Seven video editing programs for Linux

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The extremely powerful Kdenlive [3] video editing program has become an official part of the KDE applications. The applications in this collection are always bundled into a new version. By the time this article went to press, Kdenlive 15.12.1 was a part of the KDE applications 15.12. Additionally, Kdenlive is based on the modern KDE Frameworks 5, which also uses the desktop environment Plasma 5. Therefore, to use the video editing program, the distribution must have these components as well as Qt 5.

The Kdenlive developers have put binary packages for several large distributions on their home page. However, they have skimped on the package for Ubuntu. All of the symbols are missing on the user interface, which makes the editing program impossible to use. Compiling Kdenlive from the source code is extremely cumbersome because of numerous dependencies. As with Flowblade, Kdenlive is based on the multimedia framework MLT. Nonetheless, Kdenlive is found in the repositories for all of the large distributions.

The user interface may be overpowering for newcomers because of the multitude of tabs and small symbols (Figure 3). The main menu with its numerous functions looks overloaded. Imported media land at the upper right in a small media manager. To the right are the settings for the most recently selected effects. The area outside and to the right shows previews of the completed video.

Figure 3: You can scale, unlock, and reposition the individual areas of the main window in Kdenlive.

You can open clips in the preview with a mouse click and cut them there. However, precise cuts are difficult because of the somewhat awkward buttons. Even so, Kdenlive can be controlled almost entirely via keyboard shortcuts. A time line with numerous video and audio tracks sits at the lower edge of the window. Kdenlive offers several different editing and insertion modes, but it is not possible to move or roll a cutting point.

You can apply arbitrarily many effects to a clip, and Kdenlive offers extensive color correction. Special views like a histogram or an RGB parade make adjustments easier, and you can control effects precisely via keyframes. To modify the length of the cross-fades, you can move bars, inserted for this purpose, together via the mouse. Kdenlive also lets you adjust the height of the track – in contrast to Flowblade.

If necessary, you can also access the open clip art library, the library, and the FreeSound audio library from Kdenlive. Using other wizards, you can quickly add a title or slideshow to a project. All you need is a suitable template or profile for specifying a new project or exporting it later. Expert users have the option of setting the video format and the compression method. If desired, the wizard can output the film directly as a DVD.


Development of the Kino editing program actually stopped in 2009. Even so, Kino is still found in the repositories for current distributions. The application only processes video material in DV format, which dates back to amateur cameras used in the mid-1990s (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Kino is a relatively ancient program that is limited to use with videos in a standard format.

The user interface lists all imported videos on the left side. The videos play back from top to bottom. You can change the sequence via drag and drop. Kino recognizes scene changes when videos are imported and automatically separates the material into corresponding clips. The large preview in the middle of the window shows the completed film. Kino even offers a shuttle slider. The farther you push the slider to the right, the faster the preview will play.

Processing steps are selected via the tabs on the right side. Use the cut tab at the beginning and end of the clip, and add effects with the FX tab. However, the possibilities are restricted; you can only apply one effect and one cross-fade to each clip.

Kino prefers to output the results of user efforts in DV format. Kino also lets you generate other formats with suitable external programs. For example, you can generate MPEG files for a DVD.

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