Tutorials >
Here's a video editor that can pack a punch. Cinelerra is an exceptional video/audio workstation with professional tools and output abilities, and it's awesomely stable on Debian.. A film maker for Linux to replace all others - for more advanced users that is.

See my Netinstall Step2 page for how to install.

cinelerra documentation

I recommend you download the pdf manual from there and check out all the other resources.


What's different

Main Keys

The manual lists the keyboard shortcuts quite well, here I just list the main keys.

Left/Right moves the timeline along X/C/V cut/copy/paste (X also splits an edit)
Alt-Left/Alt-Right move insert point to prev/next edit (cut point) del remove selected (leaves no space)
Home/End move to timeline start/end M mute selected (remove and leave space)
Ctrl-Left/Ctrl-Right go to prev/next label E toggle drag-drop/cut-paste modes
Down/Up/Shift-scroll zoom in/out (also scroll button on zoom factor, lower left) L toggle label
F fit all/selection to display [/] toggle in/out points
Shift-Home/Shift-End highlight from insert point to start/end A select all
Shift-Ctrl-Left/Shift-Ctrl-Right highlight from insert point to prev/next label, or to played from/paused point Z/Shift-Z undo/redo
Shift-LMB on label/in-out point highlight from label/in-out point to insert point Shift-R render
Space play/pause S save project
Ctrl-Space play area between in/out points D remove last track
Ctrl-L set loopback play (whole timeline or selected) Tab/Shift-Tab toggle Arm track with mouse over track/toggle arm all other tracks

The number pad has playback shortcuts too. Since Nov 2017, these shortcuts have been added to main keys:
one frame slow mo normal speed fast mo
backward Alt-U Alt-I Alt-O Alt-P
forward Alt-J Alt-K Alt-L Alt-:

Pressing Ctrl with any of the playback keys and the time betwen in/out points will be played.

Unfortunately, there are no shortcut settings in Preferences.

My Tips

Selecting edits and areas


removing gaps

Snapping edit ends

and first the awkward way: Three new functions in CGG:

Transforming edit ends

when you move the mouse pointer to the edge of an edit an arrow appears, then you can drag the end left or right. The mouse button you use decides what the dragging does.

by default, mouse buttons Left, middle, Right (1,2,3) do the following:

Swap edits


Loopback play


Fading video

still another method: drag a video transition onto the end of the edit and make sure there is no video after the edit end. The video will transition to black! Nice!

this can be done for fade in, and also audio fades.

Fading audio

note: the overlay band for audio fade by default is set to normal level at base of track, which means you can't achieve reduced audio or silence until you adjust that base level...

Make clips from the timeline


Batch Rendering


Some effects handy to know

Video transitions

note: if you have applied an effect such as colour-correction to edit A and the effect is not attached (not wanted) on edit B, you will run into a small problem with a video transition.. do you stop the effect at end of A (and then visible edit A suddenely returns to pre-effect picture during the transition) or do you exten it to the end of the transition (and then edit B gets coated with edit A effect for the duration of the transition, which is bad)?

What you need to do in this case, is add a video track above and drag edit A onto it, then drag-extend the effect attached to edit A to the end of the transition - the effect will then not alter edit B picture!

Colour correction

Cinelerra offers some outstanding tools for control of colour output, but mastering them might take you some time!

Keyframe an effect

easily set keyframes in effects to alter the parameters through time..

Rotate video

but, rotating a video (e.g. 16:9 aspect ratio 90 degrees) will crop top and bottom (as obviously 1920 pix wide can't rotate and stand up in 1080 pix high - its top and bottom won't fit in), so you can either attach the "Scale" effect (above the rotate effect, to scale the video width down to the new height dimension before rotation).
OR, after applying rotation, click on the "Adjust camera automation" button in the compositor window, and the Shift-left-click-drag to resize the video so that as much as you need fits onto the canvas (and turn off key-framing first!).

Scaling down video

To produce video with smaller dimensions than the source, you need to set the format dimensions and then add a video effect to the entire timeline.

But even EASIER.. after setting canvas size, click the "Adjust camera automation" button in the compositor window, and the Shift-left-click-drag to resize the video (and turn off key-framing first!).

Image overlays

this is easy as resizing/positioning one armed track in the compositor window

Projector animation

This technique will create a movement and transform shrink/grow of the video picture across or around the screen - you are advised to look at the good Heroine manual first! (find/copy it after install at /usr/share/cin/doc/cinelerra.html)

Warping video

(and turn off key-framing first!)