Whether you’re cutting a feature or just editing a short or two or even a youtube video, having an NLE that you don’t have to wonder about (whether it’s going to just slowly fall apart) is preferable. What is the basic stuff most people use? I’m a rather accomplished editor and I find that even for the simplest projects I tend to use advanced techniques. However, that doesn’t stop me hoping that someday someone is going to create an NLE for Linux (commercial or not) so that I can make the switch full time. Because I love the command line and I love the free part, and I like being part of the friendly community…the more time I can spend hacking wifi the better.
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Crash, crash, crash... when it didn't crash I found it to be in that middle zone of more than a basic editor, but not a professional one... features are not very intuitive. It took me more than 30 minutes of randomly clicking to figure out how to adjust the effects applied to a clip and then I was underwhelmed with the options. To be fair... I was looking for something specific when I tried this out. I've used Adobe and other video editors in the past and this just missed my current needs and my expectations based on past experiences. See More
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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 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.
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Shotcut is anther video editing software for Linux and it is an interesting one because its UI looks more like a media player than an editor. The software makes editing video very simple with the set of awesome features it has. For basic uses, it will work just fine, but if you need more powerful options, especially for advanced or professional video recording, then it may not be the best. However, with the features it has, it qualifies as a decent video editor for Linux.
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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.
That said, I am also long time ‘nix user (from before we had the GUI) and other OS. Linux has its place but fast video editing isn’t one of them. My office needs to edit about 3 hours of video every day, splicing together the scenes from two fixed cameras. There is some Linux software that might do it, but it is just too slow, awkward and buggy to use. We use Womble’s DVD Wizard software on Windows on that. It’s not expensive, good support and very fast to use even on lower spec hardware.
Kdenlive is an intuitive and powerful multi-track video editor, including most recent video technologies. Kdenlive supports all of the formats supported by FFmpeg (such as QuickTime, AVI, WMV, MPEG, and Flash Video), and also supports 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios for both PAL, NTSC and various HD standards, including HDV. Video can also be exported to DV devices, or written to a DVD with chapters and a simple menu. Kdenlive packages are freely available for GNU/Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS X under the terms of GNU General Public License version 2 or any version later.
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.
Pitivi has been around for a few years too. This video editor for Linux is a GNOME application and is designed to fit into the GNOME desktop. (I assume it will work just fine in KDE or XFCE too.) Installing it requires the use of Flatpak, but they give rather easy-to-use instructions on the Pitivi website, and I had no problems at all. Drag-and-drop seems to be well supported, and it first transcodes videos before they can be used, which takes a few minutes or seconds, depending on the size of each. But it appears the videos can still be used during this process.
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.