Nine video editing programs for Linux compared

Conclusions

Despite very similar control concepts and user interfaces, these video editing candidates target specific user groups with different levels of previous knowledge and different ambitions.

Newcomers and occasional moviemakers should take a look at OpenShot and Shotcut. The latter reduces the user interface to the bare essentials and only displays tools if requested by the user. OpenShot also appeals to newcomers with a clear-cut interface and a manageable feature scope. However, if your ambitions go beyond simply concatenating clips, you are forced to fight with what can be extremely complex controls.

If you reach OpenShot's limits but find the huge feature scope in Kdenlive too frightening, you should take a look at Pitivi and Flowblade. The latter has an astounding feature scope hiding behind a manageable user interface.

Cinelerra, Kdenlive, and Lightworks are without a doubt designed for professionals and advanced users. Cinelerra feels a bit outdated, but once you have come to terms with the complex controls, you can expect a useful feature scope that even supports compositing. Kdenlive has also grown into a feature monster over the years, but it still can't compete with Adobe Premiere Pro. Despite the somewhat fiddly controls, keyboard shortcuts will typically take you where you need to go quickly.

Lightworks Free is only a test version of the full-blown commercial program: Without the additional export options in the Pro variant, you can only create Internet movies. Even experienced movie editors will need some time to learn the ropes. On the other hand, professional moviemakers will discover that Lightworks Pro is a tailor-made and solid tool.

Kino is primarily targeted at newcomers to video editing who want to post-edit old movies in a DV format. Even though the tool is no longer under active development, the small program still runs without any trouble. LiVES is more likely to be interesting for video artists – assuming they are not fazed by the extremely confusing user interface.

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