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Developer(s)Heroine Virtual
Initial releaseAugust 1, 2002; 16 years ago (2002-08-01)
Stable release
7.0 / October 12, 2017; 12 months ago (2017-10-12)
Written inC++
Operating systemLinux
TypeVideo editing software
LicenseGNU General Public License

Cinelerra is a video editing and compositing software package. It is designed for the Linux operating system. It is produced by Heroine Virtual, and is free software distributed under the GNU General Public License. Cinelerra also includes a video compositing engine, allowing the user to perform advanced compositing operations such as keying and mattes.

Cinelerra was first released August 1, 2002, and was based in part on Broadcast 2000, which was withdrawn by Heroine Virtual in September 2001.[1][better source needed] Cinelerra became the first 64-Bit media production application when it was re-written to conform to the AMD Opteron in June 2003 and was presented at SIGGRAPH 2004 in San Diego. This version was subsequently released by Adam Williams of Heroine Warrior, the principal developer of Cinelerra.

Notable features[edit]

Cinelerra has a wide range of features[2] including support for high-fidelity audio and video: it processes audio using 64 bits of precision, and can work in both RGBA and YUVA color spaces, using floating-point and 16-bit integer representations, respectively. It is resolution and frame rate-independent, meaning that it can support video of any speed and size.

Cinelerra interface[edit]

Cinelerra 2.1 being used to edit footage in a video project

Cinelerra's interface is similar to that of other Non-linear editing systems, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and Avid Media Composer. However, because it includes a compositing engine, it may also be likened to compositing software such as Adobe After Effects, Smoke on Linux or Shake. The user is presented with four screens:

  1. The timeline, which gives the user a time-based view of all video and audio tracks in the project, as well as keyframe data for e.g. camera movement, effects, or opacity;
  2. the viewer, which gives the user a method of "scrubbing" (manually moving the playhead forwards or backwards to locate a specific cue or word) through footage;
  3. the resource window, which presents the user with a view of all audio and video resources in the project, as well as available audio and video effects and transitions; and
  4. the compositor, which presents the user with a view of the final project as it would look when rendered. The compositor is interactive in that it allows the user to adjust the positions of video objects; it also updates in response to user input.

Cinelerra uses its own widget toolkit, not conforming to the human interface guidelines of major Linux desktops such as GNOME and KDE.

Cinelerra usage and awards[edit]

Cinelerra has gained ground among some Linux enthusiasts looking for a native video editing system. Professional use is mostly promoted by Linux Media Arts, which sells an integrated hardware and software package for video production that includes Cinelerra.

At the National Association of Broadcasters' 2004 Electronic Media Show, Cinelerra received Bob Turner's "Making the Cut" award, given to "the best and most exciting post-production products seen at the convention".[3]


The project is following commercial interests, aiming at offering professional support to its users. It's organized to merge all existing Cinelerra projects while also providing additional fixes and enhancements. Since early 2015, Cinelerra has had an open Git repository on Google Code for analysis and for input. The goal of Cinelerra.Org remains to develop a more professional value to the product as of 2016.

One of the developers of Cinelerra 5.0 left Cinelerra.Org in 2016, continuing to work on the program with help from the Cinelerra-CV team.[4]


With the appearance of Cinelerra.Org in February 2014 it was unclear if Adam Williams was continuing to work on Cinelerra through Heroine Virtual or if development would continue in Cinelerra.Org. Due to no communication by Williams, this was only resolved months later, when in December 2015, Cinelerra 4.6.1 was released.[5]

To distinguish between all different variants of the software, the releases made by Heroine Virtual are also called Cinelerra-HV.[6]

Community version[edit]

Cinelerra-CV 2.3.png
Developer(s)Cinelerra-CV Community
Stable release
2.3 / August 10, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-08-10)
Preview release
Written inC++
Operating systemLinux
TypeVideo editing software
LicenseGNU General Public License

Heroine Virtual generates a new release of Cinelerra semi-annually, available as source code only. Any bugs and usability issues found and resolved by the community that are submitted to Heroine Virtual often result in no immediate response, and it is not until a new release that there is any indication that Heroine Virtual has incorporated these changes. Because of both the latency in development and the distribution-specific nature of the release, a group of free and open-source software developers created their own version of Cinelerra referred to as Cinelerra-CV (where CV stands for community version).

Cinelerra-CV allows the community to contribute to an open repository where changes to the code are accessible to everyone. Mailing lists and an IRC channel exist where more experienced users and developers can provide support to less experienced users, and developers can hold technical discussions. Cinelerra-CV is also packaged for a wider range of distributions. It also has a different compilation system: system libraries are used extensively, and the autoconf/automake tools are used to configure the compilation system.

Although Cinelerra-CV may technically be called a fork, the relationship between Heroine Virtual and Cinelerra-CV is rather friendly. Heroine Virtual at times contributes to discussions on the mailing lists, and incorporates many of the changes made in the repository. Heroine Virtual posted the following message on their website describing the relationship:

Up until Cinelerra 2.1 the versioning of Cinelerra-CV followed that of Heroine Virtual. After Heroine Virtual produced a release, Cinelerra-CV examined the changes introduced by the new version and merged them into their version. CV was appended to the end of the version number to indicate the community version. (For example, after the 2.1 merger the CV version was labeled 2.1CV.) Starting with release 2.2, Cinelerra-CV uses its own versioning scheme, but still merges code from Cinelerra-HV.[8]

Lumiera rewrite[edit]

In the beginning of April 2008, the Cinelerra community announced a complete rewrite of the current community version, named as Lumiera. It was born as a rewrite of the Cinelerra codebase called Cinelerra3 but soon was separated into an independent project with its own name. Lumiera has been in the pre-alpha stage since 2008, but is under active development, although nothing significant has ever been released.[9] There is a binary Debian build of the development preview available.[10]

Lumiera does not use Guicast, the GUI widget library used by Cinelerra. Lumiera’s native interface will be written in GTK+, although other interfaces will be possible. Basically the GUI is a plug-in.


Version Release date Changes
7.0 October, 12, 2017 Optimized playback of large format video. H.265 decoding. Optimized screen capturing. Spherical camera blending. Eyedropper can show the maximum value. Interpolating CR2 images always white balances.
6.0 November 16, 2016 From the Heroine Virtual website's NEWS section:

"Updated the h264 decoding. There are no longer picons in the asset window. Motion tracking got major optimizations. Resampling effects got new interfaces. Titler can load subtitle files."[7]

4.6.1 November 9, 2015 From the Heroine Virtual website's NEWS section:

"Updated the x264 compressor library. Improved the mp3 decoding. Video scaling is now either nearest neighbor or bicubic, but never linear. Proxy editing got a start before discovering modern PCs can easily decode 4k."[7]

2.3CV August 10, 2015 From the Cinelerra-CV website's NEWS section:

"Full UTF-8 support; Complete new overlay engine and resampler; New graphics: About panel, some icons; New plugins: GreyCStoration, C41, Bluebanana, color3way, findobject, lens; Some translations have been updated (German, Italian, French, Norwegian, Portuguese); Lots of small bugfixes; Changes in build system"[8]

5.0 July 4, 2015 releases a studio centric version of Cinelerra titled 5.0. Cinelerra is now fully integrated with FFMPEG and supports numerous 4K and 2K uncompressed cinema standards from such camera manufacturers as AJA, Blackmagic Design, and Red.
4.6 September 8, 2014 From the Heroine Virtual website's NEWS section:

"Split pane editing. OpenGL supported on Intel HD. Titler improvements. Bugfixes."[7]

4.5 October 31, 2013 From the Heroine Virtual website's NEWS section:

"Speed curves mainly for video & in degraded quality for audio. Some control over whether automation follows edits. Ability to transfer keyframes between audio and video tracks. Motion temporaries are stored in /tmp/m and /tmp/r files. Time Avg clears the accumulator on keyframes."[7]

4.4 July 9, 2012 From the Heroine Virtual website's NEWS section:

Faster startup and responsiveness, audio oscilloscope, new bright theme, and also 3 way colour correction."[7]

2.2CV November 13, 2011 From the Cinelerra-CV website's NEWS section:

"It includes Hermann Vosseler's Bezier Patch (bezier automation for Cinelerra-CV fades, camera and projector), improved default settings, extended audio range, support for multiline label and clips comments, autodetection of OpenGL in configure, detection of v4l2."[8]

4.3 August 6, 2011 "Text to movie". Allows one to turn a script into an instant movie with live updating and seeking.[7]
4.2 October 15, 2010 From the Heroine Virtual website's NEWS section:

"Mainly a bugfix & personal need release. `Edit->Align edits` feature, which aligns all the audio edits with the video. Keyframe spanning feature, where highlighting a region with keyframe generation on causes effect tweeks to span all the keyframes. All assets are now opened in subprocesses so they don't bring down the entire program when they crash. Cannot drag and drop edit clips anymore, feature removed here and future versions."[7]

4.1 September 24, 2009 From the Heroine Virtual website's NEWS section:

"Main feature is nested sequences. The Viewer window does not display video clips, Bug fixed in next version at the expense of another feature removed."[7]

4.0 August 8, 2008 Since all versions 2.0 onward 10bit (useful for prof. Cinepaint) and 16bit RGB(A),YUV(A) have been removed and replaced with RGB YUV Float instead.
2.1 September 7, 2006 Merge with community SVN version. (The first use of git and a multi-person merge)
2.1 July 2, 2006 N/A
2.0 September 29, 2005 Merge with community SVN version.
2.0 September 12, 2005 From the Heroine Virtual website's NEWS section:

"H.264 encoding and MPEG-4 audio encoding. Import MPEG video directly."[7]

1.2.2 January 18, 2005 Merged with community CVS version.
1.2.2 January 10, 2005 N/A
1.2.1 August 16, 2004 Merged with community CVS version. Special enhancements were added to this version E.g. H264 Kod. Cineon used at NAB under Fedora 1,2 and BSD 5, this could handle 4k film 4096x4096 if graphics card permits. Fast frame rate in excess of 210 frames per second at 720x480 29.97, while bringing in live HD video in the timeline from a video camera. video4linux driver Zoran chip.
1.2.1 August 8, 2004 From the Heroine Virtual website's NEWS section:

"Quicktime 2.0.4 updated. Enter the world of floating point imaging in this release. It's not just a more accurate colorspace, it's a totally new way of thinking about color. Finally, Cinelerra is officially more stable in 64 bit mode than 32 bit mode."[7]

1.2.0 May 11, 2004 From the Heroine Virtual website's NEWS section:

"Cinelerra has a massive number of small changes. Quicktime finally decodes Sorenson and compressed headers."[7]

1.1.9 February 17, 2004 Merge with community CVS version.
1.1.9 February 11, 2004 From the Heroine Virtual website's NEWS section:

"This is a landmark since it's probably the first time more code was submitted from the community than internally."[7]

1.1.7 October 5, 2003 Merge with community CVS version.
1.1.7 August 11, 2003 N/A
1.1.6 May 12, 2003 N/A
1.1.5 April 29, 2003 Code "forked" into a community CVS version.
1.1.0 August 1, 2002 Initial release.
1.0.0 June 15, 2000 Founding of the Cinelerra project. After numerous discussions between Adam Williams and Michael Collins about the direction of Non-Linear Editing on Linux, Williams presented the name and concept of Cinelerra to Business Partner Michael Collins in Sunnyvale, California.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Broadcast 2000 Removed From Public Access, Slashdot, 2011-09-10.
  2. ^ "The Big Feature List", Cinelerra, Heroine Warrior.
  3. ^ "The Making The Cut Awards", eNews, Primedia Business.
  4. ^ Goodguy from joins Cinelerra-CV.
  5. ^ Cinelerra-HV releases on
  6. ^ About Cinelerra.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Cinelerra". Heroine Warrior. Retrieved 2006-07-19.
  8. ^ a b c "Cinelerra-CV News". Cinelerra-CV community. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  9. ^ Build and install Lumiera.
  10. ^ Lumiera Debian Depot.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]