Video creators and editors (and Image!)

Hollywood Film Cinema

Along with their static reading blog cousins, vlogs (Video Logs) have been all the rage for a few years now.  I’m sure you have seen a few.  In fact, if you have ever looked at any video on YouTube, you were likely looking at a vlog. Vlogs are often shot on phones or other minimal capture devices, then edited in a video editor.

EDITED December 2022

Up until this year, I switched between Kdenlive and Shotcut. Both are “fully free” with no paid solution — met all my requirements, and desires to support open source software.

This year I decided to evaluate Davinci Resolve. Davinci is a “free with upgrade path” solution. This does not directly meet my requirements, there seems to be much greater support with regard to training videos and help sites.

Since Video isn’t my primary job, I had to pick one and just move on. I haven’t used Kdenlive and Shotcut in over a year, and at the moment I’m happy enough with Davinci Resolve.

Back to the story…

On the surface, it sounds pretty easy.  Take a movie with your phone, upload it to your site of choice, and poof, you have a vlog.  And it really is this easy.

But sometimes you might want to get a little more fancy, add static pictures to the video, add text, edit the audio track, dub the video, launch a rocket to space… oh, wait, getting a little too ambitious here!  …. You get the idea though.  Editing may be required to get a reasonable looking vlog.

1. Criteria for the search

So then you have… what video editor are you going to use?  No problem!  Google!  

Googling Video Editor … 1.4 Million hits

Oh my that is a lot of hits!  And the worst part of it is having to download, install, and test every single one of them just to find a reasonably easy one!

There are a number of problems that you are going to encounter along the way.

a. Must be free!

First, many applications are required Paid versions, or are otherwise crippled unpaid versions with the intent of forcing you to pay for the upgrade. You really don’t want to pay for a version unless you know it is the product you want, and can do significantly more than the freely available options.  Really, there are great free versions available.  Try one of them first.  And second.  And third.

b. Must be popular … and updated!

Second, the most popular applications will have regular updates, and likely have user communities that are interested in sharing with you, and you with them!  Look for a popular one that will be around for awhile.  The more popular, the more likely it will be around, and the more likely updates will be made available.

c. As “open” as possible

Third, once involved with a particular ecosystem and solution, it will be difficult or impossible to transfer your work to another platform.  Most use proprietary file formats that are not transferable between products.

d. No watermarks or “save” limitations!

Turns out that some “free” video editors are free with watermarks. You don’t want watermarks on your video! Just say no.

2. Video recommendations

Turns out there are a lot of video suites out there! Here’s what I’ve found in my video reviews.

#1 (tie) Kdenlive

Just found out about Kdenlive. Warning, as of this writing it is not appropriate for Windows users. I’ll download it into a Virtual Machine and test it soon. Kdenlive is available here (will open in new window)

From what I’ve read, Kdenlive integrates Audio and Video editing. If this works out to be true, it will be a huge step forward from OpenShot.

#1 (tie) Shotcut

Shotcut has been recommended to me by several folks. I’m just beginning to review it, but it seems to have all the fixings that are necessary for a reasonable hit at video editing.

Shotcut can be found here:

(not so much) OpenShot Video Editor

OpenShot screen capture used for educational purposes
Screen Shot review of Open Shot, captured directly off of web page

As of this writing, my number one recommendation is the Open Source (that means free!), widely used (that means lots of support!) Open Shot Video Editor (will open in new window)

One big problem I’ve encountered is audio recording and audio overlays. Audio is not as well integrated into OpenShot as I’d like. From my experience with OpenShot, Audio has to be recorded outside of the application and imported as another overlay. Real time audio editing is not available.

(mostly for YouTube) YouTube Video Maker

The Free version for YouTube Video Maker.  The free version is very capable!  I’ve used it for many videos.

3. Image recommendations

There are equally fantastic image recommendations! For jpg and “standard” images, use GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). Call it GIMP, few people are going to know what the acronym stands for.

If you are creating vector graphics such as SVG files (scalable vector graphics), Inkscape is the game in town.

4. Famous last words…

Do you have a favorite?  Tell me more!  

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