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Cinelerra *had* the most promise and it’s probably good if you want to run a TV station. However, it’s not creative at all. Simple edits are easy. However, anything else can become a stunt. IMO, Kdenlive has seen the quickest growth. Lives is also doing well. In the next few years we may see those apps grow into the free alternative of Finalcut – but not Cinelerra. It does what it does, and there is no need to change.
You can develop your very own motifs. You can add your very own logo designs and brand name watermarks, consist of great background pictures as well as different textures along with individualizing the font styles and colors quickly (just a few clicks of the computer mouse) to make extra professional-looking video clips as well as match your company’s/ site’s design and also look.
Look at the screenshot I attached above. I want you to look at the left sidebar. The #01 “Getting Started” video is what I just walked you through. You can see there are more video instructions. The videos are between 2 and 5 minutes long each, so it doesn’t take long at all to become acquainted with the software. The 5 additional training videos include the following topics.
Introducing Lightworks, it’s a commercial video editing suite for Linux, Mac and Windows. It’s a non-linear tool with a completely different approach to editing video. Instead of a simple GTK or Qt window that is manipulated by the desktop environment (and themed by it too), the app offers up a full screen editing environment. Lightworks isn’t free. In fact, unlike the other apps on this list it actually requires a monthly subscription to use but it’s worth it if you want to edit and produce video on Linux.
Lightworks is a feature-packed video editor with a truly impressive resume. It was used on movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street, LA Confidential, and Pulp Fiction, and there’s nothing stopping you from seeing first-hand why so many professionals like it because you can download it for free and use for 7 days without paying. If you decide that Lightworks is worth your money, you can upgrade to Lightworks Pro and unlock additional features.

The most promising or also often called best Linux free video editor of all, OpenShot has a long history of development and should be mature and stable. I downloaded the latest Openshot from its PPA since the one in the main Ubuntu repositories is, rather perplexingly, a very old and outdated version. Once OpenShot is opened, it appears very easy to use. The default layout is simple and intuitive, and there are even hints that pop up the first time you use it! I drag-and-dropped a few videos I had taken in preparation for this post, and boy, was I disappointed with this so-called best Linux video editing software.
Shotcut is another free, open-source, and cross-platform video editor. Unlike Kdenlive, novice video editors will be able to get a full-fledged experience with Shotcut as it is rather easy to use. It comes with a wide range of features, including native timeline editing, video transitions and filters, and a multitrack timeline. It supports keyframes for filter parameters and 3-point editing. If you quickly need to delete the audio from a video clip, Shotcut gets it done.

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When working a film convert it from movie format to a bunch of stills (you can render it so. I think andrew has a video on this). Make sure to do this in a unique directory because you get about 24 pics per second. The format for these pics should be png or if you want to do a lot of composting then OpenExr is the way to go but the files are bigger and might slow down and older machine. Think of it this way. PNG has 0-255 for each color of each pixel, whole numbers only. Try multiplying that by .1 and then by 1000 a few times and see what you get. The other system uses floating point math for each dot and that keeps it high quality. PNG works but don’t expect much in the way of high quality compositing.
The developers have also added some high-quality video and audio filters and effects aimed at professionals. Unfortunately, this software is not entirely free as it comes in two versions: Lightworks Free and Lightworks Pro. The difference between them is that the latter supports different video formats, while the former does not. Lightworks is available for Windows and Mac OSX as well.
Kino always seems to be neglected when people are discussing Linux video editing. Perhaps it is considered too basic? I’ve found it superb for simple editing, adding titles, etc of youtube clips and home video. The interface is very intuitive and easy to grasp for the casual video editor. I am sure kdenlive would be a better program but it crashes every time I have ever tried it. I just downloaded latest version now Feb 2010 and crashed within 20 secs of using it. Tried latest pitivi just now also and locked up immediately. Kino is reliable, reasonably attractive, and does the basic job well.
Trey has a good point, I don’t want to do much more than combine my video with a few transitions and a soundtrack. Kdenlive works fine for that. My biggest issue with Linux video editing is the lack of good transitions and simple drag and drop functionality. Also DVD menu creation is still really poor on Linux. But over the last four years it has gotten much better.
I’ve twiddled around with a few of the programs mentioned here but they all seem horrifically counter-intuitive. That is to say, I could not figure them out. (and I have the strong motivation of a soccer team clamoring for their annual ‘best of’ movie.) Windows might be f#2%ed, but Apple is downright frightening these days. Free is more and more the only way to go.
I’ve had good luck with Lives. I’ve been able to accomplish things with it that I couldn’t figure out how to do with the others. My main use of video is for web sites. I’ve even created a video sequence from a JPEG still which I then manipulated with Lives tools and output as an animated GIF. I further tune the size of the animation in GIMP which allowed me adjust the the frame rate on a per frame basis.
The ubiquitous Kdenlive strikes again. It has been around for years and is used by many people. I tried to use it a few months ago, but it was completely unusable. It often didn’t start, and when it did, it crashed and refused to export properly. However, for this article, I installed the latest version from the Kdenlive PPA and tried it out. Things have changed. Oh my, how things have changed.

I use Blender 3d for most of my video editing. You can do things with it that you would not beleave! Problem is that Blender3d is its own world and learning it takes time. It is something for a pro with some 3d modeling skills or a normal person that can read and is willing to learn the GUI. Wait for Blender 3D 2.5 to come out. It has an all new interface and new improved work flows! Should be out in a month or two…
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