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Top 3 Linux Video Editors

 Linux gets my pick as the best multi-media production platform because it is flexible, efficient, and secure. Your system resources are going to your work, rather than in supporting a bloaty operating system further bogged down by marginally-effective anti-malware software. In our previous installment we covered a range of excellent drawing and painting, photography, 3D rendering, and desktop publishing applications for Linux. And my favorite Linux distros for serious multi-media production.

Today we're going to enjoy a tasty sampling of the high-quality video creation and editing software for Linux. You oldtimers are probably familiar with these, but there are more Linux newcomers than ever, so let's start with...


I really really really like OpenShot. It probably won't impress professional videographers who like having a million bells and whistles (or maybe it will), but it impresses me for its useful feature set and excellent user interface. This is my #1 choice for beginning video editors because of its ease-of-use, and its well-chosen feature set.

The Power of Love, Gabrielle Aplin, created with OpenShot and Ardour

It supports high-definition video, Blu-Ray, 3D, tethered shooting, integration of video, audio, and still images, all the usual effects such as scrolling titles, pans, and fades, animations, speed changes, audio mixing, export to multiple formats and quality levels including YouTube and Vimeo, and tons more. It is under active development and has great community support. This may be the only video program you'll ever need.


Blender is a fabulously sophisticated 3D computer graphics and animation creator. Check out the Blender gallery for a sampling of movies created with Blender. It supports a large range of high-end abilities such as ray-tracing, key-frame animation tools, object tracking, super nice character modeling, realistic physics for great liquid and smoke/mist/gas effects, and realistic movements of objects and characters, and excellent realistic light effects.


The main learning curve with Blender is developing a grasp of all of these concepts; once you get that part down it's like a light goes on and everything makes sense. It also has a nice game-creation module, and superior compositing.


Cinelarra is for video producers who need more than OpenShot, and who want a native Linux professional-quality video editor that supports high-resolution audio and video, and advanced features such as hue and saturation, overlays, denoising, compression, normalization, time stretching, realtime effects, nested sequences, color balance, image flipping, text-to-movie, batch render and batch capture, compositing, and much more. Cinelarra has nice integration between audio and video, and makes it easy to control synchronization. Blender and Cinelarra work well together; create your splendid animations in Blender and then integrate them into a movie in Cinelarra.cinelarra

Cinelarra has two versions: the unsupported community version and a commercial edition. Every six months the nice Cinelarra developers release the latest source code. It's not widely available in the usual distro repositories, but the good Cinelerra-CV folks bundle it up into Arch, Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, and other distro packages. There is a Cinelarra PPA-- Personal Package Archive-- for Ubuntu users. PPAs are user-supported repositories for specific applications, like Cinelarra. They're not official repos, but they allow you to use your normal Ubuntu package manager to install and remove third-party software.

Of course there are many more good video editors for Linux such as Kdenlive, PiTiVi, Avidemux, and Lightworks for Linux keeps getting a lot of attention even though it's still vapor. It is a feast of riches, so enjoy!



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  • Michael Brown Said:

    Kdenlive on the KDE desktop is very good, deseves a mention.

  • Erinn Said:

    Why does Kdenlive deserve a mention? Some details would be nice.

  • David Said:

    Hi Erinn, Kdenlive is the closest you will find to Adobe Premier. While it's not flawless is has made impressive progress in the last couple of years and can be considered stable. The feature set is one most extensive in open-source nonlinear video editors. Plus, Kdenlive can use the frei0r plug-ins making it one of the most versatile video editors on Linux. It's not as easy to use than Openshot and Pitivi, but so muh better than the dreadful Cinelerra. BTW, there's a repeating typo in the article: It's Cinelerra not Cinelarra

  • Erinn Said:

    Thank you, I appreciate the information.

  • Steffinger Said:

    I absolutely share your love for kdenlive. I did lots of small video projects over the past 3 years using kdenlive and i really appreciate how they developed this software. While it was really very buggy some years ago und crashed a lot, it works like a charm nowadays. And even if a lot people will call me fanboy, i prefer kdenlive over adobe premiere, because in my eyes it is easier to use and delivers very good results. The good results are of course in line with the great development in ffmpeg and mlt, but stll.... ok. i'm a kdenlive fanboy

  • Chris WEre Said:

    I love Kdenlive too. It's got all the features I need for my professional video editing. The only problem I have with it is the bugginess. If Kdenlive stopped working on new features and focused all their efforts on bug fixnig, it would be up to professional class in no time. Unfortunately the nature with projects like this is that no-one wants to be the guy who fixes bugs. Hence why so many open-sources bugs hang around for so long.

  • Roberto Innocenti Said:

    I have make some short video with OpenShot and it's good, but when I have done a 2 hours video with 2 video-camera and was needed to sync the audio with the two video channel and mix camera 1 with camera 2 it's a must to user Kdenlive becouse I could see the audio waves needed to sync video of a camera with audio of another camera.

  • new in video Said:

    Although this post is outdated, but some comments are helpful today. Now, few days before 2016, Kdenlive, depends on libav-tools. a branch of ffmpeg. That means that the program does not ask to the system which one is installed, instead libav-tools should be installed to install kdenlive, at least in Debian based distributions. That means that you can not use ffmpeg and kdenlive together. Ffmpeg has more filters, than avconv, among those missing in libav-tools are those for ivtc. A very important feature, for those who own camcorders which record in FP24, a tele-cined format, which is too heavy to play in computers with a limited video card. I hope that the kdenlive team change that dependency, and leave it to be chosen by the user, an the avconv|ffmpeg codecs/filters/containers be configured at runtime instead during installation. Also at this time, other editing programs are available, as commented by SYSMS (shotcut), Bald Archie(flowblade, and more) and Natron, which seems something similar to Blender, but more intuitive to use. OpenShot 1.4.2 is available but buggy, it crashes or freezes randomly, 2.0.0 has been announced, although not yet released. Playing OpenShot from a terminal, shows a lot of warning messages, I hope that they are fixed in 2.0.0, because it has a very intuitive interface. shotcut and flowblade seem also friendly, Natron a little bit more complex, but looks simpler that Blender, being both not just video editors, but for 3D animation.

  • Hayden Butler Said:

    i cant use kdenlive for editing vids it annoys me

  • Fateh Slavitskaya Said:

    Libre Graphics World considers Bassam Kurdali (dir. Elephants Dream + Tube Open Movie) one of the best "evangelists" of Blender’s video sequencer, for his occasional talks about Blender’s somewhat stealth role as a general purpose video editor. His 2009 talk from Libre Graphics Meeting, 'Video Editing with Blender for Non-3D Artists, Using Examples from Real Projects' still works as a good introduction, despite the many evolutions of Blender since.

  • William Said:

    Kdenlive, Blender and Cinelerra are my 3 Options. Kdenlive is so good as Sony Vegas pro.

  • Piotr Said:

    I am using Kdenlive and OpenShot and I need nothing more...

  • Mike Said:

    Piotr - As you use both can you tell me what the advantages of one over the other are? I do mostly event/news and some mini documentary stuff. I have found Cinelerra promising, but persnikity on what types of files i accepts, So for me it will be either Kdenlive or Openshot. Which would you recommend? Thanks!

  • Don Said:

    They are both developed by the same basic group of people and are based on MLT. OpenShot is more for formatting a DVD. Kdenlive is more for getting the footage ready for OpenShot.

  • bluetak Said:

    The author should have worked a little, and should have mentionned kdenlive, which is better and better.

  • syncdram Said:

    I stopped using openshot because with every ubuntu update it brakes openshot, never able to open it again. Kdenlive hasn't failed once. If the developer of openshot would stay in touch with ubuntus updates then i could use it again.

  • Joseph Said:

    It sounds like Ubuntu is the problem, not Openshot. Maybe you should ditch a poorly maintained distro that breaks things or doesn't package Openshot properly. Canonical should be testing every package in their main repository before release.

  • marijen Said:

    Absolutely agree, got desperate trying! BIGBIG bugs in open shot. It used to work fine now it won't export into anything other than .ogg and after that it stopeed saving the projects altogether.

  • Chris Said:

    OpenShot is great, though I agree with the commenter who said kdenlive deserves a mention. IMHO, those are the two best Linux video editors. I've never tried Cinelerra and I've never tried Blender's video editing functions. (I've done modeling with it, but not video editing)

  • joker Said:

    it's not ready for prime time yet, but NOVACUT, deserve to be mentioned, it has a very interresting cutting workflow, I think the best that we can have, it's always in active devellopment .

  • Michael Glasser Said:

    What I would like to see is a good screencasting solution... a tool that combines the features of, say, Cinelarra but also allows not just for video capture of the screen but post production showing / hiding of the cursor, changing the size or even image of the cursor, focusing on the foremost window, etc. There are solutions like this for other OSs... would be great to see something like this come to Linux.

  • Vital Said:

    I thought when I saw the headline on Linux Today - "I need to see who is that idiot"... And sure enough, it is Carla - a disgrace and disservice to Open Source in a form of zealotry, misinformation and hate. Nothing new to see here...

  • Beatnink Said:

    It takes one to recognise one? Just about any article written on the web can be flamed depending on one's personal views and feelings. That's why the value in an article is in the constructive feedback / discussion that it invokes. There's some very useful comments here by various people. Sorry @Vital, but yours is the one that stands out as unconstructive.

  • Beatnink Said:

    So far I've only used Openshot and its ok. Exporting a project seems to take too long. What is other's peoples experience with that? Which of the video editors discussed here would beat Openshot for video conversion processing performance?

  • Cinelerra user Said:

    Minor correction: you've misspelled cinelerra

  • videoman Said:

    I come from the world of pro video editing, and i tried all above discused software ... Yes, my vote goes to Kdenlive. It's very usable as video cutting application, and that's how all video editing work traditionaly starts. Please develop it more, simply because good ideas deserve that.

  • Kit Kimes Said:

    I just need a video editor that I can use to edit out commercials from TV programs that I record. Under Windows I use VideoReDo. Can either Openshot or Kdenlive do this under Linux? I'm not looking for an editor with a lot of fancy features.

  • Don Said:

    Not sure if you're looking for software to automatically seek, find, and cut commercials and re-render to new video. But certainly you can use the cursor to do it.

  • Kit Said:

    Thanks Don. No, I don't use the auto seek and cut feature on VideoReDo. I don't trust it. I just work my way through a show and cut out commercials manually. VideoReDo only works with .mpg files however. I'd like to be able to work directly with .mp4 files also if such a program exists for Linux.

  • DigitalFreedom Said:

    Sorry but you can't say you talk about the best video editor if you don't mention Kdenlive. I've tried almost all of these mentioned here and Kdenlive is simply the best editor that is available. i have a feeling that is kind of biased against KDE and so they rarely talk about KDE software and desktop. Please do take more care and do follow what goes on in KDE community. It is a lot more interesting then most of things that are being talked about here.

  • Ohmygod Why Said:

    This is a poor review, by almost any standard. Blender isn't even a video editor. Why have a list of 2 things, and a list of 1 thing that doesn't really go with it? Why no comparisons between Adobe products, or Final Cut? I would have loved to have seen any knowledge that the author has used these programs, and her opinions on how they *work* versus other programs. I don't want you to do an apt tree search and see which has the most features - I want to know how those features work! I don't want a list of those features in the guise of a "review," I want you to tell me about them. Such a terrible review, I had to post this even though it's very negative. I hope you can see how you could improve your reviews in future. Start by doing the work involved. And to the other commenters: thank you for your more helpful reviews.

  • Lawrence D’Oliveiro Said:

    Blender is most certainly a capable video editor. It also has a powerful compositor as well. All this on top of being an amazing 3D powerhouse. I know you find it hard to believe, but try it and see!

  • mike Said:

    Are there any articles on Video Editing software for Linux written from an editor's perspective? This seems to be focused on how videographers and animators will use the software, and I care about their opinions of post workflow about as much as they care what I think about lenses, maya, etc.

  • John Said:

    I'm so holding out for OpenShot 2.0. It should be absolutely amazing if they include everything they were funded for in the kickstarter. Could we be looking at a genuine FCPX replacement in Linux? I hope so!!!

  • alexandero11 Said:

    Really? I can't believe that you even thought about putting Openshot on this list. I thought this was a list of the BEST video editors for Linux, not the WORST.

  • SYSMS Said:

    Also "Shotcut" and "Avidemux" reserve to be mentioned IMHO.

  • theaphro Said:

    I'm a video editing newb and found this article a great starting point. Thank you Carla for posting.

  • Spiros Said:

    Good evening to all. I am new to linux after years on windows. Any suggestions about video editing for weddings? I have read all above and my conclusion is that Kdenlive is best. So if anybody here is editing weddings please advice. Thank you.

  • blahblahblah Said:

    I applaud their effort but they all suck but Blender. I don't know about you but I have better things to do with my time than hope someday they can produce a video editor that doesn't have serious problems. 14 years I have kept an eye out. Crashing in the middle of your work is not OK. Neither are audio sync problems. Software shouldn't fight you or turn your attention away to hunt the internet for fixes with outdated workarounds that end up making your system unstable.

  • Mikhail Said:

    Man, do I ever agree. All of the oft-recommended video editors I've tried in Linux crash. OpenShot has often been recommended to me, as it is in this article, but in a clean installation of Ubuntu and a dual boot configuration of Mint it not only crashes, but alternately breaks/starts working again (briefly) with system updates. Kdenlive, among the most recommended, too, does much the same as well. Same for PiTiVi. Blender, Cinelerra, and Lightworks, however, work fine.

  • Carterpants Said:

    I echo the Kdenlive mention. By far one of the best FOSS editing programs I've used. They've come a long ways over the last few years and I've constantly recommended it to others.

  • Samir Piccolotto Said:

    Kdenlive and Lightworks... missed those!

  • Espen KM Said:

    Since when was Blender a video editor... *sigh*

  • Lawrence D’Oliveiro Said:

    Blender is most certainly a capable video editor. It also has a powerful compositor as well. All this on top of being an amazing 3D powerhouse. I know you find it hard to believe, but try it and see!

  • Christofer Said:

    The link to Blender gallery is broken.

  • Stefan Said:

    KDE is a very minor DE - so honestly very few KDE solutions are considered "worth mentioning". It's just like that KDE Office Suite, Calligra and digiKam. It may be high quality and good performance, but hey - it's just KDE!

  • izack Said:

    Nope, As a very long time gnome user, I never had any problem to run any KDE* package. "sudo yum install" will resolve all dep. issues and it does work great. So the popularity of KDE as a "DE" is not relevant at all.

  • Brian Said:

    For all those who have an issue with this article, I understand your feelings. It does seem that there wasn't a lot of actual use / testing done in this review. I would suggest, however, that beyond dissing the writer / author, go out and make a better, more informed article and submit it. Many of you sound like you came to the article with pre-conceived notions of which is the best. Odd thing to do. If you believe you know which is best, then use it, and prove it. Provide the newbs out there looking for solid starting points some valuable information.

  • mikkel grum bovin Said:

    What would be the closest i can get to a "Resolve"Grading AND Editor for Ubuntu ?

  • Bald Archie Said:

    Thank you - you are one of the rare one mostly getting it right on this subject. Cinelerra is the only free professional-level video editor, but it is hard as heck to learn, is finicky beyond belief with codec and containers, not intuitive at all, ancient-feeling, and quite unstable. But if you learn it, you can actually make a movie with it, there are no fatal flaws. Blender? Equally hard to learn, but also quite the opposite of cinelerra: extremely stable, extremely well thought-out and consistent interface, modernistic, and able to handle anything you throw at it. But it isn't a dedicated NVE; i do use it all the time for pan and zoom sorts of "Ken Burns" stuff, but it is sort of like this analogy: I need to move a sofa across town, and the choice is the neighbor's broken-down pickup truck (representing all the NVEs in the Openshot class), OR Mr. Blender's 18-wheeler Mack truck.It will move a sofa - but only after you have a degree in how to operate it and can figure out how to park it on your street. I am beginning to think i could do my taxes in Blender. As for Openshot: it may be improving. but in general, there seem to be three or four competing badly for this position of "most user friendly for the non-pro" apps. Each seems to have a fatal flaw, and i keep trying two in particular thinking they're just moments away from fixing their blasted problems - namely Kdenlive and Pitivi. Nope, But nope. They're never quite going to, looks like, not sure what all their developments is about. So if we're going to mention OpenShot, i think we should mention all the ones in its category (i.e., "User Friendly NVEs"). In no particular order, because seriously, these are all basically equal and equally flawed "user friendly" NVEs: Kdenlive Openshot Pitivi Flowblade Avidemux LiVES [all i can think of right now] Btw, AviDemux doesn't really belong on that list - it is pretty stable, quite user friendly, as useful as a pocket knife - really an essential part of a video editing arsenal for any pro. So what is its "fatal flaw"? That it really isn't meant to be a video editor :-) It is a bit like using a really nice plumbers wrench to hammer nails - it will do it. But it is a wrench, for when you need a wrench.

  • Robert Said:

    Of all the LInux video editors I have tried, the only one that is even remotely functional is OpenShot, but OpenShot isn't even capable of uncoupling the audio and the video, so it is really no better than Windows Movie Maker. This morning I threw every kind of video file I could find at Cinelerra, including mp4 files created by my Android phone, and it failed to digest any of them. I then tried Kdenlive and it too choked on everything threw at it. Then there was some other NLE that I can't remember the name of that would transcode every clip as it imported it, making it so slow as to be completely useless as a working tool. The long and the short of it is that it is completely false to say that Linux is a good platform for video editing. The truth is that it is hopeless.

  • Henry Said:

    KDENLIVE is easily the best at this point.

  • mickey6 Said:

    KDenlive has been the most stable for me, and does what I need it to. Like almost every other program I use, it also has funtions I never use, so I can't comment on them. But it does what I need it too, and renders IMO better than Adobe PremierPro.

  • danwrit Said:

    Sorry guys, I say this with much pain, but none of the video editors listed in this article comes even close to a professional-quality video editing tool, not even Cinelerra. Some may be perfectly fine for home movies but for a professional project? Forget it. People who write articles like this one should do a bit of serious research (i.e. interview a professional video editor instead of just googling around) before saying that Cinelerra is a "professional-quality" video editor. Also, as some people have mentioned in earlier comments, Blender, while AFAIK is an excellent tool, is *not* a video editor and should not even be listed here... There is no publicly-available professional-quality video editor for Linux as far as I know.

  • Lance Gilson Said:

    Danwrt; Well said it seems to me most commentators are amateurs or home movie level which is a good place to start but lacks the clear understanding of editors. I looked at lightworks but haven't used it enough to make a call on it yet. I use Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro an Final Cut X mostly and have tried to give linux a try but its just not there. Im running Nivida Quadro K5200 cards and minimum 32 gb of ram and Intel 6 core I-7 processors and now moving to dual intels. I'll continue to experiment but I'm not holding my breath for linux but I like blender for a variety of compositing animation functions. Lance

  • ziko Said:

    OpenShot dosen't support files saved by... OpenShot.

  • cape1232 Said:

    Just tried OpenShot and Kdenlive. Both crashed. OpenShot corrupted its own project file. Kdenlive crashed before I even got far enough to bother saving. PiTiVi, fresh installation, won't import files the others do because of missing plugins.

  • Mikasi Said:

    Danwrit - Cinelerra never worked for me. Openshot was too simplistic. I'd used KDENlive on shitloads of videos and found it comprable to Sony Vegas Pro and as such the best of the lot. My biggest problem with it is the project team migrated shit without migrating over the transition and projrect profile. I'll take any suggestions you offer on this video editing issue though.

  • msmddocharmony Said:

    I have only used kdenlive. We won 2ed in the WNC music video awards recently. Once you get the mlt and another set up from the proper repository it does all the basic things one needs for a movie. I do not do any fancy stuff. 2) I am wondering if all or some issues here are based on wethher you use Ubuntu or Debian etc. I use Suse and use the Packman repository, a must... M

  • Jonathan Said:

    Unfortunately, KDEnlive is closer to Pr. than Ae., I need nearly full feature compatibility with both. Also, it's best not to call a program dreadful just because it's a professional grade "niche" program, and you don't understand how to use it. Cinelerra is a wonderful editor/compositor if you know how to use it right.

  • Namida12 Said:

    I understand this is an older post, and comments: I want to purchase a cam for my bicycle rides, but i will then also want to edit the captured film. Go Pro has a fish eye look, and the Sony POV Action Cam is a bit better. I use an Xfce Linux, and haven't got a clue where to start.

  • Tiwo Satriatama Said:

    I used openshot. tha's simple video editor. but thanks for nice article. it's little help me.

  • David L Henderson Said:

    Just now getting started with Linux, specifically Ubuntu Studio. Does Openshot do chroma key? Do the others mentioned above? Tnanx.

  • new in video Said:

    When you need to sync sound, also use the old but still in use clapper board or clap with your hands. Some of the newer editors, mentioned in my above comment, display the sound in the track bar.

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