This is our review of OpenShot Video Editor.
After using this free video editor for the past 2 weeks, it has proven to be a strong editing software capable of rivaling many of the free and premium editing software currently on the market. It’s not perfect, but it offers all the key features that are fundamental when it comes to video editing, and it organizes them in a user-friendly way.
The goal of this review is to give potential users of this software all the necessary information on what it’s like to use it and how it can be helpful.
What is OpenShot?
OpenShot is an open-source video editor created by Jonathan Thomas back in 2008.
It is a multiplatform editing software that can be installed on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS. OpenShot has a wide variety of features that make it stand out from the competition such as its ability to create awe-inspiring video effects along with various 3D animation and slow-motion effects.
OpenShot Studio also offers other products to enhance its user’s creativity through the OpenShot Cloud API and OpenShot C++ Library.
Pros and Cons
- 100% free to use.
- Can be used on all platforms.
- It has a simple and easy-to-understand interface.
- Creates videos with no watermark.
- The software lags on occasions.
- It has a limited amount of video effects.
OpenShot makes downloading the software a simple 5 minutes process. To start, go to their homepage and click the download button in the header or at the center of the page. On the download page, it will automatically identify what operating system (OS) you’re using. It will also give you other options to download the software for a different OS.
To start the download click on the ‘download’ button and run through the installation process. Once that’s done you can launch OpenShot and start working.
OpenShot’s startup interface is smooth and easy to navigate, it provides all the basics you would expect from a video editing software geared towards beginners. If it’s your first time using the editor you will see a welcome message in the center of the screen giving you a breakdown of all the major areas of the interface.
On the left-hand side of the interface is the Project Files pane where all your media files will be loaded. To the right-hand side is the Video Preview pane that shows you what your videos will look like while you’re creating them. Below is the Timeline where you will arrange your media clips to put together your videos.
The software allows you to toggle between a Simple and Advanced view depending on how much information you want to see at any given time. Although you will be shown more tools, the ‘Advanced’ view does not have additional features, it just shows the user extra tools that are already available.
If needed, you can also customize the interface.
OpenShot’s editing interface is as straightforward as it comes, the entire editing process takes place in the Project Files, Timeline, and Video Preview panes.
The process starts as you add your media files by using the Import Files tool in the top toolbar, by dragging and dropping files directly into the Project Files pane (the easiest way), or by right-clicking in Project Files and clicking the import files option.
With the project files pane, you can filter files based on their media type thanks to the Video, Audio, and Image tabs, and you can also search for specific files by name using the search bar. Also, by right-clicking files in the pane, you will be given some options that include:
- Import Files
- Details View
- Preview File
- Split Clip
- Add to Timeline
- File Properties
- Remove from Project.
Once all your media files are uploaded, the next step in the editing process will take you to the Timeline. OpenShot supports multi-track editing so within the timeline you will see 5 tracks by default, these will help with blending multiple clips together. Adding files to the timeline is as simple as dragging and dropping files from the project files pane into the timeline or right-clicking a file in project files and selecting the ‘Add to Timeline’ option.
Above the timeline is a timeline toolkit that enables you to arrange and edit your clips however you like. It contains tools that cut, sync, and zoom in or out of clips, along with increasing or decreasing their frame rates. The timeline is where you can exercise most of your creativity, so it’s likely where you will be spending most of the time.
Once you have inserted a clip into the timeline, the Video Preview pane will automatically showcase that clip. As you add more clips, arrange them, and add some visual effects the preview pane will be updated to show the most recent changes. You only interact with this pane by clicking the play/pause, forward and backward buttons.
3D Animated Titles
This feature is powered by the free and open-source 3D computer graphics software Blender. It provides OpenShot with 20+ 3D animations such as lens flare, neon curves, and glass slider. Additionally, the feature provides the option to edit the title’s alignment, size, width, and color diffusion, along with other render properties to enhance the animation’s effect.
Time Mapping and Speed Manipulation
This feature gives you the power to control time. With the help of a powerful keyframe animation system, users can decrease and increase the speed of clips, and reverse the direction of their videos. It’s the perfect feature to create praise-worthy slow motion and time-reversal movie scenes.
For many other editing software, this is a premium feature that would be behind a paywall. But luckily for us, it’s available for free on OpenShot.
Clip Manipulation (Resizing, Trimming, Snapping, Rotation, etc.)
The OpenShot video editing software makes it possible for clips to be manipulated in many ways. Users can scale, trim, rotate, snap, and adjust the X, and Y locations of their clips, the transform tool also makes it possible to interactively resize clips.
These adjustments will allow you to simulate perspective shots that can improve the overall quality of your video.
OpenShot offers over 400 video transitions allowing users to seamlessly fade from one clip to the next. With the help of keyframes, it’s possible to also adjust the sharpness and quickness of the transitions. An interesting thing to note is that new transitions are automatically created when clips are overlapped.
Audio Mixing and Editing
OpenShot allows users to edit their audio clips just as efficiently as the video clips which makes it possible to apply the basic video editing tools to the audio. The unique audio tools allow users to edit the volume of the audio clip for specific scenes of the video, for example, you can lower the volume of a song during a heartfelt scene or slowly fade out the song at the end of the video. There’s also an option to render the waveform of the audio and incorporate it into your video as a special effect.
This feature provides several video effects that can be used to enhance the visual quality of videos. They can easily be activated by dragging and dropping them from the Effects tab above the timeline editing toolkit onto the video clips in the timeline. They won’t work instantly, you will have to adjust their properties for the effects to take into effect. Some video effects offered by OpenShot include blur, brightness and contrast, chroma-key (green screen), alpha mask, etc.
Alternatives to Openshot
HitFilm Express is a free and comprehensive video editor that has a diverse set of features to help users create professional-quality video projects. It has an organized interface that streamlines your editing process and has the editing capabilities to import various media files, create voice-overs, and fully manipulate media elements on the timeline.
- Free training and support
- Comprehensive editing features to create animation and transitions, add unlimited audio and video tracks, reframe and adjust 360° videos, and much more.
- Diverse catalog of video effects.
- Works on both macOS and Windows.
- Audio syncing capabilities.
- HitFilm Pro cost $349.
VSDC Free Video Editor
VSDC Free Video Editor is a non-linear multimedia editing suite equipped with a diverse set of features normally found on paid software. With this editor, users can create video projects with a combination of video clips, images, audio files, animations, and any other media elements. The software creates videos with a resolution between 360 pixels up to Ultra HD DCI 4K and can be exported in a wide range of formats.
- Offers multiple editing styles and features.
- Export 4k and Ultra HD videos.
- Works on both Windows and Mac.
- Offers free screen recorder and video capture.
- Has Special FX to apply unique effects to videos.
- VSDC Video Editor Pro costs $19.99.
Is OpenShot actually free?
Yes, OpenShot is a 100% free and open-source video editor. It does not offer any premium version of any kind.
Does OpenShot have a watermark?
No, every video created on OpenShot is free of watermarks. Users can create and export their projects without having to think about removing watermarks.
Is OpenShot good for video editing?
Yes, OpenShot is a great platform for creating all kinds of videos. It’s capable of supporting various media formats based on the FFmpeg Library and has all the editing features to upload your projects to any Platform.
Is OpenShot easy to use?
Yes, OpenShot has an extremely simple and easy-to-use interface. All the major features can easily be accessed so that beginners can quickly catch on and successfully navigate the software.
What is OpenShot’s system requirement?
The minimum system requirement for OpenShot include:
- 64-bit Operating System (Windows 7/8/10, Linux, OS X)
- Multicore processor with 64-bit support.
- 4 GB RAM (16 GB is recommended).
- 500 MB of hard-disk space.
OpenShot is a great free editing software that has the capabilities and intuitive interface to help many beginners to hone their editing skills. It’s a good software to use if you’re just starting out and want a stable base to build on. It offers all the fundamental editing features needed for editing along with some advanced features you would only see on premium editors.
For these reasons, we would recommend OpenShot for any editor in the early stages of their career to use in the short term. But we would advise against using it as a long-term solution, due to the bugs it occasionally experiences in the form of lagging. The skills you will gain from using this editor for the short term will be easily transferable to something more stable.
This recommendation might change with future updates.