The 5 Best Linux Video Editors of 2020

Easily manage your videos in your Linux environment

Linux offers a rich diversity of video-editing equipment that spans use cases ranging from tweaks to your YouTube cat videos to high-end productions intended for broadcast television.

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Rendering an animated title with OpenShot
  • One of the easiest to learn video editors on the market.

  • Clean and user-friendly interface.

  • Outstanding collection of transitions and titles.

  • Supports a large number of video, audio, and image formats.

  • Outstanding export feature (can export to numerous formats).

  • Can be run as an AppImage.

  • Depends upon Blender and can be a bit finicky due to that.

  • Some animated titles can take a very long time to render.

  • Cannot handle more complex edits.

  • Random crashes can be experienced.

  • Animated titles can break if Blender isn’t updated along with OpenShot.

  • Video import can be slow.

  • Not professional grade.

OpenShot is a non-linear, multi-track video editor that offers one of the most shallow learning curves of any editor you will ever use. The interface is well designed and the feature set is quite extensive. Included out of the box, you’ll find a wide range of supported video/audio/image formats (including 4K video support), curve-based keyframe animations, integrated desktop drag and drop, unlimited tracks and layers, complex clip editing, easy-to-create transitions, real-time previews, compositing, image overlays, watermarks, title templates, keying, and effects.

OpenShot is considered an all-purpose video editor and can serve your average editing needs. If you need more complex editing tools, OpenShot might fail you. However, thanks to the ease-of-use associated with this tool, it is perfectly suited for people with little to no experience with video editing. The one caveat to adding animations is that some of the more complicated clips can take a while to render.

Because OpenShot is found in the standard repositories, installing OpenShot is as simple as opening your distribution’s app store, searching for OpenShot, and clicking install.

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Creating a new video with Kdenlive
  • Easy to use interface.

  • Wide range of file format support.

  • Customizable interface.

  • Fast video import.

  • No animated titles included.

  • Can be slow to process video.

  • Depends upon some KDE libraries.

  • Not professional grade.

Kdenlive was born from the KDE project and is one of the best open-source alternatives to iMovie. If you’re migrating from macOS, this tool is what you want.

Like OpenShot, Kdenlive is an all-purpose, multi-track, non-linear video editor that supports a wide range of video, audio, and image formats. Unlike OpenShot, Kdenlive offers a customizable layout, so you can make the process better fit your needs.

Kdenlive supports tiles using texts and images, built-in effects and transitions, audio and video scopes for footage balance, proxy editing, autosave, and keyframable effects.

Like OpenShot, Kdenlive can be installed from the standard repositories, so all you have to do is open your distribution’s app store, search for Kdenlive, and click Install.

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Editing a video in the Shotcut Video Editor
  • Efficient video processing.

  • Some built-in effects and transitions.

  • 4K support.

  • Built-in audio mixing.

  • Native timeline editing (no video import necessary).

  • Steeper learning curve.

  • Audio can get a bit complex.

  • Not professional grade.

In some respects, Shotcut plays in the same field as both OpenShot and Kdenlive. However, Shotcut is a bit more advanced than the other two. Like OpenShot, Shotcut features support for 4K video, so if you’re looking for a higher resolution project with more advanced features, Shotcut might be your best bet.

The feature set for Shotcut includes a wide range of video/audio/image formats, native timeline editing, supports different resolutions and framerate clips in a single project, audio filters and effects, video transitions and filters, multitrack timeline, unlimited redo/undo, and advanced editing tools.

Although Shotcut cannot be found in the standard repositories, it runs as an AppImage.

The biggest caveat to Shotcut is the learning curve. You won’t find this tool to be quite as simple as either OpenShot or Kdenlive — but the developers created plenty of video tutorials to help you along the way.

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Editing a video in the Flowblade video editor
  • Simple interface.

  • Shallow learning curve.

  • Large amount of filters.

  • Bins to keep track of project files.

  • Fast video file importing.

  • Lack of animated titles.

  • Not professional grade.

The Flowblade interface is similar in layout to OpenShot, as is the feature set. One of the highlights of Flowblade is the included extension filter set for video, audio, and images. Like OpenShot, Flowblade focuses on ease-of-use, so you won’t find a terribly steep learning curve. Flowblade’s bag of tricks includes drag-and-drop support, proxy editing, a large range of supported video/audio/image formats, batch rendering, watermarks, and video transitions.

Flowblade was written in Python, so you might find the application responds faster than both OpenShot and Kdenlive. Flowblade is also available in the standard repositories, so installation only requires you open your distribution’s app store, search for Flowblade, and click Install.

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Cutting a video clip in VidCutter
  • Incredibly simple to use.

  • Great tool for splitting and merging clips.

  • Small footprint (doesn’t take up much hard-disk space).

  • Limited in scope.

  • Not professional grade.

If you’re looking for absolute simplicity, VidCutter shines. This particular tool really only does one thing: split and merge video clips. It won't add transitions, effects, or anything fancy. And unlike the other tools listed here, VidCutter does not include a multitrack, non-linear timeline. In fact, you get one track and that’s it.

VidCutter includes a handy SmartClip feature, which makes it really easy to select the portion of the clip you want to cut. If you’re looking for a video editor that can work with multiple tracks and do fancy transitions and animations, VidCutter isn't ideal, but for the means to splice a few clips together, it gets the job done.

Although Vidcutter does support most of the common file formats, it is a bit picky on framerate, so if you’re filming at 30 fps on a GoPro, you might find yourself out of luck with the import.

VidCutter resides on its own repository, so you’ll have to add it using the following commands (on Ubuntu or other Debian-based distributions):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ozmartian/apps
sudo apt update
sudo apt install vidcutter