Lightworks is a professional video editing program that’s been around longer than many of the products in our buying guide. It’s never gained widespread acceptance by the video editing community. However, just because it lacks the name-brand status of other programs doesn’t mean you should reject it out of hand. This pro video editor has many unique features that set it apart from the competition.
Lightworks is by far the most customizable of the top pro video editing programs in our guide. This is due to how radically different the interface is from other video editors. Lightworks consists of a decentralized canvas of free-floating windows that users can create or dismiss at their convenience. This allows you to create a workflow that is completely customized to your needs. This is great because each video editing project is different, and every video editor has a unique style. This approach is a nice alternative to the one-size-fits-all approach offered by industry-standard applications.
As you might expect, it will take a little while to master Lightworks’ powerful toolkit. This is no mere Windows Movie Maker substitute, and its professional roots show in its interface, which borrows terms from the world of tape-based filmmaking.
You begin by creating a project and setting a frame rate for the finished video – probably 30fps or 60fps. You’re then ready to get to work. Lightworks lets you record video directly from cameras, and import existing clips (both audio and video). Once you have all your resources, you can start adding them to your timeline to create your first cut. It looks intimidating at first, but is surprisingly intuitive once you’ve spent some time experimenting.
Lightworks is packed with advanced realtime effects to help you perfect your video, including color correction, blurs and masks. There are dozens of preset effects, or you can create your own manually.
The professional edition of Lightworks was used to edit box office hits including Shutter Island, Pulp Fiction, The Departed, 28 Days Later and Mission Impossible. Now it’s your turn.