Novacut Wiki Home > FAQ

Based on the Novacut Kickstarter page

Who is the target audience?

The initial target is small indie filmmakers who need a fast efficient method for a web series or low budget film. People who have the flexibility to use a new program and build a work flow around Novacut.

Also, see this more detailed definition on who our target user is and why.

What is UI or UX?

UI or UX means user interface or user experience and basically the layout of boxes and buttons that makes a program.

Is Novacut a native app, or does in run in a browser?

Although we're using web technologies, Novacut is a native program, and the "server" components all run locally on your own computer.

Embedded Webkit is being used to create the UI, which gives the flexibility of quick a design and the ability to customize the UI inside the program. Browser based version's of Novacut are purely for development testing and feedback, or demonstration purposes.

Imagine being able to give a client a peak at what you're working on using your phone. Or imagine a director or DP using a tablet on-set to review rough on-set edits (where tablet is talking to on-set workstation or server). Lots of cool possibilities.

How can Novacut be standalone and collaborative?

The collaboration will occur by connecting a project together. The changes made will be exchanged via files that record the changes and communicate those to the other editors. It happens on a per project basis, allowing for flexibility based on the type of project in post production.

I edit my way, can another editor change my work flow?

User workspaces for each editor is built into novacut. With a group space to make the final product or work on certain sections.

What about the online player I hear mentioned?

Novacut has two main development tracks. The first is a stand alone video editor. The second will be part of a website for indie filmmakers to display their work and collect donations in one place. Imagine a cross between an online TV station and a direct to fan platform.

The Internet is public can I keep my project private and use the online features?

The Internet can be private as well, communication between systems can be closed off with encryption and systems to control access.

I want to show only certain parts of the project as a teaser?

A public space will be made to allow fan participation with a project. It probably wont be in version one.

Can I edit offline and online, on different machines, move the project around?

Absolutely, every action in Novacut remembered with a version number which links back to the creation of the project. This allows a project to be worked on independently from each other and merged back together later.

Will Novacut work without the cloud?

Yes, Novacut runs locally and works without net access. Novacut is "cloud-enabled", not "cloud-based". The cloud component is a practical and cost-effective way to make collaborative editing more useful, but it's not a requirement.

As all the Novacut components will be open-source, you can run your own cloud on, say, a local cluster or Amazon or Rackspace.

Wouldn't collaborative editing take too much bandwidth?

Novacut works with local files. Once your teammates have the needed media files locally, only changes in the metadata describing the edit must be synced between you, and this is tiny data, takes very little bandwidth.

Getting the files in the first place can be bandwidth intensive, but there are options. First, Novacut can work with lower resolution proxy version of the videos, which are considerably smaller than HDSLR video straight from the camera. Second, sometimes shipping a hard drive to someone is the most practical, and dmedia has been designed with this use case in mind. And third, dmedia will soon be able to do a distributed upload (multiple people uploading files at same time) as a way to work around relatively slow upload speeds.

Is Dmedia a separate program to novacut?

It is both a core component of novacut and a stand alone program for ingesting from SD cards. As such there will be an option to install it separately.

What OS does novacut support?

Initially Novacut will run on Ubuntu 11.04 onward. Other Linux distributions will not be directly supported, but will probably work. OSX and Windows versions are being looked at, from initial investigation the Gstreamer and other components have already been ported to those OS's.

Will there be XML support?

Yes, Novacut will support XML early on. We are highly committed to integrating with industry standard workflow.

As you might expect, at first some features wont be expressible in Novacut, but our JSON based edit description is designed to losslessly round-trip information not understood by Novacut itself.

And DPX and EXR support?

It has come to our attention that Novacut could become the cutting solution used by Hollywood, so in addition to XML support, DPX and EXR support are now also high priorities.

Although Hollywood is not our target user, we think fitting Novacut (even just parts of it) into a larger ecosystem will be a great strength.


Initially we're only "officially" supporting Canon HDSLR, meaning we have full metadata support and have extensively tested with these cameras. Canon HDSLR were chosen as our initial target because that's what the majority of current low-budget, high-quality, direct-to-fan productions are using (a wide majority, easily 75%). We're careful about tuning Novacut to reality, about helping as many storytellers as possible.

However, Novacut will support any video format supported by GStreamer, which is a lot. So from day one you'll likely have a great experience with other video formats from others cameras too (YMMV). But initially only Canon HDSLR cameras will be under our official quality assurance umbrella. With time, the list will expand, likely fairly quickly.

Which models of HDSLR will be supported?

During initial development these camera's have been tested and should work. 5D Mark II, 7D, 60D, T2i, T3i. The 1D Mark IV and canon c300 should work. We anticipate the new Nikon D4 should work as well, since they use standard codecs. Time will tell.

AVCHD support?

Novacut should work fairly well with any video format that GStreamer supports, which includes AVCHD. However, we're only "officially" supporting Canon HDSLR cameras at the moment. Doesn't mean you can't try other cameras, but experience might not be great yet. Over time, more and more cameras will be officially supported.

What not use the command line, its better?

Creating visual content is much more then just piping a file from one codec to another. An editor needs to swift through hours of footage and refine it frame by frame. Add titles, credits, sound effects, a sound track. This creative process needs a visual environment for speed and efficiency.

Where is the code?

All our development is done in the open. There is a handy directory of our software components here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Novacut

Where it makes sense, Novacut is being split into components that can be reused by other applications. Most all the coding thus far been in dmedia (the Distributed Media Library), which is the hardest part of our collaborative architecture (the rest we basically get for free because of how we're leveraging CouchDB).

Is Novacut completely open-source, or is it "open-core"?

Novacut will always be completely open-source, and we have no interest in any "open-core" business model. The Novacut "cloud" is the exact same Novacut backend components that run locally on your own computer, except running on our hosted infrastructure. A very important use case for us is running your own local, private cloud... and to enable this use case well, everything must be open source.

For those interested, here are some geeky details on Novacut software architecture: http://cdn.novacut.com/couchone-guest.html

You should totally put novacut on Haiku OS or other revolutionary ideas?

For the time being Novacut will use tried and tested platforms. We are avoiding feature creep by having very tightly defined goals.

Novacut/FAQ (last edited 2012-01-15 16:52:20 by tadcan)