Lightworks 11.1.1 for Windows and 11.5 beta for Linux, First Take: Cross-platform video editing

Lightworks 11.1.1 for Windows and 11.5 beta for Linux, First Take: Cross-platform video editing

Summary: EditShare bills Lightworks as a 'Hollywood-strength editor designed by editors for editors', but earlier beta releases of the Linux version have been disappointing. The latest beta sees this cross-platform video editor finally starting to live up to its promises.

SHARE:

EditShare recently announced the availability of Lightworks 11.1.1 for Windows, which includes support for Windows 8.1, improvements to H.264/MP4 handling and offline activations for the ELS licensing. Some long standing issues have also been addressed.

Lightworks is currently only available as a full release for Windows, but EditShare has always planned both Linux and Mac OS X versions. Betas of Lightworks 11.5 have just been made available for Linux and Windows, with Lightworks 12 scheduled for release early next year.

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The Lightworks v 11.5 workspace running on Ubuntu 13.10. (Image: Terry Relph-Knight/ZDNet)

Registration, including the creation of a username and password, is required in order to download Lightworks. Once you're registered, Lightworks 11.5 beta for Linux is available as a 64-bit .deb package download for Ubuntu/Lubuntu/Xubuntu 13.10 and Mint 15, and as an .rpm for Fedora 19. A full list of fixes and new features in 11.5 is available on the Lightworks beta web page. A Read Me, Quick Start Guide, Hints & Tips and a v11 User guide are also available as PDFs from the download page.

In use on an Ubuntu Unity desktop, Lightworks is a bit disconcerting because it imposes its own full-screen workspace. This means that the Unity upper menu bar and the launcher are no longer available — the only way to access the Ubuntu desktop is via the minimise or close buttons at the top right of the Lightworks workspace, or to use Alt-Tab.

Marked improvement

Lightworks 11.5 beta shows a marked improvement since the first Linux release: cosmetic tweaks have toned down the  cartoon-like appearance of the original UI and playback of even HD clips is now smooth and clear. The effects palette does seem somewhat limited and although the core effects are there for video, audio capabilities are limited to crossfade and EQ. Audio normalise is available, but only on clip import and there are no enhancement tools such as reverb or noise removal.

The Red Shark icon at the bottom left of the workspace does occasionally offer hints, but Lightworks lacks an on-screen help system. The shark does have a secondary use: it can be used to remove elements from the workspace by right-clicking on it, dragging it over unwanted elements on the workspace and left clicking. The shark then 'swims' back to its original location. Another left click on the shark will restore the element.

EditShare has been criticised by the open-source community for potentially slowing development by not releasing the source code for the free Linux version of Lightworks. In repsonse, the company says it has chosen not to release the source — which it inherited when it purchased the project, along with GeeVS, from Gee Broadcast — as FOSS until it has been fully vetted for proprietary code.

Lightworks Free is available for download with a 30-day renewable licence and Lightworks Pro (currently Windows only) is available at a yearly subscription of £50, or £20 for educational purposes. The subscriptions, in part, pay the licensing fees for various proprietary codecs that extend the capabilities of Lightworks. A comparison of the features of the different versions is available on the Lightworks website.

Topics: Open Source, Reviews, Software

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7 comments
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  • Lightworks And My 47" Screen

    "In use on an Ubuntu Unity desktop, Lightworks is a bit disconcerting because it imposes its own full-screen workspace. This means that the Unity upper menu bar and the launcher are no longer available — the only way to access the Ubuntu desktop is via the minimise or close buttons at the top right of the Lightworks workspace, or to use Alt-Tab."

    I will not accept Lightworks taking over my entire desktop. I have a 47" monitor and it can be a little hard to access the top portion of the screen.
    Grayson Peddie
  • LightWorks is an interesting project, but needs a lot of explaining

    LightWorks is a cool thing in many ways, but you really need to preface any article on it by saying what it's really NOT:
    1) A consumer ready out of the box NLE
    2) Completely open source
    3) Free

    Yes there is a 'free' version but it's so limited as to be not really useful except to try it to see if you want to go for a paid for version.

    If you just want to plop AVCHD or MOV or MP4 files down from your consumer or semi-pro camera and start editing them, well, not really possible. You will have to transcode to Gi-normous DNxHD files first in the 'free' version. And also export to that format. And then find some other program to transcode these into files you can distribute and play on most devices or Youtube or Vimeo. Rather cumbersome.

    So if eventually you want a less expensive but still very capable and Linux ready version of say the full big boy Premiere Pro, this is an interesting project.

    If you are looking or a free or super cheap and easy substitute for Premiere Elements or PowerDirector, I don't really think it's that.
    ArtInvent
  • Lightworks is NOT Open Source (yet)

    While Lightworks may run on Open Source operating systems (ie Ubuntu), Lightworks itself is not Open Source. The title of this article is confusing: it can be read as either "video editing on an Open Source operating system", or as "using an Open Source video editor". I know I read it the second way...

    The Lightworks team promised to release their titular video editing software nearly 3 years ago ( http://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&func=view&catid=19&id=1251&Itemid=81 ), but they have yet to do so. Their latest Open Sourcing release date is sometime after the OS X and Linux release, according to their official road map ( http://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51&Itemid=177 ). The Linux 11.5 beta release the author discusses might be the last closed-source release of Lightworks.
    R_Connelie@...
  • Correct - open-source it aint

    Sorry about that, I'm not pointing any fingers (well OK yes I am really) but when that article left my computer it did not include the words open-source in the title. And - see my penultimate paragraph. 8-)
    terry@...
  • Hidden OS title bar

    I now discover that full screen with no OS menu bars is just the default setting for the 11.5 beta.
    Clicking Lightworks System Settings - User Interface - Show OS title bar - (set to) Yes, will reveal the Unity top bar and Launcher. The Windows 11.1.1 default is to show the Windows bottom bar.
    terry@...
  • kdenlive

    Why? Oh why? With awesome packages like kdenlive and pitivi, why?
    jdieter@...
  • Because

    Because - LightWorks is backed by a company that operates in the professional media market, is cross platform and has been used to edit major motion pictures.
    Kdenlive and Pitivi may have their merits as FOSS projects, but arguably aren't of a professional standard. Pitivi is Linux only and Kdenlive is Linux, OS X and FreeBSD. Similarly OpenShot and Novacut are interesting projects but are not (yet) at the level of Lighworks.
    terry@...