Free Open-Source Video Production Software

April 26, 2024 — Jt Spratley

You don't need expensive video editing software to create content on YouTube, Twitch, etc. There are free applications for every PC operating system (OS) - Windows, macOS, Linux, and BSD - for recording, streaming, and editing video content. Below I'll share some popular free open-source software (FOSS) for video production.


kdenlive has been my go-to video editor since my university days. Available on all OSes, it ships with more than enough video effects (VFX), sound effects (SFX), transitions, and mixing options to satisfy my creativity. The major downside: it is prone to crashing if you do too much at once in the video editor. If you choose kdenlive, take your time and limit how much tweaking you do while playing more than one video clip, especially with multiple VFX happening at once.

OpenShot Video Editor

OpenShot Video Editor, available on all OSes, was my first open-source video editor. OpenShot was stable and easy to use. It had enough VFX and video editing features for what I needed. I only left OpenShot for the additional effects in kdenlive, though they've since made some workflow changes I didn't like as well. If you prefer stability and don't care about a big effects library, OpenShot is worth a shot.


Blender is primarily for VFX, animation, and digital modeling - game development, 3D printing, etc. The cross-platform digital studio includes a video editor with basic functions though. If you want an application capable of a wide range of video applications, Blender might be for you.

SimpleScreenRecorder (SSR)

SimpleScreenRecorder is a Qt-based screencasting application for Linux. Its biggest selling point is its easy-to-use user interface and dependency on libav/ffmpeg for encoding, allowing it to handle a lot of codecs and file formats. It reportedly handles live streaming, but I've never tried it. If you're a Linux user and don't plan to do many post-production changes to screencast recordings, SimpleScreenRecorder is worth a shot.

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS)

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is the most popular screencasting and streaming application for all OSes. A vast community of musicians, YouTubers, Twitch personalities, vloggers, adult cam models, and more depend on OBS to entertain and inform their communities. There are also free SFX, plugins, and themes available for OBS.

Somewhat related, VLC Media Player is a free multimedia player for the popular OSes, Android, and iOS, capable of playing most streams and file formats.


FFMPEG is a powerful command-line interface (CLI) application for recording, converting, and streaming multimedia files. For example, to extract audio from a recorded video with the command:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -vn audio-only.ogg

To create audio spectrum visualization files:

ffmpeg -i conscious-rap-song.mp3 -filter_complex "[0:a]showwaves=s=1280x720:mode=line:rate=25, format=yuv420p[v]" -map "[v]" -map 0:a conscious-rap-song-video.mp4

For those uncomfortable with the classic terminal, there are graphical user interface (GUI) wrappers (windows applications) like Shutter Encoder and FFMPEG UI. I can't speak to their effectiveness, though.


Handbrake is a free, cross-platform video transcoder most popularly known as a free DVD ripper. If you have any DVD recordings you need archived or copied, the Handbrake DVD ripper could be the answer.

Subtitle Editor

Subtitle Editor allows Linux and BSD users to write closed captions (CC) and subtitles on videos and preview the results in real-time. It is a since discontinued project, so there are likely newer, better applications available. Closed captions and subtitles greatly enhance web accessibility to hearing-impaired individuals and people who don't understand the video's primary language.

Tags: open-source-software, music-production, IT

Comments? Tweet