Nice try :) but the long part is not actually editing the screencast... the long part is writing down every single word I want to utter in the screencast, recording my voice ensuring that I don't stutter or mispronounce anything (even though I'm very good in English, it is a second language), and then recording my screen to match my voice.

I typically want to record it all in one fluid shot, not multiple takes (that would require transitions and might feel a bit unsettling)... And I'm a friggin' perfectionist.

??

What am I missing? grab a headset w/ a mic, plug it in, use either the desktop recorder or ffmpeg to record the screen and audio all at the same time, do your thing, load in pitivi and edit away. A 1 minute "howto" would take all of 3 minutes to setup and record - so the longest piece would be the editing, not the recording.

Hence the irony of the guy that wrote a video editing software saying it's going to take a long time to produce a screencast.

English is your second language - no problem. If you speak clearly (even if with an accent), no one will really care - conjugate verbs wrong, don't match up plural/singular, who cares? Everyone will know you're ESL and that will add to the authenticity of the howto, not take away from it.

Just think "ok, I'm going to show how to slice a movie", and go do it. Make some mistakes, so what? leave them in the video, it shows you're human...

Really, if a 1-minute howto takes more than 5 min of your time you're over-thinking the process


To some extent, the launchpad questions/answers (for the pitivi package in ubuntu) serves this purpose (I am now subscribed to it and have been answering questions in English and French for the past few months. I also created a few FAQs out of questions).

Excellent!


1. Have a timeline direct editor.

I'm not sure I understand exactly your solution... it seems a bit like a complex/overengineered solution for a possibly simple problem (or group of problems). Namely, you mention:


20 min later when I watch the final I see I got one of the clip points wrong by 3 seconds. 

Hang on, you can't see this when previewing the timeline live?

That's right. I have a 4-core 2.39Gz laptop running Ubuntu 10.10 that doesn't come close to even 1/4 utilization when I'm previewing the video - the frames are always way delayed. I can know that at 10:15 the frame changes (I'm screen casting an openoffice presentation), I can play in the preview and at 10:20 the preview window still hasn't change the frame. I have to go back to the timeline and click one frame at a time to see exactly where it changes, the previewer in "play" mode DOES NOT WORK CORRECTLY. I can record a screencast of this and several other problems if you want.

 
Or do you mean that the sound desynchs from the video (if that's the case, it's a bug that needs to be fixed, not worked around with a complex band-aid UI :)

sound goes right along "good", preview window lags behind, even after pause it still doesn't "catch up" until you click around in the timeline.
 

I have to slide everything else to the right (to make room), stretch out the clip or reduce it a little at a time, at full zoom - very slow process

Have you considered using ripple/roll editing? (see the user guide :)
It's a slightly more advanced feature, but I think it might solve your problem and make you much more efficient.

It's a nice feature, but doesn't solve my problem. Imagine this:


original (two clips):
1234567890ABCDEF        ZYXWVUTSRQP

After initial edit:

1234567890ABCVUTSRQP

Now since preview doesn't "work" I have to render it. 20 min later (the time it took to render) I realize that's not exactly what I need, I have to re-edit to produce this:

1234567890AWVUTSRQP

again, render, 20 min later, play final, have to re-edit:

12345678SRQP

etc. OVER AND OVER AND OVER until I get it "just right"

If I had a pop-up editor where I could say "start clip A, run for 10 sec, then start clip B at it's 2:10 mark and run for 20 sec", etc, then I would be more efficient at the re-edit.

For videos of someone running around in tunnels or riding a bike or skateboard, the exact timing doesn't matter. For someone that does screencasts all day, the exact timing to the frame is vitally important. HENCE THE REASON WHY YOU DON'T WANT TO DO SCREENCASTS WITH YOUR OWN TOOL!!!! ;-D

(Sorry for the yelling - not really angry/yelling, just emphasizing my earlier point)

For this editor I'm proposing, think about how you currently save the data:

1. you save the file name of all the clips and give them an ID.
2. you save timing data that says something like "at 0:00 start clip B at clip B's position 2:35 with X opacity and Z level of volume for 30 seconds"

(I know because I've peeked at the project file guts)

Imagine having a hand-editor that would allow you to make adjustments to that. Sometimes the fine-tuning needed to a video slice can't easily be done by mouse, it would be easier to use the mouse to "rough it in", then just adjust the timing numbers by hand to perfect it.

Have you ever seen ffmpeg's full cmd line? You can -i include files and use this exact formatting I'm talking about - include a file, tell what second you want to insert the file at, how long to run it, etc, and you can do this with many many files all on one command line run of ffmpeg. and it spits out one final rendering. It's like the back end of pitivi, where pitivi just lets you "build" that "command line" with the mouse visually, but it's not easy to do the fine-tuning with the mouse.

Honestly, pitivi gets 80% of the work done smoothly. But if you could write a block of code that would take a project and spit out the timing of each clip into raw text, I would write a bash script to take that output and convert it to a ffmpeg command. After that, all the fine-tuning I would need done (like re-editing those splice points), I would just modify the ffmpeg line and never go back to pitivi (until the next project) because pitivi lacks easy frame-by-frame editing.

If you couldn't write the "timing exporter", then my earlier suggestion was you write a "timing editor" that doesn't involve the mouse or visually moving things around.

Another bug I've seen a little bit too much of lately: you drag a clip and about 2 sec after you let go, it jumps back where it was before. You can do this endlessly, it will never stay where you put it. Workaround (as most problems are): save the project, close pitivi, re-open and try it again (now it works of course).

2. The ability to save user-defined render profiles.

Totally. That's why I even put it in the GSoC ideas: http://wiki.pitivi.org/wiki/Google_Summer_of_Code#Rendering_profiles

Awesome! You're my hero!