#Cinelerra GG 2: Transformations and Basic Animations

In the previous chapter we saw the basics to venture into video montage with this powerful video editor. This time we will begin to see why this editor deserves the qualification of professional.

Every professional has to go through learning the tools they are going to use to work, but only those tools that once learned are practical and effective, and stable in the computing environment, are considered good tools. And these premises are perfectly fulfilled Cinelerra GG.

Basic Cinelerra transformations

Cinelerra integrates the basic transformations into the editor’s own tools. In other words, you don’t need a morph effect for edits of this type.

From the timeline we can control and animate the following parameters:

  • Opacity (Fade) on video tracks
  • Volume on audio tracks
  • Silence
  • Velocity
  • Panorama

In the following image we see the slider highlighted in red that controls the opacity in the video tracks and the volume in the audio tracks. Marked with a green arrow the graphical representation line that allows us to see the animations made on this parameter.


To show or hide the lines of the different parameters (I anticipate that these help us to make animations) we must make use of the window called “Overlays”, which we can open from the “Window” menu or with the keyboard access “Ctrl + 0 “

To open the aforementioned window
Window detail

From this window we control what we see in the timeline, and one of the things that allows us to activate are the lines of the different parameters. Which are what allow us to manipulate and animate these. For example if I activate the mute and speed line in addition to the fade, this is how we will see the timeline.


What we see indicated with a colored point we will see in the timeline as a line of this color, these colors can be customized by clicking on the point.

What we see indicated with an icon is the icon that we will see in the timeline, in the position of the keys, when we animate these parameters.

From the preview monitor, (Compositor), we can manipulate and animate the following parameters:

  • Masks (I will dedicate a chapter to this powerful tool)
  • Camera frame settings
  • Projector frame settings

These tools are on the left side of the composition monitor:


If we put the mouse cursor over the tools, a banner appears indicating what they do.

From top to bottom we have:

  • Blocking of edits on the monitor, is the option that should be activated when we are not editing on the monitor.
  • Activate Display Zoom to be able to manipulate it with the mouse wheel. We have the zoom value in the bottom bar of this same monitor, it is advisable to have it in a car.12.png
  • More expensive.
  • Rule to take action.
  • Camera Settings.
  • Projector Settings.
  • Cropping Tools.
  • Tool to obtain the color of the selected pixel, it only works on this monitor in the video frame.
  • What this button does is show or hide the properties window of the selected tool, it works like a switch.
  • Displays the safe zone lines for titles and action.

To see how these Camera and Projector tools work, I am going to make an example in which I will superimpose a video, reducing its frame size, on another.

This is the layout of the tracks:


We can see that we have two overlapping tracks, one on top of the other, and in this case I have the bottom one blocked, because what I want is to make sure that I am going to work on the top one.

Now from the composition monitor I open the camera automation tool.


From this assistant we can move the box from its “X” and “Y” axes, but these axes can also be moved by dragging with the mouse directly on the monitor.

To manipulate the proximity or distance of the video frame (to summarize, the Zoom) we do it from the “Z” axis. This can be varied from the numeric box itself, entering precise values ​​or with the mouse wheel over it, or from the practical slider that appears on the left side of the monitor, below the tools.


The process to carry out the aforementioned task is as simple as reducing the frame to the desired size and dragging it from the monitor to the position we want.


And in this simple way we have reduced the clip above and placed in the desired place, allowing the one below to be seen.

Now if we want to manipulate the clip below to make a different composition, we simply invert the locks, so that the track above is blocked,


and manipulate the clip in the way we want.


We can observe the result in the previous image and understand that, in a very simple way, we can make compositions with different clips.

Everything explained for the manipulation of the camera is valid for the projector, it really works exactly the same.

The assistant for both camera and projector is very simple and basically consists of three sections:


  • Numerical values ​​for the three axes (framed in green).
  • Quick access points for positioning the “X” and “Y” axes, (framed in yellow).
  • Animation parameters and to reset values ​​(framed in red)
      • Above this section we have the type of keyframe that we will insert (which can be smooth or linear). We can change this parameter at any time simply by placing the playhead over the key.
      • The key is to insert keys for animation.
      • And the arrow is to reset the default values.

ADVICE (Thanks to Andrea Paz development team)

To reverse the track locks quickly, or enable one to edit it by locking all the others, we must press Shift and click on the padlock of the track that we want to edit.


Very useful when working with many tracks. This process acts like a toggle, the first time locks the remaining tracks and another press unlocks them.

Cheering at Cinelerra

One of the strengths of Cinelerra is precisely that everything can be animated in a very simple way, and this is what we will see now, how to animate the parameters seen in the previous section.

Basic things we must know to make animations in Cinelerra.

At the bottom of the timeline we have a box to choose the type of automation and its minimum and maximum values.


In the box on the left we choose the parameter for which we want to define values ​​and in the box on the right we can put the desired minimum and maximum value. These values ​​do not affect the keys already inserted and it is very useful to work in a desired range.

It is also important to know that choosing a parameter here will not make it show up on the timeline; In order for it to be displayed, we must have selected it in the overlays window seen previously.


Another icon that we must know is to adjust and make the selected parameters and lines visible on the timeline. This icon is at the top of this window and in the following image I have highlighted it in red. It is useful when we select a parameter in the overlays window and it is not showing in the timeline.


As always, if we put the mouse over the icons, a banner will indicate its function.

Automatic insertion

Cinelerra has a tool for the automatic insertion of frame keys when we modify any parameter. To activate this function we do it from the key-shaped icon.


Insert keyframes into the timeline manually

Keyframes are represented with a node on the line above the clip as can be seen in the following picture.


To insert a key manually is as simple as clicking on the line (if we double-click this key will be inserted in the same position in all the tracks that we have unlocked in the project).

In the following image the keys framed in red were inserted with a double click. This insert does not affect the edition, it is independent in each key.


Change keyframe values

Basically in most frames we have two ways to change its value.

  • By dragging with the mouse we can vary its value and position, the value is changed vertically. If we move it horizontally, what we do is vary its position.
    To vary the value of the key (without fear of moving it from its position) we can do it by pressing the “Alt” key and thus we can only move the frame vertically, varying its value but not its position.
  • Opening the wizard to enter values ​​by means of a slider or precisely by entering the value in the numeric box or by moving the slider with the mouse wheel.
    To open this wizard, we must right-click on the keyframe that we want to modify, it must have been inserted previously. And choose the option that is the name of the parameter that we are animating. In the following image we see an example with the Fade or Volume parameter if it is an audio track.
    20.pngAnd a wizard opens with a slide and the possibility of inserting numerical values. The green + symbol is used to close this wizard.
    21.pngWe must know that this wizard will affect the keyframe that is under the playhead. But we can move the cursor to any frame that we want to vary, and it does not have to be above it, the assistant, if the cursor is not on a key, will affect the one to the left of it. So once open we can move the cursor to vary the values ​​of different keys.
    22.pngIn the previous image, if we vary the values, the affected key will be the one framed in red, which is the one to the left of the playhead.
    If, for whatever reason, there is no key on the left, in this case the one on the right will be moved, which will obviously be the first on the line.
    Important: This will be the case as long as automatic key insertion is not activated. If automatic insertion is activated, what will happen is that a new keyframe will be created at the cursor position when we change the value, as we will see in the next section.

Automatic keyframe insertion

This is one of the wonders of Cinelerra: the automatic insertion of frame keys.

To activate it, we just have to activate the corresponding icon, already mentioned above.


When we have this icon activated, any value change we make in any parameter will automatically create a key.

Types of keyframes

Cinelerra has 4 types of keyframes. We can change from one to another by pressing the right button on the key that we want to change. The following submenu will open.


  • Smooth curve: As its name indicates, the lines will no longer be straight, but will be rounded, the animations being smoother.
  • Linear: It is the one inserted by default, if we have not changed this from the “Keyframes” menu. Its representation is a square. The keys meet with a straight line.
  • Tangent in block: It is a smooth curve that allows it to be varied by means of a tangent. The tangent is anchored and moves as a single piece. To edit the tangent it is necessary to press the “Control” key and manipulate with the mouse from its circle. In the following image we see these keys with variations in their tangents.
  • Tangent Disjoint: Same as the previous one, but allows to edit the two points of the tangent separately. We must also use the “Control” key to carry out this edition.

Actions menu on keyframes

The very statement of each function already indicates what it does.

From the section “Create key type …” we define the type of keyframe that will be created upon insertion.

Animation examples in Cinelerra GG

Example 1

As a first example I am going to make the input of a clip by fade from black and finish with a fade to black.


The line used for this is Fade, in video, and Volume, in audio. If we are observers we will see that the video enters through a linear fade and ends in the same way. In the audios I have also used the input and output by fade (Fade in, Fade out), but with soft keys, leaving the curve rounded.

Example 2

Now I am going to speed up and slow down a video clip. For this modification the speed line is used.


The reading of the previous clip, from the beginning is, the video accelerates until it doubles its speed, it is maintained, then it slows down until it goes to half its speed, it is maintained, to, now with a smooth curve, accelerate to almost the triple (2.90) to return to its original speed.


Example 3

In this example I am going to reduce a clip that is on top of another and place it in the lower right corner. (As I am going to put an example gif, I am going to do this example with color cards, but with video clips it works exactly the same)

In the following image we see the layout of the tracks, we see that the one below I have blocked because I only need to animate the one above.


On the top track I have a green clip in full screen, and on a track below, a red clip. I’m going to reduce the clip above and place it in the indicated place with the camera tool and this whole process will be animated in 4 seconds.

For this task I use the camera tool, which as we have seen opens from the side of the display monitor, or composer.


I make sure I have the playhead at the beginning and the first step is to insert the initial key, using the camera assistant key.


I’m also going to turn on automatic insertion to make the animation easier.


Once I have the preliminaries completed, I start the animation process.

  1. The first step will be to reduce the size of the clip above using the “Z” parameter, and I will do this reduction in 3 seconds, so I simply place the playhead at second 3 and reduce its size.

    To precisely place the cursor in second 3 we can use the “Go to position” tool that is opened from the timeline tools.


    Remaining like this, with a reduction of 0.40


  2. Now to superimpose the motion animation with the zoom one, what I do is go to second 2, insert a frame key using the camera assistant key, 34.pngand once inserted I go to second 4 and from the monitor itself I drag the frame to the desired position. When the automatic key insertion option is activated, they will be inserted at the cursor position.

Now to see the keys in the timeline we activate the lines from the overlay window, the fastest way is to activate the “XYZ” box,


and then click on the icon to adjust the automations on the screen.


And in this way we see the lines on the video clips.


Now when I see the animation I just made, I don’t like it, and I’m going to make corrections.


I am going to eliminate the frame key highlighted in red, as it is unnecessary and move the one from the second 3 to the fourth.

To delete I right click on the key and choose the delete option.


To move the key I just drag it here. To drag without changing the value is where it is very practical to use the automation wizard. In this case the minimum zoom value is 0.4, because we select zoom in it and set this minimum value. In this way, the lower stop will be this value and we can move horizontally without changing this value.


We move by dragging


And we see the new arrangement of the frames


Now I like the animation a bit more, but I’m going to smooth out the curves. To better see the lines I disable the thumbnail view, the eye of the track header …


… now with the select tool I select a section that covers all the frames since in this way, with a single action, I will change them all.



Once selected simply from the “Keyframes” menu, we choose the option “Convert to smoothing”


and we see how the lines have stopped being straight to be rounded.


Now the result seems satisfactory to me. Then I put a gif with it.


Practical tips and hotkeys in Cinelerra

To make zoom in timeline we can use the up or down arrows, to reduce or enlarge, respectively. Or the combination of Shift with the mouse wheel.

In order to scroll horizontally through the timeline we can use the left and right arrows. Or the combination of Control plus mouse wheel.

To advance one frame we can make use of number 1 on the numeric keypad or the key combination “Alt + J”

To go back one frame we can make use of number 4 on the numeric keypad or the key combination “Alt + U”


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