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A free video editor called OpenShot often gets better with each new version. The UI is very adaptable, and most of the new tools provide practical functions. However, there are still some perplexing details and methods of operation.
When we last reviewed OpenShot – the open-source, free video editing software – we thought it showed promise. However, in our opinion, it wasn’t yet ready for prime time.
Ultimately, during our time with the editor app, we felt it “shows potential but it hasn’t really received the number of updates we would’ve expected after two years.”
But that was then. Does OpenShot’s new developments finally deliver on the promise it showed two years ago?
OpenShot 2.6.1 Mac issues
First, a warning: although OpenShot is a multi-platform program that may be used with Windows, Macs, and Linux, the most recent official version of the program currently does not support Macs.
Given that version 2.6.1 was launched on September 6, 2021, this is very damning. You may, however, download and set up Daily Builds. The most recent release we tested (from June 22, 2022), which we had heard had been fixed a few months earlier, launched flawlessly.
Although some individuals might be hesitant to use a daily build rather than an official release, if you use a Mac, this is currently the only method to obtain a version that is compatible with your machine.
OpenShot 2.6.1 review: Interface
Since we last tested OpenShot, there doesn’t seem to have been much of an interface update. But considering how adaptable and flexible it is, that’s absolutely not a negative thing.
You may move panels around, add new ones, and remove old ones as you see appropriate in addition to choosing between Simple and Advanced view settings (the former of which limits the amount of panels to simplify the interface). You may even choose to make them into floating windows.
This versatility is greatly appreciated since it enables users to completely personalize the user interface, which can only be a positive thing.
OpenShot 2.6.1 review: Changes and improvements
But not everything is static. Significant advancements are also apparent.
You’ll first notice a new Zoom Slider tool, located directly above the timeline. This gives you more control over your project’s progress. You get a summary of your complete history, and you may move the blue highlighted portion to the left or right to alter which part of the bigger section underneath it you can see.
Better still, either side of that blue part has handles. To zoom in or out of the timeline, drag them in or out. It makes for a fantastic and simple method to navigate your project.
Snapping has also advanced significantly. This option, which is enabled by default, enables you to place clips next to one another without having them overlap. You can see one “snap” to the other as you pull it near it, rather like a magnet snapping to another.
This function may be used for a variety of things, such as adjusting a clip to match the length of one above or below it. This eliminates any possible guessing, saves a ton of time, and in our testing, was faultless.
Additionally, you’ll discover that the transformation tools for the clips are considerably simpler to use than they were previously, which enhances the software’s animation capabilities, albeit they may occasionally be perplexing.
Finding a method to advance the chronology frame by frame proved to be challenging. The arrow keys on the keyboard often allow you to accomplish this, but OpenShot does not. Although there is a useful keyboard shortcut to hop from one produced keyframe to another, it appears that the pointer is the only tool available for accomplishing this.
OpenShot 2.6.1 review: New effects
We were dissatisfied by the limited amount of effects in the earlier edition. Thankfully, OpenShot 2.6.1 features a few new ones that offer practical tools, albeit they probably won’t match the greatest VFX software (and if your productions demand high-quality visual effects, pair the free video editor with Adobe After Effects or the best After Effects alternatives to bring spectacles to the screen).
OpenShot’s two new video effects are Stabilization and Tracker.
The first one examines your video and evens out its movements. We discovered that it generally works, but it is evident that the final product will always depend on the original footage’s quality: if the clip is already quite steady, the analysis will enhance and smooth out the motion with ease. Any computer program, though, can only accomplish so much if the shot was too shaky. What you receive out of such instruments depends largely on what you put in, as is usually the case.
With the latter, you may single out an item on the screen that OpenShot will follow throughout the clip. After that, you’ll be able to link an other object to that information and cause it to move in time with the monitored one.
Nine additional audio editing effects are also available. These very common features, including “Compressor,” “Expander,” “Distortion,” and “Delay,” weren’t accessible previously, thus their inclusion can only be viewed as a benefit.
OpenShot 2.6.1 review: Emojis
Emojis are a further new feature, however most editors would not find much use for them save their novelty appeal. The vector-based graphics from the OpenMoji project have been included into the OpenShot app.
They are just as simple to use as any clip: simply drag one into your document and place it there (as well as also being included in your Project Files). It may essentially be treated like any other clip in terms of size, positioning, and movement.
This new function might be quite useful whether you’re making social media material, seeking for a free video editing tool for Instagram and other visual networks, or just into basic vector pictures. It’s a really easy, visually appealing approach to give your films personality, both metaphorically and physically.
OpenShot 2.6.1 review: Transition issue
Since 2020, OpenShot has had a lot of little updates and new features. However, there are still certain concepts that are hard to understand, particularly when starting off.
Consider transitions as an example. When two clips are overlapped, a cross-fade transition is applied between them automatically. Additionally, you may drag a transition into your project. Since you can slide it, it appears that you may put it wherever and the impact would still be as predicted.
However, if you add it between two clips, OpenShot won’t take into account the first, making the transition from a black frame to the second clip.
You must slide one of the clips over the other to produce the cross fade for the transition to function as intended. After that, remove the cross fade and cover the overlap with any additional transitions that are available. This is exceedingly complicated, perplexing, and convoluted.
OpenShot 2.6.1 review: Final verdict
It’s always great to see open-source, free video editing software improve over time. OpenShot has been refined in some places, and improved in others. New welcome features have been added. However, that being said, it can still be a confusing video editor to use.