RedShark News – Lightworks for Windows released: drops HASP and has 30 day free Pro Trial
Lightworks for Windows If you found Lightworks hard to install or difficult to use with your media – now’s the time to give it another try. Loads of other new features too On May 28th this year, Lightworks This has some major upgrades detailed below as well as easier installation and registration.
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A look at Lightworks Please help out by buying a subscription and keeping LWN on the net. By Nathan Willis February 5, After a lengthy development and beta-testing process, video editing fans finally saw the first general release of Lightworks for Linux on January Lightworks is a non-linear editing NLE suite with a considerable history as a proprietary Windows application.
The new release does not go that far, but it is a promising milestone along the way. Linux users unsatisfied with their other NLE options will encounter some limitations with Lightworks particularly the free version , but are likely to find it more powerful than most of the competition.
The first Lightworks releases date back to the early s, around the same time that Avid and Adobe who have dominated the NLE software market for ages started their respective video products lines as well. Over the years the product itself changed hands several times, and most recently in it was acquired by EditShare when that company purchased a rival vendor of server-side video software. Like the name itself suggests, EditShare’s primary product lines had been in other areas, such as digital asset management.
Several months after the acquisition, EditShare announced its plan to port Lightworks to Macs and Linux systems and to release it as an open source project. As is often the case, though, the timeline involved in the process proved to be lengthier and less predictable than the initial estimate. The original prediction was for an open source release by the end of ; ultimately the reworked application was released in closed form for Windows in , and the first Linux betas in May Mac versions have been previewed, but not yet released.
Enter the shark The January 29 release is numbered The officially-supported distributions are Ubuntu and derivatives such as Linux Mint and Fedora. The current pricing scheme makes the basic version of the application free, with a “pro” option available either for a one-time fee or on a subscription that unlocks the support for several additional proprietary codecs and to export at greater than p output resolution. For the free version, the account info is simply the same as is used for the discussion forum and ostensibly has no other effect; for pro users the account info is also used to authenticate the availability of the paid components.
What is not clear is whether or not this sign-on process will survive to the open source release. Already the sign-on process has been revised more than once since the first beta releases of Lightworks 11; the Mac-supporting release is rumored to be numbered 12 and incorporate several other changes.
Obviously it is quite possible to make an open source application authenticate to a remote server—but such a feature is likely to rankle at least a few developers particularly if it involves relaying information about the local machine to said remote server , and EditShare’s public statements about where the application is going long term leave some wondering.
Nevertheless, the sign-on process is simple enough, and those using the free edition will be happy to discover that it does not employ “nag-ware” techniques to try and push the paid options.
The application itself might take some getting used to, particularly for those who have only worked with smaller or more lightweight NLEs. Fortunately, there is copious documentation available online at the “download” link. The biggest difference is that most other NLEs available for Linux tend to use a static window layout: Lightworks, on the other hand, is geared around floating windows and palettes that can be freely rearranged, closed, and reopened.
Import some video clips, and they appear in a “bin” window. Start working on a clip, and it opens up in its own player window with its own timeline. Start assembling a scene, and a new “edit” window pops up to hold it. In practice, this is less confusing than it might sound. For one thing, Lightworks runs full screen, and has a fixed toolbar on one side and project headers that rest at the top of the screen in addition, the playback controls can be docked to the bottom edge of the screen, rather than being duplicated on each window, so more savings are possible.
But it is also clear after working through the User’s Guide that a lot of Lightworks’s interface decisions exist to maximize usability on large projects.
Imported clips appear in a “bin” window of their own so you can minimize that window when you need room for other things; “bins” themselves can be renamed and stacked in “racks,” and you can even save several screen layouts called “rooms” in Lightworks slang and switch between them. In a large production, that could be beneficial, because you might have different people working on color correction and sound editing, or any number of other tasks.
Editing features and effects Speaking of color correction, the good news is that Lightworks supports a wide range of effects and filters, including color correction in a variety of color models , keying better known to those of us outside Hollywood as “green screen” effects , titling, standard transitions, split-screening, and even stereoscopic 3D.
Most of the complex effects include a full-featured control panel and a set of usable presets. Effects are a notoriously tricky feature for Linux NLEs; many open source projects implement a few, or implement them with a minimal set of options. Even for a small project, it is not hard to bump up against the limitations of the effects modules and experience frustration.
As far as the editing process itself is concerned, once one gets used to the window management model Lightworks is actually fairly easy to work with. None of the controls or UI elements are difficult to figure out, which is an accomplishment—many open source NLEs struggle to find the right icons and cursor shapes to indicate what sort of operations are available, and Lightworks manages to be virtually self-explanatory.
It even goes so far as to highlight related windows with a border of the same color e. Similarly, for the most part the functionality is located where one would expect to find it. There are NLEs, for example, that list all of the available effects in a top-level menu, even though effects can only be applied to clips on the timeline.
In Lightworks, effects are only accessible in windows to which they can be applied. Fans of big screens will notice that the UI toolkit is fully scalable, and although it attempts to default to a reasonable size, it can be manually scaled up or down. This is not to say that there are no areas for potential improvement, of course. Depending on the color scheme and surrounding environment, it can be a tad difficult to tell which audio or video tracks are active and which are deactivated, since the only indicator is a “glow” effect around the track name.
There are also some editing buttons “Replace” and “Insert” which are visible only when the playback controls are in global mode—which is presumably a bug. More sensitive users who shudder at the memory of Microsoft’s Clippy might not care for the cartoon shark who lives in the corner of the screen offering how-to tips, although, to be fair, “Chompy” or whatever its real name is is far less talkative and intrusive.
The major limitation, of course, it that the free version of Lightworks supports a hard upper limit on output resolution p , and there is no support for exporting to some of the more common video codecs. This is reasonable in theory—after all, codec licensing fees for encoders are arguably the biggest money-makers for MPEG-LA and other commercial codec-purveyors. I was, however, a bit surprised to find that “YouTube” was the only output option in version Not even exporting to a local file was available, although projects can be saved in Lightworks’s native project format.
When we return The codec issue could prove to be a major obstacle with the open source community once EditShare begins releasing source code. The company’s plans are not yet clear; in recent months there was talk of selling professional codecs as add-ons, in language that suggests a piecemeal approach rather than the all-or-nothing “pro license” option.
But that could be reading too much into the specifics of the wording. Nevertheless, forum users have asked about free codecs like Google’s VP9 already; the official response was that the company is “investigating implementation.
But things could get strained if the project attempts to prevent the addition of support for free codecs. Depending on presently unknown factors like the license and the architecture of the code, outside developers might just hack in the support they want in their own forks in fact, some certainly will.
The bigger risk is the potential for alienating the larger development community over that sort of issue. Few are likely to justify spending money for a VP9 encoder, particularly in light of the fact that Lightworks uses other open source components like FFmpeg under the hood.
Declining a pull request that the community feels is a no-brainer could spawn acrimony if not handled correctly. If nothing else, a major difference of opinion means shedding outside talent who would otherwise be interested in participating in development. So far, there is absolutely no reason to expect things to go badly—but as those who follow the open source movement know, roll-outs of previously proprietary code can be tricky to manage. Long term, it will certainly be interesting to watch where EditShare takes its project, especially what approach it takes to underwriting its development expenses.
The initial decision to produce a free NLE and to release it as open source software means that the company is not out to maximize its revenue; perhaps it is not interested in competing head-to-head against larger established players like Avid and Apple, or perhaps it is more interested in linking Lightworks to its existing server-side products.
At the same time, its decision to update and release paid Windows and Mac versions of the product suggest that the company is being very cautious to not alienate its existing customer base.
There are any number of other business models to consider, of course. The poster child for freeing a proprietary application and turning it into a profitable enterprise is Blender. As most people are aware, Blender funds development through a variety of means, including books and training classes. Interestingly enough, EditShare recently announced its own line of Lightworks training courses , in addition to paid support plans. Time will tell what approach it takes and how successful it will be.
For users who have been anticipating the open source release of Lightworks since , more waiting might sound like an exasperating prospect. The good news is that, based on this The existing open source NLE projects have other questions to consider, of course. After all, Lightworks is modern and featureful, which makes it a competitor; when it joins the ranks of the open source projects, however, the prospect for “coopetition” becomes a lot more interesting.
Blender’s open source release significantly cut into the development of other free 3D modeling applications; a Lightworks source release could have a similar effect—but it could also bring considerably more users and attention to the Linux NLE environment.
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A look at Lightworks 11.5
A look at Lightworks Please help out by buying a subscription and keeping LWN on the net. By Nathan Willis February 5, After a lengthy development and beta-testing process, video editing fans finally saw the first general release of Lightworks for Linux on January Lightworks is a non-linear editing NLE suite with a considerable history as a proprietary Windows application. The new release does not go that far, but it is a promising milestone along the way.
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