July 19, 2011

Open-source Collaborative Video Editor 'Novacut' Seeks Crowdfunding

Novacut is a work-in-progress HTML5-based collaborative editor that is currently fundraising on Kickstarter. It will run as a desktop application, but will also be made available in an online incarnation, and the entire project is open-source. It's different from established NLEs like Avid, Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro in that it's being designed from the ground up to allow editors to collaborate in real time over the internet. Here's Arin Crumley (Four Eyed Monsters) and Christie Strong on the NLE:


The idea of collaborative online editing sounds very bandwidth-intensive, but the team seems to have it worked out in theory:

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 strait 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.

Here's their Kickstarter appeal.

There are some online demos but what I think would help tremendously would be to create a video demonstration of the editor in action -- it doesn't need to be a working demo, just something mocked up that will let potential users/donors know what to expect. Overall, it's going to be a very difficult undertaking, but a worthwhile one and I'm a backer. Check out the Kickstarter campaign here.

Your Comment


This is what I have been looking for, always glad to support the open source community and looking forward to the future of cloud computing and collaborative work. I was happy to help even at a lower level. I cant wait to actually work with this new editor, another option other then the now demised Imovie Pro (Final Cut X).

Thanks for sharing the link.

Kris Navarro

July 19, 2011 at 5:52PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


it's not pledges you need but banked money. One wonders how many pledgers will actually donate.

Try the camera companies that make camcorders and DSLRs and Indi producers. It's in their interests to help.

I will make a donation

July 20, 2011 at 1:10AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Open source rocks. The only thing that prevents from migrating completely to linus is the lack of a good NLE.

July 21, 2011 at 7:24PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


If low-res proxy-workflow is part of the specs then I'm in.

I''ve wanted that for my NLE ever since I read about how it is used in After Effects... Why the heck Adobe isn't doing it for Premiere I have no idea. I've been looking through each and every new release of CS's but still no integrated way to do it. Yes there are ways to do it now, but it's all kindof workarounds that really should be automated. It's wasting my time and I could be editing on much lower spec and cheaper computers if I had the proxy-alternative workflow...

Also, I don't really think that the integration of screenwriting and stuff like that is what should be on top of the priorities right now. But a simple to use slug-text writer would be awesome just to fill in blank spaces in the timeline without having to go through the hassle of a TitleEditor...

July 22, 2011 at 7:42AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM