Why use ShotCut versus other video editors?

HI there, I’m not an experienced video editor. I used the built in Windows XP Movie Maker for just a bit. I wondered why others chose OpenShot -vs- VideoPad -vs- Blender -vs- Pinnacle Studios? I tried Lightworks but that’s got a real learning curve. Adobe makes amazing software but it’s $$$$. I’m not trying to become an Oscar-worthy editor. I’m looking to master some editing skill sets to make a video essay, edit short videos for YouiTube, Vimeo, help with presentations when teaching library patrons how to do things - e.g. how to use our 3D printer, etc. Nothing Academy Award winning! I’m hoping Shotcut or Videopad will be easy to learn but wonder what editing features I wouldn’t be able to do and who uses those skills besides well-paid editing professionals editing full time? Thanks so much!

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Welcome! A number of people gave their reasons for using Shotcut in a similar post from some time ago: Why do you use Shotcut? Those posts could give you a broader sense of how other people feel about it.

As to your specific question of what editing features you would be missing by using Shotcut, the answer depends on what you’re trying to do.

For narrative filmmaking (movie and documentary style stuff), the main tools you’d miss are color curves, hue-vs-hue filter, and true multi-cam editing. Granted, those are higher-end tools. All of these can be approximated by other tools, like color grading wheels and LUTs for color adjustments, and simple track stacking on the timeline for multi-cam. Aside from that, Shotcut is essentially feature-complete. The available tools are far ahead of Windows Movie Maker.

However, if you’re looking for a tool that has lots of “end-user templates” in it for animated text, built-in Happy Birthday logos, lots of gimmicky transitions, and an easy way to make lots of clip art fly across the screen almost like a cartoon… Shotcut could technically do those things with the keyframe features, but you’d have to manually make everything move yourself. There are no ready-made templates built-in. In particular, Shotcut isn’t designed to make a slideshow of photos with a standardized transition between each photo. (You can achieve that if you put the photos on a timeline yourself, but there isn’t a wizard that can change timings and transitions with a few simple clicks.)

Shotcut is excellent for simple video (and even complex video if it’s narrative style) and probably ideal as a teaching tool because you won’t have licensing issues and it is very lenient about input video formats thanks to ffmpeg.

strictly speaking Austin is correct about animation and slideshows. But it isn’t that difficult to do and there are features such as these available if you use the wbvfx framework I put together a while ago. There is a slideshow generator there, designed mainly for a small number of slides as well as various effects, such as typewriter, animated text and exploding/imploding images etc. See:


Hi Austin and all you other good, generous and talented posters.

Thank you so much for sharing your informed and experienced replies.

What a wonderful forum!!!

I love this place already!

I’ve spent years downloading and testing video editing software only to find it doesn’t do what it’s designed (or marketed ) to do (nor as easy to learn). :slight_smile:

You all seem very accomplished (I’m sure through hard work and trial and error) so I very much appreciate your help and understanding of us who are still stumbling along in video editing.

Did any of you try VideoPad first and then decide it didn’t have the correct features you needed?

If so, which features did you find lacking in VideoPad?

I mention VideoPad as that seems (although I haven’t used it) like a step up from Windows Movie Maker but much easier to learn (for novices) than Lightworks (which seems wonderful but not necessarily the easiest for novices and/or amateurs).

I’m trying to get a feel for which video editing software would be categorized as easier to learn which would be considered for intermediate video editing and which would be for advanced.

In my limited experience it would seem VideoPad might be considered for the easier to learn and Ligthworks in the more for advanced users.

Which of the 3 categories I mentioned would you say ShotCut would fit best? Easy - Intermediate - Advanced and why do you think it fits in that category?

Meanwhile, I’ll be digesting all your helpful suggestions and so appreciate you sharing them.

All 3 I’d say… As soon as you have understood the soft’s logic.

I want to add that it seems as if Videopad has many in-built effects which Shotcut does not (I have never used Videopad, though). On the other hand Shotcut has various ways to add different effects/filters like the aforementioned WebVfx framework, GL transitions or from other video editors adapted filters (User-created front ends for Shotcut filters that have not been added to Shotcut). Additionally, many forum members are very helpful to achieve a desired effect.

Hi samth,

Thank you for sharing those thoughts.

I was trading emails with a person who has been using VideoPad and their experience with ShotCut (albeit a few years ago) was that ShotCut seemed to lack some features like text effects, text editing, and a simple pan and zoom style effect for still images.

Have you found that’s changed with more recent versions of ShotCut?

Also, I was curious if you needed a laptop with a separate graphics card to run Shotcut?

Thank you!

Few years is really too long for any substantial statement. Shotcut is for sure not the same anymore. With just reading the release notes one can deduce that (I am using it for approximately three months so I cannot speak from experience).
A text filter for simple effects is available. You can use keyframes to vary the size and the position to achieve various effects.

With an HTML overlay you can apply most effects used on web pages so there is a plethora of options but this is advanced.
Pan and zoom is also available as presets or by using keyframes which gives full control.

Running it should be fine but this can differ from laptop to laptop. It will for sure take longer to render and might lag for high resolution files (like 4K). If you use Windows, you can try the portable version. I do not like installing programs so I only use this.

Did this person recommend you VideoPad?
If you are not able to decide, you could try some simple projects and judge how easy, fast etc. they were to accomplish. But of course you will not be able to determine how useful the community is which is very important as well, in my opinion at least.

Hi samth, I like your idea of trying them both. Would you please share the link to the portable version of Shotcut? I was curious how large a space on a flash drive the portable ShotCut would be? This person suggested VideoPad (although I don’t know if there is a portable version - that would be great as I, too, am not enamored of installing new programs on my laptop/desktop - at least until I know I want it and will use it regularly like Audacity. Do you use a separate program to screen capture just a short clip? I’ve tried Camtasia, Avidemux - none have worked well for me. Thank you!

I’ve used Lightworks Kdenlive and Shotcut video editors. I still use all three. Lightworks is the most difficult to master Shotcut is the easiest to use.

I tried VideoPad a long time ago. It is not as easy to use as it’s advertised. The free version had some restrictions that kicked in after a few weeks. I removed the application and never went back to it.

As @samth pointed out you can do a lot with SC. You need to make an effort to do it. No video editor will automatically create what you want with no effort.

This was done with SC. No external application was used.


It is right below the install version (https://shotcut.org/download/). It needs around 500 MB.
The clip above was an exported file. But in general if I want to screen capture, I use ScreenToGif (https://github.com/NickeManarin/ScreenToGif), some other forum members recommend ShareX (https://getsharex.com/).

Before I used Audacity, I tried WavePad for one project . At some point a notification popped up which worried me (I am not able to recall what it was) and hence I decided to uninstall it. I use Audacity now and beside the fancy look WavePad had no additional advantages so I do not miss it. Since @sauron experienced something similar with VideoPad, I would strongly advise against it.

Wavepad, Videopad and several others are all made by NCH software.
Can’t really put my finger on any specific thing, but never felt safe running any of their software.

For me I needed something fast for video encoding. A software that works with my Nvidia GPUs. Not many software has that or rather you would need to pay for that kind of support. Hence I use Shotcut.

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Hi gimble_guy - You share an intersting point re:Nvidia - I’ve been told by Linux users Nvidia doesn’t worl well with Linux. I’m still not sure if I need a separate graphics card to video edit with Shotcut or is a separate card only really necessary if you’ve got 4-5 videos open simultaneously you’re working on? If a separate graphic card is necessary, whihc ones work best wiht Linux? Generally speaking,I’ve found if something works well with Linux it will work well with Windows. Thanks so much!

Hi samth, Do you use the portable version of ScreentoGIF? Thank you so much for your posts and links. Much appreciated.

I have mainly been using NVIDIA cards with the NVIDIA-provided so-called binary driver (nvidia) in Linux for the past 15 years, and find it works as good as any other if not the best. About a year, I switched to an AMD Radeon when I had to get some hardware encoding working on it, and I have not switched back, but not because it is better. The biggest problem I have seen with nvidia driver is the inability to properly handle sleep and hibernate modes especially on laptop. This binary driver also gets a bad rap for being difficult to debug and support particularly from the kernel perspective and maybe GUI lib and desktop environment developers.

The number of videos open in Shotcut does not make much difference. If you’re talking about something like a media player that is using hardware-accelerated decoding, then it may.
I am not sure what you mean by “separate card,” but it mainly comes down to each card+driver’s compatibility with the way Shotcut and Qt use OpenGL, which seems very much a case-by-case situation except I can say that I have had great compatibility with nvidia on this point. Secondarily, the usage of hardware encoder has a big impact on your choice as the latest generation of each card from any manufacturer is improving quality quite a bit. The latest NVIDIA RTX cards are quite good as well as Intel’s HEVC output.

Hello eager,

As I am a casual gamer, I don’t really use linux as my main OS. I use windows 10 pro. I do however use MXlinux in Virtualbox and I use that a lot. I’ve tested MXlinux with my RTX 2080 or GTX 1080. It works good and simple to install. But I miss apps like MSI afterburner that controls fan profile etc. You got a bit of fan control in the Nvidia App, but it’s very limited. But still usable. I’ve compared the difference with MXlinux and Windows 10 PRO with gpu encoding. I found MXlinux is 1 second faster than Windows 10. For the Nvidia linux driver I was using the latest testing driver. I use the Nvidia Installer app that comes default with MXlinux. For the limited time I used it, I had no issues. YMMV.

Probably it’s best to ask someone else that is using an Nvidia GPU with linux as their main OS.

Yes, I do and without experiencing any problems.
My pleasure.

Thank you ever so much! I downloaded, installed it on a flash drive and will give it a try.

Is the ScreenToGif (https://github.com/NickeManarin/ScreenToGif a portable version as well?

Thanks again.

Yes, if you select “Releases” (https://github.com/NickeManarin/ScreenToGif/releases), you will see under “Assets” all versions including the portable one.