MLT library
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MLT Demo Notes

Before running the demo script, make sure you '. setenv' from the parent
directory. Also, please create clips clip1.dv, clip2.dv, clip3.dv, clip1.mpeg,
clip2.mpeg, clip3.mpeg, and music1.ogg. Please make sure clips are at least 500
frames duration.

These notes explain the the concepts presented in each demonstration and
what details to look for.

First, a note on consumers. When you start the script, the main menu asks
you to choose a consumer. A consumer is like a viewer, but it could also
write to a stream/file. The "SDL" consumer is the popular Simple DirectMedia
Layer audio and video output. The "Westley" consumer generates an XML
representation of the service network. That can be played directly due to the
westley producer plugin. See docs/westley.txt for more information. The
"MainConcept DV" consumer refers to the proprietary MLT plugin required to
use MLT with MainConcept DV, DVCPro, and MPEG codecs. "/dev/dv1394/0" refers
to a device file for transmitting DV over FireWire using the Linux dv1394 kernel
module. The "BlueFish444" consumer is another proprietary plugin to use
the BlueFish444 manufactured SDI video/audio output cards with MLT.

And now the demos...

All clips

Simply builds a playlist containing each video clip, and you can transport
between them using j and k keys.

Filter in/out

A video filter can be applied to a portion of a producer (clip, playlist,
or multitrack). This examples shows the greyscale filter.


A graphic can overlay video in realtime with support for alpha channel.
This example uses a PNG file with an alpha channel. Distortion is explicitly
enabled here so the otherwise circular graphic is scaled to fill the
compositing region. By default, compositing honours the aspect ratio of the

My name is...

Titles are very easy to composite in realtime. The titler uses Pango
with the FreeType2 rendering backend. This means it supports high
quality scalable font rendering with anti-aliasing, unicode (UTF-8),
and Pango markup capabilities. The compsiting here respects the aspect
ratio of the rendered title in the first two title pieces but distorts
the final one. This demo also shows the motion and scaling capabilities
of the compositor in conjunction with honouring aspect. The compositor
is doing field-based rendering. So, when displayed non-progressively
with SDL, you can see motion artifacts during animation.

A composite transition

The compositor also handles video over video as demonstrated in this
usage of the compositor to create a special transition. This demonstration
also crossfades the audio during the transition! Progressive rendering
is explicitly enabled on the compositor due to the poor results that
would otherwise occur due to scaling an interleaved video frame and moving
the video in a reverse direction horizontally.

Fade in and out

A simple series of transitions betwen 3 clips using dissolves and audio
crossfades. This is easy :-).

Clock in and out

Wipe transitions are very easy and highly extensible as they are generated
using a very convenient lookup table based upon the luma of an image.
This image can be a 16 bit PGM (grayscale bitmap) or the luma channel of
any video producer. A number of high quality wipes can be downloaded from It also performs field rendering.
The second wipe demonstrates the ability to control the direction of the
wipe as well.


A popular requirement in news production is to obscure a face, obscenity,
or trademarked logo. This demonstrates using a simple rectangular
obscure filter applied to a region of the image. The second example is more
advanced and shows using the "region" filter to select the image area and a
property of the region filter to "shape" the region using the alpha channel
of another image (circle.png) and another property to "filter" the region
using the obscure filter.

Audio Stuff

A music bed sound track can be mixed with a video. The sound track of the
video clip has a "floating" amplitude normalisation filter applied.
Typically, audio normalisation applies a constant gain factor across the
entire duration of an audio segment from a single source where the
gain factor is automatically determined by anaylsing the maximum "power"
or peak levels. However, in news production, a popular requirement is to
to dynamically boost the amplitude in soft areas and reduce the amplitude
in louder areas. Thus, the gain analysis is performed using a "sliding
window" approach. This example also applies a constant gain factor of
0.5 (50%) to the normalised audio of the video clip (to get a nicer
mix level).

Audio and Video Levels

Audio can be normalised by setting a target amplitude level in decibels.
A gamma curve can be applied to the luma channel of video.

Shadowed Title and Watermark

Two instances of the titler are used to create a shadow effect.
The aspect ratio of the watermark in this example is not distorted. Since
the original image is a circle with square pixels--a computer-generated
image--and ITU BT.601 video is not composed of square samples. Therefore,
the compositor normalises the pixel aspect ratio of the overlay to the
destination image, and the circular image remains circular on the analog
video output. Finally, a greyscale filter is applied to the watermark
while its opacity is set at 30%.

Station Promo into Story?

Here is fun demo that might show using a still graphic with some music
to introduce a show. A luma wipe with an audio crossfade transitions from
the show title or station promotional material.

Voiceover 2 clips with title

A common news production requirement to have a "voiceover" audio track
to a clip or even multiple clips as demonstrated here. Likewise, it is
common to place a title caption on the video at the same time! This
demo has a little fun with the titler at the sake of practicality :-)
The foreground of the title is transparent while the opacity of the
background is reduced to blend with the video. Meanwhile, the compositor
stretches the image to fill the bottom slice of the video--not suitable
for overscan displays ;-)

Also, pay close attention to the mixing levels of the audio tracks.
The audio of the video fades out as the voiceover track (just music
in this demo) fades in. Then, the voiceover remains mixed with the
ambient audio at a 60% level. Finally, the voiceover fades out smoothly
from the 60% level to nothing.

GJ-TTAvantika title

This demo requires a special TrueType font called Avantika. If you have the
font, register it with fontconfig using the fc-cache utility. This
demonstrates i18n capabilities of the titler and the alignment capabilities
of both the titler and the compositor. The titler centre aligns
the two lines of text, and the compositor centre aligns the title
horizontally on the frame.

Title over graphic

You can superimpose a title over a graphic over video! Also,
you can apply a luma wipe to the compositor!


This demo requires any number of JPEG images with the extension ".jpg"
in a subdirectory named "Scotland."

Bouncy, Bouncy

The "watermark" filter encapsulates the compositor, and you have full
control over the compositor properties. Who says a watermark can not
also be a video?!

Bouncy, Bouncy Ball

A variation on the above Bouncy, Bouncy demo that applies a shape, or
alpha producer, to the the compositing region.

Breaking News

This demonstrates layout capabilities of the compositor.

Squeeze Transitions

This demonstrates a distorting barndoor-like wipe.

J Cut

A J cut is an edit where the audio cuts before the video.
It gets its name from the way it looks on a NLE timeline user interface.
When the audio cuts over, it does an audio crossfade over the duration of
one frame. This makes the audio cut slightly less abrupt and avoids any
"click" due to mismatched sample levels at the edit point. The video edit
is a hard cut.

L Cut

An L cut is an edit where the video cuts before the audio.
It gets its name from the way it looks on a NLE timeline user interface.
This demo shows a very quick dissolve over 5 frames for a soft video cut.
Like the J Cut demo, an audio crossfade for the duration of one frame makes
an audio edit nearly instantaneous while being slightly softened and
avoiding aberrations.

Fade from/to black/silence

Of course, it is possible using MLT to fade from black on video and silence
on audio as well fade to black and silence.

Push wipe

A push wipe is a somewhat fancier transition than most standard wipes
because it involves motion. The new video clip "pushes" the old video
clip off one edge. If you can preview on an analog monitor you will notice
how smooth the motion is due to field-based rendering.

Ticker tape

A very minimal reverse crawling title neard the bottom of the screen.
The goal of the demo is show fluid motion of the field-based rendering of
the compositor when viewed on an analog monitor using a DV or BlueFish444
consumer. The demo also shows the potientional for using and extending the
existing set of services for a full blown news ticker implementation.