[exasperation mode]
As odd as this may seem, no.  It seems painfully obvious now.  Being totally new to video processing, and trying to wade through huge amounts of noise and many, many bugs in different video programs, it count it as a major intellectual achievement just to find the right container and codec.  This doesn't exactly come with helpful directions.  I know, my fault for using a new program.

Video editing is a complex world :) and our user interface is far from perfect (mainly because the codecs are all dynamically generated!)

Can you suggest a value or point me in the right direction?

Well not really, because bitrate would depend on scene complexity and movement, on resolution, framerate, etc.

BUT:  I really, really think that the program should be smart enough to use the same value as the input file, or at least use a realistic value with reasonable quality.  Bug report?
[/exasperation mode]

That's a tricky one... ideally yes. In practice I'm not sure how the program should "guess" intelligently.
What could be the subject of a bug report is "better/higher default values for the bitrate/quality"... but that would probably be a gstreamer bug instead of a pitivi one.

> Also, have you tried using purely gstreamer containers/codecs (such as
> "mpeg2enc" for the video codec instead of ffenc_mpeg2video?

?? Not sure where I can find that option.  Again, total lack of documentation about the thousands of options.

It's a mess, however do note that it has been simplified a *lot* in the current development version of pitivi (not yet released).

> https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=634723

Commented.  Gnome bugs are exasperating, since they never confirm bugs.

Actually, I do have the power to confirm gnome bugs, and I do when it is easily reproducible *and* confirmed by others. Confirming my own bugs without external validation is a dangerous slope.

If you take a look at pitivi's bug list, you will notice that more than half of the bugs are "NEW" (confirmed). Considering I reported the vast majority of them, it is normal that there are quite a few that I have left unconfirmed. I'm just being careful with my own heisenbug reports :)

> > 5. The playback button sometimes becomes unresponsive. Sometimes it
> > starts playing a minute or two later, after the playback marker has
> > been moved, leading me to think I have accidentally moved a clip and
> > hidden it somehow. A known problem?
> Hmm, I don't know of such a problem... it would help a lot if you could
> pinpoint the exact steps to reproduce this in a bug report (and any
> errors being output in the terminal).

Just use it, I suppose.  Performance problems are not very amenable to exact steps to reproduce.  This was on a Core 2 Duo computer with Ubuntu Maverick.

I use pitivi regularly, though I use the git version... but I don't remember experiencing "delayed" responsiveness like you described even in 0.13.5.

As you can see, hunting down bugs in video editing is very complex. It really really helps when there are precise steps to reproduce the problem with a minimal scenario to isolate the cause.