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OpenShot 2.5.0 unveils hardware acceleration support, plus more performance improvements

10 February 2020, Nick Peers

Open-source video editor OpenShot 2.5.0 has been released, dubbed “our largest release yet” by project creator Jonathan Thomas. Headline new features, which should significantly improve the application’s performance when fully implemented, include experimental support for hardware acceleration alongside a major overhaul of the keyframe system.

Future development should also be simpler now all features and support have been aligned across all platforms: Windows, Linux and macOS.

Experimental support for hardware acceleration – both decoding and encoding – should be a game changer for those with compatible hardware. Where supported, GPUs will now be able to take part of the heavy lifting away from the main CPU, with the potential for performance improvements of 30-40% when working with MP4/H.264 files.

You can check to see if your graphics card supports hardware acceleration via Preferences (our GT 1030 doesn’t, hot dang it).

To take advantage, users need to enable the feature via Edit > Preferences > Performance tab, then choose the appropriate profile when setting up a project.

OpenShot 2.5.0 also comes with the promise of major performance improvements to its keyframe system – by an order of magnitude – through a complete rewrite of the system. Now it promises the ability to generate almost 100,000 interpolated values in the time previously taken to generate just one.

Users gain the ability to import and export data to a much wider array of third-party editors thanks to support for EDL and XML formats. Support for both is limited to key timeline data, but extend OpenShot’s ability to work with files generated in editors like Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro.

Thumbnail generation has also been improved by switching to a local HTTP server. Broken thumbnails should no longer be such an issue thanks to the use of unique asset folders for projects, along with added abilities to check multiple folder locations and regenerate missing thumbnails.

Those making use of Blender to generate stunning title sequences in OpenShot will be pleased support has been extended to Blender 2.8 and later, while compatibility with SVG elements has also been improved (particularly on the Mac and older Linux distros). Many SVG issues involving fonts and transparency have also been resolved along with updated title thumbnails.

The auto-backup feature has also been improved with the added capability for users to recover previous versions of a file from a recovery folder. There are also improvements to the preview window (to prevent flickering lines and bars) and the video export process (the project’s own keyframe data is no longer changed).

For a complete list of changes, see the release announcement. Author Jonathan Thomas also reveals tentative plans for the next major release in a comment attached to the story, looking to overhaul the user interface and focus on further keyframe and animation improvements.

OpenShot 2.5.0 is available now as a free, open-source download for Windows (7 or later), Linux (via AppImage) and macOS 10.9 or later.

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