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Shotcut: Free, open source, cross-platform video editor (shotcutapp.com)
358 points by susi22 on Feb 1, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 138 comments

Shotcut (on Linux at least) just doesn't work.

I've used pretty much all amateur video-making software for Windows and some for Mac, Screenflow, FinalCut Pro, etc.

The best by far is FinalCut Pro (Mac-only), because it automatically creates proxy files and allows you to edit everything in real time with no lag, even when adding complicated effects.

The situation on Linux is dismal. The only good one is https://kdenlive.org/. It's actually I'd say at par to FinalCut in terms of performance, although the UI could use some clean up. It's the one I use because the other ones would either keep crashing, or be impossibly slow.

Blender is the best free software video editor across GNU/Linux, Windows and Mac. I've used it to edit a feature length movie. It's not perfect at all, but doesn't crash and doesn't crap out when you give it a slightly unusual formatted file.

I third this. It's one of the best tools out there for video, and it's hidden in what most people refer to as a 3D content creation suite. I've used it professionally to good result.

Can confirm that blender is incredibly light on resources and in contrast to most NLEs doesn't seem to crash or get unexpectedly bogged down.

They don't even mention video editing though, only 3D.

I wonder why (really, have no idea)?

I edited lots of screencasts in Blender. Can confirm it's more than suitable and above basic. There is a complete series on Youtube on how to use Blender for video editing.

Looking at the documentation, I was under the impression that all it could do was basic cutting and simple things like cropping. Can it do simple effects, like video overlays?

Yea, there are lots of effects and tools hidden in there! I've been able to implement every effect I've ever needed without much effort. I actually have been using blender since I was a kid so I know my way around better than most. I'll edit this comment later with some quick tips or examples.

Sorry for the shortness of this, but I know everybody strapped for time and might find this handy.

Things Blender capable of for video:

* Advanced graphical node based compositing

* "Effects Strips": Essentially generates a strip in the sequence editor that you can layer above the target media strip. Like using a Photoshop layer for one specific effect.

* Decent audio mixing capabilities

* Fantastic motion tracking (advantage of being built into your creation suite)

Pro Tip: Make sure your output frame rate is the same as the videos you are going to import. Otherwise the audio gets out of sync.

There is a nice tutorial video series (31 videos so far!) here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjyuVPBuorqIhlqZtoIvn...

Blender is an amazing piece of software, although I've only used it for the 3D modeling and animation features. The flexibility of the UI is something I wish more software would adopt.

I share the same frustrations but I think honestly at this point Davinci Resolve 14 is the best video editor for Linux - nothing really competes. It is a bit of resource hog, but they have added a ton of capability in the last few years in regard to non-linear editing and I think if you seriously need to edit video on Linux that is where you should be looking. Also it's free. https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/

No h264 / h265 import on Linux though, which is a shame as that's pretty much what all consumer cameras produce.

I'm a marketing sucker, I'll admit it, and this looks amazing, and it's free.

Forget that. It's not working properly (read: at all) on Linux.

Could you elaborate slightly? I only got as far as discovering it doesn't import h264 files, I'm wondering what issues I'd have if I got beyond that.

I know on some (probably most) platforms you have to symlink some libs to make it run. Are you maybe just talking about that?

I've symlinked everything and I got it to start (at least the welcome dialog).

After that, it just crashes with an assertion. It seems that has to do with missing or wrong configs, but there's not much else to be found on google. My configs are present and look fine.

Also, only rpm based distributions are officially supported, but a lot of people hack around that to get it working on Ubuntu (like me).

Thanks! I also installed it on Ubuntu and got at least far enough to attempt to import footage so I guess I dodged whatever bullet you ran into. Doesn't sound encouraging, all the same.

I've used Resolve quite a bit and think outside of maybe blender it's the best free editor, plus it's not intimidating like blender can be.

I didn't realize there was a Linux version. I've been using this on Windows for years.

I recently used Lightworks on Linux. It worked fine. Quite a bit more powerful and hence complicated than the tools I used before.

It's proprietary and the free as in beer version is limited to 720p mp4 ("YouTube") export, which was sufficient for my use case.

DaVinci Resolve free edition also looks nice: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/

The tool started to work on color, but it looks like they've made a decent editor also.

I was a paying Pro customer for Lightworks but when I had a very important and conceptually simple project come up - conversion of a large archive of globally unique, 8mm film reels that had been pre-digitized in to cut and labelled portions - the software couldn't cut the mustard and they literally came back to me with a reply like "that is not our use case".

The content was super important stuff - early footage of many areas of the world not otherwise filmed - and was destined for Wikimedia Commons.

It was the worst experience I've ever had with commercial software since Windows 'corrected' an NTFS volume in ~2005 and nixxed the lot. From memory it was something to do with the input codec (beyond my control as lossless was a requirement), the output codec, and the aspect ratio. The software just couldn't cut the stuff. I was left to go back to ffmpeg and VLC. I will never again waste time learning a commercial UI.

Lightworks is a good editor but I found its performance on my desktop on 1080p footage could sometimes be worse than editing 4k footage with Final Cut Pro on my macbook (that could be because FCPX generates proxies but I'm not certain about that as it seems very fast scrubbing through footage even when its still on my SD card. FCPX is also amazing at accepting most video formats and dimensions. Good luck getting Lightworks to do something unusual like export at a 1:1 aspect ratio for instagram.

Have you tried Flowblade[1]? It is a Linux only video editor that is frequently missed or forgotten. They had some great releases last year that greatly improved the editor. They also keep running plans for future releases in their release notes.

[1] https://jliljebl.github.io/flowblade/

Did you try Lightworks[0]? No affiliation with the company, i'm just curious how it compares with the others.

[0] https://www.lwks.com/

Lightworks has a very narrow use case, heavily focused on cutting feature films and longform video with a very different workflow than most non-Avid NLEs.

It shines with large video asset databases, and once you get a few weeks of muscle memory behind it (or a few months if you're coming from FCP or FCPX), it's a fast tool when making lots of simple cuts. It has a well-earned reputation for cutting stuff like drama and comedy, where effects and pre-rendered sequences take a back seat to well-timed cuts between takes and fast iterative editing feedback. The node-based compositor is... unique, but I'm not sure I'm qualified to say it's an objectively easier or better workflow than AE — YMMV.

It's also capable of doing other things like handling basic A/V effects and compositing, but not as well as other NLEs or compositors. Its best output formats are behind a licensing wall, though they're still far cheaper than Adobe, Apple, or Avid, and you can do almost all your actual cutting with the free version. While it's more stable than some FOSS NLEs, it's still shakier than Avid or Premiere on well-supported hardware, with the distinct advantage that it's got native Linux support.

The weirdest part, though, was that it was supposed to have been open-sourced after EditShare acquired it, then they didn't, and they've been saying "it'll be open sourced when it's ready" for almost 4 years now.[1]

[1] https://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&func=view&c...

The few times I had to edit video with Kdenlive, it was very prone to crashing. That was about a year ago, so it might have changed.

Kdenlive crashes _a lot_. But recently I discovered that it crashes much less if GPU effects are disabled and the binaries from their webpage (not from Debian, etc.) are used. Still it can be frustrating to use just because of the crashing, otherwise a quite nice program...

Ever tried blender? Yes, it has an (Standalone) video editor build in. https://www.blender.org/features/video-editing/

It does crash, but it's sane. I have rarely lost work because of it.

I think Linux varies a lot according to distro and packages/libs installed, it might be that, too.

Shotcut wouldn't keep working with XFCE4 Xubuntu 16.04 for me. If I applied any heavier effect it would freeze, then crash.

OpenShot is far less crashy in recent years than it used to be.

> because it automatically creates proxy files and allows you to edit everything in real time with no lag

With even cell phones shooting 4k I would think this would be a standard feature. It's not super complex.

Kdenlive is what makes the situation on linux not dismal at all in my opinion. It's bad that it's the only good option, but it is so good that I use it weekly at work now.

Yes, sorry--I meant that it's dismal because there's only 1 that actually works! :-)

The lack of a decent video editor was one of the 2 main reasons that I've come back to Windows after 20 years using Linux as my main machine.

And what's the best for Windows, without getting too spendy?

kdenlive is unfortunately also using the MLT Framework, which is terrible (does basic things like scaling horribly).

What about OpenShot?

I used it recently to edit large video files around around 1h 1080p; Shotcut is rather slow and freezes often when editing big files. But nonetheless its a great project and I hope it will improve in the future.

As long as it doesn't crash constantly. Openshot, Pitivi, Cinelerra and many of the others I've tried are totally unusable because they crash. All the time. Constantly. (Granted I haven't tried any of these in over a year, so hopefully they've gotten better).

The only tool in Linux that's really decent at editing video isn't even a video editing tool. It's Blender.

For the past few years I've just used Resolve in Windows. I'd be excited to try Shortcut and see if it handled better.

Video editing is a though medium though, even if you're just calling ffmpeg a lot. It's worth watching the Vimeo talk and video encoding and how a lot of cameras and cellphone encoders are so crappy they can change framerates on every frame.

I don't know if Shotcut supports it, but in almost all cases it makes sense to edit with smaller proxies rather than massive full-size video files. Obviously this gets truer if your footage is 4k or more, but it's still true of 1080p.

How does it compare directly to Camtasia in a real world comparison?

For example with Camtasia, you can click 1 button and have your desktop + audio + optional webcam all being recorded to your video project, and then you can hop in and edit it with a bunch of great tools and presets. This includes complex animations and tooltips with doing nothing more than dragging around a few sliders.

Basically you can get up and going with an excellent work flow as 1 single person who isn't a video editing god.

Where does Shotcut stand compared to that?

At this point price isn't an issue for people in a position to create videos. It's all about how fast it is to go from an empty folder to a high production quality video.

Camtasia is one of the only reasons why I run Windows so if your project can solve all of those problems, that would be an incredible feat since Camtasia seems to have no intent on supporting anything but Mac / Windows.

Also if it helps gauge the comparison I have tried kdenlive about 6 months ago and compared to Camtasia I would rate kdenlive a 0.001 and Camtasia a 9.5 on the sole task of "quickly create a nice looking screencast".

> At this point price isn't an issue for people in a position to create videos

There's an awful lot of people who want to break into Youtube with no money.

There's also a small but well-represented on HN market of people who want to have an OSS/Free Software only workflow.

I'm all for OSS too but when it comes down to it, if you're serious about video editing, this isn't really a tool you can make compromises on (and trust me, I spent a lot of time trying before pulling the trigger on buying Camtasia).

This is after having recorded about 50 hours of real-time video over a few years. There's just so many things you absolutely need to be happy and productive when recording -- especially if you plan to do this for a living.

Using a bad video editor (and I'm not saying Shotcut is bad because I haven't installed it yet) is just a really draining and time wasting experience.

It takes me around 70 minutes of real life time to produce 10 minutes of video after years of work flow optimizations and using what I think is one of the best tools available to make screencasts. Almost all of that time is spent editing in Camtasia (stopping and starting the recording, correcting mistakes, adding post-production effects, etc.).

I would love to switch to an open source tool (for many reasons) but the reality of the situation is, I wouldn't switch unless it was remarkable because it's such an important tool if you're livelihood depends on making videos.

And there are way more video recorders than people on earth, lots of people want to create videos from their children, family gatherings, vacations etc. if only they knew how.

Where would you rate Movie Maker, and where would you rate Premiere Pro?

Shotcut and Kdenlive are fundamentally video editors, which happen to be able to do screen recording. Camtasia is specifically a screen recorder.

Camtasia is much more than a screen recorder.

Look at a couple of Youtube videos on Camtasia 9. It is a full fledged editor (and also does audio / video recording too). That's the winning property of it.

You just click a button to start recording, deliver your video content, press stop and then you can immediately start editing your content. Then you export and you're done.

With something like premiere you would have to record your audio and / or video with a different tool and spend a lot of time importing. I also found premier's UI to be crazy complex (in a very non-intuitive way). I haven't tried movie maker.

Camtasia's editing effects are just enough to make really nice screencast style videos without being overwhelming. I've gotten hundreds of positive reviews on my tech courses that were related to the production quality of the videos.

For example, the video on this course page[0] was made fully with Camtasia 9. All of the animations and even the slides / tooltips.

That whale animation and text dropping effect took around 5 minutes to make from scratch once I figured out what I wanted to do. All I had to do was pick some things from a few drop down boxes and drag 2 or 3 sliders around.

[0]: https://diveintodocker.com/

> Camtasia is much more than a screen recorder.

Sure, but fundamentally, Camtasia is a screen recorder. It's purpose is to make screencasts. If you were editing video filmed with a camera, you would find Kdenlive, Premiere etc. more useful than Camtasia.

It depends on the extent of the film recording.

Camtasia works really nicely for doing floating head videos and it has options for dealing with green screens and video touch ups.

That also means it works fine for doing product review videos or vlogging. Basically video coming in from a single source.

It's not comparable to something like after effects but if you just wanted to record something with a video camera then Camtasia will work no problem for both the recording and the editing of that video.

All of its animations, transitions, zoom, panning and pop up tooltips can be applied to that film recording just like you could with a screencast recording.

You can even combine both that film recording with your screen recording as different tracks. It really is a versatile product for all things related to creating videos.

I'm not affiliated with Camtasia either, and I would switch to an OS solution immediately if something existed that was comparable but the only tool that I know of that is remotely close is Screenflow and it's MacOS only + paid, so it's basically just a direct competitor to Camtasia (Camtasia runs on MacOS too, and its project files are compatible with both Windows and MacOS).

OBS is fantastic for screencasting: https://obsproject.com/

OBS is pretty much best in class for live streaming, but it's not a video editor. Both are much different use cases.

You can use it to record your screen, not just to live stream.

Yes, but then you need another separate tool to do post-production editing. That's where it falls short for usage outside of live streaming.

Does anyone know how this compares to Openshot? Which is also cross platform and open source.

Ive tried both and OpenShot was 100 times better for me. Shotcut was slower for me and I didnt like the UI as much.

For short video editing it is perfect. For large projects I prefer Blender.

Interesting. I had not realized Blender could be used for video editing too.

For a decade or so the situation seemed to be that there were dozens of FOSS editors, all of which claimed to work perfectly but none of which was usable in reality. Blender was the first thing I found that actually worked properly. Having found something that works I'm a bit reluctant to return to the historically infuriating task of evaluating FOSS video editors, but maybe it's time to check out some of the other options again.

Same here, except I gave up on video editing all together because all of the FOSS video editors I tried were trash (I don't use that word lightly but they really were -- completely unusable). Never tried video editing with Blender, have only used it for 3D modeling and rendering.

kdenlive is the only FOSS competitor you can actually use, but I would not recommend it if you are happy with your blender setup, it's not that much better.

There are some closed source options out there like Lightworks that are decent.

After trying out multiple different video editors for simple editing on linux, I've ended up sticking to Blender. There's just no beating the fluidity with which you can throw video and audio channels around, group them, apply effects to groups, etc. It probably helps that I taught myself how to 3d model in blender so I was familiar with the shortcuts: Like every other feature of blender, it has a steep learning curve.

Yep, there are quite a few movies done with it, all 3D though.


The problem with Blender is that its UI is completely different of the other editors. You'd have to invest a lot of time learning it.

A better deal than investing a lot of time in recovering from crashes and redoing the same editing project with different software.

I'll have to try this. There's a big gap for the "I just want to make a few cuts to this 10 minute video and fix the audio levels" tool. Until now I've been using avidemux which isn't really ideal.

Being a hobby blender user i have used many Video editing softwares but i keep coming back to blender as my one stop shop for everything. Effects, Video Editing, Sound sync.. Other editors i use are KDenlive, Pitivi, Openshot and lesser known VLMC from the creators of VLC player.

Did you ever try cinelerra[1]?

[1] http://cinelerra.org/

Ohh yes cinelerra too long time back, it is very nice. But as i said Blender i just the stuff for me. Shortcuts and everything.

Making cross-platform video editor is no easy task, kudos. I'll definitively check it out.

May I suggest working on your logo and loosing the AdSense ads on your page? Unfortunately, AdSense ads are borderline malware these days. I got one for MacKeeper and another for a fishy VPN.

I've used Shotcut, and it was easy to use, and its simplicity reminded me of iMovie, which I also recommend for beginners. KDENlive was also good enough for most projects. As stated by others, the biggest weakness is that these editors are based on MLT framework. But if you cut videos once in a while, these are fine.

As for me, I edit a lot more videos, and I spend a quite of time on doing it. I've tried to work with a lot of different FOSS video editors, except Blender, and my conclusion was always the same -- it's usable, but a little rough on the edge, and has just enough minor bugs or quirks to be irritating and sometimes frustrating. I'm not talking about just crashes, since that happens on all video editors even on Premiere Pro.

Video editing is somewhat similar to coding, as it requires a lot of concentration, intensity, and creativity... There's nothing more frustrating than having the software/tools that gets in your way and block your flow and progress. Also time is money in video production house, often with tight deadlines. Some wedding videographers are offering same-day edits, which sounds insane to me, since video editing takes a lot of time. As for me, it takes about 7 hours to edit 1 hour video.

Currently I'm using Davinci Resolve 14 (on both Mac and Windows but haven't used on Linux yet). So far, it has worked surprisingly well. I really like the built-in audio editing and coloring tools. All this is free, with exception of some features for pro/studio version.

Some have complained the lack of h264/265 import on Linux version of Davinci Resolve, but you can always transcode to "pseudo-lossless" codec such as DNxHR/DNxHD (or ProRes if on Mac) using ffmpeg first. This step is usually automated using script to convert raw footage. Most pro workflow also involves this extra step, because editing on h264 source is really painfully slow and inefficient.

As a side note, the last time I checked, in LA/Hollywood, Avid was still the king of editor, but it may be changing. Anywhere except Hollywood, Premiere Pro CC is definitely the most popular editor, especially when it's used in conjunction with After Effects. However, I didn't need AE and I didn't like subscription-based payment model. Avid Composer First is free version of Avid, but it can't output 4k, and Avid UI is horrible.

> Some have complained the lack of h264/265 import on Linux version of

> Davinci Resolve, but you can always transcode to "pseudo-lossless"

> codec such as DNxHR/DNxHD (or ProRes if on Mac) using ffmpeg first. This

> step is usually automated using script to convert raw footage. Most pro

> workflow also involves this extra step, because editing on h264 source is

> really painfully slow and inefficient.

The preferred workflow would be import h264, edit using proxies, then render the result from the original files. A pro workflow shouldn't involve a gratuitous transcoding step. Mind you a real pro workflow wouldn't involve ingesting h264 files at all.

But it might be true that I should just get over myself and transcode the files before editing.

Used to use this beautiful piece of sw, i only wished it worked on slower pc's and that it was more easily scriptable. Had to drop it for a cli handmade solution[0]

[0] https://github.com/tomcooks/giulioandreotti666

I've used this on the Mac and it is good enough for me - putting titles on videos before uploading to YouTube (I sometimes do a video of playing an instrument).

It is better than iMovie in this regard because it doesn't require copying the giant file into some "project" directory like iMovie seems to.

> It is better than iMovie in this regard because it doesn't require copying the giant file into some "project" directory like iMovie seems to.

This is my biggest gripe with iMovie. You need to have double the space just to start editing.

I guess their idea was to allow users to move their video files around and delete them at will without being able to mess up the iMovie project.

However, iMovie has great screen transitions. Is there any other free or open source program that compares in that regard?

After evaluating various OSS video editors, I settled on Shotcut, and have been using it to make daily videos.

Its simple, functional, and does exactly what I need to do: cut, arrange, and splice clips and audio and export video.

I'm not going to say its the best, I'd really like to have the ability to dub in app instead of running audacity in the background, and I find its ability to put titles and text kinda wonky.

But its a simple tool that does exactly what I need to do and is Open Source.

Please could you make the Linux version easier to consume? Either a deb/rpm package and perhaps a docker image? :)

At the moment, it is pretty unclear of the exact install process!

You just unzip the bz2 file and then double click the Shotcut.desktop icon. There isn't an install procedure as such.

If you're on Ubuntu or similar, then once you're running it you can right click on the Icon and choose "Lock to launcher"

There is a snap package, does that not work for you?

From the description, that is just the app.. not the dependencies... So the snap doesn't really add anything (other than confinement) compared to the tar.

Thanks, I see. Unfortunately I don't have my Linux machine with. I'll try it later and report my experience.

Does this have proxy editing? This is an absolute must in the age of UHD resolution and up. I believe Kdenlive has proxy editing.

Kdenlive definitely has proxy editing.

I'm currently doing all my editing in iMovie and I'm not very happy with it since it has a few glitches I frequently run into.

Anybody got a link to a comparison between this and iMovie? "Shortcut" seems to be quite ungoogleable.

The name is 'shotcut' but I definitely read it as 'shortcut' the first time too

It uses both GTK and Qt, someone knows why? And what different purpose they solve?

I could be wrong, but it looks like it is an optional dependency that adds additional image format support to MLT, which is a dependency of Shotcut. Also, some Qt builds require at least glib for event loop integration and some even require GTK as dependency to enable GTK styling in Qt apps. The build script for Shotcut appears to have an option to disable this dependency.

I wish this was good but it isn't, unfortunately I have to run a windows partition just for vegas, seems like a complete waste when everything else that I use runs in linux.

How cut video and save it's fragment without full rencoding?

You can use ffmpeg for this, using "copy" for audio and video, but setting "-ss <hh:mm:ss.0>" for the start time and "-t <seconds>" for the length of your cut beginning from the start timestamp given with -ss.

avidemux can do this as I recall. It can also re-encode video if you decide you need that.

I'm looking forward for the Pitivi 1.0 release because it feels quite natual to work with (and uses GStreamer) and I expect some minor bugs to be solved until 1.0

Interesting name. I worked on an app called "ShotPut Pro" as an intern years ago that did the opposite (snatch video from big cameras).

The speaker configuration on the front page is not correct. Those are M-Audio AV-40's and only one of them should have the volume knob, aux input, and headphone output.

Oh dear, another MLT-based video editor. MLT is seriously bad. They can't even do scale properly.

I would like to have a simple free video editor that can cut and append files together without re-encoding. It's doable with avidemux, but it is just pain to manage.

I wrote one. It's actually a script driven by a video player that prints timestamps on standard out for specific keystrokes, along with a bunch of key combos for jumping back and forth, frame by frame if required. Ffmpeg is invoked at the end to cut the bits out and string them together, using 'copy' codecs.

Works well for the mp4 streams from my helmet camera, reliable key frames etc. For video that's been more highly compressed you'll need to compromise on the cut points if you want to avoid reencoding. And the cuts are abrupt, no fades or transitions.

My use case is to cut segments from one video file and append the segments together. This way I can trim ads or parts I don't want.

The aged virtualdub does this as long as the container is avi (the codec could be avc/h.264 etc). I used avidemux to convert mp4 to avi without reencoding (just change the container format), then use virtualdub to trim it.

Actually I just write time stamps in a text file then use a groovy script to generate a script can be read by virtualdub, run virtualdub with the script to do the trimming.

It has worked for me for many years.

There's an app called Machete that can do this, but it has obvious constraints - can only cut/paste at keyframe boundaries, video/audio streams must be compatible. In practice it's useful for editing one source video, but not for combining separate vids from different sources.

Not free but cheap.

I'm surprised that that's technically possible, actually. Does it just shove the streams into a container format that allows both?

If you cut at I-frames, you don't need to reencode:


If you need more resolution, you can apply more tricks, recompose i-frames from the same data, etc.

I think the usual assumption is that both files have the same codec. In that case you can sometimes actually append the streams, or, with things like cuts, only re-encode a few frames until things line up again.

On the free, closs-platform video editor side of things (-open source) Da Vinci is worth a look or two as well.

Kdenlive is another foss editor based on MLT, like Shotcut.

I've been using Kdenlive for moderately complex projects (now editing an action short and my first feature film!), and I've found it surprisingly good. It does crash every once in a while but generally does what it's supposed to do.

It's a shame that interop with Shotcut isn't great, even though both save their projects as MLT XML. I think there's just one property that you need to add to a Kdenlive XML to make it readable by Shotcut (something like shotcut="1"). That said, I think Shotcut makes much cleaner XMLs.

Tried Davinci Resolve as well. I generally like it, but find it less intuitive to use than Kdenlive (surprisingly, given one is commercial and the other is open source).

One thing I'm working on in my spare time is a MLT <-> FCPXML converter. I collaborate with people who use Final Cut Pro or Premiere, so it will be necessary to exchange projects both ways. I'm surprised that none of the open source video editors support this natively :(

> Tried Davinci Resolve as well. I generally like it, but find it less intuitive to use than Kdenlive (surprisingly, given one is commercial and the other is open source).

Initially Davinci Resolve was born a color grading tool, not a non-linear editor (that's why there a whole tab dedicated to color). The NLE capabilities were added after it was bought by Black Magic Design. That may explain this lack of intuitiveness.

OpenShot https://www.openshot.org/ is also worth a "shot" haha...

Da Vinci just crashes for me, over and over. Its been one of the least stable apps I've ever encountered .. so, ymmv.

Most of the video editing programs I have used (Sony, Corel, Cyberlink, Panasonic) crash often. On this HN, it looks the same for FOSS also. Is there some specific reason behind this?

I do some video editing contract work from time to time. I never know what I will have to use so I have pretty much used all of them. They are unstable because they require huge amount of resources, especially if your looking for 4k source material.

You must have a very powerful machine. I don't have many crashes when working on high end custom built machines, but they do happen.

From most stable to least stable for me have been:

1) Lightworks (2010 announced they were moving to Open Sourcing the code, still hasn't really happened) It has been used for decades now to make Oscar winning films. If you understand the analog way of editing video this makes a lot more sense. Its basically free but has a HUGE learning curve

2) DaVinci Resolve (Most people use it only for color correction but they have added editing recently) My preferred and the one I recommend to everyone when asked what to use.

3) Sony now Magix Vegas Pro - My previously recommended and preferred video editor does a great job on keeping the work flow the work flow and not getting in your way (Lightworks actually does this best but man it is hard to get through the learning curve)

4) Adobe Premier - This thing is a BEAST but it is the defacto standard. Moderate learning curve but it is cross compatible and has every tool available. Great eco-system.

105) Final Cut Pro - I cringe when I have to use it. Only reason this thing has such a following is it is so hard to learn another video editor. Premier was the standard and somehow Final Cut Pro took over around 2008. Boy I really never liked it, but I was always in the minority till the Final Cut X came out. I have lost hours of work and I have also lost hours of work because case sensitivity is optional on OS X and MacOS.

> Adobe Premier - This thing is a BEAST but it is the defacto standard.

I must admit, I've not really heard of Adobe being used in professional editing contexts. With a little research I've found some articles suggesting the BBC was standardising on Adobe Premiere[1]. Article is from 2010, but I can't confirm that happened though. I left that organisation in 2011 and at that time, I was managing a number of Mac based editing suites with Final Cut Pro (FCP).

I then ran a post-production company in London. We had suites full of Avid Media Composer and one solitary FCP, because some people refused to use anything else. (Also had a Baselight grading suite and Avid ProTools in the audio suites). We never considered Adobe Premiere and I can't, off the top of my head, recall any other post- house using it either.

[1] http://www.tvtechnology.com/news/0002/bbc-adopts-adobe-premi...

Just one data point and my usage may not be "pro" the way broadcast or film would be (I've done mainly in-house educational videos for a couple of universities).

We went from Avid in the early/mid 2000's to Final Cut Pro on Mac Pros (in the cheese grater days) to Premiere Pro on Windows workstations which I still use today. First we switched away from FCP when Mac Pros languished and FCPX tossed out a lot of the features we needed. I understand that a lot of those were later replaced but at the time it was a dealbreaker.

With Premiere, we can edit on either MacOS or Windows workstations, performance is good on a properly equipped machine, and it integrates well with the other tools in the suite like Audition, After Effects, and their still-image stuff like Photoshop and Illustrator when needed.

It's not going to work for everyone and I'm still not a fan of the subscription model (much prefer the old way where I'd spend $600 or whatever every few years and be done with it). That said, it doesn't surprise me to see it getting professional use, just as it doesn't surprise me that other production houses find FCPX to be a better fit for their equipment and workflow.

I would say that the use of Premier is easily double of Final Cut Pro (Probably around 50%) with people that make money from video editing. I would say that consumer use I would be surprised if Final Cut Pro would even reach 15%.

> Lightworks [...is] basically free

I've looked at Lightworks before, but it looks like the free version only exports up to 720p? If that's the case, that's an immediate deal-breaker :(

If your looking for a new free editor Davinci Resolve is the clear choice right now. Actually for any money it is my choice. Just 2 years ago it was $2000 and I thought it was well worth the cost.

I experimented with Resolve a bit, but I ran into two issues - first that I had to convert my h264 clips to ProRes, and second that it had some inexplicable rendering glitches in the output (visibly glitchy and corrupted frames).

> convert my h264 clips to ProRes

I would just convert your H264 into a supported format and avoid ProRes if you don't have a lot of RAM and drive space since it makes the compressed H.264 files really big for no real gain. The one HUGE thing is you want your H264 to be in I Frame were each frame is an indvidual frame and makes your CPU use more effecient (Hand brake would be constant framerate). (That is why people go to ProRes it is i frame native BUT it makes the file HUGE and your re-compressing your already compressed files). On windows you would use something like DNxHD but again it is a HUGE file from H.264 source. Ratio s to size RAW 1:1 and ProRess would be 1:4 in size and H.264 would be around 1:0.4

You really want an editing format (i frame) and a delivery format. For editing a x264 lossless works when you are starting with a H.264 source. Unless you are on MacOS there are serious issues with encoding anything ProRes with ffmpeg, handbrake or anything else. Also ProRes file sizes are HUGE (Think 10 times) and I can't see this codec being the future for 4K. Here is a good blog post on H264 and slices http://gentlelogic.blogspot.com/2011/11/exploring-h264-part-...

Here is Apple's official policy with ProRes with anything decoding anything other than Apple Products (ProRes is NOT cross-compatible because you can't encode it other than MacOS):

> “Using any unauthorized implementation (like the FFmpeg and derivative implementations) may lead to decoding errors, performance degradation, incompatibility, and instability.” This is why I avoid ProRes and try to use different i frame codecs.

Davinci supports the following formats inside of the H264 container

H.264 8 bit MPEG4/MP4 (This is what I would target with i frame slices for editing AKA every frame is a indvidual picture)

H.264 QuickTime/MOV

H.264 (Sony XAVCs) QuickTime MP4 (XAVC MIGHT be the future for 4K codec but everyone has their own codecs right now)

So I would use handbrake to just change it to one of those formats. Once you have glitch free playback save your settings and just a one button operation after that. I rarely have a project that I am not converting my source material first anyways and sometimes my whole job on a project is to clean, process and label the video and audio so someone else can edit. Its a pain and it's called an assistant editor.

> second that it had some inexplicable rendering glitches in the output (visibly glitchy and corrupted frames)

Welcome to Codecs they suck right now and have always sucked. I don't use ProRes because I don't rely on Apple standards due to cross compatibility and Apple seems to just make one's life messerable for no reason every blue moon or so. So when you are exporting you actually have to make sure your source is consistant and if it isn't your going to have issues in playback.

When people tell me the editor is not smooth it is 95% of the time the materials codecs. If you don't have consistent frame rate aka 24 frames per minute your computer is decompressing the video while you are edniting and previewing it. Compressed video for playback normally has a variable playback rate to save the file size and it isn't really an issue except while editing video. So you have the consistent frame rate for editing and a variable frame rate for export. So even though you have an export issue it actually is a transcode issue with your source material, normally.

> I was always in the minority till the Final Cut X came out

Final Cut Pro was my first video editor. When X came out, I couldn't stand it. I hated how a lot of Apple fanboys just started apologizing for it. But it was good in a way that it forced the rest of the market to step up its game. I'm glad a lot of studies decided to move away from it. It pretty much turned into iMovie Pro.

This is a mandatory video whenever talking about Final Cut X

Conan O'Brien https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxKYuF9pENQ

This is very helpful. I'll look at the suggestions.

>> They are unstable because they require huge amount of resources ...

This actually is not enough of a reason in theory for the programs to crash. The programs should stop the processing when they run out of resources and allow a graceful exit.

The root cause for crashes then, I am guessing, must be lousy code. Either the entire video editing industry has gotten used to it, so that they are not demanding better solutions and thereby the product companies are not prioritizing fixing these crashes, OR, there are some common libraries that they all using which crash, and these product companies feel helpless. Hopefully someone knows the actual answer! :-)

> The root cause for crashes then, I am guessing, must be lousy code.

Huh? Almost every application just panics when it runs out of memory. Not least because it's actually difficult to do stuff without using memory within typical application frameworks.

At least memory-intensive applications should be tested under such conditions.

When I was at college more than a decade back, I tested many applications under such conditions and my own application too. Most Microsoft's applications survived even with less than 100 bytes of RAM remaining and a disabled virtual memory! This included Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, et al. My own application survived too with a fix or two. Windows Explorer, funnily, crashed. Many non-Microsoft applications crashed.

More recently (2012), I tested two commercial Java profiler applications, JProfiler and Yourkit. They both survived without issues under such conditions.

I would seriously blame codecs. The programming from video editors I am sure is 100% about compromises. You can't get a smooth preview playback of 4K unless you have sunk thousands of dollars into your computer. I am guessing that they are always playing the compromise of you can't really get this but we will give you that all the time. The issue comes when they are playing around with how to control latency and i/o bottle necks.

Missing from your list is HitFilm Express. I really like it. I've learned it in a VFX course and is really excellent for video editing. It is really fun to make some VFX effects in your family videos. Unfortunately, it is Mac and Windows only.

Never used it sorry. I pretty much use only professional level tools currently. There are many other good good enough editors. I actually like Davinci Resolve and Vega due to it actually have limited defaults and simpler editing interface So smaller editors can be great.

Well, like Da Vinci, it is a professional grade tool that has a free version. Since it is a English company, it isn't very well known in USA.

Does it not suffer from crashes problem? :-)

very rare, but my longest movie was 15 minutes.

Video codec installation also contribute to the instability.

I think it's that, by their nature, video editing programs need to use lots of very fast low-level code (C and assembly), and it's really hard to write safe low-level code.

If you're on Linux, this is probably caused by the graphics drivers.

Nope, MacOS. Just doesn't work on my system, and I have no idea why.

Consumer cameras generally record video to h.264, which DaVinci Resolve doesn't read on Linux. So that's a deal breaker for me. Which is a shame as it seems like an extremely capable app (if you're not a FOSS purist).

Or h.265 now...

Video editing is not my thing, but thumbs up for doing it as native app across all three major desktop OSes.

Not really on-topic. But the same folks who have an interest in the subject might know.

I'm looking for a timeline editor in javascript which allows me to build an object to pass to ffmpeg to inject content at certain intervals.

Much like what gifs.com [0] does.

I have found this [1]: but it's not really what I am looking for.

If anyone has come across something similar, let me know. Thanks

[0]: https://i.imgur.com/G1MyBOG.png

[1]: http://marcinignac.com/blog/timeline-js/

When I saw their front page features a screenshot with only a sliver of the screen devoted to the sequencer, I knew they aren't serious about video editing.

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