If you really want to make a splash editing movies, you’d ideally use the software that’s espoused by the professionals. In a perfect world, your software choice would have been associated with films that won major Academy and Emmy Awards. But there’d be a hefty price to pay, right?

Wrong: Lightworks – which ticks all the previous boxes, having been used on films such as Pulp Fiction and Shutter Island – is an open source package, free for anyone to use. (There's a Pro version with extras, but this build provides all the key features you need),

The feature list starts with support for a wide range of containers: ProRes, Avid DNxHD, AVC-Intra, DVCPRO HD, RED R3D, DPX, AVCHD (with AC3 audio), H.264, XDCAM EX / HD 422 and more.

Lightworks 12 offers a complete set of video-editing tools, including media management and fast, precise trimming. Need to apply some special effects? There’s multicam editing, stereoscopic support, multiple and secondary colour correction alongside effects that can be applied in real-time by utilising the power of your graphics chip.

The power of the program is indisputable, but despite an attractive front end, it’s not really a tool for the casual user who simply wishes to quickly and easily edit a selection of video footage together. Video-editing enthusiasts – along with professionals – will, however, find it’s a powerful tool to add to their armoury, particularly now it’s completely free.

Version 12 adds a new content manager, enabling you to handle all your Clips, Edits, Bins and Searches from a single interface.

Whatever you're importing, the new Play Engine automatically identifies interlaced or progressive material, adjusts your settings accordingly, and improves playback performance overall.

There are new, smarter Colour Correction effects, easier to use, and making three previous effects - HSV, RGB, Curves - accessible from a single dialog.

Elsewhere, there's XML import from Final Cut Pro, drag and drop support for transferring Flow sequences, Clips and Subclips from Flow to Lightworks and back, and - for Mac OS only - ProRes Encoding.

What's new in v12.5?

- Added configurable H.264/MP4 export format up to 4K (Lightworks Pro Only)
- Added WebM export option, including 4K (Lightworks Pro Only)
- Added XAVC-Intra export option, including 4K (Lightworks Pro Only)
- Added YouTube 2K and 4K export options (Lightworks Pro Only)
- Added XML export option (Lightworks Pro Only)
- Added support for LUTs .3dl, .looks, .cube, .davlut, and .mga files
- Added support for import of CinemaDNG files
- Boris FX and Boris Graffiti enabled
- Enhanced AAF export to AVID Media Composer (Lightworks Pro Only)


Professional-level video editing is now yours for free – but despite the plethora of features and user-friendly interface, it’s definitely not a tool for beginners.