Linux video editor OpenShot 2.3 impresses: New tools, fast performance

If you edit video, you will love OpenShot 2.3 with its new transformation tool and title editor—as well as its smooth performance

Linux video editor OpenShot 2.3 impresses: New tools, fast performance
Credit: OpenShot Studios

Video editors have historically been a source of difficulty for Linux users. But, my oh my, has that changed in a big way lately. 

I’ve personally been using Kdenlive—a video editor produced by the KDE project—with great success over the last year. I had absolutely no reason or need to look elsewhere for my video production needs.

But then along came OpenShot 2.3. And—holy guacamole, Batman—if it isn’t absolutely amazing.

OpenShot is, quite simply, a cross-platform, free software (GPL licensed) video editing package. It’s available for Linux and, according to their download page, for Windows and Mac, as well.

Interestingly, OpenShot is distributed via appimage. That means they provide a single binary that can be run on just about any modern Linux distribution. I personally tested this out on openSUSE Tumbleweed with great success—but it should run just as easily on Debian, Fedora or others. I love this approach to distributing software directly from the developers. 

Features that make OpenShot 2.3 amazing 

So, what makes OpenShot 2.3 so ridiculously awesome?

To start with, the new transformation tool is absolutely stupendous. It allows you to easily add some very cool animations to your videos. Simply drop an item (say, an image of your kid playing hockey) on the timeline. Select a spot on the timeline to start the animation, select Transform, then adjust the image however you want in a WYSIWYG way. Drag it around. Resize/reshape it. Then move to the next spot on the timeline that you want the image to do something else and repeat. 

OpenShot will do the hard work of calculating and rendering all of the frames in between those two points for you. The result is a nice smooth animation put together in just a few minutes. Not only is it easy, but the performance was quite peppy. 

This new version also adds a seriously beefy way to create titles for your videos. This is, hands down, the most fun title editor I’ve ever laid my grubby mitts on. Some of the built-in templates are a ton of fun and look absolutely fantastic. 

Aside from these two new features—which are fantastic all by themselves—the big thing that jumped out at me about version 2.3 is how much polish there seems to have been since the last time I really gave OpenShot a try (back after the 2.0 release). The interface seems to be more responsive, everything is quite pleasant looking, and it has all the little niceties I like in my video editor. 

My favorite feature in OpenShot 2.3

That brings me to possibly my favorite thing about OpenShot 2.3:

If you go into the Preferences within OpenShot, there is a Keyboard tab. In there you can change every single stinkin’ hotkey. I love this. So much. I’ve grown accustomed to having a certain set of key bindings in my video editor—and now I can use them within OpenShot. 

Oh! And there’s a button that’ll toggle you in and out of Full Screen mode, which is very handy for sitting down and focusing on the video in front of you. 

All in all, I’m damn impressed. OpenShot is turning into something I can see myself using for my own video projects with great regularity. Will I ditch my trusted Kdenlive and move all of my production over to OpenShot? Not quite yet. I need to do some more testing to feel completely confident in the stability and reliability. But things are looking awfully good.

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