Ardour3 + VideoTimeline -- Live System

Work in progress.. feel free to edit this wiki-page if you can improve it.


a3vtl.img is a live-system to evaluate the Ardour3 video-timeline. Live-system - you run it from a USB flash drive. It won't touch your hard-disk and does not require installation. It comes with a whole bunch of audio-software and can be used as studio to go, but you're better off to rely on a dedicated distribution for the latter (e.g. AVLinux, kxStudio, Ubuntu-Studio,…).


  • x86 compatible PC
  • ≥ 1GB RAM
  • USB-flash-drive ≥ 2GB


You need to write the disk-image to a raw-device (USB-stick, CF-CARD,..) that your computer can boot from.

Doing that destroys all data that is on the USB-drive!

  1. Download the disk-image mirrored at (preferably download from the mirror - it offers better bandwidth and more simultaneous downloads).
  2. and write it to a USB-drive – _not_ save it as file _on_ the USB-stick, but write it as disk-image
  3. boot from the USB-device

Regarding (2.):

on GNU/Linux this can be accomplished by various ways. The easiest is probably to use usb-creator (usb-creator-gtk on Ubuntu or Arch-Linux).

The canonical way is to use dd on the commandline e.g. if your USB-device is /dev/sdb

dd if=/path/to/downloads/a3vtl_VERSION.img of=/dev/sdb

This also works on OSX, disk-devices are called /dev/disk1, /dev/disk2, etc instead of /dev/sdb, /dev/sdc,.. although you may prefer to use the Disk Utility GUI.

On windows: is the probably the easiest way to write a disk-image onto a USB-key.


The disk-image is a read-only live-system. Every time you boot you will have a pristine system. None of your modifications are saved.

In order to retain customizations, you can create a partition with the label 'live-rw' which will automatically be overlaid. The 'live-rw' partition can be on any medium, although it is convenient to keep it on the same disk as the OS. Say, if your USB-drive is 8 GB, you can use the remaining space of 6.5 GB (the live-system is ~1.5 GB) for storage and customizations.

Note: the live-rw partition only saves modifications done to the pristine system. It uses a rather smart technique called AUFS to do so. It is not a data-partition per se and can only be used with a live-system of the same version. If you plan to do serious A/V work, store it on an external hard-disk.

Getting Started

Ardour3 is not [yet] documented. There are bits and pieces of floating around. If in doubt, ask for help via IRC chat.

In the $HOME folder, resides an example video for testing <tt></tt>, that can be loaded as video into Ardour3: Launch Ardour3, create a new session and choose <em>File &rightarrow; Open Video</em> from Ardour's menu…

The video-timeline should be pretty much self-explanatory:

  • Menu→Session→Open Video
  • Menu→Session→Export→Video
  • Menu→View→Rulers→Video (or right-click the ruler/marker bar → Video)
  • Menu→View→Video Monitor (xjadeo)
  • Menu→Edit→Preferences→Video
  • Menu→Session→Video maintenance→ … (manual video server interaction)

Advanced -- Shell script to create USB drive

# the disk-device to use: 
DEVICE=/dev/sdb # or /dev/mmcblk0 or /dev/hdb ,...


# Download the image and write it to the disk:
curl | dd of=$DEVICE bs=64k

### OPTIONAL: ###  
# re-read the partition-table after the image has been written
partprobe $DEVICE
# create a 2nd partition using the rest of the space on the device..
echo -e "n\np\n2\n\n\np\nw\n" | fdisk $DEVICE
# ..and create an ext4 filesystem on it, labeled live-rw'
mkfs.ext4 -L live-rw ${DEVICE}2

Now boot from the prepared device..

wiki/a3img.txt · Last modified: 10.10.2012 14:06 by rgareus