Video editing on Linux has improved considerably over the past decade. You no longer have to transfer footage to a Windows or Mac for editing. Plenty of Linux video editing software is now available to Linux users.
But with so many to choose from, which is the Linux video editor for you?
Let’s look at what’s on offer.
First: What Should a Video Editor Do?
When we look for a video editor, we probably have a few aims in mind. Perhaps a clip needs trimming, or a portion removed. Perhaps that same clip needs reordering in a timeline.
Additionally, you may have soundtrack requirements, or wish to introduce captions and other text-based graphics. Many applications do all of this, and more. If you’re looking for transitions, video effects, and even composite effects, consider one of these seven video editors.
(Note that while there are more than seven video editors for Linux, we’re focusing on the ones that are free and open source.)
The Best Video Editors for Linux
Most Linux distros don’t ship with a built-in video editor. So, while there are creative versions of Ubuntu with video editors and other tools, standard releases don’t do this.
So if you’re looking for video editing software for Ubuntu or other Linux distros, preferably free and open source, check this list of the best Linux video editors.
Let’s look at each of them in more detail.
OpenShot offers a smart timeline user interface, along with a bundle of excellent transitions, and other features. Initially backed by a Kickstarter appeal, OpenShot is currently at version 2.5.
Capable of handling audio, video and stills, OpenShot 2 is as comfortable making movies and editing YouTube videos as it is compiling images into a Ken Burns-style slideshow. OpenShot is also available for macOS and Windows.
See our guide on how to edit a video in OpenShot 2 to see the features you can expect from this video editing suite.
KDE’s Kdenlive is regularly updated, so you can be sure that you’re using a good quality video editing suite. Part of the KDE project, Kdenlive is also available for macOS, BSD, and Windows, and supports the usual video formats.
Features include multi-track timeline editing, unlimited video and audio tracks, and (customizable) effects and transitions. Kdenlive also boasts keyboard shortcuts, masking, blue-screen, and support for 16:9, 4:3, PAL and NTSC, and various HD standards. Kdenlive should be one of your first options when looking for a competent video editing tool.
Originally known as PiTiVi, this video editor has been revised several times since its initial 2004 release. Developed to integrate into the GNOME desktop environment, Pitivi is considered to be at a similar level of completion and competence as Kdenlive.
However, while the features are similar, the attitude is different. In short, Pitivi’s developers declare that they are serving the community:
“We believe in allowing everyone on the planet to express themselves through film-making, with tools that they can own and improve.”
Lofty ambitions, albeit ones that are backed by stable features and a clean UI. With all of the usual timeline and editing functions, Pitivi also offers over 70 industry-standard transitions, and 100-plus video and audio effects. Oh, and there is also a professional attitude to audio. Pitivi includes tools to help you correctly balance audio and match it to whatever footage you’re using.
The best way to install Pitvi is to download the Flatpak (what is a Flatpak?).
Developed by Heroine Virtual and first released in 2002, Cinelerra, nevertheless enjoys regular updates. You’ll find a wealth of features within, including support for high-fidelity audio and video. Visually, Cinelerra is closer to Adobe Premiere Pro than any of the other video editing suites listed here. However, with a built-in compositing engine, feature-wise it is on a level with Adobe After Effects.
As the website claims:
“The tools which are freely provided here from the Founder of Cinelerra are more than the great Orson Welles had when he commenced his career as a filmmaker.”
Although in fairness, they’re also more than he had when he ended his career. So, if you’re looking for a video editing tool with composite effect support, Cinelerra should be your first stop.
Gabriel Finch (aka Salsaman) developed the little-known LiVES video editing suite. A video artist and international VJ, this a non-linear video editing application boasts some unusual features. You’ll find remote network access, for example, as well as network streaming.
Well-defined APIs enable the use of plugins for effects, video playback and decoder/encoders. The software itself offers two main interfaces, a clip editor, and a multi-track window to arrange clips.
A clip editor prepares the clips before they’re added to the multitrack timeline. The wide selection of export formats includes HD video.
Flowblade is a “fast, precise, stable” non-linear video editor. It offers support for 146 formats, 78 video codecs and 58 audio codecs. Initially focusing on stable editing (cuts, trims, etc.), more recent releases have extended these features into an advanced timeline workflow.
One of the great features in Flowblade is the “magnetic timeline”, in which dropped clips “snap” into place. This aids the process of adding and moving clips considerably. Meanwhile, powerful tools enable you to combine and mix images and audio, with color correction and audio modification available.
Available for macOS, BSD, Windows, and Linux, Avidemux is another non-linear video editor, with a focus on simplicity. This means that if all you want from your video editor is cutting, encoding and filtering, this tool is idea.
Avidemux can, for example, be used to crop adverts from TV shows you’ve recorded on a DVR. You can even convert your video to a new file format, perhaps to save space.
Various filters are also included, a collection of pre-sets aimed at attaining particular results, such as color correction, cropping, etc. You’ll need to re-encode the clip once filters have been applied.
For more advanced editing options, look at the other choices in this list.
Whether you’re creating CG renders, 3D sculpting amazing models, editing animation, or simply adding visual effects (VFX), Blender is the number one choice.
While the rest of the suite is relatively complex, Blender offers a video sequence editor for basic cuts and splices. It can also be used for masking and grading, with audio mixing, syncing, live preview, speed control, transitions, keyframes, and more.
Blender can be downloaded directly from the website, as a Snap file, and it is also available via Steam.
Finally, Shotcut is another great, open source Linux video editor you should consider.
It supports a wide selection of video formats, capture devices, and offers audio features such as mixing across all tracks. Video editing tools include 3-point editing, unlimited undo and redo, trimming, and easy to use operations. Shotcut also offers visual effects such as wipes and transitions, speed effect and reversal, and dozens of filters.
Cross-platform, suitable for running as a portable app, and with considerable display and monitoring options, Shotcut also supports dedicated hardware such as video and audio capture cards.
Having spent time using Shotcut, we can recommend it as a strong video editing tool for Linux.
Interested? Take a few minutes to check our guide to editing a video with Shotcut.
Great Linux Video Editors for All Purposes
It’s amazing to consider that so many good-quality, open source video editing suites are available on Linux.
All great video editors for Ubuntu and other Linux distros, some suit specific project types, others more for general editing. Be sure to make the right choice for your video editing project.
Whatever platform you edit on, improve your workflow with these video editing tips.
Read the full article: The 9 Best Free Open Source Video Editors for Linux