Lightworks is a professional video editing program that's been around longer than many of the products we reviewed. 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.
In recent years, Lightworks has radically changed its interface. Instead of having free-floating windows that editors can use to customize the perfect workflow, it’s adopted a more standardized interface like those found in the other video editing programs we reviewed. This has its pros and cons – users who enjoyed the decentralized nature of the program will be let down, but it does make it more attractive to users of other programs looking for alternatives.
Although Lightworks makes some excellent pro video editing hardware, the application itself is quite lightweight. A full installation only requires 200MB of storage space – a fraction of the storage required by top-tier applications. Additionally, you only need 3GB of RAM to operate the program effectively. This means you can install and run Lightworks on even the most inexpensive of netbooks.
You might think that this light system resource usage translates to substandard tools. This is not the case with Lightworks. Almost all the professional editing tools you find in name-brand applications are present and just as functional in this pro video editor. But there are some things you don’t get such as a smart content analyzer to help you organize your files like in Adobe Premiere Pro.
A professional video editor is a big investment. All the big names in this space offer free trials that last for a couple of weeks or a month. Lightworks, on the other hand, offers a completely free version that has much of the functionality of the premium version, but you miss more advanced features like project sharing, stereoscopic output and timeline rendering. You're also limited in your output options to MP4 format directly to YouTube and Vimeo with a maximum resolution of 720p.
Another notable aspect of the program is it's the only professional video editing software that is available on all the major operating systems, including Windows, Mac and Linux.
Lightworks is a very good alternative to big name professional video editing applications. Its biggest advantage is how customizable, lightweight and versatile it is. It doesn't have everything the best pro video editing software offers, but you can get similar results with it.