High-End Post-Production Applications Lightworks and Storm Are Currently Free

It was announced in April that Lightworks, the high-end editing application favored by Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker, was going open source. They've now delivered on their promise, with a free open source beta now available. At the same time, The Foundry, best known for their high-end compositing application Nuke, have released a free public beta of their forthcoming RED post-production solution Storm.

In the case of Storm, the program is currently in public beta and will cost $375 when it ships around March 2011. In the case of Lightworks (which has been used to edit features like Pulp Fiction and The Departed), it is free now and for the forseeable future. For more on Storm, see Scott Simmons' post at ProVideo Coalition. For more on Lightworks, here's the word from the company:

From here forward, you will always be able to download and use the latest version of Lightworks for free. Some time in the middle of 2011, we hope to reach our next milestone -- releasing the source code to any developer who wants to build upon what we started. We wish we were ready to do that now. However, before we can release any source, we have several hundred thousand lines of code to review to make sure it's all cleared for opening up. We are making progress but we are not there yet.

In the meantime, we invite you to get familiar with Lightworks, an Academy and Emmy award winning professional-grade editor with over 20 years of history in the film and broadcast industry. Having cut hundreds of films such as Pulp Fiction, The Departed, Centurion and Shutter Island, it includes a full feature set of editorial tools -- from advanced trimming and media management, to stereoscopic support and realtime effects including multiple secondary colour correctors. Lightworks has an advanced effects pipeline, utilizing the power of your GPU. And with support for up to 2K workflows with realtime effects, it is the most advanced editing application available.

Here's a look at Storm's Magic Bullet-like looks presets:

Lightworks is Windows-only and Storm is Mac-only.

Link: Lightworks
Link: Storm

[Thanks, Alban]

Your Comment


Is it now unavailable? I tried the link but couldn't download after registering.

December 7, 2010 at 7:09PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Would Lightworks be anywhere as near as good or capable as FCP or Premiere Pro? And whats the advantage with DSLR's native format in terms of workflow?

December 8, 2010 at 4:46AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I was really excited about trying out Lightworks until the end of the article stated it's only for Windows. Bummer.

December 8, 2010 at 7:29AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I was bummed too but to be fair, lightworks is, according to the site, going to be available in 2011. I'll be interested to see if Lightworks follows a blender like path as far as development goes.

December 9, 2010 at 3:36PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


This is VERY exciting. I dropped off an edit at the local RED shop for Online on sunday, Storm is ALL they were talking about. As for Lightworks... it's Windows only currently and my windows PC is not up to power for this yet. Can't wait to try it when the mac version comes through... Finally a professional grade open-source editing program.

@CameraDSLR If you look at the spec/features set on the lightworks site, I can't see anything that lightworks can't do that they can. Has native DPX support aswell which is something that Premier has over FCP (which needs GlueTools for DPX)
Also I don't think there is any GOOD reason to edit in interframe codec's (like DSLR h.264s), It's taxing on your system for it to do all of that extrapolation from the i-frames. Unless you have a top notch multi-core processor the time it takes to transcode to Prores or another alternative will come back to you ten fold in editing speed with an intraframe codec. Just because Premiere 'can' handle h264, doesn't mean it's a good idea. I could see an advantage only if you had minimal footage to edit and a VERY quick turnaround that couldn't wait on transcoding, and didn't need any online (color/effects) work done to it.

December 8, 2010 at 7:50AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Agreed, MRH -- I've been editing in CS5 with native h.264 files and the scrubbing performance (using J, K, L for example) is really sluggish. Will be transcoding for my next project to avoid this.

December 8, 2010 at 10:37AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Ryan Koo

Well, the Mac version was announced for February... and in the features list, they already mention it is for Mac:
So let's hope this version comes out soon...

February 3, 2014 at 9:12AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM