Review: Kdenlive, the Linux video editor I want to use

Finally, a video editor for hobbyists that runs well on Linux.

012815 kdenlive screenshot

There once was a time when video editing on Linux was an elusive beast.

Well, that's not exactly true. Professional-level video editing on Linux has been solid and mature for many years now, with the likes of Lightworks, Cinelerra and Blender. But the "hobbyist" video editor market just wasn't very well-served. There were video editors out there… but they were often buggy and lacking in critical features.

Luckily, we seem to have turned a corner in video editing on Linux with some exceptional pieces of software that have been steadily maturing for quite some time.

I recently started a new video series, and as production ramped up I needed to decide on which video editing software to use. This gave me a great opportunity to test drive a number of them, including Pitivi and OpenShot (both of which have their strong points), in order to decide which best suited my needs. And, also just as importantly, which one I enjoyed using the most.

That software ended up being Kdenlive. Version 0.9.10 (the latest as of this writing), to be exact. Here's a quick run-down on why…

First and foremost: Kdenlive 0.9.10 has yet to crash on me.

Not once. The previous version I tested (0.9.8, I believe) was a bit crashy, but the development team seems to have fixed those bugs. Some of the other video editors I tested tended to crash far too often – especially OpenShot (using the latest release version - 1.4.3). I like to know that I can rely on my software to stay running, and Kdenlive has proven profoundly good at that.

Beyond that, Kdenlive provides all of the critical features that I need in my video production workflow: multi-track editing, waveform displays on all clips with audio, custom title editing. It even has astoundingly capable blue screen and rotoscoping tools. I would say Kdenlive has the majority of tools and effects that most video projects will need (it certainly has everything I need).

Plus, it's easy and fun to use. Even areas of the application that provide a lot of technical options (such as the Render functionality that lets you export your video to damn near any format you can imagine) are pre-set to be astoundingly easy to use right out of the gate with no tweaking. Editing video clips on the timeline is a simple and intuitive process. All of this adds up to me actually enjoying working with Kdenlive.

And that's saying something. Because I can get really grumpy.

But this piece of software hasn't made me grumpy. Not once. At least… not yet. I just completed my fourth video using Kdenlive, so that's a pretty good track record.

All-in-all… I love it. I'd go so far as to say that, with Kdenlive, there is absolutely no reason for anyone running Linux to need to fire up Windows (or, heaven forbid, Mac OS X) in order to edit videos.

I'm looking at you, the few remaining Linux-loving podcasters and YouTubers who are using Windows and Mac video-editing tools (for some awful reason). Come to Kdenlive. Come back to Linux. It will save you.


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