Some user's experience thoughts


I’m DoP and camera man for more than 20 years, but I’m not professional editor. For last two years I film and edit my son’s football (soccer) team games. So, yeap, it is not ‘really’ editing, but I want to bring to You some thoughts about User’s Experience in ShotCut.

My system now is based on Linux Mint 20.2 and ShotCut v.21.09.20, an it is being updated regularly.
All written here is IMHO, and I’m sorry if I wrote something that was mentioned before, or I missed some HowTo’s before posting it.

Playlist Window
Renaming or Adding Notes / Comments / Special Names for Clips in Playlist
There is No.4 in RoadMap - ‘clip and playlist tags’, but it also could be fine to be able to rename, mark, comment or add subjective information for every clip in playlist without changing the filename of the clip itself.

To add option to arrange / to sort clips in Groups (Folders)
Maybe tagging from the RoadMap will have this option, but working with large ammount of clips that were bulked in one list - it makes the editing process very difficult in some point…

Keyboard Shortcuts Control
Jumping to desired Time on Source or Project window by entering TimeCode
After entering TimeCode [XX:XX:XX:XX] and hitting ‘Enter’, the cursor still stays at the TimeCode window. If I accidentally will push any number key, it will delete whole entered TC and will move the cursor to some not predictable position. I used to push ‘Tab’ button to leave the TC windows out, didn’t find any better way. If I use mouse, I need to push Left Button of mouse while the mouse cursor is in some ‘empty’ area, 'cause if I’ll push it over the timeline area, the video head (cursor) will move from the desired position. But the situation is worst when I push ‘Tab’ in Text Window of, for example, Text:Simple Filter. It makes Tab Spacing and doesn’t switch to TimeLine Controls. IMHO, it would be better if after pressing ‘Enter’ at TC window the active shortcuts would move to control timeline (Source / Project). Or to create dedicated shortcut for switching between active areas (sub-windows), but in this case there is need to highlight somehow the active (‘sensitive’ to keyboard shortcuts) sub-window.

When other then English Keyboard Layout is chosen, the Keyboard Shortcuts don’t work. Some of them are affected by keyboard layout change. For example, in RTL layout keys like ‘[’ and ‘]’ are switched to ‘]’ and ‘[’. Theese keys are used to set filter’s ‘Start’ and ‘End’. But in RTL layout they mark ‘End’ and ‘Start’.

‘Ctrl+Shft+V’ (that in other programs, like Text Editors) uses, by Keyboard Shortcut Reference, for Paste Text Only without formatting. But after pressing this combination in Text Window of Text:Simple Filter, instead of pasting text, it pastes something to the video track (in History window adds ‘Insert into track’).

Sorry for a long post, I collected theese suggestions for some long time :wink:
Hope my English is understandable, I succeed explaining my issues.
Big Thanks to every involved person in this project - it is Great Project and You’re doing Great Job!


For me the playhead does move after entering/adjust the time code.

The second part is not unpredictable, it’s based upon frame count.
You can enter the exact frame count to get to a particular spot.

Thank You for Your answer. But I didn’t mean the VideoHead cursor (The cursor over the timeline), but the symbolic cursor. When You input TC value, hit ‘Enter’, and press any other numeric key, You will erase whole TC in the timecode window… And to leave the timecode window You have press Tab or press mouse button somewhere out of timeline, otherwise You will move the videohead from the position, that You need, after the TC value input…
Hope I could explain myself…

I understand what you are saying, and it’s a highly sensitive area because of all the keyboard shortcuts associated with time movements.

Have you tried CTRL+Z for undo?
It’s works in the timecode as well.

Here is an example of me using your scenario of hitting the numeric keys, then doing CTRL+Z.

You can also do left or right arrow after typing in your time code. This way the whole timecode isn’t highlighted.

With the ability to scroll up and down in the timecode, I’d rather have it be highlighted to indicate a change is being made.

This is just my opinion, but I don’t find any fault with the timecode in how it’s handled.

Out of curiosity, are you using filenames that conform to some standard, like ARRI names or an embedded reel name? If so, I understand the need to add additional information to the clip using some method other than the filename.

If the filenames are not standardized, there is the option to sort clips into subfolders directly on the file system, then rename the files to something more informative, then import directly to the timeline without even going through the playlist. Since I don’t use reel names for my projects, this workflow has been sufficient for my needs. The subfolders implicitly define my reels or scenes or whatever.

Cool to have a real DP in the forum!

You can already do this (except “mark”) in Properties. See also F2 keyboard shortcut and tab key to move from name to comment.

Ctrl+Shft+V in Text: Simple

Various shortcuts especially those related to the clipboard are context-/focus-sensitive. In the case of Text: Simple it does not accept anything other than plain text, and we do not make the UI widget for plain text input. Thus, this shortcut is not handled within the focus scope of the text input field and the event passes up to the global handler that uses Shift to target many operations to the playlist.

I chose not to make shortcuts very sensitive to which panel has focus because that is difficult for many users to understand. Many of them seem to struggle with the concept of “selection” and that many panels reflect or affect what is selected. Even adding color borders around these does not completely help. I think a red border on a selected clip is more obvious than the border color of a panel.

Update: I was able to make the Text: Simple filter treat Ctrl+Shift+V as paste text. It does not show in the context menu, but it accepts it now.

Thank You, Hudson555x. It is really cool, I didn’t realized that it is possible to scroll with mouse wheel the TC, while the Mouse Cursor hovers over the TC window. Thank You again!
But (sorry for my English, I’ll try to rephrase the problem) as I know, the most video editors prefer to edit with minimal mouse usage. Moving Your hand from the KB to mouse and back hundreds of times during 10 hours editing shift - it is something that You want to minimize. In this case, when I want to enter some TC value in TC window, I will have some problems:

  1. There is no KB shortcut to move focus (hope I use the correct term for this) from, let’s say, Playlist sub-window to TC Sub-window. In most graphic interfaces pressing Tab button will do this.
  2. There is neither this shortcut, nor highlighting active window. It would be nice to ‘mark’ the focused (‘active’) sub-window (its name or/and its frame outline) with bright white color, while non-active sub-windows will be, let’s say, colored gray.
  3. Back to the TC sub-window. Again - if an editor prefers not to use mouse. When I input some TC value, press ‘Enter’, the whole TC value is highlighted and the symbolic cursor flashes before the first digit of the TC in the TC sub-window. Pressing Tab button moves the focus somewhere from it, but I couldn’t realize where to. Randomal hits on Right and Left Arrows Buttons discovered the the focus was moved on the Source / Project Tabs (they got some highlighted background after some number of hits on arrows). Hitting Tab again moves focus somewhere else (I wasn’t able to discover where), and hitting Shift-Tab, that usually works as Tab but in reverse order, doesn’t bring focus to the Source / Project tabs. And doesn’t bring it back to the TC sub-window too.

The fact that there is no graphical indication of the focused / active sub-window of the program interface is very frustrating. I prefer to recognize immideatelly in which sub-window I am at every moment of my editing process.

Offtopic. Hudson555x, how do You create this GIFs as examples? :thinking:

I use ShareX (free, but only for Windows). You may want to watch a youtube tutorial on how it all works. It takes some time to understand all what it can do. All of my screenshots in this forum are all taken with ShareX.

Thank You! I’ll search for Linux alternatives…

You can also use OBS (free, for windows, mac, linux), it’s just bit hard to get used to OBS. You will need to set OBS to record gif.

For an excellent introductory tutorial see:


1 Like

Thank You for Your answer!

I mean, sometimes (or mostly) You want to see the renamed or tagged names in the playlist itself when You search for some clip that You want to add it’s content to the timeline. If You work with long list of clips, it doesn’t really help if the comment is in other window. In case You need to locate some renamed or commented clip, You have to switch to the Properties tab to check properties of every clip in the list, clip by clip, to find the desired one. Maybe, just as suggestion, it would be nice to choose columns’ content in the PlayList. Thus, the editor could choose which field of Properties is shown for him.

And the other issue is dividing the playlist by folders or bins. Working on projects that have more than one shooting day or one memory card - it is important to keep all the rushes in the original backuped folders with their original, camera generated file names. But depending on the camera model, if You will import clips from two or more memory card’s camera backup folders, You will have in the playlist some similar file names. For example: I had long day shootings and filled up two memory cards in the same day (same date). Camera starts every new card with 00000.MTS (Sony’s NXCAM). So, importing both shooting days will result in two 00000.MTS files, two 00001.MTS, two 00002.MTS, etc. Grabbing STREAM folder to the Playlist ‘pours’ the included *.MTS files to the playlist, without keeping them into the folder. I could sort them by date, but (another bug?) if I changed the speed of the clip, the date disappears… So, to conclude - I can’t change the clip names in the playlist to make them more informative for myself without affecting the original file name. I can’t see in the playlist tab any comments or special clip names, but only in Properties tab. There is no separation on bins or folders, that makes very difficult to navigate on playlist if You have many clips from many memory cards in it. Sorry for longread.

Thank You a lot! Very glad and proud to be useful for the Community and to make ShotCut better and better :slight_smile:

And please refer to my long answer to Hudson555x. Especially, about switching and highlighting active (focused) sub-window and ‘mouseless’ editing. FYI, I’m working on Linux Mint 20.2 Xfce 4.16.0 xfwm4 LightDM with Shotcut 21.09.20 Qt 5.15.2 in Fusion Dark Theme.

Update: Strange, but I made another try and now I do see the changed Clip Name from the Properties tab in the Playlist Tab… I didn’t see it in my prevoius try…

Thank You!


Thank You!
Please refer to my longread answer to shotcut. There is some explanation about the importance of the ability to rename or to comment clips and to get it in the playlist tab itself.
That’s right that ShotCut includes almost all functionality for postproduction from rushes to Master. But! It is good to be able to export the project as EDL (EDitList) for some external editing proccesses, like sound design, SFX, grading and colouring, etc. In this case, the correct workflow is not to change the original, camera created, structure of files and folders system. Otherwise, it will be the nightmare to link between clips and the reffering linkeage from the project. Just imagine that in some documentary projects You may have thousands of clips in dozens of shooting days separated on many memory card structures…

Genuine question here because workflow is always interesting to me…

If the camera filenames are duplicated between multiple cameras, and then duplicated again when the memory card is switched out… to me, that suggests the camera filenames are actually meaningless? As in, what would be the harm in renaming files or sorting into different folders provided it is done before adding them to the playlist or timeline?

In my workflow, we bring in the daily footage to a staging folder. We use a media player to quickly review the footage. We move the useless footage to a recycle bin, and rename the footage we care about to a useful filename. Also, if we have a one-hour capture from a mounted GoPro but only care about three minutes of the footage, we clip it out losslessly and move the original to the recycle bin. (This is to save space when we archive the project.) Everything that survives this review process goes to the Project folder or a subfolder of it. Our rule is that once a file is moved from staging to Project, it can no longer be renamed anymore. This prevents linking issues for us.

Our environment is probably not as fast-paced as yours. So I’m curious what issues my workflow could encounter if we scaled up, and why original camera filenames shouldn’t be changed. I would love to learn today before I run into an issue later. In our current environment, the nightmare would be having ten clips all called 000000.MTS and having no idea which one was what lol.

As I am a DoP or Cameraman, I know the ‘secrets’ of postproduction just from the editors :wink:

As I know, the camera file structure includes some metadata and/or service files with video/audio files themselves. And there is some chance that some editing software will seek for this information in any stage of the process. So, we get used to copy whole memory card file structure and to keep it this way inside the folder, named by date, project name and card number of the day. For example:
Inside the editing project the path to the file is actually file’s unique name. So, if the Project files are on the portable drive, it is very easy to transfer project from PC to PC - just point to the root directory of the portable drive or the upper folder of the project on that drive and - voila - any editor on any system will access the original camera files with all needed or unneeded metadata.
Any editor or user knows that adding additional information has to be done by putting new folder under the Project’s folder. It means, that if You add Dialogue List, original music score, special fonts or graphics, etc. - everything can be found and transferred to any system on the same drive. Of course, the drive is always backuped.
Because of metadata files, we are asked to keep the original (camera made) file names, otherwise systems won’t be able to link metadata files to the video/audio files.

As I wrote - putting every card backup to different folder, actually makes the long path_to_file the file’s name. Not ‘00000.MTS’, but, for example, ‘/PortDrive/Project_Name/Rushes/Shooting_Date/Card_A/AVCHD/BDMV/STREAM/00000.MTS’ and this name should never change. That’s why we prefer to mark / tag / comment files in the logging process, but not change the file name itself.

Ah, that’s the key. Yes, metadata can be there, but Shotcut doesn’t look for it or use it (the only pseudo-exception being GoPro .LRV files). So I have taken some liberties with my workflow to make the file system itself more descriptive of the file contents. This makes it easy for me to use many tools outside the logging application for pre-processing (like FFmpeg, ImageMagick, Natron, Blender, etc) and find the media I need without being reliant on a logging application to resolve the filename. Like you, everything I do ends up under a single root project folder so that the project can be easily taken to another computer or archived.

If I used an editor that made use of that external metadata, I would switch to doing what you do.

Thanks for taking the time to describe your workflow! Very interesting and much appreciated.