Non-linear video editors. Basics and two options for Linux

Non-linear video editors

Some time ago a reader got mad because I said that Kdenlive, the video editor of the KDE project, was more powerful than another open source video editor called OpenShot. Also asked to justify that claim. At that time I was limited to repeating the opinion, more or less unanimous, of some friends who dedicate themselves to video editing in an almost professional way.

In future articles I am going to give you the elements for you to come to your own conclusion, in addition to exposing mine. But before some basic concepts need to be explained.

Non-linear video editors. What are they?

The word linear is an almost literal translation of linear English. A more suitable term would be sequential.

In the times of tapes and videotapes, the editing equipment consisted of a player from which the source medium was reproduced, in addition, there was a recorder in which the fragment of the source video that was needed was copied, both were connected between them and each to a monitor.

The editor in charge put the storage medium with the content to be edited in the player and played it until he found the beginning of the segment he needed, they established an entry point, then went to the last frame of the desired segment and established a stop point. exit.

It would then rewind and they would play the segment from the IN point to the OUT point while the synchro-recording equipment began the dubbing process. Then the process was repeated with the rest of the material.

In addition to the slowness of the process, each time it was recorded on another tape there was a loss of quality.

Non-linear video editors eliminate the need for a player, recorder, two monitors, and the use of magnetic media of storage since all source resources can be stored on a single hard drive and arranged, accessed and played in the order needed without having to play the previous footage of a video to get to the part that is needed.

There is also no loss of quality when copying multimedia resources.

Non-linear video editors they work with video files, audio text and graphics. They also allow you to apply different effects and filters and incorporate static and animated titles.

Video Editors for Linux

There are two professional quality video editors; DaVinci Resolve and Lightworks, both are paid although they have freeware versions with limited features. Neither are open source.

With respect to those that are open source, options range from those that just make copying and pasting easy to those that include a complex assortment of tools editing, applying special effects and rendering.

This series of articles is going to focus on two of them; Kdenlive and OpenShot. Simply for the reason noted above, answering a fully justified question from a reader.


It's part of the KDE project, although it can also be installed on Windows and Mac. As of last October, it is the default editor for the Ubuntu Studio multimedia production distribution.

The program includes two windows (one for the source and one for the output), a multitrack timeline, clip list, and a basic set of effects and transitions.

Tworks with multiple file formats of the most popular camera models.


Built from various open source projects, this editor It is also cross-platform. It works in conjunction with other programs that have to be installed separately; Blender for creating animated titles and Inkscape for creating static graphics.

OpenShot supports multiple audio and video tracks, works with all the formats supported by the FFMPEG library and allows to resize, scale, trim, break, rotate and cut clips.

Digital video effects can be applied, including brightness, gamma, hue, grayscale, green screen, etc.

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  1.   Shupacabra said

    Currently I think the 2 most professional-like editors are Kdenkive and Shotcut, the only advantage of openshot is some 3d text, but trying to use it with a couple of compressed videos is quite an odyssey. I am currently making a tv program, three hours a week in 6 blocks, that mixes images from 2 or three separate simultaneous cameras, plus the videograph, plus the multitrack audio recorded separately, plus all the artistic, and all in 1080p and I can say that kdenlive turned out to be a good choice.

    1.    Diego German Gonzalez said

      Your contribution is very interesting. Thank you.
      Shoucut certainly deserves a review as well.