OpenShot 2.3 Linux Video Editor New Features

It’s been quite some time since we last talked about OpenShot, and more specifically when it had its second major release. Recently, the team behind the popular open source video editor has made its third point release available which happens to come with a couple of exciting new features and tools, so here is a quick guide on where to find them and how to use them.

Dynamic Transform Tool

OpenShot already offered quite powerful transformation options, but now users can perform real-time transformations that are displayed on the video preview. To enable this tool, right click on the clip that you have already positioned on the track editor and select “Transform”. This should make five light blue markers appear on the video previewer as shown below:

Dynamic Transform Tool

By clicking on the central marking you can drag your video around, while the edge markers allow you to resize the video as you like. Openshot will automatically add the transformation points on the track editor and it will also transit from one to the other in a smooth way. You may drag the timeline cursor left to right to see if your transformations work the way you wanted them to. Of course, if two points are too close together, the transitioning may feel more abrupt so make sure to be relatively consistent between the time spaces for the transformation points.

openshot transform tool

Razor tool

The razor tool is one of those things that were there, and then they were removed. Due to the popular demand by the user base, it’s been brought back to OpenShot 2.3. To use the razor tool, you first need to click on the “scissors” icon located at the top left of the track editor. Once you do that, your cursor becomes a razor, meaning that you can click on the tracks and cut them into pieces. If you want to reduce the duration of a clip, you may click on the edge of the track and drag it to up to the desired frame.

openshot razor tool

Titles Editing and Animation

Title templates were introduced in OpenShot 2.2, so this capability has been enriched in 2.3. To add a new title on the Project Files, click on the “Titles” item on the top panel and select title or animated title. In 2.3, editing the title items has become easier than before, while animated titles that weren’t available before have not been added.

openshot title editor

The simple titles are quick and easy to edit and add to the timeline, and if you have inkscape installed in your system you will be allowed to perform more advanced edits. If however it is the animated titles that you prefer, then you should install Blender 3D in your system as well. Once you do, go to Edit → Preferences and check that the paths are as shown in the following screenshot. If of course the Blender or Inkscape executables are in a different path, you should change this accordingly.

openshot preferences

After this is done, you may edit your animated titles as you want and then hit the “render” button on the right and wait for Blender to do the hard work. Some of these animations are so amazing, they worth your time so be patient.

openshot animated titles

Preview Window

Finally, there’s a new preview window mode that allows users to preview multiple media, position them around on the screen as they like, and generally give more freedom to the whole video editing process. To create a preview window, right click on the project files item that you want to preview and select the “Preview File” option. The preview windows are resizable, and I’ve tried opening and previewing at least five of them simultaneously without any sign of lagging.

openshot preview window

OpenShot Development

OpenShot has shown unprecedented development tempo lately, transiting from a period when it was almost dead to a new era of awesomeness. It feels more stable, modern, and powerful than ever before, and with the ability to edit 4k videos (added in 2.2), the massive preview performance and caching improvements (2.2 and 2.3), the title templates and editing (2.2 and 2.3), the new animation features (2.1), the audio waveform support (2.1), it certainly has reached a point that I wouldn’t have imagined a year ago when the 2.0 was released. The interactive tutorial and the updated documentation is the topping to the amazing work done by the community around this open source project, so if you had tried 2.0 and it didn’t quite made it for you, you owe to give 2.3 another try.

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