Editing videos with LightWorks


LightWorks is a cross-platform, open-source application to edit videos, although only the basic version is available for free (which can only export video in "YouTube" format and requires re-validation regularly.)

Hit the ground running

Using Lightworks 12.6, here's how to import a video, extract some parts, and save the output:

  1. Download, install, and launch the application
  2. If need be, register a new (free) user account
  3. Create a new project
  4. Import a video: CONSTANT RATE!
  5. Edit
  6. Save

Basic Tasks

Creating a new project

Simply launch LW. In the Projects Browser window that is displayed, in the "Create a new project" section, enter a name and leave the Frame Rate to "Auto" to use the frame rate from the video you will import next.

Importing videos

! Make sure the video uses a constant rate; If not, re-encode both video and audio: ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -pix_fmt yuv420p -c:v libx264 -crf 18 -r 25 -c:a aac -b:a 128k -preset slow output.mp4

A Bin is a list of videos and edits. Here is one way to import videos into a Bin:

  1. In the Tools toolbar on the left, click on the second button whose tooltip says "Import clips or edits from files".
  2. Select a video, and click on Import at the bottom left
  3. If you wish, rename the Bin

Alternatively, you can create a new Bin by clicking on the grid-looking icon "Create a new bin"

There are two different views to display the contents of a Bin: Tile or List.

Playing video clips

In the project's Bin, simply double-click on a file. The playback controls are either at the bottom of the screen (Global) or within the video's window (On Each Viewer).

To move back and forth, besides the playback controls, there's a set of convenient keyboard shortcuts: j k l (backward, pause, forward).

Extracting part of a clip

  1. Open the source video
  2. Mark the start and end points
  3. In the Tools window, select the third icon "Create a new edit"
  4. In the source video window, select the last icon "Insert into the target edit": The part you marked is copied into the edit window.

Exporting the whole project or just a single video

In the Tools window, click on the Export icon. Note the Free edition can only as the "YouTube" preset.


Bing? Group? Room?

The UI is so dark!

  1. If need be, close the current project, and go back to the main window
  2. Hit System Settings in the lower left
  3. Appearance…
  4. Play with the different settings, especially "Windows colour" and "Brightness"

When importing, how to prevent LW from analyzing all the video files in a given directory?

It makes the computer sluggish on slower hardware.

How to remove a video from a project's Bin

Open the Bin, select the items, right-click, and select "Remove tagged".

Bins: Transient vs. Permanent?

Only Permanent Bins can be searched.

You can tell them apart by the color used to display their name: Blue = Transient, Green = Permanent.

Why does a video have A1 and A2?

Stereo = two audio channels?