Creative Linux

The 9 Best Free Open Source Video Editors for Linux

Christian Cawley Updated 17-03-2020

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.

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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.)

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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.

  • OpenShot
  • Kdenlive
  • Pitivi
  • Cinelerra
  • LiVES
  • Flowblade
  • Avidemux
  • Blender
  • Shotcut

Let’s look at each of them in more detail.

1. OpenShot

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.

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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 How to Edit a Video in Linux With OpenShot 2.0 What video editor is available for Linux users? Available for Windows and macOS as well as Linux, OpenShot 2.0 is on course to become the most popular video editor Linux. Read More to see the features you can expect from this video editing suite.

Download: OpenShot

2. Kdenlive

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 KDE Explained: A Look at Linux's Most Configurable Desktop Interface What does Linux look like? Sometimes, Unity; other times, GNOME. Oftentimes, though, Linux runs KDE. If you're not using the erstwhile K Desktop Environment on your Linux PC, now is the time to change! Read More , Kdenlive is also available for macOS, BSD, and Windows, and supports the usual video formats.

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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.

Download: Kdenlive

3. Pitivi

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:

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“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?).

Download: Pitivi

4. Cinelerra

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.

Download: Cinelerra

5. LiVES

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.

Download: LiVES

6. Flowblade

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.

Download: Flowblade

7. Avidemux

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.

Download: Avidemux

8. Blender

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.

Download: Blender

9. Shotcut

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 How to Make Your First Movie With Shotcut Learn everything you need to know about Shotcut with our beginner's tutorial, and you'll be making your own movies in no time! Read More .

Download: 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 How to Edit Videos Like a Pro: 8 Tips You Need to Master If you're just getting into the editing game, you may be confused as to what to do with the many millions of clips you have... well, we're here to help. Read More .

Related topics: Audio Editor, Blender, Video Editor.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Calvin Mitchell
    December 17, 2009 at 7:29 am

    I want to publish my music as Flash videos on YouTube. I want to show in the movie about 2 staffs of the sheet music while playing the audio...can anyone tell me the best software to use? Apparently I'll have to convert the video to Flash as well.

  2. phaoloo
    March 1, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Really nice list. I've tried Kino and it is really useful and handy.

  3. Clemens
    February 6, 2009 at 7:27 am

    KDEnlive is the best for Video Podcast (in addition to DeVeDe and recordMyDesktop)

  4. tuxhelper
    December 16, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    I remember when I tried to make a video.. What a waste of time in Gnu/Linux land! I finally figured out howto make a single pic with audio video via ffmpeg. But, I guess if your looking to make a full featured film maybe one of these apps may or may not do the trick.

    ffmpeg -loop_input -t 420 -i YourFile.jpg -i final.mp3 -y -f flv -r 1 -s 320x240 YourFile.flv

  5. David
    December 16, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Check out the Bad Apples podcast for details on using Blender for video editing.

    http://www.thebadapples.info/

    Klaatu does an excellent job explaining this and other topics. Plus he is a professional video developer.

  6. Matthew
    December 16, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    When I looked at video editors, I was most concerned with the support for Ogg video format. I found LiVES was most focused on supporting Ogg technology, while the others considered it a supplementary feature.

    In my opinion, FFmpeg is an embarrassment, in so much that so much of the popular linux multimedia framework is built around this non-free software. The reason the software is "unknown to many" is because no one wants to discuss this black sheep.

  7. Brylie
    December 16, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Don't forget FreeJ. It's more of a Video Jockey application:
    [Broken URL Removed]

    FreeJ is also created by the dyne::bolic team, an excellent GNU/Linux distro for multimedia enthusiasts:
    http://dynebolic.org/

    Viva Rastasoft!

    • Damien Oh
      December 16, 2008 at 9:03 pm

      That is new to me. On first glance, it seems functionality similar to LiVES.

  8. lefty.crupps
    December 16, 2008 at 8:31 am

    I believe Jahshaka had some issues with corporate sponsorship trying to steer the application in an unwanted direction, so they have broken that partnership off and are trying to release the next version... at some point. It is still in development though.

    KDEnlive is my favorite however.

    • Damien Oh
      December 16, 2008 at 9:09 am

      Yes. You are right. Nevertheless, we should be able to see jahshaka 3.0 in the near future, and I am sure it will be even better than the current one.

  9. Raditha Dissanayake
    December 16, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Cinellera and and Lives are not the easiest to get the hang of. I have used Jashanka on my Mac and found it prone to crashes. Avidemux is the one that I use it's simple and easy to use (unless you want to append one movie to another then you start hating it)

  10. PhillC
    December 16, 2008 at 5:21 am

    There's a few more to consider:

    Open Movie Editor - http://www.openmovieeditor.org/

    Blender (has a very good video sequence editor) - http://www.blender.org/

    • Damien Oh
      December 16, 2008 at 9:13 am

      As far as I know, Blender is really meant for creating 3D content. It might be a bit too excessive for a simple video editing.

  11. John Hammond
    December 15, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    PiTiVi looks promising: http://www.pitivi.org

  12. haiku
    December 15, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks
    I spent 6 hours this WE editing a simple 2-minute video...
    Now I got more toys to spend more time with!

  13. Jeenu
    December 15, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Thank you! I was waiting for one like this

  14. Andrej
    December 15, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Thanks for this article. Without it I would never found out about Kdenlive. It's absolutely fantastic. Quite a powerful video editor and at the same time very simple to use. Thanks again.

    • Damien Oh
      December 15, 2008 at 8:08 pm

      You are welcome

  15. Pau
    December 15, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Hi

    I know that maybe this one is not a "video editor". But it's pretty good:

    • Damien Oh
      December 15, 2008 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks. I will check it out.