8 Best Free Open-Source Video Editors

Are you tired of spending a fortune on expensive video editing software? Look no further! Say goodbye to costly subscriptions and get to know 7 best open-source video editors featured in this article.

These free options offer professional-level editing features and are constantly improving with community contributions.

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned professional, there's open-source video editing software for everyone. Keep reading to find out which one suits your needs the best!

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What is an open-source video editor?

This type of video editing software is distributed under an open-source license. It means that the source code of the program is freely available for users to view and distribute according to the terms of the license.

Open-source video editing software offers users the ability to customize and extend the functionality to suit their specific needs.

This approach contrasts with proprietary software, where the source code is kept private. Users of such programs typically must pay for licenses or subscriptions.

Open-Source Video Editors: Summary Table

Program Platform Key Features Interface Our Rating
Kdenlive
Windows
macOS
Linux
Multi-Track editing, Effects, Transitions Modern
5.0
OpenShot
Windows
macOS
Linux
Simple Interface, Keyframe Animation Basic
4.8
Blender
Windows
macOS
Linux
3D Animation, VFX, Compositing Modern
4.7
Shotcut
Windows
macOS
Linux
Wide Range of Filters and Effects Simple
4.5
Olive
Windows
macOS
Linux
Node-Based Editing, Keyframes Modern
4.3
Flowblade
Linux
Trimming, Cutting, Compositing Simple
4.2
LiVES
Linux
Real-Time Effects, Clip Adjustment Outdated
3.9

1. Kdenlive

Kdenlive is a versatile free video editor originally designed for GNU/Linux systems, but it also runs on Windows and macOS.

The layout is customizable, allowing you to arrange panels and tools according to your preferences.

Editing features:

  • Multi-track video editing;
  • Clip management (trimming, splitting, merging);
  • Transitions (fades, wipes, slides);
  • Effects and filters (color correction, blur);
  • Keyframe animation;
  • Audio editing (volume adjustment, effects);
  • Titling and text effects;
  • Chroma keying (green screen);
  • Speed adjustment;
  • Proxy editing.
Kdenlive

Pros:

  • Format support. This open-source video editing software supports a wide array of video and audio formats and codecs. This allows users to work with various media files without conversion.
  • Proxy editing. This feature enables smoother playback and editing of high-resolution video footage on less powerful hardware by using lower-resolution proxy files.
  • Integration. It integrates with other open-source software and libraries, such as FFmpeg and MLT, which provide additional functionality and enhance its capabilities.
  • Customizable. The free video editor allows users to customize the interface and workflow according to their preferences. This makes it adaptable to different editing styles and needs.

Cons:

  • Learning curve. While the interface is user-friendly, mastering professional features such as keyframe animations and advanced effects may require time and practice.

2. OpenShot

OpenShot is a user-friendly free video editor with a simple interface and a wide range of features. This has made it a hit among content creators, filmmakers, and YouTubers.

The open-source video editor is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, making it accessible to a wide range of users regardless of their operating system.

Editing features:

  • Trimming and cutting;
  • Splitting;
  • Merging;
  • Clip resizing and scaling;
  • Playback speed adjustment;
  • Audio editing;
  • Title editor;
  • Keyframe animation;
  • Transitions;
  • Video effects.
OpenShot

Pros:

  • Unlimited layers. Users can work with unlimited layers, allowing for complex video editing projects with multiple elements.
  • Tutorial on interface. The free video editing software offers a tutorial upon launching the program. This guide helps new users get familiar with the features quickly, reducing the learning curve and making it easier to start editing videos.

Cons:

  • Performance constraints. Some users have reported issues with performance when handling high-resolution videos or projects with a large number of effects and transitions.
  • Limited advanced tools. Compared to some professional software, this program lacks certain advanced features required for complex editing tasks.

3. Blender

While primarily known as a modeling and animation software, Blender also includes a powerful video editing module.

The open-source video editor comes with a variety of built-in effects and transitions to enhance your videos. Plus, it seamlessly integrates 3D elements into video projects, allowing for unique visual effects and animations.

The program is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can download the appropriate version for your operating system from the official website or through Steam.

Editing features:

  • Multi-track editing;
  • Cut, split, and trim;
  • Video transitions;
  • Keyframe animation;
  • Audio editing, mixing, and syncing;
  • Effects and filters;
  • Text and titles;
  • Speed control;
  • Proxy editing;
  • 3D integration;
  • Rendering and exporting.
Blender

Pros:

  • Python scripting. For those with programming knowledge, the program allows scripting with Python, enabling automation and customization of editing tasks.
  • Multi-track editing. The video editing software allows users to utilize up to 32 slots for adding video, images, audio, scenes, masks, and effects. This provides flexibility in editing complex projects.
  • Cross-disciplinary tool. This is not just a free video editor. It's a versatile tool for 3D modeling, animation, compositing, and more, making it suitable for multimedia projects.

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve. Interface and workflow are complex, especially for beginners, requiring a significant time investment to learn.

4. Shotcut

Shotcut has become a well-known open-source video editor in recent years. This software is available for free download on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

Users can arrange and edit video and audio clips on a timeline, allowing for precise control over the process. The free video editing software offers a range of effects and filters that users can apply to enhance their projects.

Editing features:

  • Timeline editing;
  • Trimming and splitting;
  • Multi-track editing;
  • Video transitions;
  • Filters and effects;
  • Chroma keying;
  • Audio editing;
  • Keyframe animation;
  • Text and titles;
  • Speed control.
Shotcut

Pros:

  • Supported formats. This free open-source video editor supports various multimedia formats, providing flexibility in editing different types of files.
  • 4K resolution. Users can edit videos in 4K resolution, ensuring high-quality output for their projects.

Cons:

  • Performance issues. there may be occasional performance issues, such as lagging or crashing when working with large or complex video projects.

5. Olive

Olive is a simple open-source video editor for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Unlike some other open-source alternatives that may feel clunky or outdated, this software boasts a sleek and modern layout. This makes it accessible to users of all skill levels.

Editing features:

  • Timeline editing;
  • Cutting and trimming;
  • Effects and transitions;
  • Color grading;
  • Audio editing;
  • Keyframe animation;
  • Compositing and layering;
  • Proxy editing;
  • Multi-camera editing.
Olive

Pros:

  • Multi-camera editing. For projects involving footage from multiple cameras, this free video editing software provides tools for synchronizing and editing such setups. This simplifies switching between different angles and perspectives.
  • Integrated scripting. Users can take advantage of the built-in scripting support. This enables the automation of repetitive tasks and the creation of custom effects and workflows using Python.

Cons:

  • Feature set. While the program offers a wide range of features, some tools are still missing or underdeveloped, such as motion tracking, 3D effects, and advanced audio editing.

6. Flowblade

Flowblade is a free and open-source video editing software that offers a simple and intuitive interface for users. It is customized for Linux-based operating systems and receives continual updates from developers.

This is a full-fledged non-linear editing system used in the film and broadcast industry.

In traditional linear video editing, video footage is edited sequentially from start to finish, much like cutting and splicing film on a physical reel. Non-linear editing, on the other hand, allows users to work with video clips independently of their sequence in the final project.

Editing features:

  • Multi-track editing;
  • Proxy editing;
  • Trimming and cutting;
  • Transitions and effects;
  • Keyframe animation;
  • Audio editing;
  • Color correction and grading;
  • Motion composition;
  • Audio and video effects plugins;
  • Keyboard shortcuts customization.
Flowblade

Pros:

  • Rotoscoping. The program includes a rotoscoping tool that enables users to create precise masks around objects or people in their footage. This allows for selective editing and compositing.
  • Format support. It supports a wide range of video formats, including ProRes, AVCHD, and RED R3D, among others. This flexibility ensures that you can work with footage from virtually any source without worrying about compatibility issues.
  • Audio visualization. The free video editor provides a detailed waveform visualization for audio tracks, making it easy to identify and adjust segments with precision.

Cons:

  • OS availability. The software is only available for Linux operating systems, limiting its accessibility for users on other platforms.

7. LiVES

LiVES, an acronym for "Linux Video Editing System", is open-source video editor designed for Linux and Unix-like operating systems.

The free video editor supports a wide range of formats, including popular ones like MP4, AVI, MPEG, and more. This ensures compatibility with various media sources, facilitating seamless integration into existing workflows.

Editing features:

  • Timeline editing;
  • Trimming and splitting;
  • Effects and transitions;
  • Keyframe animation;
  • Text and titles;
  • Audio editing;
  • Green screen (Chroma Key);
  • Multi-track editing;
  • Masking and compositing;
  • Batch processing;
  • Screen recording.
LiVES

Pros:

  • Customizable effects. Users can create custom effects using the built-in scripting language, which opens up endless creative possibilities.
  • Batch processing. The software can process multiple video files simultaneously. It will apply the same edits or effects to all clips at once, which can save time and effort.

Cons:

  • Outdated interface. The user interface may appear less modern compared to some other video editing software, which could deter new users.

FAQ

Can I use free video editors for professional work?
Yes, many options mentioned in this article are powerful enough to be used for professional video editing tasks, depending on your specific requirements.
Can I contribute to open-source video editors?
Yes, many developers welcome contributions from the community, including code contributions, bug reports, feature requests, documentation improvements, and translations.
Are there tutorials available for learning how to use each program?
Yes, there are numerous tutorials available online for the most popular open-source video editors. They cover a wide range of topics from basic editing to advanced techniques.
Can I redistribute modified versions of the open-source video editing software?
Yes, under most open-source licenses, you are allowed to modify and redistribute the software, as long as you comply with the terms of use. They may include providing attribution and sharing your modifications under the same license.
Is there a support team available?
Open-source video editors often have active communities of users and developers who provide support through forums, mailing lists, chat rooms, and other channels.

Conclusion

In conclusion, free video editing software is a great alternative to expensive and often complicated programs. With their wide range of features, these options are perfect for beginners and professionals alike.

Not only do they provide a cost-effective solution, but they also foster community collaboration and improvement. With continuous updates and contributions from developers all over the world, these projects are constantly evolving and improving.

Ultimately, the best free open-source video editor for you will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and level of expertise.

Tamal Das

Expert Tech Writer

Tamal is a tech writer at Icecream Apps. After completing his MS in Science, he joined reputed IT consultancy companies to acquire hands-on knowledge of IT technologies. Now, he’s a professional content writer of B2B and B2C software products and also a meticulous software reviewer whose reviews on applications and web apps have been published in reputed technology websites. He has already been published on such reputable sites like MakeUseOf, Geekflare, AddictiveTips. When he’s not writing, he researches the internet and technology journals to stay updated about the latest happenings in the SaaS industry.
6 min read
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