Novacut: A Video Editor for the Next Joss Whedon

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 27, 2010

Once you build your own open source cinema camera and film a batch of scenes, you need to edit all that footage into a watchable film. You could turn to free open source video editors like Lightworks or Open Movie Editor to get the job done. The development team at Novacut wants to take video editing to the next level, though, with baked-in collaboration tools that let artists from all over the world work on a film together.

Novacut's unique twist on video production is its nod toward distributed workflow. Developers say the most cost-effective and efficient way to produce a movie is by splitting up the storage, editing, and rendering work across multiple computers via the cloud. The basic architecture and some code are already in place to make Novacut a reality, and now the Colorado-based project team is turning to the open source community the help reach its next goal: a fully functional free, open source video editor for distributed teams of filmmakers.

Novacut is built on several key FOSS technologies including CouchDB, Ubuntu, Python, and GStreamer. The editor itself will be licensed LGPLv3, emphasizing the teams commitment to a project that's open source to the core. Money to fund further development of Novacut is being collected through Kickstarter, a crowdsource funding website we've covered before that's helped many FOSS projects get off the ground. All funds collected will go toward full-time development of the editor, dry-run film test, and cloud hosting expenses.

Buffy and Firefly fans will appreciate the impetus behind the development of Novacut. "We're developing [this] video editor because there's no reason for Joss Whedon to ever have a show canceled... We want to see an explosion of financially viable independent TV shows distributed directly to fans over the Internet, funded through direct fan support, licensed under the Creative Commons. We love The Guild and think Felicia Day has blazed a trail others can now follow. If The Guild is successful with only a million fans, shouldn't there be thousands of shows like it?"