Share this project


Share this project

Novacut Pro Video Editor's video poster

Heartbroken? Fill the void with a pro editor built for HDSLR storytellers. Read more

Boulder, CO Software
Share this project
pledged of $25,000 goal
seconds to go


This project was successfully funded on July 29, 2011.

Heartbroken? Fill the void with a pro editor built for HDSLR storytellers.

Boulder, CO Software
Share this project

About this project

We believe a truly great creative tool cannot be designed in secret; it must be designed in open dialog with creators.

World's First Collaborative Video Editor

The past year we’ve built the foundations for a video editor that will allow you to do real-time collaborative editing with other artists, even if they're across the world.  Artists are asking for this, and we're listening.

A Modern Professional Editor

In addition to being collaborative, we're building a thoroughly modern editor:

  • Designed from the ground up for HDSLR cameras
  • Can use local computers and cloud for storage and rendering
  • Support for 64-bit, 32-bit, and ARM

Designed with Storytellers for Storytellers

We have a laser focus on helping those artists who right now are leveraging HDSLR cameras to tell wonderful stories, with amazing production quality, and are doing so on shoe string budgets.

So the past year we've been talking with these artists, learning as much as we can.  This has been distilled in the Novacut editor UX design.

Our strong leadership and willingness to make opinionated decisions about what we're not going to do is extremely important, otherwise we'd end up with this:

A $300 Ticket to the Future

We're nearly done with hardest part of our collaborative editor (dealing with files).  And that means we're close to having a tool that can do honest-to-god real-time collaborative video editing.  By our count, this will be a world-first.

We'd like you to be one of the first 100 people in the world to experience collaborative editing.  So if you've got $299.99 burning a hole in your pocket for some reason, you can help us deliver the future, plus make sure you're first in line to try it.

If we meet our funding goal, we're confident we can deliver ground breaking collaborative editing, although likely with just a few of our planned editing features implemented.  But we're in this for the long haul, and should this project blow up in the press, that means we can charge full steam ahead for that much longer before needing to stop and scramble for money again.

It's about Trust

Storytellers must take big risks to follow their dreams, so the last thing they need is uncertainty from their creative tools.  We think it's only fair that we continually earn your trust.  Here are some promises we take very seriously:

  • Your edits are priceless and we will maintain backward compatibility forever
  • Our roadmaps will be published, our process transparent
  • We'll ask you what you need, and we'll listen when you tell us
  • Our editor will always be free and open source software

Questions or comments?  Chat us up on Twitter, Facebook, or IRC, and please join our Vimeo group.  We're listening.

Oh, and you have no idea how obsessed we are with multicam... this feature will land very early in Novacut.

Please see this wiki page for our UX designs, code, and information on getting involved with the Novacut design and development efforts.



Don't just take our word for it!

Christie Strong, editor and filmmaker:

Novacut is not just a video editor, it's a revolution. An open source, collaborative, cloud-enabled platform that is created by artists for artists. The ambitiousness of the project, the passion of it's team and their commitment to the filmmaking community inspires me. They are thinking about the entire pre- to post-production pipeline and designing tools that empower storytellers and support the creative process from the ground up. If this is the future of filmmaking, sign me up!

Hanna Sköld, writer and filmmaker:

As a filmmaker and artist I'm always searching for ways to meet and collaborate with as many people as possible, because I believe that sharing stories and creating together will make the world a better place.  Novacut is something brand new, and will open up the possibilities to work collaboratively with people from all over the world, using an easy workflow.  I'm looking very much forward to this!  Please support them, and let's meet later on at Novacut!

Ian 'IZO' Cylkowski, designer of Novacut brand identity:

As a brand identity designer who uses open-source software to aid in my design developments, I offered my design skills to any open-source project that required a full and comprehensive identity design. A commenter on my blog kindly alerted me to the Novacut project, a young team looking to develop a design-focused FOSS, distributed-model pro video editor and direct-to-fan venue. I was immediately intrigued that the Novacut project are very keen on developing very design-focused software as, in my experience, good design doesn't often feature in open-source projects. Not only that, but soon after my initial talks with the Novacut team, it became very clear that they were all extremely ambitious and were very much looking at nothing less than permanently changing the way people produce, distribute, fund and consume movies and TV. Knowing that these guys were fully committed to their vision, it was a no-brainer to contribute my design skills to the project pro bono. I wish them the best of luck.


  • Novacut should work fairly well with any video format that GStreamer supports, which includes AVCHD. However, we're only "officially" supporting Canon HDSLR cameras at the moment. Doesn't mean you can't try other cameras, but experience might not be great yet. Over time, more and more cameras will be officially supported.

    Last updated:
  • Ubuntu is our primary platform. We feel our primary platform must offer low risk. Ubuntu has an open development process that we can participate in, and is backed by commercial company (Canonical). Ubuntu has also raised the bar on design in open-source, and honestly inspired us to put on our big-boy design pants.

    Ubuntu was also an obvious choice because we need to run dmedia and the render server on cloud infrastructure, ideally on the same environment that they run on your own computer. And one thing you sure can't do with OSX is spin it up on an EC2 VM.

    However, we will port Novacut to other platforms based on demand. Based on feedback thus far, OSX seems the likely first port.

    Even before we port Novacut to OSX, we'd like to port dmedia to OSX and (if feasible) create a FCP plugin so FCP can use dmedia.

    Last updated:
  • OpenCL is strong possibility, although it would probably be at least a year before we put resources into that.

    The way for Novacut to get GPU/APU support is to get support in GStreamer. We plan to do all our multimedia backend work upstream in GStreamer... a strong foundation that's already getting serious industry investment.

    We wont use CUDA as we're not keen on locking artists into a single hardware vendor.

    Last updated:
  • Novacut will always be completely open-source, and we have no interest in any "open-core" business model. The Novacut "cloud" is the exact same Novacut backend components that run locally on your own computer, except running on our hosted infrastructure. A very important use case for us is running your own local, private cloud... and to enable this use case well, everything must be open source.

    For those interested, here are some geeky details on Novacut software architecture:

    Last updated:
  • Novacut works with local files. Once your teammates have the needed media files locally, only changes in the metadata describing the edit must be synced between you, and this is tiny data, takes very little bandwidth.

    Getting the files in the first place can be bandwidth intensive, but there are options. First, Novacut can work with lower resolution proxy version of the videos, which are considerably smaller than HDSLR video straight from the camera. Second, sometimes shipping a hard drive to someone is the most practical, and dmedia has been designed with this use case in mind. And third, dmedia will soon be able to do a distributed upload (multiple people uploading files at same time) as a way to work around relatively slow upload speeds.

    Last updated:
  • Although we're using web technologies, Novacut is a native app, and the "server" components all run locally on your own computer.

    However, because we're primarily using HTML5 for the user interface, we'll be able to make your edit available online through a browser. We don't anticipate this will be a practical way to do serious editing, but in a pinch it's better than nothing.

    Imagine being able to give a client a peak at what you're working on using your phone. Or imagine a director or DP using a tablet on-set to review rough on-set edits (where tablet is talking to on-set workstation or server). Lots of cool possibilities.

    Last updated:
  • Yes, Novacut will support XML early on. We are highly committed to integrating with industry standard workflow.

    As you might expect, at first some features wont be expressible in Novacut, but our JSON based edit description is designed to losslessly round-trip information not understood by Novacut itself.

    Last updated:
  • It has come to our attention that Novacut could become the cutting solution used by Hollywood, so in addition to XML support, DPX and EXR support are now also high priorities.

    Although Hollywood is not our target user, we think fitting Novacut (even just parts of it) into a larger ecosystem will be a great strength.

    Last updated:
  • Initially we're only "officially" supporting Canon HDSLR, meaning we have full metadata support and have extensively tested with these cameras. Canon HDSLR were chosen as our initial target because that's what the majority of current low-budget, high-quality, direct-to-fan productions are using (a wide majority, easily 75%). We're careful about tuning Novacut to reality, about helping as many storytellers as possible.

    However, Novacut will support any video format supported by GStreamer, which is a lot. So from day one you'll likely have a great experience with other video formats from others cameras too (YMMV). But initially only Canon HDSLR cameras will be under our official quality assurance umbrella. With time, the list will expand, likely fairly quickly.

    Last updated:
  • All our development is done in the open. There is a handy directory of our software components here:

    Where it makes sense, Novacut is being split into components that can be reused by other applications. Most all the coding thus far been in dmedia (the Distributed Media Library), which is the hardest part of our collaborative architecture (the rest we basically get for free because of how we're leveraging CouchDB).

    Last updated:
  • In Brief
    The majority of the project is licensed AGPLv3 (, while the filestore and microfiber components are licensed LGPLv3 (
    For further detail, refer to the the directory of software components:

    Last updated:
  • Yes, Novacut runs locally and works without net access. Novacut is "cloud-enabled", not "cloud-based". The cloud component is a practical and cost-effective way to make collaborative editing more useful, but it's not a requirement.

    As all the Novacut components will be open-source, you can run your own cloud on, say, a local cluster or Amazon or Rackspace.

    Last updated:


  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    43 backers

    Your name goes in the glamorous backer list on our website.

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    289 backers

    Your name goes in the glamorous backer list on our website, and in the editor itself.

  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    199 backers

    Your name goes in the glamorous backers list on our website, and in the editor itself, optionally linking to your website, Twitter, etc.

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    19 backers Limited (31 left of 50)

    Half hour Skype/phone conversation with Novacut team. Want to talk about specific problems you want fixed in your storytelling workflow? Or talk about something else... either way, you've got us for half an hour.

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    14 backers Limited (86 left of 100)

    One hour Skype/phone conversation with Novacut team. Want to talk about specific problems you want fixed in your storytelling workflow? Or talk about something else... either way, you've got us for an hour.

  • You selected
    Pledge $300 or more

    14 backers Limited (86 left of 100)

    A ticket to see the future of editing. This gets you access to our collaborative cloud during our private beta period. You'll experience the future first, and your friends will be totally jealous.

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    3 backers Limited (2 left of 5)

    All of the above, plus a chance to meet the Novacut team for a day, have a BBQ and chat about filmmaking. Backer's travel to meet the team at own expense.

Funding period

- (29 days)