Cinelerra for Grandma
Basic HOWTOs for very beginners
Cinelerra in 30'
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Adjusting settings
Loading media
First editing
Second editing
Colour correction
Making animations
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Anamorphic video
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Table of Contents
Warning BEWARE!!! Work in progress

How to move or copy a piece of video

You can move edits around the timeline.

If you want to move an edit in the space of your screen, the easiest way is to drag and drop it. Remember to set the Drag & Drop mode first.

If you want move an edit outside your visible portion of the timeline or if you want to move only a portion or more than a single edit, then you might want to select the area to move and use the _Cut and Paste buttons in the control bar. The selected area will be pasted at insertion point.
Similarly you can copy an area of the timeline.


Cut, copy and paste operations can be accessed also from the Edit men.
They all have a keyboard shortcut: x (cut), c (copy), v (paste). Note that unlike word processors, no `CTRL`key is needed.

How to delete a piece of video

To delete a portion of the video you have on the timeline is very easy. Just select it and press the `Del`key.

While this operation it might look very simple at first, it is not. If you want to understand all the deleting options Cinelerra offers, I recommend you read the How to understand SILENCE section.

How to set the mouse dragging behaviour

Dragging the mouse in the timeline can perform two different operations, depending on the editing mode you set.

  1. Move an edit by dragging and dropping it → Drag & Drop mode

  2. Select and highlight and area of the timeline → Cut and Paste mode

To set the editing mode use the relative buttons in the control bar.


How to select an area of the timeline

You can select regions on armed tracks in many ways.

  1. Double click over an edit to select that single whole edit. The selected edit will be highlighted.

  2. Set the in point and the out point to define the start time and the end time of your selection. The selected area will not be highlighted.

  3. Double click between two labels (on the timebar) to highlight the area between the labels.

  4. Drag over the picon of one or more edits to highlight the desired area. Pay attention to the shape of the mouse pointer. When it is close to an edit boundary, it changes shape to perform trimming operation instead of highlighting. This function is enabled in Cut and Paste mode only.

  5. Choose Select all from the Edit menu to select the armed tracks for their entire duration. Alternatively double click on the timebar.

  6. Use the selection boxes that are a triplet of fields on the Zoom Panel with respectively the start time, the length and the end time of the selection. Edit the start time field and press ENTER to make the insertion point jump to the desired selection start time. Edit the length field or the end time field and press ENTER to select the desired area.

To cancel the highlighting click on the timebar.
To cancel the in/out point selection, delete the in point and the out point.

How to set and cancel in/out points

In/out points are only one in point and one out point. They are set at insertion point by clicking on the icon [ and ] on the control bar or by pressing the keys [ and ].

In some cases it is quicker to select an area of the timeline and then clicking on [ and ]: in/out points will be set at the two ends of the selection.

To delete in/out points click on the point set on the timebar. This will highlight it. Then click on the icon or press the key.

To quickly get rid of in/out points, without caring about where they are or if they are set or not, just double click on [ and ] buttons. The first click will set a new point or reposition an old one at the insertion point; the second click will delete it.
Obviously this trick does not work if the in point or the out point is already set at insertion point.

How to understand SILENCE

Using Copy & Paste commands we are tempted to think like if we were editing text. Word processors use space for formatting, helping the meaning to become more accessible.
In fact editing video uses space too, but as representation of the time domain. The most important consequence of that is the concept of silence, that is a blank portion of the timeline as important as every other edit.

Unlike text, when deleting an edit we have two options:



  • Clear the edit. That is deleting it leaving no space/time. The following edits move to the left.
    To perform this operation select Clear from the Edit menu or use the Del key as keyboard shortcut.


  • Mute the edit. That is deleting it leaving a blank space/time. The following edits don’t move.
    To perform this operation select Mute Region from the Edit menu or use the m key as keyboard shortcut.

You shouldn’t think to that space as a "hole" left in place of the edit. In fact it is not "void" but a solid blank screen with specific duration.
This is silence.

Silence occupies space/time and therefore can be edited (cut, copied, pasted, trimmed). It refers both to audio and video.

To add silence, select an area and select Paste silence from the Edit menu or use SHIFT+SPACE BAR keys as keyboard shortcut. The following edits will move to the right.

How to split an edit in two

Cinelerra can’t split an edit in two. Live with it.

If you are asking "why?" with horror, just accept that Cinelerra has her own editing logic. In fact splitting and edit in two is not a goal, it’s just a method for obtaining your goal (marking sections, moving edits, inserting transitions or clips…). Cinelerra obtains those with different methods.

If you just can’t live with it, try deleting a single frame: it’s the best workaround.

How to delete a single frame

The quickest way to delete a single frame is this:

  • Make sure you have the Align cursor on frames option checked in Settings.

  • Set the Time format to Hours:Minutes:Seconds:Frames in the Settings→Preferences→Interface dialog.

  • Set the insertion point at the beginning of the frame you want deleted. To work precisely you may need to zoom in time with the down arrow.

  • Bring your mouse pointer over the central selection field (Selection length), just on the right of the Zoom Panel, at the bottom of the Program window.

  • Click between the two last zeros that represents the frames and set the text cursor just before the last zero.

  • Press the keyboard key 1 to enter the length of the selection.

  • Press ENTER to actually select.

  • Press DEL to delete the selected frame.