Fast, free, and easy video editing
Shotcut is a clean-cut, bare-bones open source video editor that's a one-stop shop for getting your content revised and completed with minimal fuss. It supports hundreds of video and audio formats and works in tandem with webcam, screen, and audio capture software. Shotcut employs Blackmagic Design for input and preview monitoring, and it allows for resolution up to 4k.
An open source non-linear video editor
Shotcut's design is spartan; the UI and effects are sparse, but the interface is intuitive and intelligent.Editing a video is hard enough without having to fight your software every step of the way. Shotcut is a no-hassle, simple but effective tool for editing your content. Its design is spartan; the UI and effects are sparse, but the interface is intuitive and intelligent. Starting a project is simple. Click 'open file,' scroll through your File Explorer, and simply click on the file you want to add. It'll appear right on the timeline and you can get to work right away. Whenever you import raw footage into Shotcut you can see its thumbnail right away, allowing you to more easily pick it out and place it where you need.
Source clips appear in a panel on the top left of the screen, and a preview window rests on the top right. The timeline on the bottom is where you'll be doing your trimming, cutting, and layering. You can cut long videos, group multiple clips together, and even add simple transition effects such as fade out/fade in options or visual filters (like saturation, glow, blur effects, or vignette). Though Shotcut's interface appears empty at the start, digging around yields a surprising amount of effects and features that far more expensive programs boast about offering.
Since Shotcut squeezes in a plethora of functions and effects, beginners may have a hard time navigating the menus at first glance, or learning the necessary hotkeys. These hotkeys make sense when you think about it (tapping 'i' or 'o' to set the in and out points, or using alt+left and alt+right to jump between start, in, out, and end), there are others that users will just have to sit down and memorize if they want to get the most out of their experience. 'J,' 'K,' and 'L' are used to control playback, for instance, for no reason other than they're in a comfortable spot on the keyboard.
Thankfully there are a handful of tutorial videos on Shotcut's website to help new users along with the learning curve. These videos start with the fundamentals, and gradually build into more complicated techniques such as adding or muting audio, using keyframes, customizing video modes, or exporting sub-clips. All of these videos are under 15 minutes, so you're never far from getting the answer you're seeking. On top of that there's an extensive FAQ and 'how to' guide on their website, along with a number of user forums for discussion and troubleshooting.
Where can you run this program?
Shotcut can be downloaded for free on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Is there a better alternative?
There are numerous video editing tools available that can blow Shotcut out of the water, such as Lumen5, Pinnacle Studio, VideoPad, or PowerDirector. Each of these offers powerful and creative video editing software, and most are equally friendly towards novice and experienced video editors alike. Pinnacle Studio, for example, offers video tutorials, tips, and tricks right on their website, just like Shotcut. The difference is all in the pricing; Shotcut is the only one of these titles that's completely free.
If you're looking for a free alternative to a program like Windows Movie Maker, Shotcut is your best bet.
It doesn't offer all the same utility and convenience as the more high-budget options, but it gets the job done at the unbeatable price of free. It's not an elegant program in the sense that it looks flashy and comes with all the bells and whistles; rather it's elegant in its efficiency and functionality. Your final product comes out looking high-quality and exports with ease.
Should you download it?
Yes. Shotcut is free and gets the job done with more finesse and versatility than Windows Movie Maker, the other free software. Shotcut is also a great teaching tool for determining how seriously you take video editing in general; once you master it you'll be in excellent shape to advance to more expensive programs should the need arise.
- Excellent beginner tool
- Superior alternative to other free editing software
- Accepts a wide variety of formats
- Some hotkeys are counter-intuitive
- Lacks many effects and features of paid editing software