Free Software For Everybody: Video Editing

A few days ago, Goodbear asked about free video editing software.  This isn’t an area in which I have a lot of experience, as I don’t do much video editing (all my video is perfect as shot … :-P), so I did a little research.  Linux users have a number of choices in this area, including Cinelerra and Kino; these are the only ones I have tried (although see Blender, below).  OS X users, of course, have iMovie built in as part of the iLife suite (I’m not going to get into the whole iMovie ’08 vs. earlier versions of iMovie controversy). But what are Windows users to do?

I don’t have recent experience with Windows video-editing software, as I haven’t used Windows at home since I ditched XP for Linux back in 2004.  But I did find some packages that seem to be worth looking at:

  • Jahshaka is an open-source video editor for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.  It claims a number of features, such as animation, painting on video, and multi-format capability.  The screenshots look pretty good, but I wasn’t able to test it out; it’s not in my Ubuntu repositories and I couldn’t get the source code to compile or the binary installer to install.  (If I really wanted to use it, I would bang on it until I got it installed.)  Windows and Macintosh users are unlikely to have a problem installing it.  Users of Fedora Core will probably be able to install it, too, as that seems to be the distro that the installer is aimed at.
  • Wax is a Windows-only video editor and compositor.  The screenshots look okay, although the dating on the site suggests it hasn’t been updated since 2005.
  • I mentioned VirualDub in an earlier comment.  It seems to be more of a video capture/processor application than an actual editor, but it may be useful for actually getting the video from the camera to the computer.
  • Blender is an extremely slick-looking cross-platform (Linux, OS X, Windows) “3D content creation suite”.  This one is in the Ubuntu repositories, so installing it was a matter of ticking a checkbox and clicking “Apply”.  I haven’t actually used it yet, but I did fire it up and poke around inside.  It looks like it has all kinds of capabilities that I don’t really understand, but the next time I want to make a movie, I’ll definitely check it out.  The one thing I didn’t immediately see is a way to import external videos into it … being a “3D content creation suite”, I’m not sure it actually has this functionality.  I will report back later.
  • Windows Movie Maker is, well, Windows Movie Maker.  I vaguely recall it from my Windows days, but I never used it much.
  • AVIEdit is a video importing and processing application, which would seem to put it in the VirtualDub category.  (It’s from Russia, but don’t be afraid; it seems to be a legitimate piece of software.)
  • And finally, there is the t@b ZS4 video editor.  (This site also contains links to some other free software, such as The GIMP.)  This is another cross-platform (Linux, OS X, Windows) application.  I didn’t try this one out, but the screenshots look comparable to the other packages.

This is not a complete list of everything I found; it’s just the highlights.  More information and several additional applications can be found at this site.

One thought on “Free Software For Everybody: Video Editing

  1. thanks james! super helpful! you even put all the links in!

    Jim says: You’re quite welcome! Sorry I can’t give more information about actually using these programs. Video editing isn’t my strong point — I still haven’t figured out Cinelerra and I’ve been playing with that one since “Greatest Hits“!


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