[LAU] state of multimedia

Patrick Shirkey pshirkey at boosthardware.com
Tue May 5 03:06:54 EDT 2009


I have just spent the past few days working on a project to sync a badly 
recorded a/v track.

In the process I have had to do a crash course in Linux Multimedia apps.

It's like going back 5 years compared to Linux Audio. I haven't had to 
do this kind of compiling for quite some time with Linux Audio apps due 
to the Fedora yum repository being upto date and the stability issues 
for basic operations have been sorted. Most of the audio apps I use just 
work on 64 bit for basic editing tasks.

I have used several programs in my quest for a/v sync.

cinelerra-cv (community version)

I have also used


I also would have liked to try out jahshaka /cinefx and cinelerra-4  but 
I couldn't get either installed. I ended up using avidemux and 

I had to install several apps from source due to various bugs that 
happen on my dual core amd , fedora 10 x64 packaged versions. Many of 
the apps have got Fedora 10 rpm builds but it took several hours of 
searching google to find the links and details for installing them. Then 
I had the headache of figuring out why libs that were compiling and 
installing were not being found as deps. Why does Fedora not setup the 
qt4 and pkgconfig paths by default? Has that been fixed in Fedora 11? 
For a development install this seems like a prerequisite.

In the end after 30 hours of trying to use the various apps above to 
realign a single audio track the best I could do was to extract the 
audio track from the original with mplayer -dumpaudio, cut the original 
mpg with avidemux, render (export) the new track to disk, split off the 
audio track with mplayer, import the original audio track to audacity, 
cut it to the right start points, export it to wav, import the new 
tracks to openmovieeditor, align them, export them to .mov.

I would have preferred to use one app but none of them could do all of 
the above or if they could they were buggy and kept crashing or couldn't 
read the mp3 or couldn't export the file in a readable format, etc.... 
Kdenlive looked like it would be almost perfect but it kept crashing, 
openmovieeditor is also good but editing is limited and buggy, of them 
all avidemux was definitely the most rock solid performer and the 
interface was a pleasure to work with. LiVES has a nice clean interface 
too but is not really an editor. The other apps left a lot to be desired 
in the visual appeals dept. Why do multimedia devs insist on using the 
gui libraries like sdl and tkinter?

BTW, why the different jargon for audio (export) and video (render) 

What I am sorely missing is a video time stretch function as the final 
edit is still badly out of sync. At least now it starts in sync but the 
drift sets in after about 5 seconds. Maybe I could do it with liVES or 
ffmpeg but I was surprised that none of the apps I tried offered 
"Stretch" as a core feature/tool.

Through all of this process I have been consistently amazed at the state 
of Linux Multimedia apps. Maybe it's just my Fedora 10 64 bit system but 
it seems to me that Linux Audio Apps are a good 5 years ahead of Linux 
Multimedia. However I was glad to see that most of the apps had JACK 
support which made editing and listening a lot easier. 

I still had to close all the apps occasionally because the fedora 
mplayer doesn't have jack support and pulseaudio jack support isn't 
obvious to setup. If the multimedia devs can get jack support right why 
can't the pulse audio team?

I have a new level of respect for the amazing progress that Ardour 
represents for Linux Audio and *cough*soon*cough* to be multimedia 
(xjadeo). Ardour is without a doubt the most advanced and stable editing 
system we have to work with.

I can see now that Ardour could well become the defacto "multimedia" 
editing suite for Linux if work continues and we continue to support the 

I would like to give cineFX (jahshaka) a shot too once I get the 
openlibraries to install.



Patrick Shirkey
Boost Hardware Ltd

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