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Kdenlive is the best and most mature free software video editing program for GNU/Linux systems as well as FreeBSD and Windows. Kdenlive is easy to use and lets you get most simpler video editing jobs done. It offers a variety of effects and compositions and has features such as webcam and screen recording.

Kdenlive uses the MLT framework for video fuctions and the graphical interface is made with KDE and Qt libraries. It is free software licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2.

Features and usability


Using kdenlive for basic editing is easy and strait-forward. You add clips to your "Project Bin" and drag them to where you want them on a timeline. The timeline supports multiple audio and video tracks and there is no limit to how many you can add.

Kdenlive can open any format supported by ffmpeg which essentially means all of them depending on where you got your ffmpeg version (see ffmpeg installation). Clips and be transcoded and fixed directly from the project bin.

There are many effects, use them with caution

Adding and configuring effects is a simple matter of dragging the effect you'd like to the part of the timeline where you want it. This functionality does have pitfalls which plague other free software editors as well: some of the effects are single-threaded and very CPU-demanding. Add the effect "K-Means Clustering" to a segment in the timeline and browsing on that segment will be slow, sluggish and unresponsive. Playing back a segment with such an effect will look like a slide-show. It also results in rather long rendering times when demanding but single-threaded effects are used. You will have to learn which effects can be used and which simply can't.. This is not a hardware issue, it's a code design issue. Upgrading from a four-core CPU to a Threadripper with 32 cores does not help when something is single-threaded and all but one core remain idle.

Visual effects are divided into the categories "Alpha/Transform", "Analysis and Data", "Colour", "Image adjustment", "Misc" and "Motion". There are quite a lot to choose from. Learning which effects do what and which of them can be used without problems takes some time.

There is also a decent selection of audio effects.

Beyond the basics

Kdenlive is a great video editor for casual hobbyist projects. It is fine for vlogging, uploading simpler videos to BitChute and YouTube and those kinds of sites and home video projects. Professional video editors will find it somewhat lacking, Kdenlive simply does not compare to professional video editing software. That being said, it is the best free software tool there is and it is perfectly fine for hobbyist projects.

Tips and Tricks using kdenlive

No-no enabling GPU processing: Do NOT go to Settings -> Configure Kdenlive -> Playback and enable [x] Use GPU processing (Movit library). This, if enabled, will cause crashes and a lot of them. The developers are aware of it and working on it. It is somewhat misleading that this option is in the "Playback" section; it enables GPU processing of all kinds of things like effects, creation of title clips and other features.




6 months ago
Score 0++

Openshot got AV1 support, but on export it only lets you choose "low" "medium" "high"; I have no idea what that even means.

Openshot's UI looks like pre-flat iOS. Also the timeline doesn't snap how you'd expect it to.

Kdenlive is still #1, IMO.


3 months ago
Score 0++
The GPU rendering update is awesome in Kdenlive! I rendered some videos and it is very fast now. My CPU remained cool as well.
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full-featured timeline video editors:
  • Kdenlive: Solid feature-rich video editor built using MLT and KDE libraries
  • Pitivi: Video editor made for GNOME
simpler tools for cutting / cropping single files or clips:
  • avidemux: graphical tool for cutting files, cropping, removing black borders from single files
  • ffmpeg: powerful command-line multimedia toolbox for converting, merging and simpler editing

See also: Music players | Media/Video players