here is that you can't really edit with AVC files because the decoding of them is so bloody CPU intensive. AVC playback in Cinelerra on my dual, quad core Dell SC1430 with 10GB RAM is 3-4fps. This is unacceptable for previewing edits. There is a workaround to this such that if you really wanted to edit AVC, you'd need to have background rendering enabled, make your edits and then wait for the background render to finish. But that bg render takes a long time too. You could speed this up to by creating a ramdisk ( and setting the background render to use that ramdisk. But that's a whole other task.

Transcoding Canon 5D/7D Files, as usual
Thus, we're still left with the task of transcoding Canon 5D/7D files into a more compatible format. There are two solutions:
1) get my varied MPEG-TS conversion magic to work for you (
2) convert the 5D/7D files using FFmpeg into another format that works since FFmpeg is now Cinelerra's loader (with Monty's additions)

Both require research/work, but I did a quick conversion that I tested in Cinelerra with Monty's code additions:
ffmpeg -i [inputFileFromCanon] -acodec mp2 -ar 48000 -ab 384k -ac 2 -vcodec mpeg2video -qscale 1 [outputFile]

The audio format is mpeg, layer II and the video format is mpeg2video. This loads in Cinelerra and is fast to edit with. Once edited, render out from Cinelerra as usual.

How to Compile Cinelerra for Ubuntu and Fedora users
So Monty's additions require compiling from source. I'll provide some quick links here. For Ubuntu folks, Raffaella Traniello has put a nice post together on how to compile Cinelerra in Ubuntu:

For Fedora users, I have a post here:

Get Monty's Additions Working
Once you get the source code compiled, install it (make install) and just test that Cinelerra works at a basic level. Once you've tested that your compile has worked, move onto apply Monty's code additions:
- remove your installed Cinelerra (make uninstall)
- download Monty's additions at
- apply each of them to the Cinelerra source code tree one at a time (git apply [patch name])
or join in Monty's git branch:
1) git remote add xiphmont git://
2) git remote update
- compile Cinelerra, this time with all Monty's additions (make clean;make;make install)

After starting CinCV with Monty's additions, you should see the startup info change:
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ cinelerra
Cinelerra 2.1CVxiphmont
(C) 2006 Heroine Virtual Ltd.
(C) 2006-2010 The CinelerraCV Community
Internal ffmpeg 0.6+fixes
Compiled on Fri Jul 16 20:40:38 EDT 2010

As well, you should see that FFmpeg becomes the default loader for videos in you goto the Resources window, right-click on a video and click "Info". You should see FFMPEG there under File Format:

A Few Git Notes..
While I'm at it..

View current git branches
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git branch
* master

Add Monty's remote branch
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git remote add xiphmont git://

Update the local copy of Monty's remote branch
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git remote update
Fetching origin
Fetching xiphmont
remote: Counting objects: 2754, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (1904/1904), done.
remote: Total 1981 (delta 997), reused 0 (delta 0)
Receiving objects: 100% (1981/1981), 2.77 MiB 1.07 MiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (997/997), completed with 711 local objects.
From git://
* [new branch] master -> xiphmont/master

Check that Monty's branch has been added
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git branch
* master

I then was able to switch branches
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git checkout -b xiphmont xiphmont/master
Branch xiphmont set up to track remote branch master from xiphmont.
Switched to a new branch 'xiphmont'

"git branch" shows that I have switched to Monty's branch
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git branch
* xiphmont

Now I can switch easily between branches (Monty's and CinelerraCV)
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git checkout master
Switched to branch 'master'

Switching to Monty's branch
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git checkout xiphmont
Switched to branch 'xiphmont'

Show the current status of the git code repositories
[sfrase@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git status | head -6
# On branch xiphmont
# Untracked files:
# (use "git add ..." to include in what will be committed)
# cinelerra-cvs-current.spec
# cinelerra/.deps/

View the latest change log
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git log xiphmont/master | head -6
commit 8c01c13bbb21d30aff2733454a49fbfe641e51ca
Author: Monty
Date: Fri Jul 16 07:30:10 2010 -0400

iAlter/extend versioning to avoid any confusion between this temporarily
forked version and the main CinelerraCV repo

Pull in the latest code updates:
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git pull

I tried to switch branches and got this error
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git checkout -b xiphmont xiphmont/master
error: You have local changes to 'po/de.po'; cannot switch branches.

I did a hard reset to clear the above error
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git reset --hard HEAD
HEAD is now at d95887f Pass --libdir given to configure on to ffmpeg configure.

Last resort for repos not working, a destructive clean:
[mule@ogre my_cinelerra]$ git clean -dfx

Update 2010/07/16
Looks like the YUV4MPEG render stream is broken..this simple render pipe outputs a file unreadable in FF
ffmpeg -f yuv4mpegpipe -i - -y -target dvd -f mpeg2video %

I talked to Monty and he will fix..something about colorspace converter.
*** end update ***

Note that you have to compile Cinelerra and do a full reinstall, as the Cinelerra "make" process hard links the installation directory into the cinelerra executable.

So I hope Monty stays with us as long as possible. Thanks man! Hope springs eternal!
the mule



Thiago said...

Hi Cacasodo,

I was succesfully following your tips, but I got lost when trying to apply the patches of Monty. Surelly because I'm quite new on Linux. Where is Cinelerra source code tree? Is it the "cinelerra-cv"? Because, on terminal, I first typed "cd cinelerra-cv" and then "git apply 0001-Add-new-fileffmpeg.C-file-loader-to-allow-proper-han.patch", (and this command only worked after I pasted the patch file inside the "cinelerra-cv"). I've got some errors, accusing some white lines, and after that the compilation didn't work. (But I tested the compilation before applying the patch, as you recommended, and it did work. And I also removed the installed Cinelerra before applying). What I did wrong? Consider I'm yet a beginner when explaining, please.

Thank you. (I'm trying to edit t2i videos on cinelerra)

Cacasodo said...

Maybe a better question is, if you are a beginner, why do you want to compile in the first place? Perhaps you should forego compiling Cinelerra and simply install Cinelerra from pre-built packages, such as Akirad's Cinelerra for Ubuntu at the bottom of this page:
Get Cinelerra