In an attempt to sever another major tie to Windows, lately I've experimented with video editing software on Fedora. It's 2016 and a pretty decent handful of options exist! At the time of writing, OpenShot and Pitivi are very basic in features and buggy, but well-designed. Kdenlive has a great reputation, but it's not as sharp in design and also buggy. Blender is designed for those of us who like to learn incredibly complex UIs (not me).

That leaves Lightworks. Free without rendering capability ($25/mo), I found the program to be the most stable, mature editor available for Linux. However, coming from easy-to-use Sony Vegas, I stumbled over the following differences.

  • Cannot manage project files: The design of Lightworks seems to prioritize separating you from the files that make up your project. Rather than asking you where you want to store a project file (like any other editor I've used) it stores all projects in one OS-specific default location. If you want to move your project somewhere else, you have to export your project as a Lightworks archive and restore it elsewhere.

  • Deleting media files from your project is a wildcard: Going along with the previous bullet, when you choose to remove a media file from your project, it either says you will "completely destroy" it, or if you select multiple, "the media files will all be deleted." Upon a bit of research, I learned Lightworks is smart about keeping the files if they are used in other projects. What about projects other than Lightworks projects?? In my testing, I found it never deleted the actual media file, it only removed the reference from the project. But still, the way it's messaged is totally weird.

  • Cannot move media files: Video files are the #1 offender for disk space usage. Inevitably, I find myself relocating them on different drives to keep my storage organized. And yet, if I end up moving media files used in a LW project, there is currently no way to update LW's reference to it. I find that an incredible oversight.

  • Removing events from the timeline isn't obvious: To remove an event from a timeline, you have to drag it out to blank space. Backspace or delete doesn't do it. Huh.

  • Timeline interaction is awkward: Clicking once on a video appears to toggle the attachment to surrounding clips. In one of those modes, the event slightly lowers itself as a visual aid. I find this function very jarring, visually and functionally.

  • Vegas has superior video event transformation: Lightworks has a couple of effects which let you scale and rotate events, respectively. This is done via a pane of various controls. In Vegas, you get a wireframe of the viewport over-laying the original clip -- much easier to use.

Those are the major ones, and sadly, mostly deters me from continuing with Lightworks. Maybe I need to get over it and drastically shift my way of thinking. Maybe the super-pros prefer this different style of editing. However, I am not a big-time video production guy, and I feel that the best programs offer massive power while still being easy to use. Lightworks doesn't fit this profile.

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