Top 5 Video Editing Programs For Linux

If you're using the Linux operating system, you'll know that there are tons of video editing programs available for free. However, as with most Linux programs, finding the best program that meets your needs can be difficult - most of the developers are "indie" and don't advertise their wares, unlike the PC platform.

In this article, I'd like to highlight the top 5 Linux video editing programs that I've come across based on friends' feedback and market research.

1. Kdenlive

One of the better Linux video editing programs is Kdenlive. This nifty little program supports major file formats, including DV, AVCHD and HDV editing formats. I like that it supports a huge range of camcorders - from low resolution to professional grade devices.

The application itself is very intuitive to use and includes a timeline that houses unlimited number of video and audio tracks, as well as tools to move, crop, merge audio, text, video and image clips.

2. Kino

The next Linux video editing application which is quite popular is Kino. Kino can import raw DV-AVI and DV files, and as good support for various from digital camcorders.

What's interesting about Kino is its ability to capture from FireWire camcorders. Many smaller video editing applications require you to have a video file sitting on your desktop for import into the program. In the case of Kino, you can hook up a camcorder and stream video over through FireWire - which is a nice touch.

Kino also has all the standard video editing controls - a storyboard view with drag-n-drop for video clips, plus a trimmer which allows cutting and joining of videos. It also has some great video effects and transitions. Video effects include black / white, sepia tone, reverse, soft focus, etc. Transitions include fades, dissolves and extensible wipes.

3. Cinelerra

Cinelerra is an attempt at creating a non-linear editing system on Linux that matches the features of Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro. It's an ambitious open source project, as it also includes a video compositor to rival Adobe After Effects, Smoke on Linux or Shake.

The application provides the user with a time-based view of all video and audio tracks, along with keyframe data (e.g. camera movement and effects) The user can then scrub through the video footage using a viewer screen, or add video and audio effects through a resource window.

Finally the video compositor allows the user to view the final project as it would look when rendered. YOu can adjust the positions of video objects in the compositor, which also updates real-time in response to user input. As you can imagine, Cinelerra is quite powerful and needs a powerful machine. If you're running Linux on an old machine, Cinelerra may not be a good choice. But if you have a powerful CPU and graphics card, it's a great video editing program for Linux.

4. PiTiVi

PiTiVi is an intuitive and simple video editor for Linux. The program is defined to be fun and simple to use - as you can tell from their quirky and modern looking website.

I like the fact that the program has a very clean, crips user interface - minus all the complicated controls that something like Cinelerra has. There's a Media Library and Effect Library on the upper left, a timeline at the bottom, as well as a video viewing window on the upper right.

You can do all the standard video clip manipulation - trimming, splitting, merging of clips and also add great video effects. I think PiTiVi is a great tool if you're out to do quick and simple video editing and want a tool that's straightforward and has no fuss.

5. OpenShot

OpenShot is a nice little Linux video editor with extensive editing and compositing features. It allows you to work with HD video formats, including HDV and AVCHD and also deploy a huge range of video effects.

As a program, OpenShot relies on a variety of other smaller programs. For example, it relies on FFmpeg to provide support for video, audio and image formats. It also uses Blender in the background to support 3D animated titles. What OpenShot does is to present the user with a nice overall user interface combining all these video editing elements.

Besides trimming, cutting and merging video, OpenShot also has a nice range of effects. In particular, I like the support for scrolling motion picture credits and the ability to chroma key to superimpose my subjects onto different video backgrounds.

Wrapping Up ...

If you're looking for some great video editing programs for Linux, look no further than the five options listed above. Of course, there may be other programs out there, but these five are the ones for which I've heard great feedback.

The nice thing about Linux programs are their small application footprint (they don't take up much size on your computer) and stability. Of course, in general, they are not as good as commercial software, but if you're just looking a simple tool - they'll do just fine. For more options on video editing software, check out my guide here. Until next time, have fun editing video on Linux!