Kdenlive, one of the best showcases of the open-source video editor, offers us countless features. The rewrite version released last August brought a couple of new tools to our arsenal. So is it right for you? Here comes the point of this Kdenlive review.

Kdenlive was started by Jason Wood in 2002 and now is maintained and optimized by a small team of developers. Take a look of three of its most remarkable released:

  • Kdenlive 0.7 – Rewrite version from the K Desktop Environment 3 version to KDE Platform 4.
  • Kdenlive 15.04.0 – It becomes part of the KDE official project.
  • Kdenlive 19.04.0 – A big refactored version with 60% of its internals re-written and many new additions.

The refactored version of Kdenlive 19.04 was released on the April of 2019 with plenty of new features. One year later, Kdenlive 20.04 rolled out with many improvements in stability and processing speed, and the latest Kdenlive 20.08 rolled out on Aug further see nice optimization in the interface layout. Those updates tail with the philosophy of Kdenlive team: keep this freeware being optimized continuously for being more efficient and powerful to processing video as well as audio.

Kdenlive will require a bit of exploration first, but with a list of edit tools almost as big as many paid and pro video editors, it’s worth giving it a once-over. Here what I’m gonna do is exploring the superior features that the Kdenlive offers and then sharing my personal take.

1. Effecient to Make Video Montage

Kdenlive gives you everything you need for editing your videos: trim, cut, rotate, split, screen split, merge… Hence, I will focus on how efficient Kdenlive could be making montage videos rather than giving you a full list of Kdenlive features.

In all seriousness, easy or hard is a very objective feeling, but many of my friends and I agree Kdenlive is easy to understand and adapt to right off the bat, especially considering of the bunch of editing features. First of all, it has a well-distributed interface that won’t get you lost. It supports multi-track video editing which means we can add unlimited video and audio tracks on the timeline. This important feature surpasses many free editors like iMovie that supports only two video tracks.

3 point edition system used to be the sole preserve of advanced trimming tools, now is implemented to Kdenlive which saves us from labor-intensive editing work. Not ever heard about 3-point editing? Well, long story short, we can use the keyboard shortcut to mark the in and out point of the original material, and then switch the section in-between to the timeline. To speak of the shortcut key, there are many available by Kdenlive. To name a few:

  • Play: Space
  • Render: Ctrl + Return
  • Mark in: I
  • Mark out: O

Those efforts made by the Kdenlive team are making Kdenlive perfectly suited for professional video production while keeping things incredibly simple.

Advanced Effects, Transitions

The most alluring part is its support to rotoscoping a certain range of my footages so that I can apply color correction including RGB adjustment, white balance, curves, and many others for the selection without changing the rest of pictures. There should be many more occasions that you need to use rotoscoping. For example, you want to remove background from video without the green screen, highlight a certain range of your pictures, and blur someone’s face, etc.

Kdenlive 20.08 introduces new layouts (though for added confusion Kdenlive team also call them workspaces). Whatever you call them, Kdenlive’s new layouts rearrange the various on-screen elements to tailor the tool’s UI (and thus your workflow) around a specific editing task.

Kdenlive layouts available in 20.08 include:

  • Logging – review your footage 
  • Editing – compose using timeline
  • Audio – mix and adjust sound
  • Effects – apply and edit video effects
  • Color – color grading

For instance, the Color layout/workspace looks like this:

While the layout for Audio editing is arranged like this:

On the subject of audio editing in Kdenlive this release debuts with multiple audio stream support. The feature, described as an early implemented, lands ahead of advanced audio routing and channel mapping in future builds — making the editor one-step closer to supporting real professional workflows.

Other changes include:

  • Zoom bars on effects panel, clip monitor
  • New cache management interface
  • Handful of new keyboard shortcuts
  • “Save Copy” project action
  • Luma transitions
  • Misc project bin tweaks
  • Proxy icon added to clips in timeline
  • Change colors of audio thumbnails

If you are ready to Kdenlive a try head to our installation page to try it for yourself.