Open Source Video Editors for Small Business

By Carla Schroder | Posted March 15, 2016
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    Open Source Video Editors for Small Business

    In 5 Top Linux Computer Vendors for Small Business and Open Source Point of Sale Software for Small Business, we discussed the Linux operating system as a reliable, secure alternative to computers running Microsoft Windows, and we profiled some of the best Linux vendors and support options.

    Now we look at some of the excellent Linux video-creation and video-editing software options—from easy to Hollywood extravaganza. Before we go any further we must share our Number One Pro Video Tip: Shoot your videos from a tripod. Please, for the love of humanity and for the comfort of your viewers.

    Now that we've got that off our chest, let's take a look at these great video editing programs for small business.

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    OpenShot Open Source Video Editor

    OpenShot video editor is a superior choice for the beginning videographer. It is easy to learn, and fully-featured with a well-chosen feature set that may make it the only video editor you'll ever need.

    OpenShot lets you combine still images, audio tracks, and movie clips. It supports all the usual effects such as zoom, pans and fades, subtitles and captions, and scrolling titles and credits. It comes with a truckload of special effects such as black-and-white, sepia, glow, distortions, color effects, and old film appearance, and you can animate a group of still images.

    The program exports to a wide variety of formats and quality levels, including HD and Blu-Ray, and it can export directly to your YouTube or Vimeo account. You can also slow down or speed up clips.

    Consult the documentation to learn all about it, though it's so well-designed we doubt you'll be reaching for the manual all that often.

    Price: Free of cost
    Support: community support
    Platform: Linux

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    Kdenlive Open Source Video Editor

    The next step up is Kdenlive, a professional-level video editor, comes close to OpenShot's ease-of-use of, but with many more capabilities. It supports tethered shooting from any Firewire-connected video camera, which is a great way to keep your old DV or HDV camera (DV and HDV record to tape) in service.

    Of course, you can also use lower-end camcorders that rely on compact Flash storage; simply connect the camera to a computer via USB to copy the files over, and then edit. You can also record your computer desktop and make screencasts, which is a great way to make training videos for new software, and you can capture from any video media connected to your computer, such as a DVD or video player.

    Kdenlive includes a clip monitor, record monitor, and project monitor, which let you preview everything you're doing in real time. Just like OpenShot, you can mix pretty much any video or audio media, and Kdenlive provides tools for organizing your projects and syncing audio and video tracks.

    You can export video files to whatever format and quality level you want, such as TV, DVD, mobile devices, Web, Blu-Ray and high-definition. The second-to-last step any video editor takes is to render your project into its final form, which takes a few minutes, and Kdenlive allows you to continue working while it's rendering.

    Kdenlive has a raft of other useful features such as notes, creative effects, scripting support, and creating custom profiles. The Kdenlive community has created a big batch of shared profiles, and you can preview and download these with a couple of clicks. You can also download project profiles and cool title templates.

    Price: Free of cost
    Support: community support
    Platform: Linux and Mac

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    LiVES Open Source Video Editor

    LiVES, the video editor with the funny name, is a recursive acronym—a form of wordplay much beloved by certain open source developers. LiVES stands for "LiVES Video Editing System." Regardless of whether you appreciate the wordplay, it's an impressive video editor. It does take some getting used to, because it's workflow differs from OpenShot and Kdenlive.

    At installation LiVES runs a system check to make sure that your computer has everything it needs installed. The program runs in two modes: Clip mode, which is the simplified interface, or Multitrack mode, which exposes all of LiVES' features.

    LiVES supports the usual multi-track mixing and editing features found in most video editors, plus a few extras: Multiple monitors, multiple language support, MIDI synchronization (for incorporating audio from electronic keyboards and other synthesizers), and novel feature called VJ support. VJ is "video jockey." This mixes clips, applies effects and variable play rates in real time.

    Other noteworthy features include subtitle removal, rotation and resizing video clips, Firewire and TV card support, a lot of good audio editing features and excellent crash recovery. If you enjoy being creative and having a lot of unusual features to play with, then give LiVES a try.

    Price: Free of cost
    Support: community support
    Platform: Linux and Mac

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    Avidemux Open Source Video Editor

    Looking for a basic video editor? Use Avidemux to cut out the unwanted bits of an existing video, and for converting video files to other formats and quality levels. For example, suppose you have a promotional video that runs too long. You can use Avidemux to trim it to size, and then convert it to a high-quality format for local presentations and to a lower-quality format for Internet streaming.

    Price: Free of cost
    Support: community support
    Platform: Linux, Mac, Windows

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    Pitivi Open Source Video Editor

    Pitivi, a sleek modern video production program supports trainloads of video and audio functionality in a well-organized interface that's easy to navigate—neat trick, considering all the complexity. In addition to the usual video editor features, Pitivi includes:

    • Unlimited video and audio tracks
    • Preview files before importing
    • Grouping and ungrouping clips
    • Create re-usable custom project profiles
    • Automatic backups
    • Scripting and command-line support
    • Custom aspect ratios and frame rates
    • Advanced audio controls for precision timing and volume

    Installing Pitivi is easy; download and install the univeral bundle to avoid hassles with different Linux distributions packaging it in odd and outdated ways.

    Price: Free of cost
    Support: community support
    Platform: Linux

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    Bonus Open Source Video Tool: DeVeDeNG

    DeVeDeNG is not a video editor, but rather a simple program to help you get your movies on DVDs. The fun world of computer-based video production often overlooks such obvious tasks as making your own movie DVDs. The process is harder than it needs to be, but DeVeDeNG makes it almost as easy as it should be.

    Price: Free of cost
    Support: community support
    Platform: Linux

    Carla Schroder is the author of The Book of Audacity, Linux Cookbook, Linux Networking Cookbook, and hundreds of Linux how-to articles. She's the former managing editor of Linux Planet and Linux Today.

    Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

You don’t have to spend a mint to produce high-quality training and promotional videos for your small business. Just use one of these open source video editing programs.

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