7 Free Open Source Video Editors for Linux

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Video editing on Linux has improved immeasurably over the past few years. Where once you might be compelled to save your clips to a portable hard disk drive and edit them in Windows or on a Mac, these days things are a lot simpler.

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A selection of good quality open source video editing tools are now available to Linux users. These might be tracked down and installed manually, or come bundled with a creative-focused Linux distribution 6 Linux Distros Designed for Artists, Musicians and Editors 6 Linux Distros Designed for Artists, Musicians and Editors Read More . But which is the right video editing application for you?

Let’s take a look at what’s on offer.

(Note that while there are more than seven video editors for Linux, we’re focusing on the ones that are free and open source.)

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.

1. Openshot 2.0

Released in 2016, this second total rewrite of OpenShot offers a far superior user interface. In short, this means a usable timeline, but you’ll also find a bundle of excellent transitions, and features. Backed by a Kickstarter appeal, OpenShot 2.0 can be installed from the website or via a PPA.

Capable of handling audio, video and stills, OpenShot 2.0 is as comfortable making movies and editing YouTube videos as it is compiling images into a Ken Burns-style slideshow. Following the release of OpenShot 2.0 in 2016, we produced a simple tutorial to help you get started How to Edit a Video in Linux With OpenShot 2.0 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 . This showcases some of the features you can expect from this video editing suite.

OpenShot 2 is also available for macOS and Windows.

2. Kdenlive

Available 2002, KDE’s Kdenlive is regularly updated, so you can be sure that you’re using a good quality video editing suite. Part of the official KDE project KDE Explained: A Look at Linux's Most Configurable Desktop Interface 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 BSD (as well as Windows), and supports all the usual video formats.

Offering a wealth of features (multi-track timeline editing, unlimited video and audio tracks, (customizable) effects and transitions, keyboard shortcuts, masking, blue-screen, and support for 16:9, 4:3, PAL and NTSC, as well as various HD standards, Kdenlive should be one of your first options when looking for a competent video editing tool.

Back in 2011 we declared Kdenlive the most stable video editor on Linux 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 . While this is no longer true (there are now many contenders for that title!), if you’re working on a video editing project, Kdenlive is certainly worth considering.

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 Video Editing on Linux Just Got Better With PiTiVi Video Editing on Linux Just Got Better With PiTiVi PiTiVi, a video editor that has historically been in the "simple home user" category, has gained several features since its early days. Read More 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:

“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.

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.

5. LiVES

The little-known LiVES video editing suite dates back to 2002, and its lead developer is Gabriel Finch, a video artist and international VJ. A non-linear video editing application, LiVES offers some unusual features, such as remote network access, and streaming to and from other copies of the software on the same network.

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 where the clips can be positioned. The clip editor is primarily to prepare the clips before adding them into the multitrack timeline.

High definition formats are included in the wide selection of export types (50+).

6. Flowblade

Launched in 2009, Flowblade is a “fast, precise, stable” non-linear video editor, which 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 placed clips “snap” into place, which aids the process of adding and moving clips. Meanwhile, powerful tools enable you to combine and mix images and audio, with color correction and audio modification available to produce the desired mood.

In short, Flowblade is yet another top video editor application for Linux.

7. Avidemux

Available for macOS, BSD and Windows in addition to 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, you should be able to achieve your aims quickly Cut, Edit, and Convert Your Videos For Free With Avidemux Cut, Edit, and Convert Your Videos For Free With Avidemux When it comes to video editing, most programs currently available are extremely dense and packed with hundreds of options. And why shouldn't they be? Video editing is all about control and that requires a lot... Read More . Avidemux can, for example, be used to crop adverts from TV shows you’ve recorded on a DVR. Encoding can be used to change the video format, much like one of VLC’s core features.

Various filters, meanwhile, can be used. These aren’t just visual filters; they’re more of a collection of pre-set features that can be used to attain particular results, such as color correction, cropping, etc. You’ll need to re-encode the clip once filters have been applied.

If you want advanced editing options, look at the other six choices in this list.

7 Great Video Editors – Which is Your Favorite?

It’s amazing to consider that so many good-quality, open source video editing suites are available on Linux. (Don’t forget, other options are available that do not have open source aims!)

We’ve looked at seven options, but which is your favorite? Have you tried one of these video editors and been left disappointed? Do you use a different tool? Tell us in the comments.

Image Credit: PHILIPIMAGE via Shutterstock.com, cepindalo.es

Explore more about: Audio Editor, Linux, Ubuntu, Video Editor.

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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. Brylie
    December 16, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Don't forget FreeJ. It's more of a Video Jockey application:

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

    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.

  5. 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

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

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


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

  7. 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.

  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

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

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


    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.

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

    Thank you! I was waiting for one like this

  15. 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