Editing comprises both the time domain and the track domain. Since the timeline consists of a stack of tracks, you need to worry about how to create and sort tracks in addition to what time certain media appears on a track.
In the time domain, Cinelerra offers many ways to approach the editing process. The three main methods are two screen editing, drag and drop editing, and cut and paste editing.
There are several concepts Cinelerra uses when editing which apply to all the methods.
The timeline is where all editing decisions are represented. This is a stack of tracks in the center of the main window. It can be scrolled up, down, left and right with the scrollbars on the right and bottom of it. It can also be scrolled up and down with a mouse wheel, left and right with a mouse wheel and the CTRL key.
The active region is the range of time which is affected by editing commands on the timeline. The active region is determined first by the presence of in/out points in the timeline. If those do not exist the highlighted region is used. If no highlighted region exists the insertion point is used as the start of the active region. Some commands treat all the space to the right of the insertion point as active while others treat the active length as 0 if no end point for the active region is defined.
Finally, editing decisions never affect source material. This is non destructive editing and it became popular with audio because it was much faster than if you had to copy all the media affected by an edit. Editing only affects pointers to source material, so if you want to have a media file at the end of your editing session which represents the editing decisions, you need to render it. See section Rendering files. See section Saving project files.
See section Editing Media shortcuts, for information about the editing controls keyboard shortcuts.
On the left of the timeline is a region affectionately known as the patchbay. The patchbay enables features specific to each track.
All tracks have a text area for naming the track.
All tracks have an expander for viewing more options on the patchbay and for viewing the effects represented on the track. Click on the expander to expand or collapse the patchbay and the track. If it is pointing sideways, the track is collapsed. If it is pointing down, the track is expanded. Existing effects appear below the media for the track.
All tracks have the following row of toggles for several features.
If the toggle is colored, the feature is enabled. If the toggle is the background color of most of the windows, it is disabled. Click on the toggle to enable or disable the feature. Several mouse operations speed up the configuration of several tracks at a time.
Click on an attribute and drag the cursor across adjacent tracks to copy the same attribute to those tracks.
Hold down SHIFT while clicking a track’s attribute to enable the attribute in the current track and toggle the attribute in all the other tracks.
Hold down SHIFT while clicking an attribute. Click until all the tracks except the selected one are disabled. Then drag the cursor over the adjacent track to enable the attribute in the adjacent track.
The attributes affect the output of the track:
Each track has a nudge textbox in its patchbay. You may have to expand the track to see it. These are views of the patchbays when expanded.
Pan and nudge for an audio track
Overlay mode and nudge for a video track
The nudge value is the amount the track is shifted left or right during playback. The track is not displayed shifted on the timeline, but it is shifted when it is played back. This is useful for synchronizing audio with video, creating fake stereo, or compensating for an effect which shifts time, all without tampering with any edits.
Merely enter the amount of time to shift to instantly shift the track. Negative numbers make the track play later. Positive numbers make the track play sooner. The nudge units are either seconds or the native units for the track (frames or samples). Select the units by right clicking on the nudge textbox and using the context sensitive menu.
Nudge settings are ganged with the Gang faders toggle and the Arm track toggle.
Use the mouse wheel over the nudge textbox to increment and decrement it.
Audio tracks have a panning box in their patchbays. A patchbay may have to be expanded to see the panning box. The panning box is shown here.
Pan and nudge for an audio track
Position the pointer in the panning box and click/drag to reposition the audio output among the speaker arrangement. The loudness of each speaker is printed on the relative icon during the dragging operation. The panning box uses a special algorithm to try to allow audio to be focused through one speaker or branched between the nearest speakers when more than 2 speakers are used.
Several convenience functions are provided for automatically setting the panning to several common standards. They are listed in the Audio menu. These functions only affect armed audio tracks. They are:
See section Audio attributes.
Although Cinelerra lets you map any audio track to any speaker, there are standard mappings you should use to ensure the media can be played back elsewhere. Also, most audio encoders require the audio tracks to be mapped to standard speaker numbers or they will not work.
In the channel position widget See section Audio attributes, the channels are numbered to correspond to the output tracks they are rendered to. For stereo, the source of channel 1 needs to be the left track and the source of channel 2 needs to be the right track.
For 5.1 surround sound, the sources of the 6 channels need to be in the order of center, front left, front right, back left, back right, low frequency effects. If the right tracks are not mapped to the right speakers, most audio encoders will not encode the right information if they encode anything at all. The low frequency effects track specifically can not store high frequencies in most cases.
Tracks in Cinelerra either contain audio or video. There is no special designation for tracks other than the type of media they contain. When you create a new project, it contains three default tracks: one video track and two audio tracks. You can still add and delete tracks from the menus. The Tracks menu contains a number of options for dealing with multiple tracks simultaneously. Each track itself has a popup menu which affects one track. See section The track popup menu.
Operations in the Tracks menu affect only tracks which are armed.
Finally, you will want to create new tracks. The Audio and Video menus each contain an option to add a track of their specific type. In the case of audio, the new track is put on the bottom of the timeline and the output channel of the audio track is incremented by one. In the case of video, the new track is put on the top of the timeline. This way, video has a natural compositing order. New video tracks are overlaid on top of old tracks.
This is the fastest way to construct a program out of movie files. The idea consists of viewing a movie file in one window and viewing the program in another window. Subsections of the movie file are defined in the viewer window and transferred to the end of the program in the program window.
The way to begin a two screen editing session is to load some resources. In File→Load files... load some movies with the insertion mode Create new resources only. You want the timeline to stay unchanged while new resources are brought in. Go to the Resource Window and select the Media folder. The newly loaded resources should appear. Double click on a resource or drag it from the media side of the window over the Viewer window.
There should be enough armed tracks on the timeline to put the subsections of source material that you want (usually one video track and two audio tracks). If there are not, create new tracks or arm more tracks.
In the viewer window, define a clip out of your movie file:
The two points should now appear on the timebar and define a clip.
There are several things you can do with the clip now:
Two screen editing can be done purely by keyboard shortcuts. When you move the mouse pointer over any button a tooltip should appear, showing what key is bound to that button. In the Viewer window, the number pad keys control the transport and the [ ] v keys perform in/out points and splicing.
Drag and drop editing is a quick and simple way of working in Cinelerra, using only the mouse. The basic idea is to create a bunch of clips, then drag them in order into the timeline building a prototype film that you can watch on the compositor. If after watching it, you wish to re-arrange your clips, set effects, add transition or insert/delete material, just drag and drop them on the timeline.
Cinelerra fills out the audio and video tracks below the dragging cursor with data from the file. This affects what tracks you should create initially and which track to drag the media onto.
To drag and drop a file on the Program window, you need to create on the timeline the same set of tracks of your media file.
A common camcorder file has a set of one video track and two audio tracks. In this case you will need one video track and two audio tracks and the media should be dragged over the first video track.
If the media has audio only you will need one audio track on the timeline for every audio track in the media and the media should be dragged over the first audio track.
If the media is a still image, you will need a video track only.
When you drag your chosen media from the media folder to the timeline, your mouse pointer will drag a thumbnail and, once over the timeline, the outline of a white rectangle, as big as the edit you are going to have.
Drag the media to the desired position of an empty track of the timeline and drop it.
If there are other edits on that track, when you move the white outline over an edit, you will see a bow tie symbol >< appearing at edit boundaries. If you drop the media there, the new edit will start from the edit boundary indicated by the center of the bow tie ><.
Since the mouse pointer is in the middle of the white outline, when this rectangle is bigger than the visible part of the timeline, it is quite cumbersome to precisely insert it. (This will likely happen for long media). Lengthening the duration visible in the timeline by changing the sample zoom in the zoom panel will reduce the size of the white rectangle, making a precise insertion possible.
You can also drag multiple files from the resource window. When dropped in the timeline they are concatenated.
The way of selecting multiple files to drag changes depending on if the resources are displayed as text or as icons. To change the display mode right click inside the media list and select either Display icons or Display text.
When displaying text in the resource window CTRL-clicking on media files selects additional files one at a time; SHIFT-clicking on media files extends the number of highlighted selections.
When displaying icons in the resource window SHIFT-clicking or CTRL-clicking selects media files one at a time; drawing a box around the files selects contiguous files.
In addition to dragging media files, if you create clips and open the clip folder you can drag clips on the timeline.
In the timeline there is further dragging functionality. Dragging edits around the timeline allows you to sort music playlists, sort movie scenes, and give better NAB demos but not much else. To enable the dragging functionality of the timeline, select the arrow toggle on the control bar.
Arm a track with various scenes.
Original track with three scenes.
Go to scene #3, click and drag it to the middle.
When you drop scene #3
scene #2 shifts to the right
This is how the finished sequence looks.
If more than one track is armed, Cinelerra will drag any edits which start on the same position as the edit the mouse pointer is currently over. In other words, you can drag and drop a group of edits. Cinelerra recognises as a group the edits of different armed tracks that have aligned beginnings, regardless of whether they have the same source or aligned ends.
When you drag and drop edits within the timeline:
If you drop an edit when bow ties >< are shown, that edit will be cut and pasted starting at the edit boundary indicated by the centre of the bow tie ><. Following edits on the same track will move.
If you drop an edit when there are no bow ties >< shown, the original edit will be muted and pasted where you dropped it. No edits will move. A silence will appear in place of the original edit.
If you have more armed tracks on the timeline than in the asset you are dragging, only the following edits of the tracks affected by the drag and drop operation will move to the right. This will cause loss of synchronization. To restore it, disarm the tracks affected by the drag and drop operation, highlight the just dropped edit and paste silence over it (Edit → Paste Silence).
In Drag and Drop editing mode you can’t drag and drop labels. They will be always locked to the timebar, even with the Edit labels option enabled. Still, with the Edit labels option enabled, if a selected area of a resource is spliced from the Viewer to the timeline in a position before labels, these labels will be pushed to the right for the length of the selected area.
With in/out points you can perform Cut and Paste operations in Drag and Drop mode as well as in Cut and Paste mode. Go to the Edit Menu to view the list and the keyboard shortcuts.
This is the traditional method of editing in audio editors.
In the case of Cinelerra, you can copy edits in the same track, copy from different tracks in the same instance, start a second instance of Cinelerra and copy from one instance to the other or load a media file into the Viewer and copy from there.
Load some files onto the timeline. To perform cut and paste editing select the i-beam toggle. Select a region of the timeline by click dragging on it and select the cut button to cut it. Move the insertion point to another point in the timeline and select the paste button. Assuming no in/out points are defined on the timeline this performs a cut and paste operation.
If in/out points are defined, the insertion point and highlighted region are overridden by the in/out points for clipboard operations. Thus, with in/out points you can perform cut and paste in drag and drop mode as well as cut and paste mode.
Most editing operations are listed in the Edit Menu. Some of them have a button on the program control toolbar and a keyboard shortcut.
Other editing operations:
In Cut and Paste editing mode you can edit labels as well. By enabling Edit labels in the Settings Menu, or by disabling the Lock labels from moving button on the Program Control Tool Bar labels will be cut, copied or pasted along with the selected regions of the armed tracks.
When editing audio, it is customary to cut from one part of a waveform into the same part of another waveform. The start and stop points of the cut are identical in each waveform and might be offset slightly, while the wave data is different. It would be very hard to highlight one waveform to cut it and highlight the second waveform to paste it without changing the relative start and stop positions.
One option for simplifying this is to open a second copy of Cinelerra, cutting and pasting to transport media between the two copies. This way two highlighted regions can exist simultaneously.
Another option is to set in/out points for the source region of the source waveform and set labels for the destination region of the destination waveform. Perform a cut, clear the in/out points, select the region between the labels, and perform a paste.
With some edits on the timeline it is possible to do trimming. By trimming you shrink or grow the edit boundaries by dragging them. In drag and drop mode or cut and paste mode, move the cursor over an edit boundary until it changes shape. The cursor will either be an expand left or an expand right. If the cursor is an expand left, the dragging operation affects the beginning of the edit. If the cursor is an expand right, the dragging operation affects the end of the edit.
When you click on an edit boundary to start dragging, the mouse button number determines which dragging behavior is going to be followed. 3 possible behaviors are bound to mouse buttons in the interface preferences. See section Interface.
The effect of each drag operation not only depends on the behavior button but whether the beginning or end of the edit is being dragged. When you release the mouse button, the trimming operation is performed.
In a Drag all following edits operation, the beginning of the edit either cuts data from the edit if you move it forward or pastes new data from before the edit if you move it backward. The end of the edit pastes data into the edit if you move it forward or cuts data from the end of the edit if you move it backward. All the edits thereafter shift. Finally, if you drag the end of the edit past the start of the edit, the edit is deleted.
In a Drag only one edit operation, the behavior is the same when you drag the beginning or end of an edit. The only difference is none of the other edits in the track shift. Instead, anything adjacent to the current edit expands or shrinks to fill gaps left by the drag operation.
In a Drag source only operation, nothing is cut or pasted. If you move the beginning or end of the edit forward, the source reference in the edit shifts forward. If you move the beginning or end of the edit backward, the source reference shifts backward. The edit remains in the same spot in the timeline but the source shifts.
For all file formats besides still images, the extent of the trimming operation is clamped to the source file length. Attempting to drag the start of the edit beyond the start of the source clamps it to the source start.
In all trimming operations, all edits which start on the same position as the cursor when the drag operation begins are affected. Unarm tracks to prevent edits from being affected.
Most effects in Cinelerra can be figured out just by using them and tweeking. Here are brief descriptions of effects which you might not utilize fully by mere experimentation.