Free Non-Linear Editing Software

Tools that cut and convert video without breaking the bank

Editing Software that is Free as in BeerI was looking for some lightweight NLE/cutting software solutions recently. Obviously Windows users have Windows Movie Maker, and Mac users have iMovie. Neither are particularly lightweight, and both have a number of feature restrictions. So in the interests of sharing info, here are a few other NLE options. Note that I haven’t had time, resources, or the inclination to thoroughly test all these software packages. Please report back in the comments if a particular solution was helpful or if you experienced any issues.

Free “unlimited trial” for Mac. Simple editing, similar to Quicktime Pro’s interface. Has some unique features like batch processing, auto commercial detection in TV recordings, and long-GOP keyframe detection. Demo version is full-featured, but has “slower saving.” No trial time limitation.

Free for Mac/Windows/Linux, Ubuntu, Gentoo, etc. Video Editing/Compositing. HDV formats aren’t supported directly, but there are workarounds. Lightweight, and a Portable version is available here.

Free for Mac/Windows. Editing, compositing, 3d. Looks like a very interesting option, seems quite modular and flexible.

Cinelerra / (multiple versions explanation here).
Free for Linux, Ubuntu, Gentoo, etc. Mature, full-featured digital video editing software.

Kino DV
Free for Linux, Ubuntu, Gentoo, etc. Mature standard-definition DV editing.

Free for Linux, BSD, Unix. Windows and XBOX support via bootable live CD. Mac/Darwin support if you care to compile your own.

Free Linux. Seems slightly limited in scope, DV editing.

Avid FreeDV
Free for Mac/Windows. Avid FreeDV is no longer available from Avid, but you can still find some mirrors here and there.

Free for Windows. Not really an NLE, does capture, processing, encoding, and has extensive filter support. The Swiss Army knife of video processing.

Free for Mac/Windows/Linux, etc. Simple editing tools. Not really so much of a full-featured NLE as a suite of tools for working with streams and formats. A Mac alternative to VDub.

Free for Mac. Not an editor, does split, demux, crop, etc. Better at encoding, filters, handles subtitles, author DVD folders, etc. Good addition to any editor’s toolkit. Another VirtualDub-like option for Macintosh users.


DVJ Imaging
Free for Mac/Windows/Linux, etc. Professional movie playback and image processing software for the film and computer animation industries.

Free for Mac/Windows/Linux, etc. A mature OSS project that provides a complete suite for 3D content creation (and a great sequence editor, apparently).

This FreshDV Classic article is licensed and republished at ProVideoCoalition with permission.


Matthew Jeppsen - DP Notes

Matt Jeppsen is a working DP with over a decade of experience in commercials, music videos, and documentary films. You can view Matt’s cinematography reel and contact info at and editorial ethics statement at

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