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Award-Winning NLE Lightworks Gets a May 28th Release Date -- and It's Still Free(ish)

04.17.12 @ 11:51AM Tags : , , , ,

You read that right boys and girls. Lightworks, the editing software that’s been an industry workhorse on multiple features for over 20 years has come out of its 18-month beta, and will be yours to download on May 28th at (currently not live). There is no mention in the press release of what platforms the software will be available for on the release date other than stating that it will run “on a wide range of PC hardware”. However, it stands to reason that the Windows version will launch first, followed by Linux (a demo of which is being presented at NAB), and finally the OSX and 64-bit versions. Check out the list of new features after the jump:

  • Very wide format support including AVCHD, H.264, AVC-Intra, DNxHD, ProRes, Red R3D, DPX, XDCAM HD 50, XDCAM EX, DVD, BluRay, 4K support (DNxHD available for a single additional payment)
  • Support for all popular camcorder and DSLR video
  • Native real-time title generator
  • Improved interoperability – including AAF with Avid and Editshare Flow
  • Major improvements to Drag-and-Drop in the timeline
  • Trimming enhancements
  • Automatic Edit backups
  • Better Import and Export windows: more options, easier to use
  • Shared Projects
  • Stereoscopic workflow

And that’s not all…

With a brand new Multicore Media Engine, Lightworks now includes support for advanced Long-GOP editing, offering real-time performance for all the main Long-GOP camera formats (H.264 and MPEG-2) and also XDCAM EX, XDCAM HD, AVCHD and HDV.

Quite a set of features! But as you might expect, in addition to the free version there’s also a Pro version as well that runs $60 for a one year license ($30 if you’re a student or educator). No information was given on what the differences between these versions would be, but regardless, $60 for one year is a pretty sweet deal (especially when you consider that an Adobe Premiere subscription can cost about that much per month). Although, I must admit that I’m not familiar with the program myself. Have you used the Lightworks beta? If so, what are the pros and cons you have experienced and how do you think the full version might stack up against other NLE’s?

Link: Lightworks is Back. To the Future. – EditShare

[via Creative Cow]


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Description image 25 COMMENTS

  • I used the beta for a while and it was terrible. it crashed every few seconds and I found it very confusing. nonetheles i will still try the free version and buy myself a licencse if it works out well ^^

    • Actually the Beta version is incredibly stable – it’s essentially the same software that is being used in Hollywood on turnkey systems by top editors in the industry. We know it’s stable because over 250,000 people have downloaded it, and we see the traffic on the Lightworks forum.

      It sounds to me more like you’ve got a configuration issue.

      If you go onto the forum at, you’ll get help to find out what the problem is.

      The new release rocks. It’s easy to install and should just work from the minute you install it.

      • Sorry when I wrote my post I didn´t had the time to write that i used a very early beta of lightworks. At that point crashes seemed to be normal with a lot of other issues (the beta had only a rating of 3 out of 5 stars on renowed german website because of this issues) :(

        As I already said I can´t wait for the final release and if it is good I´ll definately buy this programm :)

  • Tried the beta, would have loved to play around with it but unfortunately it didn’t support any of the codecs for the video files I had. Will give it another go when they release the mac version.

  • I’ve used the Lightwork Beta for few months. I am a loyal Edius user, so it took a while to get used to Lightworks beta. It kept on crashing every few minutes.

  • I’ve used the Lightworks beta for a while now and have grown quite used to it. I think it is really great and once the full version comes out it will be even better. Once you get used to the interface and how things function, it is very fast and easy to use. Granted it does crash occasionally, but hopefully that will be fixed with the new release, and it autosaves constantly anyway. I recently aquired Premiere (which i haven’t tested much yet) but am considering sticking with Lightworks because I love it’s simplicity, speed and customizable interface.

  • I tried it…. for a day. Then I uninstalled it. It crashed constantly. Hopefully it is more stable now. Granted, I installed it on a Windows machine. Maybe the Linux version is more stable. I can only imagine it being so.

  • I tried it it never failed me. this is so far the best NLE software program out there. FCP Adobe Premiere CS6 pfffff !!!!!

  • Sounds awesome, can’t wait until it’s released for Linux! I will use it for sure.

  • A few years back I was assistant editor on a feature doc that used the (then) latest Lightworks hardware setup. 2,000 hours of archive and new material – an absolute monster project. There were some teething troubles with the system, but once it was up-and-running it was a very intuitive system, and you could cut incredibly fast on it. Not sure what this will be like – not least as one of the key things with Lightworks has always been the console controller – but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this.

  • I am just glad that Linux is being considered by LIghtworks, we need more pro apps for video editing. I really miss premiere and Adobe suite since I completely migrated to linux.

  • It sounds really great, and you can’t beat free: I’ll definitely try it.
    But it can’t become my main editing system unless my Magic Bullet plugins can work with it.

  • So how is it better than what’s already out there guys…what does it bring to the table?

    • It’s been an under-the-radar program for quite a few years (10+). It has, probably, one of the better 3D workflows… it had a bunch of advanced features that are common in NLEs, and apparently it’s good at network/large scale editing.

      I work on smaller in-house stuff so I prefer Adobe suite. Every workflow is a snowflake though.

  • I tried it for a day. Followed some tutorials. Found the editing paradigm to be cumbersome. I don’t think the interface makes efficient use of space. I found the process too labout intensive. You CAN key-map EVERYTHING in this tool, so I dare say with a big commitment, you can make it productive – eventually. Just didn’t seem to be worth the effort for me. I’ll stick with Vegas for now.
    In terms of crashing and codec support, it’s um, BETA, so no useful assessment of that can be made for the time being until a release is declared “stable”.
    The most intriguing thing for me is the promise of Linux support. I think Linux would make the ideal workhorse OS since it doesn’t seem to get progressively slower over time and require a re-install every few months just so you can keep getting the most out of your hardware. I decent fast PC and a decent GPU running linux is the way to go. Because it’s free, one could conceivably put together a dedicated Linux-based video editing OS/distribution. Imagine that. You buy a PC (sans the windows licence), download a DVD iso. Burn it, install it, and you have a monster workhorse right out of the box.

  • Daniel Mimura on 04.20.12 @ 7:20PM

    Windows version will release first? Huh? I can’t help but notice that the vast majority of film makers are mac users.

    Plus, of course, the vast majority of those FCP users are irritated with FCPX, so…windows first sounds like a weird choice for a company in the running to vastly open up their software to the masses…

    • Lightworks is a Windows application and has always been. You’re not seriously suggesting they hold the Windows version to make the mac users happy, do you?

    • Daniel, do you KNOW that the “vast majority of film makers are Mac users” – or do you just ASSUME that, based on your own experience? A link to some kind of research report would be great. And some numbers; How many percent of them are Mac users?

      Not trying to be picky – it’s just that I keep hearing this, but I also keep seeing lots of PCs out there. Makes sense, since you get more horse power for your money if you buy a PC. And film makers need to make/save money just like everyone else. If someone can point me to some serious research on this it would make me very happy!

      • I think Lightworks gonna have success with windows users and mostly with linux users (since not everyone has money to buy Ant as NLE and basic color corection tool nor have the guts to learn cinelerra from scratch). Also in the industry as a whole, mac is a big part but there is lots of linux in highend post houses as windows too, from avid to maya to others highend apps. Houdini, Nuke, Piranha, and others apps run on linux ´cause there is a client base. Lots of companies use RENDERMAN under linux too.

        Mac is the new “amiga computer” for indie productions, and maybe is the biggest player into NLE side of the game. that´s true!

        But I don´t think the majority is on macs, in brazil the majority of indies and small companies are on windows (macs are still machines for advertising agencies and graphic designers mostly in here, as in most of latin america, windows still rules), but I prefer to do my stuff with debian GNU/Linux at my studio, you may pay for some proprietary tools, but the overall system ends up costing less than a mac or windows too -and i think the open source philosophy makes much more sense and is fair as also there is a trust in the user as a “partner” and not as someone you have to watch over as a possible “pirate”. But my personal PC still has dual boot with slackware linux and windows since I use a windows pc for hardcore gamming at home! :D

  • Daniel Mimura on 04.24.12 @ 11:27PM

    I totally base what I said (or what I “assume”) on my own experiences, and that’s how it should be. I’m going to quantify it either—to do so usually leads to missing the big picture (like all these camera spec geek arguments that seem to care more about the hardware than the finished product.)

    It just sounds like I hit on a couple PC guys nerves…and the last thing I care to do is indulge in that argument (film vs digital, red vs arri, ford vs chevy)…I don’t even care. I would rather see software on both platforms so it’s not even part of the equation.

    I’m a shooter, not a post guy…but the post guys I know all use Mac. (I’m not talking about the non-professional/semi-professionals, I’m speaking specifically of post professionals.) If you want to talk about the non-professionals, the semi-professionals, the aspiring D-SLR crowd…they’re even *more* mac-centric! This is why I’m saying Lightworks should go for that…it’s the biggest audience, it’s the future. By saying that, I’m not in any way saying to water it down and make it a prosumer type of thing (like the accusations about FCPX)…I’m just pointing out where things seem to be going with all editing systems.

    Isn’t Lightworks prettymuch the last holdout from the era of hardware/software turnkey systems to start courting the masses? (Help me out here—again, I’m not a post guy.) …the way Da Vinci and Avid did…the way Maya (the animation software) started doing Mac software, and dropping their price from $7k to $2k…

    Avid has a student rate of like $300 with free upgrades for 4 years…they know that people are going to use the tools familiar to them when they get out. It’s been an industry standard (originally only on the Mac) and it’s, from what I understand, very different from Premiere and FCP, so they know who they have to work harder to court them if they want to stay the industry leader.

    Anyone who is around any college knows that excluding the engineers and science guys, campuses are very mac centric (half or more). (I definitely could site sources, but seriously, why bother? This is general knowledge stuff but the sources are there if you are interested.) In the arts, print, advertising, and film, it has always been more mac oriented, or at equal. In film school, (which I graduated from 17 yrs ago), it was overwhelmingly Mac then, and from the recent grads I know, it’s even more so now.

    • As I understand it, the Windows version does already exist, while the Mac version is still being coded (if that’s the correct term). So it’s only logical that the lwks team is able to launch the Win version before.

      I do wish they could do it faster, though: I am really interested in this NLE and the Mac version had been offered for 2012! Hopefully it will arrive soon…

  • I’ve been making my living editing for 35 years now. I primarily use a Mac for editing but over the years I’ve actually been in the minority. This year the university where I teach an editing workshop upgraded to an Avid server system with PC based editing stations. The last significantly updated version of Mac Pros are now 2 years old and using woefully old technology with over inflated pricing. A custom PC is thousands less and operates much faster. Add to that the persistent rumors that the Mac Pro will soon be discontinued (Apple reports that only 22% of their income is received from computers and of that 22% only 8% comes from Mac Pros – not a very good business model). It would be sad to see the Mac Pro go (as Apple did with XSAN/XSERVE…the first step) but I think it’s pretty understandable why Lightworks would leave the Mac development for last.

    • I have to agree that the future of the Mac Pro is unclear, but as a 25-year Mac user I can recall the mid ’90s when virtually everyone was convinced Apple was going broke… your inference that the Mac Pro is somehow unimportant to Apple may be true in the marketing sense (since it addresses a predominantly professional market) but if you do the math, that 8% equates to about $3.5 billion in the most recent quarterly report. I doubt even the most calloused managers see that as unimportant given the “slugiish” sales as the user base awaits the “really great” upgrades promised for 2013 by CEO Tim Smith.

      After seeing what the rank amateurs in marketing did with the FCP X introduction in the closing days of the Jobs era (killing the Final Cut Studio product with a 2 million user installed base) I’ll acknowledge that they’re probably capable of screwing up the Mac Pro future as well.

      • Thyl Engelhardt on 05.23.13 @ 5:50AM

        Despite some frustration with recent developments, I am still optimistic that the delay in releasing a new MacPro is caused by Apple’s intention to come up with something completely new. Somehow, the marginal increases of intel Xeon CPUs recently, and the high costs for using Xeons and server chipsets might have brought them to rethink the whole concept. I would not be surprised if the next MacPro had a vastly different architecture, like an i7 combined with a Xeon Phi, or with a QPI-attached Nvidia GPGPU. You know, something that goes beyond simply repeating the past with incremental speed improvements.

  • This is great I need a solid option not Adobe and its cloud. They over billed me and they suck. This pkg looks perfect