EditShare Announces the Highly Anticipated Mac Version of the Cross-Platform NLE Lightworks

The battle of NLE superiority rages on, a new contender arrives with EditShare's announcement of Lightworks for Mac OS X. Lightworks has a long track record with industry professionals, but this move could potentially open up the software to a much larger market. It is now the only NLE that is compatible across all major operating systems (Windows, Linux and Mac). Read on for more info.

This Academy and Emmy award-winning professional-grade editing software, with realtime GPU pipeline architecture that can handle 2K and 4K, has cut hundreds of Hollywood films: Pulp Fiction, The Departed, and Shutter Island to name a few. The fact that the limited version is free and there is a 50% student discount might push not only Mac users, but all platform users to check out what Lightworks is all about.

EditShare's stand at NAB will be demonstrating Lightworks for Mac OS X and holding a Q&A hosted by Scott Hill, Lightworks user and editor of major films such as Bruce Almighty, Zookeeper, and Here Comes the Boom.  Hill gives his impression of the release of Lightworks for Mac:

Introducing Lightworks as native software on Mac will be a game-changer in Hollywood. Professionals will once again have a legitimate and powerful option in choosing their editing system, since so many facilities are outfitted with Macs.

Lightworks has been around for over a decade. The limited version is an open source program (yes -- free), and the pro version is $60 for a 1 year license. Until now, Mac users haven't been able to dabble in (or completely embrace) Lightworks, but now we can. Lightworks worldwide product manager, Matt Sandford, said:

We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to develop this new version of Lightworks. We’re excited to be at the stage where we’re able to demonstrate it to our community of editors, whom we know are eager to see it in action. Mac users can now enjoy the lightning-fast editing capabilities of Lightworks, currently being enjoyed by Windows users. Very shortly we’ll be able to announce when the Mac Alpha program will begin.

EditShare has three other major announcements regarding its Lightworks editing software:

Lightworks Linux Public Beta
Following an extremely successful Alpha program, the Lightworks 11.1 Linux Public Beta testing will go live on April 30, 2013, making it the only professional NLE on Linux available to everyone.

Lightworks Windows Release
The full version of the all-new Lightworks for Windows (version 11.1) (currently in Public Beta) will also be released on April 30, 2013.

New Features for Lightworks 11.2 (coming soon)
In addition to the new releases, EditShare is busy developing new additional features for Lightworks users to enjoy when version 11.2 is released in the near future. These include:

  • Added support for AJA I/O hardware
  • Support for screen capture using the record panel
  • An improved import panel: now behaves similarly to bins, mark/park clips before import
  • Native H.264 MOV playback
  • Added curve effect to FX color correction effects

Is anyone looking forward to the Mac version of Lightworks? What's your experience working with Lightworks as compared to FCP or Avid?

[via CreativeCow]

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Your Comment


Dear God this looks like what FCP X should have been. I'm definitely going to try my hand at this!

April 8, 2013 at 5:08PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I honestly and truly pity you if you're serious. Ouch.

April 9, 2013 at 3:18AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


"The limited version is an open source program "

Actually, it isn't, although EditShare promise it will be, eventually. They are still cleaning up any proprietary code from the millions of lines of code, which takes a lot of time.

I downloaded the free windows version, still waiting for that magical moment when I have actual free time to really try it out...

April 8, 2013 at 5:09PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


"Highly anticipated" is right. Such a cool model. I would love for this to be all it seems, but I hope they don't rush it to market before it's ready.

April 8, 2013 at 6:17PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I know nothing about this program! Can anyone do a brief run down on major differences between Lightworks and Premiere or FCP? Is there much that Lightworks can do that Premiere can't?

Just watched one demo video. Seems, amongst other things, that you can have multiple editors working on the same project at the same time! That's definitely handy for tight-deadline jobs...

April 8, 2013 at 6:46PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


"Is there much that Lightworks can do that Premiere can’t?"

Aside from get on your computer for free? Nope. Not a thing.

April 9, 2013 at 3:20AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I didn't see it on their site, and can't find an annouced release date for OSX.

April 8, 2013 at 9:44PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I worked on Lightworks for a couple of years on a big feature documentary and then taught on the system in a few places and demonstrated it at the IBC. When it works it's pretty fast - but that was a few years ago, and I don't know how this new version relates to the old. I'd be interested to see what it's like, but I'm assuming it'll be lacking the console controller - which was one of the key features in terms of edit speed and the way the editor interacts with the software. I'm currently looking at moving from FCP7, and the only alternative looks like Premiere for me - I use AE so much, it seems like the simplest workflow.

April 9, 2013 at 1:19AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


It's nice to see the editing industry moving like this. But why is nobody reporting on Avid slashing the price of their Media Composer to 999 dollars? The delaid Mac and Linux versions of lightworks are hardly news. Avid starting to run in the race to the bottom is. They may be a compagnie in trouble, but they still are the industry leader. How this gamble plays out, will be intersting to watch. Afterall they could not make a profit when they sold MC for 2500 dollar, I can't imagine this price cut is something they wanted to do. (sorry for my spelling, I'm typing on a Phone with dutch autocorrection)

April 9, 2013 at 1:29AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


LOL... "industry leader"?? Which industry exactly? Oh, you mean the 2.4% of the industry (I'm being nice) called "feature film"? Yeah... so? Hoo-effing-ray. We can see how glorious THAT position is, huh?? Really makes for some serious business. :-D

Avid's decade long arrogance and inability to grasp what "the industry" wants and needs is the reason for their immanent demise. Plain and simple. Anyone that considers them an alternative anymore clearly has way too much money and lives in an impenetrable Avid-fanboy-bubble. Good luck with that.

April 9, 2013 at 3:27AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Well Shorty, while I do agree with you that Avid does not understand the way the industry is moving, that does not change the fact that almost all big editing-shops I know are Avid-shops. That is frustrating, I don't like editing with Avid either, but it is the way my industry is today.

That is exactly why it will be interesting to watch how this plays out. The new functions in Avid 7 are tailored towards big editing-shops. The price cut is tailored towards freelance editors. Avid is betting on two horses, but with making Avid affordable to freelancers, they do hurt their most (and final) loyal customers, the big editing-shops.

Those shops are renting out their editing-rooms at 300 euro a day (without the editor that is, only the PC). That price will have to drop now the Premiere pro's the freelancers are cutting on are the more expensive option.

So while I don't care if Avid survives the race to the bottom. I do wonder if big editing shops are gonna survive. Back on topic, the mac and linux versions of lightworks are still to niche to impact the industry. The big news yesterday was the price drop of Avid. That will have an influence on the way I work next year or the years after that.

April 9, 2013 at 4:27AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Avid is making the right decision, a very Apple-like decision, to make the software affordable.
I'm an Avid MC 6.0 user and work at an Avid shop. The higher ups are happy about the price reduction since they can update all the systems to MC7 affordably.
For my home system, I'm used to shelling out $600 for every upgrade; now it's $300. How is all this a bad thing?
I'm have zero faith that Adobe will maintain it's dominance in the editing space; I'm expecting them to dump Premiere into a web-Creative Cloud system eventually alienating pro-users the same way Apple did. They're really pushing Creative Cloud and I'm wondering where it's headed.

April 9, 2013 at 7:22AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


It's funny because It's just the software. They've done this before with Avid DV. Remember? Doesn't MC really need to be connected to Avid hardware in order to really work well? Isn't that what they've been selling for all these years? If anything I be they are thinking they can do the drug dealer thing and get you into a cheap software based system and then say, "Well, if you really want it to sing, you need to get this $30,000 system to go with it. That's what all the Pro's do."

Back on topic: Have you guys ever seen the Lightworks boards? Tons of haters and pissed of users waiting and waiting for literally years. By the way, they announced a Mac version back in... I think it was 2008 or something? then they said is would be out in 2009 (I remember there was an actual release date at that point). Then nothing for years. If they have actually been working on it like they supposedly say, then they've been doing so for some five or six years. And what they are announcing now is an "Alpha" version?! Are you kidding me? I don't have any stake is this either way, their system looks interesting and I wish them the best but seriously do not trust these guys at all. From what I've seen from them over the years, they are the kings of empty promises and information opacity.

April 9, 2013 at 1:52PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Erm, are you sure about that? EditShare acquired Lightworks in 2009, they announced in 2010 that they were going to go open source and release a free version of their windows client (eventually released in 2012). Not sure when they promised Linux and Mac versions, at least at NAB in 2012, possibly before.

What may well be vapour on their part is the open source thingy. They intended to release an open source version in 2011, but they still haven't.

April 9, 2013 at 2:32PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


"It’s funny because It’s just the software. They’ve done this before with Avid DV. Remember? Doesn’t MC really need to be connected to Avid hardware in order to really work well?"

Nope. It's been a fully functioning NLE without hardware for as long as FC has existed. Hardware helped but only in the same way as FCP needed hardware to make it pro quality.
Oh, and for a while you've been able to use third party hardware.

April 10, 2013 at 12:01AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Al T. Netid

Sounds like somebody doesn't know what they are talking about and is living in a bitter and impenetrable FCX-fanboy-bubble.

April 10, 2013 at 12:07AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Al T. Netid

Wow they announced this a couple years back!

April 9, 2013 at 1:44AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I've been using LightWorks in professional settings for a few years now. It's insanely fast compared to FCP and AVID, and it is way easier to manage large projects on. The interface is VERY graphically driven, which helps me work faster for some reason. They deliver on exactly what they promise - software that helps you think about the edit's CONTENT not the process of working with it.

Also, using the console brings back fond memories of working on a Steenbeck :)

April 11, 2013 at 6:09AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I have been playing with Lightworks a bit since the first Windows beta. The more I learn about it the more I like it.
Watch the video tutorials for a glimpse at basic functions. All info, forum and store is here http://www.lwks.com/

You can buy the Lightworks console to go with the program, but it is expensive-$2800.
Shuttle pro 2 also works well for about $100.
One of the most pleasant surprises I found was the surprisingly sophisticated set of color grading tools under the FX panel.

April 11, 2013 at 12:37PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


From the article:

"Until now, Mac users haven’t been able to dabble in (or completely embrace) Lightworks, but now we can."

Sadly, no, we can't yet. I remember the mac version was announced over two years ago and eventually moved to "last quarter of 2011". That is still two years ago, and we are still waiting.

I think Lee is wrong when he mentions 2008, but I remember clearly 2011 was supposed to be when the Mac version would appear and I have to agree with him that if they can only offer an Alpha version, and not even that after all this time, well, then there's something not going well, at least for the Mac version.

This article appeared 8 MONTHS AGO, and yet if you go to the LightWorks forums you'll see there is no news and no answers to the questions about the development of the Mac version:


So... does anyone here know anything? Is there a possibility of LightWorks actually being launched for Mac somehow soon?

Thanks for the article and the discussion about this stuff, for some of us all this is very important!

December 17, 2013 at 7:15AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM



Can you please give some reason on why do you think so instead of just trashing the program - and the people who comments about it?

Have you actually used Lightworks? How long ago, on which platform? Could you describe the overall experience?

Thanks, I hope we can read something informative from you soon.

January 1, 2014 at 12:41PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


It's a very nice app, but the marketing is annoying. The used the words "open source" to gain momentum but it's not open source. Even the free versions do not allow installation until you connect to their server. I heard older versions were time-bombed but I didn't verify that. Then, they are removing features. The new free edition will not the 1080p one would want for youtube. I remember a previous free edition could do 1080p uncompressed.

We are not sheep that can be tricked into some product's user base with such methods. Learning an editing app is a serious investment in time. We'd rather be treated like adults, not stupid consumers.

February 7, 2014 at 12:02PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM

Little Mermaido

There was a discussion in their forums about the "Open Source" and "free" qualities of LWKS, and about the removal of features from the free version. The topic was locked though, I assume due to some flame wars starting between users:


I can only assume because the mods didn't give a reason for locking the topic. I would say this is one of their big weaknesses as a company, the lack of communication with their (prospective) users.

Now, they did make it clear at least that their roadmap is unchanged and it consists of the following:

Free Windows version
Pro Windows version
Linux and Mac versions
Open source

Not all the questions were answered though, but as a Mac user I am still hoping LWKS delivers because it seems a very good NLE at an amazing price. Let's see what the future brings, we're already in February, when the Mac version is due.

February 17, 2014 at 11:17AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM