Ubuntu probably has the most consumer software to offer and it really becomes difficult to discover the best gems among them. But, similar to that, there are not many intuitive or minimal video editing programs for Ubuntu. So, I did all the heavy lifting for you. When I made the switch from Windows 10 to Ubuntu, I tried a bunch of video editing tools for my video work. So, here is a list of the best free video editor for Ubuntu in 2020.
The best free video editor for Ubuntu
Before moving on to the list, there are some video editing jargons and terms that you will read about in this article. It is better that you analyze it first.
- Chronology: It is the lower area of the video editor where you can organize all your video and audio clips.
- Sequence: A sequence consists of multiple video and audio clips. It’s mostly your full edited video
- Depuration: Move cursor over video to preview
- Scale of colors: Change video color to match appearance
- To export: The process of transferring your video to a single playable video file
Ideal for: Easy cutting and trimming of videos.
VidCutter is a small minimal video editor build for Ubuntu. It has a large window in the center to preview your video. At the bottom, you have the video timeline and clip index on the right side. VidCutter allows you to import only 1 video at a time. You can cut the video by moving the pointer on the video timeline. Choose a start point and an end point by clicking the “Start Clip” and “End Clip” button at the bottom. This will give you the desired clip.
If you want to remove a part of the video, you can have multiple start and end points excluding the part. VidCutter will align these parts together and you will have the desired clip. In addition, it has an option called “SmartCut”. If enabled, smooth your cutoff to the nearest frame number and you won’t have a choppy frame.
- Allows you to cut and trim one video clip at a time
- It allows exporting in the same format as the original video.
- SmartCut to allow smoother video cuts
- Hardware encoding for smoother video playback
flatpak install flathub com.ozmartians.VidCutter
flatpak run com.ozmartians.VidCutter
Ideal for: Cut, trim and join videos in a simple way for personal use
Blender comes practically integrated with most Linux distributions. It is easy to install both from the App Store and from the command line. Blender is quite popular for making 3D animations, but very few know that it also comes bundled with a free video editor. To access the video editor, click the + button at the top next to the workspace names. Next, click on “Video Editing” under the Video Editing options. This will open a workspace with video editing tools.
The interface is a bit similar to VidCutter but a bit complex. It has the video timeline at the bottom, the video preview at the top, and the video settings on the right. You can import multiple clips into the timeline and stack them on top of each other. Blender has a a lot of documentation into video editing and it’s good enough to get started. The free video editor for Ubuntu provides a wealth of graphics and coloring tools to give an accurate look.
- Hardware-compatible encoding for smoother playback
- All the basic editing tools like cut, trim, speed up, trim, etc.
- Graphics and color grading tools
sudo apt install blender
Ideal for: Minimal editing for social networks like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
Kdenlive is another advanced but free video editing application developed by the KDE community. It is much broader than Blender in terms of video editing. Unlike other advanced video editors like Lightworks, DaVinci Resolve, Kdenlive has all the tools in one tab. As soon as you import a video, you will have a video timeline at the bottom, a video preview at the top right, video files at the far left followed by the video properties and effects.
It has an extensive set of video filters, transformation, and color tools. I was also able to find a ton of audio filter effects to remove noise and improve speech. It is a nice addition. I also love how multiple clips snap together on the timeline. This ensures that when cutting between clips, there is no gap between them. Other than these, I found Kdenlive to have a clunky and clunky interface. I would prefer that the tools were categorized in different tabs that allow the video preview to have the majority of the screen.
- Wide range of video editing and transformation tools
- Built-in presets to remove noise from audio
- Proxy clips to smooth editing of 4k or larger clips
sudo apt install kdenlive
Ideal for: Heavy duty video editing for YouTube
Lightworks is a slightly advanced video editor for Ubuntu. The interface is a bit more complex and diverse than Blender and VidCutter. It has 4 different tabs.
- Log – Imported video information and stream details
- Edit: video editing tools and effects
- VFX: color grading, text, keyframes, etc.
- Audio: edit music and audio clips
Edit is the tab where you will spend most of your time. It has the timeline at the bottom, the video preview at the top right, the imported files, and the project content on the left. The first thing I like about Lightworks is the customizable hotkeys. I’ve been a long-time Adobe Premiere Pro user and often end up using the same hotkeys. So whenever I switch to a different video editor, I map my hotkeys according to Premiere Pro. I found the Lightworks editing, video filters, transitions, and color grading tools to be a lot. more intuitive than Blender and VidCutter.
Lightworks has a free and pro variant. To use the free variant, you will need to register after a 7-day trial. The only restriction on the free variant is YouTube export at 720p. The pro variant allows a large number of export options.
- Well categorized interface for editing, color grading, visual effects
- Number of built-in presets for text, transitions, and video effects
- Audio filter presets and a huge set of audio editing tools
- Built-in import of royalty-free audio tracks from Amazing Music, Audio Network, Pond5
- Free variant only allows 720p export
Download Lightworks for Ubuntu
Ideal for: Try OpenShot if Lightworks isn’t your thing
OpenShot is quite similar to Shotcut, but here are a couple of reasons why I prefer it over other free video editors for Ubuntu. It supports exporting projects in FCP and Premiere Pro formats. So in our case, all of our video editing is done in Final Cut Pro X. So if I have to review a video project, I can simply connect the file from the project and review the work within OpenShot. Similarly, I can also set up a basic timeline within OpenShot, export in FCP format, and forward the clip to other editors. Second, it uses the trackpad to scroll the timeline better compared to ShotCut.
OpenShot is also in fairly active development and they have recently added a couple of useful features like hardware acceleration and keyframe animations. But other than that, the interface is still not polished like Lightworks or DaVinci Resolve.
- Format support for FCP and Premiere Pro
- Trackpad gestures for the timeline
- Hardware acceleration for smoother video playback
- Supports 4k export
Download OpenShot for Ubuntu
6. DaVinci Resolve
Ideal for: Professional video editing job. An alternative for Premiere Pro and FCP.
DaVinci Resolve is the most wanted video editor for Linux. In my opinion, if you’re serious about video editing, it’s worth spending time learning DaVinci Resolve. Surprisingly, I found it to be much faster than any video editor on this list. Launch time, video playback, and general UI response were pretty quick. It is not the easiest to understand and it would take a while to discover even the basic tools. The official website has a lot of training material and a forum that you can use.
In case you have display issues when running DaVinci Resolve, make sure to update the Intel graphics driver or the Nvidia graphics driver.
- Large set of basic and advanced color grading tools
- Audio editing and video editing in one tool
- Good alternative to Premiere Pro and FCP
Download DaVinci Resolve for Ubuntu
Closing remarks: free video for Ubuntu
For a simpler use case, VidCutter is mostly what you need. In case you have advanced needs, Lightwork and OpenShot will do the job. If you are serious about video editing or doing professional work, I would definitely recommend learning DaVinci Resolve.
Read also: 7 best video compressor for Linux