OpenShot – Finally, An Excellent Free Video Editor For Linux

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freeware video editorVideo and photo editing tools are a necessity in today’s world of personal media. We have lots of photographs and videos these days that could look even better when presented nicely.

The tool should be powerful yet simple to use so that average Joe can use it easily. Windows and Mac have had good video editing tools for sometime now, Linux had a big void in this area until recently. The void has been filled by OpenShot. It is truly amazing and the best, free video editor out there for Linux, suiting the needs of many.

OpenShot will be available via Ubuntu Software Center starting with Lucid Lynx. Till then you would have to add the PPA to software sources.

Go to System > Administration > Software Sources, on to the other sources and add the following lines:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/openshot.developers/ppa/ubuntu karmic main

deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/openshot.developers/ppa/ubuntu karmic main

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Then issue the following command:

sudo apt-key adv –keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com –recv-keys B9BA26FA

You are now set to issue: “sudo apt-get install openshot“. Just issue the command and rest will be done for you. Once installed, you can find OpenShot listed under Applications > Sound & Video. Fire it up and lets see what all it can do.

The OpenShot site has a complete list of features, some of the more useful ones that one would expect in a good video editor are the likes of templates, transitions with live previews, audio mixing and editing support, compositing, watermarks and the ever so popular Ken Burns effect (the one you get in most slide shows these days in which the various images are zoomed and panned over)

free video editor

The interface is typical of a video editor. You have the timeline at the bottom, a project/resource area to the left and a video preview towards the right. Transitions and effects can also be accessed via tabs on the project/resource area. First off, you need to add the files you want to work on. OpenShot can be used to create a video out of your photos or you can use it to edit existing videos as well.

free video editor

Once the files are added, you can then click and drag resources onto the time line. Use drag and drop to arrange and re-arrange the resources as you please. You can simply click and resize the duration for which an object will be visible in the finished video. Hit the space bar and you get an instant preview of how the window will look like. You can also drag and drop transitions and effects on to the timeline. It is as easy as that!

free video editor

OpenShot also lets you create title and text that you might want to add to your video. There are a number of styles and templates to choose from. To create a new title go to the Projects menu and choose New Title. OpenShot gives you a new window where in you can choose the template to use and create title/captions for your video.

freeware video editor

When you are done click on File > Export Video and you can choose a format that best suites you. OpenShot uses FFmpeg so a variety of common and not so common video formats are supported!

Overall, OpenShot is an excellent free video editor for your Linux desktop. In fact, I find it easier and more intuitive and won’t mind booting into Linux especially for editing video. It’s my video editor of choice when compared with other available free video editors for Linux.

Know of a better tool or have a tip to share? Well here is your chance, sound off in the comments section!

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Comments (15)
  • OttifantSir

    OpenShot on Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10 requires specially packaged ffmpeg packages, which are not compatible with ANY other mediaplayer on these versions. The only way I can think of to get both OpenShot and other mediaplayers to work, is to re-compile your other mediaplayer(s) with the ffmpeg packages provided with OpenShot. As it’s slated to appear in Lucid Lynx, and that’s just a month away, I recommend waiting ’till then to install it permanently. (You can install it, try it, then remove it, disable the PPA and re-install the original FFMpeg packages. That’s what I did, and I can’t wait for Lucid so I can get this program)

  • Al Nonymous

    Your article claims that OpenShot is an editor “for Linux,” but then you only talk about installing and using it in Ubuntu Linux. How about adding some information and links for those of us who use Linux but don’t use Ubuntu?

  • lefty.crupps

    @haydoni
    I’ve not yet tried 0.7.7.1, but 0.7.7 is very stable for me, and I don’t expect much has changed. Which distro are you running? If you answer *buntu, then I wouldn’t trust and of the KDE software, which is unfortunate.

    • Courtjester

      Yes. I am using Ubuntu. I tried 0.7.7 on another Ubuntu machine and it did work better, but it still crashed when I exited kdenlive without saving the project. I also noticed that clips snapped vertically to the track when I added them to the timeline in 0.7.7 but not 0.7.7.1.

      At any rate, this article is about openshot, not kdenlive. I think openshot has great potential. There is nothing productive in saying that openshot is not as good as it seems, look at kdenlive instead. There is room for both. Lots of people like kdenlive; I find the openshot interface cleaner and easier to use. Development is not finished on it yet, so here’s hoping it has essential feature parity with kdenlive soon.

      Just My Opinion.

  • haydoni

    When I tried this previously it seemed to create MASSIVE video files (much more so than KDEnlive) and with no way of making them smaller, is this still the case?

  • fsoft

    Actually, OpenShot is not quite as good as it seems… it lacks many features. If you want a great NLE for Linux, try KDEnlive at http://www.kdenlive.org, new version 0.7.7 has just been released and it deserves your attention!

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.