What Are the Different Types of Open Source Video Editing Software?

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  • Written By: Terry Masters
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
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Open source video editing software is categorized by the type of operating system on which programs run and the scope of editing capabilities. Video editors range from professional filmmakers to amateur home video dabblers. Commercial video editing software has master-level capabilities that are often never used by the average home editor. The functionality, however, makes commercial versions of the software expensive. Open source software is often offered to the public free of charge, but that means that various programs only offer a subset of the functionality that can be found in a commercial solution.

Video editing software allows a person to change digitized video recordings. These changes can affect the quality of the recording, such as coloring, brightness, or sound adjustments, or the physical aspect of the file. Physical editing cuts and rearranges footage. It changes the file encoding, converts it to a different file format, or compresses it. It can also add special effects, such as overlayed graphics, text, or animation.


This type of software is available in commercial and open source versions. Commercial software is developed by a company and licensed for use by a purchaser for a price. The purchaser only has the right to use the software and not to distribute, duplicate, or change it. Open source software, comparatively, is developed according to a methodology that says program source code should be a publicly collaborative work. Programs that are open source are offered under a special unrestricted license that allows anyone to use and distribute the source code, resulting in a bevy of programs that are typically free of charge and show incremental improvements in functionality that result when a programmer wants to take an original program in a new direction.

The first and easiest distinction that can be made in types of open source video editing software is the operating system that can run the program. A person searching for open source video editing software would first search for the operating system on which he wants to install it. There is a wide range of open source software for all major systems.

Another distinction in types of open source video editing software is in functionality. Basic programs allow the user to do simple editing, such as cutting, fitting, and encoding. Advanced programs allow those tasks plus compositing, adding special effects, and other master-level techniques. There are a few open source programs that do only one thing, such as encoding video files, but do it extraordinarily well. Ultimately, the secret to using open source software, particularly for video editing, is to know exactly what needs to be done and matching the software functionality to the task.


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