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Open-Source Film editing software

Interface to kdenlive, showing the video and audio tracks on the timeline

Interface to kdenlive, showing the video and audio tracks on the timeline

A few weeks ago I started thinking about what kind of media you could whip up with just a smart phone and whatever open-source editing software that might be out in the wild. I asked Dr. Google a few questions, and I found out about the kdenlive project. I was able to get it installed and worked through the available tutorial. In a few hours I put together a couple of short pieces, using minimal editing techniques. I created a Youtube channel and dumped my two films out there. Normally, I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with something like Youtube, but the temptation of having a globally accessible distribution platform that was freely accessible was just too much. Sharing things like a few photos is one thing, but when you want to share media files that are pretty large, it seems like a good way to go. After muddling through the Youtube interface and seeing what they have to offer, I think I may switch over to vimeo. But, that’s another discussion.

So, in the course of a week, I was able to create two short films and to make them accessible to anyone who wanted to see them…in the world. They weren’t master pieces, or anything. But the barrier to entry was just so low. I always love to use Kevin Smith’s, “Clerks” as an example to illustrate how much film making used to cost. “Clerks” ran up a tab of 25k dollars and Smith had to sell of a lot of assets and go into debt to make it. It was shot on film and all the equipment was rented.  Smith, an unknown kid with no film degree but a lot of moxy, showed great dedication to see his project through. And today, we could make a film of about the same quality with what we have in our pockets and tote bags: every person with a smart phone and a laptop is a potential walking film studio. And this begs the question, with these technologies present just about everywhere and with global platforms for distribution available, where is the new media revolution? Is it happening all around me, and I just don’t see it because I’m not applying the right filters, or looking in the right places?

Anyone interested in checking out the results of this experiment can find the Youtube channel at the following link:

Digitalhecatomb on Youtube

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