Arguably a difficult transition that Windows users undergo when switching to Linux is the lack of video editing software, like Microsoft Movie Maker. Have no fear! Pitivi comes to the rescue. Pitivi (pronounced pee-tee-vee) is an open source video editor for the Linux operating system and built upon the GStreamer multimedia framework.
Upon launch, Pitivi opens a greeting window providing the user with the opportunity to open an existing project or to create a new one. Behind this is the main screen where the film editing/creation takes place. The interface is pleasantly straightforward and intuitive. A menu and toolbar at the top of the screen are referred to as the header bar. Below this are two tabs, or primary tabs, to the left, above a pane. These tabs allow users to toggle between the media library and effects library. To the right are the contextual tabs, which allow users to view clip properties, add transitions and to add titles. To the right of this, is the viewer, through which users can observe their developing creations. The interface for the viewer is the same as for any media player. Below these three panes is the ruler and below that the timeline. This is where videos are placed to be modified.
Media can be added to the media library by either clicking on and dragging the desired file from the file manager window to this pane or by clicking on the Import button above this pane and to the left. When imported, media can then be dragged to and dropped on the timeline. Once a film clip is added, the clip as it will be seen by viewers appears in the viewer. When a user clicks anywhere along the timeline, the viewer jumps to that position. Using the timeline toolbar to the right of the timeline, users can delete selected clips, group clips, ungroup clips, copy, paste and toggle gaps in media. All edits affect the selected clip.
A click of a mouse button (right or left) places the playhead at the desired point on the timeline. This is where splits are inserted. Other tweaks involve being able to control the zoom on the timeline, adding a title, adding special effects and adding transitions. As effects are added to a clip, they are listed in the contextual tab with a checkbox next to each. The checkboxes are checked by default, so, as expected, unchecking one disables it. Effects include, but are by no means limited to, such items as facedetect (detects faces in videos), kaleidoscope and Tunnel (creates a light tunnel effect).
Pitivi is very versatile in terms of file support. Projects may be saved (or rendered which is the term used in Pitivi) in the following formats: AVI, Apple QuickTime, Ogg Vorbis, MP4 and MPEG to name a few. Furthermore, Pitivi offers excellent project management. The term project in Pitivi refers to any film being edited. But users can save their projects at different levels of completion or in different file formats. Many different settings can be adjusted, such as pixel and display aspect ratios, and there is an excellent Undo/Redo utility.
Now that you’ve read about what Pitivi can do, give it a try. Better still, let your students give it a try if you really want to see Pitivi put through its paces. If you’re so inclined, you can also contribute to their fund drive. Such support is always appreciated.
Note: Pitivi is designed to run on the GNOME Desktop Environment. However, all of the author’s screenshots were taken while running Pitivi on the Xfce Desktop Environment upon which it ran without issue.
Pitivi [computer software]. (n.d.). GNU General Public License.
JPitivi quick Start manual. (n.d.) GNU General Public License. Retrieved from http://www.pitivi.org/manual/.