Have you ever wondered why Apple feels the need to re-invent the wheel? Think of what the old iMovie app did and how it compares to the new iMovie. The new iMovie is different but not necessarily easier to edit; especially for those who edit often.
You might think that re-inventing the wheel by publishing yet another video editor makes no sense because iMovie is free. Unless, there’s a way to differentiate the new wheel from the old wheel. Here’s an example and it involves a free, cross platform video editor that does much of what Apple’s own iMovie does not, but in a way the old iMovie did.
iMovie, Therefore, iAm
iMovie is a great application for the masses of Mac users who need to manage video clips and projects, do quick editing with themes and effects. What if you need more? Apple responds with Final Cut Pro, a highly capable, professional level video editor with a nominal price tag (considering what FCP can do).
What if you need some of those advanced features but can’t afford Apple’s price tag (relatively speaking, FCP is inexpensive, but has a massive learning curve)? There’s Shotcut, a free, open source, multi-platform video editor with an emphasis on editing. Fast editing. That’s right. Free.
Shotcut looks familiar to the point of resembling the old iMovie’s timeline, but is stuffed with useful features not found in the new iMovie, including some serious color correction, all kinds of audio and video format support, and a multi-format timeline which allows you to mix and match video resolutions and frame rates within the app. That can be seriously useful.
Shotcut features built-in network stream playback, deinterlacing, MLT XML file import, and the ability to capture SDI, HDMI, and more. Also built in is webcam capture, audio captures, plus support for 4k resolutions (new iPhones shoot video in 4k, too). If you don’t know the value of all that then stick with iMovie. If you want more, Shotcut is free to try, and free to use.
Video editing features standard 3-point editing, external monitoring, plenty of cross-fade transitions for both video and audio (and a bunch of video wipe transitions). Audio can be mixed across all tracks in the timeline, and Shotcut handles video compositing across all tracks, too. Much of Shotcut’s basic functions are from FFmpeg. The list of usable, non-iMovie video editing and production features is extensive.
What about audio? Shotcut handles more than what you get in iMovie, including mixing across all tracks, cross-fade options, and a bunch of useful filters from balance, bass and treble, delay, expander, gain, compressor, limiter, high and low pass, normalize, and much more.
It’s a simple proposition. If you find iMovie limiting and don’t want to pay the piper for Final Cut Pro, Shotcut is a worthy alternative. What’s missing is the maturity of iMovie and FCP, but the list of features makes it worth a try. Shotcut supplies plenty of video tutorials, too, so it’s easy to get started, and the cross-platform capability makes it a worthy contender for videographers on a budget.