I’ve been using kdenlive for a few years now, and it had its share of growing pains. I edit 4k h264+aac 23.98fps video from a GoPro, roughly 60mbps.
Initially, I had 30fps and used proxy clips in Kdenlive to edit this media at a reasonable frame rate. Timeline at 720p for compositing to run at 4k native 30fps. Still, effects would chug it to a crawl and required disabling during playback to get accurate frame timing.
Eventually, a combination of improvements to Kdenlive and changing from 30fps to 23.98fps gave the system a bit more headroom to run composited 4k without too significant of a drop in frame accuracy, and after the 2nd playthrough it will be nearly flawless. Colour grading layers will still cause a 6-10fps drop, but it’s easy to enable/disable on the timeline.
So, after some time, I’ve wondered have I been missing out on a superior experience? Kdenlive doesn’t even use the GPU to accelerate anything. My little 13 minute videos take almost an hour to render - not bad, considering how many layers and composited transitions I’ve used. I’ve got a Threadripper 1900X, 64G, and NVMe storage with Vega 56 graphics. Kdenlive runs great, but what if something else runs better?
So I tried the free version of Davinci Resolve for Linux. No go - it wouldn’t even read the h264 media without transcoding. I run Windows in a VM with its own RX 570 GPU, so I tried Resolve for Windows there. using h264 caused CPU thermal issues, and the GPU didn’t seem to be very utilised.
I bought the Studio version of Resolve 15 for Linux at a whoppin’ CAD$409 and expected it would Just Work the way proprietary software always claims it will. I was able to import h264 media, but… AAC audio does not work on Linux?!
This isn’t a Linux issue, as AAC works great in Kdenlive. This is a Blackmagic Design issue…
No worries. I set up an inotifywatch script that transcodes media I write into an ingest folder on-the-fly, preserving the h264 codec but converting AAC to PCM_S24LE embedded audio. It’s automatic, mostly, and it’s quite neat. I don’t mind this part of things.
Now I’ve got H264 media /and/ audio (though the file is no longer the “original”, but ok) and my GPU is used for processing a 13 minute video in about 4 minutes and 20 seconds. Thermal issues don’t happen like when I ran Resolve for Windows.
However, all is not well. I see the volumeter jumping when audio plays, but no sound comes from headphones/receiver. I’m using Pulseaudio and ALSA with an emu10k1 device, and Resolve 15 claims to support System Audio - no external hardware is required. Still, no devices are listed in the “Audio Output” field. just “Default”, which does nothing.
No worries, however, I set up a resolve.sh script that temporarily places an .asoundrc file in my home directory to point all default ALSA clients toward Pulseaudio, because of another Pulseaudio bug that prevents the emu10k1 from being used as the default device if ALSA is pointing to Pulseaudio. It becomes, as we say, a circular loop. Things hang.
So, I’ve got audio AND video for real now in the Edit tab.
But all is not well. I can’t open the Fusion tab. It crashes Resolve Studio. when I try to re-launch, Studio gets to “Searching for control surface” and then EXITS like a father on his way out for cigarettes, never to return. I have to nuke the contents of /opt/resolve/config and reinstall Davinci Resolve Studio for it to relaunch again. and when it relaunches, most of the configuration is, of course, gone.
No worries, however. I set up a ZFS filesystem just for Resolve so that I can issue a zfs rollback rpool/misc/[email protected] whenever it decided to poop the britches. Now my configuration is embedded permanently here, so I don’t lose it.
Still can’t open the Fusion tab, but hey, at least I can start editing some video.
But all is not well. Every 30-90 seconds I get a “GPU image processing error: -59” message that actually stops playback and interrupts whatever I’m doing - if I’m dragging an element from a bin to the timeline, it goes away. I don’t get my element placed. I have to do it again.
I contacted Resolve support, opened a ticket. Now it’s proprietary support’s time to shine. They will surely solve my issue… oh wait. “ROCm is not a supported OpenCL platform. Please use regular drivers.”
I use an AMD Vega 56. On Linux. What is a “regular driver”? Resolve support gave me instructions to install a Windows driver.
At this point, I requested a refund. I went back to Kdenlive, finished my project, and was super impressed with how stable and fast it actually is. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from Premiere users that I don’t think would apply to Kdenlive. I’ve never used Premiere, so I can’t compare directly.
I’m not doing fancy compositing stuff like some of you - Kdenlive has some OpenCV plugins, and I’ve never really looked at or considered using any of them. Some interesting stuff is there, like facial tracking, but I find myself using other tools to track items in frame.
Anyone used Kdenlive AND Premiere extensively? How does it compare to Premiere? I hear Adobe crashes a lot; can’t say the same about Kdenlive (when GPU use is disabled).