It’s often said that macOS is the best platform for video- and photo-editing, but that isn’t necessarily true. You can edit videos professionally using a PC running Linux, so long as you have the right video-editing software installed.
In most cases, video-editing software for Linux is free to use. That makes it a great platform for budget-focused hobbyists and professionals alike to start cutting up their content. If you want to get started, here are four of the best Linux video editors for you to try.
Those of you who are Linux savvy will have heard of KDE, the community of developers who develop free, open-source software for Linux. One such example is Kdenlive, which offers professional video-editing to Linux users, although it’s also available on Windows.
You can perform basic video edits, like cropping and merging, as well as options to add text, images, and sound to your content. There are also advanced features available, like custom transitions, video rendering, and color and audio balancing tools.
There are also custom add-ons on offer, created by other Kdenlive users. You’re be able to configure the GUI to suit your own preferences.
Kdenlive supports almost every video file format imaginable, thanks to its integration of the Libav and FFmpeg libraries.
Feature-hungry users do not need to look any further than Lightworks, an award-winning non-linear video editor that’s been around since the late 1980s.
It’s cross-platform, so you can switch your editing between Linux, Windows, and macOS machines. It’s capable of editing video content of almost any quality, from SD to 4K video, in almost every possible file format.
Lightworks comes with hundreds of built-in, ready-to-use preset features, including color-correction tools, special effects, and 3D animated titles. You can even buy a specialist “hardware console” keyboard to speed up your editing.
While Lightworks has a free edition, there are some limitations. To export to 4K, share projects, and use some of the special effects, you’ll need to pay. Lightworks Pro packages cost $24.99 a month, up to $437.99 if you’d rather pay a one-off fee.
Hobbyists, and those who need a Linux video editor that’s friendly to use, should give OpenShot a try. This is another cross-platform tool, so while it’s great for Linux users, it can also work well for macOS and Windows machines.
OpenShot doesn’t try to bog you down with a confusing interface. It comes with good support for common video formats, and it can happily render videos for the Web, as well as HD content. It has a few tricks up its sleeve, though, with “curve-based” animations and 3D rendered effects (like 3D text).
You also have some standard features you’d expect from a video-editing tool like this, including color editing, video cropping, video transitioning, and more. Best of all, it’s free – OpenShot comes with advanced features, but it remains open source. You can contribute bug fixes and new features yourself at the OpenShot GitHub page.
If you’re worried about your system resources, put Flowblade at the top of your list of Linux video editors to try. Another free and open-source non-linear video editor, Flowblade has been designed to be as lightweight as possible.
Flowblade’s interface is pretty simple and should be familiar to you if you’ve used a video-editing tool before. It comes with an abundance of video and audio filters for color correction, audio distortion, and more.
It supports the FFmpeg and MLT media libraries, so should allow you to edit videos in common video formats with ease. Thanks to Flowblade’s proxy editing tool, you can perform video editing with lower resources by using low-quality placeholders that can be rendered at a higher quality on a better machine.
Basic features, like cropping, merging, and transitions, are also included as standard.
Update: The comments section has been popping with mentions of DaVinci Resolve, a non-linear video editor for Linux and other major platforms like macOS and Windows. In competition with Lightworks, it’s one of the most professional tools for video editing on the market.
DaVinci Resolve isn’t a basic editor — far from it. It’s designed for filmmakers, which explains why Hollywood films like La La Land and Avatar have all used DaVinci Resolve as part of their post-production editing. You can edit 8K video, perform color corrections, and create complex 3D effects. It supports almost all major video file formats, too.
Professionals can even purchase professional keyboards and video editing consoles, specifically designed for DaVinci Resolve, to improve the speed of your editing.
It comes in two versions — Resolve, which is free, and Resolve Studio, which costs $299. Resolve Studio includes all the features of the free version but adds collaboration tools for team editing, additional special effects, and advanced editing features like HDR grading.
Video Editing Software that Anyone Can Use
If you’re interested in video editing on Linux, these Linux options offer the best route to try. You’ll be able to edit both simple and complex videos for any occasion without the upfront costs you might expect to pay on other platforms.
Mobile users running Android should give Kinemaster a try if you’re looking for portable video editing instead. If you have your own recommendations, drop them in the comments below.