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Basic default settings you may want to change
Table of Contents
Cinelerra is a very complex program, sometimes even complicated. It is so configurable that sometimes she makes the very beginner uncomfortable.
Up to CinelerraCV 2.1 it was common to spend quite some time fixing settings.
Nevertheless I still recommend to beginners some settings tweaks especially to get easy presets for rendering.
To know which Cinelerra version you have go to Settings→Preferences→About.
How to start Cinelerra with the best settings for Grandma
These instructions are valid for Cinelerra 2.2 and later versions. If you are using Cin 2.1.5 or 2.1, have a look below.
wget http://www.g-raffa.eu/Cinelerra/HOWTO/Cinelerra_rc-2.2.tar.gz && tar xvf Cinelerra_rc-2.2.tar.gz && mv Cinelerra2.2Settings/Cinelerra_rc .bcast/Cinelerra_rc && rm Cinelerra_rc-2.2.tar.gz
How to change audio driver (and live happily everafter)
Cinelerra 2.2 uses ALSA as default audio driver. On the contrary Ubuntu (since 8.04) uses PulseAudio as the standard sound server. For this reason I recommend you set Cinelerra to use Pulseaudio as audio driver: you’ll get the best performance (lowest latency).
PulseAudio is not directly supported by Cinelerra. But since PulseAudio 1.1 provides a legacy interface for ESound applications, we can set Cinelerra to ESound.
For Ubuntu 8.04 and earlier
By default CinelerraCV 2.1 uses OSS as audio driver. You may want to use ALSA audio driver. Go to Settings → Preferences… → Playback. Select ALSA among the driver listed in the Audio driver dropdown menu.
Now, read on.
At this point on most computers Cinelerra gets mad. The most common odd behaviour is the playback of audio tracks: once stopped, the playback is stuck or you may find that it’s impossible to stop the playback and the insertion point keeps running beyond the end of the media. Cinelerra becomes unusable.
How to avoid long waiting for the indexes rebuild
Everytime you load a source file in Cinelerra, she builds an index file for it, stored (by default) in the .bcast hidden directory.
If you are working with animations or on several projects at the same time, this can be very annoying.
How to improve old Cinelerra 2.1 and 2.1.5 default settings
How to start Cinelerra with the best settings for Grandma
If you are still using Cinelerra 2.1, I’ve prepared for you a Grandma configuration file you can put directly in your home folder so to open a Cinelerra ready for beginners.
Using the Command Line (CLI)
Using the command line is often the quickest and safest way of doing things. This time I really recommend you use the CLI.
For PAL users:
wget http://www.g-raffa.eu/Cinelerra/HOWTO/Cinelerra_rc-PAL.tar.gz && tar xvf Cinelerra_rc-PAL.tar.gz && mv PALCinelerraSettings/Cinelerra_rc .bcast/Cinelerra_rc && rm Cinelerra_rc-PAL.tar.gz
For NTSC users:
wget http://www.g-raffa.eu/Cinelerra/HOWTO/Cinelerra_rc-NTSC.tar.gz && tar xvf Cinelerra_rc-NTSC.tar.gz && mv NTSCCinelerraSettings/Cinelerra_rc .bcast/Cinelerra_rc && rm Cinelerra_rc-NTSC.tar.gz
That’s it! Open Cinelerra and enjoy!
Using the Graphical Interface (GUI)
Just if you can’t stand the CLI or if you are curious, try the GUI:
How to set your project standard (PAL/NTSC)
This is needed only for CinelerraCV 2.1 and earlier. Since CinelerraCV 2.2 the stardard is automatically detected from your locale settings: Cinelerra guesses the standard from the country set in your computer.
The default standard for CinelerraCV 2.1 projects is NTSC. To change standard go to File→New… or to Settings→Format and choose PAL among the Presets listed in the drop-down menu. All projects will now start in the newly set standard.
How to set the colour model of your project
This is needed only for CinelerraCV 2.1 and earlier. Since CinelerraCV 2.2 the color model is set to YUVA-8 bit.
The default colour model for CinelerraCV 2.1 projects is RGBA-8 Bit. But if your footage comes from a DV video camera you want to use YUV, that is the native colour model of most video cameras. To change colour model go to File→New… or to Settings→Format and choose YUVA-8bit among the Color models listed in the drop-down menu. You have changed the colour model for all your new projects.
How to change the unit of time represented on the Timeline
This is needed only for CinelerraCV 2.1 and earlier. Since CinelerraCV 2.2 the time format is set to Hours:Minutes:Seconds:Frames.
If you are still using CinelerraCV 2.1, go to Settings→Preferences→Interface and select your favourite Time format. My favourite one is Hours:Minutes:Seconds:Frames.
How to modify the duration visible in the timeline
This is needed only for CinelerraCV 2.1 and earlier. Since CinelerraCV 2.2 the timebar ruler counts by two seconds.
In CinelerraCV 2.1. by deafult the timeline show a time of more than 4 hours. To shorten the duration represented on the timeline use the arrow down key (the focus must be on the Program window). To lengthen it use arrow up. You can use also the Sample Zoom, that is the first zoom in the Zoom Panel at the bottom of the Program window.
Note that the duration setting will reflect any resizing of the Program window. That is if you extend the Program window you are automatically increasing the value of the duration. For a fixed reference of time look at the time steps of the timebar ruler.
My favourite duration is around 15 seconds, with the timebar ruler counting by two seconds.
How to make all the Resources window folders visible
This is needed only for CinelerraCV 2.1 and earlier. Since CinelerraCV 2.2 the folders in the left panel of the Resources window are displayed as text.
In CinelerraCV 2.1. the left panel of the Resources window contains 7 folders (Audio/Video Effects, Audio/Video Transitions, Clips and Media). They are so big that you can’t see them all (unless you have a divine screen resolution).
How to set the duration of still images
This is needed only for CinelerraCV 2.1 and earlier. Since CinelerraCV 2.2 images are imported with a duration of 3 seconds.
In CinelerraCV 2.1 still images are imported one frame long by default. This is rarely an usable lenght. To set a longer duration, go to Settings → Preferences → Recording - Images. Check the option Import images with a duration of … seconds and enter the desired length. This will affect the image duration during the load onto the timeline both from the Load dialog or from the Resources window.
How to make the volume curve of audio tracks fit the track’s heigth
This is needed only for CinelerraCV 2.1 and earlier. Since CinelerraCV 2.2 the audio range bug has been fixed and the audio range set to -80.0 to 6.0.
In CinelerraCV 2.1 Audio fade range is set to -80.0 to 6.0 (dB) by default. Nevertheless, due to a bug (fixed in release 2.2), the silence is reached at 40.0 dB and the curve that represents the volume of the audio tracks (Audio fade) doesn’t go below 40.0 dB. To make use of the whole vertical space of the audio tracks for easier manipulation of the audio curve, change the Audio fade setting in the panel at the bottom of the Program window to -40.0 to 6.0 either by using the left tumblers or replacing the number directly in the text box.
How to make the compositor show your video in full size
This is needed only for CinelerraCV 2.1 and earlier. Since CinelerraCV 2.2 the Compositor preview scales the video so to display it completely.
In CinelerraCV 2.1 by default the Compositor displays the video in real size. For PAL is 720x576 pixels. Thus when you open Cinelerra the compositor windows is too small to show the whole frame. To watch your video in full size you can maximize the Compositor window. A better solution is to make the Compositor automatically scale your video to fit the window size. Click on the zoom button 100% at the bottom of the Compositor to open a drop-down menu. Change the setting from 100% to Auto.
How to avoid a slow playback of the video in the Compositor
This is needed only for CinelerraCV 2.1 and earlier. Since CinelerraCV 2.2 framedropping is enabled.
CinelerraCV 2.1 by default plays every single frame of the video. That can cause the video playback to slow down a little. It can even fall behind audio. To avoid that, go to Settings → Preferences → Playback. Deselect Play every frame. During playback some frames will be dropped (not played) and the motion will appear a bit jerky but the video will be in synch with the audio. The motion will be jerky only in the Compositor preview and not in the final file since every single frame will be rendered.