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Solutions to Common Problems with edTPA Videos

 

 

 

Click on the appropriate problem in the list below for a solution.

 

 

Shotcut creates files in the .MLT format instead of the video file type I want.

Please do not confuse a Shotcut "project file" (with a .MLT extension) with a video file (with extensions like .MP4, .AVI,  .MOV, .M4V, etc.).  They are not the same.  Uploading a .MLT project file to the edTPA video web site will do you absolutely no good whatsoever.  You can think of a project file as a recipe (i.e., the list of ingredients and steps required) for making a video, and not the video itself.  Project files are quite small (with sizes measured in kilobytes (KB) compared to typical video files (with sizes measured in megabytes (MB), or even gigabytes (GB)).  Shotcut project files sometimes come in handy when individuals are working on a complex editing task, and need to turn off their computer before the task is complete.  When they restart their machine at a later time, they can open the .MLT project file and pick up where they left off instead of having to start from the beginning again.  Since the tasks students need to perform while editing their edTPA videos are quite simple, it is not necessary for them to create Shotcut project files.

To create a video file, rather than a .MLT project file, in Shotcut:

  1. Click the Export button on the right of the Shotcut button bar at the top of the screen.  (See Figure 1, below.)  (Do not open the File menu and click the Save or Save As options as you would normally do in a program like a word processor.)
  2. Click the Export File button at the bottom of the Export window (as shown in Figure 2, below).
  3. In the Export File window that now opens, navigate to the location where you would like to save the video, provide the file with an appropriate name, and click the Save button at the bottom to complete the process.
Figure 1:  The image below shows the Shotcut program window with the Export button highlighted in red.
video of a fountain open in Shotcut, with the "Export" button (on the far right of the button bar) highlighted in red

Figure 2:  The image below shows the Shotcut Export window with the Export File button highlighted in red.
video of a fountain open in Shotcut, with the "Export File" button (at the bottom of the "Export" window) highlighted in red

 

The videos I have created play fine in Shotcut, but not in one or more other programs on my computer.

Assuming you have correctly used Shotcut to generate videos in one of the allowable (.ASF, .AVI, .FLV, .M4V, .MOV, .MP4, .MPEG, .MPG, .QT, or .WMV ) edTPA file formats, it is possible that these videos may play fine within the Shotcut program, but not in other video players on your machine.  Playback problems might include a completely black playback window, a completely white playback window, or no sound.  There is no guarantee that the player you are trying to use is capable of playing the particular video file type you created in Shotcut.

In order to determine whether the problem lies with the video files or the player, it is necessary to download and install a video player that is capable of playing virtually any video file type.  An excellent example of such a program is (the free) VLC Media Player.  It can be downloaded from:

http://www.videolan.org/

After you have downloaded the program, run it to install the player on your computer.  Then, try to play the problematic videos in the VLC player.  If they play properly, it is likely that the video files are not at fault, and the problem is with the particular player(s) you were trying to use.  If, on the other hand, the videos did not play back properly in VLC, there is most likely a problem with the files themselves.  If this is the case, reread the appropriate instructions on this page  (or rewatch the relevant video(s) under the Workshop Videos heading on the home page of this site) before attempting the editing procedure again.

 

Shotcut freezes or starts-and-stops when I try to edit my video.

Sometimes, in the process of working with certain videos, students have trouble editing them in programs like Shotcut because they do not play back smoothly.  This may be due to insufficient hardware resources on the machine being used to do the editing.  In other cases, it is due to the video file having an extremely high resolution.  You can find the resolution of any video by opening it in Shotcut and clicking the Properties button (located about half-way across the Shotcut button bar at the top of the screen).  The video in Figure 3 (below), for example, is commonly referred to as a "4K" video because it has a width of approximately 4,000 (i.e., 4K) pixels.

Figure 3:  The image below shows the Shotcut Properties window with the (original) resolution of the currently-open video highlighted in red
video of a puppy open in Shotcut, with the (original) value of 4096X2304 for the "Resolution" (in the "Properties" window) highlighted in red


The best way to handle this problem, of course, is to prevent it from happening in the first place.  If your camera/phone/tablet allows you to adjust the resolution prior to recording, try setting it to some intermediate value.  If that is not an option, and you are sure your computer is up to the task, you can use Shotcut's Export function to generate a lower resolution version of the video that should not only be easier to edit, but also have a file size smaller than the original.

To reduce the resolution of a video that is already open in Shotcut:

  1. Click the Export button (on the right of the Shotcut button bar at the top of the screen).
  2. Enter new values for the width and height into the Resolution field.  When deciding what values to use, it is very important that we decrease both the width and height by the same percent.  (If we neglect to do this, we run the risk of creating a video that either looks stretched or squished.)  In addition, try to pick a percentage value that will yield videos with a significantly lower resolution than the original, but not so low as to produce widths less than 320 pixels or heights less than 240 pixels.  (See Figure 4, below.)

    As an example, the original resolution of the video in Figure 3 (see above) is 4096X2304.  If we decide to reduce the width to 25% of its original value of 4096, we must also reduce the height to 25% of its original value of 2304.  Since 25% of 4096 is 1024, and 25% of 2304 is 576, we would type those (modified) values for the Resolution into the Export window.

  3. When finished, click the Export File button (at the bottom) and save the lower resolution video to the desired location.

 Figure 4:  The image below shows the Shotcut Export window with the (modified) Resolution of the currently-open video highlighted in red.
video of a puppy open in Shotcut, with the (modified) value of 1024X576 for the "Resolution" (in the "Export" window) highlighted in red

 

When played on certain platforms/devices/players, my video is rotated 90º or 180º from where it should be.

Students sometimes discover that their videos appear to be rotated 90º or 180º when viewed on certain platforms, devices, and players, but not on others.  (See Figure 5, below.)

Figure 5:  The image on the left shows a properly oriented frame from a video. The center image shows the same frame rotated 90º counterclockwise from its correct orientation.  The image on the right is another depiction of the frame, this time offset 180º from its proper position.
properly oriented image of a teacher  image of a teacher rotated 90° counterclockwise from its proper orientation  upside-down image of a teacher that is rotated 180° from its proper orientation 

This problem is especially common when (1) videos are incorrectly shot in portrait (rather than landscape) mode on an iPad or iPhone or (2) videos are shot on a recording device that is unwittingly held sideways or upside-down.  While such videos may have looked fine on the device on which they were shot and on the machine that was used to do the editing, they appear to be rotated 90º or 180º when viewed on another computer. 

Fortunately, Shotcut has a built-in Rotate filter that allows individuals to change the orientation of any video that happens to be open in the program.  To access the Rotate filter:

  1. Click the (funnel shaped) Filters button near the right of the Shotcut button bar.  (See Figure 6, below.)
  2. Click the Add a filter button at the far left of the Shotcut Filters window that now opens.  This button (as pictured in Figure 7, below) has a plus (+) sign on it.
  3. Select (by clicking) the Rotate option from the list of filters provided.  (See Figure 8, below.)
  4. Replace the value of 0.0 in the Rotation field with the amount of clockwise rotation (measured in degrees (º)) you would like to apply to the video.  The "live" preview window to the right (see Figure 9, below) allows you to see the effect of these changes.
  5. When you are satisfied with the results, click the Export button on the right of the Shotcut button bar, and Export the (now rotated) video as you would normally do with any video you have been editing.
Figure 6:  The image below shows the Shotcut program window with the Filters button highlighted in red.
video of a Christmas tree (rotated 90º counterclockwise) open in Shotcut, with the "Filters" button (near the right of the button bar) highlighted in red

Figure 7:  The image below shows the Shotcut Filters window with the Add a filter button highlighted in red.
video of a Christmas tree (rotated 90º counterclockwise) open in Shotcut, with the "Add a filter" button (at the far left of the "Filters" window) highlighted in red

Figure 8:  The image below shows the Shotcut Filters menu with the Rotate option highlighted in red. 
video of a Christmas tree (rotated 90º counterclockwise) open in Shotcut, with the "Rotate" option (in the "Filters" menu) highlighted in red

Figure 9:  The image below shows the Shotcut Filters window with the (modified) Rotation value of 90º highlighted in red.
video of a (properly oriented) Christmas tree open in Shotcut, with the (corrected) value of 90º for the "Rotation" (in the "Filters" window) highlighted in red

 

I am either unable to copy my video up to the edTPA video web site or the upload process is very slow.

Upload problems can usually be traced to one (or a combination) of the following causes: either (1) the size of the video you are attempting to upload exceeds some predetermined value for an individual file or your account as a whole or (2) the network connection you are using is simply too slow to accommodate the transfer of large files in a reasonable amount of time.

Problems with file size limitations can be rectified by first determining whether you are exceeding the individual file size limit for the particular file you are trying to upload or the aggregate upload limit for all your files on the server, and then reducing either the size of the file you are attempting to upload or the number/size of other files on the server (whichever the case may be).  (Check with your instructor or online if you are unsure about these limits.)

For detailed instructions on reducing the size of your video(s), please see the next solution on this page entitled "The size of my file exceeds the maximum allowable upload limit for the site where I am supposed to post my edTPA videos."

If your network connection speed is too slow, try to find a faster alternative.  For example, connecting to the internet via a network cable instead of using a wireless connection usually speeds up file transfers significantly.  Connecting from on-campus rather than an off-campus location may also expedite uploads.
 

 

The size of my file exceeds the maximum allowable upload limit for the site where I am supposed to post my edTPA video(s).

For the most up-to-date information on recommended (and maximum allowable) sizes for files that may be uploaded to the edTPA video web site, please see the document entitled "Recommended Video Formats and Settings" on Pearson's edTPA site.  (Since this is a .PDF file, you will need a program like Adobe Reader to access its contents.)  At present, the recommended size for each video is between 200MB and 300MB (but is certainly permitted to be less), and the maximum allowable file size is 500MB.

One easy way to find the size of a video file on your computer, is to click the Open File button on the left of the Shotcut button bar, browse to the location where the video is stored, and hover your mouse over the file.  A tiny pop-up should appear that displays the name of the file, its size, and total playing time (measured either in minutes and seconds, or hours, minutes, and seconds, depending on the length of the video).  (See Figure 10, below.)

Figure 10:  The image below shows the Shotcut Open File window with the tiny pop-up (displaying the size of the selected video) highlighted in red.  
video of some honey bees open in Shotcut, with the tiny pop-up (displaying the name, file size, and total playing time of the selected video) highlighted in red and superimposed over the "Open File" window

 

Another way to find the size of a video file is to:

  1. right-click on the file,
  2. select the Properties option at the bottom of the context menu that now opens, and
  3. view the Size option about half-way down the Properties window on the left.

If that does not work, you could: 

  1. click the Properties button about half-way across the button bar near  the top of the Shotcut window,
  2. then click the button entitled Display a menu of additional actions (i.e., the button with the three horizontal line segments, located about three-quarters of the way down the Properties window, immediately to the right of the Reset button),
  3. select (by clicking) the More Information option in the drop-down menu that now appears, and
  4. scroll up and down through the options in the (larger) More Options window to the right until you locate the value for the size parameter under the [format] heading.

If you discover that the size of your video exceeds the maximum allowable upload limit, you can use the Quality setting (located under the Codec tab in Shotcut's Export window) to compress the file to a more acceptable size.  To compress any video file, follow these steps:

  1. If the video you wish to compress is not already open in Shotcut, click the Open File button (on the left of the Shotcut button bar), browse to the location where the file resides, and double-click on it.  (We will call this the "input" video.)
  2. Click the Export button on the right of the Shotcut button bar at the top of the screen.  (See Figure 11, below.)
  3. Near the top of the Export window that now opens (see Figure 12, below), click the Codec tab.  This is the second of the four tabs (between the Video and Audio tabs) near the top of the Export window.
  4. Either type in (or use the up/down arrows to select) the desired value for the Quality setting .  (See Figure 13, below.)

When deciding on what Quality setting to use, please keep the following points in mind:

  • Increasing the Quality setting will result in improved playback quality and a larger file size.
  • Decreasing the Quality setting will result in degraded playback quality and a smaller file size.
  • Shotcut will always default to a Quality setting of 60% each time the program opens, providing a good initial starting point that exhibits a reasonable compromise between playback quality and file size.
  • As long as the program remains running, Shotcut will remember the Quality setting that was used previously in that particular session.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment.
  1. Click the Export File button at the bottom of the Export window, navigate to the location where you would like to save the (compressed) "output" video you are making, and give the file a meaningful name.  (It is a good idea to incorporate the value of the Quality setting you are using into the file name to help keep track of which file is which, in the event you have to generate multiple files with different Quality settings.)
  2. When the Export process has finished, check the file size of the (output) video you have just created, and also play it to check its quality.  If you are dissatisfied with either the file size or playback quality, repeat steps 1 through 6 again, this time with a different value for the Quality setting.  (Each time you generate a new video file through the Export process, always be sure to use the same (input) video you used during previous compression attempts.  Do not use the output file from one attempt as the input file for another, as this will yield videos of very poor quality.)
Figure 11:  The image below shows the Shotcut program window with the Export button highlighted in red.
video of some honey bees open in Shotcut, with the "Export" button (on the far right of the button bar) highlighted in red

Figure 12:  The image below shows the Shotcut Export window with the Codec tab highlighted in red.  
video of some honey bees open in Shotcut, with the "Codec" tab (near the top of the "Export" window) highlighted in red

Figure 13:  The image below shows the Shotcut Export window with the (default) Quality setting of 60% highlighted in red. 
video of some honey bees open in Shotcut, with the (default) value of 60% for the "Quality" setting (in the "Export" window, under the "Codec" tab) highlighted in red

 

My video is not in one of the allowable file formats that may be uploaded to the edTPA video web site.

For the most up-to-date information on permitted video file types/formats that may be uploaded to the edTPA video web site, please see the document entitled Recommended Video Formats and Settings on Pearson's edTPA site.  (Since this is a .PDF file, you will need a program like Adobe Reader to access its contents.)  At present, the list of allowable file types includes files with names ending in the .ASF, .AVI, .FLV, .M4V, .MOV, .MP4, .MPEG, .MPG, .QT, and .WMV extensions.

To find the format of any video open in Shotcut, simply click the Properties button near the middle of the Shotcut button bar (see Figure 14, below), and examine the extension of the file name that appears at the top of the Properties window (as shown in Figure 15, below).  (While the majority of video file names end in a three-letter extension, a few might have two or four letters after the period.)

For more detailed instructions on how to use the Properties option, please see "Part 1--Using Shotcut to Display Important Technical Information About Your Video(s)" under the Workshop Videos heading on the Home page.

Figure 14:  The image below shows the Shotcut program window with the Properties button highlighted in red.
video of a flower open in Shotcut, with the "Properties" button (located about half-way across the Shotcut button bar) highlighted in red

Figure 15:  The image below shows the Shotcut Properties window with the .MTS extension at the end of the (original) video file name highlighted in red.
video of a flower open in Shotcut, with the ".MTS" extension of the (original) video (on the right of the file name, at the top of the "Properties" window) highlighted in red


If you find that the video you are editing is not in one of the edTPA compatible file formats, you can use Shotcut's Export function to either convert it to the recommended .MP4 format or one of the myriad other Stock file types by following these steps:

  1. Click the Export button on the right of the Shotcut button bar.  (See Figure 16, below.)
  2. Do one of the following:
    • If you would like to Export your video to the recommended (default) .MP4 format (as pictured in Figure 17, below), simply leave all settings in the Export window alone, and click the Export File button at the bottom.  (See Figure 18, below.)
    • If you would like to Export your video to some other format, double-click on the desired option under the Stock heading on the left of the Export window (as pictured in Figure 19, below), and then click the Export File button at the bottom.  (See Figure 20, below.)  (Note that this is a very long scrollable list that extends well beyond the visible portion of the window.)
  3. In the Export File window that now opens, navigate to the location where you would like to save the video you are creating, supply it with the appropriate name, and click the Save button at the bottom to complete the process.
Figure 16:  The image below shows the Shotcut program window with the Export button highlighted in red. 
video of a flower open in Shotcut, with the "Export" button (on the far right of the button bar) highlighted in red

Figure 17:  The image below shows the Shotcut Export window with the Format of the (soon-to-be-created) video file set to the recommended (default) of .MP4, and highlighted in red. 
video of a flower open in Shotcut, with the "Format" of the (soon-to-be-created) video near the top of the "Export" window set to ".MP4," and highlighted in red

Figure 18:  The image below shows the Shotcut Export window with the Export File button highlighted in red, and ready to generate a video in the .MP4 format. 
video of a flower open in Shotcut, with the "Export File" button (at the bottom of the "Export" window) highlighted in red

Figure 19:  The image below shows the Shotcut Export window with the Format of the (soon-to-be-created) video file set to .FLV when the Flash option is selected from the menu of Stock options on the left.  (Both the menu selection and its associated file Format are highlighted in red.)  

video of a flower open in Shotcut, with both the (selected) "Flash" menu entry and corresponding ".FLV" file "Format" for the (soon-to-be-created) video highlighted in red

Figure 20:  The image below shows the Shotcut Export window with the Export File button highlighted in red, and ready to generate a video in the .FLV format.  
video of a flower open in Shotcut, with the "Export File" button (at the bottom of the "Export" window) highlighted in red

 

I have a DVD containing my video, and I don't know how to edit it in Shotcut.

In an effort to make it easier to transport their videos, students sometimes burn their clips to a DVD.  There is nothing wrong with doing this as long as the original file(s) are not modified in the process.  Unfortunately, instead of simply copying the file(s) to the disc (as they should) to make a "data DVD," some individuals unwittingly use a DVD authoring program to create "video DVDs" that can be played in a garden variety DVD player.  In doing so, the original video file is unnecessarily converted to another (non-edTPA compatible) file format and, if it has a long enough playing time, also broken into smaller segments.

Figure 13, below, shows the structure of a (very short) video DVD created by a typical DVD authoring program.  Note that the original video used to make the DVD has a playing time of only 6 minutes and 20 seconds.  If we were to open and explore the disc, we would find a folder named "VIDEO_TS" at the root level.  (We need not be concerned with any other folders that might be present.)  If we opened the VIDEO_TS folder, we would find a number of files with different extensions.  The files we are interested in have names ending in ".VOB."  More specifically, we are only interested in those .VOB files that have numerals in their names.  (For our purposes, we can safely ignore the file named "VIDEO_TS.VOB" as it does not contain any useful information.)  These are the clips we need to join together in Shotcut to make a single (composite) video that can be easily edited.  Since the original video has a relatively short playing time, the DVD authoring software did not break it into multiple clips.  Therefore, there is no need to stitch multiple .VOB files together in this instance.  Instead, all we need to do is open the (single) video file named "VTS_01_1.VOB" in Shotcut, perform any necessary editing operations, and Export the resulting file to an edTPA compatible format.

Figure 21:  The image on the left shows all of the disk drives on my computer, including the video DVD in Drive F that was created in a DVD authoring program.  The center image shows what we would see if we were to open Drive F (i.e., a folder named "VIDEO_TS").  The rightmost image shows the contents of the VIDEO_TS folder, including the (single) file named "VTS_01_1.VOB" which contains all 6 minutes and 20 seconds of the original program material we want to extract from the disc.
the "My Computer" window showing all drives on the machine, with Drive "F" (the "video DVD") highlighted in blue the "VIDEO_TS" folder on the video DVD highlighted in blue the "VIDEO_TS" folder with the one important ".VOB" file highlighted in blue

Figure 14, below, shows the structure of another (much longer) video DVD created with the same authoring program that was used to make the video DVD in Figure 13.  This time, however, the original video file used to make the DVD has a much longer playing time of 58 minutes and 0 seconds.  If we were to open and explore the disc, we would find the same "VIDEO_TS" folder at the root level.  If we opened the VIDEO_TS folder, this time we would find several .VOB files with numerals in their names (in addition to the file named "VIDEO_TS.VOB," which we can again safely ignore).  In this situation, we would need to first use Shotcut to stitch together all four of the remaining .VOB files into a single (composite) video before we can perform any editing operations, and then export the resulting file to an edTPA compatible format.

Figure 22:  The image on the left shows all of the disk drives on my computer, including the video DVD in Drive F that was created in a DVD authoring program.  The center image shows what we would see if we were to open Drive F (i.e., a folder named "VIDEO_TS").  The rightmost image shows the contents of the VIDEO_TS folder, including the (four) files named "VTS_01_1.VOB," "VTS_01_2.VOB," "VTS_01_3.VOB," and "VTS_01_4.VOB" which contain all 58 minutes and 0 seconds of the original program material we want to extract from the disc.
the "My Computer" window showing all drives on the machine, with Drive "F" (the "video DVD") highlighted in blue the "VIDEO_TS" folder on the video DVD highlighted in blue the "VIDEO_TS" folder with the four important ".VOB" files highlighted in blue

 

For detailed instructions on using Shotcut to combine multiple .VOB files, please see the following section entitled: "My camera/phone/tablet created multiple (sequential) videos that I need to combine into one single file before I can perform any editing."

 

 

My camera/phone/tablet created multiple (sequential) videos that I need to combine into one single file before I can perform any editing.

Many modern video recording devices generate multiple video files during the recording process. (For example, a camera/phone/tablet may create three separate videos while recording a 30 minute lesson.  The first might cover 0-10 minutes,  the second 10-20 minutes, and the third 20-30 minutes.  If a student wished to extract a fifteen minute segment from the lesson covering 8-23 minutes (thereby spanning all three clips), he/she would have to find a way to extract the final two minutes from the first clip, all of the second clip, and the first three minutes of the third.  These three segments would then need to be "stitched" together to make the desired fifteen minute video.)  Fortunately, after all component clips are (simultaneously) opened in Shotcut, they can easily be edited individually, and then combined into a single (composite) video file.

Whether you are trying to join together a sequence of video files created by your camera/phone/tablet, or attempting to combine multiple segments from a (non-copy protected) video DVD, the following technique should allow you to accomplish your goals.  Although four.VOB files are used in this example, the same technique should work for any number/type of video file supported by Shotcut.

To combine all (or only portions of) multiple video clips into a single (composite) file, please\ proceed as follows:

  1. Make sure all video clips you want to combine are located in the same place on your computer.  (If the files reside on a camera/phone/tablet (or DVD), copy them to your machine before proceeding.)
  2. Launch Shotcut.
  3. Click the Open File button on the left of the Shotcut button bar.  (See Figure 23, below.)
  4. In the Open File window that now appears, simultaneously select all of the clips you wish to merge together, and then click the Open button at the bottom.  (To select multiple files, click on the first clip with your mouse, and then control-click on each of the remaining clips.  As can be seen in Figure 24 (below), this will result in all files being highlighted, indicating that they all have been properly selected.)
  5. You should now see the Playlist window open on the left, where all of the videos you just selected are displayed in ascending alphanumeric order.  (See Figure 25, below.)  If the clips in the Playlist window are not displayed in the proper (top-to-bottom) chronological order, click and drag on any of the thumbnails to change their position in the list.  (If you are not certain whether they are in the correct sequence, you can play the entire (composite) video to make sure.  To play the combined video, click the Project button at the bottom of the Shotcut window, press the Home key on your keyboard to move the play head to the beginning of the (composite) video, and then press the space bar.)
  6. Before exporting the (composite) video file, perform any necessary editing operations (such as compression, rotation, etc.)  If you want to only combine portions of particular clips, rather than all clips in their entirety, select each clip individually by double-clicking on it in the Playlist window and use the "i" and "o" keys on your keyboard to mark the desired in and out points, respectively.
  7. After you have finished any editing operations, click the Project button at the bottom of the Shotcut window and play the (composite) video in its entirety to see a preview of the finished product.
  8.   When you are ready to generate the final (composite) video, click the Export button on the right of the Shotcut button bar (assuming the Export window is not already open).  (See Figure 26, below).  Then, click the Export File button at the bottom of the Export window, navigate to the place on your computer where you would like to save the video file you are creating, give it an appropriate name, and click the Save button at the bottom of the Export File window to complete the process.
Figure 23:  The image below shows the Shotcut program window with the Open File button highlighted in red.
the Shotcut program window with the "Open File" button (on the far left of the button bar) highlighted in red

Figure 24:  The image below shows the Shotcut Open File window with the videos that are to be merged selected, and the Open button highlighted in red.
the Shotcut "Open File" window with the (four) videos that are to be combined shaded, and the "Open" button (at the bottom) highlighted in red

Figure 25:  The image below shows the Shotcut Playlist window (on the left) and the Project button (near the bottom), both highlighted in red.
a cowboy movie open in Shotcut, where both the "Playlist" window on the left (containing the four component clips that make up the movie) and the "Project" button (down and to the right) are highlighted in red

Figure 26:  The image below shows the Shotcut program window with the Export button highlighted in red.
a cowboy movie open in Shotcut, with the "Export" button (on the far right of the button bar) highlighted in red

 

When I play my video, the audio volume is much lower than that of other clips.

The best way to address low audio playback levels in your video(s) is to prevent them from happening in the first place.  Before you record the actual video, make a short test recording in which (1) the camera and participants are positioned at the locations where the actual recording is to be made and (2) all participants are speaking at the levels they intend to use during the actual recording.  After you've played back the test recording, make any adjustments in camera/participant positioning and speaking levels that are needed to ensure robust audio playback levels.

With that said, one easy way to correct for less-than-optimal audio levels after a video recording has been made is to take advantage of Shotcut's Gain / Volume filter.  This filter will enable you to generate a new version of the video with improved playback volume.  Assuming the problematic video is already open in Shotcut, please proceed as follows:
  1. Click the (funnel shaped) Filters button near the right of the Shotcut button bar (as shown in Figure 27, below).
  2. Click the Add a filter button at the far left of the Shotcut Filters window that now opens.  As can be seen in Figure 28 (below), the button has a plus (+) sign on it.
  3. Select (by clicking) the Gain / Volume option from the list of filters provided.  (See Figure 29, below.)
  4. Replace the value of 0.0 dB in the Gain field with a positive number (no larger than 24) which represents the increase in volume that you would like to apply to the video in order to make the soundtrack louder.  (See Figure 30, below.)

Shotcut uses the "decibel" (dB) to represent the amount of Gain applied to the soundtrack of a video.  Since this is a logarithmic (rather than a linear) scale, you might not have encountered it before.  When deciding what audio Gain value to use, please keep the following in mind:

  • Leaving the Gain set to its (default) value of 0dB will not change the perceived volume of the audio track.
  • Applying a positive Gain value (by either entering a positive number into the Gain field, or dragging the adjacent slider to the right) will increase the perceived volume of the audio track.  For example:
    • A Gain of +1 dB will produce a barely audible increase in volume.
    • A Gain of +3 dB will produce a more noticeable increase in volume.
    • A Gain of +10 db will produce a doubling of the volume.
    • A Gain of +20 dB will produce a quadrupling of the volume.
  • Applying a negative Gain value (by either entering a negative number into the Gain field, or dragging the adjacent slider to the left) will decrease the perceived volume of the audio track.  For example:
    • A Gain of -1 dB will produce a barely audible decrease in volume.
    • A Gain of -3 dB will produce a more noticeable decrease in volume.
    • A Gain of -10 db will produce a halving of the volume.
    • A Gain of -20 dB will produce a quartering of the volume.
  1. Click the Export button on the right of the Shotcut button bar, and Export the (new) video with improved audio as you would normally do with any video you have been editing.
  2. When the Export process has finished, open the video you just created to check the audio playback level.  If the volume is either still too low (or now too loud and distorted), repeat the above procedure using the original video you started with in step 1, and adjust the Gain setting in step 4 accordingly.  Repeat the procedure until you find a Gain setting that yields an acceptable audio playback level.

Figure 27:  The image below shows the Shotcut program window with the Filters button highlighted in red.
cartoon of a bird chasing a worm open in Shotcut, with the "Filters" button (near the right of the button bar) highlighted in red

Figure 28:  The image below shows the Shotcut Filters window with the Add a filter button highlighted in red.
cartoon of a bird chasing a worm open in Shotcut, with the "Add a filter" button (at the far left of the "Filters" window) highlighted in red

Figure 29:  The image below shows the Shotcut Filters menu with the Gain / Volume option highlighted in red.
cartoon of a bird chasing a worm open in Shotcut, with the "Gain / Volume" option (in the "Filters" menu) highlighted in red

Figure 30:  The image below shows the Shotcut Filters window with the (modified) Gain value of (+) 12.0 dB highlighted in red.
cartoon of a bird chasing a worm open in Shotcut, with the (modified) audio "Gain" value of "(+) 12.0 dB" (in the "Filters" window) highlighted in red

 

I am having difficulty finding the download link for the version of Shotcut that will run on my computer.

Finding the correct download link for the most up-to-date version of Shotcut for your particular operating system is not difficult, as long as you follow these steps:

  1. Launch your web browser and go to the following URL: http://www.shotcut.org/.
  2. Near the top of the Shotcut.org home page, click the large Click to Download link immediately above the picture of the two computer monitors and speakers.  (See Figure 31, below.)
  3. You are now taken to the Download page where you'll need to scroll down to the heading beginning with the words "Current Version," followed by the two-digit year, then a period, and finally the two-digit month in which the program was released.  (In the screenshot shown in Figure 32 (below), for example, we see that the version of Shotcut we'll be downloading was released in 2016 during the eleventh month (i.e., November).  Since the developers of Shotcut appear to release new versions on a monthly basis, the year and month designations will obviously change.
  4. Depending on the operating system you are using, do one of the following: 
    • If you are using the 64-bit version of Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10, click the link entitled "64-bit Windows installer," to begin downloading the program.  (This link is followed immediately by the phrase "(64-bit Windows 7+).")  If the 64-bit version of Shotcut will not install on your (Windows) machine or will not run properly, try the similarly-named 32-bit version of the program.
    • If you are using the 64-bit version of Mac OSX 10.8 or higher, click the link entitled "macOS" to begin downloading the program.  (This link is followed immediately by the phrase "(64-bit OS X 10.8+)").

      Mac OSX users should pay close attention to the following message direct from the Shotcut Download page:  "OS X users: since the application is not signed, you need to control-click the app icon and choose Open from the context menu the first time you run it."
  1. While waiting for the program to download, be sure to read any information posted under the Release Notes heading further down the page.
  2. When the download process has finished, go to the location where you saved the file and run it to install the program on your machine.
  3. After the Shotcut installation routine has finished, the program is ready to be used.
Important:  Do not click on either the large Start Download link or the green Download button (as pictured in Figures 33 and 34, below) as these will not begin the download of Shotcut, as one might expect.  Note that while the wording of the large phrase or button might change over time, it should still be obvious that these tactics are intended to misdirect you to other sites that won't have what you want.

Figure 31:  The image below shows the Shotcut.org home page with the Click to Download link highlighted in red.
the "Shotcut.org" home page on which two computer monitors and speakers are prominently displayed, and the "Click to Download" link (near the top) is highlighted in red

Figure 32:  The image below shows the Shotcut.org Download page with the (proper) links for downloading the PC and Mac versions of the program highlighted in red.
the "Shotcut.org" "Download" page with the links entitled "64-bit Windows installer (64-bit Windows 7+)" and "macOS (64-bit OSX 10.8+)" highlighted in red

Figure 33:  The image below shows the Shotcut.org Download page with the (somewhat misleading) Start Download link that you should not use.
the "Shotcut.org" "Download" page with the large "Start Download" link covered by an even larger red universal symbol for the word "No" 
 
Figure 34:  The image below shows the Shotcut.org Download page with another (somewhat misleading) Download button that you should also avoid.
the "Shotcut.org" "Download" page with a very prominent green "Download" button covered by an even larger red universal symbol for the word "No"

 

 

*All graphical bullets used on this site were purchased from: http://www.grsites.com/.
**All textual buttons used on this site were created free-of-charge at: http://www.grsites.com/.
***All graphical buttons used on this site were downloaded free-of-charge from: http://www.ender-design.com/rg/.

****All video clips used in the examples on this site were downloaded free-of-charge from: http://www.archive.org/.