Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Open Source Realtime Video Editing And Effects Software: Jahshaka

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If you are familiar with names like Adobe, Alias, Apple, Avid, Discreet, Eyeon, Media100, Newtek, Pinnacle, Sony, Quantel you will be surprised to find out that there is an open source, video editing and post-production software that is freely available and that just awaits you to be downloaded, installed and put to good use.


Called Jahshaka, this grassroots real-time video production powerhouse integrates multiple fully featured modules including a frame-by-frame paint over video facility, a production titling component, full video and audio editing, animation, and a special effects lab.

With this technology you don't need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to produce video that is as good as its editor. No need to buy a set of brand name applications that can do the same while emptying your wallet. Jahshaka is capable of playing all major media formats from Flash and .avi to Quicktime, Windows Media and Real. It plays uncompressed video sequences and makes it possible to view and even edit video in any format or resolution.

Jahshaka leverages the power of OpenGL and OpenML to provide a unique video production suite that can run on Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, Irix and (soon) on Solaris.

The goal of the Jahshaka project is to produce an industrial strength editing, effects, and compositing system that works on uncompressed video and audio, at any resolution, in any existing colorspace.

If you are a professional video editor you can download Jahshaka right now and see whether this is vaporware or whether you would actualy advise small and independent video makers to adopt this tool in place of its much more expensive predecessors.

I would actually be interested myself in hearing your opinion on this and to share back with Jahshaka what you think may be the major areas of improvement that the product development team has to work on.

Here is my edited summary list of Jahshaka version 3 planned features, many of which have already made their debut inside the existing public version (1.9x).

Key features:
- unlimited Undos and redos
- 3 interface modes for home, hobby, full production
- hardware controller support and automation for audio and video mixers
- film tools like deinterlacing, color temperature adjustment, resizing, filter work
- full plugin based architecture
- output projects to DVD, Flash and CDRW decks

The Desktop
The desktop is the main module, it unites all the modules and features together. On the desktop you can load, save, import, export grab video or view still and clips that have been loaded into the system. The desktop also has an integrated player which can scrub files on disk or load clips into RAM for realtime playback of uncompressed footage.

- Clip and Image management - Integrated library/asset management
- Display queues for clips, keys, projects, desktops, audio, etc
- File and Clip I/O - Support for AVI, Mpeg, Quicktime, Flash
- Video I/O - Support for Sdi, HD, Firewire
- Timecode accurate - Deck control over Firewire, USB, or serial ports
- Mix and match compressed and uncompressed footage
- Autoconform from timecode using EDL management
- Image I/O - Support for .sgi, .tga32, .tiff, .rla, .iff, .png
- Multiple pattern recognition for image sequences

- project and file import support for Lightwave, Maya, 3D Studio Max, etc
- project and file import support for Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, etc
- project and file import support for flame, smoke, ds, avid, quantel, etc
- project and file import support for ProTools, Digital Performer, Qbase, etc

The Animation Module
The animation module is a true 3D compositing and effects system. With support for realtime playback (on supported OpenGL hardware). Fully keyframeable animation and keyable objects. Resolution independent image support allows the loading of any image into the 3D world.

- True 3d world with X/Y/Z control
- Resolution independent image support
- Apply effects and plugins to individual layers
- 3d text with font loading
- support for clips with keys
- background and foreground images
- camera and light support
- 2d and 3d particle system with collisions, physics engine, etc
- Filtering functions available within the composite section
- Support for Adobe plugins
- layer based motion blurs and optical effects
- depth of field, and fog effects
- 3D object import of leading formats used by 3D applications
- time manipulation plugins for fast-frame/slow frame effects

The Editing Module
The editing module is a timeline based, multi-layer editing environment. With support for realtime video and effect playback (on supported OpenML hardware) the editing module will support mixing clips of different resolutions, formats and colorspaces. Also integrated unlimited audio, video and overlay layers.

- Unlimited video layers
- Resolution independet clip support
- full text and model integration
- support for clips and keys
- unlimited 3D Overlay layers
- Integrated DVE and color correction
- Integrated realtime effects and transitions
- multiple video preview options ie 1up, 2up, 4:3, 16:9, etc
- full EDL import and export for leading formats from GVP, Sony, etc

- multi-track audio editing
- support for Vst, etc plugins
- midi support and control
- built-in sampler
- wave editor
- multiple audio monitoring and vizualization tools
- mix-down module
- external hardware support for MIDI and machine control (ADAT, etc)
- surround sound module with 5.1 and 7.1 support
- pan and volume envelope handles

The Effects Module
The effects module is a true image processing environment, expandable by plugins based on the OpenApi to create anything from blurs, glows, optical effects, lens effects and edge filters to whatever your creative abilites can think of.

- Desktop image integration
- Blurs, grow, shrink, colour correction, Noise, sharpen, emboss etc...
- Warps and Morphs in 2d and 3d space
- Image processing - image conversion
- animateable effects - integrated 2d compositor
- plugin extendable
- projects can be saved and added to editing or effects scenes

The Paint Module
The paint module is a OpenGL based 3d paint environment. Its support for anti-aliased brushes allow you to paint on video clips, paint with 3d models and more. It integrates the following key features:

- Anti-aliased brushes
- Clip selected brushes, with x/y/z support
- 3D object brushes - full 3d paint with texture, and bump map modes
- Photoshop file import/export
- Realtime effects like on a Quantel Paintbox
- Video paint with onionskin and light table options
- Vector paint support
- Support for Wacom tablets and digitizers (pressure sensitivity supported)
- Multiple layer support with alpha channel and effects

The Text Module
The text module is a complete OpenGL based character generator with support for multiple fonts, and upcoming support for rolls, crawls and all of the typical computer graphics and titling needs. These include:
- Unlimited text and titling layers
- Full text control including kerning, justification, rolls, wraps, etc
- X/Y/Z translation - Scaling/Skewing
- 2D, 3D font creation
- Truetype and PostScript font support
- Full image, texture and color control
- Powerful Word based editor with full Word import/export
- Full keyframe animation of text-based items
- Keyer text input allowing the filling of text with an image

The Library Module
The Library module allows you to organize all your media. Full local and peer-to-peer networking will allow you to share files and projects with users next to you, next door or around the world.
- Scrubable, moveable project, video and audio thumbnails
- Local and remote file searches
- Full integrated AI based asset management system
- Media archiving to media, digitally or through the internet

- Full user based networkable visual file sharing
- Secure Network connections using p2p, direct, server based or group models
- built-in firewall and web server
- File sharing over LAN, WAN or the internet

- Built-in instant messaging for remote collaboration and file sharing


The JahPlayer is the final complement to a production suite that also envisages production of individual free tools for video editing, photo editing, music editing and more. While there is still a lot of work to do before the present JahPlayer release can become a real competitor to Windows Media Player, Quicktime or Real, the team at Jahshaka does have the first player to sport a built-in 3D engine!

The JahPlayer is also the only one to support a video out channel as well as being the first out supporting full playback of HD/PAL/NTSC formats. The JahPlayer can play back uncompressed video sequences and integrates display of standard SMPTE timecode.

Interestingly enough, since last September (04) the development team at Jahshaka has also been working on a Jahplayer that would work on Nokia mobile phones. Here is a sneak preview at the JahPlayer running on a Nokia Ngage and here is the link to its direct download.

Jahshaka is built using the Qt cross platform toolkit from Trolltech, the industries leading cross platform development environment

Jahshaka is licensed to the public under the GNU GPL agreement.

Free download here.

What do you think?

[ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
2012-02-28 10:17:55

Bad Wolf

Seriously John G.? Because one link doesn't work you conclude that an entire application has been scrapped? You have earned an F for effort. It's too bad there's not some thing available that could facilitate searches. A search powerplant maybe....or motor? Hmm...engine? yeah! "Search Engine" sounds better..too bad that doesn't exist and you couldn't just type in a, say "Jahshaka" and find alternate links where you could download it. Man, when stuff like that exists some day, the future is gonna be AWESOME.

2010-06-28 12:21:21


Jahshaka is not dead. It is still alive and it downloads fine on my desktop.

2010-04-05 10:39:29

John G.

Not really sure what the point of keeping this page alive is. The software has long since gone the way of the dinosaurs. It doesn't exist.

When you click the link you get diverted to where you find that the editing software has been renamed to "Cinefx", except when you download it it won't even load (on Mac OSX).

Obviously this project is dead, dead dead. Which is a shame because a viable open-source alternative to $1,000+ programs like After Effects could only be a good thing.

This just isn't. To those who read this comment, keep GooglingBinging cause this isn't the solution.

2008-09-18 12:33:54

Open Source Video Development

Open Source Video Editing has a long way to go replacing Closed software. The period will be long but if we all pitch in we can come out as a winner

2008-02-11 16:19:37

Hedda Lettuce

All this hooplah for a dead link - must have been LOTS of bugs (did'nt that guy below - who sounded like he knew what he was talking about - say he "wouldn't even consider it "alpha" software? - OUCH!).

2008-01-13 21:49:02


I am a newbie when it comes to video creation and this is great that it's open source and freeware but I have to agree with David Luu that it's not newbie friendly. But it has great potential. I'm interested to see how this will develop

2007-04-26 05:44:17


Ow I see it's pretty easy to google a working link, sorry :) Still it may be nice to fix the ones in the text :) Good luck with the project!

2007-04-26 05:39:58


I guess you are aware that the Jahshaka download link seems to be broken? At least for me it doesn't seem to work. The program looks nice though and I hope to be able to try it out soon :)

2007-04-21 16:19:05


Does this program have any particle effects in it like explosions?

2007-04-16 06:34:50


how and where can i downloads the jahshaka software

2007-03-02 06:49:36



I've been looking for several free tools to kick-start an independent feature. While there are some great opensource software available for 2d/3d graphics (Gimp, Blender etc), the only thing lacking was an appropriate editing and effects software-package. This looks like its going to be it. I'll definately try it out.

2007-01-08 12:02:41



fantastic tool..

i have also mentioned it on my blog..

thanks you for this nice app.

thanks :)

2006-11-01 05:33:45

Marcus Aralius

Jahshaka V2.0 is slated as a release candidate, which doesn't seem make it to V2.0 stable. For the last few years we have seen RC1, RC2, RC3 and now RC4. This is the strangest version numbering system I have come across in over 20 years working as software developer. Just take a look at the Jahshaka source code and you will see lot of classes, widgets, modules, etc which have been ripped off from the KDE project and back ported to Qt. Karsten Becker and friends ought to be ashamed of themselves for stealing other peoples work. I know KDELibs are LGPL but Apollo, a P2P client is not. And what about the bugs. Well Jahshaka is full of them, so full that I wouldn't even consider it alpha quality

2006-01-15 00:04:57

David Luu

I'm happy that Jahshaka is open source that's the good part.

The bad part is that, in my opinion, it's not very newbie user friendly. I've only tried it a bit but it seems trickier to learn how the tool works compared to Adobe Premiere or Apple Motion (the only video editing tools I've tried)

This is in regard to not looking at any documentation at all of course. Guess I'll have to look for Jahshaka docs in the meantime.

Great work still.

2005-12-07 09:40:23

Robin Good

I really can't say for sure. certainly this has not been as stable and easy as Premiere or Final Cut, but it is also software that is completely free. So, I think tat if you enjoy open-source software and the ideas behind it, you may want to give it a good try. If you are instead in for a rock solid software to do video post-production, then give Jashaka a bit more time to smooth out some of its rough edges.

2005-12-07 08:52:07


I heard that Jahshaka is very unstable software. What is your experience? I am looking for opensource video editing software, can you recommand me any if Jahshaka is not good enough. Thanks

2005-10-01 07:33:10


Nice blog.I like this.

posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, February 22 2005, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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