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openshot video editorAs a typical household member, it’s common to record a video of a birthday, party, and much more. It’s extremely easy today to record videos, as every smartphone now has the capability to do so. But simply recording may not be the idea, especially when you want to add a couple of extras or crop out boring or other undesirable sections.

Among Linux users, the operating system family is well known for not having a professional video editor available for it. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t decent editors available, especially for fairly low-key needs.

About OpenShot

OpenShot is one of the budding video editors currently available, with plenty of work going into the project. Although it isn’t the only video editor available for Linux — PiTiVi and Kdenlive Kdenlive – A Stable & Versatile Free Cross-Platform Video Editor [Linux, Mac & Live CD] Kdenlive – A Stable & Versatile Free Cross-Platform Video Editor [Linux, Mac & Live CD] Kdenlive is a free and cross-platform video editor that will probably mean more to your average Linux user than Windows or Mac types. If you're searching for a decent, all-in-one solution for editing video on... Read More being the other top contendors, it is currently among the best of the group because of its overall simplicity and decent feature set.


openshot video editor
The nifty program has already been pretty impressive back in 2010 when we last reviewed it OpenShot - Finally, An Excellent Free Video Editor For Linux OpenShot - Finally, An Excellent Free Video Editor For Linux Read More , but it since gotten a modest visual makeover along with some additional features and bug fixes. As usual, you’ll find your Project Files, Transitions, and Effects in the top left section of the window, a video preview in the top right section, and the timeline spanning the bottom. OpenShot is indeed a linear video editor, but it can go many layers deep.

Manipulating Media

To import videos, pictures, and audio so you can use them in your project, simply click on the plus sign in the top row of buttons. From here you can choose which files you’d like to include, and they’ll be added immediately. From here, you can drag and drop items into the tracks inside the timeline, and then move them around, crop, resize, and more. To add another track, just click on the plus sign right above the timeline. Don’t forget that you can zoom in and out of the timeline using the buttons and slider on the right side of the window, right above the timeline itself.

Transitions and Effects

free video editor
There are a large number of transitions you can use between different clips or pictures. These include everything from your common “wipe” effects up to some very complex transitions such as clouds, bubbles, and fractals.


free video editor
There’s also a lot of effects that you can apply directly to your media, such as manipulation of bass and treble, black and white, blur, cartoon, chroma key (for green screen work), hue, and much more. There are plenty of effects for whatever you may be wanting to accomplish, so it’s best to go look through the list yourself.


free video editor
No good home movie is finished without a great opening title clip! OpenShot makes it very easy to create titles, where you can start out with a template and then customize it to make it your very own. A fantastic feature of OpenShot is the ability to make animated titles, which include some very nice 3D effects. All of the templates found here require Blender Blender - A Powerful Free Cross-Platform 3D Content Creation Suite Blender - A Powerful Free Cross-Platform 3D Content Creation Suite Read More to be installed in order to generate these cool animated titles.

Saving and Uploading

openshot video editor
To save, or export, a video after you finished working on it within OpenShot, you simply go to File –> Export Video. From here, you can choose a number of different profiles, and OpenShot will take care of the rest. It’s important to choose the right profile so that you’re not using a low quality video in a high quality setup, and vice versa. You can also upload your finished product directly to YouTube by going to File –> Upload Video.


Installing OpenShot is, just like any other Linux application, very easy. You can find it by searching for “OpenShot” in the Ubuntu Software Center, or by issuing the command sudo apt-get install openshot. Users of other distributions should check their own repository managers for the software, or check OpenShot’s download page.


Overall, I’m quite happy while using OpenShot for relatively simple tasks such as home movies. While I wouldn’t quite recommend this to make the next international blockbuster, it’s a great tool for the average home user. I’m sure that you’ll be able to have lots of fun with OpenShot as well, especially creating animated titles.

What’s your favorite video editor on Linux? What kind of improvements need to be made so that professional-level video editors can run on Linux? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Yusuf Irzan
    October 10, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Thanks for the article, I've been searching alternative for movie maker to run in my ubuntu PC.

  2. Daniel Escasa
    October 9, 2012 at 6:03 am

    I should add that when you create a video file, you "have" to tell OpenShot how long it'll be. I enclose "have" in quotation marks because, far as I remember, you can increase this length anyway. I think the default length is something like five or 10 minutes. I discovered this after one video I tried to create by, among other activities, splicing together a coupl'a MPEGs, and found I couldn't move the time slider beyond the time limit it had created. So I created another video file. Then I discovered that 1) you had to tell OpenShot how long the video will be and 2) you can add to this length if you underestimated.

    • Danny Stieben
      October 16, 2012 at 6:30 am

      Thanks for the tip, Daniel! It's been a while since I used OpenShot, so part of it came from my memory.

  3. DB
    October 9, 2012 at 3:28 am

    Most everything has an open source alternative. try out great resource. thanks for the write up on this tool, installing it onto my secondary laptop/media resource.

    • Danny Stieben
      October 16, 2012 at 6:31 am

      Thanks for mentioning! There aren't really many good sites which list open source alternatives.

  4. Edward Bellair
    October 9, 2012 at 12:38 am

    I am happy to see more open source tools. I am trying to make that transition whats holding me back is the progs I paid for that don't work in linux.