The good thing about Linux video editing software is that they are often free, easy to use and full of professional features. If you’re looking to try video editing on Linux, check out these eight video editing software options.
1. DaVinci Resolve
If you need a Hollywood-standard video-editing tool, look no further. DaVinci Resolve has played a part in the post-production editing process of various Hollywood movies and TV shows, like Pirates of the Caribbean and NCIS.
DaVinci Resolve comes with support for professional editing consoles to supercharge your editing process. You have the ability to edit videos up to 8K, as well as create impressively detailed 3D visual effects.
Resolve is free, but there’s also a paid version of the software, Resolve Studio, that adds features for team collaboration and editing, as well as advanced special effects. This will set you back an extra $295, however.
To install DaVinci Resolve, you need to download a copy of it from the developer’s website, as it is not available in regular repositories.
You also need to use apt to manually install the dependencies for DaVinci Resolve:
sudo apt install fuse libapr1 libaprutil1 libxcb-composite0 libxcb-cursor0 libxcb-damage0 libxcb-xinerama0 libxcb-xinput0 ocl-icd-libopencl1
Extract the downloaded archive:
Lastly, run the installer script:
Do you know: other than being a media player, the versatile VLC player can also double as a video editor.
Free to use, open source and low on resource usage, Flowblade is the video-editing tool for Linux users that tries to bin off the excess to give you the fastest editing tool possible.
Flowblade’s interface is typical, with a bottom editing bar to help you cut up and customize your content. There are also tools for video cropping, transitions, color correction, and audio editing.
Flowblade’s standout feature is the proxy editor. This lets you run a low-resource render on your video, meaning you can cut and create content on a PC with limited resources, then take your video to a better PC, import it, and export it at much higher resolutions.
Installing Flowblade on Linux is a slightly easier process than DaVinci Resolve. To do this, you need to run the following apt command:
sudo apt install flowblade
Editing across different platforms is easy with Lightworks, with support for Ubuntu and other Linux distros, as well as macOS and Windows. Lightworks has been around since 1989, playing its part in the post-production of films like Pulp Fiction and The Wolf of Wall Street.
For casual users, Lightworks comes with export tools for YouTube, exporting at 780p. It’ll handle all common video formats and comes with preset features to handle color correction, 3D animation, and more.
Free to use (although not open source), there are some limits on the free version. You’ll gain additional special effects, along with 4K video quality, by upgrading to Lightworks Pro. This costs $23.99/month, or a one-off cost of $389.99.
To install on Ubuntu, first create an account on the Lightworks website, then download the .deb file from the developer’s download page.
With the .deb file at hand, open a terminal and run:
sudo dpkg -i lightworks_2022.3_r138939.deb
Tip: do you upload YouTube videos regularly? You can easily edit your videos with the YouTube Video Editor.
Blender is a little different than other video-editing tool recommendations, as its primary focus is 3D modeling. Don’t let that put you off, however, as it’s a capable video editor in its own right.
The video editing section is called Video Sequence Editor. It comes with tools for audio editing, color adjustment, transitions, and filters, alongside Blender’s existing 3D-editing tools. The best part is the cost, as Blender is completely free.
If you’re looking to create animated films or add 3D elements to your video, this is the tool for you. The easiest method of installing it requires Snap. Run the following commands to install Snap (if it isn’t already installed) and Blender on your PC:
sudo apt install snapd sudo snap install blender --classic
Kdenlive is a powerful, non-linear video editor that aims to provide a flexible and highly approachable way to video editing. Kdenlive is entirely free and open source, which means you can get a video editor that can do most of what professional-grade editors do, yet at zero cost to you.
Aside from regular video-editing tools, one of the biggest selling point of Kdenlive is that it uses a similar interface to popular video editors, such as Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas. Further, it has an extensive keybinding system that allows you to edit a video file without much more than your keyboard.
The free and open-source nature of Kdenlive also means that you will almost always find it in a Linux repository. For example, the following command will install the program in either a Debian or Ubuntu machine:
sudo apt install kdenlive
Tip: try this simple trick to remove sound from video on Android.
Simple yet highly capable, OpenShot is a free and open-source video editor that takes cues on the traditional Windows Movie Maker approach. While it does not boast the wide gamut of features that professional-grade tools offer, OpenShot makes up for it with its intense focus on accessibility.
From the very moment that you open the program, you will be greeted with a series of tips and tutorials that will guide you through the process of creating your first video project. As such, OpenShot can be a great tool if you are new to video editing and still want to get your feet wet.
OpenShot also takes advantage of various open-source tools and utilities to extend its feature set. For example, you can install Blender alongside OpenShot to gain access to its “Animated Titles” feature.
You can install OpenShot by obtaining a copy of its AppImage file from the developer’s website. Once it is in your machine, you need to navigate to your Downloads directory and change the permission bits of the AppImage:
cd /home/$USER/Downloads sudo chmod +x ./OpenShot-v3.0.0-x86_64.AppImage
Run the program by either double-clicking it in your File Manager or through the following command in your terminal:
Pro Tip: if you need some free video materials to work with, these are some of the best Creative Commons sites to download free videos.
Shotcut is a minimalist video editor that focuses on basic editing tasks, such as track splicing, track analysis and keyframing. It has a highly utilitarian interface, which makes it easy for an experienced editor to get started cutting and editing video files.
Despite its minimalist approach, Shotcut has a wide support for professional formats such as BlackMagicDesign’s SDI and JACK Audio. The program also supports a variety of filters and color correction tools out of the box. This makes Shotcut an invaluable tool for editors who want a quick way to edit rough cuts in Linux.
Shotcut is available in most Linux distros. You can install the program in Debian and Ubuntu using the following command:
sudo apt install shotcut
Pitivi is a free and open-source video editor that has a deep focus on simplicity. Pitivi aims to create a program for novice editors to easily get started with video editing. It does this through intuitive visual cues and simplistic graphic design. This approach makes using Pitivi a pleasant experience, even for an editor familiar with professional-grade tools.
Pitivi comes with features like various filters, color-correction tools and transition effects.
Pitivi is currently available in most Linux distros. You can run the following command to install the program in Ubuntu:
sudo apt install pitivi
Frequently Asked Questions
OpenShot is not launching in Linux when I try to run it.
This issue is most likely due to a bug with the build of OpenShot that you are using. At the moment, both versions 2.5.1 and 2.6.1 of OpenShot have a critical bug that prevents them from running on either Wayland or Xorg systems. One way to fix this is to install (or upgrade to) the latest version of OpenShot (3.0.0) on your machine.
Why do video editors in Linux lag and slow down a lot when running?
The most common cause for a lagging video editor is either an insufficient amount of RAM or a slow disk. To deal with this issue, upgrade both your machine’s system memory and hard disk. In most cases, upgrading to at least 8GB of RAM and an SSD should help to reduce the lag during editing.
My Kdenlive install keeps keeps crashing when I import files.
This problem is most likely due to either a bad graphics adapter or a broken configuration file. You can quickly fix this issue by replacing your graphics card and resetting your Kdenlive configuration file.
To do the latter, run the following command:
rm /home/$USER/.config/kdenlive-layoutsrc && rm /home/$USER/.config/kdenliverc.
You can also force a reinstall of Kdenlive in your package manager using the following:
sudo apt install -f kdenlive && sudo apt reinstall kdenlive.
Image credit: Peter Stumpf via Unsplash. All alterations and screenshots by Ramces Red.
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