Movie Making Manual/Linux in film production

What is Linux? edit

Linux is a piece of software known as a 'kernel.' The name has also been inaccurately applied to an entire operating system known as GNU. GNU/Linux is the preferred method of referring to the operating system. GNU/Linux is a computer operating system which can run on many different types of computer hardware. GNU/Linux is the most famous example of free software. It is developed and maintained by thousands of people around the world. Most GNU/Linux distributions are gratis. Please take a look at the Wikipedia entry for more info about GNU/Linux.

Advantages edit

  • Almost always free (or very inexpensive)
  • Open Source (most distributions, but not all)
  • Bugs are usually fixed very quickly
  • Stable
  • Fast
  • You can modify it to your heart's content, learn from it and even redistribute changes.
  • There is a lot of support available on-line through Wikis and Forums
  • Developers are usually very open to suggestions from users. Much more so than proprietary, closed-source, corporate software developers. If you've got money to spend, then the developers will probably gladly design custom modules for you.
  • Many software options for similar tasks.
  • Many variations on the kernel for various uses depending on hardware, resources, and what you want to do on it.

Disadvantages edit

  • Documentation is often a little sketchy depending on the distribution
  • The Macintosh is the Industry standard for most aspects of film production
  • Is again its own operating system and takes time to get use to (depending on your own speed of picking things up)

But I thought GNU/Linux was bad for content creation? edit

It used to be. But it's grown up. There are already lots of great tools for content creation on GNU/Linux (and, yes, lots of them are free).

Why use GNU/Linux for film production? edit

  • Lots of film companies (especially 3D and effects houses) already use GNU/Linux. So what? Well, lots of these guys contribute code to the open-source world. Free of charge. So you and I can use code which has been developed at ILM. Examples:
    • Cinepaint, forked from the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), is partially developed by Rhythm & Hues, ILM, and Sony Pictures. It's mainly used for cleanup, and dust and scratch removal.
    • OpenEXR is developed by ILM.
  • It's very stable.

Who already uses GNU/Linux? edit

Filmmakers edit

Others edit

  • Most world famous Computer Science Universities (MIT, Caltech, Paderborn)
  • The Government of the People's Republic of China
  • Google
  • NASA
  • The NSA
  • Large part of French government, public service and administration.
  • The German government installed Suse on 11,000 police computers in Feb 2004
  • The German Railway! - 55,000 computers
  • The city of Vienna, capital of Austria uses a distribution of its own (Wienux) in administration.
  • Cuba 1,500 computers
  • South African public service and administration
  • Some Spanish provinces
  • The United States Navy
  • Venezuela government (60%)
  • Some schools
  • More than 90% (91.8% in December 2010) of the world's 500 most powerful supercomputers are GNU/Linux systems. Of these 500, the top-fastest are GNU/Linux

Film production tools available on GNU/Linux edit

  • Most Windows programs can be made to run under Linux using Wine (which is free, and costs no money).

Everything which isn't marked as "proprietary" is gratis!

Scriptwriting edit

Budgeting edit

  • KBudget
  • Grisbi
  • QHacc
  • Quasar - free for one user
  • InfoFlex - proprietary
  • Money Dance - very low cost proprietary
  • GnuCash
  • LedgerSMB
  • SQL-Ledger - Free
  • Open Office Calc - a little like Microsoft Excel
  • Open Office Base - a database package a little like Microsoft Access
  • PC programmes running under Wine

Review of Linux Budgeting programs on Linux Planet.

Schedule / Project's Manager edit

The program celtx listed in the "scriptwriting" section has added very nice scheduling capabilities, allowing you to tie in events with items in your scripts.

Storyboarding edit

  • Windows programs running under Wine

Besides dastoryboard, there are no free specialized storyboarding programs on Linux but see the "Still image Creation" section below.

A useful technique could be to photograph and outline your actors with a vector graphics program, then reposition them behind photographs of your locations. Check out the vector graphics section.

The program celtx, listed in the "scriptwriting" section, has storyboarding capabilities. You would still need to create the images as explained in the previous paragraph but they can be entered into a template within the celtx application. Notes can be added to the images as well.

The 2D animation software Tupi also has made steps to implement storyboard facilities.

Editing, compositing, grading and digital intermediate edit

  • Blender 3D (free, GPL) While it is known mostly as a 3D modeling/animation package, recent upgrades have added high-end compositing and editing features as well.
  • Cinelerra (free, GPL)
  • FilmLight (a DI tool, proprietary)
  • Gimp GAP (Gimp animation package), CVS version.
  • IFX Piranha HD (proprietary)
  • Jahshaka (free) combines editor, compositor, animator, effects, colour control and text creation.
  • kdenlive (free, GPL) -- Wikibook
  • Lightworks (currently closed-source) Professional target; currently a binary beta version for Linux is available; the source code will be released in future
  • LiVES (free, GPL) an advanced video editor which also provides VJ features
  • Lumiera (free)
  • Nuke (proprietary)
  • Pitivi (free, GPL)
  • Shake (proprietary)
  • Shotcut (free, GPL)
  • Various proprietary packages by Autodesk (formerly known as Discreet).

File conversion tools edit

  • Avidemux2 A clone of virtualdub
  • FFmpeg a complete solution to record, convert and stream audio and video, including frame to movie and movie to frame.
  • GStreamer Open source multimedia framework
  • Handbrake Convert DVDs to MPEG4/AVC
  • MPlayer/MEncoder MEncoder features a wide variety of audio/video filters and support (en)coding with most audio and video codecs
  • Transcode Transcode, another solution to convert and filter audio/video
  • WinFF is a GUI to the command line video converter FFmpeg

Audio editing edit

  • Ardour (free, GPL), Protools clone, uses JACK, video-sync via xjadeo.
  • Bitwig (proprietary)
  • Audacity (free, GPL), not very advanced, but relatively stable, lot of effects via LADSPA.
  • GNUsound (free, GPL), multitrack sound editor for gnome (1 & 2), support LADSPA for sound effects, and JACK for realtime processing.
  • Rezound (free, GPL) PowerFull audio editor
  • Tracktion (proprietary), uses JACK, version 4 and 5 are provided free of cost.
  • Wired (free, GPL)

Still image creation edit

Bitmap edit

Vector edit

Animation edit

3D edit

Free edit
  • Aqsis (rendering backend) (free, GPL)
  • Art Of Illusion (Java modeling and rendering) (free, GPL)
  • Blender (free, GPL) --Wikibook
  • Pixie (rendering backend) (free, GPL)
  • Wings 3D (free, GPL) --Wikibook
  • Yafray (rendering backend) (free, GPL)
  • SunFlow (open source Java rendering system for photo-realistic image synthesis) ( free, MIT License)
  • LuxRender (open-source, free software rendering system for physically correct, unbiased image synthesis) (free, GPLv3)
  • Kerkytea (Freeware)
Proprietary edit

stop motion edit

2D edit

Free edit
Proprietary edit

LipSync edit

  • jlipsync (free, GPL)
  • papagayo (free, GPL)
  • yolo (free,GPL) and Compatible whit Moho and Magpie Timesheet

VJ edit

  • LiVES (free, GPL) an advanced video editor which also offers VJ functionality
  • FreeJ (free, GPL)
  • Gephex (free, GPL)
  • veejay (free, GPL) a visual instrument and realtime video sampler.

VCD & SVCD Authoring edit

  • GNU vcd imager (free, GPL) VCD (VideoCD) BIN/CUE CD image creation and ripping tool
  • qVCDgear (free, GPL) QT frontend to VCDgear
  • tovid (free, GPL) (S)VCD and DVD authoring utilities
  • VCDautomenu (free, GPL) VCD menu generation tool
  • VCDgear converts from and to (S)VCD and mpeg, and does mpeg corrections.

DVD Authoring edit

  • dvdauthor (Free, GPL) (command line)
  • 'Q' DVD-Author More then just a dvdauthor frontend. Easy to use and intuitive. Key technologies: Templates, Animated Menus, MovieButtons, MovieBackgrounds, Transcode, Multi format DVDs, Slideshow creation, Subtitles.
'Q' DVD-Author
  • dvdstyler Cross platform dvdauthor frontend (Windows and Linux)
  • ManDVD (Free, GPL)
  • DVDLab (using WINE) (proprietary)
  • KDE DVDAuthor Wizard wizard to create DVD from MPEG-2 files
  • kmediafactory template based dvd authoring tool
  • Linux Video Maker graphics interface (GUI) for transcode, mplex, DVDAuthor etc ...
  • polidori Development stalled in 2004. frontend to dvdauthor
  • tovid (Free, GPL) (S)VCD and DVD authoring utilities

File:Tovid-selection.jpgsome tovid menu selections

  • varsha free, java.
  • videotrans a set of scripts that allow its user to reformat existing movies into the VOB format that is used on DVDs

DCP Authoring edit

Streaming video edit

  • Fenice (free, GPL) Open Media Streaming Server formats: mpeg1,4 & ogg/theora for video
  • FFmpeg (free, GPL), ffmpeg read, convert and stream videos in various formats.
  • Flexcast (free, GPL) Stream most of video and audio format.
  • Flumotion (free, GPL), A streaming media server written in python.
  • GStreamer (free, GPL) streaming and convertion.
  • Icecast (free, GPL), stream video (ogg/theora) and audio in various formats.
  • jroar (free, [L]GPL) A java stream cache.
  • Open Media Streaming Project (free, GPL), A project about a whole streaming plateform.
  • Palantir (free, GPL) for streaming with low-end computer
  • VLC (free, GPL) from Videolan Project, to stream and broadcast any source on a Local Area Network.
  • VobStream (free, GPL) a DVD network streaming application

p2p video streaming for low bandwidth edit

  • freecast (free, GPL), p2p java streaming Ogg Theora video stream provided by Flumotion.
  • Peercast (free, GPL) Support for MP3, OGG Theora and Vorbis, WMA, WMV and NSV

Subtitles edit

  • Gaupol (GPL) is an editor for text-based subtitle files. It supports multiple subtitle file formats and provides means of creating subtitles, editing texts and timing subtitles to match video.
  • Gnome Subtitles is a subtitle editor for the GNOME Desktop. It allows subtitle editing, subtitle translation, video previewing and timings synchronization.
  • Ksubtile (GPL), an editor for the KDE environment to edit, make and save subtitles in the SRT subtitle format.
  • Orange Slice manipulates SSA, ASS, SUB, SRT subtitles format (abandoned project since 2005-01-14)
  • Sabbu, subtitle timing software that can handle ASS and SSA subtitles format.
  • Subtitle Editor (GPL3), can create new subtitles and transform, edit, correct, refine existing subtitles with formats such as ASS, SSA, SubRip, MicroDVD, MPL2, MPsub, SubViewer2.0.
  • Subtitlefix[dead link]. Archived September 8, 2006 at the Wayback Machine. It corrects subtitles (*, *..sub) which are not synchronized with the film.
  • USF[dead link]. Archived December 23, 2006 at the Wayback Machine. The Universal Subtitle Format.

Web Authoring edit

Audio/Video Container/Codec edit

  • Dirac Dirac is a video codec.
  • FLAC Free Lossless audio codec.
  • Matroska The extensible open standard Audio/Video container.
  • NUT A free container for the masses.
  • Ogg Vorbis Ogg Vorbis is an audio compression format.
  • Snow Snow is an experimental lossy video codec.
  • Theora Theora is an open video codec.
  • Wavpack WavPack is a completely open audio compression format providing hybrid compression mode.
  • XviD XviD is an ISO MPEG-4 compliant video codec.

Utilities edit

  • framecalc is an online timecode calculator; it calculates frames out of timecode, timecode out of frames or can calculate the difference between an IN and an OUT point. All this with a chosen frame rate.

Specialized and "ready to use" distributions edit

Personal opinions edit

Wish List edit

I love Linux. Don't get me wrong. I think the whole project is perfect and I use Linux all the time. I use Linux for everything. Everything, including video editing.

My wish list is:

  • Flash MX 2004/2005 on Linux (for DVD Menus)
  • Adobe port Premiere over to Linux / Avid port DV Xpress to Linux
  • There are many very promising Open Source video editing packages that one day may become mature enough to compete with Premiere, but I'm porting this one right now with Xen.

Once one of these wishes becomes true then Linux will rock as an NLE platform.

GNU/Linux Multi-media forums edit

I'm somewhat disappointed that many of the forums on GNU/Linux multi-media are very quiet. The best forums that I know of are:

  • Doom9 Linux specific multimedia forum on a mostly windows site
  • Video Linux specific multimedia forum on a mostly windows site
  • Gentoo-Multimedia forum Hosted on a gentoo-specific forum, but has a lot of generic GNU/Linux multimedia information (and relatively very active)
  • MultimediaWiki All about Multimedia

Does anyone know of any other good multi-media forums for linux?

Getting help edit

Software is often complex and has a steep learning curve. For ways of getting help online, take a look at the online resources page for links to forums and tutorials online. Also take a look at the training category index for more info on training.