Lightworks’ history dates back to 1989, just two years after Avid was founded. Major films such as Pulp Fiction were cut with it, and legendary directors and editors, including Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker, have used it regularly. And after a very bumpy road, the Avid competitor is back in action. 

In 2020, LWKS became the de facto professional NLE from Lightworks. It finally made its official debut last month at IBC 2022 and added new pro-level features, such as QScan (automatic quality control) and the acquisition of ioGates REACT (cloud sharing) to make it very attractive to filmmakers and editors, while still giving the tools to the indie creatives. 

And now LWKS has become the new editor from one of the originators of non-linear editing. Geared even more for the professional market than prosumer editors, there are plenty of features every creative needs for any type of long or short-form project. And they still offer a version of Lightworks for indie creatives.

Lwks_reactioGates REACTCredit: LWKS

New Year, New Me

One of the most significant additions was when the company acquired ioGates earlier this year, whose REACT is a secure and easy-to-use content review platform. While there are excellent third-party services for content review ( and, to name just two), having a service that doesn’t require a separate subscription is nice. LWKS users simply log in to get started.

Recognizing the need to keep editors in the LWKS ecosystem, the company teamed up with NewBlueFX to give Lightworks Pro subscribers access to 1500 effects and 175 plugins. Dubbed TotalFX, there are color correction tools, filters, chroma key tools, stabilization, aloha blends, and much more.

LWKS ReactShare, receive & reviewCredit: LWKS

Details and Specs Lightworks Pro

  • Industry-standard editing and finishing tools that any pro can use, from YouTuber to Hollywood-level editor.
  • Extensive audio tools to ensure sound is mixed well and issues are resolved; dialogue enhancer; over 200 free sound clips from Epidemic sound; perfect audio with Quick FX; and more.
  • Over 1500 effects and 175 plugins to deliver professional VFX with TotalFX via their partnership with NewBlueFX.
  • ioGates REACT allows secure, cloud-based collaboration and review of projects and footage from anywhere in the world, from the set or on location to the editor’s office. It is especially convenient when there are multiple post-production teams working on a project, including the editor(s), composer, VFX artist, etc.
  • QScan, an automatic quality control system that ensures your project is ready for broadcast and up to proper standards. It’s fast and automated, which LWKS promises will save time, stress, and money.
  • BRAW, R3D, and other formats are supported (Lightworks Pro).
  • Proxy editing support.
  • Available for Mac, Windows, or Linux.

There will be obvious comparisons to other NLEs, including Avid at the very high end and the popular—and also free—DaVinci Resolve, along with Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, and VEGAS Pro. These pro-level editors can get the job done for creatives, high-end editors, and filmmakers, but LWKS offers a complete package for half the cost of Adobe Creative Cloud.

Lightworks_2Credit: LWKS

LWKS Pricing

The cost of LWKS is monthly, similar to other NLEs like Adobe Premiere Pro and VEGAS Pro. Pricing breaks down into two categories:

  • Lightworks Create: $9.99/month and is aimed at those creating content for social media, corporate videos, and educators. An annual license costs $99.99, but a perpetual license is only $154.99. 
  • Lightworks Pro: $23.99/month, which includes all the pro-level features for everything from a major motion picture to broadcasting, short films, etc. Annual licensing is $239.99, and a perpetual license is $389.99.

The good news is there is also a free version available via their website.

Is It Worth Changing NLEs? 

As we like to say, use the tool that works best for you and your post-production workflows. LWKS builds upon a long history and legacy with some of the most popular movies, editors, and directors. The team behind LWKS has hinted that Scorsese is cutting his latest with Schoonmaker on LWKS.

Since there is a free option, it’s worth downloading and editing a few different projects, be it narrative, corporate, or commercials. LWKS might be a solid fit for your workflow. In my opinion, Lightworks Pro is a breath of fresh air in an NLE landscape that's needed a new player. Learn more at LWKS' site and check out this page to compare the Lightworks Pro, Create, and Free versions.

Will you be trying the new LWKS on your next project? Let us know in the comments!

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