What’s great about most Linux video editing software applications is that they tend to be free and open source, which means that anyone can peek under the hood and implement new features or fix bugs. The video editors featured in this article are loosely arranged according to their popularity, but we recommend you go through the entire list because even less popular video editors have a lot to offer.
Pros: Large community, manageable learning curve, powerful multi-track editing capabilities.
Cons: Buggy on Windows and macOS.
If you’re looking for a Linux alternative to Adobe Premier, look no further. Kdenlive is a fantastic free and open source video editing software with a polished user interface, powerful features, thriving community, and comprehensive documentation.
It has been used by many professional and aspiring filmmakers alike, and you can see some of the content it has helped to create on its official website. Unlike Adobe Premiere, Kdenlive doesn’t cost a single dollar, and it works on Linux, Windows, and macOS.
2. DaVinci Resolve
Pros: State-of-the-art colorization tools, professional in every way, 8K support.
Cons: Doesn’t run well on less powerful machines.
DaVinci Resolve is arguably the most professional Linux video editing software. It’s the only video editor that can confidently edit 8K video footage, including color correction, visual effects, and post-production.
The latest version of DaVinci Resolve features a dual timeline that allows users to quickly navigate the whole edit and trim without zooming and scrolling. There’s also a brand-new video editing engine that leverages machine learning to enable features such as facial recognition, speed warp, and others. All in all, DaVinci Resolve shows just how far Linux video editors have come over the years.
Pros: Easy to use, multi-platform, free.
Cons: Buggy, lacks features, not ready for primetime yet.
OpenShot is a popular Linux video editor with a tremendous amount of potential but also a tremendous number of bugs and performance issues. If you’re looking for a simple video editor that you can use to quickly trim down your videos or stitch multiple clips together, OpenShot might work great for you.
But if you want to do more than that (work on large projects, apply visual effects and animations, color-correct video clips), you should probably avoid OpenShot until its developers fix at least some of the bugs that plague it at the moment.
Pros: Easy to understand, fully-featured, very active development.
Cons: In relatively early stages of development.
Olive is perhaps the most promising Linux video editor at the moment. It bridges the gap between hobbyist and professional video editors by offering a polished yet easy-to-understand video editing environment for non-linear video editing.
Even though Olive is in the early stages of development (version 0.1.0 Alpha at the time of writing this article), some users are already using it to produce content on a regular basis, and its developers are making rapid progress, which is evident from their activity on GitHub. Hopefully, they’ll be able to keep up the current pace and give all Linux users the video editor they deserve.
Pros: Support for hundreds of codecs, easy to work with, stable.
Cons: Lacking documentation.
Shotcut has been around for more than a decade, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s one of the most stable and dependable video editors out there. Thanks to FFmpeg, it supports hundreds of codecs, allowing users to edit video clips recorded by obscure video cameras without having to first convert them to a different video file format.
The user interface of Shotcut has a lot in common with Vegas Pro, which is a proprietary video editor that was originally published by Sony before it was purchased by Magix. The user interface consists of multiple dockable and undockable panels, which can be easily moved elsewhere.
Pros: Good performance, used on many Hollywood movies, many features.
Cons: Poor user interface, free for only 7 days.
Lightworks is a feature-packed video editor with a truly impressive resume. It was used on movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street, LA Confidential, and Pulp Fiction, and there’s nothing stopping you from seeing first-hand why so many professionals like it because you can download it for free and use for 7 days without paying. If you decide that Lightworks is worth your money, you can upgrade to Lightworks Pro and unlock additional features.
Like many professional software applications, Lightworks doesn’t exactly have the most approachable user interface out there. In fact, some users of Adobe Premier have called it “nightmarish,” but we wouldn’t go as far. That said, it certainly requires some getting used to, so keep that in mind.
Pros: Uses Gstreamer, free and open source.
Cons: Doesn’t support hardware acceleration.
Pitivi could be described as the Linux alternative to Windows Movie Maker. Both video editors have a clear user interface that doesn’t present its users with a steep learning curve, and both are intended to help regular people express themselves through videomaking. Of course, Windows Movie Maker is no longer in development, whereas Pitivi is developed by a fantastic community of people who believe in open source software.
Pitivi is based on GStreamer, a pipeline-based multimedia framework whose purpose is to link together a wide variety of media processing systems to complete complex workflows. What this means for Pitivi users is that they can import just about any video file format and render projects using any supported container and codec combination.
Pros: 8K support, wide array of editing features.
Cons: Doesn’t support as many codecs as other video editors.
First released in 2002, Cinelerra is a venerable video editor that works only on Linux. It was actually the first 64-bit non-linear editor in the world, which is quite an achievement considering what competition Cinelerra has.
Cinelerra’s user interface is similar to other non-linear video editors, such as Adobe Premiere and Vegas Pro. Its video editing engine can work in both RGBA and YUVA color spaces and edit 8K footage. Unfortunately, Cinelerra doesn’t support quite as many codecs as other video editors.
Pros: Great choice for encoding, sharpening, and de-noising.
Cons: Lacks timeline.
Avidemux isn’t like other video editors on this list. It’s actually a video encoder with basic cutting, filtering, and video processing capabilities. Avidemux comes in handy when you want to quickly convert a video file from one format to another. You can also use it to get rid of image noise or increase the sharpness of your footage.
Using Avidemux for simple video edits is certainly possible, but its lack of proper timeline and multi-track editing makes it less than suitable for the job.
Pros: Powerful alternative to Adobe After Effects.
Cons: Uncertain future.
Natron is an open source compositing software that makes it possible to add various visual and 3D effects to videos using industry-standard tools like keying, roto/rotopaint, and 2D tracking. Its relatively simple user interface hides many layers of complexity, which you can explore at your own pace.
From 2013 to 2018, the development of Natron was supported by Inria, a French national research institution focusing on computer science and applied mathematics. With Inria out of the picture, the future of Natron is not certain.
Regardless of whether you’re looking for a simple video editor to help you edit footage recorded on your last vacation or a professional solution fit for an aspiring filmmaker, there’s no reason to switch to a different operating system because the number of fantastic Linux video editors has never been greater. Best of all, most Linux video editors are available for free, so you can realize all your video-editing aspirations even if you’re on a tight budget.