What is good video editing software on Linux?

A video editor allows you to handle various post-production video editing jobs which typically involve arranging, cutting, pasting, trimming, and otherwise enhancing (e.g., adding effects to) video clips through the timeline interface. In modern video editing software, things like multi-codec import/transcoding, non-linear video editing, or even HD video support are pretty much standard nowadays.

In this post, I am going to show 11 popular video editing software available on Linux. I will not cover subjective merits such as usability or interface design, but instead highlight notable features of each video editor. If you have tried any particular video editor listed here, feel free to share your experience or opinion.

1. Avidemux

  • License: GNU GPL
  • Cross-platform (Linux, BSD, MacOS X, Windows)
  • Supports both GUI and command-line modes
  • Support for JavaScript (thanks to SpiderMonky JavaScript engine)
  • Built-in subtitle processing
  • Official website: http://fixounet.free.fr/avidemux

2. Blender

  • License: GNU GPL v3+
  • Cross-platform (Linux, BSD, MacOS X, Windows)
  • Specialized in creating 3D modeling and animation
  • Support for image/video compositing
  • Video/audio effects and transitions
  • Official website: http://www.blender.org

3. Cinelerra-CV

  • License: GNU GPL
  • Community edition of Cinelerra video editor
  • Support for video compositing
  • Drag and drop files from file manager
  • OpenGL-driven GPU acceleration for video playback
  • Video/audio effects and transitions
  • Direct capture from camcorders
  • Cross-platform (Linux and Windows)
  • Official website: http://cinelerra.org

4. Flowblade

  • License: GNU GPL v3
  • Support for multiple file types based on FFmpeg
  • Drag and drop files from file manager
  • Support for video and image compositing
  • Image and audio effects
  • Automatic clip placement on the timeline
  • Official website: https://code.google.com/p/flowblade/

5. Jahshaka

  • License: GNU GPL
  • Cross-platform (Linux, MacOS X, Windows)
  • Support for 2D/3D animation effects and video composting
  • Support for collaborative editing (e.g., editing server and centralized database)
  • Media/asset management
  • GPU based effects
  • Official website: http://www.jahshaka.com

6. Kdenlive

  • License: GNU GPL v2+
  • Video editor for the KDE desktop
  • Support for multiple file types based on FFmpeg
  • Video/audio effects and transitions
  • Ability ot mix video, audio and still images from different sources
  • Video capture from cameras, webcams, Video4Linux devices or X11 screen
  • Export to Internet video sharing sites such as YouTube, Dailymotion or Vimeo
  • Official website: http://www.kdenlive.org

7. Lightworks

  • License: Freemium
  • Cross-platform (Linux, BSD, MacOS X, Windows)
  • Multi-language support
  • GPU-accelerated real-time video effects and composting
  • Official website: http://www.lwks.com

8. LiVES

  • License: GNU GPL
  • Cross-platform (Linux, BSD, MacOS X, Solaris)
  • Multi video formats via mplayer
  • Extendable video/audio effects via plugins
  • Support for remote control via OSC protocol
  • Video capture from FireWire cameras and TV cards
  • Lossless backup and crash recovery
  • Support for clip import from YouTube
  • Official website: http://lives.sourceforge.net

9. OpenShot

  • License: GNU GPL v3
  • Support for multiple file types based on FFmpeg
  • Drag and drop files from file manager
  • Support for 2D titles (thanks to Inkscape) and 3D-animated titles (thanks to Blender)
  • Digital zooming
  • Animated video transition with preview
  • Support for video compositing and watermark images
  • Scrolling eding credits or texts
  • Official website: http://www.openshot.org

10. Pitivi

  • License: GNU LGPL
  • Video import, conversion and rendering powered by GStreamer Editing Service
  • Video/audio effects and transitions
  • Support for keyframes and video compositing
  • Detachable UI
  • Multi-language support (thanks to GNOME integration)
  • Official website: http://www.pitivi.org

11. Shotcut

  • License: GNU GPL
  • Cross-platform (Linux, MacOS X, Windows)
  • Support for multiple file types based on FFmpeg
  • Customizable UI via dockable panels
  • Multi-format timeline (e.g., with different resolutions and frame rates)
  • Video capture from webcam, HDMI, IP streams and X11 screen
  • Drag and drop files from file manager
  • GPU-assisted image processing with OpenGL
  • Official website: http://www.shotcut.org

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Dan Nanni is the founder and also a regular contributor of Xmodulo.com. He is a Linux/FOSS enthusiast who loves to get his hands dirty with his Linux box. He likes to procrastinate when he is supposed to be busy and productive. When he is otherwise free, he likes to watch movies and shop for the coolest gadgets.

29 thoughts on “What is good video editing software on Linux?

  1. I use a lot avidemux to rotate/crop/reencode all videos I take for my job. Very useful for fast processing when you are not producing a movie.

    • I'm using avidemux as well but what annoyed me was that you have to cut exactly at a key frame (or you'll see some corrupted frames) if you want to use the "copy" mode.

      In my ideal dream world I'd use Pitivi (or actually the underlying "gstreamer editing services") to do that and Pitivi would ensure that I can cut every frame I want (I don't mind re-encoding a few frames if that's not a key frame). That would be highly useful to cut out commercials from tv recordings. Well, let's hope the Pitivi fundraiser gets enough money so that the "smart rendering" feature is going to be implemented...

  2. Lightworks would be the premium application.
    Though KDEnlive, OpenShot, Cinelerra, etc are solid open source editors.

  3. It depends on what kind of editor you want.

    Of those listed in that article, my favorite by far is +OpenShot Video Editor. It's fairly powerful while being easy to use, and should be even better once v2.0 is released sometime in the fairly near future. However, it's not really a professional-quality editor. It's meant to be a consumer-quality editor along the lines of iMovie, and has a similar set of features. You can do fairly professional-quality editing on it, but that generally involves using it conjunction with InkScape and Blender.

    I also use Avidemux, but not actually for much editing. It's great for splicing clips together, transcoding, and muxing tracks, but for anything more than that it's not very user-friendly and you really have to know what you're doing.

    I tried Pitivi when it was (briefly) the default video editor for Ubuntu, but at the time it was buggy with a very limited set of features. It's supposedly improved quite a bit since then, but I haven't had any reason to try it recently.

    If you need professional-quality, however, those might not be quite what you're looking for (even if OpenShot can be pretty powerful in combination with InkScape and Blender).

    I tried Cinelerra, Kdenlive, and LIVES a while back, and all seemed to crash fairly frequently for me, and Cinelerra in particular had a steeper learning curve than I was willing to deal with. However, they're more professional-quality, full-featured video editors if you need more than what OpenShot, Avidemux, or Pitivi have to offer.

    Lightworks is another professional-quality option, but it's (currently) proprietary software and you have to buy the professional version to unlock the full set of features. It's supposed to be released under an open-source license at some point, but they've been teasing that for about 4 years now.?

  4. With my 5120x1086 screen(s) I have best worked with OpenShot, but actually I was not nailed on one software.

    • the free version of lightworks isn't very useful and as an individual I can't justify paying for it.

  5. In my case for basic editing Avidemux, for video producing (subtitles, effects etc.) KDEnlive :-)

  6. This article is forgetting about Blender, which is the only industrial-strength editor available for Linux.

  7. To me Pitivi is the most promising product - admittedly I'm not an average video cutter but a software developer. The nice thing about Pitivi is that it is highly modular and you can really use its parts to build a specialized video editor or some media processing. Some editors have special APIs or so - with Pitivi that is not necessary because the developers build all the "hard" (non UI) code into modular pieces which I can use to build my stuff.

    Pitivi recently started a fundraiser to release their 1.0 version and they made it to 1/3 of the target sum in just 1 1/2 weeks. If someone wants to back a real community project head over to http://fundraiser.pitivi.org/ :-)
    I'd like to mention that I think the Pitivi goal is much more achievable (though less "sexy") than the previous OpenShot Kickstarter campaigns because they don't aim to do a custom engine but "just" use (and improve) the complete GStreamer media stack. That means also other software using GStreamer (e.g. Totem) can benefit from Pitivi improvements.

  8. Thanks for article and this is one of those where comments add a lot. I've been using Openshot on Mint dual boots for casual edits, but have missed the ability to work interchangeably with the same software in Windows, something I much appreciate in using GIMP and RawTherapee for photography.

  9. It would have been helpful to add which of these editors are still being actively developed, and which of them run stably enough for daily 'workhorse' use. (Quite a number of them don't meet either of those two criteria.) Another important criterium: Without GPU acceleration, modern-day HD footage is practically not editable on PCs.

    And lastly, the most professional Open Source program that also doubles as a video editor is missing on the list: Blender.

  10. Is any of these able to do frame-accurate editing of Matroska file containing H.264-encoded material? I have tried with avidemux, cinelerra and openshot, and they can't.

  11. Another vote for Blender! It has worked well for my simple video-editing needs so far. Why wasn’t it mentioned?

  12. KDEnlive, Openshot (used them seamlessly in my Celeron 1.4 Ghz 1GB RAM system for doemstic videos)
    Other programs not attempted. Cinelerra was too technical to start a project.

  13. For the people using Avidemux - how do you keep it from mangling the audio-video sync. Nothing I've ever done with Avidemux has turned out, it always has horrible A/V sync issues.

    Is there some hidden setting, or something, to prevent this?

    • You didn't say what type of sync problem. From using copy with audio the end result is usually significantly out of sync. If the audio is re-encoded instead, the result is very close (but not necessarily perfect, which you may be referring to).

  14. Let me just add another vote for Blender, which has worked well for my simple video-editing needs so far. Strange to omit any mention of it!

  15. when I moved the family over to linux 2 yrs ago, I was told by a Linux user at work to give KDEnlive a try since his kids use it to put their snowboard tricks online and his wife to edit home videos.
    I havent really looked at any other since. i read these articles and say that one day when I have 'time' I will get around to installing and trying some others but I have neither the free time nor any more use than what we do with it now (my wife has made a few cooking videos on Youtube with my niece and they love it) which is the general stuff that 99% of users do.
    the professional video market is niche, very niche so I always find it fun to read about how that is some kind of problem. its like back in the day when everyone and his brother was a 'web designer' that HAD to have Photoshop.... but I do have to admit having used Lightworks on a friends Mac that it does look interesting. im not sure if the Linux experience is the same though.

  16. Avidemux now just crashes. OpenShot can't pixelate regions without a convoluted process that isn't suitable for clips with much movement. Anything else? I do need to make a complete new installation of Linux Mint, which might fix the Avidemux trouble, this is ridiculous. The best I can do is waste hours placing multiple masks by trial and error or give up and make an animated GIF from screen captures using GIMP.

  17. For podcasts, casual edits with composit/effects/green screen, etc, Kdenlive all day long. Stable (no these days, it really is), a bit of a learning curve, however YT tutes are your friend.
    Others swear by Lightworks.

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