Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2024


Edit video/audio with or without Vim

I used to edit my own podcast with COTS DAW software. Regularly, 1 hour of footage takes 6 hours' editing just to remove space, filling words, mumbles.

After that, I am exhausted and couldn't do any creative arrangement.

It's nearly impossible to select quotes from different speaker in different time and combine into 1 package as a independent creator in spear time, without a team.

I'll share my effort to take back control of video creating, editing, and note-taking, with or without Vim.

During the last two years, I wrote myself a series of handy scripts. It works with or without Vim. I cut my podcast with it, and translated podcasts into captioned videos. It's highly efficient.

Yes, there are commercial products like Descript, Adobe Podcast, AVID Media Composer on the market. But it's not open nor free.

Basically I defined a file format. It's basically a spreadsheet in plain text, tsv. It can be converted to and back from srt subtitle. After that, you can remove it, shuffle it, combine it or repeat it.

EDL 00:00:03,123 00:01:03,500 | clipname | subtitles, maybe description with AI 

To prove the simplicity, one can convert srt to tsv in a single line of bash:

cat | sed -n -r '1{/^$/n;};/^[0-9]+$/{n; s/ --> /\t/; s/$/\t| _CLIPNAME_ |\t/; N; s/\n//; h; d;}; /^$/! { H; $!d;}; x; s/\n/\\N/g; s/^/EDL\t/;p' > some.tsv

EDL stands for 'editorial decision list'. Those three letters are very useful with 'grep'. Yes. You can grep it! For example, the following line invokes ffmpeg and generates a video.

cat recording_1990.tsv recording_2023.tsv | grep -c 3 Linux | tsv2roughcut

Each line without 'EDL' in the beginning, will be ignored. So you get comments now. The clipname can be audio, video or still picture.

You may also pipe it into tsv2fcpxml, and import into professional editing software for fine-tuning, or delegate to professional editors. So you don't have to work late side by side with them.

You may even add B-roll at the head of the subtitle, to create a BBC style voice over video.

Furthermore, with this plugin in Vim, you can preview video/audio with mpv player, cut/join lines, add comments and fold/unfold with Markdown/Org mode style headers.

(This methodology originated from BBC is called 'Paper edit'. It's battlefield proven since 1970s and can be very efficient in news-making or news-faking.)

Try it. Fully open sourced.

Chinese project name: 糙音速剪辑


Photo of Wang Kang Wang Kang
Photo of Qi Xiao Qi Xiao
Photo of Xianjun Jiao Xianjun Jiao