Video editors score sheet

Tutorials >
Here's my round up of the main video editors for Linux, their pros and cons, and how they scored with me.
Sept 2017

See my Netinstall Step2 page for how to install most of them.

PROS CONS
pitivi     8-5 =3
  • can set important shortcut keys
  • easy to add clips
  • tools are easy esp for beginners -easy to drag ends, cut, remove
  • snapping clips is made clear by blue highlight line
  • double click on a clip to allow control of audio/brightnes by dragging keyframe lines
  • transform and effects window
  • render progress visual
  • very beginner friendly
  • tool buttons are at far right!
  • selected clip turns shaded dark
  • no RMB options on clips
  • must enter render video quality by hand - no preset choices
  • not many formats supported!
kino     3-5 =-2
  • very simple layout -good for the ultra beginner
  • has clip edit/timeline/trim/FX windows
  • cutting and joining clips makes "new" clips in storyboard -interesting idea, but...
  • edit mode buttons at far right, can't move them to top
  • cut points are hardly visible
  • have to select a clip in storyboard to delete the cut part on timeline
  • couldn't open mp4 for exporting
  • lack of export formats
openshot     11-7 =4
  • most important keyboard shortcuts can be set
  • slicing is easy, remove left side, right side or keep both, with shortcut key +2
  • multiple options for adding clip to timeline
  • transitions/effects can be dragged to a clip, easily adjusted -tns. by dragging length, , effect after click on the effect button on the clip
  • many options with RMB on clip in timeline - easy to add fades, animation, speed and volume changes
  • Transform allows moving, shrinking, stretching of picture
  • many title templates to choose from
  • export options are clear and easy to set
  • encoding uses full cpu power
  • good layout for beginners
  • moving up clips only by dragging, no tool to remove gaps! -3
  • too easy to add tracks
  • can't set no. tracks in preferences -always starts on 0-4 (5 tracks)
  • the seeker is lazy to move to the mouse
  • the seeker looks hideous too
flowblade     13-7 =6
  • good clean layout - middle bar can be set buttons centered
  • easy to add clips and zoom with scroll button or tool buttons
  • clip in-out points can be set then dragged to the timeline
  • tools are on numbers 1-7
  • cut is easy pressing X, parts easily spliced out by tool button
  • cuts can be moved to new frame (roll tool) or cut clip can be start-end adjusted (slip tool)
  • many filters available -with filter tab to make adjustments
  • no. of tracks can be set
  • render dialogue easy to set -presets or user defined, with bitrate selection list
  • encoding fast -threading can be enabled
  • useful settings like middle mouse button zoom or scroll
  • easy to use for beginner
  • dragging to timeline makes a grey space at the front
  • seek point with RMB is annoying (different)
  • trim tool cuts off left or right of pointer - but how to know which?
  • dragging a clip up a track auto-closes the gap
  • tracks need selecting before cuts possible
  • no shortcuts setting!
  • needs a dark gtk3 theme in order for the interface to look good
shotcut     9-3 =6
  • nice dark layout
  • easy to cut a clip with S
  • I and O cut off to left and right -source clip or project clip. +2
  • clips move up when the Ripple-delete tool is used
  • render: huge list of formats, can set constant bitrate or quality
  • filters tab with plenty
  • transition can be made while dragging a clip over another
  • easy for beginner
  • opening media files immediately plays last one in the preview - if single file then must be added to playlist after, multiple files auto-add to playlist
  • filters add button is greyed out
lives     3-22 =-19!
  • interface colours can be configured
  • has crash recovery
  • slow to open the app
  • difficult to open media -through file menu and long side menu, then not anywhere?
  • Lives logo right in the middle
  • initial layout looks slightly disastrous with gtk+ -dark layout mixed with system light theme
  • looks like a child's game in many respects
  • crashed on media import
  • import asks how many frames of media to import -and what if total frames not known?
  • moving a clip it shows as a shorter blue block and it's uncertain where it will be dropped, at what position?
  • play controls are far up at top -or play with P pause with Q
  • cutting/delete is done by RMB option -3
  • no shortcut settings
  • can't adjust preview size or position
  • impossible to close gaps accurately -3
  • render takes a "render process" time only to open a clip editor and ask you to save the video
  • encoded media with wrong dimensions
  • encoded without audio
  • difficult to get back to the multitrack mode
kdenlive     18-3 =15
  • easy to add media clips and drop on timeline from clip bin or from preview in/out points
  • overlap mode so that clips can move other clips up
  • snapping of clip start/end to seek point by a single key +2
  • fully customizable shortcuts - makes work fast on the timeline
  • fully customizable toolbars
  • can set no. tracks, default profile and custom profiles
  • can set project profile (vid format) from a clip
  • many effects, transitions with effects panel
  • clips can be grouped, copied, and effects copied and pasted
  • easy proxy clip transcoding
  • title clip composer
  • many render presets and formats available, can save your preset
  • can view/manually edit the encoder command
  • render full project, by marker, or zone
  • easy layout - v17 Qt version very nice
  • auto backup and crash recovery, and bug reporter
  • large kde community support
  • app crashes and render crashes -2
  • Appimage mlt/libmltgtk2.so conflicts with libpangoft2-1
blender     23-12 =11
  • app layout fully customizable, unlimited windows, set window to any mode
  • extensive themes/colours
  • extensive shortcuts customization +2
  • can make use of extra mouse buttons
  • user settings and key configuration can be exported
  • easy to adjust project settings such as dimensions and frame rate on-the-fly via properties window
  • can set video dimensions from a clip via Strip menu
  • adjustable clip properties available at right
  • media opens straight onto the sequencer
  • dragging strips over another snaps the strip to the end, meaning precise positioning
  • precise application of effects using keyframes and graph editor
  • meta strips are used to apply effects without touching the original strips
  • strips can be grouped, grabbed, moved anywhere or locked in place
  • frame range decides how much of the movie to render
  • preview range can be set which will play over and over
  • easy render controls, full format options (missing webm)
  • program has a lot more potential than video editing (3D animation)
  • can run renders from the commandline
  • can run multiple blender processes -render one project while working on a new one
  • compact and detailed workspace
  • opens up fast and is very stable +2
  • audio/video strips automatically split on import to the sequencer and must be both selected to make edits
  • no snapping by single key, must select strip ends then snap (select time-linked strips, highlight handles, snap handles, remove gaps =4 actions) -2
  • no media bin to store clips from the timeline
  • can't set frame range to max strip extent automatically, must always set start and end manually
  • can't create custom render presets, can't edit the encoder command -2
  • limited to single thread cpu rendering, shared between cpu cores (slow) -3
  • not a program for movie editing beginners -ui is perhaps more confusing
cinelerra (GG)     50-3 =47
  • multiple options for playback, recording etc
  • multiple media loading methods called insert strategies
  • inserted media sets project format (if insert and replace project)
  • can set format by right click on media clip and select Match > Match All
  • can insert a saved xml file from another project
  • cutting made by placing in/out points and then delete/X -then remaining content closes up the gap, M to cut and leave a gap
  • Nov 2017: snapping clip ends to the insert point with Ctrl-Alt- or Ctrl-Alt-clicking on edit ends +2
  • vid/audio select together by double click, or effect time area
  • different mouse modes -drag n drop -drag clips, cut/paste -select area by dragging
  • different mouse button modes for dragging clip ends
  • can select from label or to next label
  • resource window is very easy to use, keeps media, clips from viewer or timeline (copy-paste selection), effects and transitions
  • any area can be muted (made blank space)
  • silent space added with Shift-Space
  • many options on the track patchbay, such as fader and track nudge
  • pink/yellow markers shows last played from and paused points
  • can play back only area between in/out points with Ctrl-Space
  • can toggle loopback play on a selection
  • keyframes made by clicking on the white band running through the track, then dragging the band up/down to create fader curves - numbers 3-0 show keyframe lines +4
  • automatic keyframing - keyframes will be added as adjustments are made to effects through time etc
  • pro level picture adjustments in the compositor, easy zoom and camera pan, auto keyframing +3
  • hundreds of effects and transitions can be applied to areas, edits or whole tracks -drag the effect onto an edit, a selected area, in/out points or right click on track +2
  • effects easily turned off or detached from timeline
  • pro standard colour correction tools+2
  • full format/quality settings in render options via spanner icons
  • can use custom pipes, external programs and scripts to render
  • rendering is made fast with ffmpeg, full cpu core threading, no crashes +2
  • options to render timeline, in/out points, or selection
  • easy batch rendering and executing from command line +2
  • can open concurrent instance to work on projects while one renders
  • DVD render, using labels for chapters, and Blueray render
  • live video/audio capture
  • subtitles editor
  • layout is clear and uncluttered, good toolbar
  • Nov 2017: can set selection area colour inversion
  • saving the project does not interrupt playback or cause crash
  • fast shortcuts for saving (S), undo (Z), copy, cut and paste (C,X,V), mute (M), show full timeline (F)
  • shortcuts for single frame advance, slow mo, play, fast mo - in either direction
  • multiple windows needed not just one -annoying for Tab paging
  • no shortcuts settings
  • only one backup file is kept