Community Video

This is the second-level menu, Community Video


The goal of this section is to enable people to make videos, especially in a community environment with assumed limited resources.

To that end, the computer hardware requirements will be kept to a minimum level. The software will be Linux based, that is free, open-source software. The audio-visual equipment used to produce material is carefully selected to be inexpensive yet capable of producing good quality output.


It is not necessary to spend a lot of money to edit videos effectively. The computer used in these articles is a Lenovo dual-core with 4 gigabytes of RAM and a 250 GB hard drive. I paid less than USD 100 for the entire computer as I scrounged the monitor and a few other components. 8 GB of RAM would be better, and it would be nice to have more resolution than 1024x768, but I want to emphasize that it is not necessary to have a fancy set-up.


These are various projects or work-flows for processes used in the production of community videos.

Upload to YouTube

In order to upload a video to YouTube for community work and publishing, you first set up a Google Account which includes an email. For all examples, we will use my account (FortuneWill at gee-mail dot com). The videos are not private but only unlisted as they are mostly useful within the context of this information.

To upload a video, first log in with your email account.

and bring up the YouTube home page ( Click on Upload.

Now click on the big Upload button in the centre of the screen and navigate to the file you wish to upload.

Once the file has started to upload, you can edit the title and other information. Then click on Publish, and wait until the file has uploaded.

Make sure you keep your computer turned on, and stay signed in to your account while the file is uploading!

Convert Script to Subtitles

In this case we are going to add an English subtitle file to an existing video which is in the Russian language. Since my own Russian skills are limited, the work I can do for this task is the mechanical task of arranging the translated text file so that it can be used as the basis for a subtitle file, saving it in this format, and then uploading its corresponding video on YouTube so that the subtitles can be adjusted by a person in the community who has the necessary language skills to do this task. The YouTube subtitle editor is graphically oriented, so this first task is very useful in that it allows someone who has fewer technical skills to continue the work while I do something else - this is one of the reason community editing works.

First, we need to edit the original transcript so that each line for the video clip starts off being a reasonable size. I am able to do this with this script because it is in English. From LibreOffice Writer, I open the file (File->Open):

The text is formatted for reading, in block format.

Then save the file immediately so that you keep the original file intact!

Extraneous items need to be removed and each line of text divided so that they are at least approximately in the right place for the video. I just have to try to make sense of how the text is divided, using the punctuation and vocabulary to guide my work.

Once you have completed this for the entire file, save it, making sure that you don't erase the original file. Make sure you save it as a text file (that is, no formatting).

Now bring up the Subtitle Editor (under Video Production -> Subtitle Editor). Import this text file, making sure you check "Blank lines separate subtitles."

You should see all the titles appear in separate lines. If there is a blank line, you probably forgot to check the "Separate Lines" box when you imported. Note that all the times and durations are zeros at this point.

Now save these subtitles in SRT format.

Now get the length of the target video. Look on YouTube, where you already have the target video uploaded, and note the duration:

This video is one hour, forty one minutes and twenty-three seconds. Now return to the Subtitle Editing program. Click in the main editing area and chose Edit->Select All. All of the subtitles should appear dark.

Now from the Timings menu choose Stack Subtitles from Start.

Note that the start and end times are stacked with a zero duration. Now choose Timings->Scale. This will spread out the timings depending on how many characters are in each subtitle.

Note that I subtracted a little time from the end, which makes the last subtitle start one second before the end time I got from the YouTube screen above. Obviously this is not enough, but the subtitle will at least show up. The next step will fix this problem.

Now you can see that the subtitles are stacked with reasonable amounts of time for each one. The last subtitle has too much time (over one minute) but at this point it is close enough to work with. And the durations all are still 0:00 (zero). So now we execute the Timings->Best Fit Subtitles, which will calculate the duration for each title.

Now save the subtitles once again in SRT format.

This task is completed, and the next step is typically to upload the subtitles to YouTube so that they can be adjusted to fit the video. Note that this task could be done locally with the subtitle editor, but doing it on YouTube allows collaborative work to be done by people in other physical locations, which is very important!

Upload to YouTube & Edit Subtitles

This step has several goals which can be inferred from the task itself. First, putting up subtitles in the original language is useful for people whose language skills are limited or who have a hearing impairment. Second, if the video is to be dubbed in another language, having the subtitles already synchronised to the video in that language allows the reader to pace herself when she reads the text.

As mentioned before, we are using YouTube in this instance so that the projects can be done collaboratively. They could be done locally just using Subtitle Editor, but by using YouTube we can allow several people in different locations to do the work efficiently.

To begin, we log into our YouTube account, then navigate to "Subtitles and CC" (Closed Captions) editing. There are several ways of getting to this screen - two are shown here on these screenshots.

From the list of videos.

From the single video editing screen.

At some point you will be prompted to set the original language for the video. In this case, we set the language of the video to Russian.

Now we set the language of the subtitles to English.

Now choose "Upload File" as the method of adding subtitles.

Choose "Subtitles File."

Once the subtitles have been uploaded, the editing screen will show the subtitles to the right and also underneath the video slider bar.

We will be editing the subtitles by starting at the end. This makes it easier because then the subtitles stack without having to move later ones. However, you may decide to create your own system by doing something else. But this at least will show the principle and how the process works.

Now navigate to the end of the video by dragging the slider bar. Now you can adjust the timings as well as edit the text. Here are some notes on the various controls.

In addition to the video in its normal place, you can see editing areas both to the right side and bottom of the video. The sliders for these areas are highlighted in green.

The zoom slider is highlighted in red. Use it to show more or fewer text blocks below the video. This can be very useful along with the sliders to navigate to the correct location in the video for editing.

The areas to the right, where the text and timings can be changed by typing them, are circled in blue.

Hovering over the ends of text blocks, as shown in yellow, allows you to click on the edge of each text block and slide it to the right or left, as long as there is nothing in the way.

The best way to learn this editing function is simply to try it for a while to see how it works.

Note that only one person should be working on any particular video at a particular time.

Once editing is finished, click on "Publish" in the lower right corner.

Note also that once you are finished editing anything on these subtitles, it is a good idea to download them so the copy kept on the local computer agrees with what is published on YouTube. This also allows the subtitles to be used for a presentation using a computer instead of showing it on YouTube. This can be done from the small Actions pull-down menu on the upper right of the video edit screen.

Once you have saved the file, you can load it into Subtitle Editor, or watch the video with the subtitles using VLC or another player with subtitle capability.

Fix Camera Jitter on YouTube

Sometimes the quality of a single-camera take has problems in one particular area which needs to be corrected. In this example, a very common one, the videographer is not quite ready when the event starts which can be annoying to some people. So we will use kdenlive and YouTube to fix a simple jittery introduction.

First, bring up kdenlive and create a new project.

1. Click on New... (Red circle)
2. Click on Choose project directory (Orange circle)
3. Click on New Folder (Yellow circle)
4. Type folder name (Green circle)
5. Click Ok twice, until you get back to the Project Settings dialog, then make sure the Video Profile is correct (Blue circle).
6. Click Ok again so you are back to the main editing screen.

I choose wide screen NTSC for a profile because I live in North America. I am putting up these videos on YouTube, so that is plenty of resolution. Note that using higher resolutions slows down rendering a lot so I don't recommend it.

I made a special directory called "Video Work" where I put my projects. This one is called Jitter Fix, as you may be able to see in the dialogue above.

Now we will add the video file to the project.

1. Click on the Add Clip (filmstrip icon) (Red circle)
2. Navigate to the directory where the video file is, and click on it (Orange circle).
3. Click on Open (Yellow circle).

Now move the clip to the timeline.

1. Hold the mouse button down while it is pointing to the clip in the list (Red circle)
2. The mouse cursor changes to a hand, then drag the clip to the timeline (Orange circle)
3. Make sure the monitor is set to Project Monitor (Yellow circle).

Now will see the clip and set the start and end points.

1. Hold the mouse button down somewhere on the clip, and drag the entire clip to the beginning (Red circle).
2. Hold the mouse button down below the point on the clip cursor, and skim along the clip to find the first transition (Orange circle).

Now adjust the clip so that it starts at this point.

1. Hold down the mouse button at the edge of the beginning of the clip. Cursor will turn from the diagonal arrow icon to a fat horizontal arrow pointing to a fat bar (Red circle).
2. Drag the beginning of the clip to where the cursor is located (Orange circle).
3. Press play to see the clip play and find the end of the jitter problem (Yellow circle).

Once the cursor is positioned at the end of the jittery place, we can delete the rest of the clip.

1. Once the timeline cursor is positioned at the end of the problem area, click on the razor blade icon below the timeline (Red circle).
2. Hover over the timeline cursor with the razor cursor and click the mouse button. (Orange circle).

Now we arrange the timeline.

1. Click on the arrow below the timeline so we are in select mode rather than cut mode (Red circle).
2. Hover over the small clip, hold the mouse button down and drag the small clip to the beginning of the timeline (Orange circle).
3. Hover over the large clip, click on it once to select it and notice that it turns red (Yellow circle).

Now we will delete the unused clip and render the one we want.

1. Press the delete key (or hover->right-click->Cut Clip) and the large clip will disappear.
2. The cursor snaps to the end of the small clip (Red circle).
3. Click on Render button (Orange circle).
4. Make sure correct format is selected (Yellow circle).
5. Type a name for the output video (Green circle).
6. Click on Full Project (Blue circle).
7. Click on Render to File (Purple circle).

Now we wait for the project to render. Then we will upload it to YouTube to fix it.


This is the software we currently use to run our editing stations:

Ubuntu Studio (

Ubuntu Studio is a free and open source operative system, and an official flavour of Ubuntu. Ubuntu Studio is the most widely used multimedia orientated GNU/Linux distribution in the world. It comes preinstalled with a selection of the most common free multimedia applications available, and is configured for best performance for the Ubuntu Studio defined workflows: Audio, Graphics, Video, Photography and Publishing. Ubuntu Studio is a community effort, created by volunteers, targeted towards all skill levels, from beginner to pro, and aims to be easy to install and easy to use, as well as provide all the tools nessecary for any type of media content creation.

We also use kdenlive ( for video editing, Audacity ( for audio editing, GIMP ( for photo editing, and several other mainstream Open Source programs for other tasks. We also use YouTube ( as a collaborative tool for some things as well as the "standard" output channel for publishing final content. Of course there are other options for all facets of this work, and we don't want to set any limits on what you do. In most cases, we have good reasons for our selection of tools, even if it is simply "it works."

All of these tools are included with Ubuntu Studio, so it is usually not necessary to do anything more than the base installation of Ubuntu Studio. However, the processing and disk I/O requirements are such that Ubuntu Studio should be installed rather than trying to run if from a USB stick.