February 22, 2019

Making Movies in Linux with Kdenlive, part 2

Spice up Those Kdenlive Videos

  • May 27, 2010
  • By Akkana Peck
You've read the last article, chosen some video clips and made a basic movie with kdenlive. Pretty easy! But you can make a better movie by adding some effects -- like transitions between scenes, music and titles.

<em>figure 1</em>
figure 1

Transition effects

When you cut from one clip to the next, sometimes it's jarring for the viewer -- it's hard to tell whether you've changed to a new scene. It can help to have some kind of transition effect in between.

The most common transitions are fades to or from black; and a common variant of a fade is a dissolve, where the first clip fades out at the same time the next one fades in on top of it.

To create a dissolve, start by overlapping the two clips. Do that by moving one of your two clips down to the next timeline (Figure 1).

When you're adding transitions, it helps to zoom in so you can see what you're doing. Kdenlive's zoom controls are in the Timeline menu, not View as you might expect. Or just use Ctrl-+ to zoom in --(don't forget the shift key, if your + key is shifted -- and Ctrl-- to zoom out.

There are several ways to add a transition once you have two overlapping clips, but they don't all work equally well. Easiest is to hover the mouse over the area where the two clips overlap and look for a green triangle with a tooltip of "Add transition" (Figure 2). Click on the triangle.

<em>figure 2</em>
figure 2

You'll get a tiny yellow rectangle in the area where the two videos overlap. But it's so small it's hard to see (Figure 3).

<em>figure 3</em>
figure 3

Zooming way in can help (Figure 4).

<em>figure 4</em>
figure 4

Once you find the yellow rectangle, click on it.

The upper left area of the window will switch to the Transition tab (Figure 5).

<em>figure 5</em>
figure 5

The default transition is Dissolve. You can preview your dissolve either by dragging the position slider right above the timeline, or by clicking Play in the Project Monitor.

You may wonder why Reverse is checked by default in the Dissolve transition. Oddly, that's what you want: the first track fades out while the second fades in. Try disabling >i?Reverse to see what it does.

There are lots of transitions available besides Dissolve, though many of them don't do anything very useful. Try several different effects as you add new clips ... like Slide (Figure 6).

<em>figure 6</em>
figure 6

You can alternate your clips between timelines 1 and 2 -- you don't have to use a new timeline each time

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