Kdenlive is a video editing application aimed at the professional video editor. It can ingest, edit, affect, correct, and render motion pictures.

Pragmatically speaking, if you are doing serious, full-time video editing on Linux, you are either using Kdenlive or Lightworks. Kdenlive is less analytical in its workflow style, and encourages free-flowing, timeline-centric experimentation, while Lightworks is older and more mature but has a more traditional, Steenbeck-inspired workflow. If you are new to editing on Linux, evaluate them both and see which one suits your needs.

Strengths [Weaknesses]


All the essential video editing funtions are present, in a professional environment; in and out points, a clip monitor and separate timeline monitor, copious effects, clip bin, blade/razor tool, proxy system, plain text project files, and much more.

Timeline-Oriented Workflow

Allows you to work mostly in the timeline, if that is how you prefer to work.


Kdenlive is flexible in many senses of the term; it allows you to work in a variety of styles, and also can import and export a variety of formats, load image sequences as clips, manage basic titling, perform basic compositing, has stackable effects, and a non-linear composite structure.


On the surface, at least, the basic workflow is familiar to anyone having used popular commercial “prosumer” video editing systems. Lots of drag-and-drop, click, and drag funtionality that will render a cleanly edited sequence quickly and without too many surprises.

Weaknesses [Strengths]

No Effect Previews

Playback of certain codecs, or of any clip with an effect on it can stutter and skip so severely that it becomes functionally useless unless the effects are removed or the clip is transcoded. A work-around is to render the effected clips to a temporary directory and drop them in on a “rendered” video track, switching the rendered track off before export.

Missing Features

Partly because it otherwise resembles some popular closed source editors, there are a few particularly glaring gaps in the timeline-oriented toolset (no region select, no roll-edits, no slips or slides, inability to group-delete clips), and oversights in general functionality (no way in the GUI to duplicate and edit a title or lower-third, the inability to have more than one timeline per project, no insert-edit function).

No Guard Rails

Kdenlive uses a set of powerful libraries to accomplish the amazing things that it does, but sometimes this tempts you to over-estimate its flexibility. Yes, it permits you to import any variety of codec, and it allows you to edit the footage, but there's no guarantee that it can handle these formats gracefully. It's up to you to know your codecs and use safe video and audio formats.


Kdenlive has many dependencies, some of which are not strictly necessary for it to work but the absence of which may restrict certain features from working. Whether you care about the features depends on how you intend to use Kdenlive; if you do not intend to ever import DV footage from tape, or use Kdenlive as a frontend for screencasting, then installing dependencies for those features are not important. If you aren't sure, then install everything.

Once all the dependencies are installed, the Slackbuild for Kdenlive is simple.

All dependencies, and Kdenlive itself, can be installed from http://slackbuilds.org.

Kdenlive is an industry-grade video editor.

Kdenlive builds directly upon the mlt framework. If you are attempting to compile Kdenlive shortly after a new release of mlt, then you might find a sudden incompatibility. If this happens, then you have three options, plus one;

  1. Regress one version for both Kdenlive and mlt, bringing the two codebases back into sync.
  2. Investigate to find out what the developers have used to compile their own versions, and follow their example by compiling either mlt or Kdenlive from svn to bring in any fixes or modifications that have been developed to account for the breakage.
  3. Wait for a new release which fixes the breakage from either mlt or kdenlive. Chances are the breakage is a known issue and a release that fixes the error is only a week or two away.
  4. As always, contact Slackermedia. See what is currently being run on our production machines.

Once Kdenlive is installed, visit the View and Settings menus to customise the interface to your liking.

Slackermedia/OpenSource.com Tutorials

A complete crash course for Kdenlive, written by the Slackermedia maintainer, is available as a series of articles on OpenSource.com.

Those articles have also been compiled into a free ebook.

A series of additional tips and tricks are available on opensource.com/tags/kdenlive.