Catbird Linux: Making Videos with Catbird Linux

Written and curated by WebDev Philip C.
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Catbird Linux is a mighty super useful collection of applications which I use for creating video and audio content for upload to the internet. The distro contains an audio editor, screen capture utility, and video editor - all with plenty of plugins for refining the raw data into a nicely finished creation.

The hardware I use is deliberately modest, consisting of a USB microphone, Android smart phone / camera for recording talking head scenes, and a screen recorder utility for doing coding, showing web content, and so forth.

As to work flow, the work flow is pretty simple and straight-forward:

  1. Develop an idea of something to build a video around.
  2. Check Google Trends for the monthly search volume of related keywords.
  3. Get into my own books, notes, and experiences to further develop the idea.
  4. Find more information on the topic from other people, newspapers, or websites.
  5. In Obsidian, create a set of notes in markdown, structured as an outline.
  6. Collect images or write code, as necessary for the video.
  7. Develop the script.
  8. Practice and rehearse enough to not badly mangle the video.
  9. Shoot or capture the video and dialogue.
  10. Edit the audio in Audacity.
  11. Export the audio to a wav file for use by the video editor.
  12. Edit the video in Shotcut.
  13. Create still images and text cards in GIMP for import to the video.
  14. Render the video.
  15. Do a quality check of the video.
  16. Create a thumbnail image for the video.
  17. Write text for the online video description, keywords, and other metadata.
  18. Upload the video and thumbnail; paste in the description.
  19. Tweak the metadata and settings as necessary.

Note: For large files / long recordings, do not use the default app data and project directories for Shotcut, Audacity, and GIMP. Go into the settings for each and reset them to somewhere on a mounted hard drive or USB stick. If you have cloned Catbird Linux to a persistent installation, then you need not do this. Simply make sure you have enough drive space for your audio, video, and image projects.

One other application which wasn't listed in the workflow is a great app for doing slide shows or keeping notes for a live talk. It is called Lookatme and it plays presentations created in markdown. Since installing Lookatme, I haven't used Powerpoint or any of its popular substitutes.

For an example of how a video can come out of my workflow looking good, with a mix of images, video clips, and text all stirred up in a big stew, see the embed here:

An observation of the first anniversary of the Capitol Insurrection and attempted coup and a promise that the price of a coup is smoldering rubble from sea to shining sea.

Okay, it is a bit of "stewing rage" about the January 6th coup attempt. Thus it is shown, video creations can focus on current events, coding skills, or literally anything else you can record on a camera, write as text from your mind, or capture on a screen. The sky is the limit; tools in Catbird Linux are there for you to make your ideas into something you can offer as sight and sound. Though I talked about using the system with modest hardware, fabulous content can be created on top notch hardware.

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