Noob - I have some ideas for easier usage

Hello, I am am completely new to video editing.
I have tried many different programs for editing video, VSDC is by far the easiest I’ve come across, but isn’t free and isn’t exactly easy to use.

First, let me describe my problem…
I have many old kung fu films that have varying qualities and most use the original Chinese audio.
I’ve managed to download a few that have better quality but are in Chinese, whilst my originals have English audio dubbed over them.

I am attempting to create new video files with the better quality video and the English audio. This is proving rather difficult due to each being different lengths. Some by a few seconds, others by minutes. Although I am slowly figuring out ways around this, I have found ALL editing apps very cumbersome and unintuitive to use.

Please forgive me, I don’t mean to come on here and start trolling, I would just like to make some suggestions to make it easier to use.

For example, tracks should already exist, you shouldn’t need to create them. On mixdown or export, unused tracks simply aren’t used. This would mean you could simply drag and drop a video file to a track, say track 1 and it’s ready to export.

As some films have been split, this would facilitate combining by then adding a second video file to the end of the first on track 1.

Next, I would say it would also be easier to add audio in exactly the same manner as above. Even subtitles could be done this way too. I have one film split in two with external .srt files. But adjusting the timing of these to sync will require immense effort and time that I don’t wish to spend on it.

The ability to move a file along a track, for example… to sync audio with the video should be simplistic.

Stretching or shrinking should also be available by dragging the ends of a video/audio clip.

Even splitting a clip I have found to be a major task, trying to figure out how it’s done! When you should be able to click, drag, release and delete a section.

It seems that video editing apps are so far behind just about every other app you can find. Take a look at audio editors like Audacity, OcenAudio, Wavosaur to see how editing is so much easier than it is in video editing. I do understand that Audio and Video are supremely different, but the functions are available for each. It’s just the implementation in the video apps is unnecessarily complex.

To me these are simple things that every video editor should do and I just don’t understand why they don’t to be honest.

Sorry if my first post comes across as negative, really, I’m not trying to put down ShotCut, or any other app, I’m simply stating my experience and my view in the hope to improve this program.

You see, when I first loaded Shotcut and tried adding a video clip to a track, it wasn’t even clear how it was done. I shouldn’t need to read a manual for such a basic task. I had such an issue doing this that I had to restart several times from scratch which I couldn’t figure out how to do, and so I had to close and restart the program.

I’m no dunce with tech either, I have fixed many PC’s, edited the registry, reinstalled windows on many machines, can even do a little programming, nothing great, but I know my way around so many apps and yet find every video editor a pain to use!

Anyway, sorry for the long post and please don’t take my comments as an attack, I’m just being honest, that’s all. Shotcut looks such a great app that I just wish it was easier to use. Thank you for reading and I do hope you can see my pov.

It sounds like you don’t really understand how to use Shotcut, i strongly recommend checking out some videos online to learn the basics.

I am attempting to create new video files with the better quality video and the English audio. This is proving rather difficult due to each being different lengths

Please see the video below to learn how to split video clips.

If some of the clips are to fast or too slow then you can change the speed by watching this video below

finally as for the audio, you can detach the audio from the video clip by right clicking on the video clip and selecting “detach audio”
please see video below:

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I have just found the video tutorials and I can see some things are actually quite simple once you know how they’re done, like splitting and the magnet thing. Pretty good stuff! :wink:

I just think perhaps it could be a little more intuitive in some areas.

Aha, thanks for your reply :slight_smile:

I had just found the videos as you replied, but thank you for pointing those out.

I understand there is always a learning curve associated with any app, But, there are many things that are universal, like Drag and drop, Drag and select, and some others that are a little more complex but standard ways of working across many apps.

I’ll spend more time with Shotcut though as it seems quite capable so far. Thanks so much for your help

I consider my needs quite basic compared to other users projects, apart from audio that is too stretched compared to

And this is the whole issue. No offense but as such you should learn it first before making a post about what you think it should be because it’s not going to be taken seriously otherwise. You spent a long time writing that text when you could’ve spent that time on learning how to do video editing. Your mistake is thinking that you don’t need to learn how to do something in order to do what it is you want then being surprised when you can’t figure it out and somehow blaming the app for it.

On the top of this page there is a link called “Tutorials” that will lead you to a page that is filled with video tutorials available for Shotcut. You should watch all of those first and learn it. Then if you still don’t understand how to do something specific then come back and ask here in the forum.

Agreed, but video editing is not a standard app. It can be an intense process often with a lot of repetition. Many people do not have time for the slowness of drag-and-drop when they’re under a deadline to create a 47-minute program. The reason every major video editor seems non-intuitive is because it’s a specialized piece of software designed for speed and power. That’s why a lot of work is done by keyboard shortcuts rather than mouse movements. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature for speed. There will be a learning curve, but the workflow will be greatly appreciated once you’re into it. Shotcut is not a simple iPhone app for cut-and-post-to-social (although it certainly can be). It allows much more creative and technical liberty. A little work is required to learn it. Fortunately, tutorials are plentiful.

Your suggestions are noted and welcome. I’m merely explaining why things currently are the way they are. With your background, you will reach an experienced level very quickly and not be bothered by the workflow.

I understand what you’re both saying, but clearly you don’t get my point.
I’ve been into music production since 1998. I bought my first PC in 2005 and used an app called Muzys. Very different from hardware! I struggled, but picked up how things worked. Now I can look at most DAW’s and figure them out, because they all have similar terms, workflow (generally) etc. But that workflow goes across a multitude of apps, not just DAW’s.

How can an app be built for speed if people aren’t used to keyboard shortcuts? And I really can’t see this app being used instead of Adobe in the film industry, can you? Just not going to happen… No offense.

That would be like LibreCAD replacing AutoCAD or LibreOffice replacing MS Office. Just won’t happen in top tier industries.

My whole point was that, why aren’t these apps more suitable for people new to this genre? Why make them so awkward to use and learn? Granted there are some instructional videos but they don’t cover the tens of questions I’ve come up with just doing simple and basic editing tasks.

Where’s the manual? The online “work in progress” one is far from useful. This isn’t a stab at the dev’s work in any way, it is a statement of fact. I have looked at the first video and found some useful tips. I’m not going to sit through a thousand hours of video trying to find a needle in a haystack. I need to find answers to what things are and the manual is more of a forum than an explanation on what this or that setting is.

Where’s the Tooltips? This would alleviate some of the lack of knowledge in these apps. More and more people are moving into playing with video for social sites, (which I must point out, I do not indulge in that shite,) and for other stuff too. It doesn’t matter what these people are using it for, as a developer of anything, surely ease of use is a high priority. Without that you could have the best app in the world but no one would use it as it’s too difficult to learn.

Not saying that’s the case here, what I am saying is that everyone who has knowledge on a subject takes it for granted until they learn that not everyone knows what a simple setting like resolution actually does, how it affects the output, if it actually makes the output that size.

And to be quite honest, I’m not interested in learning a whole industry of video editing just to perform simple tasks, and neither I or anyone else should be expected to.

Why waste your time criticising me for pointing out a flaw in the developers ability to make their app easy to use on the basis you don’t like my criticism? Real criticism is something people often find offensive, despite it’s purest intention is only to inform of a flaw. The flaw in this case is that it’s not very intuitive to use for those of us, of which there are many, wanting to edit a handful of videos.

How is dragging a file into the GUI slower than using a keyboard to navigate to it, which I can honestly say I wouldn’t even know where to start! Maybe you’re an oldskool type? I, like so many others, am not.

Built for speed? lol When it’s just taken an hour to export a basic edit? Not my experience at all! And yes, I have a very capable PC.

In any case, why can’t both types of users be accounted for?

I don’t mean to be rude, but I can think of so many ways it could be easier and faster to use than it currently is.

There is no official manual. As there is no “team” to develop a manual, the developer(s) have made it entirely available for users to contribute towards the documentation. Unfortunately very few people has taken the time to write and/or maintain documentation. As the program evolves on a month to bi-monthly basis, it would be hard to maintain a proper official manual.

To help other new people learning you can always write a manual from your viewpoint and post a link in here.

There is also a section in this forum that is greatly overlooked and that’s the Tutorials section where people have taken extreme amounts of time to teach others on how to use Shotcut. Some of the tutorials might a bit outdated as Shotcut has progressed and has deprecated/added filters.

To learn more about Shotcut and all of it’s features/changes everything is documented in Shotcut’s blog posts.

There was no intent to criticize, sorry it came across that way. I’m genuinely trying to understand your point of view, but some of it is a mystery to me:

I checked. Every major button has tool tips. What OS and Shotcut package are you using that doesn’t have tool tips?

When doing a click and drag, how would a user know where in a clip to start and stop? Video cuts often need to be frame-accurate, and need to be seen to be accurate. In/out points and the Split tool make this process accurate, fast, and easy. Are you really sure you would prefer to edit video the same way as audio? I would wager most long-term video people would not.

This already happens. Drag a clip to the Timeline window and Track 1 gets automatically created and is ready to export. There’s a faster way… drag a clip to the Source window and export direct from Source. A timeline isn’t even required to transcode video. Shotcut is fast at common tasks. What more do you feel is lacking?

Lots of people including myself already do this for multi-cam video. With audio waveform thumbnails turned on, just match spikes between tracks. What do you feel is lacking?

This request was unclear. Does shrink mean stop playback before the end of the clip, or speed up the entire clip to fit the new length? It already does the former, which is far more common than the latter.

Drag and drop already works between Windows Explorer, the source window, and the timeline. It works to move clips around the timeline. Standard Ctrl and Shift + click works to select multiple clips. What do you feel is lacking?

The default video mode is Automatic so a new user doesn’t have to understand resolution. It adapts to the first video added to the timeline. Then export is as simple as choosing the YouTube preset and hit Export. Or choose nothing and use the capable H.264 export default. What do you feel is lacking?

Fair point. There is a Documentation category in the forum that is evolving, but it is curiously difficult to find. Shotcut is also a moving target as new features are released almost monthly.

Fair enough. But simple tasks can be easily covered in four tutorial videos, already in wide circulation. That’s not a lot of investment to ask of a new user on a sophisticated tool.

I have a background in recording engineering for classical and jazz as well. I can testify that sitting a new user in front of Cubase or ProTools is very daunting to them. Shotcut is in the same category as those tools. ProTools doesn’t scare you because you know the terrain. New users wouldn’t. I do not feel that “real” DAWs are ahead of Shotcut in terms of simplicity at all. Audacity is technically not a DAW.

To summarize, we aren’t criticizing you so much as we’re trying to understand what you want to be different. Half the things you mentioned are already there. The volunteers in the forum help around a hundred new forum members a month, and few of the new users have made Shotcut sound like the Everest struggle you’ve portrayed. So unfortunately, it will take further explanation to help us understand what functionality you feel needs to change. Defaulting the timeline with a ready-to-go empty track? Okay, that could be useful. Fix the documentation? Yes, we know, it just takes time when the effort isn’t backed by corporate dollars. Beyond that? Most new users seem to click along pretty well. So help us understand better.

You do raise the well-established point that the educational arc of the tool or website or forum could use a makeover. Since you know what it’s like to be a new user, maybe this is an opportunity for you to contribute tutorials that address exactly what is missing. There is room for you to make a name for yourself if you want it.


I’ll have to modify that or make a new updated one now, lol.


This or the new one needs to be permanently pinned to the top


Shotcut is also a moving target as new features are released almost monthly.

I had started working on a couple of documentation items, as part of my own learning process. Explaining things to others helps you to learn.

I am currently waiting for the next version as it does changes a number of things before having another go.


That’s how I got started making tutorial videos…

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It has been the first link on for a couple of months now, and that page is now in the app menu as Help > Topics with the standard shortcut F1.

I didn’t realize the User Manual link went to Documentation and I was specifically looking for it. :no_mouth:

I am conditioned to the word “Documentation” after spending time in the wiki, and didn’t correlate it to User Manual. The phrase “under construction” might also be scary to a new user, like there may be a good chance they won’t find what they need because it isn’t built yet, so why bother looking.

Stuff like FAQ and How To are pretty important. Perhaps more people would find them if they were directly on the forum top menu bar instead of under the “More” submenu. Or simply rename the More submenu to “Documentation” and leave most of the links under it alone.

The raw ingredients are there. No complaints. It seems like the hard part now is making sure everyone finds it.

Honestly, when I first started learning I went straight to YouTube. I’m sure you can find them all here, but as a newbie, I didn’t even know what it was called to be able to type it in. Keywords matter, so I hung around YouTube starter videos until I got some of the vernacular down to actually search for it.

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We have several talented tutorial creators in the forum (yourself included of course). Would there be value in identifying 20 of the most common and super-basic Shotcut actions, and making a walk-thru video of each one as a new user orientation? The topics could describe a simple and progressive workflow from importing clips to exporting the result (nothing too fancy yet), and introduce vernacular along the way so viewers learn what to search for when they want more information. Then, as updates happen in Shotcut, maybe only a few videos would need to be updated at a time. If we spread the load around several people, hopefully it could be kept up to date. I could offer to do the export settings section, for instance. You and @Hudson555x and maybe @sauron and @jonray and @DRM and others could take other sections so nobody is overloaded.

The major thing missing from YouTube snippet videos is “how does it all tie together for a start-to-finish workflow”. We could finally answer that question.

Just an idea.
Any interest?


Heh, the problem is there is so many ways to refer to the same thing in English. For example, see also “User Guide,” “Online Help” or simply “Help,” “Handbook”, and “Instruction Manual.”
I am sure we can think of or find more. One problem is that it is a little more reference than guide currently even though I think “User Guide” is the most common.

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