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Free Non-Linear Editing Software

Tools that cut and convert video without breaking the bank

By Matthew Jeppsen | April 09, 2008

Editing Software that is Free as in BeerI was looking for some lightweight NLE/cutting software solutions recently. Obviously Windows users have Windows Movie Maker, and Mac users have iMovie. Neither are particularly lightweight, and both have a number of feature restrictions. So in the interests of sharing info, here are a few other NLE options. Note that I haven't had time, resources, or the inclination to thoroughly test all these software packages. Please report back in the comments if a particular solution was helpful or if you experienced any issues.

SimpleMovieX
www.aeroquartet.com/SimpleMovieX/
Free "unlimited trial" for Mac. Simple editing, similar to Quicktime Pro's interface. Has some unique features like batch processing, auto commercial detection in TV recordings, and long-GOP keyframe detection. Demo version is full-featured, but has "slower saving." No trial time limitation.

ZS4
www.zs4.net
Free for Mac/Windows/Linux, Ubuntu, Gentoo, etc. Video Editing/Compositing. HDV formats aren't supported directly, but there are workarounds. Lightweight, and a Portable version is available here.

Jahshaka
jahshaka.org
Free for Mac/Windows. Editing, compositing, 3d. Looks like a very interesting option, seems quite modular and flexible.

Cinelerra
cv.cinelerra.org / heroinewarrior.com (multiple versions explanation here).
Free for Linux, Ubuntu, Gentoo, etc. Mature, full-featured digital video editing software.

Kino DV
www.kinodv.org
Free for Linux, Ubuntu, Gentoo, etc. Mature standard-definition DV editing.

LiVES
lives.sourceforge.net
Free for Linux, BSD, Unix. Windows and XBOX support via bootable live CD. Mac/Darwin support if you care to compile your own.

KDENLIVE
kdenlive.sourceforge.net
Free Linux. Seems slightly limited in scope, DV editing.

Avid FreeDV
www.avid.com/products/freedv/
Free for Mac/Windows. Avid FreeDV is no longer available from Avid, but you can still find some mirrors here and there.

VirtualDub
www.virtualdub.org
Free for Windows. Not really an NLE, does capture, processing, encoding, and has extensive filter support. The Swiss Army knife of video processing.

Avidemux
fixounet.free.fr/avidemux/
Free for Mac/Windows/Linux, etc. Simple editing tools. Not really so much of a full-featured NLE as a suite of tools for working with streams and formats. A Mac alternative to VDub.

ffmpegX
homepage.mac.com/major4/
Free for Mac. Not an editor, does split, demux, crop, etc. Better at encoding, filters, handles subtitles, author DVD folders, etc. Good addition to any editor's toolkit. Another VirtualDub-like option for Macintosh users.

Update:

DVJ Imaging
djv.sourceforge.net/index.html
Free for Mac/Windows/Linux, etc. Professional movie playback and image processing software for the film and computer animation industries.

Blender
www.blender.org
Free for Mac/Windows/Linux, etc. A mature OSS project that provides a complete suite for 3D content creation (and a great sequence editor, apparently).

This FreshDV Classic article is licensed and republished at ProVideoCoalition with permission.

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