Seven free, open source video editors for Linux

One of the great things about doing multimedia work under Linux is the wide choice of free, open source tools available and the fact that they embrace just about every standard you can think of. In this round-up of FOSS video editors for Linux (many of them are also cross-platform) there’s everything from traditional non-linear editing systems through to real-time video mixing suitable for video jockeys to use live. Will the next Ken Burns please stand up?

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Cinelerra-CV isn’t modest: “Unleash the 50,000 watt flamethrower of content creation in your Linux box. It's a movie studio with the efficiency of a box.” Boasting 6-channel sound, HDTV support, multiple effects, built-in videoscope, and much more Cinelerra-CV is oriented towards technical users who want to get their hands really dirty with video editing. The documentation is excellent and a huge number of tutorials and really helpful how-to’s are available. 


Avidemux is “a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. It supports many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs. Tasks can be automated using projects, job queue and powerful scripting capabilities.” Perhaps the least ambitious of all of our picks in this round-up, Avidemux is also one of the easiest to learn and use. It is also available for OS X and Windows.


Kdenlive is a very powerful, free, open-source video editor for GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, and OS X and supports DV, AVCHD and HDV editing. It was designed to allow media mixing; combining video, audio, and still images into a single finished video. Kdenlive has a huge list of features including scripting and a very enthusiastic user base.


Shotcut is a free, open source, cross-platform (32- and 64-bit Linux, OS X, and Windows) video editor. The orientation of HSotcut is a little different from other video editors: “While everyone else has been working on getting video into HTML5, we have been working on getting HTML5 into video! The MLT plugin WebVfx uses Qt and WebKit technology - both of which have also been upgraded - to do just that.” The site notes that the Windows implementation has yet to get all of the bells and whistles working. Shotcut also has good tutorials and documentation.

Flowblade Movie Editor

Relatively new, the Flowblade Movie Editor is a “multitrack non-linear video editor for Linux” designed to provide “a fast, precise and robust editing experience.” “In Flowblade clips are usually automatically placed tightly after or between clips when they are inserted on the timeline. Edits are fine tuned by trimming in and out points of clips, or by cutting and deleting parts of clips. Flowblade also provides powerful tools to mix and filter video and audio.”


Pitivi, which is currently at version 0.92, has a very enthusiastic following and there’s a lot of effort being put into getting it to a 1.0 release. This project is very ambitious and aims to do everything as correctly, and accurately, as possible. For example, the site notes: “Others say they're frame-accurate; we say that's not enough. We're accurate to the nanosecond. Because we can.” Love the attitude.




LiVES finds yet another niche not serviced by our other picks: Realtime operation. It “mixes realtime video performance and non-linear editing in one professional quality application. It will let you start editing and making video right away, without having to worry about formats, frame sizes, or framerates. It is a very flexible tool which is used by both professional VJ's and video editors - mix and switch clips from the keyboard, use dozens of realtime effects, trim and edit your clips in the clip editor, and bring them together using the multitrack timeline. You can even record your performance in real time, and then edit it further or render it straight away.

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