Skip to main content

Shotcut - Free Open Source Video Editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Shotcut Open Source Video Editor.
Shotcut Open Source Video Editor.
I've been on the hunt for a while now for the best, free, open source, video editing application out there. In Shotcut, by Meltytech, which has versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux, I think I may have found a real front runner.

This won't be a feature filled review, rather it will be my first impressions after having used Shotcut on a few of my YouTube videos so far.

One of my key criteria for a video editor is the ability to import any video format directly into the project. This may seem like an odd focus initially but having convert video to something your video editor can use is annoyingly time consuming, and it creates a new generation of footage, potentially with a loss in quality if you don't really know much about video format specs (that's this guy right here!).

Shotcut will happily work with my OBS recordings (.FLV), and .MOV, .MP4 files that I get from two different cameras. Not only that but Shotcut doesn't hold me up making lower quality versions of my footage to speed up the editing process. It just works directly with the native files. (If you're interested Shotcut can also handle 4K video files as well).

The Editor Window. Shotcut has advanced features like color grading.
The Editor Window. Shotcut has advanced
features like color grading.

My other main criteria is does the editor feel like it's getting in the way of what I want to do with my edits. Typically that happens most with video editors when it comes to adding titles and other graphics (looking at you MOVAVI). It's all very well having preset title animations that you just add your own text to but sometimes I want to make my own from scratch and still be able to edit the text in the video editor.

Shotcut gives me more control with creating my own titles and doesn't have a dedicated text track that always remains on top of every other track (again looking at you MOVAVI). Tracks are either video or audio, the way it should be.

That said, my first impression of Shotcut was, I didn't like it. It looks like other video editors I've used but it doesn't work quite the same at all. There's no nice visual tab with icons showing you all the various transitions, and video/audio filters. Instead you'll be scrolling through a lot of lists with no nice previews to check you're selecting the right thing.

However, once you run through a few of the basic tutorials, linked under the Help menu, you start to get a feel for how Shotcut does things. For the most part it's a really good workflow with quite a few advanced features like color grading and motion graphics animation.


Unfortunately there are a couple of things I don't like that are almost enough to be deal breakers.

The first is, I don't like how Shotcut handles scene transitions. Like most video editors, you simply overlap the start of one clip with the end of the previous one to create a transition. Unlike other editors I've used, Shotcut snips the length of the transition into its own clip. Which is fine until you decide you want your transition to last longer or shorter, or you want to chop a bit more off the ends of each clip for a tighter edit.

In every scenario (except for if you've just added the transition and you can undo straight away) you'll have to delete the transition clip, extend out your original clips, and overlap them again. It would be better if you could adjust the transition length just by moving the clips, and get rid of the transition by removing the overlap through dragging the clips apart (or even some other method. My main issue is that the ends of the clips are cut to create a transition clip that is no longer attached to the original clip).

That's a problem if you're transitioning into a title screen and, at a point further on in the edit, you decide to change the title (or correct spelling perhaps). Your transition retains the old clip, while the actual clip is updated. Thus you have to rebuild the transition clip from scratch too. Somewhat annoying.

My other issue is the convoluted process needed just to record a narration track directly into the timeline as you watch the project so far in playback. Most video editors I've used have a dedicated button or menu item for this often used function - you know, you've got your final edit done, and now you want to talk over the clips, being prompted visually by them as they play through.

Shotcut doesn't have any such thing and, if it wasn't for a very handy video tutorial, I guarantee you would never work out how to do it just by clicking around to see what things do. I actually find it easier just to fire up dedicated audio software to record my narration in as I'm watching the playback, then import my narration into Shotcut.


I really hope they do add in a dedicated feature for recording narration in future revisions because watching a video tutorial every time I want to do a narration is frustrating (that's why I use external audio software to do narration).
 
Beyond those two main issues, there have been a few minor things here and there, which are more about me being unfamiliar with the software than Shotcut itself.

While the free tutorials are perfectly fine to get you started there is also a complete paid video course you can take for US$29.00 that'll really get you up to speed (I haven't taken it as yet but if you really want to get your head around Shotcut it seems worth considering).

I don't consider myself to be a great filmmaker or editor at all. I've done some courses in both but I'm very much path of least resistance to get the results I need. Shotcut has been that for me. It gives me some advanced features and freedom that other home consumer video editors lack while giving me a lot of scope to really do more if I ever start to take filmmaking a lot more seriously (some of the features it has I've never even heard of and have no idea what they do!).

If you are looking for a full function video editor but don't have the budget for a paid app, or you don't like the so called 'free' editors that are actually limited versions of a more powerful editor they're hoping you'll pay the upgrade for, then Shotcut may be the video editor for you.

It will be a little confusing at first but if you take the time to go through the free video tutorials you'll be rewarded with a video editor that is, in many ways, more feature packed than some of the paid apps on the market.


Related Udemy Affiliate links



Comments

  1. While the free tutorials are perfectly fine to get you started there is also a complete paid video course you can take for US$29.00 that'll really get you up to speed .

    I haven't taken it as yet but if you really want to get your head around Shotcut it seems worth considering).

    I don't consider myself to be a great filmmaker or editor at all.

    I have done some courses in both but I'm very much path of least resistance to get the results I need. Shotcut has been that for me.

    Steinco Industrial Solutions, Inc.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

This blog is monitored by a real human. Generic or unrelated spam comments with links to sites of dubious relativity may be DELETED.

I welcome, read, and respond to genuine comments relating to each post. If your comment isn't that save me some time by not posting it.

Popular posts from this blog

Inochi2D - Free Open Source 2D VTuber Avatar Rigging and Puppeteering Software (Part 1)

Inochi2D Creator - Free Open Source VTuber Software. If you've been looking for a way to live perform as a 2D cartoon avatar on camera, whether it be for a live stream or for pre-recorded content like educational videos, then VTuber software is a low cost (or even no cost) option worth looking into. In my previous post, How to Become a VTuber - 2D and 3D Software for Creating and Controlling Your Avatar , I took a brief look at the relatively new but completely free and open source Inochi2D  which I thought showed great potential for my own needs of creating a live performance character rig for my own TET Avatar that I use for all my promotional materials. While it is possible to live perform my character using Cartoon Animator itself, Reallusion's MotionLive2D capture system isn't great - with lip sync in particular. More importantly though, I can't exactly teach people how to use Cartoon Animator if I'm using Cartoon Animator to control my Avatar. What is Inochi2D

Moho 14 Released - Still the Best 2D Animation Software for Indy Animators on a Budget

Moho 14 Released. Regular readers know I am a Reallusion, Cartoon Animator advocate through and through. Hands down I would recommend Cartoon Animator 5 first over Lost Marble's Moho 14 to anyone who is just starting in 2D animation, is a team of one, or just needs to animate as quickly as possible. However, feature for feature, Moho is, arguably, the best 2D animation software for the rest of us who can't justify a Toon Boom Harmony , or Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (and even with their applications Moho is very competitive on features). You can get started with Moho Debut for just USD$59.99 which is a cut down version of Moho Pro but it still has the most essential features needed for 2D animation. While Moho Pro is a whopping USD$399.99 (Cartoon Animator, which only has one version, is just USD$149.00) upgrades to new version numbers come down to a quarter of the price at USD$99.00. Even though Reallusion just released features like Motion Pilot Puppet Animation and

Wonder Unit Storyboarder - Free Storyboarding Software for People Who Can (or Can't) Draw

Wonder Unit Storyboarder.  As an independent and solo animator I'm always tempted to try and skip storyboarding my animated shorts because they're usually only single scene sketch comedy type jokes. As a result I have many unfinished projects that kind of petered out due to having no clear finishing line. Storyboarding your productions, no matter how small, gives you a step by step guide of every shot that needs to be completed (no planning shots as you animate). It also allows you to create an animatic that gives you a rough preview of the finished production. In short, you shouldn't skip storyboards as they, generally, increase the chance of the project being completed. Disclaimer - I'm Not a Fan of Storyboarder Upfront, Wonder Unit's Storyboarder  is not my preferred storyboarding software. However it's completely free, has a number of very compelling featu

Can You Learn Reallusion's Cartoon Animator 5 for Free Using Their 137 Official YouTube Video Tutorials Sorted Into a Logical Learning Order?

Or you could just buy The Lazy Animator Beginner's Guide to Cartoon Animator . While Reallusion's Cartoon Animator is one of the easiest 2D animation studios to get up and running with quickly, learning it from all of the official, free, video tutorials can be more overwhelming than helpful. With more than 137 videos totaling more than 28 and a half hours of tutorials, spread across three generations of the software (Cartoon Animator 3 through 5) it's hard to know if what you're learning is a current or legacy feature that you either need to know or can be skipped. Many of the official tutorials only teach specific features of the software and don't relate at all to previous or later tutorials. As a result there are many features either not mentioned or are hard to find. To make your learning easier, on this page, I've collected together all of the essential, official, free video tutorials and sorted them into a learning order that makes sense. Simply start at

2D Animation Side Hustle - How to Find a Niche Market Selling Digital Characters, Props, and Background Art in the Reallusion 2D Marketplace

C ontinuing my series on your 2D Animation Side Hustle, Selling in the Reallusion 2D Marketplace , in this article I'm going to take a look at niches and why they're important to becoming a successful seller. I'll also look at some indicators, specific to the Reallusion Marketplace, that can help point you in the right direction of finding niches that are in demand. What is a Niche and Why Are They Important? In marketing terms a niche is kind of like a sub category or a section of a subject that you want to focus on. It's not the big idea with wide appeal that everybody loves, it's a smaller, more specific section of the idea that fewer people really connect with. For example, in the Reallusion 2D Marketplace, Characters are the biggest sellers. Everybody loves and wants to buy characters. They're great! That's all you need to know, characters sell the best, go make some! There are currently 4413 characters for sale in the marketplace. How will people find

Start Your 2D Animation Side Hustle - Sell Your Cartoon Animator Characters, Props, Scenes, and Motion Files in the Reallusion 2D/3D Marketplace

Have you thought about starting a side hustle selling your original Cartoon Animator assets in the Reallusion 2D/3D Marketplace ? In this article, the first in a series on selling in the marketplace, I'll give you an overview of what's involved, why you should give it some thought, and whether you can earn enough to quit your day job (or at least have a worthwhile side hustle). If you're an artist with any kind of drawing skills, and you're creating your own original characters, props, scenes, and even motion files for your Cartoon Animator projects, then setting up your own store in the Reallusion Marketplace should be a no brainer. You're making content already, it doesn't cost you anything to set up, and Reallusion only takes a 30% commission from each item sold. (If you think that's a lot, I'll address that further down). Don't be put off if you think your art skills aren't up to professional standards. There are plenty of artists with naïve

Artbreeder - Using AI created Character and Background Content in your Animations

A selection of User/AI generated images from Artbreeder. If you're looking for an endless supply of 2D character and background images for your animations then Artbreeder , an online Artificial Intelligence (AI) that generates image mash-ups you can tweak as much as you like, could be the ultimate content library. What is Artbreeder? Artbreeder is free to use though there are various paid plans, that give you additional features, such as higher resolution download images or more settings to play with. All images created on the site are Public Domain (CC0 License) and can be used in commercial projects. Using Artbreeder's online app you can generate head shot portraits, full body characters, landscapes, and other scenes simply by choosing two or more existing images to mash together then, using a series of sliders, to select which traits from each image you wish to lean toward in the final image. Photo Comparison - Top is my original uploaded photo. Bottom is Artbreeder's ap